Open Book to Close: Nonprofit Governance Would have Helped

I am sad that Open Book is closing, because it is one of the great walking destinations with kids that our much-touted Walking Community can sport.

However, I am not surprised - as many know, I was leery from the start. I have a newly minted M.S. in Nonprofit Management and I feel like the ambassador for nonprofits right now. Open Book was not a nonprofit entity, so please don't let this experience sully your feelings about "NONprofits."  Nonprofit organizations need to serve a mission, do not pocket profits from membership "donations" and provide a tax deductible option for those donations.  They have boards that are responsible for the entity.  I strongly feel that if Open Book had engaged a true nonprofit board, which would have empowered the strong volunteer and make-it-work mentality of the community, Open Book would be going strong.

I'm pretty sure Open Book was set up as an LLC, got sort of written up haphazardly in the Journal/Sentinel for not being a real nonprofit, then intimated it was going to "file the paperwork to get set up as a real co-op," but then..did it? These questions linger in my mind.

If Open Book were a real co-op, or nonprofit, I think would be invited to come save it, as easily as we were invited to come give it money over and over again. The village, too, gave it $35,000. 

I'm wondering about the board.  If  the board eliminated costly paid positions (and yes, I do feel any paid positions were "costly") and decided to staff volunteers  to run it, or run it  on weekends, or keep it alive the way Broad Vocabulary and other bookstores stay afloat through the kindness of its constituents, would this not keep the doors Open? It feels instead like this has been the venture of a small cache of ex-Schwartz employees, led by one person, however noble, and did not seek the benefits of what good governance can really accomplish. 

Am really eager to see what happens next, and hopeful that people do not lose faith in music, just because the Music Man came to town and they feel swindled.

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