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Enhancing Your Library in Your Community President, Friends of Canadian Libraries (FOCAL) Is a non-profit volunteer organization supporting Friends groups and libraries across Canada Offers information and resources Provides opportunities for networking and sharing ideas Provides a useful website (www.friendsoflibraries.ca) Produces a newsletter twice a year What Friends groups can do for their libraries: Advocate Increase public awareness of the library and its services Raise funds, over and above the library’s operating budget Fund materials for the library’s collection and for special collections Assist with the library’s fundraising, particularly for a capital campaign Help fund costly library equipment or furniture Sponsor programming Provide support for library programs or special events Establish a good volunteer base Advocate ◦ The library will have an established group of advocates, ready to act at short notice ◦ Friends have a network of supporters ◦ Whenever the library needs support, Friends can be called on When services are threatened When branch closures are imminent When budgets are in danger of being cut When funds are needed for a new facility Increase public awareness of the library and its services ◦ Friends hold events in the library and in other locations throughout the community where they promote what the library offers ◦ They partner with other organizations, raising the profile of the library and of the Friends ◦ Friends garner media attention for their activities that brings the library to the public’s attention ◦ They sponsor library programs with funds; sometimes Friends’ volunteers assist with refreshments Raise funds, over and above the library’s operating budget ◦ Most Friends groups raise money for their library; the amount raised depends on the type of fundraisers they are able to undertake and the number of active volunteers ◦ Many Library Directors come to their Friends with a “wish list” of items they would like the Friends to fund How do Friends raise funds? ◦ Book sales ◦ Book stores ◦ Yard sales ◦ Bake sales ◦ Plant sales ◦ Bingos ◦ Lotteries ◦ Raffles ◦ Special events ◦ Gift shop Assist with the library’s fundraising, particularly for a capital campaign ◦ Friends can capitalize on their contacts within the community to approach businesses and organizations for donations to the library’s capital campaign ◦ Helping the library raise significant funds demonstrates to the community the strong partnership and collaboration between the library and the Friends ◦ Plan special gala events where the Friends provide the “people power” to make it happen Sponsor programming ◦ Books for Babies ◦ Other children’s programs ◦ Teen programs ◦ Book clubs ◦ Author readings ◦ Speakers ◦ Gardening programs ◦ Art shows Provide support for library programs or special events ◦ Prepare and serve refreshments ◦ Assist with special library events, such as Doors Open, 50th or 100th Anniversary events ◦ Provide materials for library draws for summer reading programs, etc. ◦ Adopt-a-book program ◦ Fund Visunet Canada Partners program Fund materials for the library’s collection and for o Special collections o Books o Books on CD o Large print books o Music CDs o Special collections o Digital audio books for people with a print disability o Books on a specific topic o Donate wall hanging or artwork o Donate patron baskets o DVDs o Descriptive DVDs o DVDs with closed captioning o Magazine subscriptions Help fund costly library technology, equipment or furniture ◦ Fund computers ◦ Fund computer work stations ◦ Fund adaptive equipment for people with a print disability ◦ Donate a walker ◦ Pay for furniture for children’s section of the library ◦ Pay for chairs or a chesterfield Establish a good volunteer base ◦ Volunteer for Friends activities ◦ Many Friends volunteers also assist the library in other ways Taking shifts in a café Courier service between branches Outreach services to seniors in their homes or in nursing homes Helping with other library events, displays or outreach activities Establish a good volunteer base ◦ Recruit and retain an established volunteer base which the library can utilize for other activities, events ◦ Build up a network of committed library supporters ◦ Encourage student volunteers who may come back again when they are older Friends and the library can partner with other community organizations for public awareness events ◦ Displays or events with community service organizations, like the CNIB, Canadian Hearing Association ◦ Displays or events with consumer groups ◦ Joint fundraisers Friends and the library can partner with other community organizations for public awareness events Recycling events Horticultural society Genealogy society Art gallery Heritage groups Parades Summer festivals Friends can approach businesses or other community organizations to suggest they become involved in sponsoring a specific activity Friends can approach a business for donations for a silent auction or draw prize – establishes a connection with businesses that support the library, literacy or access to information Friends can be instrumental in bringing new users in to the library Friends are welcoming ◦ Friends are in a unique position to promote the library to the public They can be the first contact for people new to the community They can offer students a unique volunteer experience; students who may not have used the library much in the past Friends love their library. Friends love books. Friends are dedicated, committed volunteers. They want to help the library thrive. Friends enjoy what they do. Friends provide added value to the library. Friends are the library’s best advocates and their most valuable partners. Friends tell others about what their library means to them. They have chosen to give their time and energy to an organization that contributes greatly to the community. Many Friends volunteer for more than one organization. Appreciate and value what your Friends group does for your library and your community. Don’t wait until you need advocates, additional money or support, nurture those people who believe in the library and they will not let you down. "The best time to make friends is before you need them." -- Ethel Barrymore If your library doesn’t have a Friends group, think about staritng one. You will reap the benefits for many years.
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