FLS Focus On Friends Series: Friendly Partnerships Strengthen Communities







Friends are venturing outside the library, undertaking the vital work of networking and partnering with community groups to deliver the library’s message and services to residents. Children’s librarian Jason Poole started the summer “BookBox for Kids and Teens” initiative to bring books to readers unable to visit the library.  This vital project has connected with underserved families and steadily grown community support from the library Friends, churches, schools, and grant-makers in Webster.  In their community, Helen Rados, member of the Friends of Ethelbert B. Crawford Public Library, along with youth librarian Cheryl Jones, have built powerful partnerships and creative collaborations that have increased public awareness of the library, engaged volunteers and increased Friends memberships.

Learning Objectives:

By the end of the session, participants will be able to:

1.   Identify concrete examples of Friends activities that can be implemented in the participants’ Friends groups that will lead to community partnerships
2.    Apply tips on how to cultivate effective working relationships
3.    Formulate a plan for collaboration that will increase the number of advocates in their community



Jason Poole, MLIS

As a  Children’s Librarian, Jason has worked with children and families at the Webster Public Library since 2003.  He received his B.A. from Houghton College and his graduate degree from the University at Buffalo.  In 2019, he completed his Certificate in Public Library Administration with Long Island University.  His special interest in comics and graphic novels has made him a frequent speaker at continuing education workshops for public library systems, regional library councils, school districts, and regional and statewide professional organizations for school and public librarians.  Jason has presented at national comic-cons in New York City and San Diego and at the Annual Conference of the New York Library Association.  He was selected to be a judge for the 2016 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, the “Oscars” of the comics world.  On Sunday evenings, Jason hosts a musical-themed radio show for WAYO 104.3 FM in Rochester.

Cheryl Jones, MLIS

Cheryl is the Youth Services Librarian at Ethelbert B. Crawford Public Library in Monticello, NY, where she also serves as the library’s Staff Liaison to the Friends of the Library.  Cheryl received her BS in English from SUNY Oneonta, a Master of Science in Early Childhood Education from the University of Arizona, and her MLIS from the University of Buffalo.  In 2019, Cheryl was the recipient of the Randall Enos Member Library Children’s Program of the Year from the Ramapo Catskill Library System for her “Star Wars Day: Jedi Training Academy.”  She is a foster parent and also volunteers as an ambulance driver for her local EMS squad.

Helen Rados

Helen is a founding member of the current Friends of the Ethelbert B. Crawford Public Library and has served as President, Vice-President, and Secretary.  In 2016, she was chosen as the library’s first “Friend of the Year.”  Helen regularly coordinates outreach tables at community events, has organized library fundraisers, and assists with the Friends’ social media accounts.  She helped organize the first Sullivan County Youth Book Festival.  Helen was Director of Counseling at SUNY Sullivan and retired as supervisor in the local office of the NYS Department of Labor.  She is a past president of the Professional Women of Sullivan County and previously was a member of the board of the Literacy Volunteers.  Helen is the longest serving volunteer for RISE, Sullivan County’s sexual assault and rape hotline and clinic.  In 2019, Helen received the FLS Daniel W. Casey Library Advocacy Award for her community service and is in her second term on the Board of Trustees of the Ramapo Catskill Library System.

The other webinars included in the the series are:

Engaging Millennials as Friends Volunteers Webinar
Speakers: Madeline Jarvis, MLIS and Tess Wilson, MLIS

Effective, Efficient Boards and Board Meetings
Speakers: Judy Siegel, Esq., Pro Bono Partnership (White Plains NY)