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South Dakota State Library Services

A list of services provided by the South Dakota State Library.

Friends and Foundations Groups

What is a Friends group?
Group of people who support the work of the library:

  • with financial contributions and small fundraising efforts
  • with volunteer service
  • act as bridge between the library and the community
  • advocate for the library
  • support current ongoing activities and one-time events
  • seek membership

Starting Out:

  • Form a steering committee with a few existing volunteers or some of your most committed and enthusiastic patrons
  • Determine the purpose & mission
  • Obtain tax-exempt 501 (c) (3) status


  • Official or Informal?
  • Fees?
  • Length of membership commitment?


  • Board – separate from Library Trustees and Foundation
  • Committees


  • Small projects
  • One-time programs
  • Supplemental
  • Consult librarian’s wish list
  • Consult with other boards before spending money


  • Regularly scheduled
  • Liaison to meet with other boards

Librarian’s Role:

  • Communication – needs, wishes, issues
  • Keep all boards somewhat separate, particularly the membership of boards


A Foundation is an institution supported by an endowment.
A Library Foundation is separate from the library board, Friends group, or funding authority.

Benefits of a Foundation
●Ensures money stays with library for library purposes
●Allows donations to grow by earning interest

Purposes of a Foundation
●Endow large library projects
●Enhance library’s mission
●Ensure library’s future

Foundation relationships with other groups: Library Foundation and Library Boards
Foundation & Library boards may align with same goals & projects, or may work on separate issues.

Library Board provides the day-to-day operational guidance
●Policies & planning
●Public funds
●Follows state statutes

Library Foundation Seeks

  • large donations
  • long-term investments
  • long-term projects
Library Foundation Structures
Library Foundation and Library board are the same Library Foundation board and Library board are separate Library Foundation and Library board are the same + there are 2-4 individuals who serve on Foundation only
●Much more work for library director ●Foundation Board has liaison member from Library Board ●Those individuals’ terms may be different from board members’ terms
●Potential for mixing roles ●Foundation Board has own director ●Those individuals’ sole focus is Foundation work
●Dual missions ●Each board has distinct mission and purpose


Thorsen, Jeanne. “Establishing a Library Foundation, Friends and Foundations Fact Sheets
Applying for 501(c)(3) status Applying for 501(c)(3) status