Our Mission

Friends of the Maryland Library for the Blind and Print Disabled (Friends) is a (501)(c)(3) charitable organization established in 1988. As volunteers, we strive to serve our library well. Through our fundraising efforts, we enhance library programs and services beyond what is possible through traditional state and federal funding.

The Friends Board and Volunteers:

  • Encourage patrons to enjoy their library
  • Identify community needs
  • Suggest innovative solutions
  • Plan our annual meeting for patrons, volunteers and friends
  • Host a library staff appreciation day
  • Promote upcoming events
  • Raise funds to support special library initiatives
  • Collaborate with individuals, community groups, disability advocates, educators, and private and public sector partners

Meet the Board of Directors

To improve our library, the Friends Board meets quarterly with LBPD leadership.

Join us for our annual meeting and enjoy fellowship with library staff, volunteers, patrons, friends and families.

If you or someone you know is interested in advancing our mission by volunteering to serve on the Friends board, contact our president, Sharon Maneki, at samaneki@earthlink.net.

2020 Board of Directors

The Friends organization is governed by a volunteer board whose backgrounds vary across industry and occupation, but all share a strong interest in supporting the mission of Friends and the library.

Board members are selected by nomination and typically serve for at least two years. Members frequently extend their term of service for several years or for the duration of specific projects.

Sharon Maneki

Sharon Maneki has been a member of the Board of Directors of Friends since the early 1990s. After serving as Vice-President of Friends for many years, she became President in the Fall of 2014. As a library patron, Sharon has a great interest in expanding its programs. Sharon has been an advocate for the blind for more than 30 years.

As a leader in the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland, she helped to advocate for a new and improved building for the library. Sharon was a Research Analyst with the Department of Defense for 27 years, and lives in Columbia, Maryland.

Barbara Cheadle

The parent of a blind son, Barbara Cheadle presided over the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children from 1985 to 2008. She was the founding editor of Future Reflections, the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) magazine for parents and teachers of blind children, which she edited for over 25 years. After stepping down from that position, she launched a second career as a reference librarian at Bowie State University. A tireless Braille literacy advocate, Barbara is a charter member of the Friends board with many years of uninterrupted service. Barbara and her husband, John, live in Catonsville, Maryland.

Michael Davis

Michael Davis is a charter member of Friends. He is the second Treasurer of Friends, a position he has held for many years. A Baltimore native, Mike holds a BS degree in Accounting from Wheeling Jesuit University and is a practicing CPA in Maryland. He has had a long career in public accounting and is co-owner of Anderson, Davis & Associates, CPA, which specializes in auditing and consulting for nonprofit organizations in the Baltimore-Annapolis-Washington DC area.

Along with enjoying time with his wife and four children, he loves any non-winter outdoor activities. He is an avid music lover and enjoys classic cars and hot rods.

Jill Lewis

Jill Lewis is …

Dr. Jinjuan Feng (Heidi)

Dr. Jinjuan Heidi Feng is a professor in the Computer and Information Sciences Department and the director of the School of Emerging Technologies at Towson University. She received a Ph. D. in Information Sciences from UMBC in 2005. She conducts research in the area of Human-Computer Interaction, universal accessibility, Health-informatics, and usable and accessible Security. She works closely with national and local communities to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities through information technology. Her current research projects focus on assistive technologies for people with cognitive disabilities in educational and professional settings, mobile applications for health related activities, and accessible security techniques for individuals with visual or cognitive disabilities. Her research has been funded by various national and state agencies such as the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), and TEDCO. Her work has been published in various top-notch journals and conferences such as Human-Computer Interaction, ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, and ACM Transactions on Accessible Computing. She is serving on the editorial board of ACM Transactions on Accessible Computing and is the general conference chair for the 18th ACM SIGACCESS International Conference on Computers and Accessibility (ASSETS 2016).

Robyn Huges

Robyn Hughes was elected to the Board of Directors in October 2014. Robyn has an M.A. in German Jewish History, and a B.A. in Jewish studies. She has been a patron of LBPH since she was a pre-school student. As a Braille expert, Robyn knows many specialized codes such as the American Hebrew Braille code.

Robyn is a docent at the Jewish Museum of Maryland and has been a strong voice for advocating that museum programs be accessible to people who read Braille.

Amy January

Amy January was elected to the Friends of LBPH Board of Directors in fall of 2014. Amy earned her M.S. in Special Education and Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Writing for Children and Young Adults from McDaniel College. She has worked as a teacher assistant for high school students with special needs, an assistant language teacher for junior high students in Japan, and an environmental science educator for elementary school students in Baltimore City.

Amy currently performs and teaches belly dance in the Greater Baltimore Area and organizes the annual May Day Fairie Festival at Spoutwood Farm in Glen Rock, PA.

Dr. Jonathan Lazar

Dr. Jonathan Lazar hails from Columbia, MD native and joined the Friends Board of Directors in 2010. He is an associate professor in the Department of Computer and Information Sciences at Towson University, where he serves as head of the Computer Information Systems undergraduate program and is founder and director of the Universal Usability Laboratory. Dr. Lazar has authored over 70 publications on the topics of web usability and accessibility, assistive technology, user error and frustration, public policy and computer interfaces, and user-centered design methods.

Dr. Lazar currently serves as national chair of the ACM SIGCHI (Computer-Human Interaction) U.S. Public Policy Committee. He also serves on the editorial board of the journal Universal Access in the Information Society.

Melissa Riccobono

Melissa Ricccobono was elected to the Board of Directors in the fall of 2014. She has a M.A. in Counseling Psychology, and a B.A. in Psychology. She earned both degrees from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Melissa moved to Maryland in 2004. She is an avid advocate for LBPH because two of her three children are visually impaired and will use the services. She and her husband are also patrons of the library.

Melissa has been a leader in the National Federation of the Blind for many years. She currently serves as President of the Maryland Parents of Blind Children division.

Eileen Rivera Ley

Eileen Rivera Ley, MBA, is a disability advocate, diabetes design advisor, and executive leadership trainer. Her company, Blind Savvy USA, provides consulting and training services. She trains people with disabilities. She collaborates with Sky’s the Limit communications and with The International School of Protocol to create unique soft-skills leadership workshops for young adults. Legally blind since birth, she earned an MBA from the Wharton School of Business, and a BA from Harvard College. She was honored as one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women in 2011, and her company was selected as one of Maryland’s Top 100 minority business enterprises in 2013. She is a board member of the Maryland State Boychoir, the National Federation of the Blind TLC Chapter and Friends of Maryland Library for the Blind and Print Disabled.

Janet Sanford

Janet Sanford joined the Friends Board in October 2013. A native of South Jersey, she has lived in Maryland for the past 30 years. Since her retirement from the Baltimore County Public Library system, she works part time for the county library as well as helping out on the Reference Desk at LBPH. She is a former reader for the Baltimore Radio Reading Service and has been a volunteer at radio station WYPR.

In her spare time she enjoys reading, gardening, needlework, traveling, listening to music, watching Orioles baseball and marveling at smart technology. We are pleased to have Janet manage the Friends Facebook page.

Betsy Saunders

Betsy has been a member of Friends since 1996. She was introduced to the organization by one of its founders, Estelle Williamson. In addition to serving on the Friend’s board, Betsy also volunteered her time at LBPH by helping out at the Information desk.

Although Betsy grew up on Long Island, she made her home and career in Maryland. She is a retired librarian from the Baltimore County Public Library where she served 15 years as an Information librarian. Betsy is the mother of three children and the grandmother of five, all of which keep her busy in retirement.

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Monica Turner

An experienced administrator and educator, Monica Turner has led Bowie State University’s TRiO Achiever’s program since 2002. During her time as a Director, she has developed a number of learner-centered initiatives, including the Summer Experience, an integrated pre-college summer program; Scholars Studio, a problem-based learning community; and the Faculty Think Tank, an interdisciplinary faculty learning community. She has taught the Psychology of Learning and Freshman Seminar and continues to use her experience as a leader and educator to help students and colleagues realize their potential.

Monica has written several grant proposals that have brought more than four million dollars to the University. She holds a Master’s degree in School Psychology from the University of Maryland–College Park and a Bachelor’s degree in History/Politics from Drexel University.