Execute Director's Report

by Jeremy Johannesen, NYLA Executive Director

The Essential Nature

If you haven’t watched Simon Senek’s Ted Talk on his book Start with Why, do it now.

His presentation asserts that the most effective means of delivering a message effectively is to start by communicating the essential nature of the subject – or as he puts it, start with why.  His argument for this line of thinking is so compelling that I spent a fair amount of time pondering how it might apply to extoling the value of libraries.  After a number of revisions and reductions, each attempting to dig deeper and closer to the very essence of why libraries.  Where did I end up?

Libraries improve the community they serve by providing open and equitable access to information.

That was it – as stripped down and distilled as I could make it.  Every library, regardless of its type, apart from its collection, or programs, or services, exists to provide open and equitable access to information – and that act, in and of itself, is a good that improves the community.  Every activity of every library can be built upon that why.

As libraries continue to evolve in pursuit of advancing their purpose, facing increasing difficult funding realities, and mount challenges to the concept of open access, their intrinsic purpose grows ever more important.

A Moment of Gratitude

I recently participated in the American Library Association MidWinter Conference, and the Chapter Leaders Forum that was held as part of the event.  This gathering of representatives from state chapters across the U.S. is an opportunity for a sharing of challenges and best practices that are common across every state border. 

A striking fact was brought forward during this program; there are fewer than 15 state chapters of ALA that have any full-time staff – and when looking for those with more than one staff member – well, you can count them on one hand.

This reality makes me extremely grateful for the resources and infrastructure that have been developed in New York State.  NYLA’s ability to function as a leader-in-the-nation on state-level library advocacy, serve as a purveyor of top quality professional development, and steward of an unmatched infrastructure to connect passionate members of the library community, is a tremendous blessing, bestowed upon us by those who worked so hard and had the foresight to develop the foundation on which we now rise.

Thanks to all who continue to support NYLA. Your membership dues and donations keep our foundation of operations strong.  Our recent growth allows us to continue to grow and evolve to better meet the needs of New York’s library community.  You can donate to any of NYLA’s designated funds – Click HERE.

Act NOW! 

The 2018 Legislative Session is now in full swing.  Governor Cuomo has proposed $91.6M in Library Aid, which represents a $4M CUT from last year’s enacted budget.  This places funding at year 2000 levels.

Your action is needed!  You are all familiar with NYLA’s Online Advocacy Center, which makes it quick and easy to connect with your elected representatives.  This year we are calling on all of our advocates to leverage your social media connections to encourage your family, friends and patrons to join the fight.  Post a link to the NYLA Online Membership Center on your Facebook wall, tweet about your support for library aid, and urge your colleagues to do the same.  Together we can send a record number of messages to the NYS Legislature regarding library issues – make sure your voice is part of the fight!

NYLA’s Online Advocacy Center

NYLA’s Virtual Advocacy Resource Page

Direct Link to the Current Advocacy Action

Looking Ahead

Join your fellow NYLA members at any one of these fantastic events coming up this Spring, in person or online!

Webinar: The Great Mobile Experience: How a Library App Boosts Community Impact
Tuesday, February 20
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Pre-Advocacy Day
February 27, 2018
Albany, NY

Library Advocacy Day
February 28, 2018
Albany, NY

Webinar: Best Practices for Management of Friends Boards
Tuesday, March 20
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

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

National Library Legislative Day
May 7-8, 2018
Washington, DC


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

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