All Ages Welcome: Recruiting and Retaining Younger Generations for Library Boards, Friends Groups, and Foundations

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According to 2016 Pew Research Center survey data, Millennials are more likely to have visited a public library in the past year than any other adult demographic. But despite being core library users, millennials and other younger generations are often underrepresented on library boards and library advocacy groups, including Friends groups and Foundations.  But you can change that, with the help of this planner’s hands-on worksheets, brainstorming activities, checklists, and expert advice. Using this toolkit from United for Libraries you will

  • understand generational differences and commonalities through statistics and analysis of Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials and Generation Z/post-Millennials;
  • learn how to navigate the challenges of fundraising with the “debt generations” by persuasively answering the question “what’s in it for me?”;
  • master the ABCs of recruitment and retention, tailoring them to fit your library;
  • craft several customized pitches, giving you confidence no matter the situation or audience;
  • discover how to cement buy-in from two key groups, current organization members and your new recruits, thereby ensuring acceptance and enthusiasm all around;
  • work towards defining and managing diversity for your advocacy group; and
  • use tried and true methods for successful onboarding of volunteers, including a Board Member Orientation Checklist and guidance on mentoring.

Using this resource, libraries of all kinds will be empowered to grow and strengthen their recruitment, retention, and training of Trustees, Friends, and Foundation members.

United for Libraries

United for Libraries, a division of the American Library Association, supports those who govern, promote, advocate, and fundraise for libraries, and brings together library trustees, advocates, friends, and foundations into a partnership that creates a powerful force for libraries in the 21st century. For more information, visit

Lina Bertinelli

Lina Bertinelli is the Workforce Librarian at the Enoch Pratt Free Library and Maryland State Library Resource Center in Baltimore, MD.

Madeline Jarvis

Madeline Jarvis is the Adult and Information Services Manager at the Marion (IA) Public Library. Kosinski is the Member Services and Outreach Manager at Califa Group.

Kathy Kosinski

Kathy Kosinski is the Member Services and Outreach Manager at Califa Group. She has a BA in English and Spanish Language Literature from the University of Michigan College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, and a Masters of Science in Information from the University of Michigan School of Information.

Tess Wilson

Tess Wilson is the Community Engagement Coordinator for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Middle Atlantic Region. She has earned a BA in English from Washburn University, an MFA in Creative Writing from Chatham University, and an MA in Library and Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh.