PROFESSIONAL READING

The Good, the Great, and the Unfriendly: A Librarian's Guide to Working with Friends Groups

157p. illus. index. ALA Editions. Jan. 2017. pap. $57. ISBN 9780838914984.
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This slim handbook by Reed (executive director, United for Libraries; coauthor, The Complete Library Trustee Handbook) expands upon and updates her 2004 work, 101+ Great Ideas for Libraries and Friends. The question of why Friends of libraries are needed is addressed—the Internet has not made these institutions obsolete, the author points out, and libraries are often the only access for digital "have-nots." The nitty-gritty of working with Friends includes filing for tax exempt status, merging a group with a foundation, and working with volunteers. Friends groups supporting academic libraries, often overlooked, are given their share of attention. Friends of a library can fund-raise, provide outreach, support programming, engage the community, and advocate for maintaining and increasing budgets. How to connect with new and younger Friends and volunteers is covered, although the use of social media could have been given more attention. Advice for how a library can divorce from a Friends group when things go bad provides guidance through a sticky situation, but a few in-depth examples would have been valuable. A chapter of fund-raising and programming ideas rounds out the book.
VERDICT Librarians and trustees interested in developing a library Friends group will find straightforward, practical advice in this guide.

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