Monday, September 28, 2009

For New Yorkers: Report on the Meeting of the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries, Sept. 25

On September 25, 2009, members of the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries met at the METRO offices in New York City. As I have done since I joined the Council two years ago, I am providing my notes here for everyone to read. These are not the official minutes from the meeting. If any at the meeting has a correction, please let me know. Questions (from anyone) are always welcome.

In attendance were:
  • Bridget Quinn-Carey
  • Jerry Nichols
  • Sam Simon
  • Norm Jacknis (chair)
  • Ellen Bach (by phone)
  • Sara Kelly Johns
  • Barbara Hamlin
  • Tim Johnson
  • Jill Hurst-Wahl
Absent were:
  • David S. Ferriero
  • John Monahan
Also in attendance from the State Library were:
  • Bernard Margolis
  • Loretta Ebert
  • John Brock
Bernie Margolis has been writing periodic updates to the library community. The archives of these updates can be found at

NormJacknisNewly Appointed Members: The terms of Ellen Bach, David Ferriero and Norm Jacknis are ending at the end of September. In addition, the Council has one open spot due to Lucretia McClure's resignation within the last year, due to health reasons. The Board of Regents have appointed the following people to replace these members:
  • John Hammond (Potsdam, NY)
  • Dionne Mack-Harvin (Brooklyn, NY)
  • Mary Muller (Troy, NY)
  • Louise Sherby (New York, NY)
The five-year terms of these four people will begin on October 1.

By the way, David Ferriero has been nominated by the Obama administration to be the next Archivist of the United States. Congratulations David!

State Budget Update:
  • Good news - It is expected that all state aid to library systems will be paid by the end of the calendar year.
  • Cash-flow concerns with NYS government are continuing. This is impacting all areas.
  • It is likely that the 2010 budget for the State Library will be the same as 2009. With required increases to covers some cost areas (e.g., benefits), this means that there will be a virtual decrease of 7-8%.
  • Funding for the Office of Cultural Education continues to come from filing fees. Unfortunately, the fees do not cover the cost of operating the OCE, which include the State Library, State Museum and State Archive. The Council discussed options that might be pursued in conversations at the State level.
New Leadership in SED/Board of Regents:
Broadband Initiatives: The State Library is seeking money from several sources for its broadband initiatives, including federal grants. The grant applications from the State Library to the federal Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) program total $34 million.

While much of the state has access to broadband Internet connections, there are some areas that do not. In addition, some areas lack broadband competition which means that their access is expensive. Having access to high-speed Internet connections is important for citizens of NYS either through their homes or local libraries because Internet access is increasingly vital for educational and job opportunities. Broadband access also has a positive impact on economic development.

LSTA Grants to Library Systems for 2010-2012:
It is hoped that these can be increased by $100,000/year to NYS libraries.

NYCIS Vision/NOVELny and ARIA:
NYCIS is the New York State Comprehensive Information System. ARIA is the Academic Research Information Access (ARIA) act. My notes here are truly skimpy. I would suggesting reading testimony given by Bernie Margolis for information on this idea.

The Joseph F. Shubert Library Excellence Award: The Council discussed continued funding for this award as well as how to promote it more broadly. "Named after Joseph F. Shubert, former State Librarian, the Award is given to individual libraries and to library consortia to recognize achievements that improve the quality of library service to their users. The Joseph F. Shubert Library Excellence Award recognizes that attainment of excellence often happens in small steps; is a process, not a final product; and focuses on meeting user needs. Yet, the result of the process assures a comprehensive approach to excellence in libraries and information services." Recipients are announced in the fall and they receive the award at the NYLA conference.

School Library Summit: Action steps from the Summit can be found at

Standards for the 21st-Century Learner from the American Association of School Librarians can be found at While these are fine, NYS need to develop its own standards.

The Advisory Council voted to endorse the need for separate information literacy standards within New York State.

Loretta Ebert, Bernie Margolis & John BrockResearch Library Update:
The NYS budget problems are impacting the Research Library. Voluntary separation packages have been offered in order to decrease the number of staff and to save money. These staff members will not be replaced. Voluntary staff reductions can have an uneven impact, which the State Library will need to deal with.

It is hoped that Saturday hours can be implemented at the State Library. Loretta and Bernie discussed the options and concerns in regards to this. They know that the increased number of hours will be useful to the community and are committed to finding a way of making it happen.

Next Meeting:
The next Regents Advisory Council on Libraries meeting is scheduled for Dec. 4 at the METRO offices in NYC.

Herald SquareFinal Thoughts: When I first joined the Council, I sensed that some people didn't think it was relevant. As I attend meetings, engage in discussions, and interact with Regents and legislators, I see that this Council provides a voice and point of view that is valued. When we speak, people -- people who make a difference in the future of our libraries -- do listen.

If you are a member of the library community in NYS, I encourage you to interact with members of the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries. Tell us your concerns and your ideas for improving library services in NYS. We need your input, so that our input to the Regents is well-informed and relevant to what you are doing now and in the future.

Technorati tags: , , , , ,

1 comment:

Susan D'Entremont said...

Thanks for being on the Council, Jill, and thanks especially for these notes. The Council activities are not usually on our radar out in the field, and your notes help keep us informed.