History of Livonia Public Library:

Celebrating Livinia Public Library 100 Year anniversary 1917-2017

Celebrating Livinia Public Library 100 Year anniversary 1917-2017

The Livonia Public Library serves the community as an educational and cultural center  providing free access to recreational, educational and informational materials and services in both print and non-print. We are members of the Pioneer Library System consisting of 42 member libraries in Livingston, Wyoming, Wayne and Ontario counties.The Gahnyhsas-Tecarnedoi Campfire Girls of Livonia pledged the first $25 for the founding of the Livonia Public Library in 1916. This year they celebrate their 100th anniversary in a big way by renovating their library.

Livonia Public Library - new building renovations

Livonia Public Library - new building renovations

Shared from Frank Sykes, Livonia Public Library Director:

After months of construction, the Livonia Public Library
opened its doors on Saturday, August 26! Celebrating
its 100th Anniversary, the new library is not simply a
building containing books, videos, and computers, but a
vibrant community hub in the truest sense. It is a place
that contains untapped ideas. Conversations not yet
had. Relationships not yet made. It is a library full of
opportunities and potential. The future of possibilities in
this building is only limited by our imaginations!

However, make no mistake about it, this library differs in
our traditional sense of a public library. Instead of a “no”
library: no eating, no drinking, no making noise. This is a “yes” library:

New Children’s section - Livonia Public Library

New Children’s section - Livonia Public Library

YES to eating and drinking. YES to playing and having fun. YES to talking and collaborating. YES to the full use of the library. Your new public library is open and every single person in our community is welcome through its doors!
Your new library has also redefined our approach to its overall mission.

 

As we strive to serve and improve our community everyday, we are doing it through developing relationships in and around our community. Whether it’s through a partnership with the ARC of Livingston County to acquire a
Healthy Habits vending machine, Your new library has also redefined our approach to its overall mission. As
we strive to serve and improve our community everyday, we are doing it through developing relationships in and around our community. Whether it’s through a partnership with the ARC of Livingston County to acquire a Healthy Habits vending machine,  or collaboration with the Livonia Central School District to host class visits, we are ALL moving forward, together.

Food and Beverage Center - Livonia Public Library

Food and Beverage Center - Livonia Public Library

This amazing library would not be possible without the
involvement of so many people in our amazing community. I would like to start with Livonia Town Supervisor Eric Gott and the Town Board. Without their unwavering support of this project, it would not have happened. Senator Cathy Young: her ability to secure state funds was critical to the project’s success. She has been and continues to be a great champion for libraries. To the Library Board of Trustees: their resolute support, clear vision, and
continuing determination brought this amazing library to our town.
Assemblyman Joe Errigo: for securing funds for the library
improvement project and years of being a great library supporter.
Village of Livonia Mayor Cal Lathan and the Village Board: their partnership and assistance in this project was vital. Town Board liaison to the Library, Angela Grouse: her perseverance, direction, and knowledge throughout this project were monumental.

 

Thank you to all the donors whose generous support kick-started the drive to close the funding gap. What you all have done for this library and our community will be felt for generations to come.
Library Board President, Mae Sharman: you have been the
energy and life of this project since day one. Your determination and resolve is absolutely amazing. We all owe you our gratitude.

Prepping the new addition -- Livonia Public Library

Prepping the new addition -- Livonia Public Library

The Friends of the Livonia Public Library: as a result of their hard work and dedication, were able to sponsor the Friends’ Alcove, children’s library furniture, donor wall, Reading Patio, green wall, and numerous other purchases throughout the years.

 

Message from the President of the Library Board of Trustees……….

It has been an exciting year, with the
Livonia Public Library Improvement Project
in full swing. Weather was on our side and
enabled us to proceed on schedule through
the winter doing groundwork and building
the framework.
This endeavor is truly a community-wide
project which will enhance vital services to
all patrons. The dedication and community
support we received from various groups,
individuals, to support from the Town and
Village Board, the Library Board of Trustees
and the Friends of the Livonia Library, Inc,
has been overwhelming and we are very
appreciative. Livonia certainly loves its
library!
Our Library provides free access to
computers, WiFi, books, audios, e-books,
reference materials, magazines, delivery of
library materials to homebound patrons,
children’s story times and Makerspace
STEAM after-school programs for kids and
teens.
Director Frank Sykes continues to introduce
cutting edge technology and is committed
along with the staff to deliver the best
service to all who enter the doors of the
Library. His dedication and commitment has
made the Library a community meeting
place. Our goal is to build on what we have
and challenge ourselves to provide more
services and programs when the Project is
completed.
On behalf of the Library Board of Trustees,
we excitedly look forward to 2018!

 

Mae Sharman
President
Livonia Library
Board of Trustees

Meeting Minutes Friday, March 10, 2017 to Saturday, March 11, 201

DRAFT

March 10, 2017 to March 11, 2017

Directors

Present:Adria Ripka, Martha Anderson, Jean Currie, George Wolf, John McCarthy, Edris Scherer, Mary Ellen Darling, Timothy Gavin (Executive Director).

Excused Absence: Bola Majekodunmi, Phil Archer, Susan Sabers Chapman

Guests Present: None

Call to Order:

President Ripka called the meeting to order at 7:45 pm Friday November 11, 2016

Public Comment:

None

Approval of Minutes:

Moved by Wolf, seconded by Anderson to approve the minutes of 16 January 2017. Motion Passed.

President’s Report:

Ripka reported the following:
Because of the fewer number we will be doing committee work together

Executive Director’s Report:

Need to get Brooklyn and Queens aware of LI events
Gavin will break up list of systems to be contacted
Binghamton is good target because of low membership and upcoming event
Advocacy day: Spirits were down because of lack of sense of efficacy
Minimum standards proposal tells us we need to be more proactive with library partners to briefed before items affecting our member trustees issues are released. Collaboration and communication always make a path towards a successful outcome more likely.

Action Item 1: Resolution on HATS

The Helping All Trustees Succeed curriculum has been endorsed by PULISDO and NYLA. The HATS team, especially given LTA’s long-time support would like LTA formally endorse it as well.

Anderson, Gavin, and Currie noted that strict endorsement within systems has been sporadic.

A motion was made to endorse the HATS training curriculum and promote its use across the state.

Currie moved and Wolf seconded. Motion carried.

The Board recessed at 8:57 pm until Saturday.
The Board reconvened at 9:01 a.m. on Saturday, 11 March 2017

Minimum Standards Changes

Gavin requests that the board review the changes in minimum standards. Asserted that increased standards may not be feasible given that many do not meet current standards. Also there is noted disheartenment that LTA was not put in the loop on the proposed changes prior to distribution.

Darling expressed concerns that stricter standards would make the job harder for libraries and trustees.

Old Business:

2017 Upcoming Meeting dates as follows:

April 22 – Phone conference 10:30 (new on schedule)
June 9-10 Planning Meeting
September 15-16 Albany
December 1-2 Albany

Binghamton 2017 TITK Currie reported the following

May 6 Broome County Public Library
Listed on our website
3 sessions 1h 15m each
Topics include Kinds of Reports and Red Flags boards should be looking for, Conflicts of Interest and Separation of Powers, Impact of New Labor Laws, Rethinking Spaces in Your Library to Increase Efficiency
Lunch provided by Old World Deli
Some systems will be offering scholarships
Currie asked if we should include recognition from the STAR program. Tim mentioned that the public recognition component was considered to be one of the most important parts.

Gavin suggested networking opportunities were considered valuable. Particularly successful ideas from Batavia’s TITK were discussed.
Concern was expressed about sufficient room size if attendance exceeds expectations.

Long Island TITK

August 12 Plainview-Old Bethpage library
Gavin contacted Jackie Thresher ED for Nassau system who is on board and enthusiastic

Joe Eisner will be presenting on due diligence
Anderson suggested that 3 presentations was a reasonable number, was concerned about the time of year causing low attendance
Gavin said next step is to get interested parties on conference call
Anderson said Audits and Efficient Use of space were good topic ideas
Gavin suggested Legal topics were good too
Scherer mentioned Security on the Internet as a potential subject, as well as open meetings law

Committee Reports:

Membership:

McCarthy and Gavin noted the following:
Everyone will do their own and:
Jean will take care of 4 County
Susan: Chautauqua, Cattaraugus & Nioga
Edris: Brooklyn, Queens, Westchester
Martha, Suffolk
Adria, North Country
Mary Ellen, Clinton-Essex-Franklin
Invoices are in one file but can be extracted for individual libraries
Personal contact is very important

Communications:

Darling reported
Puts forward something on Facebook at least once a week
Tim said we could pay to increase viewership for individual items
Edris suggested using the events functions for Facebook for regionals

Finance:

Nothing to report, Committee needs to meet (virtually) with Treasurer

New Business:

Anderson suggested we discuss issues important to libraries
Tim wanted to know about sense of optimism
Currie said her experience is that her local libraries are seeing much greater usage

Scherer said that E-rate funding system changes may bring much more money to libraries, filtering requirements have changed to protect privacy
Currie said broadband access for rural libraries is of concern still
Evaluating Executive Directors is of concern

Gavin proposed that a concerted focus on efforts to get trustees to read handbook is important. The board gave consent.
Gavin pointed out that one of the new proposed standards requires all libraries to be members of good standing in the system in which they reside

There being no other business of the board to discuss, a motion to adjourn was made by Wolf and seconded by Scherer at 11:00 . Motion passed.

Submitted by John McCarthy

NYLA Annual Conference

November 8-11, 2017 — Saratoga Springs, New York
Visit nyla.org/conference for expanded conference information and registration

 

Some highlights of the LTA sponsored workshops:

*The Proper Care and Feeding of Your Library Director
Sponsor: LTA

You’ve read the Handbook for Library Trustees of NYS and taken advantage of local, state and online trustee training opportunities. What’s next?

Join Cassie Guthrie for a (mostly) light-hearted look at how what trustees do— and sometimes don’t do—impacts their library directors and vice versa.

Track: Administration & Leadership Speaker: Cassie Guthrie, Greece Public Library.

Warren Applegate, Friends of the Kinderhook Memorial Library Hollis Seamon, Friends of the Kinderhook Memorial Library

*Choose Your Local Resources for Successful Fundraisers
Sponsors: FLS / LTA

Two libraries discovered and used their unique local resources to create successful fundraisers in their communities and also found they could measure their accomplishments in unexpected ways.

Track: Administration & Leadership Speakers: Elly Dawson, Victor Farmington Library Warren Applegate, Friends of the Kinderhook Memorial Library Hollis Seamon, Friends of the Kinderhook Memorial Library

 

Kitty Bressington, Friends of the Avon Free Library Anne Andrianos, Friends of Onondaga Free Library

*Bringing Friends Back From the Brink
Sponsors: FLS / LTA

Presenters represent a small library whose Friends group had been dormant for ten years, and a mid-sized library whose Friends group was adrift with no leadership. Presenters will discuss the value of incorporating a Friends group, where they turned for help, what documents are needed and how to complete them, how they worked with library administrators, where they find good leaders, and what they have been able to accomplish with great success since their groups came ‘back from the brink.’

Track: Administration & Leadership

Speakers:

Kitty Bressington, Friends of the Avon Free Library

Anne Andrianos, Friends of Onondaga Free Library

 

Courtney Darts, Pro Bono Partnership

*Best Practices for Management of Friends Boards
Sponsors: FLS / PLS, LTA

This discussion of nonprofit boards’ legal and fiduciary duties by the Pro Bono Partnership will help keep the Friends functioning effectively, using their charitable resources appropriately.  The Partnership’s Director of Education will update group leaders on recent changes to the New York State nonprofit laws so they can provide the best oversight they can.  Learn what documents should be kept in your ‘board book’, how technology can be used to conduct board business, and practical strategies for more effective board meetings.

 Track: Administration & Leadership

Speakers:

Courtney Darts, Pro Bono Partnership

 

Mary Ann Marrero, Friends of the Moffat Library Christine Frisbee, Friends of the Moffat Library Ruth Manyin, Friends of the Moffat Library Kelly Lynch-Moloney, Friends of the Moffat Library

*Friends & Trustees Building Community When Disaster Strikes
Sponsors: FLS / LTA, FFRPL

The speakers will follow the FLS annual membership meeting.  Hurricane Irene struck in 2011, leaving five feet of water in the basement, destroying the mechanicals of the library.  When mold set in, the library was forced to evacuate the building.  Friends of the Library, trustees, staff, and other community volunteers moved the collection to a donated location.  After a design was approved for the renovation, the Friends executed a successful “Get Out the Vote” campaign that approved a $6.9 million bond to rebuild the historic building.  An unexpected benefit was the outpouring of community support for the library, which the Friends leveraged into ongoing financial sponsorship. The Friends’ annual Meet the Authors Luncheon received additional support from contractors and other local businesses. The luncheon has attracted nationally-acclaimed authors and recently has raised over $3,000 annually.

 Track: Administration & Leadership

Speakers:

Mary Ann Marrero, Friends of the Moffat Library

Christine Frisbee, Friends of the Moffat Library

Ruth Manyin, Friends of the Moffat Library

Kelly Lynch-Moloney, Friends of the Moffat Library

 

*Friends Choose Their Own Leadership
Sponsors: FLS / LTA, FFRPL

After 20 years, the Friends of the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library had grown into a complex organization whose most recent Presidents were taxed to provide the level of leadership needed.  Things came to a head when no one was willing to assume the presidency.  Realizing that the issue was more than just who held office, the group decided to convene their first facilitated Futuring project to capture their activities and analyze ways the work could be divided.  The responsibilities still looked daunting even for two people.  Four well-defined areas emerged: finances including book sales, marketing and technology, coordination between the Friends and the library, and author events.  A four-person presidency, the Quad Leadership Team, was floated and piloted starting in December 2015.

 Track: Administration & Leadership

Speakers:

Wilma Jozwiak, Friends of the Clifton Park – Halfmoon Public Library

Ambika Sambasivan, Fruitfly Consulting

Sheila Morroni, Friends of the Clifton Park – Halfmoon Public Library

Kathy Adam Browne, Friends of the Clifton Park – Halfmoon Public Library

Meeting Minutes January 16, 2017

Directors Present:

Adria Ripka, Martha Anderson, George Wolf, John McCarthy, Phil Archer, Edris Scherer, Susan Chapman, Mary Ellen Darling,Timothy Gavin (Executive Director).

Call to Order:

President Ripka called the meeting to order at 10:04 am January 16, 2017

Approval of Minutes:

Moved by Wolf, seconded by Scherer to approve the minutes of November 2016. Motion Passed.

Treasurer’s Report:

Moved by Wolf, seconded by Archer to approve the Treasurer’s report. Motion Passed.
Gavin reported the following:
Revenue is $10K over expenditures; Fiscal restraint has paid off.
Membership is up dramatically, Buffalo/Erie is renewing for 3 years

President’s Report:

Ripka reported the following:

  • She is concerned about her availability for the next few months but it shouldn’t be too much of a problem
  • Committees will meet Friday nights after their initial reports to work.

Executive Director’s Report:

Gavin reported the following:

  • Administrative work is still a big time consumer, but the new graduate intern will help with this.
  • Online forms are coming for meetings and memberships.
  • Looking for presentation ideas for 2018 Institute in LI
  • Looking for website story ideas to send to Mary Ellen

Committee Reports:

Education:

Anderson noted the following:

  • Binhamton TITK progressing, Broome County Library May 6

Legislation:

March 1, 2017 is the next Legislative Action Day

  • $4 million increase from last year’s state budget for libraries may be stripped by Governor
  • NYLA is dealing with new leaders in legislature and may be harder to deal with.
  • All plans ready for LAD
  • Mary Ellen, Martha, Tim, and John plan on attending

Membership:

  • Tim will be preparing list of contacts
  • Let Tim know who you’ve contacted

Communications:

  • New Star program is listed in the newest newsletter
  • Mary Ellen is looking for feedback/testimonials re being an LTA member

Awards:

  • Star program up and running
  • Maybe do some recognition at TITK event
  • Can turn logo into pin
  • Martha- We already have a bunch of pins. May not have enough response to justify new pin order at this time.
  • Next library board meeting try to get your trustees to fill in form
  • Tim- A record of trustee training will be helpful and appreciated. At some point in the future it mayl be required.

Old Business:

2017 Meeting dates as follows:

  •  March 10-11 Albany
  • May 13 – Phone Conference
  • June 9-10 Planning Meeting
  • September 15-16 Albany
  • December 1-2 Albany

Tim- Let me know if there are any conflicts with any meeting dates.

Binghamton 2017 TITK

  • Martha – Some after action report should be released after event.
  • Adria will reserve room block at hotel
  • Registration 10-11:15
  • Catering 11:30 – 12:15
  • 3 sessions after lunch until 4

Long Island TITK

  • Director has been contacted and is excited, Date not yet determined – getting input.

 

New Business:

Development of Ad Hoc committees:

  • We should bring in local people to help with events
  • May help us find new LTA Directors

Legislative Updates

  • Brand new session (2 year cycle)
  • All old, unpassed legislation expires
  • NYLA monitors all library legislation
  • Not much to do until session starts and they start bringing in new legislation

There being no other business of the board to discuss, a motion to adjourn was made by Wolf and seconded by Archer. Motion passed.

Submitted by John McCarthy

New Health Literacy Toolkit

The National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) and The American Library Association (ALA) have partnered through the Libraries Transform public awareness campaign to create a free toolkit for Health Literacy Month, which is observed in October.

NNLM and ALA’s partnership will equip library professionals with customizable tools to raise awareness of how libraries support health literacy in their communities. The toolkit will provide key messages, program ideas and downloadable marketing materials, including bookmark templates and social media graphics, for libraries to use as they promote health literacy in October and throughout the year. The wide-ranging array of health literacy topics covered include nutrition, aging, and chronic illness.

Website:  http://www.ilovelibraries.org/librariestransform/health-literacy-toolkit-intro

Trustees in the Know: LTA Regional Workshop on Long Island

LTA Directors ready for trustee registration: Martha Anderson, Edris Scherer, Jean Currie

100 Library Trustees gathered on August 12 at the Plainview-Old Bethpage Public Library for LTA’s regional workshop, Trustees in the Know.


Rob Caluori makes issues of patron privacy accessible to trustees

Rob Caluori, Director of Information Technology at Westchester Library System,broke down technical issues of patron privacy in what might be called Cybersecurity 101 for Libraries. He spelled out risks to library patrons, explained the concept of a public and private cloud, defined email security and email tools, and addressed changes in net neutrality – all in laymen terms.

A video of his presentation is available at https://youtu.be/2-Fj7WOHN68

Joe Eisner answers questions about creating and revising library policies

Joe Eisner addressed trustee liability for library finances and for creating library policies in his presentation, Due Diligence: Liability, Policy, & Pitfalls. Joe is well known to trustees for his monthly website column, Ask Joe; his presentation sparked many questions as trustees matched their own board practices against legal and ethical considerations.


Lothrop Architects design team:Jim Lothrop, Judy Girod, Bob Gabalski

Jim Lothrop brought a team from his architectural firm, Lothrop Associates, to envision how future forces within technology will change the way libraries are used. Libraries looking to engage additional patrons need to plan collaborative spaces and portable configurations, and to consider how design elements—use of color, lighting options, furniture design, and, yes, whimsy—can define the character of a community library.


Library spaces evolve to meet changing needs

LTA sends a genuine thank you to Library Director Gretchen Browne and the library staff for hosting the workshop and facilitating the program details and workshop amenities.

As one trustee commented, it’s great to leave “more in the know” after this successful workshop.

Gloversville Public Library – Restoration of an Historic Carnegie Library

Historic Carnegie Library Building

The roots of the Gloversville Public Library dates back to 1880 with the incorporation of the Levi Parsons Library of Gloversville and Kingsboro, a subscription library.

In 1888 the library re-chartered as the Gloversville Free Library, an association library. And finally in 2005, when support from the city of Gloversville was reduced from $150,000 per year to $0, the library re-chartered again, this time as a school district public library. It was a hard fought battle that was won with just 42 votes.

Once the dust settled the newly elected trustees turned their attention to the 1904 Carnegie building. There had been three previous, but unsuccessful, attempts to implement some form of renovation of the historic facility starting in the 1970s.

By 2005, the heating and plumbing systems were 102 years old, there was no air condition to fight the 95° days of the summer, the dome was leaking – again, and 3 of the 4 levels of the building were inaccessible because we lacked an elevator.

View of the curving staircase inside the Gloversville Public Library.

Not knowing where to start, we just started. The first project was to seal the dome and repaint the 40 foot high lobby. Our Friends group jumped on board with a fundraiser that, surprisingly, raised over $25,000!

Next we hired an architect for a master plan. We invested in a basement moisture remediation project then an exterior masonry cleaning project. We started writing DLD public library construction grants for these break out projects. These small projects gave us confidence that we could undertake the full renovation while also completing key pieces of the project.

The economic conditions of Gloversville and Fulton County led the trustees to the decision that we would not ask the taxpayers for a bond referendum. We committed to raising all of the money another way.

Schenectady Gazette - Pulitzer Prize winning author Richard Russo, a Gloversville native, cuts a ribbon at the Gloversville Public Library to announce that he would chair a capital campaign to raise funds for library improvements, on Thursday, October 23, 2014.

A fundraising consultant was critical and by working with him we explored new avenues and uncovered new sources of funding. We wrote 4 CFAs (consolidated funding applications) and received 4 awards totaling $1,513,000.

We were awarded over $850,000 for 7 DLD construction grants. Senator Farley secured $2,250,000 in State and Municipal Facilities funding. And the donors in our community, over 850, pledged over $4,000,000.

Photo by Levi Pascher From left, Gloversville Public Library Director Barbara Madonna, Fulton County Center for Regional Growth CEO Ron Peters, State Sen. Hugh Farley, Mohawk Valley Library System Director Eric Trahan and President of the Library’s Board of Trustees Christine Pesses. Farley announced Monday he secured $2 million in state funding for future library renovations and the city library honored him for his dedication to community.

The ground-breaking ceremony was held this past May. The asbestos abatement is complete and the old boiler removed. Currently we have a huge pit with footing forms for the new additions in place and the interior is being gutted of its lath and plaster.

With luck, construction will be done in September 2018 and we’ll move home that fall. This project has been a long, labor of love for so many people.

Dusten Rader/Express staff A renovation kick-off event was held Thursday at the Gloversville Public Library. From left, Merry Brown, library board of trustees vice president; Christine Pesses, board president; Betsy Batchelor, trustee; Barbara Madonna, library director; Craig Clark, trustee; Robin Lair, trustee secretary and Lisa Buggeln, trustee, vice president of finance.

We raised the funds the hard way, but through those efforts we have been able to involve more people, build community partnerships, raise awareness about library services and engage the entire community.

This process has not just resulted in a successful fundraising campaign and building project, but has built a solid foundation for the success of the library’s programs and services once we move back into the newly renovated, but still historic, Carnegie Library.

THE LOWER LEVEL WILL BE TRANSFORMED INTO A YOUTH CENTER. EXPANDED CHILDREN'S LIBRARY WITH NICHES FOR EXPLORATION, LEARNING AND SHARING. SEPARATE TEEN SPACE CREATIVE LEARNING, TECHNOLOGY, SOCIALIZING AND STUDYING. CHILDREN'S ACTIVITY ROOM FOR CLASS VISITS, STORYTIMES PROGRAMS AND PLAY.

THE MAIN LEVEL WILL SPREAD OUT THE EXISTING ADULT SERVICES. BRING THE LOCAL HISTORY ROOM TO THE MAIN FLOOR PROVIDE ADDITIONAL MEETING ROOMS. PROVIDE MORE QUIET NICHES FOR READING AND STUDYING.

THE UPPER LEVEL AND ITS AMENITIES WILL FINALLY BE ACCESSIBLE. AN ELEVATOR WILL CONVEY PATRONS TO EVERY FLOOR INCLUDING THE LARGE CARNEGIE MEETING ROOM. A LARGE 30'X40' SPACE WILL BE DIVIDED INTO TWO GATHERING SPACES PROVIDING SMALL, MEDIUM AND LARGE MEETING ROOMS. GALLERY SPACE WILL BE CREATED TO SHOWCASE THE LIBRARY'S COLLECTIONS AND COMMUNITY'S TREASURERS.


For More Information:
Gloversville Public Library
34 WEST Fulton Street • PO Box 73 • Gloversville, New York
phone: (518) 725-2819 • fax: (518) 773-0292
gpl@mvls.info

Ask Joe Eisner: May a Library Board Meet Less Often…

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:


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

Q. May a library board meet less often than  specified in its by-laws, and vote by e mail or telephone to deal with contingencies or “urgent matters” which might arise in the interval between such meetings?

AYes, a library board may meet less often than specified in its by-laws, but not less often than once a quarter. However, both association and public library boards may not transact business by taking votes by e mail or telephone as a substitute for actually convening a public meeting in compliance with the requirements of the Open Meetings Law (OML).

1) General- A library board needs to carefully consider the pitfalls which might be encountered if the number of board meetings is reduced. If the board’s current by-laws specify a number of meetings which is different than the reduced number a majority of the board proposes, the by-laws need not necessarily be changed at that point. At a board meeting legally convened in accordance with the requirements of the OML, the board could by resolution set up a schedule of the dates of such proposed public meetings for the next 12 months, reserving to itself the option of reviewing the matter at a future date to determine whether such a schedule has met the need for the board to responsibly transact routine library business, including payment of bills (see 2 below). This resolution should also indicate who and under what circumstances and for what purposes a meeting of the Board would be convened if a situation arose which required a meeting in addition to those scheduled as listed in the resolution.

A board must bear in mind that it cannot abrogate its responsibility as the policy making body. It can delegate authority, but notresponsibility. In order to accomplish a valid delegation of authority, prudence would dictate that the board consult with counsel and the library director to define those situations constituting an “urgency” which would require a meeting in order for the board to make a decision which the board for whatever reason would not wish as a matter of policy to entrust to the library director, a designated board member, or a committee of two or more board members. There is a difference between an “emergency” and an “urgency”. The latter could best be dealt with as suggested by the following:

For example, as an alternative, perhaps greater latitude could be accorded the library director to allow him/her to make decisions regarding expenditure of funds or to take action on matters which customarily have been reserved to the board. In any event, the board should adopt a policy statement which contains definitions of those situations which would encompass matters not foreseen or not covered by previous experience, and which either allow the library director latitude in coping with them, or would require that the board to convene to handle such matters or matter. An “urgency” should not be confused with an “emergency”.

For example, if as a matter of recorded policy the board agrees that in between required board meetings as set forth in the previously referred to schedule, the library director may make expenditures not to exceed a certain limit, such action would be subject to a post audit by the board. Similarly, an action taken by the library director in accordance with the suggested adopted policy allowing him/her the latitude to make certain decisions without the necessity of the board convening a meeting could also be reviewed by the Board in order to strengthen, modify or amend that policy in light of the experience gained from the event which caused such a review by the Board to be considered.

2) Payment of bills- note that holding meetings less often than is the current practice should take into account the necessity for making provision for routine business to be conducted, such as timely payment of bills or other matters of consequence which involve unforeseen circumstances requiring board action to resolve.

A public library board should be aware that a public library is subject to audit by the New York State Comptroller. In various published results of such audits, the Comptroller has stressed that a governing body is responsible for approving payments for expenses incurred, and that the board’s responsibility for auditing such proposed payments cannot be dispensed with. But if a majority of the board approves a change to the current meeting schedule, by resolution it can delegate to the director or the treasurer or one or two Board members, subject to a post-audit by a majority of the board at the next regularly scheduled or special meeting, the authority to approve payments in such categories as salaries, taxes withheld from employee salaries, utilities, and payments of those bills which, if delayed, would subject the library to a late payment penalty or cancellation of a service.

In regard to association libraries, while the Comptroller does not audit them, as governing bodies, their boards have similar responsibilities in regard to exercise of due diligence when authorizing expenditure of library funds.

A post audit by either type of board requires the same exercise of due diligence which the board is expected to perform before approving payment of bills- it must assure itself that the requested payments have been validly incurred, and that the payees actually exist. If a board should determine that is not the case, then it must seek to remedy the situation by attempting to recover such improperly disbursed monies.

Treasurer’s duties- prudence would suggest that if a board decides to implement a reduced meeting schedule, it seek the guidance of both its auditor and treasurer to make certain that proper procedures are in effect which will guard against defalcations, embezzlement or fraud occasioned by lack of or weak controls in this area. If not already in effect, a faithful performance bond for the treasurer should be considered. As opined by the Comptroller, a board member of a public library should not be the treasurer, nor should a staff member who is responsible for ordering materials or equipment, or certifying that such items have been received.

While there is no such prohibition applying to an association library treasurer, association library boards may wish to consider whether it would be prudent to implement the above described procedures applicable to treasurers of public library boards. The treasurer should be the custodian of library funds, which he/she is authorized to release upon receipt of notice from the board that specified payments as listed on a warrant are in order. With the implementation of proper procedures, such as the listing of bills approved for payment by the board at a legally convened meeting, a single signature check bearing the treasurer’s signature, would obviate the need for multiple signature checks requiring the signature of either the director or a board member.


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

 

My Love Letter to Long Island’s Libraries by Gina Sipley

Patrick Eannotti of Glen Cove holds his 10-month-old daughter, Quinn, as she is fingerprinted for a photo identification card at the Glen Cove Library on Feb. 4, 2017. Photo Credit: Barry Sloa

Almost anything that has ever brought me great joy began with a trip to the library.

When I was small, my mother and I would walk from Garden City South to our local library in Franklin Square, a little over two miles round-trip, because we didn’t always have access to a reliable car. Walking hand in hand was both the most efficient and most enjoyable way to get anywhere. It was at story time for children that both my mother and I made lasting friendships.

Today, I am fortunate to live around the corner from the Gold Coast Library in Glen Head and a two-mile walk to the Sea Cliff Children’s Library. My 18-month-old son, Colin, and I find ourselves in Sea Cliff several times a week, meeting and making friends. That’s the thing that many people don’t understand — a library is more than books, it’s a community.

Sure, the library was the place where I was introduced to Judy Blume novels and — yes, I’m totally embarrassed to admit it — the juicy Sweet Valley High series. But it was also the place where I learned origami and cartooning, and got my first email address in 1997.

At the library, friends and I learned how to research colleges and search for scholarships on the internet. It’s also where we exchanged emails with boys we met at out-of-state Model UN conferences. Because we didn’t have email access at home, we raced to the library after school to check our messages in eager anticipation of a flirty reply.

The library was the place where we sometimes giggled too loudly, and where the librarians knew us by name.

Their knowing our names wasn’t a bad thing. When I came home from my first semester at Binghamton University, Mary LaRosa, the young adult librarian at the Franklin Square library, offered me one of my first teaching jobs. I taught creative writing to kids, who, like me, would later become first-generation college graduates

This job transitioned over the years into my teaching a wide range of classes at the library, from writing to coding. The classes always drew a wild mix of kids from different grades and social groups. Kids who wouldn’t normally hang out together found themselves making connections for a few hours. More than learning to code, they learned how to get along. And me? I learned that I wanted to teach.

In the reading workshop I now teach at Nassau Community College, my students are often amazed that they can check out books free of charge via their smartphones and virtually visit a variety of Long Island libraries.

Although I encourage them to visit their local libraries in person, their work, school and family obligations leave them little leisure time. For students who often struggle to buy books, the OverDrive app used by Nassau and Suffolk county public libraries, as well as the college library, makes their homework easier by helping them find resources.

My students surreptitiously read books on the app when there is a slow moment at work. They read while commuting on the bus. Then they plug in their earbuds on the walk home and listen to audio versions. Even though they can’t always easily visit their local libraries, the library is always with them.

I don’t do much reading on my phone, but I, too, carry the library with me through my experiences.

The library gave me access to a world beyond my neighborhood — going away to college upstate, graduate school on the West Coast, and living abroad — but also made me proud of where I come from. Long Island’s extensive system of libraries is one of our greatest assets — one well worth our public investment.

Reader Gina Sipley lives in Glen Head.

LTA wishes to thank Ms. Sipley and Newsday for permission to share this with you. This editorial was original printed in Newsday on August 13, 2017.