Executive Director's Report

by Jeremy Johannesen, NYLA Executive Director

Roaring into the ‘20s

In a few short weeks we will begin 2020 – which of course got me thinking of the roaring 1920s.  A quick search turned up this interesting list of library highlights in the 1920s from the American Library Association.  Some items from the list:

While some pieces of those actions have moved into our history, it is amazing how many things are still ‘hot topics’ 100 years later.  We collectively still have work to do on ensuring that all library spaces are open, inclusive and welcoming to all members of the community.  The debate on training and education for professional librarianship rages on.  And the ALA is moving its headquarters onto North Michigan Avenue in Chicago.

As we move into the 2020s libraries are as essential and vital as ever to the communities they serve.  The last decade has seen libraries pulled further into center of several conversations that might never have been considered.  

As the go-to source for Internet access for a significant segment of the community, libraries were brought to the forefront for the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act.  Next year we know that libraries will be on the frontlines to ensure a complete count in the 2020 Census.

Time Magazine just names Greta Thunberg as the 2019 person of the year, recognizing that there is no more important topic than addressing the climate crisis.  Thanks to the work of NYLA’s Sustainability Initiative and newly announced Sustainable Library Certification Program, libraries have a vehicle to help them take a leadership roll in engaging their community in how to be environmentally sound, economically feasible, and socially equitable.

While ebooks haven’t killed off print, and aren’t likely too anytime soon, there are terrifying debates taking place over libraries access to electronic media.  Established (and arguably unfair) sales practices of ebooks to libraries are now facing a new challenge as Macmillan has enacted a flat-out embargo, refusing to sell certain titles to libraries, at any cost, for the first eight weeks after publication.  This has the library community understandable up in arms; if publishers can refuse to sell book (regardless of the format) to libraries, it undercuts the very foundation of open access and shared resources that libraries are built upon.

As we head off into the ‘20s, facing new and imposing challenges, I am more inspired than ever by the awesome power of libraries, and the people who work in and support them, to grow and evolve – to meet whatever challenges arise – to be the thing that their communities need – to bring together problem solvers with information and resources to make the world a bit better each day.  And NYLA is here as a hub, connecting the believers, sharing best practices and know-how, and speaking truth to power that libraries are more critical in the 2020s than they were in the 1920s.  Happy New Year!  Let’s go change the world.

All We Accomplish is Because of YOU

2019 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 itemize your return)! 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

2019 Annual Report

As presented at the 2019 Annual Membership Meeting.  The new report delivers details from the July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019 NYLA Fiscal Year.  Special thanks to NYLA Director of Communications and Marketing, Kelsey Dorado, for her yeoman’s work in creating this report.

NYLA 2018-2019 Annual Report

Looking Ahead

Fantastic professional development opportunities abound in 2020!

Library Advocacy Day
February 25, 2020
Albany, NY

NYBLC 50th Anniversary / Scholarship Gala
April 25, 2020
New York, NY

Urban Librarians Unite Conference
May 1, 2020
Brooklyn, NY

Long Island Library Conference
May 14, 2020
Melville, NY

YSS Spring Conference
May 15, 2020
Clayton, NY

SSL 2020 Conference
May 28 – 20, 2020
Verona, NY


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

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