Executive Director’s Report

Sustaining a Successful Model

Together with every library advocate who raised their voice, NYLA is celebrating a very successful NYS Budget negotiation.  Library Aid in the FY2016-2017 New York State Budget increased by $4 Million dollars; and the Library Construction Aid program saw a $10M increase.  Complete details can be found in the Capitol Update.

This year’s budget victories are not isolated; since 2011 our collective advocacy efforts, have resulted in $16.627M of additional Library Aid funding.  This represents an over 16% increase in state dollars allocated to the support of libraries.  Additionally, libraries were provided with a permanent exemption to the Metropolitan Transit Authority Commuter Payroll Tax, saving libraries nearly $1M annually.

All of these successes require funding.  NYLA’s operations are built on membership dues, and to continue on the path we have set out upon, we need everyone’s support. 

  1. Encourage your professional peers to join NYLA
  2. Check with your library director to ensure that your library is an organizational member
  3. Make a donation to NYLA’s Advocacy Fund

Less than half of New York’s library community are currently NYLA members.

Together we can improve that number, and ensure that your professional organization has the resources required to continue on our established path toward success.


Defending Libraries Access to Balloting: Challenge to Education Law 259

The DeWitt Community Library, is chartered as a free association library, and is located in the Town of DeWitt in Onondaga County.  Like many free association libraries, DeWitt Community Library uses the provisions of Education Law 259 to place their budget levy before the local voters on the school district budget ballot.

In 2012, a local individual brought suit to challenge the statutory authority granted to DeWitt Community Library, and all free association libraries, to use the mechanisms found in Education Law 259 in placing a budget proposition on a school district ballot. This despite previous determinations by the State Comptroller, NYS Commissioner of Education, and the NYS Supreme Court that Section 259 does confer this right.  In June 2015, the Commissioner affirmed this right exists. However, the petitioner in this suit raised novel issues of Constitutional Law, and that part of the suit is now before the NYS Supreme Court.  If the court finds in favor of the petitioner on these constitutional issues, it would throw the primary funding mechanism for dozens of free association libraries across the state into disarray.

Because of the potentially destructive statewide impact an adverse finding in this case would have, the New York Library Association has agreed to provide assistance from the NYLA Legal Defense Fund to help defray legal costs. The DeWitt Community Library has already expended $35K defending this matter, and the potential further costs of this litigation are significant – particularly if the court finds merit in these novel constitutional issues, and the library is forced to litigate through the appeals process.

Debby Emerson, President of the New York Library Association, commented “NYLA is pleased to be able to step in and provide assistance to help defer the legal expenses for the DeWitt Community Library against this baseless litigation.”

In order to aid in this defense, you are invited to donate to the NYLA Legal Defense Fund.

To donate by check, please complete and submit this NYLA Legal Defense Fund Donation Form (PDF)


New Way to Engage

We have long known that participation with NYLA’s Sections and Round Tables is a key component in organizational engagement.  Up until now, joining those groups was handled primarily as part of the joining or renewal process; making it difficult for members to enroll mid-year.

NYLA members can now add additional Section and Round Table memberships to their existing membership online!  The expiration date for ‘added’ groups will be the same as for the individuals existing membership.  This will also make it easier for those who have associate memberships to manage their (often out-of-pocket) additional Section and Round Table memberships.

Interested in being involved with more groups?

Complete listing of NYLA’s eight Sections

Complete listing of NYLA’s fourteen Round Tables

To use the online process to add groups to your membership: Once logged in, click ‘personal record detail’ from the left-hand menu – then click on ‘Add Sections / Round Tables’ from the list of options.

The online order will be reviewed and the new Section / Round Table will be added to the membership.

We are hopeful that this will increase participation in NYLA’s Sections and Roundtables.


Growing Tomorrow’s Leaders

NYLA’s Leadership and Management Academy is an educational program for emerging leaders in the library profession. Participants will gain the skills and knowledge they need to advance up the career ladder in library management.

Enrollment in the Library Leadership and Management Academy is limited to 40 students each year. Enrollees are required to complete ten courses over a three year period to receive a Leadership and Management Academy Certificate. Qualifying courses are generally offered around the Annual Conference (Oct. - Nov.) and in June at the NYLA office.

The Academy is designed for mid-career library professionals interested in obtaining the practical knowledge and basic skills critical to becoming a library leader or manager. Applicants must either have five years of library experience and a Bachelor’s Degree or two years of library experience and an MLS.

The 2016 L&MA Summer Session will take place June 1-3 at the NYLA Headquarters in Guilderland, NY.  Apply today and begin this exciting program and advance your career.


As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me.


Jeremy Johannesen
NYLA Executive Director
518-432-6952 Ext. 101