Friends of Libraries Section

Focus on Friends Webinar Series

The Friends of Libraries Section is sponsoring a three-part webinar series, Focus on Friends, over the course of several months. Each one-hour professional development session will cover 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 will present 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
Tuesday, January 12, 2021
2 – 3 p.m. EST
Friendly Partnerships Strengthen Communities
Thursday, March 11, 2021
2 – 3 p.m. EST

FLS webinars are aimed at re-energizing Friends groups by recruiting today’s volunteer corps, encouraging community partnerships, and helping groups run efficient operations that are compliant with nonprofit law. FLS is building a catalog of online content that is informative, innovative, and beneficial to Friends organizations of all sizes.

Cost and Registration:

There is no cost to attend for current members of the Friends of Libraries Section of NYLA or for elected officers of Friends Group organizational members who have been listed on the “Elected Officer Registration Form” on file with NYLA’s Finance & Administration Manager. The NYLA/FLS membership must be active on August 1, 2020 and the membership expiration date must be after the date of the webinar. When registering, FLS members need their assigned username and password to qualify for an “FLS Member Reg Pass” that will waive the webinar registration fee.

The charge for the webinar is $25 for NYLA personal or organizational members (who are not members of FLS) and $35 for those who are not members of NYLA. 

Group registrations are also available ($75 member rate /$99 nonmember rate) per webinar. Interested participants may choose to join NYLA prior to registering for the webinar to receive the NYLA member rate. However, at the time of registration, a NYLA member may not add FLS to their existing membership in order to attend the webinar at no cost.

Beginning on August 10, registration will be open through the NYLA Online Membership Center and a credit card is required for payment. Checks and purchase orders are not accepted. Registration is closed 48 hours prior to the start time of the webinar.

Click on the links above to register.

Engaging Millennials as Friends Volunteers

First in the Focus on Friends webinar series sponsored by the Friends of Libraries Section (FLS).
Watch the archived presentation.

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    


Tess Wilson, MLIS, is Community Engagement Coordinator for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine – Middle Atlantic Region. She formerly served as Outreach Librarian at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

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

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.

back to top of page

Additional information regarding these two webinars scheduled in 2021 will be posted once finalized.

Effective, Efficient Boards and Board Meetings

Second in the Focus on Friends webinar series sponsored by the Friends of Libraries Section (FLS).
Tuesday, January 12, 2021. 2 – 3 p.m. EST

Register here.

Are you confused about your roles and responsibilities as a board member? Whether it’s the Friends officers or the library’s Board of Trustees, all parties want meetings that run effectively and efficiently. The agenda, minutes, and motions all play a part. Regardless of the size of a board for a nonprofit organization, there are specific accountabilities the officers and directors must meet. This review of nonprofit boards’ legal and fiduciary duties will include ways to provide the best oversight possible for the organization, keeping it functioning effectively. Learn what documents should be kept in your board book, how technology can and cannot be used to conduct board business, and practical strategies for more successful meetings.

Speaker: Judy Siegel, Esq., Pro Bono Partnership (White Plains NY)

back to top of page

Friendly Partnerships Strengthen Communities

Third in the Focus on Friends webinar series sponsored by the Friends of Libraries Section (FLS).
Thursday, March 11, 2021. 2 – 3 p.m. EST

Register here.

Friends are venturing outside the library, undertaking the vital work of networking and partnering with community groups to deliver the library’s message and services to residents. Children’s librarian Jason Poole started the summer “BookBox for Kids and Teens” initiative to bring books to readers unable to visit the library. This vital project has connected with underserved families and steadily grown community support from the library Friends, churches, schools, and grant-makers in Webster. In their community, Helen Rados, member of the Friends of Ethelbert B. Crawford Public Library, along with youth librarian Cheryl Jones, have built powerful partnerships and creative collaborations that have increased public awareness of the library, engaged volunteers and increased Friends memberships.

Jason Poole, Webster Public Library
Helen Rados and Cheryl Jones, Ethelbert B. Crawford Public Library (Monticello NY)

back to top of page