Executive Director's Report
Changing the World, One Patron at a Time
Many of you likely saw the recent news item regarding the high-school aged Kansas boy who used the 3-D printer at the local library to print a prosthetic hand for a 9 year-old family friend who was born without fingers on one hand.
This story serves as an extreme example of how libraries change lives every day. To a lesser degree, libraries change the lives of every patron who walks through the door. Be if for education, entertainment, or cultural enrichment, each library user arrives under no other compulsion than their own curiosity and the will to make their lives better. Libraries are a portal to a better self, a better community and a better future; offered up with no agenda, prescribed dogma, or price-tag. Where else can the public gain information and guidance on any topic of their choosing without question or condition?
Offering up this open platform for self-directed betterment is both fundamental and radical. History will judge our civilization by how we managed for foster and feed the human drive for advancement. Let us all commit to speak up for funding for libraries and the hope for a better tomorrow that they embody.
Raise Your Voices & Tell Your Friends
The 2014 Legislative Session is now in full swing. Governor Cuomo has proposed $81.6M in Library Aid, which removes the additional $4M provided by the Legislature in the 2013-14 Budget ($85.6M). This represents a 4.7% cut and leaves Library Aid at 1997 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 the cuts to 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
Building Tomorrow’s Leaders
Working in partnership with the Leadership & Management Section (LAMS) NYLA has completely reviewed and revised the Leadership & Management Academy (L&MA) to reflect the input from the survey of our more than 50 graduates. The program is specifically designed for emerging leaders seeking the skills and knowledge to advance in the library profession. The new format refocuses the content on library related issues, expands to allow for elective courses, and incorporates a self-directed project.
A total of sixty hours of qualifying courses make up the program and are offered at the NYLA Annual Conference (Oct./Nov.), in conjunction with NYLA's Library Advocacy Day (Feb./Mar.) and during the month of June.
Applications for the L&MA are accepted on a rolling basis. Submit your application now to join in the June 2014 Summer Academy.
Complete details can be found at NYLA.org, by clicking here
They Like Us, They REALLY Like US
In early December the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project released the latest report in a series that is exploring the role libraries play in people’s lives and in their communities.
“Americans strongly value the role of public libraries in their communities, both for providing access to materials and resources and for promoting literacy and improving the overall quality of life. Most Americans say they have only had positive experiences at public libraries, and value a range of library resources and services.”
“Moreover, the vast majority of Americans ages 16 and older say that public libraries play an important role in their communities:
- • 95% of Americans ages 16 and older agree that the materials and resources available at public libraries play an important role in giving everyone a chance to succeed;
- • 95% say that public libraries are important because they promote literacy and a love of reading;
- • 94% say that having a public library improves the quality of life in a community;
- • 81% say that public libraries provide many services people would have a hard time finding elsewhere.”
Of course none of this comes as a tremendous surprise to anyone who is closely involved with libraries. Time and again findings from Pew confirm that libraries are becoming ever more relevant and essential in the digital age. If only policymakers would recognize this and to provide equitable funding to allow libraries to live up to their potential for individual and community improvement. You can read the complete report online, by clicking here.
As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
NYLA Executive Director
518-432-6952 Ext. 101