KAREN BALSEN TO RETIRE FROM THE NEW YORK STATE LIBRARY

Library Development Specialist Karen Balsen is retiring after ten years of service at the New York State Library effective June 1, 2017.

Ms. Balsen first joined the New York State Library’s Library Development Team in 2007.  Over the past decade, she has worked closely with the 23 public library system youth services coordinators, the leadership of the New York Library Association’s Youth Services Section, the national Collaborative Summer Library Program, colleagues in other units within the State Education Department and dozens of other state and national partners to improve the quality of library services for New York’s children and teens. Her creative and effective use of online resources, social media and other communications tools and her efforts to reach out to diverse audiences and partners have resulted in increased visibility for and use of New York’s libraries.

Under Ms. Balsen’s expert guidance, participation in the State Library’s Summer Reading at New York Libraries program grew by 40 percent from 1.5 million participants in Summer 2008 to 2.1 million participants in Summer 2016.  Creative programs developed by Ms. Balsen, such as the Teen Video Challenge have helped to promote summer reading not just in New York State, but also across the nation. Partnerships fostered under her leadership with the NYS Legislature, 4-H, Hunger Solutions, the New York Council for the Humanities, the NYS Reading Association and others have helped bring more visibility and resources to library programs statewide.

Library Development Specialist Karen Balsen

Since its inception in 2013, Ms. Balsen has led the development of New York State’s first statewide early literacy library program, Ready to Read at New York Libraries. Under Phase One (2014-2016) of this new statewide initiative, Ms. Balsen led the New York State Education Department Team that obtained a modest federal planning grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, chaired an advisory group of early childhood experts in developing a statewide plan for improving earlyliteracy library services and coordinated the first Ready to Read at New York Libraries Summit in

Spring 2015.  Because of Ms. Balsen’s leadership, the State Library has generated thirteen new statewide early literacy partnerships with statewide organizations such as the NYS Council on Children and Families, Head Start, Reach Out and Read, Educational Television and Public Broadcasting, and the NYS Parenting Education Partnership.  These collaborative partnerships have enabled local libraries to reach deeper into their communities to find and serve young families, including at risk populations.  The State Library has trained and certified a 30+ member Training Cohort of youth services librarians as early literacy expert trainers.  Ms. Balsen efforts have resulted in the effective leveraging of state and federal funds to enable Cohort members to deliver the Early Childhood Public Library Staff Development Program to libraries across the State.  Thus far, the State Library has partnered with the 23 public library systems to train 1,134 staff from 453 of New York’s 1067 public libraries and neighborhood branches. Training will continue through 2019.

In addition to her work with youth services programs, Ms. Balsen has provided thoughtful leadership and coordination for the State Library’s public library systems and school library systems programs in her role as the Team Leader for Library Development’s Outreach, Networking and Regional Advisory Services Team since 2015. She has managed the State Library’s Adult Library Literacy and Family Library Literacy Programs since 2014. During her ten years at the State Library, she has worked as a regional liaison with libraries and library systems in five of the nine regions – the Capital District, Long Island, North Country, South Central, and Southeastern NY regions.

Ms. Balsen’s ability to relate to her colleagues, library users, librarians, library trustees, local government officials and community leaders and their unique concerns have been invaluable assets to the State Library, to the State Education Department and to the hundreds of libraries and systems that she has worked with over the years. Her deep passion for libraries and her thorough understanding of the positive life-changing impacts that libraries and library staff can have on people from all walks of life will be sorely missed.

In addition to her work at the State Library, Ms. Balsen has also worked as Assistant Director at the Guilderland (NY) Public Library, a branch manager at Albany (NY) Public Library, a reference librarian at Sage Colleges and a school librarian at both public and nonpublic schools. She has an MLS from the State University of New York at Albany and a BA from the State University of New York at Binghamton.

The New York State Library has served New Yorkers, state government and researchers from throughout the United States since 1818.  In its leadership role, the State Library works in partnership with the State’s 73 library systems to bring cost-effective, high-quality library services to the millions who use New York’s 7,000 libraries.  The State Library’s Division of Library Development works with librarians, trustees, school administrators, public officials and local leaders to solve problems and find new ways of supporting the development and improvement of public, school, academic and special libraries across New York State.  One of the nation’s leading library development agencies and research libraries, the New York State Library is a program of the Office of Cultural Education in the New York State Education Department.  The New York Library is in Albany, New York. Information about the programs and services of the State Library is available at: http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/

For More Information, Contact:
Carol A. Desch
(518) 474-7196
Carol.desch@nysed.gov   

FRANK REES JOINS NEW YORK STATE LIBRARY

AS LIBRARY DEVELOPMENT SPECIALIST

Frank Rees joined the staff of the New York State Library’s Division of Library Development as a Library Development Specialist on March 9, 2017.

Mr. Rees will be providing program management assistance and leadership in the administration of the State Aid for Library Construction program and will also assist in the management of the New York Online Virtual Library (NOVELNY) program. He will also provide oversight for the Public Librarian Certification program and serve as continuing education coordinator.  After a period of training and orientation, Mr. Rees will also serve as a regional liaison from the State Library for multiple public library systems. Each of New York State’s 73 library systems is assigned a State Library staff member as their regional liaison.

Frank Rees

Mr. Rees’s background includes over twenty years of experience as a public library director in special district, association, school district and municipal libraries.  Most recently, he was the director of the Saugerties Public Library where he developed a capital spending plan, improved IT infrastructure, implemented a museum pass program and started a Little Free Library program that will place twelve Little Free Libraries throughout the Saugerties community.  Mr. Rees also serves on the Board of the New York Library Association’s Leadership and Management section.

Prior to his experience at the Saugerties Public Library, Mr. Rees held director’s positions at the Hudson Area Library and the Kent Public Library and served as the Assistant Director at the Howland Public Library.  Mr. Rees holds a B.A. in English from the State University at Plattsburgh, and an M.L.S. from the University at Albany.  He has also held leadership positions on the Mid-Hudson Library System’s System Services Advisory Committee and chaired the Mid-Hudson Library System Director’s Association.  Mr. Rees has also served on the New York Library Association Council.

The New York State Library has served New Yorkers, state government and researchers from throughout the United States since 1818.  In its leadership role, the State Library works in partnership with the State’s 73 library systems to bring cost-effective, high-quality library services to the millions who use New York’s 7,000 libraries.  The State Library’s Division of Library Development works with librarians, trustees, school administrators, public officials and local leaders to solve problems and find new ways of supporting the development and improvement of public, school, academic and special libraries across New York State.  One of the nation’s leading library development agencies and research libraries, the New York State Library is a program of the Office of Cultural Education in the New York State Education Department.  The New York Library is in Albany, New York. Information about the programs and services of the State Library is available at: http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/

For More Information, Contact:
Carol A. Desch
(518) 474-7196
Carol.desch@nysed.gov

Using Social Media to Advocate for Libraries by Library Journal

Posted on  by CommunicationServices

When you’re putting together an advocacy program for your library, using social media is crucial—it’s one of the easiest ways to reach targeted audiences in or-der to build your base of support and a simple, cost-effective way to reach advocates where they al-ready are. Just about every library has a website and, at least, a Facebook page. Most also use Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and/or Instagram. It’s all about deciding which market you want to reach.

Social media is straightforward and allows you to create, post, and share content that is imperative to your advocacy effort. One of the best things about nearly any social media platform is that setting up a basic page is free. The second best thing is that advertising and targeting are effortless and inexpensive. Third, you can create library advocates while they are sitting their living rooms or offices.

According to 2015 statistics, Facebook has a 46.5 percent market share of social media users, YouTube is at 21 percent, and Twitter at 4.5 percent. If you want to reach adults, Facebook is key. If you want to reach people who like to watch videos, You-Tube is your best platform. For young moms, Pinterest works best. If you want to reach teens, it’s all about Instagram. Twitter is for news junkies and those who like their information and notes at 140 characters or less.

Getting Social
One of the first steps is establishing your page. A library Facebook page is not the same as a personal account. You must, however, have a personal account to set up a page for your advocacy effort. Click on the pull-down menu on the left side of your personal Facebook page, then choose “create a page.”  You’ll be walked through the rest.

The next step in social media advocacy is to determine who you want to reach. The first level is voters—anyone 18 or older. The next is voters who value the library. That could be young moms or dads (age 25–40), retired adults (over 55), families, and working adults (35–55). Knowing whom you’re targeting with specific messages will help you boost posts to specific audiences.

Next, designate one or two folks from your advocacy team to coordinate social media efforts. They should be enthusiastic library supporters as well as savvy social media users. They should know how to work the social media outlets and how best to take advantage of them. They should also be well versed in the advocacy campaign and its messaging and programs such as Adobe Spark that enable you to design great looking graphics for your posts.

One you’ve figured out which platforms you’ll use—I suggest Facebook and YouTube as the base—then it’s time to develop a social media calendar based on your campaign calendar. Figure out which messages will be promoted each week to support your advocacy efforts. Also, make sure that the Facebook page is not identified as “Acme Public Library” but something like “Acme Residents for Our Library.”

Strategic use of text, images, and videos is paramount to cut-ting through the message clutter and getting yours to stick. Text should be comprehensible and to the point. The images and/or graphics should generate an emotional response and enable people to feel connected to the advocacy strategy. You want to get them to like your page.

Employ graphics that are engaging and attractive. Create videos to support your campaign. For a short campaign that focuses on getting a local village board to approve a bond for a building (without going to the voters), we built the Facebook pageScarsdale Parents for an Improved Library. We used pictures of cute kids enjoying themselves at library pro-grams and schematic drawings for the proposed improvements. We posted the content of every bulk email sent out and created a video of graphics we used (a tool available on Facebook).

Once your posts or videos are done, spend a little money and boost them. Boosts are incredibly effective, reaching a targeted audience for a limited amount of time for a specific amount of money. Note that you can only boost posts or videos from a page, not from your personal account.

Just click on the boost button, and you’ll land on an interface that lets you set the geographic reach (your zip code or the name of your town), the gender and age of the people you want to reach, the time frame, and the budget. You can spend as little as $50 to connect with a specific audience for three days.

When you boost a post on Facebook, you can also boost the same post on Instagram if you have a page on that platform. You don’t need to advertise from YouTube—you can link your You-Tube page to your Facebook page or upload videos directly onto Facebook.

Whatever you do, don’t forget that social media isn’t just for fun—it’s a vital portion of your library’s advocacy plan.

For more information on how you can use social media for your library advocacy campaign, contact Libby Post, President/CEO of Communication Services

Ask Joe Eisner: Does a library trustee have the right to examine library records?

LTA Members:Get Questions Answered
Do You Have a Library Question Which Requires an Answer?
Ask Joe Eisner (click to learn more)

As part of LTA’s expansion of service to aid and assist library trustees and directors, LTA offers members an opportunity to confer with Joe Eisner, free of charge.

Joe can be contacted toll-free at 1 (866) 720-8969 or by email at ltafaqjoe@librarytrustees.org. (Question are handled with discretion.)

For more information about Joe Eisner’s experience and background, please click on the “Ask Joe Eisner” tab under “Resources and Links” on LTA’s website.

Please note: The following should not be construed as legal advice, for which the services of counsel should be obtained:


Q. Does a library trustee have the right to examine library records?

 The following should not be construed as legal advice, for which the service of counsel should be obtained.

 A. Prior to the enactment of the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL),  the New York State Supreme Court rendered the following decision:

Petitioner, a trustee of the Farmingdale Public Library, seeks in this article 78 proceeding to enjoin the Director of the Library and petitioner’s four co-trustees from denying petitioner direct access to the office files and records of the library and to annul and set aside a purported regulation adopted by the board which sets forth the procedure to be followed in examining such records. The petition is dismissed.

It is axiomatic that a trustee of a municipal corporation, having the ultimate responsibility over the affairs of the corporation (Education Law, § 260), has an absolute right to inspect the records maintained by that corporation. What Mr. Justice Christ stated with respect to a member of a board of education has equal application to a trustee of a public library. In Matter of King v. Ambellan (12 Misc. 2d 333, 334-335), he stated:

 ‘A member of a board of education has broad supervisory responsibility over the expenditure of district funds and the efficiency of the school system. He is elected to act upon behalf of the people and to do this he must have full information concerning the whole operation, in the absence of statute or rule of the Commissioner of Education to the contrary. He is presumed to be as trustworthy with information pertaining to the district and its work * * * as any teacher or district employee. All records, except any specifically restricted by statute or duly adopted rule of the Commissioner of Education, must be made open for inspection by a member of the board of education.

‘The court is of the opinion that the majority members of the board of education may not, by resolution or otherwise, restrict this right of every board member to be fully acquainted with the records and business of the district.’

The foregoing statement of fundamental law is in no way disputed by the respondents. On August 8, 1967, the Board of Trustees of the Farmingdale Library, petitioner being the sole dissenter, adopted a rule which provided that all trustees may see all files of the library. At the same time and by the same vote, the board adopted six other rules which in effect provided that the files were to be seen during the regular business hours of the business office of the library, which hours are from Mondays through Fridays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; that the interested trustee should indicate with reasonable particularity the file or files he desires to see; that the trustee be furnished with a list of all such files in order to enable him to determine which file or files he chooses to see; that the files are to be withdrawn and replaced by an employee of the library in charge of the files; that the files are to be reviewed and/or copied on the premises of the library and that the procedure is to take place in such a manner as not to unduly interrupt the normal business of the office.

To say that a trustee is entitled to investigate and peruse the records, however, is not to say that the library must remain open 24 hours a day seven days a week to accommodate this worthwhile purpose. Some reasonable regulation is not only proper, but indispensable. This is recognized in the area of stockholders’ rights to inspect the records of a business corporation (Matter of Steinway, 159 N. Y. 250; Matter of Schulman v. De Jonge & Co., 270 App. Div. 147); and also with respect to members of the public reviewing public records of municipal corporations (Matter of Sorley v. Lister, 33 Misc. 2d 471; Matter of Coughlan v. Cowan, 21 Misc. 2d 667). While it may be argued with some force that the status of a trustee of a municipal corporation is superior to that of a stockholder in a business corporation, or a member of the public at large, and that he may therefore have greater rights of inspection than those afforded to others, still some regulation is necessary. Records must be preserved. They should not be allowed off the premises. All trustees should have equal access thereto, and normal business hours should, insofar as possible, be observed.

The difficulty with petitioner’s position in this case is simply that he cites the regulation and views with great alarm its consequences. He states that the resolution is calculated to dilute his effectiveness; that the board has exceeded its jurisdiction; that the resolution makes the servant the master and the master the servant; that it is calculated to harass the petitioner; and that it is arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion. Significantly, his papers are utterly devoid of any statement to the effect that he has been denied the right to inspect. Nowhere is it stated that he attended the library and requested files or that files were refused him, or that the employees were utilizing the regulation to delay or hinder his investigation. He has thus failed to present a justiciable controversy

It is fundamental that the board of trustees has the right to adopt regulations (Education Law, § 226, subd. 10) and as long as such regulations do not impede, hinder or unduly delay an inspection of records by a trustee, they must be honored. No showing has been made that this regulation has resulted in any such adverse consequence [emphasis supplied]

It is fundamental that the board of trustees has the right to adopt regulations (Education Law, § 226, subd. 10) and as long as such regulations do not impede, hinder or unduly delay an inspection of records by a trustee, they must be honored. No showing has been made that this regulation has resulted in any such adverse consequence [emphasis supplied]” (Matter of Gorton v Dow, 282 N.Y.S.2d 841; 54 Misc. 2d 509  (August 22, 1967)).

While the foregoing involved a public library, it would seem the principle espoused by the Court also applies to trustees of an association library whose institution as a member of the University of the State of New York, is also accorded the same right by Education Law s260(10) to adopt regulations. Prudence would dictate that if the governing board, whether of an association or public library, desires to make library records  and documents available to members of the board either without charge and/or requirement to file a written FOIL request, and/or at hours other than those designated for FOIL requests to be accepted from the public, a policy statement adopted in accordance with Education Law s260(10) should so state.

Further, it should be noted that Education Law s260-a also requires association library boards as well as public library boards to comply with the provisions of the Open Meetings Law in scheduling and convening board meetings. In accordance with opinions by Counsel to the Committee on Open Government (COG), minutes of such board meetings as well as any documents distributed or discussed at such meetings are FOILable by the public.


Please note: If you have any additional questions about this topic, please contact Joe Eisner at the e-mail/phone above.

 

Urgent: NYS Library Aid FY 2017-2018 – Needs Your Support!

NYS Library Aid FY 2017-2018 – Needs Your Support!
KEEP THE MESSAGE GOING – PASS IT ON!

As the final budget is being crafted the NYS Senate and NYS Assembly one house budget proposals remain on the chopping block!

TAKE ACTION NOW! Use NYLA’s pre-drafted letter to voice your support for fully funding NYS Library Aid in the FY 2017-2018 Budget.

Even if you have already written to your representative, please follow this link to send this NEW message to your legislators that library funding is NOT NEGOTIABLE!

Senate

  • State Library Aid: +$8M over Governor’s Executive Budget ($99.6M total)
  • State Library Construction Aid: +$15M ($29M total)

Assembly

  • State Library Aid: +$4M ($95.6M total)
  • State Library Construction Aid: +$11M ($25M total)

These adds are a testament to the hard work and commitment of New York’s library advocates. Thanks to your efforts, we currently have support in each house heading into final negotiations with the Governor. But, remember these numbers are mere proposals, and nothing is assured. Unless we convince the legislature to dig in and defend library funding, we still face Governor Cuomo’s funding cuts!

WE NEED YOUR HELP TO DEFEND LIBRARY FUNDING – NOW IS THE TIME TO ACT! We are counting on you to ensure the legislature fights for libraries as negotiations take shape.

TAKE ACTION NOW! Use NYLA’s pre-drafted letter to voice your support for fully funding NYS Library Aid in the FY 2017-2018 Budget.

Even if you have already written to your representative, please follow this link to send this NEW message to your legislators that library funding is NOT NEGOTIABLE!

After you submit your name and address you will have the opportunity to view and EDIT our pre-drafted letter.  Our system determines your elected representatives based on your address, and submits your message directly to their inbox. Copies are also sent to key members of the Legislature.

Click HERE to send your message of support for Library Funding NOW!

If you have already sent your letter – THANK YOU!
Help us spread the word – invite your coworkers, friends, and family to take action!
Forward this message, share, post, tweet – pass it on!

EVERY MESSAGE COUNTS.


 

 

Trustees in the Know: Binghamton

A day to Learn, Participate and Renew for Library Trustees and Directors

Sponsored by the Four County Library System, the Southern Tier Library System, the Finger Lakes Library System and the Library Trustees Association

Hosted by the Four County Library System at the Broome County Public Library
185 Court Street, Binghamton, NY 13901
Saturday, May 6, 2017• 9:30 am to 3:00 pm


Registration Deadline – April 28, 2017
Click Here to Register Online Now!

To register via email or telephone or for questions, contact Tim Gavin, Executive Director at tgavin@librarytrustees.org or 518-445-9505


Join fellow trustees and library staff to get a better understanding of these important topics:

9:30 Registration and coffee

10 – 11:15 RETHINKING LIBRARY SPACES: MAKING BETTER USE OF THE SPACE YOU ALREADY HAVE.

Presented by: Bob Costello, Corey Layton & Mark Lombardini of L2 Studios
For detailed bios of each of the presenters, please click here.

Bob Costello (L2 Studios)

Mick Lombardini (L2 Studios)

Corey Layton (L2 Studios)

11:15 – 12:30 WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT FINANCIAL REPORTS

Duane Shoen, CPA from Ciaschi,

Dietershagen, Little & Michelson in Ithaca, covering budgets and what information library boards should receive in regular financial reports and any potential red flags.

Duane Shoen is a partner in the accounting firm of Insero & Co, CPAs, LLP. Duane and the firm provide services to many non-profit agencies and governments in the Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, and Central New York. Duane joined the firm in 1995, and has been a partner since 2000. Insero is the successor company to Ciaschi Dietershagen, Little and Mickelson

12:30 Lunch

1:15 – 2:30 LEGAL UPDATE: CONFLICT OF INTEREST, BOARD/STAFF RELATIONSHIPS, AND EMPLOYMENT LIABILITY.

Carrie J. Pollak is counsel in the Corporate, Real Estate, Tax and Health Care Practices. Her legal practice concentrates in the area of corporate governance. Ms. Pollak regularly advises long term health care providers, companies and other tax-exempt organizations on diverse legal issues, including formations, taxation and tax exempt issues, corporate governance, corporate restructurings, regulatory matters, and a variety of commercial ventures, contracts and transactions. She also regularly advises real estate developers on all stages of development, including contract negotiation and drafting, financing, leasing, buying and selling, real estate syndications, as well as wetlands mitigation, conservation and preservation.

She has represented clients before the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, Army Corps of Engineers, and the Fish and Wildlife Service; as well as the New York State Office of the Attorney General, Department of Taxation and Finance, Affordable Housing Corporation, and the Department of Environmental Protection. (Read Full Bio Here)



Click Here to Register Online NOW!

To register via email or telephone or for questions, contact Tim Gavin at tgavin@librarytrustees.org

or 518-445-9505

Registration Deadline – April 28, 2017


Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library Vinciguerra Citizen Laureate Award: Ed and Francine Rodger

The Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library’s Vinciguerra Citizen Laureate Award was presented to Ed and Francine Rodger at a reception on December 10th, 2016.  The reception was also to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the 475 Moe Road library building.

Background of Award

The Vinciguerra Citizen Laureate Award was established in 1999 to honor Stephen and Beatrice Vinciguerra for their generous donation of land on which the library was built.  The Award was intended to be bestowed on future individuals whose contribution to the library was above and beyond the normal expectations of a volunteer.  It has only been awarded to the Vinciguerras in 1999 and to Joe Conroy in 2007.

 

Ed & Francine Rodger-CPH Library Citizen Laureate Award 12-2016

Ed and Francine Rodger

In December 2016, the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Library celebrated the 10th anniversary of the opening its current building on Moe Road in Clifton Park.  As part of the anniversary celebrations, long time library supporters and library trustees, Ed and Francine Rodger were presented with the library’s prestigious Vinciguerra Citizen Laureate award.  This award was established in 1999 and is bestowed on individuals whose contributions to the library are above and beyond the normal expectations of a volunteer.  It has only been awarded to two other people prior to the Rodgers.

Ed and Francine have been involved with the library for nearly 50 years.  As far back at the late 1960’s Francine was a volunteer, doing membership drives to help develop a library for the community.  The first library opened to the public in 1969, and soon after in 1972 Francine was appointed to the library board and served until 1985.  Ed has been on the library board since 1997 and his current term runs until the end of 2020.  Between Francine and Ed, there will have been a Rodger on the library board for 36 years of the library’s 50 year history.

During their terms, both Francine and Ed have each served as president, treasurer and vice-president of the board, and they have worked tirelessly to make sure  the library services that are provided are exemplary.

Several years ago in conjunction with the 40th anniversary celebrations, the Friends of the Library commissioned an artist to create renderings of the different locations of the library over the years.    And when we received the images, Ed noted that one was missing – an image of the very first purpose built library that opened 1981.

This particular library had a special significance for Ed and Francine.  Not only was Francine the president of the board and then treasurer  during door-to-door campaigns that raised a quarter of a million dollars for the construction, but the Rodgers, along with another local family, personally guaranteed the 250,000 dollar mortgage for the library building.

Francine continued to serve on the Board throughout the campaign to establish a tax district in 1985, which provided a sound financial footing for the future of the library. Francine resigned from the Board in 1985, but continued to be involved in committees and volunteering.

In 1997 Ed was appointed to the board to fill the term of a resigning trustee and has subsequently been elected four times, and is beginning his 21st consecutive year as a library trustee.  Ed has been the president of the board at two different times as well as the vice president and treasurer.

Current Board President, Jason DiGianni, on behalf of the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library Board of Trustees, presented the Citizen Laureate Award to Ed and Francine Rodger on December 10, 2016.

In addition to the award, the Local History Room will be named in honor of Ed and Francine.  It will be the Ed and Francine Rodger Local History Room.  

State Education Department Proposes Public Library Construction Aid Regulation Changes to Expand Scope of Eligible Projects

45-Day Public Comment Period Begins April 12

Proposed amendments to the State Aid for Library Construction regulations expand and further define the types of public library construction projects that are eligible to receive State aid, the State Education Department announced today. A 45-day public comment period on the proposed amendments begins April 12.

“Public libraries are centers of communities,” Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa said. “These regulation changes will enable public libraries to apply for State aid for a wider range of necessary projects that ultimately benefit children and adults.”

“We must continue to invest in public libraries that are vital educational centers and central gathering places for so many communities,” State Education Department Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said. “With these regulation changes, libraries can receive aid for necessary technology projects, like broadband installation, and receive more funding for projects that serve economically disadvantaged communities.”

The proposed amendments align the Commissioner’s regulations with recent statutory changes the State Legislature made to Education Law §273-a. The proposed amendments include the following significant changes:

  • clarifies eligible costs, including the acquisition of vacant land and purchase and installation of assistive listening devices and systems for the deaf and hearing impaired;
  • makes the installation and infrastructure of broadband services an approved project cost; and
  • enables approved projects serving economically disadvantaged communities to be funded up to 75 percent of eligible project costs.

A Notice of Proposed Rule Making will be published in the State Register on April 12, 2017 and public comment will be received until May 30, 2017. Following the public comment period, it is anticipated that the proposed rule will be presented for permanent adoption by the Board of Regents at the July 2017 meeting. If adopted, the proposed amendment would become effective on August 2, 2017.

The proposed regulation can be viewed here: http://www.regents.nysed.gov/common/regents/files/317audbfd2.pdf

For More Information, Contact:
Antonia Giuliano
(518) 474-1201
www.nysed.gov


New York State Board of Regents
MaryEllen Elia
Commissioner of Education
The State Education Department
The University of the State of New York / Albany, NY 12234
Office of Communications

Ask Joe Eisner: Are municipal or school district public library boards solely responsible for arranging for insurance coverage on the library facility and its contents?

LTA Members:Get Questions Answered
Do You Have a Library Question Which Requires an Answer?
Ask Joe Eisner (click to learn more)

As part of LTA’s expansion of service to aid and assist library trustees and directors, LTA offers members an opportunity to confer with Joe Eisner, free of charge.

Joe can be contacted toll-free at 1 (866) 720-8969 or by email at ltafaqjoe@librarytrustees.org. (Question are handled with discretion.)

For more information about Joe Eisner’s experience and background, please click on the “Ask Joe Eisner” tab under “Resources and Links” on LTA’s website.

Please note: The following should not be construed as legal advice, for which the services of counsel should be obtained:


 

Q. Are municipal or school district public library boards solely responsible for arranging for insurance coverage on the library facility and its contents?

 A.  No. Regardless of type of  library, public library boards of trustees have a corporate entity entirely separate from  that of the municipality or, in the case of a school district public library, from the board of education.  Library trustees are public officers:

Public officers having by law the care and custody of the  public buildings and the other property of a municipal corporation, may insure the same at the expense of such corporation (General Municipal Law s79).

As such, they have the responsibility of exercising due diligence, particularly since it is well settled that they are independent entities.

The Comptroller has stated that General Municipal Law s79 is permissive: “It is simply authorization to contract for such insurance (59 St Dept Rep 363 (1938)… The Department believes that failure to obtain adequate fire insurance coverage… may be imprudent” (15 Op State Compt 49, 1969).Thus, public library trustees  have the responsibility of exercising due diligence.

In the case of a municipal public library, the library board should discuss with the municipal governing authority whether the municipality’s property and contents insurance cover the library. If not it would be incumbent on the library board to reach an agreement with the governing board as to whether the library should independently arrange for such coverage, at least on contents,  and whether the premium will be reflected in the library’s budget. The strategy outlined below in the Education Department’s Law Division’s and the Comptroller’s  opinions may have some application when  municipal public library boards discuss the issue of property and liability insurance coverage with the municipal governing authority.

Similarly, a school district public library (SDPL) board should consult with the board of education to determine whether the district’s property and contents insurance cover the library, and in what amounts. Where the SDPL is occupying a building whose construction or acquisition was funded by a school district bond issue, the Education Department’s Law Division has stated that where title to a library building lies with the school district, insurance should run to the school district as owner: “If the insurance in the building and contents is to be carried in one policy it would appear that noting… the board of education and the library  ‘as interest may appear’ would be proper to protect the interest of both parties” (ltr, June 30, 1954). “The cost of the insurance on the building would not technically be part of the library’s budget” (ltr, September 9, 1955).

Where a school district board of education and the public library trustees contemplated entering into an agreement to allow the public library use of a district-owned building, the Comptroller stated: “…[A]s a practical matter, since the school district would stand to lose if the library building were destroyed, it would be in the best interest of the school district to pay the property insurance premiums out of the school district budget. However, if the school district were that its interests would be properly protected if the premiums were paid by the library, we found no legal barrier to such an arrangement. It is our opinion that the same conclusion would apply to the manner in which liability insurance premiums were handled. Therefore, an agreement which places responsibility for liability and property insurance upon the library would be proper if the school district felt its interests would be properly protected….” (Op State Compt 77-823, 1977 (unreported)).

Despite the independence  of both types of public libraries, there appears to be a joint responsibility on the part of both the municipal governing body, the school district board of education, and the applicable type of library to determine that each board is acting in a manner which, in case of a loss,  will protect the interest of the taxpayers who support each type of library. It would also be prudent to come to an agreement whereby at regular intervals (perhaps every two years) a mechanism exists where the coverages are reviewed by both boards and necessary adjustments are made in the then existing coverage amounts.


Please note: If you have any additional questions about this topic, please contact Joe Eisner at the e-mail/phone above.