The Northern New York Library Network

The Northern New York Library Network was chartered in 1965 to develop research resources and encourage cooperative library projects within its service area, which encompasses Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Oswego, Lewis, Jefferson, and St. Lawrence counties.  Here is a brief overview of some of its major projects:

The Network’s Annual Meeting featured Alison Macrina, Director of the Library Freedom Project. Her presentation focused on the surveillance culture and the effect it has on libraries.

Development of Research Resources: The Network assists libraries and cultural organizations in digitizing historical materials for inclusion on the statewide digital history site NewYorkHeritage.org. Over 100,000 items have been scanned, including high school yearbooks, scrapbooks, historical photographs, and manuscripts. The Network also loads local digital collections onto the Digital Public Library of America to give them increased visibility and utility.

The Network recently opened its Regional Digitization Center, which provides hands-on digitization assistance for libraries and cultural organizations in the region. Network staff provides instruction and project support, including metadata development and hosting of scanned materials on the statewide New York Heritage site. Last year, over 50,000 items were digitized over 400 hours of Digitization Center use.

Resource Sharing: The NNYLN supports regional resource sharing through administration of CCDA grants to university libraries, support of OCLC WorldShare and WorldCat for libraries in need of those services, and through the continuation of ICEPAC and ICICILL, which provide a platform for intraregional interlibrary loan. During the year, the regional catalog grew to 5,335,347 items, and ICICILL underwent several upgrades to make its use easier.  Additionally, the Network supported regional reference sharing by subsidizing to the statewide ASKUS 24×7 Virtual Reference Service.

Recipients of NNYLN Professional Development Grants and NNYLN Technology Services Improvement Grants presented their outcomes at the NNYLN Fall Meeting in Clayton

 

Professional Development: The Network is committed to professional education by providing a wide range of library and technology related training classes- in person or via webinar- designed to meet staff needs in an affordable and timely manner. Also, the Network provides free access to an extensive library of technology training videos through its lynda.com subscription, which is available to all libraries in the region at no charge.

Janet Moore of the Potsdam Public Library was awarded the 25th Award for Excellence in Library Service. Pictured are the staff of Potsdam Public Library and Executive Director John Hammond

Support for Research: The Network continues to improve access to regional and statewide newspaper holdings through its New York State Historic Newspapers project, which recently added 1,242,876 newspaper pages and 112 titles to this fully searchable research database. Additionally, the NNYLN provides several research products to all kinds of libraries in the region- EBSCO Omnifile, Watertown Daily Times online, and FirstSearch WorldCat.

The presenters at our 2016 Annual Meeting. (L-R) Michelle Young - Clarkson University, Kelly Wilson - St. Lawrence-Lewis School Library System, Karyn Norwood - Adirondack Architectural Heritage, Connie Holberg - Jefferson Community College, Jeff Mixter - OCLC, Matthew Corey - North Country Library System, and Ben Carman - Plattsburgh Public Library

Grants Programs: the Network has a robust grants program, including Technology Innovation Grants, Digitization Grants, Professional Development Grants, Student Worker Achievement Awards, and CE Training on Demand Grants. al Reference Service.

The NNYLN Offices in Potsdam, NY.

Empire State Library Network: Through its membership in the Empire State Library Network (ESLN), the Network was able to provide opportunities for statewide delivery (Empire Library Delivery), planning for the future (I2NY initiatives), professional development and conferences, and library advocacy.

North Country Library System (2016 Institute Co-Host)

For over 60 years, the North Country Library System has been serving 65 libraries in Jefferson, Lewis,Oswego, and St. Lawrence counties – a geographical area of approximately 6,200 square miles. In so large a space, where the majority of the libraries are small and rural, the connection the library system provides is arguably as important as our shared services.

New directors and trustees receive their orientation from NCLS, and our system staff conducts classes and workshops throughout the year for library staff and trustees, including funding and advocacy, strategic planning, online resources, and early literacy. Sometimes, these classes are held at the NCLS service center inWatertown, but we’re also just as likely to be found out in the field, working with our member libraries one-on-one or in small groups.

System staff hits the road as often as we can, making over 300 library visits a year. We attend library board meetings, town board meetings, school board meetings. And when we’re not able to visit in person, phone conversations, e-mail, and videoconferencing ensure that we’re able to keep in touch remotely.

The NCLS core services are Consulting, Technology, Outreach and Delivery.  Over the past two years we have bought wireless access points and firewalls for al 65 libraries, started a program that allows libraries to purchase computers and pay for them over five years, plus we’ve added Overdrive eMagazines, Consumer Reports, Ancestry and Beanstack for all members.

Once a year, we all come together for the NCLS annual meeting, an afternoon professional development, followed by an evening of awards and fun. For some of our libraries, especially those who are unable to travel to conferences, our annual meeting is the one time during the year that they can share stories and ideas with others who do what they do.

The success of NCLS rests on the trust, rapport, and exchange of ideas between system staff and the staff and trustees in our member libraries.  Fostering these relationships helps us improve library service to patrons throughout our four counties and makes the distance between us all seem a little shorter.

Northern New York Library Network (NNYLN) Overview – Institute Co-Host & Sponsor

The Northern New York Library Network (NNYLN)  was chartered by the New York State Regents in 1965 to facilitate cooperative services among  libraries in northern New York and to improve library services within the region, which consists of  Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis, Oswego and St. Lawrence counties, an area spanning over 10,000 square miles. The services provided by NNYLN include resource sharing programs, publications, access to research databases, specialized medical information services, regional catalogs, shared collection development, professional training programs, disaster preparedness, conservation/preservation programs, digitization, and electronic document delivery.

In addition to these services, NNYLN is also involved with the New York Heritage and New York State Historic Newspaper projects. These projects provide the public with free access to a wide range of  historical materials, including photographs, letters, diaries, yearbooks, directories, maps, and newspapers.. The New York Heritage project contains over 672,000 items from 285 different institutions and the New York State Historic Newspapers project contains over 5,400,000 pages spanning 444 titles from every county in the state. The New York State Historic Newspapers site receives over 1,200,000 page views per month, making it one of the busiest newspaper databases in the country.

NNYLN also provides continuing education services  on various topics ranging from utilizing Network services to library management and marketing. Classes are both given online as webinars and as in person workshops.

NNYLN is part of the Empire State Library Network (ESLN), an organization  comprised of  the nine reference and research library resources councils in the state. ESLN provides various support services among the nine councils, and works to provide equal access to information for all New Yorkers.

Clinton-Essex-Franklin Library System Plattsburgh, New York

CEFLS is non-profit federated system that serves patrons of 30 public libraries in Clinton, Essex, and Franklin counties in New York’s far northeastern corner. The System was chartered in 1954 by the New York State Board of Regents and is governed by a Board of Trustees composed of five representatives from each county. Each member library operates independently under the direction of its own board of trustees and is funded primarily by local taxes. CEF and member library staff and trustees work together to provide the best possible library services to people living in our region by integrating the world of books with current media and information technologies. The System’s focus on resource sharing, cooperative delivery of goods and services and collaborative project management means we can deliver thousands of dollars’ worth of enhanced library services at a fraction of the cost of providing these services separately.

The Clinton-Essex-Franklin Library System spans a geographically isolated area of 164,000 square miles which is, as we like to describe in our public relations pieces, “approximately the size of the state of Connecticut.” Member public libraries are dotted across a historically rich yet economically disadvantaged region that ranges from Tupper Lake, deep in the Adirondack Mountains of rural Franklin County to Rouses Point, which is strategically located on a major US – Quebec border crossing less than 50 miles from Montreal. Libraries as disparate as the Black Watch Library, Ticonderoga (a Carnegie Library) and the Akwesasne Territory’s Library & Cultural Center, which serves residents of both the US and Canada, are linked together by a shared online catalog, and perhaps as importantly, a shared vision of service.

The Adirondack Park, which is the largest state-level protected area in the contiguous United States, and the largest National Historic Landmark, encompasses parts of all three counties we serve. Ironically, the Quebec-New York Trade Corridor, which is described as “the fulcrum of economic activity flowing between Quebec and the State of New York (7.7 billion in trade in 2012) also punctuates our service area. The North Country Regional Economic Development Council has a robust vision statement, which is to “Lead the Economic Renaissance of New York State’s Small Cities and Rural Communities.” These factors combine to make very exciting service challenges for our small community libraries, many of which are staffed by a single “Jill of All Trades” staff member.

The System has responded by cultivating key partnerships with public and private agencies. In 2012, we piloted the “Discovery Pass” program which gives families who hold a public library card free admission to the Wild Center in Tupper Lake. CEFLS Director Ewa Jankowska says that the Discovery Pass is a boon to local families who are looking to explore a terrific natural history resource right in their own backyards. 2015 finds the System in the final phase of a three year Adult Literacy Services Grant from the NY State Library. The project leverages existing partnerships with local agencies to provide library based resources and training for job seekers. Partners are working collaboratively to support the online job search success of area residents, many of whom are “geographically isolated” and “economically or educationally disadvantaged.” When the project concludes in Summer 2016, 12 community libraries will be positioned to provide enhanced services to local job seekers, and will be accessible one-stop gateways to job search resources.

Since more than two thirds of our member library directors do not hold a MLS degree, continuing education and professional support from the System are important elements of this project and in most others as well. System consultant staff and grant paid presenters provided over 1,000 hours of library based training to library trustees, staff and the public in 2014. Topics included advocacy, service planning and community assessment, basic computer skills for adult new learners, job seekers and seniors, a variety of consumer health CE classes, and individual instruction on eBook downloading.

- Julie Wever, Outreach Coordinator CEFLS

The Southern Adirondack Library System

Sara Dallas, Director - November 10, 2015

The Southern Adirondack Library System (SALS) was the first public library system to receive its charter from the New York State Education Department in June of 1958. The 34 public libraries in Hamilton, Warren, Washington and Saratoga Counties cover 4,226 square miles and 353,366 residents. The size of the libraries’ service areas ranges from 114 to 57,329 people, with local library budgets ranging from $22,221 to over $5 million.The libraries are located in rural, suburban and urban settings, which can make providing appropriate system services challenging.

The SALS Board of Trustees understands that all libraries can provide exceptional library service – regardless of staffing, financial resources, or location. In the 2014 evaluation of SALS services, we learned 98.23% of the membership is satisfied with SALS services and 99.12% believe our services are both valuable and relevant. We also learned that our member libraries believe “SALS is most effective when it focuses its resources on meeting our library communities’ most important needs.” (2011-2016 Plan of Service)

Times have changed and we need to begin the next SALS Plan of Service. The Aspen Institute reports: “The time has come for a new vision of public libraries in the United States. Communities need public libraries—more people are visiting them and using their services, materials and programs than ever before—but communities’ needs continue to change.”  (Rising to the Challenge: Re- Envisioning Public Libraries)

The next planning process will focus on helping member libraries meet the changing needs within their communities. We will provide opportunities for all member library staff and trustees to talk to each other about the effects of the significant changes that have occurred since the 2011-2016 SALS Plan of Service was created.

The goals of the SALS Plan of Service project are:

  1. Discover how the rapidly changing external environment is affecting the services and programs offered by SALS member libraries.
  2. Identify the staff, collection, technology and facility resources that SALS member libraries will need to provide effective services to the communities they serve in the future.
  3. Identify the role that SALS can play in ensuring that member libraries have the resources they need.
  4. Develop a SALS Plan of Service 2017-2021 that reflects the priorities identified by SALS member library staff and trustees.

Throughout this process, (beginning January 2016, with completion slated for October 2016) we will communicate with and respond to our membership to develop a list of current, expanded, or new services that reflect their efforts to meet changing community needs and expectations. Finally, using focus group and forum results, we will identify current services that could be reduced or eliminated.

An overview of the Upper Hudson Library System, Albany, NY

Chartered in 1960 and located in New York State’s Capital District, the Upper Hudson Library System is a cooperative public library system serving 29 autonomous member libraries and two correctional facilities in Albany and Rensselaer County. Our service area is 1,198 square miles with a population of 466,626. Our member libraries represent the spectrum of public libraries in New York State, from urban to suburban to rural, from school and special district libraries, to municipal, to association libraries. Albany Public Library is our largest member library with seven neighborhood branches serving 98,000 residents in the New York’s capital city.

We also count among our membership several small rural libraries serving smaller communities. By population, our smallest member library is the Arvilla E. Diver Memorial Library, serving the 592 residents of the village of Schaghticoke. Regardless of stature and resources, UHLS strengthens our member libraries by providing the leadership, support, and services they need to be 21st century public libraries, libraries that are essential to the diverse communities they serve.

A few of the areas of focus for UHLS that merit special mention are trustee training, youth services, and eContent collection development.

A new approach to trustee training:

When library trustees are armed with the tools and information they need to lead the libraries they serve, both the library and the community grow and thrive. UHLS has developed a unique approach to trustee education. The CORE Trustee Training program provides a basic overview for our newest library trustees based on our CORE values of Community, Openness, Respect, and Ethics. Recognizing that library trustees are dedicated individuals with multiple commitments, we deliver our program in an on-demand format, on-site at member libraries.

Our member library trustees have responded enthusiastically to the CORE program and we are very proud to say that we have achieved 100% member library participation in basic trustee training.

A commitment to youth services:

Leadership, collaboration, and advocacy are key components of strong services to youth in UHLS. We are currently engaged in a multi-year prototype project on early literacy involving libraries of all sizes that builds on the NYS Ready to Read initiative and includes presentations to community leaders. Every year, UHLS helps libraries address “summer slide” in their summer reading and learning programs through practical training, resources, and partnerships, including collaborations with legislators. Our libraries also get their “maker mojo” on with our STEAM resources: Squishy Circuits, Makey Makey, Makedo, and more help kids and teens develop their scientific curiosity at the library, and grants awarded to UHLS help train library staff to be adept mentors for young library users. A notable benefit to the public is a shared calendar of youth services programs across the system. Our commitment to keeping member library staff serving youth current and expert on issues and services has a positive impact in every library, every day.

An open access eContent collection:

UHLS was an early entrant into the library ebook landscape in 2006, with an initial collection of 6,000 items. Nearly a decade later, the collection has grown to 30,000, with all of our member libraries collaborating together to build this truly communal collection. Virtually all of our eContent material is available for use by all users, reflecting a strong commitment by UHLS and the member libraries to share resources for the benefit of all users in the System service area.

Our usage statistics demonstrate that this philosophy works, because eContent circulation continues to grow for all member libraries, comprising nearly 10% of total circulation in all formats. In order to remain ahead of the curve of eContent activity, UHLS established an eContent Advisory Committee composed of member library representatives. This group meets regularly to identify eContent trends, analyze use and collection statistics, and to make recommendations to the System and to the member libraries as to best practices for dealing with this relatively new area of library service. The way we have built this new collection through member library collaboration, resource sharing, and a commitment to excellence, will be a model for the future in UHLS.

Looking into the future, public libraries must continue to be “centers of community” – places where people can come to learn throughout their life, to connect with the digital world, and to engage with the people and organizations around them. UHLS is committed to strengthening the public libraries in Albany & Rensselaer Counties, supporting the work our libraries do every day to transform lives and build community.

The Rich History of your Public Library Systems – System Map

This page contains links to all systems which we have featured on our website to date. Click on a system to learn more.

If your system does not link to an article, please reach out to Tish Fontanella. You can send her a message by finding her name under the “Contact” tab.

 LTA wishes to have all 23 systems featured so trustees can learn more about their own systems and also learn more about systems from around the state. We will feature others regularly.

map

Buffalo-Erie Monroe Onondaga North Country Mid-York Suffolk Westchester Mid Hudson Mohawk Valley Clinton_Essex

OCPL Overview

The Onondaga County Public Library (OCPL) System serves 468,387 residents and 32 public libraries in Onondaga County.  System services are housed at the Robert P. Kinchen Central Library which, along with eight city branches and two city satellite locations, is administered by OCPL.  The 21 suburban libraries are independent members of the system.

One of our most visible roles is support for traditional and non-traditional programming.  We foster system-wide collaborations, administer grant funds for educational and cultural programs, and take the lead in new programming initiatives.  Over the past year residents of all ages have enjoyed opportunities to participate in, or just enjoy, such programs as the international Cardboard Challenge, a Jazz on Demand series, an innovative teen Summer Reading Program, and CNY Reads One Book, the largest and longest running community reading program in New York State.

We’re also known for special collections and services that benefit individuals and organizations.  The Central Library’s STAR Center offers materials and services for people with disabilities, while the highly-respected Local History and Genealogy Department is used by researchers from all over the world.  We’re excited that last year OCPL and FamilySearch began a project to digitally preserve 40,000 historic titles from the library’s collections and make them accessible online.  And job seekers, grant seekers, and non-profit organizations find specialized help at our Job and Non Profit Resource Centers.

 

Building on this solid foundation, we are now adopting a new model of service to help our community become more resilient to the rapid changes we’re seeing in the 21st century.  As part of an international movement to assess community needs on an ongoing basis and align programs with those changing needs, we’re transforming our libraries into centers for education, creation, collaboration and innovation.

 

A planned renovation of the Central Library is anticipated to include updated children’s services and spaces for early literacy, school preparedness, learning retention, and STEM education.  To support lifelong learning, we intend to incorporate new technology, meeting spaces, enhanced adult literacy and job preparedness centers, and increased access to our special collections.  Projects at city branches will create these same types of spaces in many neighborhoods.

 

An initiative we’re especially excited about is a technology lending library.  The collection of traveling mobile carts will efficiently and economically provide all patrons with opportunities to experience new technologies such as 3D printers and LEGO® Robotics.  Finally, we’re responding to the increased use of our digital collections by giving our “Virtual Branch” a makeover that will result in a system Web site that’s easier to navigate and to download digital content.

 

As a system, we’re very optimistic about our future. We see increased use of current resources and growing demand for 21st century resources and tools.  As we move away from manufacturing to a knowledge-based economy, we are committed to providing unique programs, spaces, and services that will prepare county residents for our rapidly changing future.

Mid York Library System

The Mid York Library System is located in Utica, New York. Centrally located in the Mohawk Valley, it is a cooperative public library system and its mission is to “improve and expand library service in the counties of Madison, Oneida, and Herkimer”.  Mid York’s chartered to serve population is 372,839 residents located within the geographic area of 3,279 square miles.

Mid York, its 43 member libraries and one reading center are fortunate to be located in a beautiful part of New York State, enriched by the vibrant and diverse communities we are chartered to serve. As Utica is also the home to the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees, in a local elementary school alone, over 40 languages are spoken!  Our libraries are unique as the communities they serve.  A sampling includes a Carnegie library; one located on the path of the famous yellow brick road; another houses an Egyptian mummy, while another was dedicated by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1908. Regardless of any special distinction, each library is universally valued and recognized by the people they serve as community and information centers.

In 2014, Mid York in collaboration with its libraries and community partners, hosted a community read program, themed Grassroots Read.   Instead of the typical community read approach of using a single book, Grassroots Read was unique in that three books were selected for three different reading levels. The Four County Library System partnered with Mid York in hosting its own Grassroots Read initiative in their service area.  The idea behind the locally themed Grassroots concept is to focus on a specific aspect of the region and to demonstrate that libraries provide information and programming that is interesting, exciting, and relevant to their local communities.  The 2014 Grassroots Read focus was local agriculture and the books selected were:

  • The Dirty Life by Rome, NY native Kristin Kimball (Adult and pre-college teen level)
  • Potatoes on Rooftops by Hadley Dyer (Middle and Early High School level)
  • Tops & Bottoms by Janet Stevens (Elementary School level)

During this time, many libraries offered a variety of programs and activities centered on the local agriculture theme. Grassroots Read culminated with author Kristin Kimball’s visit to the region with two Q & A community events. Kristin was also the keynote speaker at Mid York’s Annual Meeting and Dinner.

Like other New York State library systems, Mid York is a true example of a successful ‘economy of scale’ endeavor that has been in place for 55 years. In partnership with our libraries, we provide an array of excellent library services which benefits all the diverse residents of our collective and distinctive service areas.