From the President

by Tim Burke, NYLA President

One of the great things about serving as NYLA President is the opportunity to travel around the state visiting libraries and meeting with members of the NY Library Community.  These visits are equal parts learning more about what’s going on in the different corners of “library land” (both in terms of geography and library types) and exploring what we can do to build stronger connections between NYLA and its members.      

On a recent trip Jeremy and I made to Long Island, we made stops at several libraries and library systems, including a visit to the Library Media Center at the Weldon E. Howitt Middle School in Farmingdale.  During our visit we met with the library team and several school administrators, including the school principal.  We toured the library spaces, learned about a number of classroom/library collaborative projects, and saw firsthand how the librarians at Howitt - Jennifer Bleicher, Michael King, and Julie Ehrenpreis – with the strong support of their administration, have made the library a catalyst for the creation of a culture of innovation and exploration that has taken hold throughout the school.  All of us in the library community already know the power of libraries to change people’s lives, but this was an especially inspiring example of that power.   Way to go Team Howitt!!      

Talking about libraries as agents of change is always important, but it is even more so now as the New York Library Community gears up for another advocacy season in Albany.  In spite of the fact that we are once more starting from “two steps back” because the Governor rolled Library Aid and the Public Library Construction Grant Program back to last year’s starting points, this is still one of my favorite times of the year.  That’s because it’s the time when we get to see the power of the New York library community coming together, flexing its collective muscles, and speaking with one voice. If you are participating in Library Advocacy Day on February 28 (and please do!!), be sure to take time to look around during the day – in legislative meetings, at the Advocates Rally, and in the halls and elevators of the Legislative Office Building.  Notice that there are people from school, academic, public, special libraries and all types of library systems speaking up for libraries and library funding…and they are doing it together!  

Library Advocacy Day is one of the purest examples of our library community Making a Difference…Together, so please participate in our advocacy activities in any way you can. All the information can be found on the NYLA website.   Every voice matters.