Friends of Libraries Section (FLS) Update
Submitted by Lisa C. Wemett, FLS President
What a Difference a Year Makes!
Supporting the newest Section of NYLA, the FLS Executive Board worked incredibly hard this year to lay a firm foundation for those FLS Executive Boards that will follow. The 2014-15 Board is very geographically diverse, with thirteen members representing libraries of all sizes throughout the state. Nearly 46% of our Board members hold an officer position in their hometown library.
When you see them, please thank them for their diligent volunteer service:
[Front row: Randall Enos, Immediate Past President and President Emeritus (Middletown); Marcia Elwitt, Treasurer (Brighton); Leslie Riley, Member At Large (Cornwall-on-Hudson); Terry Mulee, Second Vice President (Rochester).
Second row: Frank Van Zanten, Member At Large (Poughkeepsie); Lisa C. Wemett, President (Macedon); Vicki N. Kosovac, Member At Large (Hudson); Betsy Sywetz, Secretary (Richmond Springs); Sarah Sachs, First Vice President/President-Elect (Potsdam); Maria Orlando, Member At Large (Valatie); Susan Swanton, Member At Large (Rush); Ristiina Wigg, Member At Large (Corning).
Unable to join us at this meeting in Vestal, NY: Elizabeth Olesh, Member At Large (Baldwin).]
The by-laws were updated for FLS in early 2015, changing language from “roundtable” to “section” and using terminology to comply with NYS’s Nonprofit Revitalization Act. A Leadership Manual for Section officers was developed including job descriptions for all positions.
FLS established its first annual budget for FY 2015-16. FLS became a pacesetter for the “NYLA 125” capital campaign, giving $125 on behalf of its members. The Board also created the position of Section Archivist to hold records of the Section. Sue Swanton volunteered to become the FLS Archivist.
Publications and Communications:
After ten years and 30 issues, Susan Swanton, Newsletter Editor since 2003, passed the “red pen” to Terry Mulee as “Friends News and Notes” began with volume 1, issue #1, in December 2014. FLS was able to boost the number of advertisers to help offset newsletter printing and postage costs. The Board voted to increase the number of newsletters to four six-page issues annually, with expanded (8-page) coverage once a year. All of this year’s newsletters are archived on the Section’s website under “Publications.”
Membership and Elections:
Throughout the year, effort has been expended toward increasing FLS membership. EFR had 108 members in November 2014 and increased those numbers by 12% to 121 in September 2015. Fifty-one percent of these members have selected FLS as their basic (primary) section.
FLS participated in NYLA’s online election process, holding the Section’s first online election in June 2015. The slate submitted in May offered candidates for four Members At Large seats for 2015-2017, a candidate appointed in 2015 who was required to stand for election for Member At Large to fill out this one-year term, a new Secretary, and President-elect.
President-Elect Sarah Sachs has served at the FLS Conference Programmer for the 2015 Annual Conference, organizing four programs for Lake Placid: Morristown Public Library’s community arts festival, the merger of the Friends and Foundation of the Rochester Public Library, a showcase of volunteer projects in libraries in northern NYS, and accounting for nonprofits. We thank the Library Trustees Association and the Public Library Section/NYLA for partnering with us to present these sessions.
Advocacy, Awards, and Events:
During the year, FLS established meet-up opportunities in two areas of the state. Ten representatives of Friends of the Library groups from eight public libraries in three public library systems gathered to talk with the FLS Board at the Vestal Public Library on May 28, 2015. In April, the FLS officers in the Rochester region hosted the Friends Council meeting for the Monroe County Library System. In September, the Friends & Foundation of the Rochester Public Library hosted a Book Sale Volunteers meet-up in partnership with FLS to discuss issues related to book sale events and FFRPL’s Internet book selling program.
The 2015 Daniel W. Casey Library Advocacy Award was presented posthumously to Don Riplinger, a volunteer for the Friends & Foundation of the Rochester Public Library (Monroe County Library System) for nearly 15 years. The nomination was made by Chelsea Lingrel, Book Sales Manager for FFRPL. This was the first award given in FLS’s name. An ad hoc task force, chaired by the new Casey Award Coordinator Joyce Laiosa, reviewed and established the procedures for the award.
Member At Large Marie Orlando volunteered to give additional effort to awareness and participation in National Friends of Libraries Week. FLS was able to secure a NYS Senate resolution in March from Senator Joseph Robach recognizing NFOLW (October 18-24, 2015). Facsimile copies of the proclamation were made available for purchase.
Starting in the summer of 2014, Lisa Wemett coordinated a year-long project to nominate two sites in northern New York for Literary Landmark™ status, in honor of NYLA’s 125th anniversary and conference in Lake Placid. This designation was conferred by United for Libraries, a division of the American Library Association, in early 2015 for the Wilder Homestead in Burke and the Robert Louis Stevenson Cottage and Museum in Saranac Lake. Fund-raising with all eight NYLA Sections was successful to cover the costs of plaques for both museums. FLS President Lisa Wemett and Second Vice President Terry Mulee attended the plaque unveiling on July 11 at the Wilder Homestead. FLS looks forward to the celebration at the Robert Louis Stevenson Cottage and Museum next year.
Thank you to retiring Member At Large Leslie Riley for her active participation in EFR/FLS over the past two years. We look forward to welcoming back one of the founding members of the Empire Friends Roundtable, Phyllis Kitt, as a reader of the nominations for the 2016 Daniel W. Casey Library Advocacy Award.
At their May meeting, the FLS Board voted to honor Immediate Past President Randall Enos by conferring upon him the title of President Emeritus, recognizing his extensive and distinguished service, including six terms as President over the years. Randy accepted graciously and is already embracing this new role, providing support to the Board “as needed” (and we are a needy group!).
The FLS Executive Board encourages all members of NYLA to recruit their libraries’ Friends groups to join and become involved in these initiatives of FLS. There is always strength in numbers! Help us in achieving our mission to promote and inspire local Friends groups in libraries of all types for the betterment of New York State’s library community.