Academic Libraries Friends Groups — 10 REASONS WHY

friends logoWhat 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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).
  10. 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

Guide for Library Advocates

Love your library?  Not sure where to start when being a great library advocate?  The guide at the link below is a very valuable resource for library advocates. This free guide is a “step-by-step guide to developing an advocacy campaign. As you go through the Power Guide, come back to this page to see examples of talking points, flyers, petitions, and more.”

© United for Libraries: The Association of Library Trustees, A advocates, Friends and Foundations. This guide is made available free through a generous grant from the Neal-Schuman Foundation. This guide may be reproduced in part or in its entirety with credit to United for Libraries so long as it is distributed freely.
United for Libraries Web site:

Our president, Kathy Ash, received the first Georgia’s 2015 Public Library Champion of the Year Award!

IMAG1220_1Presented to an outstanding advocate who was not employed in any capacity by a public library but whose support significantly raised the profile of libraries and improved services during the year.

“To be chosen to receive this award is an immense honor — and hugely humbling, considering that Georgia’s public libraries are championed by so many dedicated library supporters,” Ash said.

Free Money!!!

money_clipartEvery year, FOGL offers the following awards, designed to support your friends groups activities, and to help fund your author appearances:

  • FOGL AUTHOR APPEARANCE GRANT. This $500 grant is in support of author appearances/events sponsored by local friends groups that are current FOGL members. Proposals must be received by February 28, 2016.
  • FOGL’s 2016 “BEST FRIEND” AWARD. We seek to recognize those who strengthen Georgia’s libraries through their advocacy efforts. To this end, the “Best Friend” award is presented to an exemplary library advocate at our annual membership meeting. Deadline for nominations is December 31, 2015.
  • FOGL’s 2016 “FABULOUS FRIENDS” AWARD. Similar in nature to the above, these outstanding nominees will have made a significant contribution to statewide advocacy efforts on behalf of Georgia’s libraries, or will have substantially contributed to the development of their local library or libraries. Deadline for nominations is also December 31, 2015.

Take a moment to review these opportunities and their applications on this web page.

Our mission is to support and develop your friends groups, and to build a grassroots network of local advocates who believe in the importance and power of our public libraries. Thank you for your time and consideration.