Hello fellow Library Workers!
In Swindon, we are looking to start up Friends Groups at the 5 Core Branches to help raise funds for the libraries. We've had one or two Friends Groups in the past that have each run with their own agenda and tend to be loyal to just their one branch. There have been previous attempts at setting up more official Friends Groups but we find the public tend to shy away when formal paperwork needs to be filled out.
We do not want to end up with 5 separate Friends Groups, raising money for just their own branch. We have been talking about having one centralised group that has 5 Friends Group branches from it. This way, the admin is kept small and simple at the main library but we can still allow for 5 Friends Groups to exist independently. We would like for all the funds raised to be put into one account and distributed depending on the need at each library. So the groups may not necessarily be raising money for just their own library but help share the wealth between all the libraries.
Has anyone had any experience in doing this before? Is there a way to centralise the paperwork / admin side of Friends Group while allowing little groups to operate independently?
On top of that, does anyone have any positive experience of Friends Groups? What worked well and is continuing to work well for you?
From those who have struggled with Friends Groups, what have been the main obstacles you've been faced with?
I know this is a lot of questions, but we want to start this out right and as successfully as possible. It's a hard task ahead but it may just what Swindon Libraries need to keep the future bright.
I'd appreciate any feedback you have to offer. Even if it's a quick sentence or two. If anyone would like to speak in more detail, I'm happy to set up a telephone conversation.
Hope this message finds you all well.
Volunteer Development Officer