Friends of Libraries (FLS) Section - August Update

Submitted by Terry Mulee, FLS 2nd VP & Communications Chair


FLS creates a network to connect and inspire Friends groups in all types of libraries to support the New York library community.
Revised Mission of FLS, passed by the Executive Board on May 20, 2020


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.

FLS Commitment to Diversity

Adopted by the FLS Board on March 25, 2021


FLS 2021 Election Results

First off, thanks to all of the FLS members who took part in the NYLA and FLS elections this year. And from Jeremy Johannesen, NYLA Executive Director, “...kudos to FLS for the highest voter participation of eligible ballots cast.” The FLS Board thanks these candidates for their willingness to serve the Section by sharing their time, talent, and expertise. They will be installed at the FLS Annual Membership Meeting which will be held on Zoom, November 18th at 2:00 p.m. (See the FLS Update in the October issue of The NYLA Voice for meeting registration information.)

The incoming FLS Executive Board Members are:
First Vice President/President-Elect: Christina Ryan-Linder - Mohegan Lake
Secretary: Lynne Madden* - Forestport
Members At Large
Marie Bindeman* - Lockport
Amy Discenza - Rochester
Erica Freudenberger* - Catskill
Christopher Lund - Cortland
(* denotes incumbent, location is residence)


FLS Connections: Membership Recruitment, Engagement, and Retention

On Monday, September 13, we will gather from 4 to 5:15 p.m. for FLS Connections: Membership Recruitment, Engagement, and Retention.  We look forward to hearing from the Cambria Heights Library Friends, a chapter of the Friends of the Queens Public Library, where some family gardening programs have helped raise awareness and grow the Friends. Registration for this session will open on August 16.  Please send an email to FLS Second Vice President Terry Mulee to indicate your interest to attend at   Put September Connections in the subject line.  In the message, please give your first and last name and the Friends group or library you are representing.


Upcoming FLS Webinar - Before Friends Become Frienemies

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?

Join us on Thursday, September 30, starting at 2 o’clock for a 90-minute webinar that will examine the basics of conflict behavior and conflict resolution.  We’ll look at 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 will concentrate 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.      

There is no cost to attend the webinar for current FLS members and for officers or volunteers of Friends Group organizational members who are registered with NYLA’s Finance and Administration Manager.  The membership must be active on July 30 and the expiration date must be after September 30.  When registering, members need their assigned username and password to qualify for an “FLS Member Reg Pass” that will waive the registration fee for an FLS-sponsored webinar.

See the NYLA webpage to register and other details on costs for non-members to attend.  Registration requires a credit card for payment.  Checks and purchase orders are not accepted.  In the spirit of cooperation, we encourage you to invite your Trustee Liaison to the Friends to participate with you in this professional development opportunity.

A registration link will be available on the FLS homepage after Monday, August 16.


FLS offerings for the NYLA 2021 Conference, Libraries: We're ALL In!

Virtual Conference, October 28 & 29, 2021
Friday, October 29 | 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. (live broadcast)
ABCs of Best Practices for Friends Groups - Presented by Lisa C. Wemett

Fundraising Without Book Sales (On-Demand Program) - Panelists: Emily Cullings, Friends of the Hampton Bays Library, Mary Giardini, Friends of the Olean Public Library, and Helen Rados, Friends of the Ethelbert B. Crawford Public Library

NYLA Conference, November 3 - Saturday, November 6, 2021 (In-Person)
Wednesday, November 3 | Half Day CE Session
Financial FAQs for Nonprofits - Presented by John C. Parcell IV, CPA and Certified Fraud Examiner, and Nathan B. Wray, EA
See the article below for more information on this Continuing Education opportunity.

Friday, November 5 | 2:15 - 3:30 p.m.
Friendly Relationships, Working Together for the Library - Panelists: Library Director Travis Olivera and Trustee David Hopper from the Hamilton Public Library and Diane Finch, Friends of the Hamilton Public Library

Additional NYLA Conference information will be available in the next issue of the FLS newsletter, available in mid-August. FLS Publications

FLS Offers CE Workshop - Financial FAQs for Nonprofits
Wednesday, November 3, 1:30 - 4:30 p.m.

FLS will host a half-day continuing education workshop as part of the pre-conference offerings in advance of NYLA’s Annual Conference in Syracuse.  Participants may enroll in this workshop independently from the NYLA Annual Conference (November 3-6).  Conference registration is not required to attend; fees are reduced for NYLA personal and organizational members.  

Financial FAQs for Nonprofits
·    What forms must be filed with the IRS?
·    What are the restrictions for fundraisers?
·    How should the organization handle sales tax?
·    What are the rules concerning audits?
Looking for those elusive answers to nonprofit financial questions? Accountants from the John C. Parcell IV Accounting Firm will explain these and other accounting concerns relevant to Friends organizations and public libraries, including the fiduciary duties of board members.

Some Friends have nearly jeopardized their nonprofit status by failing to meet regulations that govern charity operations. If you are unsure of how to be compliant and properly manage the assets of your group or library, our speakers will provide advice on how to implement policies needed by the NYS Nonprofit Revitalization Act of 2013, develop procedures for acknowledging donations, and handle reporting practices for 501(c)(3) organizations.

Registration is required online.  For those members registering between August 1 and September 30, the charge is $65 at the early bird rate for the 3-hour session.  Those not yet members of NYLA pay $90 during this early bird period.  After October 1, the fees increase to $80 and $105 for members and non-members, respectively.  

Target audience: Officers/Treasurers of Friends of Libraries groups or other nonprofit organizations, library administrators, library trustees of public and association libraries, and treasurers of library boards of trustees.

John C. Parcell IV is a Certified Public Accountant and owner of John C. Parcell IV Accounting in Canton, which provides a wide range of accounting services, assisting nonprofits as well as commercial businesses and healthcare organizations.  John serves as an internal auditor for the Potsdam Public Library.  He received his Associate's degree in Accounting from SUNY College of Technology at Canton in 1992 and his BS in Accounting from Clarkson University in 1994.  John has been licensed as a Certified Fraud Examiner since December 2004.

Nathan B. Wray, EA, received his Associate's degree in Accounting from SUNY Canton College in 2010 and his BS in Finance from SUNY Canton in 2013.  He became an enrolled agent with the IRS in January 2021.  Nathan is a federally licensed tax practitioner with the right to represent taxpayers, trusts, estates, and corporations when dealing with issues with the IRS, such as tax appeals, collections, and audits.  He has been practicing accounting with John C. Parcell IV, CPA, CFE since 2013.  Currently, Nathan is a non-for-profit audit manager who manages all the firm’s attestation engagements. 


Save the Date!!

FLS Connections: Membership Recruitment, Engagement, and Retention - September 13, 4:00 - 5:15 p.m.
FLS Webinar - Before Friends Become Frienemies - September 30, 2:00 p.m.
National Friends of Libraries Week - October 17-23; Let us know if you do something special for NFOLW. Send an email with details and photos to 
Virtual Conference - October 28 & 29
FLS CE Workshop; Financial FAQs for Nonprofits - Wednesday, November 3, 1:30 - 4:30 p.m.
In-Person Conference - November 3 - 6
FLS Annual Membership Meeting via Zoom - November 18, 2:00-3:30 p.m.


FLS Newsletters:

Volume 7, Issue #4 will be available online in mid-August. This newsletter will include important #NYLA2021 conference registration information and a lot of other interesting articles. Visit FLS Publications

Volume 7, Issue #3 of the FLS Friends News and Notes newsletter is now available. Preliminary details on FLS offerings for the NYLA 2021 Conference, Libraries: We're ALL In!, are included in this issue, along with the FLS 2021 Election Slate. You’ll also find invaluable fundraising information beyond the book sale as well as Book Shop Guidance! There’s a little something for everyone in these jam-packed eight pages.

Volume 7, Issue #2 of the FLS Friends News and Notes newsletter is available online. This issue invites you to apply for the FLS Randall Enos Conference Scholarship and/or submit a nomination for the FLS Daniel W. Casey Library Advocacy Award. There’s a Message from FLS President, Karen Sperrazza and an interesting article about meeting minutes. You’ll also find Part 2 of When Book Sales Just Aren’t Enough. The first installment of this collection of fundraising ideas appeared in the June 2020 issue of Friends News and Notes.

Volume 7, Issue #1 of the FLS Friends News and Notes newsletter is available online. You’ll find recaps of 2020 NYLA Virtual Conference events and sessions, along with information on the FLS Focus on Friends Webinar Series. We strive to include relevant and useful information for Friends, trustees, staff, and other library advocates in each issue. Visit > Publications to view FLS newsletters.


FLS Active Member Form:

Are you looking for ways to become more involved with the Friends of Libraries Section? Please complete an Active Member Form. Many hands make light work. There’s an opportunity waiting just for you!

Contact FLS at