Friday, December 31, 2021

2021 Year in Review: What Doesn't Fit into a Neat Category

Vaccinate New York logo

Similar to what happened in 2020, much of the conversation this year was dominated by COVID. Even when we were trying to not talk about COVID, we talked about COVID. It impacted everything we did. Everything. But there is one thing it didn't touch...

T is for Training

T is for Training is a podcast started in 2008 by Maurice Coleman. It's recorded through TalkShoe, which means we're not in the same location. COVID didn't affect the podcast, which is good because we celebrated our 300th episode! (Actually, there have been special episodes, so more than 300, but who's counting.)

T - as we often call it - has changed over the years, because nothing can stay the same. The conversations may have a theme or a special guest to focus us. We've also had free-form conversations. There is always laughter and we always learn something new about training-teaching-learning.

I got involved in T on episode 3 (Oct. 2008) and became its blog editor in May 2013.  Among the regulars are people who contribute show topics, arrange for guests to be interviewed, and ensure that the conversation keeps flowing. The important thing is that whomever shows up - and yes, you could show up! - is involved in the conversation and is always welcome to come back.

This year (2020), we've had a number of guests on the show who talked about assessment of learning, gamification, having impactful learning elements, creating space and grace, black swan events, and much more. T is for Training is available on most podcast platforms, so it these topics are of interest to you, give them a listen. Links to the recordings are also in the T blog posts.

Black woman with laptop sitting in front of a bookcase

Diversifying Library Staff

I wrote a series with this title in 2020 and then added a fifth post in 2021. These posts are among the most read posts in this blog. And diversifying the profession is always in my thoughts. Sadly some people see the barriers that exist, but then don't see how to eliminate them. I'm always trying to find ways of broadening their thinking, but it's not easy especially when I see the doors to their thoughts are already closed.

Besides these posts and many informal conversations, I did a session for the ALA Librarian Education Reform Discussion Group in March on this topic. In 2022, I'm giving a webinar for the SLA Kentucky Community Student Speaker Series on "Breaking the White-ness of the Profession," which I hope will be more of a discussion than a one-way conversation.
 
Did COVID impact the diversity in our profession? I think we'll need to see employment and graduate program statistics, for example, to know the answer.

SLA's John Cotton Dana Award

I would be remiss if I didn't hip-hip-hurrah on this last day of 2021 my personal good news from this summer. It still feels unreal. I am thankful that I have been able to give back to the profession as much as I have. I'm incredibly thankful for those before me, who taught me what being a member of this profession meant and encouraged me to be an active participant. 

By the way, in normal times this award would have been given in person. Because of COVID, the ceremony was online. That meant that friends and family could easily attend, which was awesome!

Saved Quotes

After attending the Joint Conference of Librarians of Color in 2018, I've kept a bullet journal. I've used each journal a bit differently and this year incorporated space to capture quotes. I shouldn't be the only person to see them, so here they are:

  • Move at the pace of trust.
  • The obstacle is the path.
  • Life's journey is twisted.
  • Justice is what love looks like in public. - Dr. Cornel West
  • What we know may make us experts, but whom we serve makes us noble. It is not in your insight and expertise we find the true measure of worth for a librarian, lawyer, doctor, or teacher. It is in the service of the communities we serve. - Dave Lankes, The Boring Patient
  • It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me, and I think that's pretty important. - Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Know someone who should subscribe to Digitization 101?

Of course, you do! If you receive Digitization 101 in email, forward it to them. There is a link for subscribing at the bottom of each email message. If you're reading this online, you - and your colleagues - can subscribe through this form.

Finally...

I hope that you have found things in 2021 which brought you great joy. May 2022 bring us all good health and happiness. Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2021

2021 Year in Review: Copyright

 

Fluffy dog
A few things stand out to me in 2021 related to copyright and one major effort that is not (but is about access).

First,  I've already written about Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) and clearly that was a place where I spent much time and effort, including the use of CDL for interlibrary loan.

Second, this was the year where we all dove into the CASE Act and the Copyright Claims Court. For me, it felt like the further we got into the year, the clearer the Copyright Claims Court became. It is still developing, so this is an area to keep an eye on. 

I'm thankful for the number of people who spoke on the CASE Act this year (some captured below) and the clarity they were able to bring.  I also appreciate the questions they asked about the Copyright Claims Court and its relationship to our judicial system.

Relevant posts:

Somehow this year, I found that I could subscribe to receive notices from the U.S. Copyright Office. This is a good way for me to see what they are thinking about, where they are looking for comments, etc. I'm currently subscribed to "CASE Act and Copyright Small Claims Board Updates" and "What's New at the U.S. Copyright Office", and I do not find it to be overwhelming.  

Last, while this has nothing to do with copyright, it does have to do with access to materials. In 2021, the Maryland Legislature introduced and passed SB432/HB518 ("Public Libraries - Electronic Literary Product Licenses - Access").  This bill (synopsis):

Requiring a publisher who offers to license an electronic literary product to the public to also offer to license the electronic literary product to public libraries in the State on reasonable terms that would enable public libraries to provide library users with access to the electronic literary product; authorizing the license terms authorizing public libraries to provide access to electronic literary products to include certain limitations; defining "electronic literary product"; etc.

According to Publishers Weekly, "the legislation simply provides that if a publisher licenses an e-book or other digital literary work to the public in Maryland, the publisher must also make a license available to public libraries as well."

While the bill did met opposition, it passed into law, which was good news. However, since then the Association of American Publishers have filed a lawsuit against it, which was expected given their opposition.  Now we will have to wait to see what happens next.

The good news is that the Maryland bill sparked similar legislative activity in Rhodes Island and New York. While the Rhodes Island bill died in committee, the New York bill was passed by the Legislature and sent to the Governor to be signed into law. Sadly, Governor Hochul vetoed the bill. Did the lawsuit in Maryland scare her? We may never know for sure, but I suspect the answer is "yes."

This type of legislature has been discussed in other states and I hope more move forward to ensure that ebooks are available to libraries at the same time they are available to the general public. We do know that U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Representative Anna Eshoo (D-CA) have demanded information from ebook publishers about their library ebook practices. Having the federal government look into this is shining a bright light on publisher practices and I think only good can come from this attention.

Relevant posts:

While the dog at the top of this post has nothing to do with copyright, (although she might cause you to smile), she is a reminder to me that we need to look up, clear the cobwebs (or hair) in front of us, and take a good look at that is happening around us. When I started this post, my first that was "nothing has happened", but then I cleared my own cobwebs, looked back through my blog posts, etc., and saw that there has been a lot of good activity this year. And given what has occurred, I expect even more in 2022!

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Open Educational Resources (OER)

Best Practices in Fair Use for OER

As I clean-up unfinished blog post, I found this one. If your into OER and you haven't come across this, take a look at it.



Earlier this year, a group of copyright experts below facilitated the creation of the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Open Educational Resources (OER): A Guide for Authors, Adapters & Adopters of Openly Licensed Teaching and Learning Materials, which was "built on a series of workshops, interviews, and webinars that were conducted over the course of 2019 and 2020. Without the contributions of those partners and participants this project would not have been possible, and we want to recognize their indispensable support for this project." Their webpage continues links to the workshop recording (available through YouTube).

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

2021 Year in Review: Library Futures and Controlled Digital Lending

Libraries buy the books, then lend the books

Last year (2020), I joined a group which became known as Library Futures. Our formal launch was in January 2021. Our goal is to "empower libraries to fulfill their mission and provide non-discriminatory, open access to culture for the public good." We back that goal up with seven principles and a lot of actions.

When Kyle Courtney asked me to join Library Futures, I didn't know the other board members and we didn't yet have an executive director. You might say that we were a twinkle in someone's eye! However, we got off to a fast start and have not slowed down! 

Most of our efforts are related to controlled digital lending (CDL), because we see that as a legal way for libraries to share print materials from their collections. We have built a coalition (see bottom of this page), given a number of different talks and presentations, and looked at how we can advocate for specific efforts including broadband access for all and ebooks in libraries. We have also partnered with iFixit to distribute100 Pro Tech Toolkits in support of the Right to Repair.  Through controlled digital lending, we've been introduced to people outside of the U.S., which led us to be asked to file a factum (written argument) in a Canadian Copyright Case. If you check our blog, you'll see some other things that we did this year.

Through Library Futures, I was able to get involved with a small group named CDL Co-Op. Together we published "Statement on Using Controlled Digital Lending as a Mechanism for Interlibrary Loan." That was an amazing effort and the statement has been well received (see signatories). 

And through CDL Co-Op, I've met an number of other people, which demonstrates again how quickly we build meaningful connections in the information profession. Joining Library Futures in 2020 truly had a positive impact on my 2021! I can't wait to see what 2022 brings.

Resources:

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

2021 Year in Review: Conferences

Jill Hurst-Wahl and Andrea Snyder

In most years, I can easily list the conferences I have attended, because they were events I traveled to. And when you need to travel to attend a conference or most professional development events, you aren't going to multiples each month. However, the move to online events in 2020, because of the COVID pandemic, changed how conferences were run and how many events a person could attend.

Soon after March 13, 2020 - the last day I worked on-site before being sent home because of the pandemic - organizations began hosting events online. Early in the pandemic, the thought was to give people learning opportunities as something to do. Then there became a need for learning opportunities which addressed challenges occurring during the pandemic. However, rather than attending these learning opportunities, I was involved in creating them by giving webinars or being on webinar panels. 2020  opened up new opportunities and I'm grateful for all of them.

Now in 2021, in addition to being involved in giving webinars, I found myself attending many online professional development events and conferences. Yes, some events were free or low-cost, while still providing top quality content.  Having virtual events made it easy to go from event to event, when it would have been impossible to do so if I needed to attend in person.  (On Oct. 22, I attend parts of the Central NY Library Resources Council Annual Meeting, the South Central (NY) Regional Library Council Annual Meeting, and Library Research Round Table event - back to back events - without leaving my office!) Memorable to me was that I was able to attend the 2021 Miami University Libraries Copyright Conference, which had Kenneth Crews and Jack Bernard among its speakers.

The ShapingEDU Winter Games in January are worth noting, because I think more people should be paying attention to this group. From its first on-site conference in 2018 to now, ShapingEDU has been gathering people together to talk about the education and work towards changing it. The Winter Games had presentations and panels from a wide variety of people who are involved in education, including speakers from specific companies that are shaping how we learn. I sat enthralled in front of my computer! Yes, this was a free event!

The ShapingEDU Unconference in July was an event where people engaged in conference-long learning and envisioning activities. It was structured in a way that made it possible for people to dip their toes into specific topics, if they didn't have time for a deep dive. Sessions were led by people who are deeply involved in the areas covered by the Unconference, which meant that you had an opportunity to learn from the best. And did I say this was free? Yup. 

If you are interested in education, I encourage you to look at ShapingEDU. Their next event - Pente Pitch Challenge - will be in February 2022. Check it out!

The Special Libraries Association (SLA) had its annual conference online in August and I was on a panel entitled "Work-Life Pivots: Tales from the Trenches" with Julie Edwards and Eugene Giudice. Marydee Ojala was the moderator.  All of us had pivoted our careers at least once - if not multiple times and this allowed us to share our experiences, talk about what we had learned, and provide tips. 

Everyone can pivot their careers. Everyone. I know some people think it is impossible, but it isn't. Yes, it might take time and effort to achieve. Yes, you might have to learn new things. Yes, it might be scary. Yes, you can do it.

During the SLA Conference, I received the John Cotton Dana Award for lifetime achievement. I'm still stunned by that!  I've already written about it, if you want to know more.

My first in-person conference of 2021 happened in November, when the New York Library Association Annual Conference came to Syracuse.  Besides the in-person component, NYLA also held a virtual conference in October and had recorded on-demand content available. I've written a number of posts about this conference already. For me, it was wonderful to be at an in-person event. Because we were in a county conference facility, we had to wear masks all the time, except when eating or drinking. Seating in the sessions was spaced out, so we could keep at a distance from each other.  

Next year, NYLA will return to having an in-person conference only in Saratoga Springs, NY on Nov. 2-5. I hope that COVID is under control by then, meaning that the number of cases are much lower and we can meet without the need for masks or the fear of getting COVID. I plan on being there and hope to see many of my NYS library buddies there, too.

2021 Lessons Learned:

  • Online conferences can be quite good! They do need a lot of planning, as well as good software, so don't think that hosting an online conference will be easier. One of the best things about them is that you can have a wider variety of speakers, because they do not need to travel.
  • Attending an online conference is easier, because you don't need to travel. However, it is easy to get distracted because you're sitting in front of your computer. It is up to you to stay engaged, because there is no one sitting next to you to poke you when you clearly are not paying attention. 
  • During 2020-2021, online conferences were held at a number of different price points. Don't assume that a conference will be too expensive for you to attend. Read the details! You might be surprised. 
  • Offering online events at a low cost or free is likely a finance burden for the event organizer. However, I hope that organizations will continue to find ways of making some of their events widely available, so that they have a larger impact.
  • Staring at people through a virtual event portal is fine, but it is not the same as being in-person. I think that people will want to attend a mix of virtual and in-person events each year, because the in-person events really do engage people differently.

Monday, December 27, 2021

Mary Minow on Supporting Online Classes

graphic of paper and letters
I continue to catch-up with reading magazines that are on my "pile." Today I found this gem. 

In her June 2021 American Libraries column with Tomas Lipinski, Mary Minow answers the following question (last question in the column):

With classes now online, how can school districts create meaningful programming to support teaching and learning? What about copyright?

This is a question I answer in my copyright webinars and courses, and I include additional information on the TEACH Act. Yes, Mary Minow and I agree...and we agree with Kenny Crews! (In other words, we not taking a wild stance.)

Yes, you have to pay attention to the details and that should not be hard, especially if you want to use content online and do so legally. Yes, if you pay attention to the details, you can use copyright content in your online classes.

Reddit Thread on Section 1201

On October 29, a group of copyright experts answered questions on Reddit about Section 1201  in U.S. Copyright Law. Even though that conversation had ended, the thread is still worth reading, because there is a lot of wisdom in there. As I read it, this text from Cara Gagliano stands out to me:

We agree that section 1201 needs to go entirely, and in 2016 we filed a lawsuit that's still pending challenging the law's constitutionality.

We also totally agree that for as long as we're stuck with this exemption scheme, it shouldn't be addressing different devices piecemeal and should include non-repair modification—which is why we asked for both of those things in our petition this year.

The result was a mixed bag: While we're disappointed that the final repair exemption doesn't go as far as covering all software-enabled devices, it's actually a pretty big win that we got it to cover all consumer-oriented devices. In the past, the Copyright Office has been more stubborn about limiting the exemption to specific devices that have evidence in the record. This change makes the exemption a lot more flexible, and the fact that they've started listening to us about the problems with that approach and the lack of meaningful distinctions between different device firmware is encouraging.

The biggest disappointment is the refusal to include non-infringing modifications in the exemption, especially because the Register's recommendation didn't even meaningfully engage with that point. From a more optimistic perspective, this has always been an incremental process (frustratingly so), and it's at least moving in the right direction. The progress we made on the scope of covered devices will let advocates focus more on modification next time around (if we haven't managed to get rid of 1201 by then!), and we already have support on that point from the NTIA, which has input in the process.

As you read it, you might find other text that is meaningful to you, so dive in!

[Addendum 12/29/2021: Looking back, I see I posted something short about this in November. Apologies for the repeat, but this Reddit thread is truly good stuff!]


Thread Title: We are copyright experts here to talk to you about this week’s anticircumvention exemptions from the U.S. Copyright Office. Ask us anything.

Thread Description: On Wednesday [Oct. 27], the Copyright Office released its recommendations regarding the latest round of exemption requests to Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act makes it illegal to bypass a digital lock that protects a copyrighted work, such as a device’s software, even when there is no copyright infringement. Every 3 years, the Copyright Office reviews exemption requests and issues recommendations to the Librarian of Congress on granting certain exceptions to Section 1201.

Ask us anything about this week’s decisions, the review process, or right-to-repair and security research generally.

Participants:

  • Electronic Frontier Foundation's Cara Gagliano
  • iFixit's Kyle Wiens
  • Public Knowledge's Kathleen Burke
  • Public Knowledge's Meredith Rose
  • Organization for Transformative Works:
    • Copyright Law Professor Rebecca Tushnet
    • Copyright Attorney Heidi Tandy

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Copyright Office Announces a Series of Consultations on Technical Measures that Identify or Protect Copyrighted Works

This announcement arrived in my inbox today and seems like something libraries should pay attention to. In the Federal Register notice, this caught my eye:

The consultations will address current and forthcoming technologies for identifying or protecting works online, including the technologies’ availability, their use-cases, and their limitations. (Under "Consultations")

Libraries employ technical measure for protecting works. Are libraries one of the industries that will be represented in these discussions? I hope so.


NewsNet 940
December 22, 2021

The U.S. Copyright Office has published a Federal Register notice announcing a series of consultations on technical measures that identify or protect copyrighted works. In a letter dated June 24, 2021, Senators Patrick Leahy and Thom Tillis requested that the Copyright Office “convene a representative working group of relevant stakeholders to achieve the identification and implementation of technical measures.” The consultations will address current and forthcoming technologies for identifying or protecting works, including the technologies’ availability, their use-cases, and their limitations.

The Office plans to hold a plenary session to launch these consultations on February 22, 2022, to be followed by smaller industry-sector specific consultations in 2022. Both the plenary and industry-sector based sessions will be held virtually over Zoom.

For additional information, including instructions for participating in the consultations or submitting comments for the record, please visit the Office website. A statement of interest to participate must be received no later than 11:59 p.m. eastern time on February 8, 2022.


 

Monday, December 13, 2021

Article - Copyright: Charming or Chilling? Introducing the Copyright Anxiety Scale

Two Canadian librarians, CĂ©line Gareau-Brennan and Amanda Wakaruk, have written a blog post based on their recent article entitle "Introducing the Copyright Anxiety Scale." Both the blog post and article are worth reading. We know that copyright anxiety is real and now we have data on the anxiety.  The data in Table 1 (Factor Analysis of All Copyright Anxiety Scale Items) of their article could be used by any person or institution to lobby for increased training on copyright and related topics. Even Table 2 (image below) could help fuel increased learning about copyright. The more you know - and the more your institution knows - the more confident you will be.

Respondents that Agree or Strongly Agree with Statements About Copyright Anxiety
Yes, consider setting an intention to take a copyright webinar or course in 2022. I'll be giving a webinar and ecourse for ALA in the spring, and I know there are opportunities across library land. Yes, take more then one course! Get your knowledge reinforced and hear how different people explain it. And don't be afraid to learn more. The more you know, the more copyright knowledge you'll be able to use. In addition, you'll ask better questions about the situations you're encountering. Better questions lead to better decisions.

Thursday, December 09, 2021

Book: Building Legal Literacies for Text Data Mining

Book cover
This book may not be of interest to you, but may be of interest to someone at your institution, especially if you work in academia.

Out of the National Endowment for the Humanities Institute entitled Building Legal Literacies for Text Data Mining has emerged this digital book of the same name. The book, Building Legal Literacies for Text Data Mining, was edired by Rachael Samberg and Timothy Vollmer, and published by the University of California Berkeley Press in 2021. It carries a Creative Commons 0 (Zero) license.  The site says:

To the extent possible under law, Scott Althaus; David Bamman; Sara Benson; Brandon Butler; Beth Cate; Kyle K. Courtney; Sean Flynn; Maria Gould; Cody Hennesy; Eleanor Dickson Koehl; Thomas Padilla; Stacy Reardon; Matthew Sag; Rachael Samberg; Brianna L. Schofield; Megan Senseney; Timothy Vollmer; and Glen Worthey have waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to Building Legal Literacies for Text Data Mining, except where otherwise noted.
Yes, the entire book is online AND can be downloaded in several formats. Below is the introduction, which might peek your interest or the interest of someone at your institution.

INTRODUCTION

Until now, humanities researchers conducting text data mining in the U.S. have had to maneuver through a thicket of legal issues without much guidance or assistance.

UC Berkeley Library led more than a dozen institutions in submitting (and receiving) a grant to create a National Endowment for the Humanities Institute entitled Building Legal Literacies for Text Data Mining (Building LLTDM). We wanted to empower digital humanities researchers and professionals (librarians, consultants, and other institutional staff) to confidently navigate United States law, policy, ethics, and risk within digital humanities text data mining projects—so that they could more easily engage in this type of research and contribute to the advancement of knowledge.

On June 23-26, 2020, we welcomed 32 digital humanities researchers and professionals to the institute. After months of preparation, we had been looking forward to working and learning together at UC Berkeley, but the world had other plans. Due to the global health crisis, we had to transform our planned in-person, intensive workshop into an interactive and relevant remote experience.

The pandemic meant we had to transition everything online. The substantive content was pre-recorded and delivered in a flipped classroom model. Faculty created a series of short videos, and shared readings relevant to the legal literacies. We also provided the video transcripts and slides to participants to promote accessibility and accommodate multiple learning styles.

This book explores the legal literacies covered during the virtual institute, including copyright (both U.S. and international law), technological protection measures, privacy, and ethical considerations. It describes in detail how we developed and delivered the 4-day institute, and also provides ideas for hosting shorter literacy teaching sessions. Finally, we offer reflections and take-aways on the institute.

Thursday, December 02, 2021

The Basics and the Intricacies of the Open Meeting Law

I began this blog post in March 2021 after attending a webinar entitled "The Basics and the Intricacies of the Open Meeting Law," which was focused on open meeting law in New York State.  Even though that event was months ago, I'm going to summarize information from from the event, because it is still relevant.  I've kept some of the COVID-related information, because it might be interesting or useful.

Background

Since I became ta member of my public library system's board of trustees,  I have been learning about Open Meeting Law in New York State. Public institutions in NYS must comply with Open Meeting Law. The text of the law is on the NYS Committee on Open Government (COOG) website. What is the Committee on Open Government? The site says:

The Committee on Open Government oversees and advises the government, public, and news media on Freedom of Information, Open Meetings, and Personal Privacy Protection Laws. The Committee offers guidance in response to phone inquiries, prepares written legal advisory opinions, and provides training to government and other interested groups.

Text of the law is on the website and it is not long; however, it can cause an organization to raise many questions, which you can see in the opinions rendered. The basic idea of Open Meeting Law is that the governing bodies of public institutions should be transparent in what they are doing and thus their meetings should be open, Open Meeting Law states what that means and provides rules to follow. Following the law can be both easy and hard.

Notes

  • Open Meeting Law is codified in NYS Public Officer Law, Article 7, which was updated in 2021. The COOG website includes those updates.
  • The COOG website contains advisory opinions index alphabetically by key phrase. When looking at the opinions, it can be helpful to look at several since they may provide different information.
  • Public business be held in an open and public manner.
  • Citizens have the right to attend and listen to deliberations.
  • With a public body, the whole public body (e.g., all of the trustees) are together one type of committee that is subject to open meeting law. In addition, a subcommittee, which is entirely comprised of members of the larger body is also subject to open meeting law. The fact that it is less that the quorum of the entire body is irrelevant.
    • For example, a 15-member city council, with a 3-member subcommittee. That subcommittee is its own public body. (More than 2 members.)
  • Are you having a meeting?
    • Is there a quorum present? Quorum is 50% of the entire board/counsel.  If the board has 11 members (even if some positions are vacant), the quorum is 6.
    • Will you be discussing public business?
    • If yes, you are having a meeting regardless of the intent to take action. 
    • There is no legal distinctions between workshops, meetings, agenda setting sessions, informal gathering, if you are discussing or conducting public business.
  • What might be outside the scope of a public meeting?
    • Site visits - no discussion or deliberation. Only for gathering information.
    • Retreat or educational seminar. Team building. Not there to discuss their own public interest.
    • Attendance at committee meeting as a member of the public
    • Social, e.g., holiday gatherings
  • During the COVID pandemic, how a meeting was defined changed due to the Governor's Executive Orders and actions taken by the State Legislature. Given what we experienced during the pandemic, the question is whether some of those changes may become permanent.
  • You cannot conduct a meeting by teleconference (phone) or email. Sharing information through email is appropriate. There should not be substantial deliberations via email.
  • Notice of Every Meeting
    • Time and place of the meeting
    • Prior to every meeting
    • To the media - local media must have notice that the meeting will occur
    • Must be posted on a designated physical location
    • On the website
    • Must be given 72 hours for meetings schedule more than 1 week in advance
    • For meeting on short notice, notice must be given to extend practicable.
    • Do you need to meet quickly? What would the harm be if delayed?
  • Minutes
    • Must include motions, resolutions, votes
    • Does not need to be a verbatim account of the meeting
    • Does not need to include a summary of deliberations or public comments 
    • Must be available within two weeks for open sessions, and within one week for executive sessions (if action taken).
      • Does not matter whether minutes are unapproved or in draft form
      • Nothing in the law states that minutes must be approved
      • They must be made available upon request
  • Recording
    • Any meeting that is open to the public can be photographed, recorded, or broadcast
    • Agency is not obligated to record
    • Agency may establish reasonable rules to limit disruption
  • Executive Session
    • It is part of an open meeting
    • Cannot be held prior to an open meeting
    • It cannot be a separate session 
    • Most have a motion
    • Upon majority vote
    • Specificity of the motion, signal proper purpose
    • Discuss items that would be harmful if disclosed
    • Cannot just say that you are entering an Executive Session for "personnel" matters. The wording needs to be more specific. (See the law)
  • Public Participation
    • Not required
    • Can establish reasonable rules, e.g., time limits, limited to agenda items
    • Implement fairly and consistently
    • Hearings are not the same as meetings. There are other statutes that govern public hearings.
  • Matters/Records Scheduled to be Discussed
    • There is no obligation to prepare or follow an agenda
    • Proposed resolutions, etc., shall be made available by required, prior to the meeting, or at the meeting
  • Section 108 Exemptions for Meeting Behind Closed Doors
    • Judicial or quasi-judicial proceedings
    • Deliberations of political committees, conferences or caucuses - discussion must be limited to political business
    • Any matter made confidential by federal or state law, e.g., meetings with agency attorney covered by attorney client privilege.
    • Non-Compliance and Enforcement
  • Enforcement is through the initiation of a CPLR Article 78 proceeding in State Supreme Court. The Court has authority to:
    • Award costs and attorney's fees
    • Invalidate action - likely if the violation is substantial
    • Require training 

Questions


Some of these questions were specific to meetings being held during the pandemic.
  • Must members of the public identify themselves when attending a meeting? No.
  • Must members of the board/committee have cameras on at all times? In non-COVID times, yes.
  • If a meeting is recorded in non-COVID times, the recording needs to be kept for 4 months. There is no obligation that a transcript be prepared.
  • We note on our meeting minutes who from the public attended (which could be staff). Do we need to do that? This is not needed. Members of the public may not want to be listed.
  • Under the Governor's Executive Order (during COVID), the transcripts created by Zoom, etc., are sufficient.
  • Do attendees need to identify themselves? No. Attending a meeting cannot be conditional of identify yourself. 
    • During COVID, you may collect this information for contract tracing.
    • If the building has security procedures which require identification, that is different than open meeting law.
  • Definition of committees:
    • If the committee is comprised of only members of the larger body, it is subject to the Open Meeting Law.
    • Advisory committees with mostly non-board members are not likely subject to Open Meeting Law.
    • Committees subject to NYS statute are subject to Open Meeting Law.
  • During COVID and the Governor's Executive Order, a committee can meet in person and give the public a remote option for attending. 
    • The in-person gathering, under COVID, must be able to accommodate social distancing.
  • Telephone meetings - less than a quorum - are allowed.
  • If action is taken in Executive Session, your clerk should be present to record the action.
  • If a virtual meeting is live-streamed (during COVID), the public can watch. They do not need to be able to make comments.

Final Thoughts

This was not my first training on open meeting law and likely will not be my last. (See NYLA2018 post, elective session script) While the law seems simple and it is easy to implement, it is hard because it means being very transparent and that can be awkward if people feel that they are discussing something sensitive like the budget. We need to keep in mind that being transparent is good for our communities.

The idea that a agenda does not need to be followed is liberating for me, but I also have learned that having a standard agenda is helpful for everyone involved. Personally I think the agenda should help the organization focus and be able to change when needed.

Personally, I appreciate minutes which capture some of the discussion. Why? Because I think it is important to know what was discussed.  I've been in groups where someone will say, "check the minutes" and then see that the minutes don't provide any clues about what was said.  I think minutes should be helpful and provide a historical record. But that's me and I know that it is more than what is needed. (Yes, I recognize that people can keep their own notes, but that doesn't help when everyone who was around when 'that thing happened' is gone.)

I've learned that even committees can have executive sessions. Useful and good to know.

In another training, I've learned that anyone can attend an open meeting, whether or not they live in that area.  In other words, there is no residency requirement. You might want to exclude someone, but you can't. 

Also interesting that you do not need to capture the name of everyone in attendance.  If it is your practice to capture everyone's name, a person can ask to be unnamed.

The meeting is for the board/committee that is meeting and it should be useful for them. Hearing from others - e.g., a time for receiving comments - is not needed. If a board decided to receive comments, it should do so in a consistent manor and only receive the comments and not get into a discussion.

BTW checking the advisory opinions, I see that adhering to Robert's Rules of Order is not in the law, although a body may adopt to use Robert's Rules or adopt another set of rules.

Finally, having gone through open meeting law training, I think the more people trained in it for a public body (e.g., board), the better.  That will help the public body consider and implement open meeting law well, even when being transparent is uncomfortable. Honestly, I keep learning new things about open meeting law and how to implement it, which means that there is much to consider in how it is applied.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

#NYLA2021: Notes from Day 2 In-person Conference, Nov. 5

Jill with mask
This year, the New York Library Association held its annual conference in both virtual (Oct. 28-29)and in-person (Nov. 3-6) day 2 of the in-person conference.
 
Friday I started with Trustees (Not In) Legal Jeopardy! with Stephanie "Cole" Adams, JD.  Adams did her session like the Jeopardy game show, with questions on the screen and the participants yelling out answers. Adams then would give us additional information.  That made the session a lot of fun and also hard to take notes.

Description:
Being a trustee takes dedication, awareness, and a willingness to learn the ropes of library and not-for-profit legal considerations. Since that is a lot of work, this session will make it fun, promoting awareness of the most critical aspects of library trustee ethics and responsibilities through a game-show format: "What is...a fiduciary?" "What is...a conflict of interest?" "What is...Director's & Officer's Insurance?"  You will wager all of your late fees as you test and build your trustee skills in this fun and highly informative session! (Non-trustees also welcome.)
Resources:

My last in-person session was Friendly Relationships, Working Together for the Library. I've already written about this session and you can read it here.

Final Thoughts

Librarians Threaten Ignorance
This was my first in-person conference since ALA Midwinter in January 2020.  If I had known that trip to Philly would be my last for many months, I would have enjoyed it more, which would have included eating more sticky buns! Since then I've attended many online events, including a number of conference, and have given webinars, conference presentations, and keynotes.  Our pivot to doing everything online wasn't always smooth, but we were able to do it...bumps and all. 
 
The in-person portion of the NYLA Annual Conference had to comply with rules for the convention center, which is a County facility. Those rules included wearing a mask at all times, except when eating.  In conference sessions, we sat 6 feet apart, which gave us space for our bags and backpacks (a positive). 
 
The conference made it easy for people to signal how comfortable they were with physical contact. A red ribbon on a person's badge meant they did not want any touching. A yellow ribbon, which I had, signaled elbow bumps. A green ribbon meant that handshakes and hugs were welcome.  I hope some version of this remains at conferences in the future, since I know that we all have different tolerances for hugs from colleagues we really don't know.

Reportedly there were 380 people registered for the in-person conference, plus those staffing the Trade Show. This is noticeably smaller than normal and fit with the rules of the convention center, which put a cap on how many people could attend. This made is a cozy conference, which I think people appreciated.

Next year's conference will be on  November 2-5, 2022 in Saratoga Springs.  That location attracts people from all across the state. Will there be an online component? Time will tell. I know it takes a tremendous effort to do a virtual conference, plus an in-person conference, plus on-demand sessions. NYLA will have to determine what is best for NYLA members and what it's conference budget can bear.

#NYLA2021: How to Hire and Inspire (and Occasionally Fire) Library Employees, Legally!

Libraries: We're all in logo
This year, the New York Library Association held its annual conference in both virtual (Oct. 28-29) and in-person (Nov. 3-6) formats, as well as having on-demand content. Below are notes from one of the virtual sessions.

Description

In this session, we will discuss a variety of employment law topics and the laws that govern them. Topics will include hiring and firing of employees, paid leave laws and policies, employee misconduct, discrimination and harassment, interpersonal conflict and bullying, wage and hour concerns, performance issues, safety concerns, and more. Using real world scenarios that arise in libraries, we will identify legal issues and plan practical approaches to resolving personnel problems. We will examine how federal and state employment laws and library policy work together, with a special focus on the requirements imposed by new legislation and recent court decisions.

Presenters

  • Ellen M. Bach, Whiteman Osterman & Hanna LLP 
  • Robert T. Schofield, Whiteman Osterman & Hanna LLP 

Notes

Bach & Schofield used hypothetical situations during this session. You will notice many questions below and not always a "do this." Also I was taking notes quickly, so there could be other laws which apply in these scenarios.

Hypothetical #1: Yes, the position sounds great...can I do it from home? The person has a child who learns from home virtually on some days.

Do you have an obligation under current law to hire this person and allow the person to work from home? Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FSCRA)? Not currently. NYS COVID leave law? But this is only during a quarantine or something else that sends the person home. And that is not remote work, but is paid leave.

But what if they ask was about accessibility and accommodations, and the person has documentation to support them working from home part-time? That changes the analysis. ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and NYS Human Rights Law would cause you to engage with the person and see what is possible for that person to work from home.

What if the person's job is being done virtually, e.g., someone doing children's programming? How does that change the scenario for you?

Can you pay a bonus to help the person cover the cost of childcare, so the person will work in the office full-time? This would not be a gift, but paying something to get something.  A gift would be illegal for libraries who are receiving public funds.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) policies apply to large association libraries (over 50 employees). FMLA applies to pubic libraries, but there are more technicalities. Take to HR or your attorney before you implement a policy.

A relevant opinion from the NYS Comptroller's Office is 91-32. It is not about a library, but Bob Schofield referenced it.

Hypothetical #2: Can't we just make the employee "on leave," leave?

What laws apply?

  • Family and Medical Leave Act
  • Americans with Disabilities Act
  • NYS Human Rights Law
  • Workers Compensation?
  • Civil Service?

Is there a part for discipline? Is there a pathway towards a disability? You need to talk directly to the employee.  If the person will not talk with you, you need to send a letter and know that it has been received. Explain that the employee has been out without a basis for the absence. Establish that the person needs to have a conversation with you.  If the person does not talk with you and does not respond, you can send a follow-up letter with what the discipline is.

You might want the employee to talk with their doctor, with their job description in hand, to determine what accommodation the person needs in order to do their job.

Hypothetical #3: Go sleep at home...and don't come back? An employee seems to be sleeping at work and may have a mental health condition for which the person is taking medication.

Sleeping on a job - in a perfect world - is a fire-able offense. You would need to document the occurrences, as well as have counseled and disciplined the employee. You need written warnings and perhaps a last chance warning.

However, here there is rumor of a mental health condition. Is the condition or the medication causing the employee to fall asleep?  Don't assume a disability, but also don't hide your head in the sand. If you seem to know that there is a disability, the court will take that into account.

What laws apply?

  • Family and Medical Leave Act
  • Americans with Disabilities Act
  • NYS Disability?
  • Civil Service?

A disability issue is a big issue. Mental health and substance abuse issues are becoming a large part of Bach and Schofield's practice. 

Do not second guess medical professionals. You may need to ask additional questions, but don't assume the role of a doctor.

Question: We are an association library and are considering a retroactive raise this year at the end of the year. We also considering an equivalent of a week's pay at the end of the year. Are these OK? They are funded by a 414 levy. 

If they were not publicly funded, this would be fine. Private employers do this!

If it is a public library, you do not want to make a retroactive gift. You could make a longevity bonus, because you would get something (longevity) for the gift. 

The Comptroller does recognize that retroactive raise as the result of a collective bargaining settlement is fine.

Hiring Considerations:

  • Think about the basic discrimination statutes.
  • Consider blind reviews of resumes.
  • Do not ask for medical, conviction, or salary history.
  • Be careful with background sheets. Get all of the right consents.
  • Be careful of asking questions that try to get at protected information in a round about why.
  • Focus on the person's experience, etc.
  • A person may volunteer information.

Hypothetical #4: The protected poor performer...  

If a person has voiced concerns about the workplace (harassment, etc.), the library director should have someone look into these allegations.  It should be an outsider who is skilled in handling these matters.

If two employees are not getting along, is there something that is actionable? An investigator may find there is none.

Be careful that you do not overlook discriminatory circumstances.

What laws apply?

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act?
  • New York State Human Rights Law?
  • National Labor Relations Act
  • Education Law 226(7)

Communications through social media may be protected activities. The posts may be annoying, but you may not be able to do anything about it.

Employees need multiple places to report concerns, because the director might be the harasser or a friend of a harasser. A claim a discrimination made to the trustees needs to be given to someone who can dig into it.

Question: Can you elaborate more on when and how you can do background checks?

If you are going to do a background check, you need to receive consent from the employee. If you are going to use the information, perhaps not to hire the employee, you need to give the employee an opportunity to correct the information.

There are positions in libraries where you might want to do a background check. You should do it after you have made a hiring decision. Make a conditional offer and then do the background check. Does the nature of the conviction have a nexus with the requirements for the job?

Corrections Law and Human Rights Law comes into play.

Question: I have a plot twist with the association library wishing to pay retroactive raises or end of year additional week pay. The funds we would like to use this year are from the PPP/Cares Act grant from the federal government. This is the Paycheck Protection Program. Would this be allowed? 

Perhaps. Schofield would want to talk in detail with the client, to ensure that the money is segregated.

#NYLA2021: Notes from Day 1 In-person Conference, Nov. 4

Keynote session
This year, the New York Library Association held its annual conference in both virtual (Oct. 28-29)and in-person (Nov. 3-6) day 1 of the in-person conference.

The conference began - as it always does - with the NYLA Business Meeting and breakfast. For me, the most important item on the agenda was approval of the revised NYLA bylaws, because I had helped ot work on them.  Bylaws should be reviewed regularly and updated as needed. Unfortunately, the NYLA bylaws hadn't been touched in a while so an update was needed. NYLA members voted to adopt the new bylaws!

The roles of the conference facility were that we had to wear masks at all times, except when we were eating. For me, this cut down on the free food I was willing to eat, because that meant removing my mask.  In all of the sessions, people were spaced out (see photo above) to maintain social distancing. The exhibitors in the Trade Show area where also spaced out more for the same reason.

After the business meeting is the keynote speaker.  This year, the speaker was author Robert (Bob) Kolker, who wrote Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family (paid link). No notes can capture his ability to tell a story and the complexity of the real-life family in this book. The parents had 12 children (10 male, 2 female), with six of the males having schizophrenia. It is extremely rare to find Schizophrenia in that many siblings, which means that have been studied by medical researchers in order to learn more about this disorder. You can read about this book on the book website, NPR interview, and Forbes review.  It is a complex story and one that will likely draw the reader in. 

New York State Librarian Lauren Moore held a session entitled A New Way to RAC (Regents Advisory Council). The description was:

Building on the success of the Vision 2020 plan, RAC (Regents Advisory Council on Libraries) is looking at newer ways to improve services.  This program will include a discussion and we need your input.  The RAC Vision Plan 2020 presented strategic directions for New York's libraries and library systems and was developed in partnership with the state's library community.  It provided a clear vision of what excellent libraries should look like, and affirmed the ongoing value of the library system.
This was a brainstorming/feedback session, where Moore provided background on information being collected by RAC statewide, then asked for our input. We worked in small groups. 

The Regents Advisory Council thinks deeply about the needs of all type of libraries across NYS and provides information to the Board of Regents.  Having served on RAC, I think most people have no idea this group exists and how influential they can be.  It really behooves people - especially library staff - to know who represents their region on RAC and to help them think about the needs of libraries. Some members of RAC are not librarians, so giving them input can be quite helpful.

The last session I attended on Thursday was Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Toolbox with Kelly Harris and Trina Reed. The session description was:
In 2020 a group of library administrators from Nassau and Suffolk counties came together to address the issue of diversity, equity and inclusion in libraries. Together, they created a toolbox to empower libraries to give employees access to equal opportunities, no matter who they are or where they are from. Our goal is to educate, engage and create policies for staff, trustees and patrons to make libraries truly a place where everyone feels that they belong. The toolbox provides tips and templates to create policy, educate staff and trustees, and provide resources to help recruit and retain a diverse workforce.

A good portion of the content they covered can be found in the Nassau County Library Association The Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Toolbox.

Additional Resources:

And that was the end of day 1 in-person!

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

#NYLA2021: Fundraising Without Book Sales

Libraries: We're all in logo

This year, the New York Library Association held its annual conference in both virtual (Oct. 28-29) and in-person (Nov. 3-6) formats, as well as having on-demand content. Below are notes from one of the on-demand sessions.

Description

Friends groups are always searching for new ideas that go beyond the book sale. Come discover how our panelists are using new and trusted out-of-the-box thinking and creative ideas to redefine fundraising.

Speakers

  • Emily Cullings, Friends of the Hampton Bays Library
  • Mary Giardini, Friends of the Olean Public Library
  • Helen Rados,  Friends of the Ethelbert B. Crawford Public Library
  • Kerstin Cruger,  Friends of Libraries Section (moderator)

 

Notes

Helen Rados 

  • Pave the Way
  • LilyDale Trip
  • Holiday Cookie Bake Off
  • Chair Auction 
  • Commemorative Journals
  • Taste of Sullivan County
    • Gift cards donations from over 30 restaurants. 
    • Make specific requests (e.g., $25 gift certificate). 
    • Restaurants were given a decal marking them as a participant. 
    • Gift cards were bundled to make four unique prizes worth $500, $200, and $100 (x2). 
    • Friends members and local businesses sold tickets (1 for $5.00 or 6 for $20.00).
    • Told restaurants what was in it for them. They were seen as "proud contributors."
      • When approaching the restaurants, they talked with the owner or manager.
    • One of the benefits was raising library awareness.
    • Tried to keep costs low by having local businesses donate printing, etc. or provide those services at a low cost. 
    • Prize totals, etc., all depend on how many donations are obtained.
    • They do this every other year.
    • Do check with NYS Gaming Commission on raffles as well as local laws/guidelines.  Make sure you are compliant.

Mary Giardini

  • "Our Library Can Read Between the Wines"
  • Got the idea from Cuba, NY. 
  • Olean Friends only had been doing author receptions.
  • Did both a wine tasting and a beer tasting, six months apart.
  • The wine tasting was 7:00-9:00 p.m. on a Friday night in the library. Having it in the library allowed them to show of recent library reservations.
  • Tickets were $20/each or $35 for two, purchased in advanced.
  • Had wine tasting and an educational talk from a sommelier. Sommelier did two talks in the gallery room.
  • Also had a basket raffle. (25 baskets)
  • Had light appetizers (donated by the friends) and non-alcoholic options.
  • Did constant communications with her committee members.
  • Contacted all of the wineries within 1-2 hours drive by letter and received zero responses. A friend - former bartender - drove to wineries and asked in person, and he was able to get wine donations.
  • Created pouring stations using tables already in the library. Decorated the tables with existing materials and with rented materials. Rented wine glasses.
  • Had about 100 guests.
  • At the end, gave thanks, made announcements, and ensured people were able to get home (e.g., Uber, Lyft).
  • For this event, needed approval from the Board of Trustees and the library's insurer.
  • Workers need TIP training, which is good for three years. ($40 per person)
  • They hired a professional security guard.
  • Had to get a liquor license.
  • Considered different music options.
  • Used social media and other options for advertising.
  • Their first event brought in over $3000 in total.  It also brought people into the library, who had not done so in a long time.
  • They learned from their events and made changes over time.

Emily Cullings

  • They decided to do a calendar fundraiser, which was an idea they got from other library.
  • Wanted to do a 2021 calendar, but produce it in summer 2020 so it could be sold to tourists.
  • They reached out to photographers on Facebook and received a good response.
  • However...then the pandemic happened. They decided to highlight local businesses and first responders in the photos.
  • They went to every store and restaurant. A business photo could be in the calendar for $25. (This covered their cost.)
    • They also asked that businesses wanted to buy calendars to sell in their businesses, but that didn't work.
    • The businesses that said "yes" were indeed very local businesses. The friends made better connections with these businesses.
  • The calendar also had a page about the library and a page about the friends group. 
    • There were also a couple pages dedicated to highlighting local first responders. This helped them build relationships with them.
    • There was a page decided to the local schools.
    • They stapled their membership form in the middle of the calendar. It did yield a few new members.
  • The created the calendar online and used an online printing service, which was cost effective. Someone in the friends, who was tech savvy, was able to help with the production.
  • They bought 500 calendars. Sold about 200 at $10/piece.
  • For 2021-2022 they are doing different photography (more scenic). Business donors gave $100 each to sponsor a page, as well as sponsors on the back page.  These sponsors covered the cost of production.
    • 16 month calendar.
    • Giving partial proceeds to the photographer, which had previously been in a life altering accident.
    • Calendars will be sold in a variety of different ways, including at local grocery stores.
    • $12/each.
  • Calendars are a lot of work, but she says the work is worth it, because they built new connections in their community as well as raising funds.

Questions

How do you define a successful funding raising program? 

  • How much money raised
  • Visibility of the library and friends increased
  • New friends members - active members
  • Get new people on their mailing list
  • Making community connections

Advice to other friends groups?

  • Get out there so the friends group is not a secret anymore.
  • Allow the friends to brainstorm ideas without immediately dismissing ideas.
  • Get all of the friends involved in the ideas.
  • Don't expect that the event will go as envisioned. Be adaptable. 
  • Don't try to control everything. 
  • Leave your ego out of it. 
  • Delegate and coordinate.
  • Give people tasks within their range of abilities.

#NYLA2021: Community Partnership Social Workers in Libraries

Libraries: We're all in logo

This year, the New York Library Association held its annual conference in both virtual (Oct. 28-29) and in-person (Nov. 3-6) formats, as well as having on-demand content. Below are notes from one of the virtual sessions.

Description

Middle Country Public Library (MCPL) welcomed a licensed social worker into their service model over 15 years ago and has sustained this model through deep community partnership.  Learn about how this model has been so successful in forging new relationships and meeting patron needs. Meet our licensed social worker who will talk about the types of services she can offer with her professional training and how these services work within a public library. Kristen Todd-Wurm, National Coordinator for Family Place Libraries will talk about how the library set up and sustained this ongoing beneficial relationship over the years.

Speaker

Kristen Todd-Wurm, Middle Country Public Library (MCPL). She is the National Coordinator for Family Place Libraries. Her title for this talk was "Expanding Library Services with Social Workers."

Notes

I've organized these notes around a list Todd-Wurm had at the end of her talk.

Assess the need in your community 

Parents, seniors, teens, children, and adults -- What stressors are we seeing in our libraries for these groups? 

Librarians are not equipped to help people with all of the needs that they have. 18 years ago, MCPL realized that it needed to help community members with their stressors.

Poverty in NYS is at 15.1%.  Poverty by race: 

  • 9.8%White NYers
  • 22.5% Black NYers
  • 24.4% Hispanic NYers.

A living wage for one adult and one child household, $36/hr.

What can we do? Libraries are always changing to meet our community needs.

What limitations do libraries face in addressing the se needs?

  • Not sure it falls under library purview
  • Lack of funding - partner with county services. look for grant funding
  • Lack of staff - no more work by staff than usual
  • Lack of space - a private space for meeting. A filing cabinet that locks (to comply with HIPPA/ Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Ac), phone, and computer.
  • Lack of staff expertise - the social worker brings expertise.
  • Attitude of staff, administration, and community - This isn't want libraries do? Look for grants so it is not all out of library funds.

Identify potential health and human service partners

How can libraries be part of the solution to some of these issues without doing it all on their own?

  • Partnership!
  • MCPL worked with an agency who could hire and supervise social workers
  • The partnership helps the agency gain access to more people who need their services. People who need help may be more comfortable coming to a library.
  • Work cooperatively.
  • Planning is important, so you can find adequate funding and structure the services. 

MCPL has a social worker for 15 hours per week with those hours varied across days. Yes, they have turnover often because social workers obtain a full-time position.

The outside organizations captures statistics and helps the library show the need in the community.

Get administration support

Understand what roles will need to be filled by library staff and administration.

  • Liaison
  • Scheduler
    • Staff can make appointments for people. They ask for very limited info from people (initials).
  • Outreach in the community and in the library
  • Publicity - on social media and through other agencies
  • Grant writer / grant reporter
  • Interviewer of potential new social work hires
  • Fiscal agent - for MCPL this is done by Family Services which works with them as their fiscal agent

Meet with a prospective partner and present proof. Work towards a win-win.


Develop a memorandum of understanding with your partner(s). Document each organization's responsibilities, as well as the library's responsibilities.

 

Identify and solicit funds.

MCPL is building some funding into their programming budget to help sustain this service, because they want to be able to continue during years when grants are not a prevalent.

Funders also appreciate seeing  a breath of funding sources. They don't want you to rely on one source.

Setup space, etc. See info above on what is needed.

 

Create and disseminate publicity.

 

Engage in ongoing communications

  • Regularly scheduled meetings between the library and its partners
    • Share ideas
    • Identify trends
    • Keep minutes
  • Administrative level communication 
    • Fiscal issues
    • Personnel
    • Future plans

Engage and educate library staff.

Do outreach to community agencies.

Other

Best Practices:

  • Periodic meetings of everyone involved
  • Social worker schedules that balance client sessions with time to do outreach
  • Family centers are most effective when there is designated library staff/liaison

Evolution? More services and programs to address:

  • Homing insecurity (homelessness) - at Riverhead Library they've implemented a "I Can do This" Group.
  • Food insecurity - added the Long Island Cares Mobile Food Van
  • Gang recruitment - have a social worker interacting directly with teens. Help parents recognize the signs of gang recruitment.
  • Immigration - started a "Amigas Latinas" group

Final Thoughts

First, this session related to the NYLA 2018 keynote, Our Voices Together: How Conversations Create Change.

Second, given what our communities have been through in 2020 and 2021, I hope more public libraries - and perhaps K-12 and academic libraries - will have social workers available in their buildings. Doing so could be a huge help to our communities.