Execute Director's Report

by Jeremy Johannesen, NYLA Executive Director

‘… but from the sharing of their example.’

To paraphrase Bill Clinton;
The power of libraries comes not only from the example of their sharing, but from the sharing of their example.

Libraries as an institution have always been about the sharing of resources – making information, regardless of the format, accessible to the community.  That spirit of sharing is what we aspire toward – a better world where scarcity and privilege are minimized, and all citizens can advance in pursuit of their better selves.

What we, the believers, must never forget is that it is not enough to know of the virtue that the operation of a library embodies – no, we must commit ourselves to promoting that very ideal itself outside of the four walls of the library.  It is in the sharing of the example of the library that we can truly improve the communities we serve, and by extension the very world we inhabit.  I challenge you all – proselytize, testify, spread the good word – invite those who question the value of the library to visit and see for themselves.   Help everyone in your community to understand the core values that libraries embody, and why they are critical to the ongoing advancement of our humanity.

Join in building the ranks of the chorus – our advocacy efforts in 2018 are depending on enrolling as many new advocates as possible!  Ask everyone you know to visit nyla.org/advocacy and sign-up as a library advocate; let them know the power of their voice in speaking out for libraries, and encourage them to join us in Albany on Wednesday, February 28 for Library Advocacy Day 2018!

All We Accomplish is Because of YOU

2017 has been quite a year – and with its end rumbling toward us, I would be remiss if I didn’t make the obligatory pitch for year-end giving.  Your donation to any of NYLA’s many funds are 100% tax deductible! If you are throwing some dollars around to keep them out of the hands of Uncle Sam, NYLA will put them to good use!  Donations can be submitted online – Click HERE

2017 Annual Report

As reported at the 2017 Annual Membership Meeting.


  1. NYLA lead an outstanding Library Advocacy Day on March 1, 2017, with over 800 attendees, a rally in the Legislative Office Building, and meetings with over 70% of the members of the NYS Legislature.
  2. NYLA’s Online Advocacy Center: Participation increased during the 2017 Legislative Session with 9910 advocates (+67%) generating over 346,000 messages. Communications reached every single Assembly and Senate office. Over 14K messages were sent to the Governor Cuomo.

FY 2017-18 NYS Budget

  1. The enacted FY2016-17 NYS Budget includes $95.6M for the State Library Aid program. Governor’s Cuomo’s Executive Budget proposal cut this funding line by $4M – the same amount NYLA worked to secure during the 2016 budget negotiations. With an unprecedented level of organization and advocacy actions by the library community, we reversed the Governor’s proposed cuts.
  2. State Library Construction Aid: Funding increased by $5M to $24M for FY2016-17. The Governor’s proposed budget rolled back the $5M increase secured in last year’s budget. The $24M allocation represents a $10M increase over the Governor’s proposed budget, and a $5M year-to-year program increase.
  3. NYS Senate & Assembly Bullet Aid: 583 Libraries and Library Systems were awarded more than $4.1M (up by 42 libraries) despite a 40% reduction in available appropriations in this year’s enacted budget.

Enacted Library Related Legislation

  1. Tax Contributions to the “Love Your Library Fund” – S.3023-A Ritchie / A.1094-A Galef provides an opportunity for taxpayers to make direct contributions to the “Love Your Library Fund” in support of local Summer Reading programs. Signed by Governor Cuomo, August 21, 2017
  2. Economic Impact of Public Libraries & Library Systems – S.3010 Ritchie / A.5810-A Quart will require the New York State Economic Development Corporation, in partnership with the New York State Education Department, to conduct a comprehensive study of the economic impact of libraries and library services on the state and local economies. Signed by Governor Cuomo October 23, 2017


  1. NYLA ended the 2016-17 Fiscal Year with 5,900 members, an increase of over 22% from the previous year.  Since July 1, membership has continued to expand and has now exceed 6,000 for the first time ever.
  2. The Bibliographic Instruction Round Table (BIRT) has been revitalized and has renamed their efforts under the name Information Literacy Round Table (ILRT).
  3. The Round Table Serving Special Populations (RLSP) renamed their efforts in order to use language more representational of core philosophy, becoming the Library Access Round Table (LAR).
  4. The Local History Round Table (LHRT) was established to bring together those who have interests related to the collection and maintenance of local history collections.

Professional Development

  1. The annual Conference was held in Saratoga Springs, from November 2-5, 2016 and was a huge success, with a nearly record-setting attendance of 1544 librarians and library staff in attendance.
  2. The NYLA Sustainability Initiative developed the first-of-its-kind Sustainable Library Certification Program, and launched the first cohort of the Community Change Agents Training.
  3. The Leadership and Management Academy continued to thrive with 13 individuals completing the program requirements for graduation.
  4. The Library Assistants Training Program curriculum was updated, and the program was rebranded to the Library Skills Academy to appeal to a broader audience.
  5. The NYLA e-Institute offered 6 webinars on assorted topics.


  1. FY2016-2017 saw the second time that a mortgage on a NYLA property was retired.  With thanks in part to the successful NYLA125 campaign, the NYLA Council authorized the release of funds from savings to pay off in full the mortgage on the 6021 State Farm Road headquarters property.  This frees up over $15K annual for operations.
  2. NYLA Executive Director Jeremy Johannesen and son embarked on a third statewide library tour.  They visited 52 libraries, during an eight-day, 1,000-mile, barnstorming tour.

Looking Ahead

Fantastic professional development opportunities abound in 2018!

Take Your Child to the Library Day
Saturday, February 3, 2018
A library near you!

Library Advocacy Day
February 28 2018
Albany, NY

YSS Spring Conference
April 13, 2018
Syracuse, NY

Urban Librarians Unite Conference
April 13, 2018
Brooklyn, NY

SSL 2018 Conference
May 3-5, 2018
Melville, NY

Long Island Library Conference
May 3, 2018
Melville, NY

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Jeremy Johannesen, CAE
NYLA Executive Director
518-432-6952 Ext. 101