PHILADELPHIA - The Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations (ALTAFF) is coordinating the fifth annual National Friends of Libraries Week, Oct. 17-23, 2010. The celebration offers a two-fold opportunity to celebrate. Friends groups can use the time to creatively promote their group in the community, raise awareness and promote membership. The celebration also offers an excellent opportunity for the library staff and Board of Trustees to recognize the Friends for their help and support of the library.
“I encourage the whole nation to celebrate Friends of Libraries and the work they do,” said ALTAFF Executive Director Sally Gardner Reed. “I’m convinced that the libraries are so much richer for the enthusiasm and expertise that the Friends bring to the library. I hope that libraries across the country will use this week to honor their best supporters – the Friends of their Library – and use this opportunity to promote and expand their membership in this valuable organization.”
In a 2006 survey of members, 754 respondents reported raising more than $11 million to support libraries with an average annual donation of more than $50,000. Eighty percent of respondents indicated they support their library through advocacy efforts with the primary focus on local or municipal government and the general public. The top three goals were to prevent cuts to the library budget, increase the library budget and general public awareness. Friends also support their library by coordinating programs, volunteering in the library, promoting the library in the community and advocating for libraries on the state and national level.
Friends groups, library Trustees and library staff can access a variety of online resources to help them celebrate National Friends of Libraries Week. Materials available on the ALTAFF website at http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/altaff/events_conferences/folweek include promotional ideas, editable publicity materials, camera ready bookmarks, ideas from past celebrations and much more.
Also available are public service announcements created by ALTAFF national spokesperson Paula Poundstone, in which Poundstone explains her “unbalanced relationship” with her public library until she joined the Friends to help raise money for her local library. “It’s funny that we think of libraries as quiet demure places where we are shushed by dusty, bun-balancing, bespectacled women,” said Poundstone. “The truth is libraries are raucous clubhouses for free speech, controversy and community. Librarians have stood up to the PATRIOT Act, sat down with noisy toddlers and reached out to illiterate adults. Libraries can never be shushed.”
ALTAFF is pleased to announce a fourth year of financial awards in conjunction with National Friends of Libraries Week. Entries are due by Dec. 1, 2010. Awards are given for activities held during National Friends of Libraries Week, Oct. 17-23, 2010. Application materials are available online at http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/altaff/friends/grantsawards/friendsweek.
ALTAFF is a division of the American Library Association (ALA) with approximately 5,000 Friends of the Library, Trustee, Foundation and individual members and affiliates representing hundreds of thousands of library supporters. Begun in early 2009, the new division brings together Trustees, Friends, and Foundation members into a partnership that unites the voices of citizens for libraries to create a powerful force for libraries in the 21st century. For more information about ALTAFF, please contact Beth Nawalinski at (312) 280-2161 or firstname.lastname@example.org.