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Friends group in the works for the RCS library

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By Marlene McTigue 

Capital Region Independent Media

The Friends of the RCS Community Library group was the brainchild of former library board president the Rev. Antonio Booth. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

What happens when you get three ex-presidents of the RCS Community Library’s Board of Trustees in a room together? Big ideas are hatched. 

Ever since local retired pastor the Rev. Antonio Booth has been serving on the library’s board, he has seen the need for a Friends group. 

“My last term ended in June of 2023 and I decided that during my last term, a Friends group was needed,” Booth said. “I spoke to the board and they were excited about it and I spoke to the library director and she was excited about it, too. So, I then began to research how to start a Friends of the Library group and I even went to a training about forming a Friends group.”

Booth then began to start the research needed to draft the bylaws. He looked at the bylaws of various Friends organizations and tried to take the best of what he saw. 

“Then I called a meeting and our first meeting was in October of 2023, and we had three people show up,” Booth said. “And the funny thing about it was that all three of us were former board presidents at one time — myself, Deborah Moon and Marie Sturges.”  

“By the next meeting in November, the word had got out and we had about eight to 10 people and that’s when we began to work on bylaws as a group,” he said. “We also worked on a procedure manual and a memorandum of understanding because you need all of those in place before starting the group.”

From there the project took off, growing to a full board of six and six committed volunteers.

The written mission of group is:

“The Friends seek to: 

  • Advocate for library services on a local or state or national level.
  • Partner with library staff and Library Trustees in promoting library services within the RCS
  • Community Library catchment area.
  • Recruit volunteers to assist with various RCS Community Library programs.
  • Raise funds to support library activities, fundraising and grants.”

The board consists of Booth as president, Moon as vice president, Secretary Kelsey Milner, Treasurer Erica Gans-Herold, and at-large members Laura Best-Macia and Fonda Lloyd.

The group’s committed volunteers are Marie Sturges, Darleen Eddy, Valerie Jones, Alicia Nieves, Kathy Ricardi and Khouri Giordano.

“This is a very good group to work with,” Booth said. “They are very dedicated and committed. They have been very thoughtful and insightful through the whole process.”

RCS Community Library Director Lisa Neuman likes the idea, too. 

“I’m thrilled that we have so many wonderful people here who want to show their support for the RCS Community Library,” Neuman said. “Their efforts will help us to continue and expand on the library’s mission to enrich lives, celebrate community, and inspire creativity! I look forward to working with such a dedicated group of volunteers.”

If you would like to be a part of RCS Community Library’s Friends group, there are many ways you can help.

“We have different types of memberships,” Booth said.

An individual member is $10/annually, a family membership with two members is $15, contributing member is $25, supporting member is $35, patron is $50-199, and benefactor is $200 and over. 

All members have voting privileges when the group has its annual meeting. Officers are selected for two years. 

Also, one of goals is to recruit volunteers for the library so you can still participate in activities without being a Friend. 

The group is now in the process of pursuing tax-exempt status. The process is expected to be completed by July 1.  

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