FREE United for Libraries Webinars


How Foundations and Friends Can Support Their Libraries During COVID-19

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The COVID-19 pandemic is having a major impact on public library budgets and spending. How can library Foundations and Friends of the Library groups best support their libraries during this time? Hear from library directors, a library Foundation director, and a Friends Board President on how their organization's priorities are shifting, and what initiatives they are planning to meet their library's changing needs.

Registration is open and free to all regardless of United for Libraries membership. Can’t join live? Register anyway and you will receive a link to the recording.

Jonna Ward joined the Seattle Public Library Foundation in 2001 and is the CEO. During her leadership, the Foundation has grown to be the largest public library foundation in the country based on assets under management. She is the co-founder of the International Public Library Fundraising Conference and creator of the #LibraryGivingDay concept.

Michelle Jeske is the Denver City Librarian, head of the 26-location urban library system with more than 4.4 million annual visitors. Prior to the Denver Public Library, Jeske worked for the TLC CARL Corporation, San Antonio Public Library and New York Public Library. Michelle serves on the Public Library Association (PLA) Board of Directors and is currently the PLA President-Elect.

Nanci Morrison is President of the Board of the Friends of the Palm Springs (Calif.) Library. She joined the Board in 2012, became Secretary in 2014, added Vice president in 2016, and became President in 2018. 

Karen Pierce is Director of Slippery Rock (Pa.) Community Library and has more than 13 years of experience in rural and small library development. The Slippery Rock Community Library Friends Group has twice won the Friends Group of the Year award from Pennsylvania Citizens for Better Libraries.


Advocacy for Your Library During a Crisis

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How can you work with your local elected officials on library advocacy during this time of COVID-19, and beyond? Learn how to approach advocacy during a time of crisis, and how to craft your messaging for success. A panel of expert speakers will provide guidance. Hear tips for Trustees, Friends, Foundations, and other community-based advocacy groups, as well as library staff. 

Featured presenters will be Peter Pearson, 2019-2020 United for Libraries President; Libby Post, CEO, Communication Services; Megan Cusick, Assistant Director for State Advocacy in ALA’s Public Policy and Advocacy office, and Sonja Eyler, Librarian for the City of Presque Isle at the Mark & Emily Turner Memorial Library. Deborah Doyle, Chair of United for Libraries’ Legislative Committee and President of California Public Library Advocates, will moderate. 

Registration is open and free to all regardless of United for Libraries membership. Can’t join live? Register anyway and you will receive a link to the recording.

Peter Pearson is a Founder/Senior Consultant for Library Strategies Consulting Group. He  was president of the Friends of the Saint Paul (Minn.) Public Library for 25 years. As president of the Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, he led three capital campaigns and coordinated an annual grassroots advocacy campaign that added millions of dollars of public funding to the library's budget. He also served as a Trustee for the Twin Cities Regional Library System for 10 years. 

Libby Post is a political consultant who uses her advocacy, marketing, and strategic communication skills to help libraries wage successful funding campaigns. She authored the five-part Library Campaign Training Institute. She serves on the United for Libraries Board and is a member of ALA’s Committee on Library Advocacy. She was a trainer for United for Libraries’ Neal-Schuman Citizens Save Libraries program. In her home state of New York, she has shepherded her library clients to voter victory with a win margin of 84%.

Megan Murray Cusick is the Assistant Director for State Advocacy in ALA’s Public Policy and Advocacy office. She assists the advocacy efforts of librarians, library staff and advocates across the country, in cooperation with other ALA offices, as well as state chapters and affiliates. She has also provided support to the Center for the Future of Libraries by identifying the work of libraries that intersects with broader social trends. Prior to joining ALA in 2015, Megan was a high school librarian and co-founder of Chi School Librarians. 

Sonja Plummer Eyler serves as the Librarian for the City of Presque Isle at the Mark & Emily Turner Memorial Library. Sonja received a Bachelor of Science in Library Information Technology in 2003 and a Master of Library and Information Science at the University of South Carolina in 2007. As a past President for the Association for Rural & Small Libraries and President for the Maine Library Association, she is aware of the uniqueness of rural and remote libraries and the organizations supporting them. Sonja lives with a husband, daughter, 12 horses, and 2 dogs in Presque Isle, Maine. 

Deborah Doyle, MLIS, is chair of the United for Libraries Legislative Committee. She currently serves as vice chair of the Sonoma County Public Library Commission and president of California Public Library Advocates


Engaging Library Supporters During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Is your Library Foundation or Friends of the Library looking to stay engaged with your supporters and community while navigating the many challenges of COVID-19? Learn tips and advice from directors of the Library Foundation of Los Angeles, Cedar Rapids Public Library Foundation, and the Seattle Public Library Foundation. Hear about “stay home and read” fundraisers from the Library Foundation of Los Angeles and Cedar Rapids Public Library Foundation. Find out how to participate in Library Giving Day on April 23, and how to shift your strategies due to COVID-19.

Registration is open and free to all regardless of United for Libraries membership. Can’t join live? Register anyway and you will receive a link to the recording.

Sarah Charleton is the Membership Director for the Library Foundation of Los Angeles, where she also manages coordinated giving campaigns, including the annual Stay Home and Read a Book Ball© fundraiser. She previously helped produce the Library Foundation’s award-winning ALOUD author series for more than seven years. She leads regular art and architecture tours as a Docent for Los Angeles’ historic Central Library, and serves as President for the Los Angeles chapter of the National Emerging Museum Professionals network. 

Charity Tyler was named Executive Director for the Cedar Rapids Public Library Foundation in 2015. She has led the transition from capital to annual giving focus, creating policies and improving governance structures to support a renewed planned giving effort while launching a new Foundation-funded program: Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. She currently serves on the board of United for Libraries. 

Jonna Ward joined the Seattle Public Library Foundation in 2001 and is the CEO. During her leadership, the Foundation has grown to be the largest public library foundation in the country based on assets under management. She is the co-founder of the International Public Library Fundraising Conference and creator of the #LibraryGivingDay concept.

Kristi Pearson is CEO of the Friends of the Hennepin County Library. After serving four years on that organization’s s board of directors, she transitioned into her current role in 2014. She brings a passion for libraries and two decades of experience to her role leading the organization. Previously at AchieveMpls, Kristi led the development team through a transformative, multimillion-dollar fundraising effort. She currently serves on the board of United for Libraries.


What's Your E? The E's of Libraries

Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 2 p.m.

Register at ala.org/united/esoflibraries

You know that your library is vital to your community, but how do you communicate its importance to elected officials, community leaders, funders, and other key stakeholders? How can you talk about what your library does using their language? Learn how to use The E’s of Libraries® – Education, Employment, Entrepreneurship, Empowerment, and Engagement – to demonstrate why your library is essential. United for Libraries Board Member Alan Fishel will discuss the concept of The E's of Libraries® and how to overcome the "reality-perception" gap that comes with library advocacy. Paula Miller, executive director of the Baltimore County (Md.) Public Library, will discuss how her library uses The E's of Libraries®, and how it was used for Maryland Library Legislative Day. Charity Tyler, executive director of the Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Public Library Foundation, will discuss how to apply the E's to your library and Foundation.

Alan Fishel is a partner at the law firm of Arent Fox and leads the firm’s Communications & Technology group. He has represented ALA on many matters, including at the Federal Communications Commission with regard to the proceeding under which the FCC increased the size of the E-rate fund by more than $1 billion annually. Alan also serves on the United for Libraries board, and he is the chair of The E’s of Libraries® Task Force. In addition, Alan frequently provides training on a variety of topics, including with respect to how to improve your advocacy and negotiation skills.

Paula Miller is the Director of Baltimore County Public Library. Her career includes serving as Director/Administrator in four states – Pikes Peak Library District (CO), Westlake Porter Public Library (OH), Eastern Shore Regional Library (MD), and Dover Public Library (DE).  She sees and promotes the library as “an instrument of democracy” that bridges the economic and digital divide; that provides opportunities, resources, and gracious space to all; and that facilitates public engagement and community-building. 

Charity Tyler was named Executive Director for the Cedar Rapids (IA) Public Library Foundation in May 2015. Over the last four years, she has led the transition from capital to annual giving focus, creating policies and improving governance structures to support a renewed planned giving effort while launching a new Foundation-funded program: Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. She currently serves on governing boards for the Eastern Iowa Planned Giving Council, United for Libraries, the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, and Horizons: A Family Service Agency. Her past community leadership roles include Junior League of Cedar Rapids, American Red Cross, Ladies Titan Tire Challenge (on the LPGA’s Symetra Tour), Cedar Rapids Long Term Planning Commission, and the Cedar Rapids Board of Ethics. 


National Friends of Libraries Week Webinar

The live session has ended. Click here for access to the recording.

This webinar offers ideas on how to celebrate National Friends of Libraries Week within your group, library, and community. Speakers Judy Bentzen (Friends of the San Juan Island Library) and Katie Norris (Friends of the Charleston Public Library) present on their National Friends of Libraries Week Award-winning projects from previous years. Learn about the ALA Store’s new customizable products designed specifically for Friends.

Judy Bentzen currently serves as Treasurer of the Friends of the San Juan Library. She is also known as a salty accountant with a love for books and libraries.  She is a mother of four and grandmother of five.

Katie Norris is a client account manager for a software company who lives and works in Charleston, South Carolina. A lifelong library lover and avid reader, Katie began volunteering at book sales before joining the board of the Charleston Friends of the Library in 2015 and served as Board President for the last two years. In her current role as Past President, Katie sits on the Executive Committee, chairs the Nominating Committee, and spearheads the effort to write the next strategic plan for the organization.