Friends of Libraries Australia Inc (FOLA) was launched at a function in Queen's Hall, State Library of Victoria on 9 December 1994, by FOLA's patron, the Hon Michael Kirby AC, CMG (former judge of the High Court of Australia).
FOLA's purpose is:
- the establishment, promotion and support of Friends of library groups throughout Australia
- to provide a representative voice for FOL groups and library users
- to encourage the use and improvement of library and information services
FOLA represents some 160 Friends of Library groups, who in turn represent some 8,000 members who are supporters of libraries in Australia. These members support services representing the 12 million Australian public library users.
FOLA produces a quarterly newsletter - News Update, a comprehensive resource book, undertakes conferences, workshops, and presents three FOLA Awards annually. FOLA undertakes lobbying at the state and national levels of government on behalf of library users and Friends. FOLA maintains links to the worldwide movement of FOL groups in New Zealand, Canada, United States and the United Kingdom.
The Executive Director and founder of FOLA is Daniel Ferguson.
Our aim is to support the important work being achieved by Friends groups nationallyon behalf of libraries and the service they provide, recognising that libraries have obligations to administrative and funding authorities as well as to their user community.
The aims of a Friends of Library group are:
- To encourage the use of library and information services by the community
- To support and assist library management in the promotion and development of excellent library services
- To represent library users
- To undertake other activities appropriate to the interests of particular groups
These aims are achieved by:
to act in a public relations role while promoting and/or organising cultural, educational and leisure facilities and/or activities in the library in question
to raise funds and grant monies to support specific projects as requested by the library manager or as initiated by the Friends in co-operation with the library manager
to bring pressure to bear on local, state and federal politicians in matters of library policies and funding for library services