What ultimately justifies the creation of an academic Friends group? Why are Friends important?
Here are my 10 reasons why an academic library might want a Friends group.
- Friends promote collaboration and cooperation. Friends’ activities and programs offer opportunities for collaborative planning with faculty, staff, and your surrounding community and local community organizations.
- Friends provide opportunities for networking. Act local, think global. Friends can expand networking opportunities through participation with other local Friends groups and also state and national groups. For example, United for Libraries, the Friends (trustees, advocates and foundations) division of the American Library Association, has excellent opportunities for getting involved in national library activities.
- Friends can assist with marketing and promoting your library. Since the Friends work to support your library’s services, they can adopt the library’s service-oriented message as part of its message.
- Friends can offer opportunities for fundraising. Friends have volunteers with talents and skills that can raise funds for those extra “dollops of library services” that your operating budget might not accommodate.
- Friends can lift you up when you are down. Friends can be what the name implies: a Friend! Friends can share your concerns, help you when times are tough, provide a shoulder to cry on, and ease the burden.
- Friends can help you celebrate. When was the last time you had a “Love Your Library” celebration in your library? Friends can assist with planning receptions, recognition events, and other celebrations. People love a reason to celebrate.
- Friends can speak (sometimes loudly) in support of your library. Sometimes Friends speak quietly, by bringing in notable authors and writers at a Speakers Series which keeps the library as a recognized participant in the academic community.
- Friends can maximize professional development and involvement. Friends can help support library staff attendance at conferences and workshops and give recognition to outstanding achievement through the placement of honor books in the library.
- Friends can provide a sense of pride and accomplishment. If you want your library to be a center of activity and a showcase of exemplary learning, the Friends can sometimes assist with special programs (e.g., Gaming Night at the Library).
- The Friends’ mission is strongly aligned with the academic library’s mission. The Friends volunteer their time in support of the library service mission and in support of the university’s values and vision.
A tool kit is available for more information from United for Libraries Academic Library friends