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LPL board, support group still ‘friends’

— The Friends of the Liverpool Public Library didn’t hold their annual used book sale this year, and they haven’t been hosting regular meetings at the Tulip Street facility in the village.

The lack of activity has led some to speculate that there’s some kind of a break between the Friends group and library leadership, but both Friends President Pam Sprague and LPL Board President Mark Spadafore insist that isn’t the case.

Instead, both sides say the situation is the result of what Spadafore calls “an internal process [on which] we are embarking.”

“We are currently negotiating a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the Friends of the LPL and the Board of Trustees,” Spadafore said. “Other libraries have MOAs and since the relationship in the past was more informal, we are both looking to formalize the relationship.”

Sprague echoed Spadafore’s explanation.

“The library decided that they needed to have a memo of understanding with us,” said Sprague, a former library employee and LPL union president. “They asked us to cease operations until we got this memo of understanding in place, this legal document that says, ‘This is what the library is going to do for the Friends, and this is what the Friends are going to do for the library.’ I’ve never bothered to look into it, but the library says there are a lot of other libraries and Friends groups that do have those documents. We consulted our attorney, and she said, ‘Sure, fine, why not?’”

Sprague said that when the Friends group was formed roughly 12 years ago, no such agreement seemed necessary because the group was small and relatively informal. However, that changed as membership exploded; Sprague said membership has grown 50 percent in the last six to eight years.

“The membership is up to 371 people,” Sprague. “It’s just kind of evolved from this little mom-and-pop kind of organization to this big organization, and somewhere along the line, the board decided we should get a formalized document, and we said ‘Okay.’ So we’ve been working on that.”

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