Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Wayback Wednesday & 2014 Year in Review

Vancouver Public Library
This is the last day of 2014 and time to look back over the last 365 days. Two years ago, I wrote "2012 Year in Review: My life as teacher and director," which captures much of what my work-life is like today.  A few things have changed, though.  First, I am focused daily on the SU MSLIS program's accreditation review, which will happen in November 2015.  Do I spend every waking hour on it?  No, but you'd be surprised (and perhaps horrified) about how much of my mind it occupies.  Second, because of the ramp-up to the accreditation review and the other administrative tasks on my to-do list, I am teaching less (3 classes per academic year).

Getting ready for graduation
Professor Raul Pacheco-Vega recently wrote "On self-care, balance and overwork in academia." (See also "What Do Professors Do All Day?")  We don't think of academia as being stressful, but for faculty who are early in their careers, and for those who are juggling multiply projects or other high-stakes efforts, it is.  One of my goals this past year has been to remain healthy in mind, body and spirit and I'm carrying that same goal into 2015.

R. David Lankes
Dave Lankes
Health has also been at the front of my mind over the past two year because of my friend and colleague Dave Lankes.  In January 2013, Dave was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, which led to extensive treatments.  This summer, Dave was declared cancer free, which remains the best news of the year! (You can read an update from him here.) 

I was blessed to be able to attend and present at a number of events during 2014.  The most impactful was the presentation I did at the Computers in Libraries Conference called "Enabling Innovation."  The number of people, who came up to me during the conference and afterwards, with positive things to say about it has been amazing.  That presentation has also led to others that I have given (and will be giving) on innovation.  For me, that one presentation was my biggest event of 2014!  (You can read the ideas generated from the presentation here.)

MSLIS students at the NYLA Annual Conference
Below are the most read 2014 posts from this blog.  The most read was clearly "The stratosphere in the library profession & a call for a change," which received a high level of mentions on Facebook, etc.  The conversation around  how members of our profession conduct themselves at conferences has not ended.  I can tell you that associations and conferences are examining their codes of conduct.  I can also tell you that some (like myself) are trying to hold ourselves to a higher standard...and learning about ourselves and others from those efforts.

By the way, if you want to read a post that will open your mind to our lack of privacy in our online environment, read the post entitled "Julie Clegg - Social Media for Investigative Professionals."

Finally, if you look at the right side of this blog and the number of posts I've been writing per year, you'll notice a decrease once I became a program director.  I really don't have the time to blog like I used to.  I blog best/most when I'm at a conference, as you can see if you look at CIL2014 or SLA2014.  During a conference, I can harness my energies to capture information quickly and get a blog post published.  You will also notice, if you're a regular reader of this blog, that I blog more about copyright these days than digitization.  That is due to what I've been teaching and what I've been focusing on. From the statistics for Digitization 101, I can see that this blog still meets a need and so I'll keep on blogging, even if it is not as much as I would like.

As we end 2014, I wish all of you a joyful 2015!  And please send positive thoughts my way, especially in November when the accreditation review occurs.

Most read 2014 Digitization 101 blog posts:

Updated 01/05/2015: Corrected typos. Also...Raul Pacheco-Vega's blog seems to be offline.  Hopefully it will reappear.  (Perhaps it had more readers than normal and the hosting service got suspicious?)

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Resources on Understanding Canadian Copyright Law

This semester, I was blessed to have a student in my graduate course on copyright from Canada.Although interested in U.S. copyright law, this student also taught us a bit about Canadian copyright during the semester. From this student, I garnered these resources on Canadian copyright:
If you know of other worthwhile resources on Canadian copyright, please leave a comment on this post.  Thanks!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Metadata, privacy and 1984

The book title 1984 was written during World War II and has had an impact on generations since then.  It has become the book title to note when talking about surveillance, a topic that is now frequently in the news.  And it came to my mind as I watched Cybercrimes with Ben Hammersley: Surveillance, a BBC news program.  The half-hour program - like many others - talked about Eric Snowden, but what stood out to me was what it said about metadata.  No, this wasn't the first time that I'd heard the terms "surveillance" and "metadata" linked together, but this time I recognized an opportunity.

All librarians understand that how an item is described is important.  Library users make many decisions based on those descriptions, which are now in the form of digital records.  In college, I worked for a librarian (Mrs. Martinez), who enjoyed describing a new book and creating the best catalogue record for it.  I can still see the smile on her face when she had succeeded!  However, we see the catalogue description as leading to an item.  In surveillance that description - the metadata - can be more important than the item itself. 

In surveillance, the metadata of a thousand items (people, phone calls, emails, etc.) can be mined for what could be useful information.  The mining is done by computers and the work can find a "needle in a haystack", or in other words a connection that might not have been found otherwise.  It is humans that launch the computers on these tasks and humans who then look at and analyze the results. 

Why Metadata MattersLike everyday, today I generated a fair amount of metadata.  I used my computer on the Internet, as well as my mobile devices.  All of the apps and web sites likely generated data as I used them, and some of that data I willingly shared.  Likely there is other data that was captured without my permission or knowledge.  My car does not have all of the up-to-date technology in it, but it does have some sort of a computer (and every computer generates data).  And since I was out driving around, it could be that a police officer captured my license plate with an automatic license plate reader.  If I happen to use my credit card today, that will also generate data.  And, of course, I watched cable TV and the cable service tracks some information about my usage (or how would it know that it can raise its rates and people will not complain?).  Given all this data that I'm creating, my privacy is an illusion.

However, all of this data has created an opportunity for us (librarians).  We are the people who understand how to describe data elements, so that the correct information is captured.  We're the ones that understand how to map (crosswalk) data elements across systems (and imagine how many systems are being involved with this worldwide).  We have the skills to help extract data - broadly or narrowly - and then analyze the results.  And...we understand the ethical use of information.  (And I will argue that people who understand the ethical use of information should work for organizations that do not use information ethically.  We need to be in those organizations and part of their internal conversations, which is how we might help them to change.)

If working with this type of data and metadata is of interest to you (or someone you know), consider what you need to do to get the job you want.  Perhaps you need to take university courses.  Perhaps you need a degree or an advanced certificate.  Maybe you need to do other professional development.  Likely you need to do some research on the jobs available and the organizations that have those positions.  You likely need to do some networking, both as a way of learning more and as a way of getting yourself known (e.g., SLA's new Data Caucus).  How long will it take you to get a job in this area?  That's up to you and may be dependent on what skills you need to develop.

It has been said that Eric Snowden's revelations didn't change anything at all.  It could be that the "change" needs us.  We're the missing ingredient.  Who among us will get involved?

Snowden during interview with Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras (June 6, 2013).

CopyrightX lectures available to the public

Prof. William Fisher
The open course on copyright from Harvard, which was prepared and delivered by Prof. William Fisher was made available to the public, along with other resources.  If you're interested in his vision for the course, that can be found here.  Please note that the lectures carry a Creative Commons license.

As someone, who teaches copyright, I'm always interested in how others have approached the topic.  In this instance, I'm intrigued by how Fisher has constructed the different weeks and topic, which is something I need to explore further.

If learning more about copyright is on your agenda for 2015, I encourage you to add this site to your "reading" list. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Article: Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery, But is it Infringement? The Law of Tribute Bands

Cape May Band at The Ugly MugIn 2012 Michael S. Newman, who was a J.D. candidate at the time, wrote an article for the Touro Law Review on tribute bands. "Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery, But is it Infringement?" is an 11-page article with 144 footnotes. It covers a topic that we're all familiar with, because we've all heard of tribute band and cover bands (and those really are different), but do we think about the copyright implications?  If those implications are of interest to you, then this is an article to read.

You will notice that the page formatting for the article is odd.  This may be due to the site being reorganized since 2012.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Four-part series on music copyright

Copyright license choiceThe OSU Copyright Resource Center did a four-part series on music copyright.  The four parts are:
  1. What is Music Copyright?
  2. Copyright Duration For Musical Compositions And Sound Recordings
  3. Termination of Transfer for Music Copyright
  4. Licensing Opportunities for Music Copyright
There is not an abundance of sites with information on music copyright, so be sure to bookmark these.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Blog Post: The Benefits Of Copyright Around The World In Three Reports

As the semester comes to a close - and my focus on copyright - this post caught my eye.  It begins:
Although copyright law is territorial, the rationale for its protection is universal: ensuring a thriving and diverse cultural fabric for society to enjoy requires providing creators with the option of obtaining fair compensation for their work. As the year comes to a close, we take a look at three recent reports on the economic and cultural relevance of the creative industries and the essential role of copyright around the world.
The post goes onto talk about:

Library Guide on Copyright & Fair Use

Copyright symbol The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library at San José State University has an extensive libguide on copyright and fair use, with tabs that link to external resources.  It is worth exploring.

Monday, December 08, 2014

3D printing, makerspaces and copyright

I started this list months ago and am realizing that I need to publish it.  3D printing and makerspaces have created conversations around copyright.  Here are some resources - including a video - that may help with those conversations.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Article: Night Time Eiffel Tower Photos Are a Copyright Violation

Eiffel TowerUsing the Eiffel Tower as an example, this article points out that copyright law is not the same in every country.
The famous landmark was built in 1889 which means that it falls within the public domain. However, the light show was added later and this is still protected by copyright.
The article notes other countries where photographing architecture could be an issue.

By the way, there are a number of photos on the Internet of the Eiffel Tower at night, so I wonder how this is enforced?

Saturday, November 08, 2014

#NYLA2014 : Content Creation, Copyright and Defamation

Mike Grygiel, from Greenberg Traurig (law firm), presented on this for the Intellectual Freedom Roundtable.  He is a first amendment lawyer.

Grygiel decided to focus on The digital speech rights of public high school students. The law is so unsettled that there is confusion.  The law is predicated on physical boundaries and other things that no longer matter.


The US Supreme Court had ruled on this right in regards to students, first in the 1960s (Tinkers). The Tinkers wore black armbands to school, in order to protest the Vietnam war.  Decided in1969.  The school's suspension of the students was a violation of their first amendment rights.  Students do not shed their rights of expression at the school house gate.  The test is content neutral.  Okay as long as the speech is not disruptive.  The ruling is very speech protective.  Provocative speech is okay.

Outside of the school, students are just like every other citizen.

Next case - Matthew Fraser, who gives an inappropriate (sexualized) speech at a mandatory school assembly for students of wide age ranges.  The ruling was that schools can punish a student for crude speech.  The school is charged with teaches students about their behavior.  The decision was narrow and focuses on three points.  This speech in other settings would have been protected by first amendment rights.  In this case, what was said was important (content based).

Hazelwood - deals with a school newspaper, which was dealing with sensitive social issues.  The Supreme Court ruled that it wasn't the students speaking, it was the organization (the school).  In this case, the school can suppress the speech as long as it is reasonable related to pedagogical concern.

Morse v. Frederick - had to do with a banner that a student unfurled outside of the school building, but during the school day.  This isn't the school speaking.  It isn't related to school work.  However, this would be like a field trip.  The fact that the speech was about the illegal use of drugs played into the ruling.  The content of the speech was important.  In Tinker, content was not important, yet in this case content (and viewpoint) was important.

Judge Alito - Education mission cannot become a rule for suppression free speech of students. He does not like viewpoint based discrimination.  This should not impact student rights to discuss controversial issues and political speech.

In the discussion, Board of Education v. Pico was mentioned,

Digital communication...

Fast forward to Weedsport, NY, where a student has a closed instant messaging buddy list, with an unfortunate icon about a teacher.  Another student printed out the icon and shows it to the teacher.  The student was then suspended during the investigation.  This "speech" was not occurring in the school.  The investigation concluded that it was dumb speech and that no harm was meant.  However, then the school suspended him for six months.  Our thinking after a Columbine affected this.

The case went to the Second Circuit, and was decided in 2007. This has now set the standard for student digital speech.  Other courts have adopted this approach. "...if it is reasonable that it could come to the attention of school authorities..."  Material evidence of disruption.  Tinker applies to this case (precedent).

Doninger - a high school junior.  An engaged and excellent student.  The students are sponsoring a battle of the bands.  The school changes the date, because a particular teacher could not be there.  She blogged that night about the incident and encourages fellow students to take action.

Later, the superintendent learns of her blog post and the student is punished.  When it goes to court, the 2nd Circuit applies Wisniewski. A tremendous and unprecedented expansion of the school's control over student freedom of speech.  The language used was hardly conducive to conflict resolution.

What is the scope of digital freedom of speech rights of public school students?

These occurred before the Dignity for All Students Act (anti-bullying, anti-harassment). How does that apply?

A question was asked about a student bringing religious text to school and the student being punished.  That is both freedom of speech and religious freedom.

Grygiel Is currently writing a paper/article on this topic.  

Private schools are not subject to the first amendment.  It is not the government (public school).  Private schools can limit communication.  

#NYLA2014 : School Library Services Summit in Review

On the panel:
  • John Brock
  • Melissa Jacobs Israel
  • Jill Leinung
  • Sara Kelly Johns
A variety of people/stakeholders were invited to participate in the Summit, while trying to keep the number of participants under 50.  This was a working event, comprised of five groups that began working ahead of the Summit.  The Summit ended with recommendations being presented to people include the Commissioner of Education, the Director of NYLA, two of the Regents, and others.

The recommendations and information on participants are at 

In the audience, it was noted that we want to empower students to do inquiry.

The word "research" does not imply "library."  We need to ensure that resources for teachers and principals include the words "library" and "librarian," so they understand that research is broader than their current model.

Students need to take time to learn and recognize that learning can be messy.

The modules that teachers are using are very regimented.  Teachers need to take time to allow for the messiness of learning.

Mentioned: Tony Wagner, "Rigor Redefined"
  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • Collaboration and leadership 
  • Agility and adaptability
  • Initiative and entrepreneurialism
  • Effective oral and written communication
  • Accessing and analyzing information
  • Curiosity and imagination 
Learning needs to be scaffolded, which is important when we talk about the Empire State Information Fluency Continuum (IFC), common core, etc.  The IFC is online at

The panel noted that actions are being taken on the recommendations.  However, all school librarians can play a role in pushing out the recommendations and getting them worked on.  

School librarians should consider doing presentations at non-library conferences. That would help make connections and collaborations between librarians and teachers.

The 2009 Summit included/created a school library evaluation rubric.  See

11/11/2014: All URLs were corrected.

#NYLA2014 : Hyperlinked Learning Experiences at Public Libraries: MOOCs and Beyond

Brian Kenney (White Plains Public Library) and Michael Stephens (SJSU)

Slides will be available on the "Tame the Web" blog.

Both libraries and libraries technologies are evolving. 

"There is much greater opportunity to bring service to wherever potential users of service happen to be."  - Michael Buckland 

Clay Shirky - "Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age" (book)
  • As much chaos as we can stand
  • Traditionalist approval
  • Negotiated transaction 
Shirky advocates for chaos. We can decide for ourselves how much chaos we can stand.

Learning is evolving. Transformative learning.  There is a new landscape of learning and experience in the library.  Formal. Informal.  Unexpected.  Curiosity.

BTOP - better technology on-site and personal

Learning in the warehouse.  Libraries are often called book warehouses.

Valerie Gross - "Transforming Our Image, Building Our Brand" (book)

David Swartz - "Serendipity in the Stacks: The Case Against the Bookless Library" (book)

Readers look for opportunities to share their reading experiences.  Although the learning is private and self-directed, there is power in the sharing.  Part of our learning is done collaboratively.

The core things that we do are not going away.  

New ways to learn, which include using games for learning.

A new generation of learners.  Think about what it will be like when current elementary school children head to college.  What will learning be Like then?

People  have the world of information in their hands.  Their cell phones are an extension of themselves.

Casey Ceb - "The Pointlessness of Unplugging" (The New Yorker) - unplugging suggests that the selves that we are online are not authentic.  

Dana Boyd - "It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens". (Book).  She also did a good TED talk.  Technology is a means to an end.

The learner's experience - people are expect to be able to work, learn and study wherever and whenever they want.  We do not have the right to dictate how people learn.

Thomas & Brown - "The New Culture of Learning" (book) 

"Play is the basis for cultivating imagination and innovation." - Thomas & Brown

Hyperlinks can be people, too.  

The mobile device is the nearly the primary connection to the Internet for many people.  

Seven primary motivations for mobile device use.  HBR article, 2013. 
Me time. Self expression. Discovery. Preparation. Accomplishing....

The coolest thing in your library is what you want to put into the hands of your community members.

Some people do not have good Internet access on their mobile devices, due to cost. And they may not know what to do on the device.  They need training,which libraries can help with.  Some libraries are circulating access points (wifi). 

People (learners) need to learn how to be fully engrossed in one thing at a time.  

Two types of MOOCs: 
xMOOC - taking traditional learning into a MOOC environment.
cMOOC - connectivist.

We can make sense of things through experimentation and reflection.

Michael's MOOC:
  • Shared purpose.
  • Production centered.
  • Openly networked.  Open and live on the web.
  • Gave badges.  Check point.  Master.  
  • Had homeroom leaders (MSLIS students)
  • Tribes. Some moved over to Goodreads to share info.
  • 363 officially join and start the MOOC. 15% completed the requirements for the certificate (53).  They also did a pre and post survey.  76% said that they felt successful.
  • Takeaways: ideas, networking, self, renewed outlook.
  • They formed an alumni group.  
How do we start all of this?
Library learning has evolved from face-to-face, conference sessions, computer training, and eventually library 2.0.  

Michael Stephens - "Exemplary practice for learning 2.0" (article)
One library has did a physical version of library 2.0.
23 mobile things - Jan Holmquist.

Personal learning networks
What are you doing -> what are your learning

We can now have continuous learning and a reflective practice.
We need to take control of our own professional development.
Professional development should be written into job descriptions.

We're moving toward the time of infinite learning.  

The library as a classroom.

Learning by creating, exploring, playing, and peer to peer collaboration.

How do we manage the new stuff in our libraries?

White Plains teen library is called "The Edge". 3000 square feet.  The visited You Media in Chicago for inspiration.  It has three zones: the living room, computer/book area and service point, and new media lab.  Things are on wheels and easy to rearrange.  Programming is both high tech and low tech.  Instructor and peer led.  They provide social opportunities for teens.  Used a staff vacancy to hire an additional teen librarian (3 total).

Most teens are not compelled by gadgetry, but by friendship.

The menu of opportunities is attracting kids that weren't previously interested in the library.

How do they translate the lessons learned from the teen space to the adult space?

(Side conversation that mentioned that libraries may have archives that don't reflect the current demographics of the community.)

Libraries...we are guides, access providers, creators (of learning opportunities), instructors, and connectors.  And libraries will be learners.

The key is the human element.  We must engage the hear, mind and spirit.

"We must never forget that the human heart is at the center of the technological maze..." - Barnes

We need to offer right sized courses, either online or in person.

The public library may be where online/MOOC learners connect.

What now?
  • Make time for exploration and learning
  • Learn always
  • Watch the horizon
  • Value everyone
  • Be kind
  • Know that it is okay to fail
  • Invite them (the users) in
  • Take risks
  • Be creative
  • Be human
Questions which led to good conversation:
  • How do you get staff to be comfortable being online and being themselves? Would you trust a doctor or lawyer, who doesn't provide her name?  
  • Are educational institutions pushing back on the educational work that libraries are doing?
  • Comment on territorial issues between K-12 and public libraries.  White Plains has software compatibility with the school district.
  • Other recommendations?  Put professional development in people's job descriptions.  Get people to blog, in some manner, so they can share what they are learning.  

#NYLA2014 : Q & A with Commissioner King

Commisioner John KingSpeaking in this session were NYLA President Sara Kelly Johns, NY State Librarian Bernie Margolis and Commission John King.

Commissioner King started his remarks talking about activities around the common core and summer reading program.  There have been great collaborative efforts in both area.

Forthcoming opportunities for collaboration:
  • New framework for social studies is being released
  • Bring attention to the diverse roles that libraries can play, e.g., educator, community space, informer.
  • The NYSED will continue to advocate for various types of library aid, as well as helping districts to understand how to use their funding.  Can collaborate on local messaging around advocacy.  NYSED advocates for libraries at the federal level.
In the common core, research is an important area of emphasis.  There is a new guidance document coming to schools on research, including information on the information fluency continuum.  Look for resources in EngageNY web site.

"Appreciating the text as art and the writer as artist." - Quote from the Commissioner as he talked about the common core.

Questions - easy and tough - for the Commissioner:

We know that you read to your children, what do you read?  Any tips?  They read a lot of Percy Jackson.  He does a lot of audio books.  Need to celebrate reading and learning at all times.   Libraries and schools need to feed our children's love of reading.

Books that are informing his view on education?
  • "Smartest kids in the world" - one of the major differences is how we prepare our teachers.  Finland, for example, created national standards around the education of teachers.  A systemic approach.  Poland has also made great strides for raising the standards for entering the teaching profession.
  • "Leadership without easy answers" - he reread this book every summer.
Libraries are seldom specifically mentioned in the education reform agenda.  What roles do you see libraries playing?  In NYS, the NYSED oversees education and cultural heritage organizations, which is not what happens in other common core states.  Therefore, the NYSED looks for opportunities to connect libraries to the common core, e.g., the Uncommon Approach to the Common Core.

The role of the State Library in the reform agenda?  Trying to find ways of providing access to NY State Library resources, as part of the common core.  

The data shows that school, public and academic librarians are needed more.  What should librarians be doing? (Not exactly how this was worded.). School librarians need to be working with teaching teams.  They need to be on the team.  Teachers need to see them as resources.  Teachers need  time in order to create collaborations.

In our communities,  there is a struggle with making library resources available.  It can come down to aid and funding.  Need equitable access.  Our libraries need a steady investment.

What about the role of academic libraries?  Most of his peers do not have a role in higher education.  Need to make sure that our higher education programs are taking advantage of library resources.  Review new academic programs for that.  Our academic programs need to be forward thinking in how they educate students, who are our future workers.  Need to make resources available across institutions.

In teacher preparation programs, future teachers need to understand how to use library resources and partner with librarians.

What do you suggest that universities do to prepare future school librarians to succeed? Understand how educators work with all types of learners, e.g., English language learners.  Everyone needs to know how to teach every type of student.

He gave a great example of preparing teachers for things we assume they know, like parent-teacher conferences.  So...need to know how to engage the community as partners.

School librarians need to understand how to support student success.  Principals need to understand how librarians be involved.

How will the NYSED help the libraries' fiscal distress?  They will advocate for increase in school aid, which should help protect school libraries.  They will advocate for increased library aid and construction aid. NYSED needs help at the local level with advocacy efforts.  Libraries need to make sure that elected officials understand what libraries do.

He mention an "Atlantic" magazine video piece on libraries.

What can we do insure/ensure that there are more information literate students?  
  • The information fluency continuum and the common core.  Support teachers in making a shift to these things.
  • Help teachers use the library to find and use nonfiction text.
  • Help teachers with constructing research projects for their classes.
  • Help students receive education in order to navigate the digital world.  For example, how do you evaluate the validity of a source?
Sara Kelly Johns - digital natives understand how to search, but not how to research.

How important is it for libraries to form partnerships?  Essential and critical to our long term success. Non-library organizations - community-based organizations - need to see the library as a potential partner. Look for natural partnerships.

What roles to you see library systems playing?  We aren't always strategic about leveraging existing resources.  One role of library systems is to ensure that resources are available across libraries (resource sharing).  They can help to creat partnerships.  They can advance the strategic vision for libraries in NYS.

Margolis notes that systems need a heightened political awareness.  Ordinary people don't understand what systems do.

Libraries love the fact that research is encouraged in the common core.  However, it is possible to strengthen the language so that classroom teachers are encouraged or required to collaborate with librarians?  Yes. There is an upcoming opportunity for teachers and school librarians to update/upgrade the modules.  

What is being done to ensure that school district follow state mandates on school libraries?  There can be an appeal to NYSED, when a district is not complying.  (310 appeal) However, we're in a fiscal environment where schools grapple with what is the "floor" for quality education.  We are in an environment of scarce resources.  

The bond that was passed this week - any general comments?  Need to ensure that the investments are made in a smart way.  Need to define how the resources can be used.  Need to flesh out guidance for the school districts.  However, we need to tackle the issue of bandwidth and infrastructure.  It needs to be a priority.

Question about expanding the regulation around librarians in K-12 education.  What is the best way of working toward that goal?  We're Ina tough environment.  We done have the resources in place to do all of the things that are important.  Need to highlight the success of schools with librarians in elementary education.  The Regents believe that is would be good for all schools to have libraries, but should it be set up as a competing resource for funding?  The Governor and Legislature need to balance competing demands.

Children need a literacy rich pre-K environment.

Closing comments - Commissioner King is thankful for what we (librarians) do every day.  He knows first hand in how libraries can change lives and communities.  He encourages us to collaborate.

Friday, November 07, 2014

#NYLA2014 : Legal Issues for Public and Association Libraries

Ellen Bach
When thinking about the legal issues, it Is important to know what type of library you are.  The laws are different from one type of library to the next.

Ellen Bach talked through several hypothetical situations.

First, a situation around "vote yes." Friends groups - that are independent organizations - are often 501(c)(3) and there are rules around lobbying.  A library cannot tell the community to vote "yes."  If the friends group is part of the library, it cannot say "vote yes."

The library can provide information and that is okay.  The library cannot express opinion or advocate.  The library should be factual.

Targeted mailings are considered advocacy and the library cannot do that.

The library can say "go vote." 

The library board president can write a factual letter to the editor, but cannot advocate.  The same rule would apply, if the letter were written by the library director.

If a PAC is formed to support the library, it should not have the same leadership as the friends group or library trustees.

The laws that apply include:
  • NY Constitution Article VIII, section 1
  • Education Law section 2037
  • 36 U.S.C. Section 501(c)(3)

Second, the protected poor performer.  

The National Labors Relations Board considers expressing opinions about the terms and conditions of employment  to be a protected activity.  When it is an opinion and when is it misconduct? Employees cannot disclose about patrons on social media.  An employee can say "it sucks to work here."

Some social media policies contain illegal restrictions.  

If you have someone who is being harassed because of a protected status (e.g., gender), you have a problem that needs to be addressed.  You need to have an anti-discrimination, anti-harassment policy.  Complaining needs to be easy for the person.  There need to be multiple avenues for the person to use in order to complain.  You also need a patron policy. 

If the director is informed of possible harassment, the situation I needs to be investigated.  Inform the library's attorney and insurance carrier.  The attorney can act as a coach.  You need to understand both sides of the story.  You cannot promise confidentiality, because you do need to investigate the claim.  

The board has the right to know if there is a situation that could be a liability.

If you are on notice that there is a problem, you need to follow-up.  

You may need to put the accused harasser on an administrative leave, during the investigation (with pay).

The complainant needs to be protected from retaliation.  You cannot get rid of the employee who complains.  
Libraries should identify a lawyer that they can call, when needed.  When there is a problem, you want to know who to call.

The laws that apply include:
  • National Labor Relations Act
  • Education Law section 226(7)
  • NYS Human Rights Law applies if you have 4+  employees
  • Title VII applies if you have 15+ employees 
Third, can we get rid of the bad apple (a member of the board)? A board member cannot release information that was discussed in executive session.

The laws that apply include:
  • Education Law section 226(4) and (8)
  • Special District legislation
  • Open Meeting Law
  • Appeal of Nett 45 Educ Dept Rep 259 (2005)

#NYLA2014 : Update on 2020 Vision Plan: Creating the Future

Several librarians talked about what they are doing that relates to the 2020 Vision Plan for Library Service in New York State.  I did not capture complete notes; however, below are some of the examples given: 

Claudia Depkin - Haverstraw King's Daughters public Library - Library Outreach Visits Everyone (LOVE) - begun 18 years ago.  Exemplifies recommendation 27 (early learning).  147 kits covering 42 themes that community members can borrow.  Allows them (non library people) to do story-time.

Rochester Public Library - Early education in Rochester has taken a front seat with their new mayor (2013). Grant funded work.  They explored new and alternative summer learning opportunities.  Developed programs with the city school district.  

They have also done teen services and gang intervention programs.  

Jen Cannell - Questar III - she highlighted recommendations 1, 10 and 36.  For example, her system is trying to be more innovative with technology.  They have a 3D printer that can be loaned out to school libraries, which makes that technology more widely available in the school.  Many schools have 3D printers, but in a specific class area.

In terms of high value services, she noted that one district paid $2000 to get in on an 70,000 ebook collection.  That is high value!

Jim Belair - from a BOCES near Rochester.  They have a five system union catalogue.  The current holdings are 3.6 million.  Very high number of shares among them and other libraries in the region.  They are also working together on purchase agreements.

University of Rochester - a librarian talked about (1) Digitization of papers from the Seward family. (2) Creation of a university repository. 

Deirdre Joyce - CLRC - HARMONY - historical archival records and manuscripts of New York.  An  EAD repository of finding aids. Housed with the NY 3R Association in 2013.

Bernie Margolis  - Is the Vision 2020 successful?  Yes.  No.  The plan has created a foundation and platform for people to create new library services.  Some libraries use the Vision when creating local strategy plans.  

Some of the things in the plan may no longer be appropriate.  Things are constantly changing.  We have a long way to go.  We also have political issues that we need to deal with, as well as conflicts in our library communities.  We need more training in assessment, which will help us evaluate our successes.  

Jeff Cannell - "The weight of accomplishment is pretty powerful."  He noted that the Regents would be interested in hearing all or some of these presentations.

Addendum (11/12/2014): The list of people, who spoke in this session, includes:
  • Karen Balsen, New York State Library
  • Jim Belair, Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES SLS
  • Jen Cannell, Questar BOCES SLS
  • Claudia Depkin, Haverstraw King's Daughters PL
  • Deirdre Joyce, CLRC
  • Sue Kowalski, Pine Grove Middle School
  • Susan Polos, Mt. Kisxo Elementary School
  • Marcy Strong, Univ. of Rochester
  • Patty Uttaro, Rochester Public Library
  • Kerri Willette, METRO

#NYLA2014 : Rich Harwood, Keynote speaker

Rich Harwood
I first heard Rich Harwood, of the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, at the 2013 NELA Annual Conference in Portland, ME. Harwood is working on a project with ALA on transforming communities.  Rich Harwood went to high school in Saratoga Springs, NY.  He has worked with many distressed communities in the U.S., including Newtown.  One of his themes is "turning outward."

Harwood believes that we need libraries more than ever before in our communities.  He believes that our civic health requires libraries.  We can blaze a path of possibility and hope.  Libraries historically have been a gateway for people and communities improving themselves.

We are builders by nature.  We have built this country and communities.  We are ready to build again.  Libraries can and should be part of it.

In Newtown, the question was whether the community could turn from despair to hope. How could the move forward the best that they can?  They decided to put their differences aside and put themselves on a new path.  

We spend more time talking about what is wrong, than what is right.  

Will we be face outward towards our communities or turned inward toward our organizations?  We need to make our communities the reference point for what we do.

What libraries can do to help our communities to move forward:
  1. We need to focus on our shared aspirations for moving forward.  We tend to ask people about the problems in the their communities.  People don't want to talk about pipe dreams, but about those things that matter in their daily lives.  Rather engage the community in talking about their shared aspirations for their community.  Then work on those shared aspirations.  Libraries are trusted agents in our communities, who can facilitate these conversations.
  2. We need to do shared work together.  That is how trust gets built.  This is also how we demonstrate our willingness to do.  It is also a way of building trust.  We need to restore our belief in ourselves that we can come together and get things done.
  3. We need to pay a lot more attention to the stories that we tell ourselves about ourselves and our communities.  Is our narrative working against us?  We need to generate new, authentic narratives.  These are the stories from people who gather together and are doing the work.  We need civic parables, recognizing that the work (the key point of the parable) is never done, never complete.  Libraries are about telling and capturing stories. Libraries can help us tell our stories to one another.  We need to be able to see ourselves again in each other's eyes.  
Harwood ended his talk by talking about why he does this work.  His life and early years in Saratoga laid the foundation for the work that he does.  He understands what it is like to be invisible, to be without hope.  We are more than just numbers.

"Our collective strength and resilience will be an example to the rest of the world." - Newtown.  He dreams that sign will hang in communities across our nation.  

Question - Advice for a library that is in the midst of controversy?  Put the building and fundraising plans off to the side.  Engage the community in a conversation about its aspirations and plans for achieving the aspirations.  Talk first about the community, then ask how the library can help.  

People are tired of just paying taxes, when they don't believe we're on a better path.  Help the community understand how it can get on to a better path, and how you can support them.

Question - How to do define the community?  How big or small is it? K-12 schools are a reflection of their community. They are a proxy for their community.  Whee does education fit into the aspirations for their community?  Need to engage parents and other people in the community.  Through conversations,find like-minded people to work with.

Turning outward will spark internal change.

Question - How would you structure the conversations? Informal?  Formal?  Small?  Large? Harwood said to never start with a large town hall meeting.  He believes that you should start small, so you can begin tho hear the conversations, concerns, and aspirations.  Think about who actually lives in the community and go to where they live.  

Harwood believe that the work should not be done alone.  Find partners and form relationships with them.  Build allies.  

How many community meetings do you need to do?  How many bases do you need to touch, so that people recognize that you have engaged the community?  Are you hearing the same info over and over again? Can you reflect back to the community its shared aspirations and their challenges?  

"Our community is supporting these programs and they are here for you."

Question - How does the day to day person find ways of speaking up? Our systems have become impenetrable.  People need to find someone in the school that can be an ally, guide, or run interference. "What is it that we are trying to achieve?"

Helpful to engage in larger community conversations.

Addendum (11/11/2014):  It has been pointed out to me that many of Harwood's tools are available - free of charge - to libraries through ALA's Libraries Transforming Communities initiative.   There are worksheets, conversation guides, and a series of webinars created specifically for libraries.