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February 2024: What Should A Library Be?

Column Description: From thinking about the library as space to who the library is historically for, this column takes a (somewhat) philosophical approach to defining what a library is. In fact, it goes one step further to consider what a library should be.

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February 2024: Apply For The NYLA Voice!

The rumors are true – NYLA has an open call for applications to become a writer for The NYLA Voice in our third annual cohort! 

We are currently looking for new writers to offer fresh perspectives and takes on all things libraries and librarianship. We highly encourage ALL members to apply, especially those who have been wanting to break through and be leaders within the association.

Do you have an obscure library-parallel interest that you've been wanting to gush with others about? Are you a librarian with lots of passion and perspective and want a platform? Well, becoming a writer for The NYLA Voice is for you!
Apply Here

Application Timeline

  • Wednesday, February 14th - Application Opens
  • Wednesday, March 13th - Application Closes & C Review Applications
  • Friday, March 15th - Accepted Writers Notified & Invited to Joint Orientation Session
  • April & June The NYLA Voice Editions - The 2024 NYLA Voice Cohort Will Be Introduced

I can't wait to review your application! And, as always, if you have any questions about The NYLA Voice or the application process, please contact me via email at [email protected]

February 2024: Keepin' Up At The Capitol

Happy Valentine’s Day, NYLA members!  This year, NYLA is full of love for all the Library Champions who participated on February 7th as part of Library Advocacy Day 2024.

Last Wednesday, hundreds of advocates from across New York gathered in Albany, scheduled virtual meetings, and engaged in digital efforts to demand our elected officials fund, protect, and empower our libraries and library professionals.

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February 2024: The Operations Update

A little late but Happy New Year NYLA! The office staff launched our new member database and website on January 8th, by emailing an official announcement to all contacts in our MailChimp account (members and nonmembers). A month into 2024 and we are happy to report, that we have 1,000 profiles in our new database with this number growing each day!

We appreciate the membership being flexible during this transition and providing the office with emails filled with thoughts, ideas, edits, updates, and of course appreciation for the work done. Each day we learn more about what works for the organization and our membership. This next year is all about trial and error with the new system, so please feel free to email [email protected] with any questions or comments you may have. We will do our best to accommodate!

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February 2024: From The President

I attended the following meetings since the last Council meeting in December:

  • December 19, 2023: Committee Chairs meeting
  • January 3, 2024: Meeting with Maureen Squier, SSL President, and AnnaLee Dragon
  • January 8, 2024: Communications Committee meeting
  • January 10, 2024: Meeting with Adam Saunders, President of SUNYLA, and AnnaLee Dragon
  • January 11, 2024: Intellectual Freedom Committee meeting
  • January 12, 2024: Legislative Committee meeting
  • January 19-22, 2024: ALA LibLearnX State Chapters Advocacy networking meeting
  • January 24, 2024: Governance Committee meeting
  • January 31, 2024: Membership Committee meeting

The Governance Committee is beginning to work on creating the structure, policies, and procedures to conform to the recent changes to our bylaws and the new membership organizational changes.  I also hope to have the committee work on revising the NYLA Code of Conduct and creating some general rules/guidelines for the Council moving forward.

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February 2024: Sustainable Libraries Initiative Update

Are you more of a summer or winter person? Spring or fall? Lately, I’ve felt that the seasons in New York are becoming either compressed (in Long Island, where I am based, winters are certainly becoming shorter thanks to warmer temperatures), or elongated (as warmer temps continue, spring turns into summer more quickly as well). I am beginning to notice a change and thinking about how it affects my life. A couple of years ago, I enjoyed a beautiful trek through the Adirondack woods while trying snowshoeing for the first time, complete with a delicate snowfall surrounding our group. I immediately fell in love with snowshoeing, yet Long Island hasn’t had a significant amount of snow, in the past few years, for me to enjoy this pastime in my neighborhood parks.

Instead, winter storms have brought major coastal flooding with heavy rain instead of snow here on Long Island. Last month, the community that I work in experienced more flooding and damage in certain spots than it did during Super Storm Sandy in 2012.

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February 2024: FLS Update

February 2024 NYLA Voice Update from FLS

submitted by Terry Mulee, FLS Newsletter Editor


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February 2024: Take Me To Your Leader

Column Description: This column is an eclectic exploration of leadership. It acknowledges that leaders and the lessons we can learn from them can be found in the most unlikely places.

Since this is a column about leadership, I’m going to do something that makes perfect sense and recommend that you read a book about creative writing.

I can picture you sitting at your computer, reading this and thinking, “Really, Elizabeth? I have a pile of paperwork to get through, and more meetings than I can count, but do you think I should read an 86-year-old book about creative writing? How will this help?” Just stick with me for a few minutes – the paperwork isn’t going anywhere. By now, I hope you know that I usually have a good reason for making odd suggestions that don’t seem to have anything to do with libraries.

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February 2024: Good Things, Small Packages

Column Description: Celebrating the good things happening in New York's small and rural libraries.

I love attending library-related conferences, workshops, and webinars.  They are immensely valuable for idea mining, resource sharing, and relationship building. However, I find it beneficial to also seek learning opportunities outside the field of librarianship. Innumerable external lessons can be applied to–and enhance–our professional missions, values, and skills.

One recommendation I often make to library peers is the 2020 documentary The Last Blockbuster. In ninety minutes, the film explores the rise and fall of Blockbuster Video and–extraordinarily–how one brick-and-mortar location remains open to this day. Why the store in Bend, Oregon has not shuttered in the age of streaming services provides a wonderful class in customer service and establishing long-lasting connections with the community. These are especially significant lessons for those in a field whose relevance is consistently queried. (Go for the nostalgia factor, stay for the professional development.)

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February 2024: Brian Brings Board Games

Column Description: In this column, we will explore the benefits of gaming in the library and how it can be an asset to both staff and patrons. We will explore the various types of games that are out there, as well as some ideas to adapt them for people who aren't familiar with the world of hobby board gaming. Other topics that will be covered will include how to build a board game collection for your patrons and creating gaming-related activities to help boost staff morale.

In this article, my focus turns to cooperative games, a genre where individual players do not emerge as winners or losers.  Ideal for families, these games instill the value of teamwork toward a shared goal. Typically, players engage in actions on their turns to collaboratively solve challenges presented by the game. Take, for instance, the Pandemic, where players strive to diminish the threat of a spreading virus and ultimately develop a cure. The game, however, introduces mental obstacles, continually escalating the difficulty as players draw cards that propagate the virus on the map. Cooperative games, while fostering teamwork, are not without challenges, notably the presence of "alpha" gamers who dictate strategies to others, potentially undermining individual decision-making. In essence, while winning is gratifying, the paramount objective remains the enjoyment of the gaming experience.

A less common variant is the semi-cooperative game, where players contend against the game system, with potential traitors seeking to sabotage collective success.  Shadows over Camelot serves as a notable example, where players aim to complete quests by playing hands of cards poker-style. Each quest demands a specific card-play strategy, contributing to the acquisition of swords at the round table. The collective accumulation of swords leads to victory. However, the game introduces difficulty via a black deck of cards, impacting winning conditions. The semi-cooperative element arises from the presence of traitors, identified through loyalty cards dealt at the game's outset. Accusing a player of treachery is possible, but the penalty for a mistaken accusation introduces a layer of paranoia among players, intensifying the strategic depth of the game.

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February 2024: Tales From The Youth Services Librarian

Column Description: I am excited to share my knowledge of all things youth services. I have learned a lot and want to help others. I'll talk about the good, the bad, and the hilarious. Because we all have those epic fails that we look back on and laugh about.

I am not a fan of winter. It is cold, snowy and dark. I love going out for walks but in winter I can’t do that because I just don’t like the cold. Winter can be depressing for a lot of people so I thought I’d compile a few of my favorite moments working as Youth Services Librarian.

My desk is located in the children’s room. We have a puppet theater. I have seen a lot of interesting puppet shows but the following is my all-time favorite.

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