Monday, November 18, 2019

#NYLA2019 : Q&A with the New State Librarian

NY State Librarian Lauren Moore
Lauren Moore became the State Librarian on August 1. As previous State Librarians have done, Lauren Moore came to NYLA and took questions from participants.

Moore cares about equity, digital inclusion, and policy.  She said that policy isn't exciting but it is how work gets done.

In talking about her vision (our vision), Moore said that she doesn't have all the answers after three months.  However, it is clear she has learned much about the library environment in NYS from her previous position and her short time in the New York Education Department, which the library is a part.  Moore wants to work with others to create a shared vision for libraries of all types across NYS.

In doing her work as State Librarian, Moore promised that she will be present, respectful, listen, continuously learn, and share power.

Questions State Librarian Moore was asked

Greatest challenge? Resources.  There is a complex source of funds and how those funds are used.  She needs to understand how the structure works and how to take advantage of opportunities.  How can she help the systems be flexible and agile.

How to increase the diversity of staff through civil service? Talk to civil services and make them your partner and ally. Work towards the long term.

Macmillan ebook embargo? The State Library cannot lobby or issue an opinion.  It can provide information and help gather information.  She suggested that libraries reer to existing information like the ebook study on the NYSED website.

Can the State Library use more social media? Yes.

Can she be the face of libraries in NYS? Yes, that is an aspiration.  However, she acknowledges that she is part of a large complex communications environment.

Question about schools without school librarians.  School libraries do not report to the State Library, but elsewhere in the NYS Education Department.  As she spoke about school libraries, Moore noted that the places to advocate may not be what you immediately consider.  Look around at who can provide input to a situation and advocate to them.

In answering another question about school libraries, she talked about endorsing work the work of school libraries and giving it more status.

Proposed trustee educational regulation? Proposed that each trustee receive two-hours of training each year.  When Commissioner Elia left, several top executives left at the same time.  That has delayed this regulation moving forward.  Can this regulation move forward in a different way?  She mentioned the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries, as well as pursuing legislation, as ways of moving this forward.  She noted that adding a checkbox on the annual report each public library submits, regarding the training which individual trustees receive, could prompt more trustees to be trained annually. 

School library standards? The group that would create them has said "no." Is there another way to get that done?

2020 census? Not a lot of time left to prepare.  There is work happening across the state, outside of the State Library.  There is work for everyone to do, especially libraries. Do our staff know how to explain how we protect patron privacy on the internet?

What support does she want from us? Trust that she has our best interests at heart.  Continue to talk with her.  Help her understand what is happening.

She received a comment about civil service.  She recognizes that it has is pros and cons.  She noted that it is a human process and that we need to get to know the humans in the process.

Her range of travel? Yes she is getting out across the state.

Can she create more awareness of libraries in the eyes of the governor?  We need to build trust and makes services more visible to him.

Questions about prison libraries.  Prison libraries fall under the Department of Corrections.  She notes that county jails are locally run.  There are challenges and our libraries are working with prisons and jails in many ways.

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