2020 Legislative Agenda
Libraries are educational, civic and cultural spaces, staffed by trained information professionals, flexible enough to meet the needs of every New Yorker in every setting - from rural to urban, from PreK throughout school, to post-grad and beyond.
- Persistent underfunding of the State Library Aid program has disenfranchised millions of vulnerable New Yorkers who lack access to information resources and trusted, community-based information professionals.
- Information inequality plagues vulnerable, marginalized, and historically oppressed populations. New York’s failure to act risks creation of a permanent digital underclass.
- New York State must guarantee information equity for all New Yorkers through aggressive investment in library services.
NYS Library Operating Aid: $200M
Increased aid is needed to support the foundational framework of New York State libraries, improving the lives of residents of all ages, abilities and economic status.
- Provide school, public, and academic libraries and library systems adequate funding.
- Move toward providing every student with access to instruction in information sciences by a certified school librarian, guarantee public libraries are appropriately staffed, and provide quality ongoing training for librarians and library workers.
NYS Library Construction Aid: $75M
Increased investment is needed to maintain and develop the physical infrastructure of New York State’s libraries, in order to ensure a safe, accessible and sustainable environment for the future.
- The New York State Library estimates the deferred maintenance need at over $1.5B.
- Over half of New York’s libraries are over 60 years old.
- Investments allow libraries to invest in energy-efficiency and support the local construction industry.
Equal Access to School Libraries and Librarians
S2421 Kaplan / A2444 Solages
This bill, currently in the Education Committee of both the Assembly and Senate, requires all school districts to maintain a school library in each elementary and secondary school and to employ a certified school library media specialist for each such school library.
All students have an inherent right to equity of instruction in information literacy, and it is needed now more than ever. Under current law, elementary school students are not guaranteed instruction in information literacy skills.
Passage of this bill would help ensure that all students are college or career ready.
Training for Library Trustees
S7285 May / A9551 Ryan
This bill, currently in Senate Education and Assembly Libraries and Education Technology would require board of trustee members to complete a minimum of two hours of continuing education credits per year.
Library trustees play an important role in the success and long-term growth of their libraries. Their actions effect policy, personnel and finances. Currently, the state does not require library trustees to obtain any formal training.
Passage of this bill would ensure that those choosing to serve their libraries as a trustee, have the comprehensive and necessary information to be successful.
Additional Legislation Affecting Libraries
S7576 May / A9881 Ryan (Access to E-Books)
This bill, currently in the Senate Consumer Affairs Committee, requires that publishers who offer electronic books to the private market, also extend licenses to libraries within the State, without discrimination. Contracts would stipulate “reasonable terms” that would allow libraries across the state, and their patrons, to have equitable access to the content they seek.