New York Library Association. - The eBulletin

Executive Director's Report

by Jeremy Johannesen, NYLA Executive Director

Not About the Books

Occasionally when reading an online article about libraries I make the terrible mistake of scrolling through the comments section.  Terrible because it always manages to elevate my blood pressure.  One of the common refrains is ‘why do we need libraries anymore?’, and a recent posting added ‘I can fit an entire library on my Kindle’.

What these commenters are missing is that libraries have never been about the books.
Since their inception, libraries have been about the sharing of knowledge and information for personal improvement, cultural development and entertainment.  The book has just been the most efficient vehicle for the past few hundred years.

I can imagine a historic ‘commenter’ railing against libraries in the 1400’s following the invention of the Gutenberg press – ‘Now that we can mass produce texts quickly and cheaply there is no longer any need for libraries to serve as centralized repositories.  Why everyone can have their own personal library!’
They too would have missed the point.

At the recentNational Medal for Museum and Library Service Awards, First Lady Michelle Obama commented:
“Day after day, year after year, our nation’s libraries and museums are here for our communities.  And at the end of the day, you all don’t measure your impact by the number of books on your shelves or pieces in your exhibits, but by the young people you inspire, the lives you transform, and the impact you have every single day on your communities.”

(Congratulations to Brooklyn Public Library for being one of this year’s ten recipients of the 2016 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries for service to the community. Announcement from this event.)

Together, all of New York State’s libraries have an immeasurable impact on the communities they serve.  Not because of the materials in their collections, but because of the dedication of the library staff who help patrons pursue their own passions.  Whether it is a book, newspaper, e-book or on a public access computer, today’s libraries continue to deliver open, unfiltered access to all those who choose to partake.


Defending Libraries Access to Balloting: Challenge to Education Law 259

As reported in the April e- Bulletin, the DeWitt Community Library, was the lead defendant in a 2012, suit challenging the statutory authority granting all free association libraries, to use the mechanisms found in Education Law 259 in placing a budget proposition on a school district ballot.

Thanks in part to the support of the NYLA Legal Defense Fund, the DeWitt Community Library was able to continue to retain top quality legal counsel to present the case.  On May 25, 2016 Judge Christopher McCarthy ruled to dismiss the case, and each of the included complaints.

While the possibility does remain for the individual who brought the original suit to appeal, the May 25 ruling leaves little likelihood of that appeal being heard.

The response of the library community to NYLA’s call for support to allow the Legal Defense Fund to come to the aid of the DeWitt Community Library has been fantastic, but the donations received to date have not completely covered the costs associated with the defense.  Your support continues to be welcomed to the NYLA Legal Defense Fund.

Any donations made to the fund in excess of the expenses of the current action will be held in a restricted fund for use future legal defense needs.

In order to ensure that NYLA is prepared to respond to the next challenge, you are invited to donate to the NYLA Legal Defense Fund.

To donate by check, please complete and submit this NYLA Legal Defense Fund Donation Form.

Selecting Our Leaders - NYLA Council Election 2016

NYLA is dependent on the passion and talent of our volunteer leaders who give their time to guide and shape the organization.  This year NYLA members will be electing:

  1. A President-Elect, who will serve from Nov. 2016 – Nov. 2017 and then as NYLA President from Nov. 2017 – Nov. 2018.
  2. Two Councilors at Large who will each serve from Nov. 2016 – Nov. 2019
  3. One ALA Chapter Councilor who will serve from Nov. 2016 – Nov. 2019

The NYLA Council Ballot will be open from June 15 - July 15.  
Details on accessing the ballot will be posted on and distributed via e-mail.

The Nominating Committee has identified the following slate of candidates.

NYLA President
Tim Burke
Lauren Comito

Councilor at Large
Sandra Echols
John Myers

Councilor at Large
Cece Fuoco
Jill Leinung

ALA Chapter Councilor
Matthew Bollerman
Jennifer Ferriss

Complete details on these candidates can be found by clicking here.

Petition Candidates
NYLA welcomes petition candidates for office on the upcoming NYLA Council election ballot.
In order to secure a spot on the NYLA ballot, you must be a current NYLA member, submit a signed letter stating your acceptance of the nomination, and a petition of no fewer than 41* signatures of current NYLA members endorsing your candidacy.  A petition candidate’s materials must be received by the NYLA office no later than May 1.
* 41 represents 1% of the total NYLA membership as of 12-31-15.
No petitions for NYLA office were received for 2016.
Section & Round Table Elections
Coinciding with the NYLA Council election, each of NYLA's Sections will be voting to elect officers.  An overview of the candidates can be found here. Details on the candidates for each Section election can be found on the Section's web pages.  When accessing the NYLA Council Ballot, all additional Section ballots that you are eligible to participate in will be displayed.  Also happening concurrently, the Suffolk County Library Association (SCLA) Ballot - click here for details.

Help Spotlight Excellence - Call for Nominations

Each year, NYLA honors individuals and organizations for their support, leadership, and advocacy of libraries and intellectual freedom at the Annual Conference.

Undoubtedly there is someone you know professionally that is deserving of recognition for one of these award.  We are dependent on the nominations received from members like you to help us identify those worthy persons.  Help us shine a light on the best among us, submit an award nomination.

We are now accepting nominations for the following Awards and Scholarships. Nominations are due JULY 15.

The Outstanding Advocate of Libraries Award

The Outstanding Advocate of Libraries Award recognizes and honors an individual who, or a group that, has made a far reaching, sustained contribution to the promotion and/or support of library and information services to the people of New York State or residents within a designated service area within the State. Recognition may include lifetime NYLA membership, citation, and gift.

Outstanding Service to Libraries Award

The Outstanding Service to Libraries Award recognizes and honors an individual who, or a group that, has made a significant, sustained contribution to the development, promulgation, growth or extension of library/information services to the people of NYS or to residents within a designated service area within the State. Recognition may include lifetime NYLA membership, citation, and gift.

SirsiDynix Intellectual Freedom Award

The SirsiDynix Intellectual Freedom Award recognizes an individual, group, or organization that furthers the cause of intellectual freedom in New York State.

Mary Bobinski Innovative Public Library Director Award

The Mary Bobinski Innovative Public Library Director Award recognizes a public library director who has developed or implemented an innovative program leading to an increase in financial support and/or usage of their library.

Please also note that the NYLA Sections & Roundtables offer awards and scholarships - Click here for a listing.

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

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