FLS Focus on Friends Webinar Series:
Engaging Millennials as Friends Volunteers





Why is it so challenging to attract younger volunteers to become involved in Friends organizations?  Reaching across generations to recruit Millennials to actively participate in the work of Friends groups is possible and ultimately vital to the continued success of volunteer support groups for libraries. Millennials are eager to join in and give their time and energy to causes they are passionate about.  There are over 15 million “doers,” people who volunteer at least once a week.  They help local charities, work on fund-raising, and even create their own organizations to engage their peers in a worthy cause.

How can the Friends of the Library catch the attention of Millennials, drawing young professionals to libraries?  If Friends re-frame their needs to attract these doers and involve them in volunteer work, this generation will become library champions. Come discuss ways Friends organizations can coordinate, collaborate, and promote opportunities for young adults that are both social and make a difference in the community.  Get suggestions on how to target and connect with these potential volunteers who are motivated to make their community a better place by using their skills and expertise to meet the needs of 21st century library patrons.

Learning Objectives:
At the conclusion of the webinar, participants will be able to:
1.    Select techniques that will be most effective to connect with potential allies or advocates that value the public education, equality, and equity that libraries provide
2.    Reshape the Friends mission and activities to show how committed volunteers make a real difference for the community’s library
3.    Identify best practices for recruiting and engaging a new generation of volunteers
4.    Analyze Friends volunteer requirements into skill sets that will help Millennials develop into active volunteers and library civic leaders
5.    Strategize ways to support younger generations who want to become involved in civic engagement

Engaging Millennials as Friends Volunteers Webinar Slides

Madeline Jarvis, MLIS, is the Adult and Information Services Manager at the Marion (Iowa) Public Library.  


Madeline and her team cultivate collections, services, and partnerships to serve the Marion community. She is passionate about identifying and eliminating barriers to resources for her patrons and helping the library serve as a catalyst for community development.

Tess Wilson, MLIS, is Community Engagement Coordinator for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine – Middle Atlantic Region.

Tess formerly served as Outreach Librarian at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

As part of the American Library Association’s Emerging Leaders cohort of 2018, both Tess and Madeline have been recognized as new leaders in librarianship. With two other young professionals, Tess and Madeline worked on a project sponsored by United for Libraries, The Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations, a division of ALA, entitled “Beyond Using the Library: Engaging Millennials as Advocates and Civic Library Leaders.” The team members presented the results of their project at the 2018 ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans, at ALA Mid-Winter 2020 in Philadelphia, and the 2020 Public Library Association’s conference in Nashville.

Tess and Madeline also presented a United for Libraries Monthly Member Forum (January 8, 2020) on “Recruiting Younger Board Members for Trustees, Friends, and Foundations.”  The team has authored a book, All Ages Welcome: Recruiting and Retaining Younger Generations for Library Boards, Friends Groups, and Foundations, a toolkit for libraries on engaging Millennials. (ALA Editions, 2020.  https://www.alastore.ala.org/unitedaaw).


FLS “Focus on Friends” Webinar Series:

The Friends of Libraries Section will be presenting a series of one-hour virtual professional development sessions over the course of several months that are relevant to the entire library community. Guest speakers will present on a specific topic, followed by a question and answer session.  Each webinar will cover a topic of interest to all library civic leaders (library trustees, officers of Friends groups and library foundations, and volunteer advocates) plus library administrators and staff members.

The other webinars included in the the series are:

Effective, Efficient Boards and Board Meetings
Tuesday, January 12, 2021.  2 – 3 p.m. EST
Speaker: Judy Siegel, Esq., Pro Bono Partnership

Friendly Partnerships Strengthen Communities
Thursday, March 11, 2021.  2 – 3 p.m. EST
Speakers: Jason Poole, Webster Public Library; Helen Rados and Cheryl Shelton Jones, Ethelbert B. Crawford Public Library

New discounted pricing is available until September 21, 2020; enroll in all three webinars in the “Focus on Friends” series for a bundled price of $60 for NYLA members and $85 for non-members.