In today's economic environment, there are pressures to fundraise throughout all of the academic units at colleges and universities, including libraries. Unfortunately, however, there is no natural constituency for the academic library. While the library may have been instrumental in their successful academic career, alumni more often than not, feel no loyalty to it, as they might to their department, school, college, or even sports team. The school library, which may have served as the important cog in their academic success, is taken for granted in its apparent supporting role.
Until recently, solidifying a donor base was of little consequence to the academic library; college and university libraries got by with minimal fundraising, often assisted by friends groups that provide financial support via annual membership fees and occasional fundraising events. College and university libraries friends groups are frequently made up of current and retired faculty and librarians, who understand the important role of the campus library. The trick for academic libraries in the current economy is to bring in new life and new blood in support of the library.
A key to this concept is to connect the interests of potential donors with the goals and objectives of the library. Current and retired faculty and library staff understand the importance of the library and its mission; but how can the library communicate its mission in a way that attracts alumni and other community supporters?