2007 National Friends of Libraries Week Award
State Friends: Empire Friends (NY)
Wow, talk about being busy! The Empire Friends (NY) caught the National Friends of Libraries Week bug early and it paid off. In their Spring 2007 newsletter, Empire Friends President Susan Swanton announced plans to support the national efforts and promote National Friends of Libraries Week in New York (previously they had coordinated a state week recognizing Friends, generally during the week following National Library Week). In May, the New York Library Association (NYLA) Legislative Committee approved NYLA support for this effort and began coordinating a statewide proclamation, which was approved on June 12 by both the New York State Senate and Assembly. In August the Empire Friends and NYLA issued a joint press release, and the Friends continued their publicity with a follow-up article in their September newsletter. Continued promotion was featured at the Friends’ booth at the NYLA conference in October. The result? Groups across the state were energized by the efforts and coordinated a wide variety of activities in their local towns and cities. Much publicity was generated in various newspapers celebrating Friends and recognizing their outstanding support of libraries. The Empire Friends plan to continue working with NYLA to ensure this becomes an annual event in the state and at county, city, and town levels to honor Friends for all the good work they do for the libraries they love and cherish.
Following is Empire Friends President Susan Swanton’s story of how they achieved this resolution:
The process for adoption was easy: first I sought the approval of the Empire Friends Roundtable (EFR) Board, and then I sought the support of Kathy Miller, Executive Director of the Rochester Regional Library Council and the Chair of the New York Library Association’s (NYLA) Legislative Committee. NYLA’s Legislative Committee approved action on the proposed proclamation at their May 22 meeting and Michael Borges, Director, New York Library Association, took immediate action to bring the proclamation in an expanded version to the attention of NY State Senator Hugh Farley. Both houses of the New York State Legislature approved the proclamation on June 12 and Michael Borges sent me an immediate email. We are planning joint publicity for this proclamation for later this summer and it will be featured in the next Empire Friends newsletter which should come out in late August.
In 2003, EFR had a state wide Friends of Libraries week on the week immediately following National Library Week but legislators’ concerns about this being a “frivolous” proclamation stopped EFR from pursuing the idea in succeeding years. But once FOLUSA created a National Friends of Libraries week, we were able to secure the support of the New York State Legislature. Thinking has changed about the role of volunteers and the valuable support they provide to libraries everywhere and I am delighted with the rapid action which both NYLA and the Legislature took to bring this state wide recognition of Friends groups to pass.
You can download the resolution as a text document to help your State Friends coordinate a resolution.