Category Archives: Planning

Acquiring 501(c)(3) Status

Friends of the Library and Library Foundations are excellent groups to help raise money for your library. In order for these organizations to function optimally and to assist with the procurement of grants, it is encouraged for them to obtain a 501(c)(3) status. This means that they are viewed as a tax-exempt nonprofit organization that qualifies as a public charity under IRS Code, Section 501(c)(3). Please seek the aid of an attorney or CPA to assist in the process of obtaining 501(c)(3) status as laws and common practices are subject to change.

The process to achieve 501(c)(3) status can take over 6 months to complete. The IRS has created a guide outlining the Life Cycle of a Public Charity that can help lead you through this process. In order to achieve 501(c)(3) status, the group must do the following:

  1. Create an organizing document that contains the following provisions. More information and sample documents can be found here.
    • Limit the organization’s purpose to one of the exempt purposes listed in Section 501(c)(3) of the Code.
    • State that the organization cannot engage in activities that don’t advance the exempt purpose.
    • State that the assets of the organization (money, property, etc.), will be dedicated permanently to the exempt purpose listed.
  2. Establish a Board of Directors and create bylaws for the group.
  3. Once the organization is legally established (see page 9 of IRS Publication 4220), obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS online, by mail, or by phone (1-800-829-4933). Applying for an EIN triggers filing requirements, so do not complete this step until you are prepared to move forward with your other forms.
  4. File Articles of Incorporation for the group with the State of North Dakota as per NDCC 10-33. The paperwork can be found here. There is a $40 filing fee that must accompany the completed form. The ND Secretary of State Office and other state agencies created a guide to beginning and maintaining a nonprofit corporation in ND that can be found here.
  5. Submit the IRS Form 1023-EZ or Form 1023 depending on your eligibility. Eligibility can be determined using the worksheet in the 1023-EZ directions. Directions for the forms can be found here (1023-EZ) or here (1023).

**You may be exempt from this requirement if your organization has gross receipts in each taxable year that are normally not more than $5,000. Please see http://bit.ly/2REnkD0 for more details.**

  1. Before the group can solicit contributions, it may need to be registered as a charitable organization through the North Dakota Secretary of State’s office as per NDCC 50-22. That process can be found here.
  2. The organization will need to follow the tax-code for a 501(c)(3) during the time that their application is in processing. See the IRS page “Tax Law Compliance before Exempt Status is Recognized” for more information. All bank accounts, books, and records for the group need to be separate from the library’s records.

 

Once the group has acquired 501(c)(3) status, they will need to follow all state and federal filing guidelines to maintain that status. This includes the annual filing of Form 990 and other, unrelated income tax filings, state filings, charitable solicitations reporting, donation substantiation reporting, etc. Additionally, records should be kept for things such as executive compensation, transactions with board members, sources of revenue, accomplishments, expense allocations, details of investments, and organization structure. These things help assure that the group will maintain annual compliance. Most records of the 501(c)(3) group will be subject to public disclosure requirements.

 

Helpful Links:

Friends of the Library Resources:

Friends of the Library help support libraries in many ways including volunteer services, fund raising, programming, and advocating for their library. The following resources are helpful whether your library is starting a Friends group, restructuring, or looking to grow.

Resources:

Nebraska Public Libraries Friends and Foundations: https://bit.ly/2IqzT0d

Nebraska Public Libraries Friends of the Library Groups: https://bit.ly/2GpGGpa

United for Libraries Toolkits for Friends Groups and Foundations (use your library’s access credentials to log in): https://bit.ly/2wQNCw5

Sample Memorandum of Understanding from ALTAFF: https://bit.ly/2rPTG2I

Tool Kit for Building a Library Friends Group by Friends of Tennessee Libraries: https://bit.ly/2k41s4T

Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction—Library Friends and Library Foundations: https://bit.ly/2wNDzYx

Connecticut State Library Roles and Responsibilities of Library Director, Board, and Friends: http://bit.ly/2RwMvah

 

Examples of Friends Bylaws:

Friends of the West Fargo Public Library: https://bit.ly/2yUoB3R

Friends of the Bismarck Public Library: https://bit.ly/2InJTLD

Public Library and School Library Collaboration Toolkit

The “Public Library and School Library Collaboration Toolkit” has been released. Members of AASL (American Association of School Librarians), ALSC (Association for Library Service to Children), and YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) worked together for three years to create a document that benefits both school librarians and public librarians by encouraging them working together collaboratively.

This toolkit provides 5 chapters full of research, information, and examples for librarians to look towards when beginning collaboration initiatives between school and public libraries. There are also scrips and tips for both school and public librarians on how to overcome their different institutional hurdles.

Working together makes libraries and communities stronger. Look through the toolkit here.

ALSC put together a brief explanation of the toolkit here and has a list of successful past partnerships between school and public libraries that can be found here.

Technology Plan Resources

A technology plan outlines a library’s goals and strategies for utilizing technology to achieve its overall mission, goals and objectives. It also addresses the library’s current inventory of technology equipment and software utilized in the library, as well as a plan for the future purchase/replacement/maintenance of equipment and software.

While it is good practice for libraries to have technology plans, not all libraries are required to do so. However, the North Dakota Library Coordinating Council (NDLCC) Standards for Public Libraries does require a current technology plan to be on file at the State Library for libraries in tier 5 (service population of 25,001+).

Resources

TechSoup

State Libraries

Other

Space Needs Assessment

A space needs assessment is a process that documents and analyzes the space needs of a library. A space needs assessment should be conducted by the library director and board. In some instances, a library could also work with a building consultant.

While it is a good practice for all libraries to conduct space needs assessments, not all libraries are required to do so. Please consult the North Dakota Library Coordinating Council (NDLCC) Standards for Public Libraries for additional information on space needs requirements.

Benefits of a Space Needs Assessment:

  • Advocacy – A library could use the findings of an assessment to advocating for new shelving, a new building, new children, teen, or adult spaces, etc.
  • By conducting a space needs assessment, “librarians and trustees can obtain a general estimate of their library’s space needs based on their library’s underlying service goals” (Public Library Space Needs: A Planning Outline).
  • With a space needs assessment, “planners can assess the adequacy of their library’s existing overall square footage…” (Public Library Space Needs: A Planning Outline).
  • “An estimate of the library’s overall space need can be used to evaluate whether the existing space is sufficient or whether an expansion is warranted” (Key Issues in Building Design).

Step-By-Step Resources:

  • Public Library Space Needs: A Planning Outline (Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction) – This narrative outline and corresponding worksheet can help public library staff and trustees estimate their library’s future space needs to determine whether more comprehensive facility planning should be conducted.
  • Library Buildings and Construction: Library Space Planning (Connecticut State Library) – Using this Guide and its accompanying Worksheet, librarians and trustees can obtain a general estimate of their library’s space needs, and help initiate a larger facilities planning process.

Additional Resources:

  • Resources for Space Planning in Libraries (WebJunction) – Whether you are planning a new building or renovating an old one, you will need to develop a detailed space plan that takes into account the actual space needs to meet your library’s mission and service plan. Library space planning expert, Linda Demmers of Libris Design has put together a guide to some of the best resources and tools for library space planning as well an an introduction to the lingo.
  • Key Issues in Building Design (IFLA – the space needs section starts on page 6) –Based on the IFLA Library Buildings and Equipment Section’s Library Building Guidelines, this short publication summarizes the key points to take into consideration when designing a new or refurbished library building.

Worksheets, Spreadsheets, & Forms:

Examples:

Fanfiction in Libraries

Fanfiction in libraries!?! I’m sure many of you are thinking “not in my library!” but with the growing popularity of fanfiction and pop culture this is an easy programming idea. During the North Dakota Library Association’s annual conference Dr. Aimee Rogers, from the University of North Dakota, and Justine Sprenger, from the Grand Forks Public Library, gave the presentation Fanfiction: Why you should be a fan! Through this presentation the two presenters described why fanfiction is beneficial to young patrons in libraries, how many main stream authors began in fanfiction, and even books that highlight fanfiction as a part of the plot line. Their focus was to help the audience understand what fanfiction is and why it should not be scoffed at as a writing style. In fact, studies show that teaching writing through fanfiction helps the novice writer because they do not need to come up with their own characters and their own worlds, they can just add to the one that already exists.

If a library has a creative writing program within it, for children or teens, allowing them to begin by writing fanfiction may be more helpful than making them create everything on their own. Though some patrons may have all those ideas others may be intimidated by the fact that they need to create everything themselves, especially if they only have a character idea that could fit into another world. This presentation encouraged librarians to continue to embrace pop culture in their libraries through clubs and programming that highlight items like fanfiction, graphic novels, and cosplay. After the presentation, the presenters welcomed a discussion on how the librarians in the session felt about fanfiction in general and about it as a tool to be used to help with creative writing.

NDLCC Standards Compliance: Strategic Plan

Guest post by Mary Soucie, State Librarian (first published in the October 2016 issue of Flickertale)

This is the ongoing series we have on compliance with the ND Library Coordinating Council’s (NDLCC) Standards for Public Libraries. The standards are effective July 1, 2017, and public libraries must be in compliance with the standards in order to apply for NDLCC grants.

One of the standards for all libraries is to have a 3-5 year strategic plan on file with the State Library. Many people are intimidated by the idea of writing a strategic plan, assuming the process to be complicated and difficult to undertake. While certainly some processes are more complex than others, the process can be simple depending on the needs of the organization.

When the State Library decided to create a strategic plan last year, we opted to work with a facilitator. We did an all-day retreat with our staff, off site. We also conducted a staff survey to help narrow the topics to be discussed at the retreat. By the end of the day, we had identified three priorities for the State Library to focus on. Administration then worked with our facilitator to identify objectives that would be used to measure progress of the goals. Library Vision 2020 and our Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) 5 year plan round out the documents that make up our strategic plan.

Hiring a facilitator is one method that can be used to develop a strategic plan. Larger organizations often find it useful to work with an outside facilitator. Libraries that work with a facilitator may opt to utilize surveys, focus groups or a combination of both to help inform the development of the plan.

Smaller libraries may not find the use of a facilitator to be necessary or an option. You can still conduct a patron survey. You can develop the survey using the free version of Survey Monkey, Google forms or another method. The survey can be shared with patrons that come into the library and on the library’s website. Focus groups are also a very useful way to gather information about the community’s needs and wants from the library.

A very common place to start the strategic planning process is to conduct a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Strengths and weaknesses are often internal to the organization while opportunities and threats are usually external. When identifying your library’s strengths, questions to ask include what do you do better than anyone else, what can you offer that no one else can and what do others see as your strengths? When identifying your weaknesses, ask what can you improve, what should you avoid, what do others see as your weaknesses? To identify opportunities, look at trends in both the library world and in your community, region and state. When looking for threats, identify what obstacles the organization faces, who your competitors are and what they are doing better than you; again, remember to look at the local, regional and state communities. These are samples of questions you can look at; they are by no means exhaustive. Once you’ve completed the SWOT, you can identify the weaknesses you want to work on and the opportunities you want to take advantage of.

There is no prescription for how long your strategic plan should be. Typically, a plan has three to five goals, with measuring objectives for each. Wendy Wendt, director at Grand Forks, refers to her strategic plan as a roadmap and points out that you will not necessarily complete every single item in the plan. I think that’s useful advice to remember. You want the plan to be obtainable while challenging your organization to grow.

While you are creating your strategic plan, it is the perfect time to examine your vision and mission statements to determine if they still work or if they need to be updated. A mission statement should be short enough that everyone associated with the organization, including trustees, can remember it. The mission statement can be full sentences or a series of short bullet points. The NDSL mission statement is “Making connections, strengthening communities, impacting lives”. This statement guides us when planning services and programs and helps us determine how to use our resources. That is the goal of a mission statement- to help guide the organization in the use of resources while conveying the message of what the organization is about. The NDSL Vision Statement is “providing pathways to information and innovation”. The vision statement is what you do while the mission statement is how you’ll do it.

Your Library Development Specialist can assist you with your strategic plan, from assisting you with conducting focus groups, drafting a survey or reading through the plan and making suggestions on ways to improve the plan. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if we can assist in any way. You can also visit our website at http://library.nd.gov/strategicplanning.html where we’ve pulled together a variety of resources on strategic planning.

I love strategic planning and would be happy to read your plan or answer questions on the process. If you would like me to assist with a focus group or help you conduct a SWOT with your board, please invite me for a Librarian for a Day; you can contact Cheryl Pollert to schedule a visit at cjpollert@nd.gov.

NDLCC Standards Compliance Resource Links

Whether or not you attended one of our recent Summer Summit meetings, I wanted to ensure these resources were readily available and in one convenient location. If you need further assistance, don’t hesitate to contact your friendly Library Development Specialist here at the North Dakota State Library!

Indie Author Day 2016

Libraries across North America are gearing up to host local events for the first annual Indie Author Day. SELF-e, a collaboration between Library Journal and BiblioLabs, is the driving force Indie-Author-Day-300x226behind Indie Author Day. What is Indie Author Day? It is a soon-to-be annual event commencing this fall that will recognize and support independent authors.

It can be challenging for authors to get discovered and find a foothold in the publishing world. However, indie publishing is on the rise, and indie authors can also work with their local library to build support and a fan base within their own communities. On the flip side, libraries are urged to support local authors. This is where Indie Author Day comes in. Authors connecting with their local libraries and libraries supporting local authors forms a critical relationship.

Libraries big and small are encouraged to participate in Indie Author Day and host programs. Libraries hosting this event may offer book readings, book talks, discussion panels, book signings, workshops, presentations, networking, and more!

In addition to the programs hosted by all the participating libraries, an online gathering will be held at 1:00 PM (Central) with writers, publishers, and other leaders in the industry. This will bring libraries and indie communities together, and the hour long gathering will also provide information, advice, and inspiration.

The 2016 Indie Author Day will be held on October 8, 2016. For more information, visit their website at: http://indieauthorday.com/

For more information on hosting and planning an event, visit http://self-e.libraryjournal.com/indieauthorday

Registering to host a local event for Indie Author Day can be done at: http://indieauthorday.com/register/

Library Volunteers

volunteerAlmost every library depends on volunteer help at some time or another. Some libraries in North Dakota are run entirely by volunteers year-round! Summer, however, means summer reading programming. As one of the most time and labor intensive programs that most libraries offer, summer reading is one time nearly all libraries rely on volunteers for extra help. Finding and retaining reliable volunteers can be as challenging as planning a whole summer’s worth of programming, so here are some resources that may help.

The National Summer Learning Association has a tip sheet to help you recruit and select seasonal staff. It helps you identify potential sources for recruiting summer help, and it also provides tips for interviewing.

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