Libraries are private, non-profit organizations that depend on the support of individuals, corporations, and foundations to help ensure that libraries remain free to the millions of people who visit in person or via the web each year. While government funding supports the basic operations of many of our nation's libraries, there are still many more libraries that depend on contributions from private sources.

* Contribute
Consider a tax-deductible gift to your library. Many libraries have memorial programs, endowments and other opportunities to support quality library services. Some other ways you can contribute to your library are:
  • Donate your time, money, and expertise to your library.
  • Nominate your library as your community, school, corporate organization's project for the year.
  • Buy your library a subscription to a popular magazine.
  • Honor a friend or relatives birthday with book for the library.
  • Donate a book...or a whole shelf of books.
  • Remember your library in your estate planning.
  • Write a check to your library's Foundation/Friends group.
  • Give to the library through your company's matching program for charitable giving.
* Be A Friend
Join the Friends of the Library, a support group of volunteers who provide fundraising and other assistance for many libraries. As a member, you will be kept informed of library funding issues. If there is no Friends group, start one. School, academic and special libraries can all benefit from such groups.
  • Donate your used books for the Friends book sale.
  • Give the gift of membership to a friend or relative.
  • Use your skills to help with programs and fundraising events.
  • Find new resources for the Friends.
  • Develop and publish a Friends "Wish List" for potential donors.
  • Volunteer to work in the Friends Library Bookstore or booksale.
* Volunteer
Volunteer your time. Opportunities might include delivering reading materials to shut-ins, helping kids with homework after school or being a "grandparent" reader to preschool children. Other ways to volunteer include:
  • Offer a committed helping hand to your library's staff.
  • Become a literacy tutor.
  • Shelve books or nurture plants.
  • Clean up after emergencies.
  • Present an adult program.
  • Read stories to children or help with class visits.
  • Mend materials or maintain local information or history files.
  • Help out the Friends of the Library.
  • Become a docent.
Promote
Research has shown that everyone loves libraries, but no one thinks about them very much. That's where you come in. You don't have to be a public relations expert to promote your library. You just have to talk about your library. Here are some ways to do it
  • Attend local government meetings to urge city and county legislators to invest in libraries as a vital community resource, one that will save substantial tax dollars in helping people of all ages to be more literate and productive
  • Support library referenda in elections.
  • Write to your state and federal legislators and demand that library service be viewed (and funded) as a necessary public service.
  • Urge school and college administrators to make library funding a high priority
  • Write a letter to the editor of your newspapers or call in to a radio talk show to express your concern.Share your concern with friends, family neighbors and co-workers. Many people are not aware of the funding problems libraries are experiencing nationally - or in their own communities. Encourage others to get involved.
  • Write a letter to the editor of your newspapers or call in to a radio talk show to express your concern.
  • If you are a writer or have contacts with the media, suggest a story about the many ways libraries serve their communities and the need for support.
  • Speak up for libraries at campus or community groups that you belong to - the PTA, Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis, League of Women Voters, faculty groups. Invite your librarian to talk about library services and needs.
  • Participate in Library Legislative Day Activities.

Click here to find out how to declare Library Lovers' Month

Copyright 1999-2008 FRIENDS & FOUNDATIONS of California Libraries. Send questions and coments to: stephanie.stokes.design