FLS: Friends of Libraries Section

Our Mission

FLS creates a network to connect and inspire Friends groups
in all types of libraries to support the New York library community.

FLS Commitment to Diversity

The Friends of Libraries Section (FLS) of the New York Library Association embraces and promotes diversity and inclusion in all their forms.
Download the FLS Commitment to Diversity.

Membership in FLS

Benefits of Membership in FLS

Please consider selecting FLS as your primary section when you join NYLA or renew your NYLA membership.  
It's the Friendly thing to do.  
here for the "NYLA - Friends Group Volunteer Leader Registration Form" to be submitted as part of a Friends Group Organizational Membership.

















FLS Introductory Video

FLS video

Watch our new video! Click the thumbnail above. (This will take you to a YouTube page in a new tab.)

FLS Current News and Events

Read the latest FLS Newsletter

December 2021 (Volume 8 #1)
Click here for a PDF of Christopher Lund at the Conference, the 2021 FLS Randall Enos Conference Scholarship recipient.

Welcome #NYLA2021 Attendees!
We're glad that you've stopped by to see what FLS, the Friends of Libraries Section, has to offer.

Libraries: We’re All In
NYLA 2021 Conference & Trade Show
Virtual In-Person program resources are available on our Events page.

Click here for a PDF of FLS 2021 NYLA Conference offerings.

Many NYLA members use the conference as an opportunity to add Sections or Round Tables to their existing NYLA memberships.
Click here for step-by-step instructions on adding FLS to your NYLA membership! Thanks in advance for your support!

FLS 2021 Annual Membership Meeting

Thanks to everyone who attended and participated in the FLS Annual Membership Meeting on Thursday, November 18, 2021. The meeting included recognition of the 2021 recipients of the FLS Randall Enos Conference Scholarship and the FLS Daniel W. Casey Library Advocacy Award and the installation of the 2021-22 Executive Board, including our auxiliary volunteers.

Following the business portion, Karen Ash, President of the Friends of the Angelica Free Library, shared Friends on Facebook: Five Ways Social Media Can Help You Meet your Goals. It was a very informative talk. Thank you Karen for sharing your expertise and highlighting the success of your group in their efforts to support the library.

Read the FLS 2021 Annual Report to the Membership.

The meeting and presentation video will be available soon.










Outgoing FLS President Karen Sperrazza (left) passes the gavel to Incoming FLS President Kerstin Cruger (right)

FLS Webinar - Before Friends Become Frienemies

Resources from this program are available now and the webinar will be posted soon. Original presentation date, September 30, 2021

You might be asking, “What’s a Frienemy?”  If you missed it in English class way back when, it’s an oxymoron, combining the words “friend” with “enemy.”  You generally would be friendly toward a “frienemy,” but deep down, you have a fundamental dislike of that person, or you might be in competition with that individual.  Sorry to say, some library directors and Boards of Trustees see the Friends of the Library more as adversaries, rather than supporters.  Why is this and what can be done to keep relationships friendly, accommodating, and cooperative?

View this 90-minute webinar that examines the basics of conflict behavior and conflict resolution. See how to develop a standardized document to guide financial contributions from the Friends and the basics of an operating agreement (also called a Memorandum of Understanding or MOU). The presenters include Lisa C. Wemett, Immediate Past President of FLS/NYLA, and Melissa Tacke, MLS, the Director of the Castleton Public Library in the Upper Hudson Library System (UHLS).

Nominated by her library’s Board of Trustees, Melissa was the recipient of the 2020 Mary Bobinski Innovative Public Library Director Award from NYLA.  A leader in her public library system, she has chaired the UHLS’s Directors’ Association for the past four years. As a member of the inaugural cohort for NYLA’s 2019-2020 Developing Leaders Program, Melissa and her team members created their leadership project entitled “Conflict for the Conflict-Averse.”

The webinar concentrates on practical strategies to facilitate positive and productive discussions, working together to avoid potential conflict between the library administration, library trustees, and community volunteers. Understanding styles of conflict and approaches to conflict resolution can help maintain good relationships. Careful planning, development of a well-crafted Memorandum of Understanding, and drafting thoughtful guidelines for dispersing funds raised by the Friends can help to avoid disputes before they start. Improving your communication skills will help build collaboration and consensus for all parties in a constructive partnership for mutually-beneficial outcomes for the library.      

Did you celebrate National Friends of Libraries Week?

Click here for celebration information from United for Libraries, a Division of the American Library Association.


Best Practices for a Friends Operated Book Store  - PDF of the PowerPoint and reference materials online

2020 NYLA Annual Conference Program from November, 2020 -- Sponsored by the Friends of Libraries Section and co-sponsored by the Library Trustees Association Section.
Jeff Budge, Manager of The Book Bag Shop (operated by the Friends of SSPL) at the Saratoga Springs Public Library has provided resources from his presentation. Visit the FLS Events page and click the link at the top of the page, FLS Programs at the NYLA Annual Conference, to access these materials.

FLS Focus on Friends Webinar Series

The Friends of Libraries Section sponsored a three-part webinar series, Focus on Friends, to supplement its offerings included in the 2020 NYLA Annual Conference. Each one-hour professional development session covers a topic of interest to all library civic leaders (library trustees, officers of Friends groups and library foundations, and volunteer advocates) as well as library administrators and staff members. Guest speakers presented on a specific topic followed by a question and answer session.

The series includes:

Engaging Millennials as Friends Volunteers - watch the archived presentation.
Presented on September 23, 2020

Effective, Efficient Boards and Board Meetings - watch the archived presentation.
Presented on January 12, 2021

Friendly Partnerships Strengthen Communities - watch the archived presentation.
Presented on March 11, 2021

FLS Webinar: Charitable Planned Giving As A Fund-raising Tool

View this webinar in the archive: original presentation date, Tuesday, June 9, 2020 from 2 – 3 p.m. EST
Presented by Maria T. Bucci, Development Specialist for Wood Library, an association library in Canandaigua, NY

Please click here to view the webinar and find all the resources referenced by Maria Bucci
Find a complete listing of all the FLS sponsored webinars on our Events page.

FLS Virtual Membership Meeting - November 17, 2020
(meeting video link now avaialble)

This year's FLS Annual Meeting for the Membership was like no other that we have had before. COVID-19 changed so many things this year - including the NYLA Annual Conference being offered as a virtual event and hence the FLS Annual Membership Meeting happening in the same way. But the positive side of this development was the time to really explore all that FLS has accomplished in the past year, as well as having representatives from the TWO Friends of the Library Groups that received the 2020 FLS Daniel W. Casey Library Advocacy Award in attendance. The new FLS long-range plan Frontiers for Friends 2021-2023 was unveiled, along with some background information, and a review of the FLS Membership Survey conducted earlier this year.
Lisa Wemett gaveled the meeting to order, completing her second consecutive term as FLS President. During the meeting she "passed the gavel" virtually to incoming President Karen Sperrazza who concluded the meeting and gaveled us out.
The meeting, which used the GoToMeeting platform, was recorded and is available for viewing.
Watch the meeting.
Read the minutes.
You can read more about the recipients of the FLS Casey Award, The Friends of the Clifton-Park Halfmoon Public Library and the Friends of the Olean Public Library, in the August September issue of the Friends News and Notes newsletter.
2019-2020 FLS Annual Report
FLS Long-Range Plan: Frontiers for Friends 2021-2023 and the Executive Summary




FLS Awards and Scholarships:

2020 FLS Daniel W. Casey Library Advocacy Award

On behalf of the Friends of Libraries Section, the FLS Casey Award Committee is pleased to announce two award recipients: Friends of the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library and  the Friends of the Olean Public Library and a Certificate of Merit for Mary Louise Morgan from the Elizabethtown Library Association.

2020 FLS Dewey Fellow

The FLS Executive Board is pleased to announce that the 2020 FLS Dewey Fellow is Kerstin Cruger of the Mid-Hudson Library System. Kerstin will attend the 2020 NYLA Virtual  Conference on this scholarship.

Kerstin is also the incoming FLS First Vice President / President Elect. She will be installed in this position at the FLS Annual Membership Meeting.

Looking Back at FLS

FLS 2019 Annual Membership Meeting

FLS held its Annual Membership Meeting and Friendly Café Meet-Up on Friday, November 15 during the 2019 NYLA Annual Conference. After welcoming remarks from Rebecca Fuss to 25 enthusiastic Friends, President Lisa Wemett led the Membership Meeting with highlights from our annual report, “FLS Year in Review.” Our Section had an excellent year! Membership and fund balances are strong, leadership is secure, and FLS is offering more programs, workshops, webinars and communications to members than ever before. We were privileged to have both of our FLS Randall Enos Conference Scholarship recipients, and Randall Enos himself, at the meeting. We were also honored o have this year’s FLS Daniel W. Casey Library Advocacy Award recipient with us. The September newsletter highlighted the achievements of Marianne, Meg, and Helen, and it was a joy to meet three of our greatest library champions in person and recognize them publicly for their significant achievements with their local Friends groups. 

President Lisa C. Wemett passed the gavel to ... herself, as she will serve a second consecutive year as Section President for FLS!

2019 FLS Annual Report to the Membership

Read the Annual Report from the FLS Annual Membership Meeting held on November 15, 2019 in Saratoga Springs, NY

Congratulations are in order:

2019 FLS Randall Enos Conference Scholarship Recipients

Meg Sgombick (Friends of the Florida Public Library) attended her first NYLA Annual Conference and Marianne Michaud (Friends of the Fairport Public Library) returned to the Conference, each as recipients in the first year of the FLS Randall Enos Conference Scholarship. Meg and Marianne shared reflections on their conference experiences in the December issue of FLS Friends News and Notes
This Scholarship opportunity will be available again in 2021. For 2020, FLS members who qualify may apply for the FLS Dewey Fellowship. Details will be in the March newsletter and online at www.NYLA.org/Friends > Awards & Scholarships.

L-r: Meg Sgombick, FLS President Emeritus Randall Enos, Marianne Michaud, and FLS Scholarship Coordinator Anne Andrianos

2019 FLS Daniel W. Casey Library Advocacy Award

The FLS Executive Board was honored to be able to actually present the 2019 FLS Daniel W. Casey Library Advocacy Award during the FLS Annual Membership Meeting. Leslie Riley, an FLS Member At Large and a reader for the Casey Award, presented a beautiful plaque to Helen Rados, current President of the Friends of the Ethelbert B. Crawford Public Library in Monticello. Oftentimes, the award is presented locally and then an announcement of the award is made at the meeting. It was exciting to have Helen's nominators and other staff, trustees, and Friends from her library and the Ramapo Catskill Library System there to take part in the festivities. This year instead of a "traditional" wooden plaque with an engraved metal plate, Helen was given a more "sustainable" version made from reclaimed wood that can be displayed on a shelf or desk.

L-r: Casey Award readers Joyce Laiosa and Leslie Riley, Helen Rados, and EBCPL staff members Cheryl Shelton Jones and Mary Paige Lang-Clouse

NYLA Above and Beyond Award

Our own Jean Sheviak, FLS Representative to the NYLA Legislative Committee, was honored with the NYLA Above and Beyond Award at the Inaugural Banquet during the NYLA Annual Conference. The award “recognizes extraordinary support and commitment to New York State’s libraries by an individual who has made significant contributions to NYLA and the library profession for ten years or more.” Liz Reynor, President of the Friends of the East Greenbush Community Library, shared highlights from the nomination, including Jean's work with FLS. Read Jean’s acceptance remarks in the December issue of FLS Friends News and Notes

L-r: NYLA Immediate Past President Tim Burke, Jean Sheviak, and Liz Reynor


Newly elected members of the FLS Executive Board

Click here to see the newly elected members of the FLS Executive Board and read their candidate profiles. The elections results were certified at the August 2nd FLS Executive Board meeting.

Members of the FLS Executive Board at the Friday morning board meeting during the NYLA Annual Conference in Saratoga Springs – 
standing, l-r, Leslie Riley, Jean Sheviak, Randy Enos, Anne Andrianos, Kerstin Cruger, Stephen Hoefer, Rusty Wigg, Lynne Madden
seated, l-r, Rebecca Fuss (retiring Past President) , Marie Orlando, Lisa Wemett, Terry Mulee
not pictured, Karen Sperrazza, Pat Loughan, Terry Morris, Amy Discenza, Travis Olivera, Chris Beck, Marie Bindeman



Presidents at the FLS Executive Board Meeting

FLS was pleased to have Dr. Jen Cannell , incoming NYLA President, visit our Executive Board Meeting. Not wanting to miss a photo-op, we lined up the Presidents in the room.

L-r: FLS Immediate Past President Rebecca Fuss, FLS President Emeritus Randall Enos, FLS President Lisa C. Wemett (serving a second consecutive term in that position) and NYLA Incoming President Dr. Jen Cannell





FLS Sponsored Webinar

Connecting With Today's Volunteers to Transform the Friends of the Library: Expectations, Engagement, and Impact

Carla Lehn, presenter

View the webinar and accompanying resource materials here. (Presentation date: September 25, 2019)
Scroll down the page to read the description and learning objectives, view the webinar, see the presenter's bio, and access handouts.

Information on other FLS sponsored webinars may be found on the FLS Events page.

FLS Sponsored Workshops

Getting Started: Creating and Supporting a Friends Group for Your Library

Due to the coronavirus outbreak this workshop has been postponed. It will be rescheduled at a later date.

Getting Started: Creating and Supporting a Friends Group for Your Library, originally scheduled for March 25, 2020, new date TBD
cosponsored by the Finger Lakes Library System

Keep It Growing! Strengthening Your Friends of the Library Group

No regional workshops are scheduled at this time.

FLS Sponsored Programs at the 2019 NYLA Annual Conference

November 13 - 16, 2019, Saratoge Springs, NY

FLS offered a full line-up of programs on topics relevant to Friends of the Library Groups:
Achieving Success for the Friends Through Strategic Planning
Fund-Raising Without Book Sales
Sustainable Thinking for Friends
FLS Annual Meeting and Friendly Café Meet-Up
Tips for Engaging Friends as Partners
Click here for the three pages of the FLS June issue of Friends News and Notes with details on these offerings.

Visit the FLS Events page for links to the PowerPoint presentations and handouts from the programs, or here for the entire NYLA Annual Conference Program Archive.

Click here for the 2019 NYLA Annual Conference page which includes a link to register or visit the FLS Events page for more information.

Would you like to be more involved with FLS? Click here for our Active Member Form.  

The FLS Presidents

Left to right: Randy Enos, President Emeritus; Lisa Wemtt, President #1, #5, and #6; Sarah Sachs, President #2; Janet Kreason, President #3; and Rebecca Fuss, President #4


Making a Difference, One Workshop at a Time

Since 2015, FLS has teamed up with library systems and Friends of the Library groups all around New York State to present two different workshops specifically for Friends.

“Getting Started: Creating and Supporting a Friends Group for Your Library” has been presented in Plattsburgh, Newburgh, Corning, Cazenovia, Albany, and Watertown.  “Keep It Growing! Strengthening Your Friends of the Library Group” has been well received in Poughkeepsie, Orchard Park, Watertown, and the Rochester area.

Check out the FLS Events page for additional information on upcoming workshops and to learn how to host these two-hour workshops in your area.

To contact Friends of Libraries Section please send an email to FLS.NYLA@yahoo.com.

Section History

Click here for FLS History