How to start a friends of the library group

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Presentation by Dorothy Macnaughton, Friends of Canadian Libraries, providing information and resources for those looking to start a Friends group.

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How to start a friends of the library group

  1. 1. Dorothy Macnaughton Vice-President, Friends of Canadian Libraries President, Friends of the Sault Ste. Marie Public Library OLA Conference, February 2, 2008 Copyright © 2008 Friends of Canadian Libraries
  2. 2. What Friends DoWhat Friends Do Role of the Friends First meeting Organizing your Friends groupOrganizing your Friends group Volunteers Events Your FriendsYour Friends
  3. 3. Advocate Increase public awareness of the library and its services Raise funds, over and above the library’s operating budget Sponsor programmingSponsor programming Provide support for library programs or special eventsspecial events Establish a good volunteer base
  4. 4. When the Friends consider their role theirWhen the Friends consider their role, their objectives and how they will accomplish them, they need to consider how thethem, they need to consider how the Friends organization fits in with the library’s mandate and strategic plan. Friends partner with the library, undertaking complementary activities. The Friends can pursue opportunities for advocacy activities and fundraising that the library can’tthe library can’t.
  5. 5. The Steering Committee and, later, the Friends President, should communicate l l ith th Lib Di t /CEOregularly with the Library Director/CEO or staff liaison. The Friends are an independentThe Friends are an independent organization, with their own Board, Constitution and By Laws.Constitution and By Laws. The Friends Board is not a governance Board.
  6. 6. The Library Board is a governance Board, responsible for monitoring the library’s b d ffi li i d ibudget, staffing, policies and strategic plan. A good relationship should be establishedA good relationship should be established between the Friends Board and the Library Board. Many Friends organizations have a Library Board member (Ex officio) on their Board.
  7. 7. While the Steering Committee is setting up a Friends group, the Library Board t ti ill k th i B drepresentative will keep their Board informed. Library Trustees and staff should beLibrary Trustees and staff should be welcoming and appreciative of Friends’ volunteers, as they are not only giving a, y y g g great deal of time, they are also promoting the library in the community.
  8. 8. Friends of Libraries U.S.A. Fact Sheets (under Resources)( ) (on FOLUSA web site – www.folusa.org) Role of the Friends Board Role of the Library Trustees Board Development Southern Ontario Library Service – Initiating a Friends of the Library Group
  9. 9. FOCAL’s forming a Friends Group Manual
  10. 10. First Meeting Promotion Planning ◦ sample agenda
  11. 11. In the library and other prominent l ti d ti ti t tt tlocations, advertise a meeting to attract interested people who are regular library users, who care about the library and whouse s, o ca e about t e b a y a d o might have some time to give to support the library. You may also want to enlist the help ofYou may also want to enlist the help of Library Board Trustees and staff who could hand out invitations to the meeting tog people they know who have a vested interest in the library.
  12. 12. If the library has a newsletter, advertize the first meeting well in advance. Put a notice of the meeting on the library’s b itweb site. Use free media opportunities (public service announcements)announcements). In all advertising, emphasize how the proposed Friends group wants to help theproposed Friends group wants to help the library and needs people who really care about their library.
  13. 13. If a Library staff person or a Library Board T t h di th f ti fTrustee are spearheading the formation of a Friends group, they can make the necessary arrangements to book a meetingecessa y a a ge e ts to boo a eet g room, arrange for chairs, etc. Otherwise, a key volunteer can take on this responsibilityresponsibility. Always have refreshments. If the primary organizer knows a volunteer baker,p y g , enlist their help. If you are expecting a larger crowd of people, Timbits work well.
  14. 14. At the first organizing meeting, at least one Library Board Trustee and one library staff person should be present to speak about the need for a Friends group to answerthe need for a Friends group, to answer questions and offer support. You could invite someone who is a memberYou could invite someone who is a member of a local Friends group in your area or a member of Friends of Canadian Libraries to provide information at this meeting.
  15. 15. The primary organizer can draw up a simple d t k th ti t kagenda to keep the meeting on track. Sample agenda: IntroductionsIntroductions Explain what Friends groups can do for their libraries Di th diff b t F i dDiscuss the difference between Friends and the Library Board Brainstorm ideas about the types of activities your Friends group might undertake agreement by consensusg y
  16. 16. Sample agenda: Election of Steering Committee President SecretarySecretary Treasurer Other positions, such as a Volunteer Coordinator or Fundraising Chair, depending on the number of volunteers availableavailable Ex-officio Library Board Trustee Ex-officio Library staff liaison
  17. 17. R h l k ifi iRequest that people ask specific questions, particularly of the library representatives, bearing in mind that it will take time for thebearing in mind that it will take time for the Friends group to undertake larger projects or to provide funding for more expensive requirementsrequirements. Find out if the library needs advocates in the near future or if there are some smaller items the Friends could fund.
  18. 18. Organization Steering Committee Governing Documents Charitable Status Ad tAdvantages Disadvantages
  19. 19. This will be a preliminary planning meeting where a Steering Committee will be formed. Additional volunteers could plan the first tevent. If the pool of volunteers is quite small, that group may choose to be the Steeringgroup may choose to be the Steering Committee and hold off on any other event planning.

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