Photo: Volunteers and staff representing libraries from the Clinton-Essex-Franklin and Finger Lakes Library Systems gathered at the Plattsburgh Public Library to learn about starting a Friends of the Library group.

Friends of Libraries Workshops
NYLA’s Friends of Libraries Section (FLS) held their workshop, “Getting Started: Creating and Sustaining a Friends Group for Your Library,” on April 23, sponsored by the Friends of the Plattsburgh Public Library.

Sixteen representatives from seven public libraries in two public library systems gathered to learn the key steps to develop a new Friends group: recruiting helpers for a steering committee, determining the Friends’ mission, expanding membership, and growing the leadership to sustain an active organization.  The hosts, Friends President Pat Loughan and Treasurer Kim Bailey, brought the workshop to Plattsburgh with an eye toward revitalizing their group and involving more sustaining members as active participants in the organization.  Others in attendance were looking for ideas for their fledgling groups or wanted assistance in starting a group for their community.  Nearly 90% of the participants rated the workshop “outstanding.”  One president of a well-established Friends group commented “Thank you sincerely for the wealth of knowledge and ideas!”

In May, the Ramapo Catskill and Mid-Hudson Library Systems joined together to offer both FLS workshops on successive evenings for their members.  The “Getting Started” workshop on May 25 will be followed by “Keep It Growing!  Strengthening Your Friends of the Library Group” on May 26.  This second workshop focuses on membership recruitment, volunteer engagement, and networking in the community to maintain the crucial advocacy work by Friends organizations.  If you are interested to offer either of these workshops in your region, contact Lisa Wemett at  FLS is happy to help Friends continue their valuable volunteer work on behalf of your library.