2013 NYLA LEGISLATIVE AGENDA – TALKING POINTS

Printer Friendly Version: NYLA 2013 Legislative Agenda TALKING POINTS (PDF)

BUDGET PRIORITY: Library Aid Restoration to $102M

Now is the time to reinvest in New York’s Libraries.

Background: With flat funding proposed for libraries in the Governor’s budget, Library Aid is down by over 20% since 2007.
What else has happened since 2007? New Yorkers are using libraries more than ever! 1

New Yorkers Need Libraries & Library Systems:

o    More than half of New Yorkers are now library cardholders (52%)2
o    97% of library budgets were approved by local voters.3  Communities are investing in libraries but need state aid to make their dollars go further with the help of library systems that can facilitate a higher return on investment than individual libraries can for services such as online access to education and research, ebooks, cost effective interlibrary loan and much more.

Libraries are Essential:
o    The number of items borrowed – books, ebooks, movies, magazines and more – has increased by over 11%! The average library user now saves over $180 a year by borrowing items at their library (that’s over $1.8B Statewide)4
o    To meet the demand of New Yorkers seeking Internet access, including job seekers, libraries have responded by increasing the number of publicly available internet-connected computers by over 28% (to over 17,000!) Libraries are the number one point of Internet access for those that do not have access at home. 5 Libraries are the leading digital literacy educators in New York, a role that will only expand in the coming years.

Impact: Libraries are struggling to keep up with the increased demand for library services. Library staff are spread thin, technology is aging and library facilities need renovation and reconfiguration to respond to new service delivery models. Libraries make for better communities, bridge the ‘digital divide’ and support the functioning of democracy.  Support of the restoration of library aid is an investment in New York’s economic recovery, in New York’s educational and cultural infrastructure, in New York’s citizens, and an investment that will produce a substantial return and make a lasting positive difference for New York State.

 

LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES
 

Maintenance of Effort Waivers

Allow public library systems to apply for a waiver from maintenance of effort requirements for a duration to be determined by the NYS Commissioner of Education.

Background: Public Library Systems are required to document that local governments are maintaining local public funding for library services in order for the library system and local libraries to receive a full allotment of State Aid.  If such local effort is not maintained, then State Aid is reduced by 25 percent. This bill will continue the existing waiver process that acknowledges that some local governments may from time to time face a natural disaster, other extraordinary changes in local economic conditions, or loss of state aid to local governments, that negatively impacts their ability to fund local programs and services, including libraries.  Current law only allows the Commissioner of Education to grant one such waiver in a five year period.

Impact: The bill will provide the Commissioner of Education with the flexibility to determine the time period for which a waiver from maintenance of effort will be granted to a public library system, based on documented local conditions.  All waivers granted would continue to be reported to the Assembly, Senate and Division of the Budget.

 

Library Card Info Distributed to Students

Require school districts to disseminate informational materials about applications for public library cards to students, when such materials are provided by the public library.

Background: Public libraries are partners in developing literacy skills, and provide information resources to students.  By distributing applications for library cards to students via public schools, participation and usage of public libraries increases.

Impact: This bill addresses the prohibition in some schools against distributing information for any outside group, and promotes access to publicly funded library resources by public school students.

 

Taxpayer Access to Publicly-Funded Research

Require publicly-funded research that has been published in peer‐reviewed journals to be made available online by the state agencies that underwrite such research.

Background: Currently NYS funds research at many public and private institutions; when published libraries must expend state funds for access to the research that was funded by tax dollars.  This bill seeks to eliminate that redundancy.

Impact: Follows the federal example in promoting open access to government funded research and will position New York as the first open access state in the nation by making the published results of commissioned research electronically available to all.

 

TECHNICAL CORRECTIONS
 

Digital Literacy

Substitute language in Education Law, allowing school librarians to offer instruction in grades k-12 on “digital literacy", as opposed to the dated and limited term “internet safety”. Digital literacy entails the skills needed to use technology, the internet and information in the 21st century.

Background: Education Law currently allows that instruction on “internet safety” may be provided by a certified school librarian, should a school choose to provide it.  This bill does not require that digital literacy instruction be provided, nor that school librarians provide the instruction, but rather updates language in education law that school librarians are eligible to provide instruction in “digital literacy” should a district opt to provide it.  

Impact: As “digital literacy” skills become increasingly integral to education, this measure affirms that school librarians are exceptionally well suited to deliver instruction on this content.

 

Streamlining of Conservation / Preservation Aid Program

Amend Education Law 273 (7) in order to streamline and modernize the Conservation Preservation Program for library research materials.

Background: The purposes of the Conservation / Preservation program are to encourage the proper care and accessibility of research materials, to promote the use and development of guidelines and technical standards for conservation/preservation work, and to support the growth of local and cooperative activities within the context of emerging national preservation programs. There are three parts to the Conservation/Preservation Aid Program, two of which support preservation programs at the Big Eleven Research Libraries.  Part One -  the Big Eleven Research Libraries are entitled to an annual formula grant of $126,000 to support a conservation/preservation program. Part Two – Coordinated Grants of $350,000. Only the Big Eleven may compete for these State funds and the projects must be collaborative projects among two or more of the Research Libraries.

Impact: These amendments will permanently eliminate the complex and competitive $350,000 coordinated conservation/preservation grant program for the Big Eleven Research Libraries and also move the funds in order to increase the statutory amount available to each of the eligible Big Eleven research libraries from $126,000 to $158,000.  The statutory amount available to the Big Eleven research libraries has remained the same since the program was established in 1984.  This change in the law will streamline program administration costs at both State and local levels, while maintaining accountability for the use of State funds.

 

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References:
1. http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/libdev/libs/palstats.htm Statistics on Circulation, Number of Card Holders, Number of Public Computers
2. http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/community_facts.xhtml, NYS Population according to the 2010 Census: 19,378,102
3. http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/libdev/libs/pldtools/guide/bdgtvte.htm, Library Budget Vote Results
4. http://www.swissarmylibrarian.net/librarycalculator/valuecalc_costs.html, Estimated value of circulating library items based on average retail cost of like items. Total value for NYS Annual=Number of circulated items X average retail value of item  (163,662,465 X $11.40 = $1,865,752,101)
5. http://www.ala.org/offices/oif/iftoolkits/litoolkit/default, American Library Association, “Libraries and the Internet Toolkit”