What’s More Punk than the Public Library? Fundraising as a Friends Group

Thursday, August 19, 2021, 12:00 pm Eastern

In Spring 2021, the Mt. Pleasant Library Friends in Washington, DC designed a shirt that received international attention and resulted in more than 7,000 sales internationally. In addition to tripling the fundraising budget for local library programming, the team behind the shirt used the opportunity to celebrate the role of the public library as an open-access and disruptive force. This outreach also showcased the advocacy that a Friends group can undertake to celebrate their local library. The t-shirt design, which featured a handwritten design that said “What’s More Punk than the Public Library?” was inspired by the DC Punk Archive, hosted by the DC Public Library. The original concept was created by a DCPL outreach librarian and launched as a t-shirt through the involvement of multiple board members. In this session, these individuals will share how the shirt and design was inspired, how online sales were able to scale and how the Friends group used the shirt to celebrate the role of the library in the community.


Learning Outcomes:

This session will explore:

  • How Friends of the Library groups can use online sales of merchandise to fundraise for local library programming.
  • How public library staff and community partnerships can increase Friends of the Library fundraising.
  • New ways to incorporate library advocacy within fundraising activities.


Carlos Izurieta, Betsey Suchanic, and Chelsea Kirkland of the Mt. Pleasant Library Friends

Carlos Izurieta

Growing up in the DC punk music scene and around DC area public libraries, Carlos saw a common thread that was shared between the two entities. He saw the spirit of inclusivity and community as well as the shared resources and experiences that were unique to both. Through his volunteering as the President of the Friends of the Mt Pleasant Library and a volunteer at the DC Public Library Punk Archives, Carlos was able to tie in these experiences into a new way of looking at Friends groups that support the amazing work librarians do for their community.

Chelsea Kirkland

Chelsea Kirkland is an Adult Services Librarian with DC Public Library's Outreach & Inclusion Department. She has also done stints at Arlington, Virginia Public Library and Pasco County, Florida Public Library. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Chelsea came of age involved in punk and DIY communities and finds herself bringing that background into her work on a regular basis.

Betsey Suchanic

As the Vice-President of the Mt. Pleasant Library Friends, Betsey Suchanic advocates and supports local library programming at the Mount Pleasant branch of the DC Public Library System. Outside of her volunteer role, she is a Senior Program Manager at the Urban Libraries Council. Betsey’s professional background includes work in small business development, graphic design, higher education strategic planning and urban planning at the local government level. 


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