What a year we’ve had! Normal life was interrupted by the coronavirus, which turned life upside-down. We rolled with the punch, but it changed all aspects of how we operate.
The Friends were no exception. The greatest impact was on Browsers Corner Book Store, our major fundraising instrument. During the year, our President Patti Cooper-Smith resigned and I, your Vice President, became Acting President. I have to say that it’s been quite a challenge. You’ll see a new president in January after the elections and I’ll go back to number two.
The FOCCL mission is to help fund the Library’s non-capital projects. With Browsers closed, we were having to use funds we’d normally give to the Library instead for our store overhead. This wasn’t acceptable. We got the store open in May but only for limited hours. This didn’t rectify our cash flow. In reviewing what we could do to maintain our mission, the executive board reviewed the options. This was difficult because the store operated with a very thin overhead; we don’t have much room to trim our expenses. A group of volunteers proposed we go back to an all-volunteer store staff.
This would eliminate the paid manager position which would save us enough to get the store back running in the black. The executive board discussed this at length and analyzed the financial impact, expressed concern on all volunteer staffing, and saw this was the only path available to them at the time. The executive board would take on store oversight. We wish to thank Diana Hernandez for her work managing the store and were concerned we had to eliminate her position. Our first responsibility was to FOCCL and its mission.
Browsers has been open for over a month and is showing a reasonable income — covering our overhead — and we’re now putting money back into the Library fund.