From the President

by Tim Burke, NYLA President

I Love New York

We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to work in libraries here in New York State.  We have a tremendous variety of a great libraries throughout the state, from university libraries to public libraries to schools libraries, including New York Public Library - the largest true public library in the world.  We’re rich in library history, being the state where Melvill Dewey (or Melvil Dui for you Spelling Reformers!) did much of his work to transform libraries and the profession of librarianship, including establishing not one, but two graduate programs in library science, and starting the very first statewide library association - NYLA.  But the thing I really love about our library community is that we are leaders in the field and in our profession. 

This spring and summer I had the opportunity to attend both the Public Library Association (PLA) Annual Conference in Philadelphia and the America Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in New Orleans.   As national conferences, these events drew attendees and presenters from all over the US and the world.  Among the almost 8,000 attendees at PLA and the more than 17,000 at ALA, the New York contingent was large and involved!  The list of program presenters from New York at both conferences was impressive, reflecting the depth and breadth of the cutting edge library work being done here in New York.  Our leadership is also evident in the organizational structures of these national organizations. From current ALA President Jim Neal and incoming President Loida Garcia-Febo, who are both New Yorkers, and down through the list of chairs, presidents, officers, and participating members of the many committees and task forces that keep these large organizations working for libraries, Empire Staters are making a difference through their engagement.

My recent ALA experience has also demonstrated that NYLA is a very much recognized as a leader among statewide library associations around the country.  NYLA and specifically our own NYLA Executive Director, Jeremy Johannesen, has earned a reputation as “one to watch” in the national library association community.  Our ED is involved and engaged, both formally and informally, in national activities and his expertise and experience, particularly related to library advocacy, is highly sought after and valued by his colleagues.   

We all can be proud of our state’s contribution to the wider library conversation.  On behalf of the NY library community, I thank all of you who are sharing your time and talent with the rest of the library world.  This also serves as a reminder to all of us that we have a responsibility to encourage the next generation of library leaders to share their passion, experience, and new ideas with not just the New York Library community, but with the larger library community as well.