PLS logo 2012

PLS: Public Libraries Section

Find us on Facebook





2016 Conference Line Up

Library of America at 35

Sponsor: PLS / RASS
Approaching its 35th anniversary in 2017, the Library of America series now numbers close to three hundred volumes with more than nine million copies in print, and it is a fixture in public and university libraries, classrooms, and homes. This talk briefly traces the origins and creation of the Library of America, the importance of its nonprofit mission, and the evolution of the series over time before offering a few thoughts on the idea of a national canon today. Along the way it seeks to address commonly asked questions: Who decides what to publish, and when? Why have some famous writers not been included? And what kind of future does the Library of America have in the digital age?

Track: Technology & Digital Information
Speaker: Brian McCarthy, Library of America

Mapping A City: A Collaborative Project

Sponsor: PLS / RASS
Saratoga Springs celebrated its centennial as a city in 2015. To commemorate this anniversary, a group of Skidmore College faculty and students, the Saratoga Springs History Museum, the Saratoga Springs Public Library’s Local History Room, the Saratoga Springs City Historian, and the Saratoga County Historian collaborated to present an exhibit at the history museum that told the story of the city through its rich collection of historical maps. The curatorial team for this two year collaborative project will share their experience in successfully working with their community partners. The map exhibit came about because of a recognized need to create a comprehensive inventory of historic maps of Saratoga Springs located in various collections throughout the city and at the Saratoga County offices. After a number of meetings to discuss strategy, the curatorial team came up with a list of maps to be considered for the exhibit.  In the Fall 2014, Professor Jordana Dym offered a class “Mapping the Americas” that worked with the selected materials, researched Saratoga Springs’ history, and prepared the story behind the maps.  In the spring of 2015, some of the class continued with the project helping to make the exhibit come to fruition. The class also created a website for the exhibit using maps digitized as part of the project.

Track: Diverse & Special Populations
Speakers:  Teri Blasko, Saratoga Springs Public Library  Jordana Dym, Skidmore College  Mary Ann Fitzgerald, Saratoga Springs City Historian

Introduction To Genealogy Databases

Sponsor: PLS / RASS
With the continued popularity of such television shows  as Finding Your Roots, Genealogy Roadshow and Who Do You Think You Are?, patrons come to their local libraries trying to find out more about their family history. There are library editions available for several major genealogy databases and three of those will be looked at in this presentation: Ancestry Library Edition, Fold3, and HeritageQuest. Let’s see what the collections  have in common and what makes each one unique. In addition, there will also be discussion of the free website hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints,

Track: Technology & Digital Information
Speakers:  Jean King, West Hempstead Public Library

Good Policies Make Good Patrons

Sponsor: PLS / RASS, LAMS
Managing the needs of all patrons in a public library can be a real juggling act. How controlled or lenient an atmosphere should you allow? How do you best strike that balance? A written patron behavior policy can't capture every circumstance: it needs to be flexible enough to fit whatever's going on in the library, but rigid enough for library staff to hold it up to defend their actions. This session brings together the General Counsel and Chief Librarian from Brooklyn Public Library, one of the busiest and largest library systems in the country, with 60 branches serving 2.5 million people. Come and hear about real world examples of tricky situations and how a well-drafted and carefully applied policy can make your library run more smoothly.

Track: School & Youth Programs, Services, and Literacy
Speakers:  Chloe Wasserman, Brooklyn Public Library Lisa Rosenblum, Brooklyn Public Library

Increasing Circulation @ Your Library

Sponsor: PLS
With circulation on the decline in a majority of libraries in the country ten member libraries of the Mid-Hudson Library System libraries embarked on an experiment to find the answers to one of the most vexing question facing libraries today – how do we increase circulation? Five library directors who saw their circulation rise over the past three years were matched with five directors who were watching circ plummet. Find out what happened next…

Track: Administration & Leadership
Speakers:  Rebekkah Smith Aldrich, MidHudson Library System

Offering Storytelling Workshops in Public Libraries

Sponsor: PLS / SLSA, SSL
As the primary community institution that offers skill development for adults regardless of income level, libraries that offer storytelling workshops foster their commitment to literacy. Some view storytelling as fear-inducing public speaking, so Jeannine creates a supportive environment for those who want to try out storytelling in their work or family. Not a memorized performance, storytelling builds community among listeners and tellers. Each student in this five-part library offering chooses a kind of story to tell - folktale, personal narrative, history, or original. Learning to use voice, gesture, facial expression, movement, eye contact, and direct speech, participants see that these skills cross genres.  In this conference offering, participants will try out techniques and learn how they might structure such workshops.

Track: User Services
Speakers:  Jeannine Laverty

PLS Author! Author! (Ticketed Event)
Thursday 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM
Northshire Bookstore,  424 Broadway
PLS is thrilled to host author Julia Claiborne Johnson at the beautiful Northshire Bookstore. She will be speaking about her "poignant, funny, wholly original" (Library Journal Starred Review) debut novel, Be Frank with Me. Tickets are $35 for NYLA members and $45 for non-members, and include appetizers and an hour of open bar.

2016 Award Winners

The NYLA PLS Board is excited to announce the winners of this year’s awards and scholarships!  The following five people are the winning recipients of our 2016 NYLA Conference Scholarship, which encourages public librarians (professional degree not required) now in the field, or students in library school, to participate in NYLA or PLS activities. Please join us in congratulating:

  1. Rima O’Connor
  2. Michelle Fernandez
  3. Natalia Umaña
  4. Betsy Halvorsen
  5. Amy Discenza

Thank you so much to everyone who applied for the scholarship,  and please apply again next year. We had many strong contenders and it was a very difficult decision to make.
PLS also awarded two Building Awards – The focus of the two awards is the impact that a renovation/reconstruction project has had on the library’s ability to provide services to its community.

The winner of the award for a library with a population greater than 20,000 is the Longwood Public Library, and the winner of the award for a library with a population fewer than 20,000 is the Phoenicia Public Library.  Both libraries to receive recognition will receive a $1,000 cash award and a display plaque.
Thanks to everyone who applied for these awards! It was truly a privilege to read about all the amazing things that public libraries around New York State are doing.

Congratulations to PLS' newest Board members!

They will take office at conference in November.

-    Deanna DiCarlo, (Upper Hudson Library System), Vice President / President Elect
-    Patricia Uttaro, (Monroe County Library System), 1st Year Director,
-    Margo Gustina, (Southern Tier Library System),Treasurer

Public Libraries Section Mission Statement

(PLS was organized in 1972.)

The Public Libraries Section represents the interests and concerns of the public libraries of New York State. Membership is encouraged and open to all interested in the issues confronting the information services and business of publc libraries. This section endeavors to provide continuing education and leadership opportunities that promote and enhance library services. In addition, PLS acts as an advocate for public and political awareness striving towards adequate funding and support.