Manual - How to Form Your Friends of the Library Group

How to Form Your Friends of the Library Group manual
Authors:  Dorothy Macnaughton and Jami van Haaften

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 Contents:         Who is this manual for?    
                           Friends of Canadian Libraries

                                Friends support their library
                                Friendly relations
                                Forming your Friends group
                                Planning your first event
                               Organizing Your board
                               Governing documents
                               Legal entities
                              What comes next?
                              FOCAL  forms
                             Your Documents

       Cost:          FOCAL Member:        $45  *Includes $15.00 Shipping & Handling
                          Non Member:               $65 
*Includes $15.00 Shipping & Handling

        How to Order:

Prepay your order -  cheques must be made payable to: Friends of Canadian Libraries
Mail order form with payment to:  Lois Magahay, #112, 1 Heritage Way, Lindsay, ON, K9V 5P9

Highlights from our new manual

Our manual comes complete with sample forms, brochures, recommended reading, and links to helpful resources from the Internet. It is full of helpful advice from FOCAL's former President Jami van Haaften, and our current Vice President Dorothy Macnaughton, both experienced in the development of their  local Friends groups, and keen observers of what has been happening in Canada over the past decade or more.

Who is this manual for?

Everyone involved in forming such a group, including library staff and administrators, Library Board Trustees, library patrons, volunteers, and other interested people in your community, will find valuable information and resources to help develop a Friends of the Library group. 

Friends support their library -

          Why does your Library need a Friends Group? Your library needs a Friends group because

Friends can:

  • Advocate

  • Increase Public Awareness of the Library

  • Volunteer Their Time, Energy and Expertise
  • Partner with Other Community Groups

  • Raise Funds
  • Sponsor Programming/Events 

  • Assist During Special Events 

  • Help Out  with Specific Library Services

Forming your Friends Group -

You will need a reliable core group of people who have the time to spend planning and organizing the necessary details to help your Friends group succeed.  At the initial meeting, ask for volunteers willing to serve on your Steering Committee.  Those present should agree by consensus who will be taking on this responsibility. 

  • Your Steering Committee

  • Who to Invite

  • Advertising/Promotion

  • Planning Timelines

  • Your First Organizing Meeting

  • Sample agenda

  • Following the Meeting

Organizing Your Board

  • Strategic planning
  • The Role of Executive Committee Members
  • Committees=
  • Timeline for Your Regular Friends Meetings
  • Agenda

Legal Entities

There are a number of federal and provincial governmental agencies which relate to charitable or non-profit agencies. As you move through the process of forming your group, you will want to consider your options in choosing to register for charitable status, become incorporated, register the name of your association, apply for a lottery license, and/or find out if you have insurance coverage.


  • How will Your Friends’ Group Coordinate Volunteers?

  • How will Your Friends’ Group Recruit and Retain Volunteers?

  • How Can Job Descriptions Help?