Friends of Libraries (FLS) Section - June 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.

FLS Celebrates 30 Years!!

Be on the lookout as FLS rolls out plans to celebrate its 30-year history; first as a Round Table of NYLA and then a Section!!




Feature Article

Don’t miss the article 30 Years of Connecting and Inspiring Friends in this issue of The NYLA Voice (June 2022). Current FLS First Vice President (and FLS Past President) Lisa C. Wemett presents the story of the Friends of Libraries Section. How much of the Section’s path do you already know and what new tidbit can you discover? Take a look and find out!

Have You Voted Yet??

There’s still time - the NYLA and FLS elections run through June 15. Read about the FLS candidates and amendments to the FLS By-laws on the FLS Elections page.

FLS Connections - Join the Conversation!

Despite all the hardships the pandemic has brought us, embracing technology to gather and support one another to navigate these difficult times can be seen as a bright spot. Zoom has now opened the geographic borders so Friends statewide can assemble virtually—a different, yet exciting, possibility!

Please join with Friends volunteers from across New York State for a series of conversations. Each FLS Connections has a specific topic and invited speakers share with everyone informally, followed by open mics where everyone can participate and provide their own groups’ experiences and ideas.

FLS Connections: Organizing a Book Sale Crew will take place on Thursday, June 16, beginning at 4 p.m. and lasting 75 minutes. If you hold book sales, little or grand, or operate a bookstore, we think you’ll want to join us. To start us off, Laura Brecher, Co-Manager of The Corner Bookstore, will share how she uses SignUp.Com to have volunteers staff the store run by the Friends of the Fairport Public Library. Don’t have a bookstore? SignUp.Com is a free online tool that can be used for any event where you have people working in pre-determined shifts, from set up to teardown, like an ice cream social or a Friends-hosted garage sale fundraiser. 

To register, please send a message to Put FLS Connections in the subject line. In the message, please include your first and last name and the Friends group or library you are representing. Sessions will not be archived. You will receive a confirmation email. The Zoom access code and any other pertinent information will be sent out a few days before the event.

National Friends of Libraries Week, October 16 - 22

FLS invites all libraries to celebrate the statewide network of Friends of the Library organizations which has now supported libraries across New York for thirty years. Founded in 1992 as the Empire Friends Roundtable, the Friends of Libraries Section works to support Friends groups and their library civic leaders as they provide volunteer and financial assistance to the libraries in their communities. Watch for announcements of FLS’s plans to celebrate this significant anniversary and begin your planning now to highlight your own Friends group’s achievements during National Friends of Libraries Week. A visit to the United for Libraries website at will yield a plethora of ideas and resources you can use.

Friends Offerings at the 2022 NYLA Annual Conference

Mark your calendars to join us! Scheduled for November 2 through 5 at the conference center at the Saratoga Hilton/City Center in Saratoga Springs, this year’s gathering will be an excellent opportunity for Friends to once again come together to network and participate in many professional development offerings alongside their library colleagues. 

Looking for answers on how your Friends of the Library group can be the best it can be? Here are a few questions our speakers will be addressing:

Come participate in some excellent continuing education opportunities and ask the burning questions important to you! See you there! 

Did You Miss It? Check Out the NYLA Webinar Archive!

If you missed one of our webinars or had a conflict on the day of the broadcast, you can still take advantage of these professional development opportunities. NYLA maintains an archive of past webinars that can be accessed by NYLA members 24/7 by logging into the NYLA Online Membership Center with your assigned username and password (received with your membership confirmations/receipts). To watch these offerings free of charge, go to Select Continuing Education > NYLA Webinars and follow the link at the bottom of the page to the Webinarary, NYLA’s webinar archive. 
FLS invited Dr. Reneé K. Bennett-Kapusniak, author of Public Library Programs and Services for Midlife and Beyond, to present Fishing for Friends: How to Reel in Midlife Adults with Programs. Nearly 70 attendees joined in to learn ways to attract midlife adults to the public library through programming and volunteer opportunities. The session introduced the audience to adults who are older (ages 57-76 years), but do not consider themselves “old” which implies age-related frailty. Baby Boomers are the most educated and financially secure generation in history and are already volunteering at higher rates than past generations at the same age. Involving these individuals in the life of the library can help Friends and staff enhance or expand current initiatives, gain new partnerships in the community, and tap into new energy, ideas, and specialized skills.
Before Friends Become Frienemies was a 90-minute webinar offered in September 2021 focusing on how to understand styles of conflict and various approaches to conflict resolution that can help maintain good relationships among the Friends of the Library, the library’s Board of Trustees, and the library manager and staff members. Improving your communication skills will help build cooperation and consensus for all parties in a constructive partnership for mutually-beneficial outcomes for the library. 

The archive also includes handouts from the session: (1) Working Together: Roles and Responsibilities Guidelines (referenced in The Trustee Handbook); (2) Keepin’ It Friendly—Communications Tips for Library Staff, Trustees, and Friends of the Library; (3) A Primer on Friends Operating Agreements, and (4) Guidelines for Expenditures of Funds Raised by the Friends. These last two handouts point out how a standardized document to guide the disbursement of funds raised by the Friends and the basics of an operating agreement (also called a Memorandum of Understanding or MOU) can help to avoid disputes before they start.

FLS Newsletters:

Visit FLS Publications ( > Publications) to find both the current issue of the FLS newsletter, Friends News and Notes and a complete archive of previous volumes. Read the April 2022 issue here.
Contact FLS at