Getting Friends To Advocate AND Sell Books

 

Libby Post is President/CEO of Communication Services and serves on the American Library Association’s Library Advocacy ­Committee.

Even after they’ve heard all the talk about the importance of library advocacy and the role a library’s Friends group can play, there are still many Friends who just want to sell books.

This is not to say that book sales aren’t important. They raise funds so Friends can help underwrite important library programs and services. Actually, book sales are the first rung of library advocacy. They are staged with the subtle message that supporting the Friends means supporting the library, and supporting the library is a good thing.

However, in this day and age, with libraries forced to defend their funding either to the voters every election cycle or local municipal leaders every budget season, it is essential for Friends groups to climb the ladder of library advocacy and see themselves as citizens who stand up for their libraries. For some, this will be a natural transition; for others, it is a total redefinition of what it means to be a Friend.

For those who need to redefine, the first step for trustees or other library leaders who want to help is to bring their Friends group into budget advocacy discussions and talk about why speaking out is so critical. Trustees and leadership should provide their Friends with key points they can use in a variety of settings: “The library is an important community asset.” “Our library’s return on investment is greater than any other public service.” “Did you know that library funding amounts to just 1.5 percent of all the taxes we pay?”

Once the facts become second nature, standing up and speaking out for the library will be easier. Together with the library’s Board of Trustees and director, the Friends will develop concise, values-based, emotional messaging that can become the basis of an advocacy campaign, and will—with apologies to LBJ—grab citizens’ hearts, so their commitment and subsequent votes will follow.

QUIET ADVOCATES

Perhaps it’s not voters Friends need to convince but local municipal leaders who make funding decisions. After our organization, Communication Services, worked with the Friends of the Irondequoit Public Library (IPL) outside of Rochester, NY, the library’s Friends became advocates extraordinaire—in a quiet way. They got bright yellow T-shirts made that simply said, “I’m a Friend of the Irondequoit Public Library.”  Then they sat together, up front, at every town board meeting. Sometimes they addressed the board, other times they just sat. They were there as a block of yellow graphically screaming support for IPL. The town board knew the Friends and the library were concerned and watching.

The library’s funding was stabilized and eventually, after a number of attempts, IPL’s two old branches were replaced with a new building on the town’s municipal campus. What started with a quiet Friends presence eventually gave town leaders the impetus they needed to protect the library’s funding and build a new state-of-the-art library, now a proud symbol of the community.

FRIENDS SAVE THE DAY

Let’s go back to the hearts of voters. Imagine a group of 70- and 80-year-old Jewish women—many of whom either worked at the library or in Mt. Vernon’s school district—coalescing with a number of professional women of color as well as dedicated library staffers who worked on the effort during their off hours. This was the Friends of the Mt. Vernon Public Library, NY.

In 2014, they came together to save the library, literally. Mt. Vernon is a city divided by railroad tracks. The people who live north of the tracks are middle-class homeowners. South of the tracks are renters and working poor. Mt. Vernon is populated with 100 different cultural groups and has a 14 percent poverty rate. The library is on the south side of the tracks.

In short, the library was going to lose its funding unless the public approved a $4.35 million budget—the first time the voters were asked for funding. Needless to say, these dynamic Friends took their responsibility as advocates quite seriously. They spearheaded one of the most successful campaigns I’ve ever seen. The Friends, who just used to organize book sales, worked with the library board to become a powerhouse that built support for the library, phone-banked for voter identification, did public presentations, and shepherded a successful effort to save a beautiful Carnegie facility in a community that needed its library.

Friends becoming advocates is about library boards giving them the information and support they need to change how they think of themselves. Friends can still sell books—but if they believe that every book sold is an opportunity to advocate about the importance of the library, they’ll be speaking in front of municipal leaders and running successful campaigns in no time. After all, if the Friends don’t stand up for the library, who will?

Libby Post is President/CEO of Communication Services and serves on the American Library Association’s Library Advocacy ­Committee.

Third Annual “Library Programs Symposium” (Sept 30)

Do you find yourself coming up short on good programming ideas?

Looking for creative program opportunities for your library, school or social group?

Want to meet some presenters and performers who can fill your programming void?

Answers to these question can be found at the . . .

 Third Annual Library ProgramsSymposium

September 30, 2016 / 12:30 - 2:30 pm / University at Albany, Campus Center Assembly Hall 

We are bringing new and innovative types of programming information to libraries, schools and other institutions across the Capital District region and beyond. This event features exhibits of programs from educational, entertainment, social, and cultural programming specialists. These informative displays will highlight presentations and demonstrations that will focus on education, entertainment, and cultural awareness, creating new programming opportunities to bring back to your institution. And it’s FREE.

This year’s Programs2 Symposium includes over 40 presenters who offer a variety of programs, workshops, classes and demonstrations. We will also have fabulous door prizes and light refreshments.

Please go to our website for additional information: http://libraryprogramssquared.wordpress.com/

Who is this “We”, anyway?

We are the University at Albany IST666 class for summer 2016. We are all graduate students in the Information Science program at the University at Albany and will one day be planning our own educational programming at institutions similar to yours.

An RSVP would be nice (not necessary) either to cgermain@albany.edu (our instructor) or via the RSVP link athttp://libraryprogramssquared.wordpress.com/

See you on September 30th!

Generous Sponsorship from : University Auxiliary Services, UA Graduate Student Association, and the CEAS Department of Information Studies

Queens Library Launches Google CS First Computer Clubs for Kids

JAMAICA, NY, June 14, 2016 — Queens Library's Children's Library Discovery Center came alive with the sounds of clicking keyboards, as children in grades 4-8 enthusiastically dove into a demonstration activity that kicked off Google CS First Computer Clubs at Queens Library. Mayor David Dinkins; William Floyd, Google's Head of External Affairs, NY & NJ; and Queens Library's President and CEO Dennis Walcott were on hand to launch it. Queens Library is the first NYC metro-area library to host the program. During the summer, Google CS First will be held at 26 Queens Library locations. Additional sites will be announced for the fall.

Google CS First is intended to empower all students to create with technology through free computer science clubs. The goals are to increase confidence when using computers, to instill courage to try new things, to grow perseverance when tackling difficult problems and to demonstrate the positive impact that computer science has on careers and communities. The Google CS First curriculum follows seven age-appropriate topics, including art, music and sound and game design.

Queens Library is enhancing the program with teen apprentices. Through ExpandED, twenty high school students will be recruited to become apprentices. They will receive high school credit. After receiving training in teaching coding and computer science to children, they will assist children in the Google CS First program over the summer, and after school in the fall.

“Computer Science skills are critical to for the success of our youth and our country. By 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts there will be 1 million more computer science jobs than graduating students who qualify to fill them,” said William Floyd, Google’s Head of Public Affairs for New York.”Google is proud to work with the Queens Library to educate and empower this next generation through CS education.”

Offering children computer science activities in a relaxed, informal setting will stimulate their natural curiosity and help develop skills that will be useful to them throughout their academic and professional lives. The public library is the perfect place for exploring. Queens Library appreciates Google’s continued partnership in bringing digital literacy to library users, young and old," said Dennis M. Walcott, President and CEO, Queens Library.

To find out more about Queens Library’s Google CS First program, go to http://queenslib.org/CSforKids.


[NYLINE] Queens Library Launches Google CS First Computer Clubs for Kids

New York’s Libraries Information Network <NYLINE@LISTSERV.NYSED.GOV>; on behalf of; King, Joanne

Joanne.King@QUEENSLIBRARY.ORG

DAVID DINKINS, WILLIAM FLOYD, DENNIS WALCOTT CHEER NYC’S FIRST LIBRARY-BASED SITES

Adding Classes and Content, Resurgent Libraries Turn a Whisper Into a Roar

By WINNIE HU JULY 4, 2016

“Far from becoming irrelevant in the digital age, libraries in New York City and around the nation are thriving: adding weekend and evening hours; hiring more librarians and staff; and expanding their catalog of classes and services to include things like job counseling, coding classes and knitting groups.”

Also in the article: “Nationally, public libraries are redefining their mission at a time when access to technology, and the ability to use it, is said to deepen class stratification, leaving many poor and disadvantaged communities behind. Sari Feldman, president of the American Library Association, said library workers had shown people how to file online for welfare benefits and taught classes in science, technology, engineering and math to children who could not afford to go to summer camps.

‘All libraries are having a renaissance,’ Ms. Feldman said. ‘ We’re seeing that libraries have really stepped up to take on roles that are needed in a community.’

New York City’s 217 public libraries have rebounded in the past two years amid an infusion of city dollars, after years of budget and service cuts. An outpouring of support from library lovers has served as a reminder that the institutions are a crucial part of many lives.”

The article ends: “In New York City, there is somebody using library materials every second, every day of the year,” Mr. Zabriskie said. 'It’s showing that libraries are the fabric of society.”

Excerpts only, read the full article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/05/nyregion/resurgent-new- york-city- libraries.html

“A version of this article appears in print on July 5, 2016, on page A19 of the New York edition with the headline: Resurgent City Libraries Turn a Whisper Into a Roar”


New York’s Libraries Information Network <NYLINE@LISTSERV.NYSED.GOV>; on behalf of; Lorna Peterson lorna.peterson2401@GMAIL.COM

[NYLINE] Resurgent NYC public libraries
Great piece in the New York Times about New York City public libraries: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/05/nyregion/resurgent-new- york-city- libraries.html

Palisades Free Library Celebrates 125 Years

On Saturday, May 14 the Palisades community gathered to celebrate Palisades Free Library’s 125 years of service; an event made possible by the combined efforts of Library staff and trustees and more than 25 adult and teen volunteers. Opening remarks by Ramapo-Catskill Library System Executive Director Robert Hubsher and a certificate of recognition presentation by Assemblymember Ellen Jaffee and Former Orangetown Supervisor Thom Kleiner kicked off the action-packed afternoon.

Outside the Library, attendees enjoyed live performances by local musicians, short speeches by Library Director Maria Gagliardi and President of the Board of Trustees Helena Power, and reminisces by community members. While some browsed the plant and used book sales, others got a bite to eat from local food vendors and the homemade baked goods table. Families gathered at the face painting and craft areas, while big bubbles from performer Bubble Dad flew overhead.

Inside the Library, visitors joined in on tours of the Library and the historic exhibition led by guides in period costumes, stopped by the YA area for a coding demonstration by members of the Library’s Computer Science Club, and made their way to the Children’s Room for coloring pages featuring local historic buildings. The sealing of the Anniversary Celebration time capsule, which contained written memories of the Library and community from the celebration’s Time Line Lane, closed out the fun-filled festivities.

Merrick Library Celebrates 10th Birthday in New Building

On Sunday, April 10th, Merrick Library celebrated the tenth birthday of our new building. The Board of Trustees was most influential in getting the initial bond passed and providing the Merrick community with a state of the art library. While flyers were posted letting the community know that it would not be a quiet day, activities were well attended all through the day, with close to 1,000 people. We opened the celebration with a performance by the Calhoun High School Show Choir, and then the Merrick Avenue Middle School Word of Mouth. Short speeches by local politicians, the President of the Board of Trustees and the Library Director followed.

Every table in the Reference area was packed with various activities, from using the Library’s Cricut cutting machine, to 3Doodlers (3d pens), to a coloring table and more. The Walter Mintz Digital Media Center was active with patrons printing 3D projects. While the activities were in one area of the library, Elephant and Piggie from the Mo Willems books made their appearances. In addition, a dance party for families was going on in the Multipurpose Room.

The decorations and centerpieces reflected the creativity of the staff, saving money and creating a warm atmosphere. Teen volunteers assisted in staffing the various tables throughout the Library.

Although the celebration was for the building, the incredible staff effort is what made the day a success.

 

Geneva Public Library Encourage Getting Loud at the Library with Musical Programs

Geneva, NY December 15, 2015

GPL-Tuesday on the Terrace Photo

In 2015, the Geneva Public Library balked at the tradition of a quiet library, opting instead to encourage the atmosphere to get loud for two different musical series: Tuesdays on the Terrace and Musical Moments. Tuesdays on the Terrace, a 16 week collaboration between the library and the Finger Lakes Independent Music Association offered live music on the Library’s recently renovated terrace. In addition to the live music, the series’ sponsor, the Foundation for Geneva Public Library, provided refreshments and family friendly activities related to the music being performed.

“The Library was really invigorated by Tuesdays on the Terrace,” said Library Director, Chris Finger. “Neighbors, many of whom had never even been to the library before, could hear the music from down the street and came running to check it out.” The series averaged more than 40 people per concert. The events yielded a wide range of outcomes, including the opportunity to support local music, engage a wide variety of patrons, and highlight the Library’s terrace. The last benefit was particularly notable since the terrace had long been looked at by staff as an untapped goldmine for possible programs. Also, because the terrace renovation was supported through special aid funding from Senator Michael Nozzolio, the musical series helped to showcase both the Library’s legislative support and its efficient use of funding.

Tuesdays on the Terrace was a great companion for our long running and incredibly popular Musical Moments series. The series, supported by the Friends of the Geneva Public Library, offers six concerts per year, covering a wide array of musical styles, on Friday evenings after the library has closed for regular operations. Performances routinely draw 75 attendees with those numbers occasionally peaking at more than 100 guests. The series, which has grown immensely from its humble beginnings, is a testament to the power of the grassroots effort from staff, volunteers, and community partners.

“The goal for every program we run is for it to blossom the way Musical Moments has,” said Library Director, Chris Finger. According to Mr. Finger, new programming series like the Wegmans’ Cooking Classes and 1000 Book Before Kindergarten have thrived in part because the library has a model to turn to for how to market and grow programs.  “A good idea is the certainly the first key,” added Adult Services Librarian, Kelsy Hibbard-Baker, “But programs only grow and last with consistent schedules, constant changes based on attendee feedback, and delicious snacks.”

The Library’s staff expect the atmosphere to get even louder in 2016. The Library plans to increase the amount of musical performances for Tuesdays on the Terrace in 2016 and is working on the application for a New York State Council on the Arts grant for Musical Moments.

For more information on all Geneva Public Library events, visit www.genevapubliclibrary.net.