New York Library Association. - The eBulletin

Past Presidents Reflect on their Presidencies

As part of NYLA 125th Anniversary we reached out to past presidents and asked for a memory from their presidency and a wish for the future.  We will be sharing them between this and the October e-Bulletin, so please enjoy and stay tuned for more!

Sheryl Egger - 1993

My favorite time as President in 1993 was introducing the First Lady Hillary Clinton as a speaker at our conference in Buffalo.  Just when we thought nothing could ever top the planning of a joint conference with the Canadians in Niagara Falls we were introduced to the Secret Service.

Rachel Baum - 2007

Favorite memory of my year as President: How very welcoming the staff of each library was to me during my library tour.  There were always homemade cookies!  Sometimes local dignitaries were invited to meet me.  Once there was a children's choir singing for me!  Often there was the gift of a t-shirt, mug, or calendar.  I loved hearing everyone's stories about how important their library is to their community, and how critical adequate funding is to meeting their patrons' needs - in every type of library - academic, public, school, and special.

My anniversary wish to NYLA: The fresh faces, bright ideas, and enthusiasm of new members, and the wisdom, dedication, and commitment of current members - for the next 125 years!

Josh Cohen - 2009

At my presidential party, Beverly Coltco-Devlin brought her guitars. We started playing and soon Joe Latini showed up with his guitar. We were playing and singing for while until a knock on the door. The police. We were busted for too much noise. A bunch of librarians too loud. Who'd a thunk it!

My wish for NYLA is for every working librarian in New York to be a personal member of the Association and for every library to be an organizational member.

Matthew Bollerman - 2012

My memory is working with Council on hiring a new Executive Director.  The jury is still out on how that is working!

I wish the New York Library Association continued success as a leader in the country on issues that matter to all libraries. Congratulations on 125 years of good work.

John Hammond - 2001

I have many fond memories of 2000-01, and one tragic one...the Opening of the 2001 Annual Conference in Albany, and my publicly reading off the names of all the libraries destroyed in the attacks on the World Trade Center.

Best wishes to NYLA and all its members, past and present, on the occasion of its Quasquicentennial!

Rosina Alaimo - 2008

My most memorable moment as NYLA President was the day when the Council and I walked through the new facility and I called for a vote to approve the purchase of the building to use as NYLA's office.  That was pretty heady stuff!  And pretty scary, too, committing so many resources to this new venue.

My 125th Anniversary wish for NYLA is that NYLA should continue to support and advocate for all libraries throughout the evolution of the library structures in this ever-changing electronic informational world.

Janet Welch - 1992

My most vivid memories from my NYLA presidency are stepping up NYLA'slibrary advocacy efforts with training, meetings with decision makers, and encouragement for all library lovers to speak up for their libraries. The result was not only increased funding for libraries but a great time together  for all of us who travelled the state delivering  NYLA's message: Libraries Change Lives.

My anniversary message for NYLA is to never give up , no matter what the challenges, because NYLA has been, and still is, working for such an important goal-- excellent libraries for all New Yorkers. Keep fighting, NYLA, for our libraries, for those who work in them and for those millions of New Yorkers who use them.

Ruth Fraley - 1986

My year as NYLA President went by in a blur.  It was a “short year” because the Association was switching “years” in terms of when they held meetings. We were working to re establish ourselves on firm fiscal ground, pick ourselves up and begin the campaign to move headquarters to Albany where our Executive Director spent so much time.  During Library Lobby day, we did manage to get our picture on the front page of the New York Times as an example of a dedicated and successful volunteer group determined to make Albany politicians understand the value of libraries to the citizens of New York.  I was very proud of that coverage and the subsequent success we had that year in getting support in the NYS budget.   As I watch from a distance I continue to be proud of all that NYLA has done to let the world know about libraries and the contribution they make to the daily lives of New Yorkers.

Next Bulletin – Rocco Staino, Caroline Giambra, Stanley Ransom and more past presidents!