June 2024: A Tale of Two Makerspaces

Column Description: A BIPOC Librarian-in-Training 's perspective working in two Public Library Makerspaces; and the experiences, challenges, and superpowers of emerging technology.


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April 2024: Adventures in Memeland - A Librarian's Journey

Column Description: Being a social media manager can be a daunting task. What's trending? Am I up-to-date on what's relevant and cool? How do I create reels? Is TikTok worth it? So many questions with countless answers. Journey with me into Memeland as I share some of the tips and tricks I've picked up along the way to help you survive the task of being a library social media manager. You can be sure there will also be some pit stops along the way to far-off places like Marketing Mountain and Outreach Beach - so buckle up and prepare for an awesome journey! 

Disclaimer: Make sure you are following any media release policies that your institution has before posting photos with patrons in them.

Instagram is a highly visual platform that presents us with a unique opportunity to showcase our resources, events, and most importantly the vibrant communities that we build within our libraries. While static graphics have their place, the real magic happens when we embrace candid images and videos of actual people. Let’s take the time to delve into why this dynamic content is crucial for our library’s Instagram account and explore some tips for how you can capture compelling visuals with nothing more than your smartphone camera.

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April 2024: Serious Fun Stuff - Progressive Youth Services

Column Description: This column will attempt to demystify, and advocate for current trends in youth culture that may be incorporated into the library biome. Our goal is to provide enhanced services, better patron experience and engagement, and improved stats and circulation.

Huntington Public Library was just the recipient of LILRC’s Innovative Grant project for our Digital Music Literacy Project. In this, we received twenty Pocket Operators to run programs, share with zone libraries, and partner with local agencies.  There are many goals for this project, but mostly, it is about exploring sound through a digital medium, learning about music theory, making music, and having fun while doing so!

What are Pocket Operators?

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April 2024: Keepin' Up At The Capitol

Happy National Library Week, NYLA members!  We are now three-and-a-half months into the 2024 Legislative session and while Spring has arrived in New York, the state budget has not.

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April 2024: The Operations Update


Spring has sprung, and that means tons is going on at NYLA!  As many of you know, the organization launched our new member database and website in January. Since that date we have had just over 2,000 profiles added to our new system, with this number steadily on the rise!

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April 2024: Executive Director's Report


I’d like to start this update with some exciting news! NYLA has hired a new intern who will begin work with us on May 9, 2024. Anna Maria Varney is currently serving as a Graduate Assistant for the Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security at the University at Albany’s College of Emergency Preparedness while earning her degree to become a Certified School Library Media Specialist.  In her current role, Anna does research, reviews communications, and supports the department in various marketing projects. Before that, she headed the Account Management department at Overit, a local marketing and advertising agency, where she oversaw all client marketing plans and communication. Anna is very interested in becoming more involved in NYLA’s advocacy and educational activities and joined NYLA in January 2024 for this very reason. We are thrilled to have Anna joining us at NYLA and in the field of librarianship. This is also the first paid internship NYLA has offered to my knowledge, and we’re hoping Anna gets as much out of this experience as we do. She’ll be working part-time at the office from May through November and will be joining us at all NYLA events, so be sure to introduce yourselves and give her a big library land welcome.

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April 2024: Tales of 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.

Happy April! In this month’s entry of Tales of a Youth Services Librarian, I wanted to talk about some of my favorite children’s books! These are books that I am always recommending to kids ages 8-12. There are so many great books out there. Here are just a few of them:

  • The Tristan Strong trilogy by Kwame Mbalia: I love this series so much! Mbalia is a master storyteller! He really draws you into the story and characters. This book is also a great representation of African American folklore! This fantasy series takes you on an adventure and gives you characters to root for.
  • Ophie’s Ghosts by Justina Ireland:  I love Ireland’s YA books, so I was excited when I saw she had written a middle-grade book! Set in the 1922s, Ophie discovers she can see and talk to ghosts. When Ophie becomes friends with one of the ghosts, she wonders if perhaps she can help the spirits she sees. The ghosts are not spooky and there is also a bit of a mystery going on! I enjoyed the mix of history, fantasy, and mystery.
  • Dress Coded by Carrie Firestone:  This stand-alone realistic fiction book shows how girls are unfairly targeted simply for what they are wearing. Molly starts a podcast to talk about how unfair her school's dress code policy is for the girls. I liked the way the students banded together to create real change.
  • Phoebe and her Unicorn by Dana Simpson:  This graphic novel series is a cute and funny story about the friendship between Phoebe and the unicorn, Marigold Heavenly Nostrils. These graphic novels do not need to be read in order and are easy and quick reads.
  • Pup Detectives by Felix Gumpaw:  I’ll admit, I first was interested in the series because of the author’s last name. It’s a graphic novel mystery series, where a dog named Rider Woofson solves mysteries with his friends who also have fun dog names! There is also a math teacher named Mrs. Plus. I have not gotten to all the books in the series yet, but I have enjoyed what I have read and have gotten good feedback from the kids I recommended this series to.

Well, I hope this article introduced you to some new books!  Do you have anything you love recommending to the kids at your library? Let me know! Send me an email with your favorites! [email protected]

Sarah Heukrath has been a librarian since February 2012. She is currently the Youth Services Librarian at the North Syracuse Library. She loves her job and has the best co-workers. Outside of the library, she is passionate about scary movies, traveling, and, of course, writing!

April 2024: Brian Brings Board Games - Gaming In The Library

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.

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April 2024: The Nerd Is The Word

Column Description: The Nerd Word is here at the crossroads of libraries and pop culture. We’ll be talking about comics, gaming, fandom, and how we’re bringing them to our libraries. We’ll also be talking about pop culture and advocacy: how do you advocate for your communities through a pop culture lens? Do you look for popular materials in different languages? Make sure your collections are diverse and inclusive. Fostering a love of fun and play is one of the best parts of what we do: let’s share how we do it here at The Nerd Word.

I just returned from four days at GaryCon; an annual celebration of Dungeons & Dragons co-creator Gary Gygax. Held in Wisconsin, a bunch of us tabletop gaming fans spent four days playing all sorts of RPGs, from Dungeons & Dragons to Hunter: The Reckoning, from Call of Cthulhu to Dungeon Crawl Classics. Naturally, being a librarian, I wanted to visit the local library: in this case, the Lake Geneva Library, home of the Gary Gygax Reading Room and Gygax’s “Throne of Reading,” donated by his widow. Gygax’s Appendix N, included in the AD&D Dungeon Master’s Guide, is a list of readings that inspired him as he created D&D, and the reading room has its own Appendix N collection, which got me thinking: what inspires us, and how can we share that with our communities? What is your Appendix N?

My Appendix N is loaded with science fiction, fantasy, and horror. I’ve got the classics, like JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and Stephen King’s The Shining; I’ve got the dark fantasy of Neil Gaiman, and I’ve got the paranormal steampunk romps from Gail Carriger. I also have Gail Simone’s Red Sonja and Batgirl runs, Chris Claremont and John Byrne’s X-Men run, and The Lumberjanes, created by Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, Gus Allen, and ND Stevenson.

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April 2024: A NYLA Voice Update


Congratulations to Sam Berry-Sullivan!

It's hard to say goodbyes - especially at NYLA - but we are so proud of our very own NYLA Voice Writer, Sam Berry-Sullivan, for landing a paid writing gig with CHOICE Magazine's new platform - Toward Inclusive Excellence. Since 2021, Sam has been a staple for The NYLA Voice with their column, Little Boxes, which explored the nuances of diversity, accessibility, race, gender, and cultural shifts and phenomena facing our libraries today. We will miss them dearly as a contributor but will be cheering them on in their next writing endeavor!
See below a testimonial from Sam about their experience writing for The NYLA Voice:
"As an early career librarian, I felt very nervous about publishing anything. I hadn’t written anything long form, academic or otherwise, since graduating with my Masters. Becoming a columnist for the NYLA Voice was the perfect venue to gain confidence in my writing, and to communicate with my colleagues across New York State on topics of incredible personal and professional importance. I was able to adjust how often I was featured so writing the column never felt like ‘one more thing’ on an already overflowing to-do list, and the monthly reminder emails from C helped keep me on track with my submissions. Writing Little Boxes often helped me think through problems occurring on my campus, and gave me an outlet to suggest approaches and solutions that I felt wouldn’t be heard on my campus, hoping I could help people elsewhere. Writing for the NYLA Voice led to being asked to present on the topic of one of my columns for the Long Island Library Resource Council, a council I have long admired for its excellent programming around diversity and accessibility topics. Giving that presentation led to being asked to present on the topic at the upcoming SUNYLA conference in August. Writing Little Boxes gave me the experience and the confidence in my writing to accept a paid writer opportunity for CHOICE magazine’s new platform Toward Inclusive Excellence. Thank you New York Library Association, thank you C Romeo, and thank you to my wonderful colleagues across the Empire State." 
Want to check out Sam's latest piece and future pieces in CHOICE Magazine? Click here. Again, congratulations, Sam and we will miss you!

Welcome To The NYLA Voice!

Earlier this year, we once again opened up applications to join The NYLA Voice as a writer! Out of the 11 impressive applications we received, we only had 5 slots to fill. We are so thrilled to welcome the following writers to The NYLA Voice:
  1. Sine Rofofsky (he/him) is a Part-Time Reference Librarian at SUNY Schenectady Community College and writes the Beyond Boxes column.
  2. Tova Harris (she/they) is a full-time MLIS student at the University at Buffalo while also working in the makerspaces at Sachem Public Library and Longwood Public Library. They write the A Tale of Two Makerspaces column.
  3. Kimberly Parry (she/her) is the Head of Adult and Teen Services at Amagansett Free Library. She writes the Interviews Behind-The-Stacks column.
  4. Naomi Yamada (she/her) is the Senior Reference Librarian at the Great Neck Library. She writes the Librariana's Trench column. 
  5. Rachael Ciancarelli (she/her) is the Public Services Librarian at the Bethlehem Public Library. She writes the Nobody Knows the Everything Place column.
Again, welcome to The NYLA Voice! We cannot wait to read your columns in the issues you're featured in.

April 2024: Libraries In Motion

Column Description: Libraries and librarians are adapting, always in motion, particularly as the 21st century has extended the mammoth reach of technology and digital communication. Then, this year, we said thank you for the ability to stay home and still be able to communicate with our colleagues. As many librarians wondered how new responsibilities would play out when ‘normality’ returned, it was a daily challenge to prioritize decisions. Technology helped, but the goal remained how to meet user needs and anticipate patron requests. This fall, as libraries slowly reopened, we moved into a hybrid world. Administrators and librarians have worked overtime and collaborated fiercely to match estimated demand with physical distancing and health-related constraints. 

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April 2024: Interviews Behind The Stacks

Column Description: Take a look behind-the-stacks and meet the people who make the library run. I will be talking to the individuals who do the jobs that we don’t usually see: custodians, pages, clerks, and board members, to name a few, to find out how they got involved in libraries and why they love them!

What is a Library Trustee? According to the New York State Library, “Library trustees play a keenly important role in shepherding the dedicated and prudent use of library resources. Always striving to provide the best service which benefits and supports the entire community, trustees must make policy, personnel and fiscal decisions crucial to a positive direction for the library. While delegating the day-to-day activities to competent staff, the library trustees must always be mindful of how their decisions impact the lives of people and the future of their community. As public officers, library trustees carry an essential set of fiduciary and legal responsibilities.”

The following is an interview I conducted with Dan Glass who is a Library Trustee, on the Board of Trustees at John Jermain Memorial Library, located in Sag Harbor, NY on the eastern end of Long Island. 

Did you grow up using libraries?

I grew up in a small town in upstate New York. I was always in the library, reading, using the computers, and doing homework with friends. It’s where I developed my love of science fiction and fantasy.

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April 2024: In Between

Column Description: Some words of wisdom from those more wise than me about gaining confidence when talking to people who break your rules.  

It's interesting to hear older librarians talk about the number of public computers they had in their library. Back then (the 1990s), computers were initially considered expensive and a luxury, so not many people would spend the money. Libraries had to set a time limit on computer use because there were so many people vying for the few we had. Everyone heard about how we would all be using them in our workplace, but who believed that?

Pre-pandemic times managed to keep library computers humming constantly. Patrons were doing research, writing papers, filling out job applications, and a myriad of tasks that only worked on a laptop or desktop computer. People had smartphones but the Internet was optimized for larger screens, sizable storage, and powerful applications.

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April 2024: Good Things, Small Packages

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

“Be curious and be courageous. Be curious and be courageous because at the worst – it’s like my friend says about dates, it’s either a good date or good story. I think that’s really good advice. Try things, it’s going to help you grow and learn, you know, learn something, learn something about yourself.” – Emily Weiss

En route to the PLA 2024 Conference in Columbus, Ohio I was listening to the book Glossy: Ambition, Beauty, and the Inside Story of Emily Weiss’s Glossier by Marisa Meltzer. An interesting recount of the rise and near-fall of a woman-founded direct-to-consumer cosmetic brand, it is chock-full of takeaways about leadership, communications, workplace culture, and adapting to change. Amid the thought-provoking narrative (ex: Yes! The term “Girl Boss” IS ridiculous and needs to be retired.), I was especially keen on the above quote, specifically, “It’s either a good date or a good story.”

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April 2024: Beyond Boxes

Column Description: Libraryland is full of diversity - types of libraries, types of patrons, services, staffing, funding, community makeup, and more. UDL, accessibility, DEI, LGBTQ+, equity, or equality, can become overwhelming and confusing. How do I meet all the needs of the patrons at my specific library? I will be sharing the joys and pitfalls of working with persons, situations, and items that do not fit neatly into boxes.  Drawing on concepts from UDL, DEI, and personal experience working with communities that are outside of the box, I will share tips, ideas, and questions to ponder about what makes effective service and communication with the communities we serve. Communicating, adapting, benefits to others (the curb-cut effect), and more will be explored - both as ways that have assisted me in assisting others, but also in assisting me to assist myself. There is no one size fits all approach that I can share, you will need to determine what works best for your community.

In this writing, I’d like to share with you a question that often comes to my mind when communicating with others – What’s in a name, does a name make a difference? I question what Shakespeare’s Juliet said in Act II, Scene 2 of Romeo and Juliet, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet” (lines 42-44). Is Juliet telling the truth?  This is a question I often ponder and have researched over the years. 

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April 2024: Sustainable Libraries Initiative Update

Road Map to Sustainability

By Rebekkah Smith Aldrich, Executive Director, Mid-Hudson Library System; Co-Founder & Advisory Board President, Sustainable Libraries Initiative; and author of Sustainable Thinking: Ensuring Your Library’s Future in an Uncertain World and Resilience

The Sustainable Libraries Initiative (SLI) provides library leaders, which we define as all library workers and trustees, with a proven path forward to co- create libraries and communities that will thrive in the coming years. The Sustainable Library Certification Program and the SLI community of practice focus your leadership to enable your library, and ultimately your community, to become more environmentally sound, socially equitable and economically feasible.

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April 2024: FLS Update

April 2024: FLS Update

submitted by Terry Mulee, FLS Newsletter

FLS creates a network to connect and inspire Friends groups in all types of libraries to support the New York library community.

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April 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.

Congratulations – you’ve been approved to attend a conference! Whether it’s PLA, ALA, NYLA, or any other conference, have I got some tips for you. Consider this a gift purchased by me with many years of mistakes.

Register early

Aside from the monetary difference, some conferences don’t allow you to pick a hotel until you have registered. Rooms, especially in the hotels closest to the conference center, book up quickly. You don’t want to walk two miles in the heat of D.C. or New Orleans (ask me how I know). Flights, too, should ideally be purchased as soon as possible, especially if the conference city is on a less popular route from where you live.

Wear comfortable shoes

I know people say this all the time, but they say it because it’s true. Leave the new clogs you just bought at home. You are going to walk forever each day; you deserve not to hobble around in pain by the second day. A pack of blister bandages is also an excellent idea.

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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]