New York Library Association. - The eBulletin

Executive Director's Report

Executive Director’s Report –February 2015

Boundless Optimism

There is something special and wonderful about the library.  It is a sanctuary of free thought, an escape and refuge from your troubles, and a place for self-directed personal betterment. Libraries are one of the few remaining places where individuals can pursue their curiosities without being sold a product or ideology.

Those who love libraries are undeniable optimists.  They believe in the untapped potential that lies within us all; a burning curiosity to engage, learn and grow.  Whether your library pursuits are finding a new recipe, losing yourself in a novel, taking an online course, or participating in a program, the library is there to be just what you want it to be.  By simply existing, the library represents an opportunity to all to take the first step - walk into the library and decide who you want to be.

Libraries exist as a testament to our humanity; and to the belief that people are inherently good.  They stand as a symbol that as a society we believe that everyone should have open unfettered access to information and tools to allow for research and refinement.

Join NYLA in defending libraries and the belief that if given the opportunity we will all choose to make ourselves, and the world, a bit better.

Raise Your Voices & Tell Your Friends

The 2015 Legislative Session is now in full swing.  Governor Cuomo has proposed $86.6M in Library Aid, which includes the additional $5M provided by the Legislature in the 2014-15 Budget.  This represents flat funding 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 your support for 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 

New Organizational Dues Structure Turns One

As of January 1, 2015 NYLA has completed one year under the new Organizational Dues Structure.

The new structure has increased the dues rates for libraries with larger budgets, and reduced dues for the smallest.  The new model also provides for bundles of individual memberships (referred to as associates) in proportion to the library’s budget.  For complete details on the organizational dues, please click here.

The impact on membership is keeping with expectations.  There has been a small reduction in organizational members, which is attributed to libraries putting off renewing at the increased dues rates until adjusting their budgets to include the new pricing.  The conversion of regular members to associates members has also been observed, but the net increase in total members is over 400.

If your library is not an organizational member of NYLA, please review the new structure and consider the benefits.  NYLA is happy to answer your questions, just give us a call.

They Still REALLY Like US

NYLA commissioned a Siena College Research Institute poll conducted the week of January 11th that found local public library usage is up 10% statewide over the last three years, with usage by young women and communities of color up nearly 15%, and up nearly 20% among those households making less than $50,000 annually. This surge in usage, along with the findings detailed below, confirm that traditionally underrepresented communities are increasingly reliant on the resources provided by their local public library, and library funding must be viewed as an equality issue.

The Siena poll findings include:

  1. Library usage is up 10% statewide, 15% among women respondents aged 18-34, nearly 15% among African-American respondents, 15% among Latino respondents, and among all income demographics, with usage up 20% for those households making less than $50,000 annually;
  2. A clear majority of respondents want increased library funding, with nearly 45% advocating for library aid to increase in proportion with overall education funding, and 30% saying library aid should be fully funded under the law;
  3. For nearly 33% of African-American and Latino respondents, and 25% of households making less than $50,000 annually, the public library is their primary source of internet access;
  4. Of the respondents who have used their local public library for job seeking or career building programs in the last six months, 53% were African-American, and 40% were households making less than $50,000 annually;
  5. 94% of respondents said public libraries are “very” or “somewhat” important to our state’s educational infrastructure, while more than 80% of women, African-Americans, Latinos, and households making less than $50,000 say public libraries are “very important” to our educational system.

As members of the library community, none of these findings are surprising, but having objective scientific verification of our assumptions is certainly gratifying.  We will be getting plenty of ‘mileage’ out of these numbers advocating for libraries and library funding.  For complete details on the survey, click here.

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

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