NYLA 2016 Legislative Session Recap

The 2016 Legislative Session finally wrapped up in the early hours of June 17th. Each Legislative Session and annual state budget process presents its own unique political, policy, and economic challenges, but this year was particularly difficult to navigate. Together with library advocates from across New York State, NYLA met these challenges head-on, and secured a third consecutive year of impressive, hard-won victories.

FY 2016-17 NYS Budget
This year’s enacted state budget and companion legislative resolutions for targeted aid will provide approximately $22M in new funding for libraries. This represents the largest single-year increase in state appropriations for libraries, and places total state allocations for libraries and library programs at nearly $135M in FY2016-17 – an unprecedented level.

  • State Library Aid.  Funding for the State Library Aid program will be $95.6M in FY2016-17. NYLA worked to secure a $4M increase in funding over what Governor Cuomo contemplated in his Executive Budget proposal, bringing total funding for the State Library Aid program to its highest level since 2009-10. The 4.3% increase in State Library Aid is on par with the 4.4% increase in school foundation aid. In the two years since we implemented our messaging strategy of “Libraries Are Education”, State Library Aid has increased in proportion to increases in school foundation aid. 


  • State Library Construction Aid.  Funding for the State Library Construction Aid program will be $19M in FY2016-17, which includes a $5M increase over what Governor Cuomo proposed. This is the first funding increase for the Construction Aid program in nearly a decade, and is the largest allocation this program has ever received. 


  • MTA Payroll Tax Reimbursement.  Libraries and Library Systems that paid MTA Payroll Taxes in FY2015-16 will receive a $1.3M reimbursement in FY2016-17. Last year, NYLA worked to secure a permanent exemption from these taxes that took effect on January 1st, 2016. This will be the last year the reimbursement payment is necessary.


  • Senate “Bullet Aid” for Libraries and Library Systems.  The NYS Senate again allocated $25M to provide targeted aid for “certain school districts, public libraries, and not-for-profit institutions.” In Senate Resolution 6507, more than $4.9M was awarded to 541 libraries. Both numbers represent significant increases from last year, when 460 libraries received a total of $3.69M in Bullet Aid. 


  • Senate funding for NYS Economic Development Assistance Program.  The NYS Senate provided $5.03M in Senate Resolution 6508 to continue and institute funding for projects at 18 libraries and library systems. This represents an increase of approximately $500,000 over last year.


  • Assembly funding for NYS Capital Assistance Program.  The NYS Assembly provided $8.875M to several libraries under the state Capital Assistance Program in Assembly Resolution 1603. These awards ranged from $6M for Queens Library to $375,000 for New York Public Library.

NYLA Legislative Priorities
NYLA’s legislative priorities are devised by the Legislative Committee and NYLA Council, and set multi-year advocacy goals to benefit each library type. Recent successes – including the aforementioned MTA Tax Exemption, as well as nation-leading legislation on E-book access – have allowed us to focus on more complex, politically difficult issues. We will continue to work on these bills going forward.

This legislation would allow individual local libraries to pool capital projects through NYLA in order to secure financing from the Dormitory Authority of New York State (DASNY). This legislation successfully passed the Senate, but stalled in the Assembly during the final days of the legislative session.

  • Ensure Access to School Libraries and School Librarians – S.3931 Farley / A.6784-A Solages
    This legislation would require every elementary and secondary school in NYS to provide students with a school library staffed by a certified School Library Media Specialist. Currently, there is no such requirement for elementary schools, and secondary schools are required only SED regulations. During this legislative session, we worked with Assemblywoman Solages to sponsor this bill in the Assembly. NYLA also worked with SLSA to undertake a census of librarians by school building to gauge the potential impacts of the legislation. We will continue to educate the legislature and develop the best strategy to advance this important bill. 


  • Taxpayer Access to Publicly-Funded Research - S.3952 Farley / A.1878 Hevesi
    This legislation would require any New York State-funded research that is published in peer‐reviewed journals to be made publicly available online after one year. This bill would bring NYS in line with the federal standards employed by the National Institute of Health, and the State of California. This bill has faced concerted opposition for several years, though NYLA has worked on this legislation only during the last two years. We will seek new sponsorship in both houses in the upcoming session. 

NYLA-Monitored Legislation
During the course of a legislative session, NYLA works on additional legislation that is not part of our official legislative agenda, but will impact the library community. NYLA worked on or closely monitored the following bills this session.

  • Maintenance & Use of Opioid Antagonists – S.7860 Amedore / A.10364 Gottfried
    This legislation was written by NYLA after fielding reports of opioid overdoses in several libraries, and was introduced by Senator Amedore at our request. Governor Cuomo signed this bill into law on June 22nd. The law permits public libraries to maintain Narcan kits, and permits any library employee to voluntarily, after receiving training, administer Narcan to anyone suffering an opioid overdose in the library. NYLA is currently working with the State Department of Health on guidance for libraries. It is important to note that the law’s provisions are strictly optional – no library or library employee is required to participate. 


  • Authorize all Libraries to Access DASNY Financing – S.7358 Farley / A.9752-A Brennan
    This legislation was introduced at DASNY’s request by Assemblyman Brennan, and Senator Farley sponsored in the Senate. Currently, any library that wants to explore public financing through DASNY is required to obtain special legislation; this bill would provide blanket authorization for all libraries. This bill is complimentary to the DASNY bill on NYLA’s Legislative Priorities, but they are not co-dependent. This legislation passed the Senate, but stalled in the Assembly. 

One Last Thing…
The close of this legislative session marked the end of an era in the New York State Senate, and in the library community at large – State Senator Hugh T. Farley announced he will not seek re-election to the Senate this November. Senator Farley served 40 distinguished years in the State Senate as a consistent advocate for two constituencies – the voters of the 49th Senate District, and the New York State library community. During the last four decades he sponsored every significant piece of library-related legislation and worked to allocate hundreds of millions of dollars in library funding. He will be greatly missed, but left a well-worn path of success for us to follow.

The support of NYLA members make these successful outcomes possible, and we thank you for your continued support. Did you know NYLA also has an Advocacy Fund? Your support allows NYLA to amplify our message and be heard in Albany. Donations to NYLA are tax-deductible.

To make a donation to NYLA’s Advocacy Fund, please click here.

As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Jeremy Johannesen
Executive Director
New York Library Association
6021 State Farm Road
Guilderland, NY 12084
518-432-6952 Ext. 101
518-427-1697 FAX

[NYLINE] NYLA 2016 Legislative Session Recap
New York's Libraries Information Network lt;NYLINE@LISTSERV.NYSED.GOV>; on behalf of; Jeremy Johannesen

National Library Legislative Day

New York’s Libraries Information Network <NYLINE@LISTSERV.NYSED.GOV>; on behalf of; Robert Hubsher <rhubsher@RCLS.ORG>

Good morning all,

As the New York State National Library Legislative Day (NLLD) Coordinator I want to urge you to join the New York State delegation traveling to Washington DC for the 2016 NLLD. The event will be held on May 2, 2016 at the Liaison Hotel and May 3 when we will be meeting with our Senators and Representatives. There is also a training session for first time NLLD delegates to be held on May 1 from 3:00pm to 5:00pm at the ALA Washington Office headquarters (1615 New Hampshire Avenue NW).

NLLD brings hundreds of librarians, trustees, library supporters, and patrons to Washington, D.C. to meet with their Members of Congress to rally support for libraries issues and policies. As with previous years, participants will receive advocacy tips and training, along with important issue briefings prior to their meetings. The Washington Office is still working on the legislative issue briefings. I will send out a link to the briefings as soon as they are available.

Participants at National Library Legislative Day are able to take advantage of a discounted room rate by booking at the Liaison (for the nights of May 1st and 2nd). To register for the event and find hotel registration information, please visit http://www.ala.org/advocacy/advleg/nlld.

For those who find the cost of staying at the Liaison Hotel too high here is a link to hotels that are either in Washington DC or in nearby Virginia with ready access to the Metro which comes into Union Station, not far from the Liaison Hotel or the legislative office buildings:

Want to see a little more? Check out the video from last year!

The ALA Washington Office and the White House Conference on Library and Information Services Taskforce (WHCLIST) offer a scholarship opportunity to a non-librarian participant at National Library Legislative Day. Recipients of the WHCLIST Award receive a stipend of $300 and two free nights at a D.C. hotel. The deadline for submissions is April 1, 2016. For more information about the WHCLIST Award, visit http://www.ala.org/advocacy/advleg/nlld/funding.

Your firsthand library experience – as a librarian or as a patron – is an invaluable part of helping legislators to understand the impact that libraries have in the day to day lives of their constituents. I hope you will consider joining us!

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

Robert Hubsher
Executive Director
Ramapo Catskill Library System (RCLS)
619 Route 17M Middletown, NY, 10940-4395
Telephone: 845-243-3747 extension 242
Fax: 845-243-3739

Library Advocacy Day in Albany– March 2 Can trustees have an impact on state funding for library aid? You bet we can!

Can trustees have an impact on state funding for library aid? You bet we can!

When trustees, professionals and friends of libraries combine energies to bring a common message to state legislators, they listen! We provide the facts and rational for legislators to bring to Senate and Assembly budget deliberations.

The message? Libraries are education. State library aid in this year’s budget should increase in direct proportion to any increase in education funding.

Check if your library system provides transportation to Albany on Advocacy Day. We need to reach every senator and assembly person. That requires willing and forceful library advocates from every part of New York State.

If you have been to Advocacy Day before, you understand the impact of sheer numbers of constituents jamming conference rooms to share stories of library successes and challenges. If Advocacy Day is a new venture, make it your goal to be in the State House on March 2.

National Library Legislative Day 2015

New York’s Libraries Information Network [NYLINE@LISTSERV.NYSED.GOV] Jeremy Johannesen [director@NYLA.ORG]
Good news! Registration for the 41st annual National Library Legislative Day is now open!

This two-day advocacy event brings hundreds of librarians, trustees, library supporters, and patrons to Washington, D.C. to meet with their members of Congress rally support for libraries issues and policies.

Registration information and hotel booking information are available on the ALA Washington Office website. This year, National Library Legislative Day will be held May 4-5, 2015. Participants will receive advocacy tips and training, along with important issues briefings prior to their meetings.

First-time participants are eligible for a unique scholarship opportunity. The White House Conference on Library and Information Services Taskforce (WHCLIST) and the ALA Washington Office are calling for nominations for the 2015 WHCLIST Award. Recipients of this award receive a stipend ($300 and two free nights at a D.C. hotel) to a non-librarian participant in National Library Legislative Day.

For more information about the WHCLIST award or National Library Legislative Day, visit www.ala.org/nlld. Questions or comments can be directed to grassroots coordinator Lisa Lindle at Llindle@alawash.org.

Important State Budget Info – Cuts to Libraries

The following is a message submitted to NYLINE.

New York’s Libraries Information Network [NYLINE@listserv.nysed.gov]; on behalf of; Jeremy

Johannesen [director@NYLA.ORG]


[NYLINE] Cuomo Cuts $4M from Library Aid

This message is to provide you with an update on Library Aid in the Governor’s 2014-15

Executive Budget.

Governor Cuomo has proposed $81.6M in Library Aid, which removes the additional $4M

provided by the Legislature in the 2013-14 Budget ($85.6M).

This represents a 4.7% cut in Library Aid!



The Executive Budget is not yet finalized – the Governor can restore this funding by amending

his budget by February 20, so the time to take action is NOW. NYLA provides you with a quick

and easy means of showing your support. Follow the link below, click on ‘Take Action’, edit the

supplied advocacy message as you like, enter your name and address, and hit ‘send message’.

Your message will automatically be delivered to Governor Cuomo.

Click Here:

NYLA’s Legislative Action Center

Please help us spread the word to every library advocate in New York State: post a link to NYLA’s

Legislative Action Center via all your favorite social media centers. (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)

Do not forget to make your voice heard on Library Advocacy Day on February 26, 2014 in

Albany. Please visit NYLA’s Advocacy Center for more information.

Advocacy Day is now Wednesday, February 26th. Be sure to attend.

Trustees, please click to take action now: Advocacy Letter (Uniquely Designed for Trustees)

A reminder: This letter is in addition to the regular NYLA one. So if you are a trustee, please click and send — even if you have already sent a different one. The difference: this letter is uniquely designed to capture the attention of your legislators that they are hearing from a trustee.

Elected officials want to hear from trustees, since they represent the voice of their constituents.

Trustees, your help is needed to fully restore library funding. You can help make a difference by sending this letter today.

Please distribute this link to all New York State Public Library Trustees:


Thanks to all who have sent this letter!

March has been the traditional month for library trustees and library supporters to gather in Albany with our elected representatives. New in 2014, Library Advocacy Day will be held on Wednesday, February 26th.  The change to February and Wednesday from the traditional March/Tuesday may allow a better focus to be put on libraries and library issues if the change gives more time for meeting with officials.

Advocacy Day will start with ‘Base Camp’ in LOB120 beginning at 8:00 AM for packet pick-up and sign-in (note: this is updated information).  Advocacy Day Schedule of Events.

Your library system may be planning a bus trip for a group or sending individual representatives. Check now so you can plan to attend. Check the State Assembly and Senate websites for your representatives. This is a great opportunity to meet newly elected officials.

Library Trustees Association of New York will be on site on February 26th.  Be sure to stop at the LTA information table after you check in to pick up a nice, bright badge that identifies you as a library trustee. Elected officials want to hear from trustees, since you represent the voice of their constituents.

View the NYLA Legislative Draft Agenda to learn about issues and priorities for the Library community to become familiar with during this legislative season.

Check these links for officials and directions:

Systems providing buses to Albany. Please contact them and hitch a ride.

Draft 2014 NYLA Legislative Agenda

Issues and Priorities for the Library community to become familiar with during this Legislative season


Fully fund NYS libraries at $102M as stipulated in Education Law
Provide desperately needed funding to maintain NYS’s critical information infrastructure; enabling libraries to continue delivering education and enrichment services, by addressing critical technology needs.

Maintenance of Effort Waivers (2013 ‐ passed Senate)
Allows libraries to apply for maintenance of effort waivers to be granted by the NYS Commissioner of Education for a period of up to three years (proposed amended language).

Taxpayer Access to Publicly‐Funded Research (returning)
Requires publicly‐funded research that has been submitted for publication in peer‐reviewed journals to be made available online.

Local Government Efficiency Grants (returning; Assemblyman Otis sponsor, need Senate sponsor) Includes public library systems as entities that are eligible to apply for local government efficiency grants.
SED Library Study (2013 – passed Assembly)
Directs SED to develop a plan and issue a report for increasing access to and lending of electronic books in public libraries and library systems.

EDC Study (2013 – passed Assembly)
Commissions study of the economic impact of public libraries and library systems in NYS.

Digital Literacy (returning)
Substitutes the term “digital literacy” for the dated term “internet safety” in Education Law to better prepare students to effectively use technology.

Library Construction Aid Matching Provisions
Makes permanent current program guidelines on matching requirements to ensure libraries in economically disadvantaged areas are able to make needed capital improvements.