Local Friends of the public library to have first meeting

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On March 1, 2013 Harrison County residents Carla Keller, Jeanine Lister and Bill McCann incorporated a new non-profit -- Friends of the Cynthiana-Harrison County Public Library, Inc. The new group will have a public organizational meeting at 5:30 on Tuesday, March 12 in the Charles Feix Community room of the Cynthiana Public Library. The meeting will last about one hour and is open to all who wish to attend.
“The purpose of having a Friends group is to raise funds for and to be supportive of the policies and programs of the Cynthiana-Harrison County Public Library. It is not the intention of the group to manage, or attempt to manage, the Library,” said Bill McCann.
“In fact,” McCann said, “we welcome library staff and board members to be members of the Friends. However, the bylaws will specifically prohibit library staff and board members from serving as officers or board members of the Friends group. Likewise, officers or employees of the Friends will be prohibited from serving on the Board of the Library while also being a Friends Board member, officer or employee.”
Asked specifically what the group’s goal was Jeanine Lister said, “We want to raise funds for the Library through the establishment of a non-profit-501(c)(3) public charity-bookstore that will be located somewhere in downtown Cynthiana with profits going to support the Library.”
Carla Keller, librarian at the Licking Valley Campus of MCTC, said, “There is no traditional used bookstore in Cynthiana or a surrounding city so we are hopeful that the bookstore established to help raise funds for the Library will be of service to surrounding communities as well.”
Pat Barnes, director of the Cynthiana-Harrison County Public Library, said, “A Friends group that is supportive of this Library is something both the Board and I support. So I have appointed a staff member of the Library to be a liaison between the two organizations. We want this group to be successful and we will provide any assistance we can to help it get it established and grow.”
The initial Board of the Friends group is made up of Carla Keller (acting treasurer and director), and Jeanine Lister and Bill McCann as directors. Elections will be held in April.
At the meeting on March 12 three committees will be appointed: Nominations, Bylaws, and Trustees. The Nominations Committee will seek out and recommend people to serve as members of the Board of Directors and Officers of the group.
The Bylaws Committee will be given draft bylaws and asked to recommend that document be adopted, or that it be adopted with amendments. Or, if the draft Bylaws are completely unacceptable then it can recommend its own set of Bylaws for adoption at a later date.
The draft Bylaws were written by McCann, who explained, “I was given the Bylaws of other Friends groups from across Kentucky and from those I compiled and edited the bylaws that will be given to the Committee to consider. There is nothing particularly special about what I’ve done; my draft is simply a place to start instead of having to begin at the beginning in the drafting process.”
Finally, the Trustees Committee will be given the charge of finding a site for the bookstore, negotiating a contract for the lease or purchase of the site and of fitting it up and maintaining it, subject to approval by the Board. Daily operation of the bookstore will be the responsibility of the group’s part-time executive director.
Also, at the initial public meeting consideration will be given to such matters as dues, and potential sites for the Bookstore that the chairperson of the Trustees Committee should consider.
The Friends group will be a non-profit corporation. “Once we have Bylaws, the Bookstore is up and running, and we have some idea of what our budget will be we can apply to the Internal Revenue Service for 501(c)(3) public charity status,” said McCann. “IRS approval of the Friends’ application-whenever it is approved-will be effective as of the day of March 1, 2013.
Consequently, local contributors to the Friends of the Cynthiana-Harrison County Public Library can make tax deductible contributions now and know that they are deductible to the extent that such deductions are allowable.
According to Lister, “Our goal is for the group to set dues and elect officers and Board members in April, open the Bookstore in early May, and for the Board to approve the Bylaws and file the paperwork for 501(c)(3) status by June 30 so that we can get IRS approval prior to April 15, 2014.”
“It’s an ambitious schedule,” said Keller. “However, this has been a while in the planning stages with the idea that once we got started it would be possible to become operational very quickly. Now all we need is for people in the community to come to the public meeting on March 12 and help us move from idea to reality.”