2009 Best Friends Awards

Public Library Friends Group with assistance from paid staff

Print Newsletter
Friends of the Library, Montgomery County (Md.), Inc.
Friends, the 12-page, quarterly newsletter of the Friends of the Library, Montgomery County, Md., features news about recent Friends events, letters from the Friends president and Friends executive director, library news, chapter news, and even a crossword puzzle.

Friend of the Johnson County (Kan.) Library
The Experience Johnson County newsletter is a collaboration by the library and its two supporting organizations, the Friends and the Foundation. The Friends and Foundation had each published newsletters separately, while the library did not have a newsletter. Now, the Friends and Foundation pay for three issues per year, presenting a cohesive message to their common public, at no cost to the library, while marketing the library’s and the Friends group’s and Foundation’s programs and projects. Experience Johnson County is in a four-page tabloid format, with full color throughout.

Membership: Brochures
Friends of the Library, Montgomery County (Md.), Inc.
This full-color, tri-fold brochure encourages supporters to “Help libraries reach new heights” and features information on what the Friends of the library supports, as well as membership benefits. Members can join from the Short Story level ($25) to the Publisher level ($1,000).

Membership: Other Materials
Friends of the Library, Montgomery County (Md.), Inc.
Those joining Friends of the Library, Montgomery County, Md., receive a membership card with a list of member benefits and Friends chapters, along with a Bucks-for-Books coupon that entitles them to $2 off a purchase of $10 or more at any Friends bookstore; it also lists all three bookstores and their hours.

Advocacy Materials
Friends of the Library, Montgomery County (Md.), Inc.
For Library Lovers’ Month (February), the Friends created advocacy postcards that were sent to branch libraries. Patrons filled out names and address on the back, and were promoted with “I (love) the library because:”. Patrons were encouraged to send the postcards to their council members.

Program Publicity
Friends of the Library, Montgomery County (Md.), Inc.
The “Libraries are for Lovers” brochure advertises the Friends’ 22nd annual Literary Luncheon Series, which included four events featuring “authors who know something about love, all of whom have been married for a combined total of more than 100 years.” Attendees can buy tickets using a form included in the brochure, or on the Friends’ website.

Special Project Publicity
Friends of Westlake (Ohio) Porter Public Library
These bags were created during the library’s 125th anniversary celebration in 2009. Friends purchased more than 500 bags. The staff at the circulation desk was given a few bags to hand out free to patrons, and the rest were sold at $2 each. A Friends membership brochure was inserted in each bag.

Fundraisers
Friends of the Library, Montgomery County (Md.), Inc. 
The colorful “Read, Eat & Give” flyer advertises the Friends group’s beer-tasting event and fundraiser.

Book Sales
Friends of Westlake (Ohio) Porter Public Library
The Friends worked with the city of Westlake to design and purchase 14 telephone pole banners. The city service department placed the banners in heavily traveled intersections. The signed have Velcro dates which can be changed from year to year. They are displayed for four weeks and then stored at the library.

Other
Friends of Westlake (Ohio) Porter Public Library
This movable banner was created to display in the lobby, but has been taken to different library events, both within the library building and around the community.

Other – Web site
Friends of the Johnson County (Kan.) Library
The Friends of the Johnson County Library’s website is a portal to Friends’ programs and projects, and also contains the elements of a membership brochure. It is intended for use both by members and non-members. Its interactive features include joining online via Paypal, submitting "Tell Us a Story" entries, and submitting volunteer applications.

 

Public library Friends Group without paid staff

Print Newsletter
Friends of the Albert Carlton-Cashiers Community Library (Cashiers, N.C.) 
The Bookmark features 10 full-color pages with library news, Friends news, events, Friends membership information, a business reply envelope for joining, and a complete list of library Friends. The excellent photographs throughout give the newsletter a professional appearance.

Honorable mentions:
Friends of Bosler Library (Carlisle, Pa.)
Bosler & Friends is published three times a year, and includes information about library programs and resources, as well as Friends events and fundraisers. A membership form is included on the back cover, and in the fall 2009 issue, a pie chart gave a breakdown of how membership dollars are used to benefit the library.

Friends of the Millbrae (Calif.) Library
The quarterly FML News features both news about the library and about the Friends. Though the newsletter is black and white, it’s printed on paper with colored borders, which makes it stand out without high production costs.

Membership: Brochures
Friends of Fitchburg (Wisc.) Library
Though the Fitchburg Library isn’t set to open until 2011, the Friends of the Fitchburg Library created a membership brochure proclaiming “Now is the time…” and a clever “Insert library here” graphic. The tri-fold color brochure answers the questions “What can a library do for Fitchburg?”, “Who are the Friends?”, and “What do Friends do?” Supporters can sign up to contribute or volunteer.

Honorable Mention:
Friends of the Millbrae (Calif.) Library
This tri-fold brochure has the same look as the Friends newsletter, creating branding for the group.

Membership: Other Materials
Friends of Rains County Public Library (Yantis, Texas)
The Friends put together a DVD using Animoto ( www.animoto.com) to show what their volunteers had done to make the library’s 2009 summer reading program a success. The video was e-mailed to all members and shown to those attending the August Friends meeting, then shown to prospective business sponsors and the local chamber of commerce to demonstrate all that Friends do for the library.

Honorable Mentions:
Friends of Little Tokyo Branch Library (Los Angeles, Calif.)
The Friends of the Little Tokyo Branch Library created a bookmark with the library’s address, hours, and information about what the Friends do and how to join. Specially targeted for the community’s population, it proclaims “Happy New Year of the Ox!” for 2009.
 
Friends of the San Benito County (Calif.) Free Library
This colorful large-format bookmark with a metallic tassel gives the library’s hours, the mission of the Friends of the Library, and a listing of accomplishments by the Friends during 2009 and 2010.

Advocacy Materials
Friends of the Nederland (Colo.) Community Library
The Friends created a tri-fold brochure to encourage support for a new library bond ballot issue in the November 2009 election. The playful illustrations are eye-catching, but the message is clear: Vote 5A and 5B to approve a new library and $1.9 million in bonds to fund the building. A color illustration of the future library is included, along with a listing of its new features.

Program Publicity
Friends of Fitchburg (Wisc.) Library
This colorful piece promoting a celebration of both National Library Week and the first anniversary of the Friends group, was used as a newspaper ad and also for flyers.

Special Project Publicity
Friends of St. Thomas (V.I.) Public Libraries
The poster and bookmark “Read a Book, Share its Treasures” encourages reading to children and each other.

Fundraisers
Friends of the Irvington (N.Y.) Library
A flyer for the fourth annual community-wide spelling bee was created from the cover of an old piece of sheet music, using photos of the president of the Friends, the library director, the bee emcee, the bee chairperson, and one of the judges.

This piece, which mimics the graphics style of Jeff Kinney’s Wimpy Kid books and incorporates images from them (with captions changed), was used as a large poster at the event bidding site, as well as in a smaller format as the back cover of the spelling bee program.

Friends of the San Benito County (Calif.) Free Library
The “In the Spirit of San Benito” card was developed for the new bookmobile’s debut on June 16, 2009. The card has been sold for $3.75-$5, and includes information about the Friends on the back.

Book Sales
Friends of the Irvington (N.Y.) Library
This publicity flyer was created from a 1960s book club advertisement.

Friends of the Rains County Public Library (Yantis, Texas)
This book sale flyer uses the Friends group’s colors (purple and yellow) to brand the event and get the attention of viewers. The flyer is enlarged to poster size for the library’s lobby and other high-visibility areas.

Other – Web site
Friends of the Nederland (Colo.) Community Library
This site includes Friends and library events, as well as information about how to join and items for sale.

 

Academic Friends Group

Other – Web site
Friends of Rock Valley College Library (Rockford, Ill.)
This site features the Friends group’s mission, information on membership, officers, volunteering, and bylaws.