Please feel free to pass along this update to colleagues, friends and anyone you think would benefit from reading about library matters in New York State.  This update and past updates are posted on the New York State Library’s website at:  www.nysl.nysed.gov/library/about/statelibrarian.htm.

ARE YOU INFORMATION LITERATE? ARE YOU INFORMATION FLUENT?  Starting March 21st you began to see the roll-out of EveryoneON, an ambitious new public service advertising campaign of the Advertising Council in partnership with Connect2Compete, the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,  and a variety of other organizations including State Libraries. For three (3) years you will see traditional ads, social media messages and more, all designed to raise awareness of the importance of being both connected and adept at using “connections” to improve your life and that of those around you. The statistics are still astounding: Over 30% of all Americans have no internet access at home and limited access outside home. For many, library internet access is the ONLY access they have.  For more information, visit: http://everyoneon.adcouncil.org/  

GREAT STATE BUDGET NEWS:   For the third year in a row, the New York State budget will be on time. Assembly votes are expected this Thursday. Attempts to successfully “restore” library aid funds lost over the past years to budget cutting were successful! Thanks for the great effort by the library community to make this happen. Legislators were convinced to add $4 million to the previously funded $82 million. While every dollar helps, the hill remains steep on the way back to $102 million, the statutory funding target. Please take a moment to thank your Senator and Assemblymember for their support. Remind them (again) of the important service your library provides. Invite them to a library program. Invite them to tell a story to children.

E-RATE INCREASE: The Federal Communications Commission announced good news last week by raising the E-Rate program funding cap for the funding year 2013 by 1.8%. This increase from $2,338,786,577 (2012’s cap) to $2,380,314,485 (the new 2013 cap) provides an important opportunity for the distribution of more E-rate funding for schools and libraries. Indexing of the annual funding cap to inflation only began in 2010 when the FCC decided that E-Rate needed to keep pace with changing telecommunication needs. If your public library does NOT yet participate, then I encourage you to “check it out”. Contact your public library system for information and assistance.  New York libraries receive $10 million annually from this very important funding stream. E-rate funds are still not adequate to meet the needs of schools and libraries. Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, a West Virginia Democrat and Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, wants the fund to be enlarged to create and support one-gigabit connections for every school and library. Our Board of Regents has already endorsed one gigabit speeds as New York’s target. Senator Rockefeller wants from $5 to $9 billion more in E-rate to make this improvement happen. He appears to have Federal Communications Commission support.


Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has announced appointments to the Assembly Committee on Libraries and Education Technology. The Committee Chair is Micah Kellner of Manhattan’s “silk stocking” district.  Committee members are:

                   Thomas Abinanti, District 92  (Greenburgh/Westchester)

                    Barbara Clark, District 33  (Queens)

                    Steven Otis, District 91 (Rye/Westchester)

                    Philip Palmesano, District 132 (Steuben, Schuyler, etc.)

                    Samuel Roberts, District 128 (Syracuse)

                    Joseph Saladino, District 9 (Massapequa)

                    Michael Solages, District 22 (Valley Stream/Elmont)

                    Kenneth Zebrowski, District 96 (New City, Clarkstown)

The Committee is the voice for library matters in the Assembly. Add them to your mailing and e-mailing lists. Invite them to your programs. On the State Senate side, longtime Library Champion Senator Hugh T. Farley continues as the Senate Select Committee on Libraries Chair joined by members:

                    David Carlucci , District 38 (Rockland County)

                    William J. Larkin, Jr. , District 39 (Orange County)

                    Kenneth P. LaValle, 1st District (Port Jefferson)

                    Carl L. Marcellino, 5th District (Nassau & Suffolk)

                    Jack M. Martins, 7th District (Mineola/Long Island)

                    George D. Maziarz, District 62 (Niagara/Orleans County)

                    Patty Ritchie, District 48 (St. Lawrence)

                    James L. Seward, District 51 (Milford/Otsego)

                    David J. Valesky, District 53 (Syracuse/Oneida)

THE SUPREMES RULE:  In a much-anticipated and now being celebrated (for libraries) opinion, the United States Supreme Court ruled 6 to 3 on March 19 in the case of Kirtsaeng v. Wiley that the “first sale doctrine” applies to libraries and library users. Under the “first sale doctrine” if you bought it, you own it. This ownership follows purchase anywhere in the world. Justice Stephen Breyer wrote the majority opinion and spent  time on the considerable harm that the appealed decision of the Second Circuit Court’s opinion would have caused libraries.

The case involved a US graduate student, Supap Kirtsaeng, who worked with his family to buy foreign editions of textbooks abroad so he could resell them to college students in the United States. These were not pirated copies; they were genuine textbooks authorized by John Wiley Publishers for manufacture and sale abroad. They were less expensive than the American published versions. Wiley brought suit against Kirtsaeng alleging that the purchase and resale of foreign-made copies in the United States infringed Wiley’s copyright. Kirtsaeng relied on the first sale doctrine as his defense. A lawful owner of a lawful copy of a copyrighted work can generally do whatever she wants with that copy – resell, lend, donate, and even destroy it – without seeking/receiving permission from the copyright owner. The copyright owner’s right to control a particular copy ends after the first sale. The Supreme Court agreed. This is a very important victory for libraries, whose primary activity has been to buy copies of works (even as e-books and foreign published/printed versions) and make them available to their communities by lending.

AWARD:  The Joseph F. Shubert Library Excellence Award was created by the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries to honor long-serving State Librarian Joe Shubert. The award in his honor is intended to recognize achievements by New York State libraries and library consortia of all sizes and types.  The award is given annually to individual libraries and to library consortia to recognize achievements that improve the quality of library service to their users. The Joseph F. Shubert Library Excellence Award recognizes the many ways that libraries, through their programs, staff, and services, make a significant difference in their communities.  The 2013 award announcement has been posted on NYLINE and I encourage libraries and library systems to apply.  This year the award will be supported once again by the Friends of the New York State Library. The winner will receive $1,000.  For more information on applying for 2013 or on past winners, visit the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries website at http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/libdev/adviscns/rac/index.html

CHARTERING: As of today, there are 756 public libraries in New York State. The majority of these libraries has been granted a charter by the State Board of Regents and are therefore members of the University of the State of New York (USNY). All are independent education corporations. Many of the public libraries established in the nineteenth century were incorporated by the Department of State or established through special legislation. All of these libraries, regardless of their path to incorporation, are also registered (licensed) by the State Education Department. Public and association libraries must be chartered (incorporated) and registered (licensed) in order to receive State or local public funds. This process of chartering and registration is designed to provide consistency, thoroughness, and reliability in how the State’s public libraries are organized, how their assets are shepherded and how they are governed. Library boards should regularly review their charter, and update it if necessary. Libraries incorporated by the Department of State are encouraged to obtain a Regents charter. Updates, which are referred to as “charter amendments,” may reflect changes in geographic service boundaries, modifications to membership on the Board of Trustees, or changes to Board terms of service. Charters are important legal documents and therefore need to be accurate reflections of current practice. If your library’s charter needs updating, the first step is to contact your public library system for assistance. The State Library has provided all of the public library systems with copies of charter documents for all member libraries. There is also a great deal of information about chartering and registration available on the State Library’s website. See: http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/libdev/charter/index.html and http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/libdev/register/index.html

BEST LIBRARY SCHOOLS: There are 63 American Library Association accredited library graduate programs. The annual US NEWS & WORLD REPORT on graduate school ranking is now in and New York’s library graduate accredited MLS/MLIS programs should be a source of pride for all. Syracuse’s program ranked 4th, a major point of pride! Here’s New York’s list:

                            Syracuse                Ranked 4

                            Albany                    Ranked 31

                            Pratt                        Ranked 31

                            Buffalo               Ranked 39

                            Long Island U.        Ranked 39

                            Queens              Ranked 41

                            St. John’s           Ranked 43

NOVELNY: The State Library staff is close to concluding the complex and time consuming process of selecting and procuring the databases and data resources which will be part of the NOVELNY offerings for 5,600 libraries beginning July 1st. After receiving over 1,400 surveys from the library community, staff reviewed survey responses, current database usage and developed a menu of desired resources. Working with State Education Department procurement staff, we compiled the lists of possible resources and are very close to the final assessment of the “best and final” offers from the various vendors. We expect to make the announcements in April. Stay tuned!

MORE EDUCATION: SO MANY GREAT OFFERINGS, SO LITTLE TIME: We are of course all educators. At a minimum we educate ourselves though most of us are part of the village that helps to educate everyone. I find it rewarding to see across my e-mail so many amazing continuing education opportunities. I hope that you are taking advantage of these education opportunities and that your Board members and staff members are encouraged to take advantage of these opportunities as well.  A notice from our colleagues at the Western New York Library Resources Council (WNYLRC) grabbed my attention with a conference simply called “Library Survival”.  Included in this day-long offering are four intriguing presentations:

          Throw Out the Maps and Get Out the Compass: Leading Libraries Forward in Uncertain Times, Presenter: Rebekkah Smith-Aldrich

          Pizza Plant Italian Pubs: Restaurant as Community Center, Presenter: Bob Syracuse

          Bhupesh Shah, Ethnicomm, on Social media

          Joseph Janes, University of Washington, on current and emerging technology

Give me reports please on the pizza! And…learn a lot.

Bernard A. Margolis

State Librarian