New York Library Association. - The eBulletin

Trustees Online

By: Sara Dallas

Public library trustees and library staff must be effective and knowledgeable within the ever changing library environment.  They are challenged by the effects of new technologies, media formats, and the needs of their communities; often with limited funding.    Since each library has its own mission, one size does not fit all when trying to meet the demands of each community across New York State.    Public library system staff  worked together to develop a means for library trustees and staff to collaborate and utilize the state-wide collective strength to share experiences, relationships, perspectives and skills to provide the highest quality of library services to each of our communities in a simple and cost effective manner. 

Nine public library system staff combined LSTA grant funds to develop an online resource.  The online resource had to have an eclectic mixture of tips, tools and resources readily available to help provide the best library services to library communities with differing budgets, staff size, resources and locations.  All of the participating system staff agreed that library trustees and staff are busy.  An online site with 24/7 access was needed to get the work done when people had the time to do it – either at home or work.

The nine public library systems*, working collaboratively, developed New York Library Trustees Online (NYLTO), an interactive Moodle site    NYLTO contains up-to-date information and links relating to:  trustee orientation and responsibilities, legal resources, the future or libraries and library services, policy writing guidelines and templates, director evaluation/hiring information, and instructions on how to use an online site.   NYLTO is accessible to people with all levels of computer expertise- from the reluctant to pro.   It has been called a one-stop resource because of the wealth and depth of information readily available. 

NYLTO is interactive.  Library trustees, directors and public library system staff share information state-wide through active discussion forums.  Some of the discussion topics were dealing with sleeping and difficult patrons, library liability, ethics and vacation policies for small libraries. 

Also available within NYLTO are short videos on a variety of topics of interest to trustees and library directors, policy development support, links to help with library advocacy, Library Trustees Association, New York Library Association and the American Library Association.

NYLTO is state-wide library collaboration at its best.  The nine public library systems report that over 700 people are currently enrolled in site.  The project was supported in part by LSTA funds awarded to the NYS Library by IMLS.  The site was designed by Elearn Libraries, as an online learning site for library trustees, directors and public library system staff.

 For more information on NYLTO, please contact Sara Dallas at

*Nine participating public library systems:
Clinton-Essex-Franklin Library System
Mid-York Library System
Monroe County Library System
North Country Library System
Onondaga County Public Library System
Pioneer Library System
Ramapo Catskill Library System
Southern Tier Library System
Southern Adirondack Library System