For immediate release | April 10, 2012

ALTAFF launches webcast series 'Baby Boomer Volunteers for Libraries and Friends'

PHILADELPHIA — The Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations (ALTAFF), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), has launched “Baby Boomer Volunteers for Libraries and Friends,” a three-part series of webcasts designed to inform library Friends, Trustees and staff about this new generation of volunteers. The series will cover how they are different from volunteers in the past, what they want from service opportunities and how libraries and Friends can attract them.

Carla Lehn, library programs consultant for the California State Library, and Sally Gardner Reed, executive director of ALTAFF, will explain what this new group is looking for in volunteer opportunities, and how to ensure that the library and its Friends group are ready to bring them in.

“Through California's statewide boomer volunteer recruitment project, we are seeing firsthand how baby boomers’ interests are changing, and how we must approach and engage them,” says Lehn. “Most exciting is finding that we not only gain high impact volunteers willing to share their skills, but that once they become engaged with the library, they become some of the library’s strongest supporters.”

“Friends of the Library groups are always searching for new and active leadership for their organizations,” says Reed. “Baby boomers represent a treasure trove of volunteers for them, and this series will help Friends find ways to engage them.”

The first webcast, “Meet Today’s New Volunteers,” provides an overview of this new generation of volunteers, including what studies are showing about this generation’s commitment to community service and the ways in which they want to spend their volunteer time. The second webcast, “Friends and Baby Boomers — Getting New Active Members for your Group,” shows Friends how they can attract and retain this valuable workforce, ensuring that their group will remain strong and viable long into the future.

The third webcast, “Library Volunteers — Bringing in Skilled and Committed Baby Boomers,” gives librarians and volunteer supervisors specific information on how to recruit, train and retain a volunteer workforce that can support the staff and help enhance library services.

The cost for the series of webcasts is $139 ($39 for ALTAFF individual and group members) for a single-seat license and $149 ($49 ALTAFF individual and group members) for a multi-seat license. A multi-seat license includes both the library staff and Friends group at one library (but not a library system). The series will be accessible for at least one year after purchase date. Courses may be viewed at any time, and viewings are unlimited. For more information on this series and to register, visit

Carla Lehn has a master’s degree in community development is from the University of California, Davis. As library programs consultant for the California State Library, she assists libraries with volunteer, board and community development issues. She has published several articles on volunteerism, as well as the California State Library’s 1999 book “Volunteer Involvement in California Libraries: Best Practices.” In addition to her role with California’s volunteer-based Library Literacy Service, Lehn leads “Get Involved: Powered by Your Library.” The project’s dual purpose is to recruit high impact volunteers to share their skills with libraries, and through those relationships, to engage them as strong library supporters.

Sally Gardner Reed is the executive director of ALTAFF. She has worked closely with Friends groups throughout her career, first as a library director, then on a national level when she became executive director for Friends of Libraries U.S.A. (FOLUSA). FOLUSA merged with the Association for Library Trustees and Advocates (ALTA) and became part of the American Library Association in 2009. Reed is the author of 10 books on library management, including “Library Volunteers — Worth the Effort!” (McFarland, 1994).

ALTAFF is a division of the American Library Association that supports citizens who govern, promote, advocate, and fundraise for libraries. ALTAFF brings together library Trustees, advocates, Friends, and Foundations into a partnership that creates a powerful force for libraries in the 21st century. For more information, visit, or contact Jillian Kalonick at (312) 280-2161 or