For the past six years, I’ve been privileged to serve as a board member of the Friends of Kansas Libraries. I was introduced to the organization at a program held in Savonburg by two library directors in Southeast Kansas. They had both been long-time members of the board, and noting my interest, they invited me to attend a board meeting in Lawrence. I was impressed with what the organization did to help Kansas libraries, and so I joined the board and have been a member since that time.

Established in 1982, Friends of Kansas Libraries (FoKL) is a tax-deductible, non-profit organization governed by a board of officers and trustees from all regions of Kansas. Membership includes individuals, libraries, Friends organizations, and businesses who are interested in promoting and supporting libraries in their communities and state-wide.

The FoKL mission statement is: To encourage and support new and existing local Friends groups, to facilitate the exchange of useful information among organizations of Friends, and to advocate for excellent library services.

The FoKL Board Officers and Trustees: assist with the development of new and existing Friends organizations; provide start-up grants to new Friends groups needing assistance; provide grants to Friends groups for library programs and support of group projects ? provide a booth at the annual Kansas Library Association (KLA) Conference; provide opportunities to learn and grow through workshops at the annual Kansas Library conference and other forums; publish a newsletter, FoKL Point, at least three times a year; and are effective library advocates for improving library funding

During the time I’ve served on the FoKL Board, I’ve met some fascinating people who energetically support libraries. Not those who believe libraries are no longer needed because you can find everything on the internet. But those who believe libraries remain viable by providing services people can find in few other places these days. When attending board meetings, I’ve visited numerous libraries around the state, on my own time and expense. These libraries are as large as those in Topeka-Shawnee, Manhattan, and Lawrence, and as small as the ones in Norton, Belleville and Savonburg.

Board members have met in the State Library of Kansas, visited with the governor, and attended Legislative Day at the Kansas State Capitol to greet legislators and share our message. We contract authors to speak during our luncheons during the annual KLA Conference, usually held in Wichita or Topeka, and present our grants and awards to some amazing library supporters for their efforts.

Anyone who is interested in supporting libraries in Kansas is welcome to become a member of this organization. For more information, you may go to the web site: HYPERLINK “http://www.fokl.net/”www.fokl.net.