How to Make Your Library an Essential Service by Libby Post

-_Making Your Library an Essential Service & Learning to Be a Library Advocate in Your Community._ (5) from Timothy Gavin on Vimeo.

You know your library is an essential service. But, how do you communicate that and make sure you’re building an effective base of support? Library advocacy and marketing consultant Libby Post, president of Communication Services, will walk you through the steps you need to take to make sure you stay on target and are an advocacy success story.

Libby Post has been working with public libraries across the country on branding and advocacy since 2005. She is the president and strategist-in-chief of Communication Services, a boutique consulting firm that specializes in public libraries, advocacy and political communications. Her success rate for library voter initiatives is 84%. Post serves on the American Library Association’s Committee on Library Advocacy and will be joining the board of United for Libraries, the national trustee, friends and foundation organization.

State Education Department Releases Revised Draft Every Student Succeeds Act Plan

Revisions Made in Response to the More Than 1,000 Comments
Received on the Draft ESSA Plan

Revised Draft Plan Continues to Emphasize Fostering Equity in Education for All Students and Expands Measures for School Accountability & Student Success

The New York State Education Department today presented revisions to the draft Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan (revised summary available here) to the Board of Regents. Since releasing the draft plan in May, the Department received more than 1,070 public comments, both in writing and verbally at the 13 public meetings held across the state, and made revisions to the draft plan in response to those comments.

The revised draft plan continues to emphasize fostering equity in education for New York’s students; expands measures for school support and accountability and student success; and requires school-level improvement plans for the lowest performing schools overall as well as schools with the lowest performance for certain student populations. The plan also includes strategies for supporting the professional growth of educators and ensuring that all students, including English language learners/Multilingual learners, immigrant students, migratory youth, homeless youth, and neglected and delinquent youth, have access to a well-rounded, culturally responsive education that supports their academic and social-emotional development. The Department detailed highlights of the plan to the Board of Regents at its May meeting.

“The Board of Regents and I take our responsibility to improve teaching and learning in New York’s schools very seriously, and we were awed by the young people and other members of the public that came to our public meetings to share their thoughts on New York’s draft ESSA plan,” Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa said. “We heard you, and our revised ESSA plan is better because of it. Through ESSA, New York is poised to take a more holistic approach to accountability that looks at multiple measures of school and student success. This approach allows us to continually evolve and adapt so we can ensure that our systems are culturally responsive and place an emphasis on educating the whole child.”

“At each of the 13 public meetings we held on our draft ESSA plan, parents, educators and students all spoke passionately about certain aspects of our plan – from school accountability and transfers schools to the importance of social and emotional supports and physical education – and we listened,” Commissioner Elia said. “The revised draft plan includes changes as a result of this public feedback. In September, we will submit to the U.S. Department of Education a plan to help all of New York’s children lead successful lives and to move us forward in our efforts to improve equity of educational outcomes in our State. We thank all of the hundreds of stakeholders and members of the public who helped shape this plan throughout our process over the past year.”

The Department received more than 800 written comments and 270 verbal comments at the meetings during public comment period. In addition to hosting 13 public hearings on the plan from May 11 through June 16, NYSED also held more than 120 stakeholder and public meetings between October 2016 and May 2017 to gather input to help inform the development of the draft plan.

The revised full draft plan and a summary are posted on the Department’s ESSA webpage. The summary document outlines the Department’s stakeholder engagement process and highlights key proposals from the full plan.

Key Revisions to the Draft ESSA Plan
Based on the feedback received during the public comment period, the Department made key revisions to the draft ESSA plan, which included to:

  • Reduce grades 3 – 8 English Language Arts and Mathematics testing days from 3 days to 2 each to reflect the recent Board action;
  • Use out-of-school suspensions as a school accountability indicator starting in 2018-19
  • Measure middle school students’ readiness for success in high school once two years of data becomes available;
  • Equally weight achievement and growth at the elementary and middle school level;
  • The Commissioner will partner with districts to determine the most appropriate interventions for transfers schools identified as Comprehensive Support and Improvement Schools and not automatically place them in receivership if these schools are re-identified;
  • Require all school improvement plans to provide adequate evidence of parent and family involvement in plan development;
  • Consider ways to support school boards and promote legislation to intervene when school boards are not meeting students’ basic educational needs;
  • Emphasize the State’s commitment to promoting a well-rounded education that includes physical education and the arts, including revising Commissioner’s regulations pertaining to physical education;
  • Include greater emphasis on the State’s commitment to cultural responsiveness;
  • Add a provision to promote the social and emotional support services by specialized instructional support personnel as part of a well-rounded education;
  • Emphasize the State’s use of technology to support personalized learning; and
  • Place greater weighting on the English Language Proficiency indicator for schools that are held accountable for this indicator.

More details on the specific changes to the draft ESSA plan can be found here.

Stakeholder Engagement

For the past year, NYSED has engaged diverse groups of stakeholders to solicit recommendations on how to craft an ESSA plan that best meets the needs of the state’s students, schools and communities. In support of these efforts, NYSED established an ESSA Think Tank with representatives from more than 100 organizations, including district leaders, teachers, parents, and community members. The Department also consulted with national education experts regarding ESSA, including Linda Darling-Hammond (Learning Policy Institute) and Scott F. Marion (National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment).

In addition, NYSED held more than 120 fall and winter regional in-person meetings across the state in coordination with the state’s 37 Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) and the superintendents of the state’s five largest City School Districts, which were attended by more than 4,000 students, parents, teachers, school and district leaders, school board members, and other stakeholders.

Next Steps

The plan will next be submitted to the governor, who has 30 days to review the plan. Following the governor’s review, the Board will be asked at its September meeting to take action to approve the ESSA plan so that on September 18, 2017 the State Education Department can submit the plan to the USDE for review and approval. After the plan is approved by the USDE, the Department will work with BOCES District superintendents, superintendents, the ESSA Think Tank and other stakeholder groups to develop and provide guidance on implementing the ESSA plan. Further, NYSED is developing summary documents for parents and teachers to explain the changes in the ESSA plan.

Visit EngageNY.org
Follow the Commissioner on Twitter: @NYSEDNews(link is external)
New York State Board of Regents
The State Education Department / The University of the State of New York / Albany, NY 12234
Office of Communications / (518) 474-1201

For More Information Contact:
Jonathan Burman or Jeanne Beattie
(518) 474-1201
www.nysed.gov

2017 Regional Workshop: Trustees in the Know

Register Online Today! 

2017 Regional Workshop: Trustees in the Know
Saturday, August 12, 2017
Plainview-Old Bethpage Library,
999 Old Country Road, Plainview NY 11803

9:00 – 2:30 One-hour presentations with optional 15 minute Q&A

Program:

9:00 Registration and Coffee, Opening remarks at 9:45

10:00-11:00   Cybersecurity for Libraries – What must trustees do to ensure patron privacy and protection?

Presenter: Rob Caluori, Director of Information Technology, Westchester Library System

The Internet is fraught with threats to personal privacy from eavesdroppers, hackers, greedy vendors, and greedier advertisers. The presenter will define the online risks for library patrons and explore the library’s responsibility to protect personal information.  The presenter will clarify the issue of net neutrality and focus on the impact to libraries of the challenges and changes to net neutrality.

Rob Caluori is the Director of Information Technology at Westchester Library System.  He has a MS from Pace University in Information Systems, a CAS from Long Island University in Library Administration, and is currently a student at SUNY Albany, completing an MS in Information Science.

11:15-12:15 Due Diligence: Trustee Liability, Policy & Pitfalls

Presenter Joe Eisner, Retired library program director and chair of the Plainview-Old Bethpage Public Library Board

Do trustees have adequate knowledge of existing laws, regulations and opinions to execute their responsibilities? How do newly enacted laws affect library operations and budgetary requirements? “Ask Joe” by submitting specific questions in advance to

Joe is a retired public library director and current chair of the Plainview-Old Bethpage Public Library Board. He is the compiler of the Handbook of Library Laws and Regulations in New York State. Although not an attorney, Joe is considered an expert on the use of library facilities by outside groups, relations with municipal funding officials, personnel matters, and library policy. “Ask Joe” is a monthly feature of the LTA website.

12:30 : Lunch and Remarks

1:15 – 2:15 : Envisioning Library Spaces :Making Better Use of the Space You Already Have

Presenter: James D. Lothrop, AIA, FASID, Partner, Lothrop Associates LLP

What changes to existing facilities and furnishings will better serve existing patrons and encourage a greater number and more diverse population to use  library services. Visual examples will provide a backdrop of possibilities to respond to community expectations in developing library five-year plans and construction grant submissions.

Jim Lothrop is a Registered Architect and Certified Interior Designer.   With over forty years experience, Jim oversees and maintains quality design standards as Design Partner in Lothrop Associates. Jim is a Fellow with the American Society for Interior Designers (ASID). His leadership in design ranges across a wide variety of project types for library clients. He has served on the ASID National Board of Directors, was past president of the ASID New York Metro Chapter, and Co-Chair of the National Industry Advisory Council.

Check out the Vestal Public Library

20 Vestal Parkway East | Vestal, NY 13850 United States |  1-607-754-4243

The Vestal Public Library, founded in 1947, serves an area of more than 26,000 residents. Our library has more than 156,000 items in its collection, over 19,800 registered borrowers, and an annual circulation of over 222,000. The library is a member of the Four County Library System and is located in Broome County near Binghamton, NY. The Vestal Public Library recently became a Public School District Library.

The library offers many activities for all ages LEAP Toddler is their storytime for ages 2-3. LEAP stands for Learning Enrichment and Play. Storytimes involve several stories, with music and a craft at the end.

  • Full S.T.E.A.M Ahead is a new program at the Vestal Library. It is intended for ages 3-7, and involves a short lesson on concepts relating to the project. Each session will include a Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Design or Math element to it. The sessions are different from each other, so children can register for both.

  • Mother Goose – ages 0-24 months – uses a variety of activities, including rhymes and songs to foster speech development, motor coordination and more!

  • Join the Youth Services Department for their Family Game Days!  Play board games, Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360.

  • Friends Yoga, chair yoga classes for adults

A Visit to Plainview-Old Bethpage Library

Plainview-Old Bethpage Library

We want to share some information about our sponsor for the next LTA  TITK (Trustees in the Know) session on August 12, 2017.

999 Old Country Road, Plainview, NY 11803

Library History

Plainview-Old Bethpage welcome sign

The Plainview Library opened its doors on January 7, 1956 in the Jamaica Avenue School. In 1957, the Library relocated to rented space in the Morton Village Shopping Center. It remained in the Morton Village Shopping Center until the current building opened in 1963. In March of 1966, the library’s charter was amended and its named changed to the Plainview-Old Bethpage Public Library to accurately reflect the one school district and two communities the Library serves.

Plainview library - Lots of opportunities and an inviting look of the library

Plainview -Old Bethpage - Puppet theater created by the children for their puppet show- Curious George and friend

In 2005, the Library celebrated a building expansion which included a 236 seat auditorium and an expanded Family Center. With technological advances changing how we do almost everything, the Library continues to be the place to learn and to access information. Public computers, free WIFI, basic computer classes, CD’s and DVD’s, audiobooks, playaways, eBooks and eBook readers allow our community to keep up with new technology. The Library continues to be a community center, providing educational and entertainment programs for all ages and meeting room space for over 100 community groups.

Curious George and friend

In partnership with a vital community that values learning, the Library looks forward to meeting the challenges of the future with creativity and enthusiasm.

Gretchen Browne, director of the library shared “We have been designated a 5-Star Library by Library Journal for the past 7 years and our Children’s Dept. (Family Center) is very innovative and pro-active. The Library provides monthly book discussion groups, cultural and educational lecture series, a Wednesday film, exercise classes and a wide array of other topical programs from tax assistance to cooking and art classes. -We are extremely proud of the work we do.”

The library is the site for the next LTA TITK (Trustees in the Know) session on August 12.

We hope you will join us in Plainview on August 12 for our next TITK -Trustees in the Know – session.

Binghamton TITK Highlights

Registration & Welcome Table

Presenter Duane Shoen, CPA

A standing room only Trustee regional institute was held in Binghamton on May 6.  Ninety trustees and staff from ten public library systems attended Trustees in the Know to hear presentations on library spaces, financial reports and board/staff relationships and employment liability.  Sounds dry?  Anything but.  Our presenters offered lively and informative discussions, answered specific questions, and provided excellent handouts (to be found at “Binghamton Trustees in the Know”) for further study.

Presenters Carrie J. Pollak, Esq, (left) & Whitney Kummerow Esq. (right) with LTA Director Jean Curie (center)

Partners from the L2 Studio Architecture firm suggested some very helpful and detailed ways to plan major changes or renovations to your library.  Using their ideas as a checklist will mean you do not forget important issues that could lead to an oops in the middle of a project!

Duane Shoen, CPA

Duane Shoen, a CPA from Insero & Co. provided information on the kinds of financial reports you should expect and be responsible for as a library trustee for your type of library.  He also noted the new standards for nonprofits from the Financial Accounting Standards Board as well as the NYS Revitalization Act.

Attendees Networking

After a great lunch from the Old World Deli (a fixture in Binghamton!), Carrie Pollak, Esq. from Hancock Estabrook, gave us information in words we could understand, the duties of a board member especially as they relate to finances, conflicts of interest, and the relationship of the board and the director – noses in, fingers out!

Presenters from L2 Studio: Corey Layton Bob Costello, & Mick Lombardini

Whitney Kummerow, Esq. also from Hancock Estabrook offered practical and useful information on how libraries should comply with current labor and employment laws.  Her list of the information and documentation that a library should have related to employment is another extremely useful checklist.

Attendees "Deep in Thought" as they Watch Presentation

LTA thanks the three public library sponsors, Four County, Finger Lakes and Southern Tier Library Systems for their help and support and also Broome County Public Library for hosting this very successful trustee training.

Cassie Guthrie (right) -- Representing New Yorkers for Better Libraries

Ask Joe Eisner: Is a library board required to permit public participation at its open meetings?

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. Is a library board required to permit public participation at its open meetings?

A. Both association and public libraries boards are required by Education Law s260-a to conduct their meetings in accordance with the provisions of the Open Meetings Law (OML). However, “…although the Open Meetings Law provides the public with the right ‘to observe the performance of public officials and attend and listen to the deliberations and decisions that go into the making of public policy’ (see Open Meetings Law s100), the Law is silent with respect to public participation. Consequently, by means of example, if a public body… does not want to answer questions or permit the public to speak or otherwise participate at its meetings, we do not believe that it would be obliged to do so.  On the other hand, a public body may choose to answer questions and permit public participation, and many do so. When a public body does permit the public to speak, we believe that it should do so based upon reasonable rules that treat the members of the public equally…. [T]he presiding officer has the authority to limit remarks from the public that are ‘repetitive’ and ‘offensive’…. [W]e note federal court decisions indicating that if commentary is permitted within a certain subject area,, negative commentary in the same area cannot be prohibited…. [A]ssuming that the Board of Trustees…  [or] the presiding officer permit those who wish to speak to do so for a particular period of time, each person who wishes to do so must, in our opinion, be given an equal opportunity to do so Similarly, if the Board…  permit[s  positive comments concerning the operation… we believe that they must offer an equal opportunity to enable those in attendance to offer negative or critical comments.  It would not be unreasonable, in our opinion, to limit repetitive comments in support of opinions expressed previously, as well as those that would be offensive to reasonable people  of ordinary sensibilities….” (Op COG OML 5296, June 12, 2015).  “In the context of a meeting of a public body or a public hearing, we believe that a court would determine that a public body may limit the amount of time allotted to person who wishes to speak, so long as the limitation is reasonable” Op COG OML 4141, February 24, 2006).

Q. May a library board require that a members of the public who wish to speak during public participation at an open meeting of the board be limited to residents of the political jurisdiction served by the library?

A. Bearing in mind that the purpose of the Open Meetings Law is to encourage transparency in government,  depending if the meeting is an open meeting of the library board, to impose such a limitation might be politically imprudent as well as ill-advised. In the following Committee on Open Government opinion, counsel distinguished between a “community forum meeting”, a meeting of a public body, stating that both are different from a public hearing:

“From our perspective, a ‘community forum meeting’ is different from a meeting of a public body, and both are different from a public hearing. A meeting is generally a gathering of a quorum of a public body for the purpose of discussion, deliberation, and potentially taking action within the scope of its powers and duties. A hearing is generally held pursuant to law to provide members of the public with an opportunity to express their views concerning a particular subject, such as a proposed budget, a local law or a matter involving land use. It is likely that a ‘community forum meeting’ is similar to a public hearing, due to its purpose, but unlike a public hearing, is not prescribed by law. Public hearings are often required to be preceded by the publication of a legal notice. In contrast, §104(3) of the Open Meetings Law specifies that notice of a meeting must merely be ‘given’ to the news media and posted. We note, too, that a meeting of a public body held in accordance with the Open Meetings Law can only occur with the presence of a quorum. A hearing or a community forum, on the other hand, can be conducted without a quorum present.

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

Q. Is a library board required to permit public participation at its open meetings?

A. Both association and public libraries boards are required by Education Law s260-a to conduct their meetings in accordance with the provisions of the Open Meetings Law (OML). However, “…although the Open Meetings Law provides the public with the right ‘to observe the performance of public officials and attend and listen to the deliberations and decisions that go into the making of public policy’ (see Open Meetings Law s100), the Law is silent with respect to public participation. Consequently, by means of example, if a public body… does not want to answer questions or permit the public to speak or otherwise participate at its meetings, we do not believe that it would be obliged to do so.  On the other hand, a public body may choose to answer questions and permit public participation, and many do so. When a public body does permit the public to speak, we believe that it should do so based upon reasonable rules that treat the members of the public equally…. [T]he presiding officer has the authority to limit remarks from the public that are ‘repetitive’ and ‘offensive’…. [W]e note federal court decisions indicating that if commentary is permitted within a certain subject area,, negative commentary in the same area cannot be prohibited…. [A]ssuming that the Board of Trustees…  [or] the presiding officer permit those who wish to speak to do so for a particular period of time, each person who wishes to do so must, in our opinion, be given an equal opportunity to do so Similarly, if the Board…  permit[s  positive comments concerning the operation… we believe that they must offer an equal opportunity to enable those in attendance to offer negative or critical comments.  It would not be unreasonable, in our opinion, to limit repetitive comments in support of opinions expressed previously, as well as those that would be offensive to reasonable people  of ordinary sensibilities….” (Op COG OML 5296, June 12, 2015).  “In the context of a meeting of a public body or a public hearing, we believe that a court would determine that a public body may limit the amount of time allotted to person who wishes to speak, so long as the limitation is reasonable” Op COG OML 4141, February 24, 2006).

Q. May a library board require that a members of the public who wish to speak during public participation at an open meeting of the board be limited to residents of the political jurisdiction served by the library?

A. Bearing in mind that the purpose of the Open Meetings Law is to encourage transparency in government,  depending if the meeting is an open meeting of the library board, to impose such a limitation might be politically imprudent as well as ill-advised. In the following Committee on Open Government opinion, counsel distinguished between a “community forum meeting”, a meeting of a public body, stating that both are different from a public hearing:

“From our perspective, a ‘community forum meeting’ is different from a meeting of a public body, and both are different from a public hearing. A meeting is generally a gathering of a quorum of a public body for the purpose of discussion, deliberation, and potentially taking action within the scope of its powers and duties. A hearing is generally held pursuant to law to provide members of the public with an opportunity to express their views concerning a particular subject, such as a proposed budget, a local law or a matter involving land use. It is likely that a ‘community forum meeting’ is similar to a public hearing, due to its purpose, but unlike a public hearing, is not prescribed by law. Public hearings are often required to be preceded by the publication of a legal notice. In contrast, §104(3) of the Open Meetings Law specifies that notice of a meeting must merely be ‘given’ to the news media and posted. We note, too, that a meeting of a public body held in accordance with the Open Meetings Law can only occur with the presence of a quorum. A hearing or a community forum, on the other hand, can be conducted without a quorum present.

“While we know of no judicial decisions concerning the ability of those to speak at either meetings or hearings, when a public body does permit the public to speak, we believe that it should do so based upon reasonable rules that treat members of the public equally.

“Legal notices for public hearings normally include the following indication: “at such hearing any person may be heard.” Neither the notice nor the statute requiring that the hearing be held distinguishes among those who might want to express their views. That being so, we do not believe that a public body could validly require that those who attend or seek to attend a hearing identify themselves by name, residence or interest. In short, it is our view that any member of the public has an equal opportunity to partake in a public hearing, and that an effort to distinguish among attendees by residence or any other qualifier would be inconsistent with the law and, therefore, unreasonable.

“Moreover, people other than residents, particularly those who own property or operate businesses in a community, may have a substantial interest in attending and expressing their views at hearings held by school boards and other public bodies. Prohibiting those people from speaking, even though they may have a significant tax burden, while permitting residents to do so, would, in our view, be unjustifiable. Further, it may be that a non-resident serves, in essence, as a resident’s representative, and that precluding the non-resident from speaking would be equivalent to prohibiting a resident from speaking. In short, it is unlikely that a public body could validly prohibit a non-resident from speaking at a public forum based upon residency” (Op COG OML 4141, February 24, 2006).

Thus, prudence would dictate that a library board should seek advice from counsel regarding the appropriate procedure to follow in regard to receiving questions from members of the public who attend library board meetings at which only routine business is discussed, or as in the case of school district public library or an association library which receive voter approved tax support, a meeting held in advance of that vote at which either a quorum of the board will be present to vote on presenting the budget for voter approval, or at which a quorum will not be present.

“Legal notices for public hearings normally include the following indication: “at such hearing any person may be heard.” Neither the notice nor the statute requiring that the hearing be held distinguishes among those who might want to express their views. That being so, we do not believe that a public body could validly require that those who attend or seek to attend a hearing identify themselves by name, residence or interest. In short, it is our view that any member of the public has an equal opportunity to partake in a public hearing, and that an effort to distinguish among attendees by residence or any other qualifier would be inconsistent with the law and, therefore, unreasonable.

“Moreover, people other than residents, particularly those who own property or operate businesses in a community, may have a substantial interest in attending and expressing their views at hearings held by school boards and other public bodies. Prohibiting those people from speaking, even though they may have a significant tax burden, while permitting residents to do so, would, in our view, be unjustifiable. Further, it may be that a non-resident serves, in essence, as a resident’s representative, and that precluding the non-resident from speaking would be equivalent to prohibiting a resident from speaking. In short, it is unlikely that a public body could validly prohibit a non-resident from speaking at a public forum based upon residency” (Op COG OML 4141, February 24, 2006).

Thus, prudence would dictate that a library board should seek advice from counsel regarding the appropriate procedure to follow in regard to receiving questions from members of the public who attend library board meetings at which only routine business is discussed, or as in the case of school district public library or an association library which receive voter approved tax support, a meeting held in advance of that vote at which either a quorum of the board will be present to vote on presenting the budget for voter approval, or at which a quorum will not be present.


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

 

Helping All Trustees Succeed Curriculum Endorsed by Statewide Organizations

The Library Trustees Association of New York State, the New York Library Association and Public Library System Directors Promote Trustee Education

NEW YORK STATE, May 12, 2017– The Library Trustees Association of New York State (LTA) , the New York Library Association (NYLA) and the Public Library Systems Directors Organization of New York State (PULISDO) have all unanimously endorsed the use and promotion of the Helping All Trustees Succeed (HATS) Curriculum.

“Strong library boards build enduring libraries,” said Lauren Moore, PULISDO Chair. “ That’s why the public library systems of New York State have worked together to create a curriculum that will ensure that all library trustees have the skills they need to govern their libraries.”

The curriculum was developed by a team of Public Library System consultants with stakeholder input. Stakeholders included public library trustees, public library directors, the Library Trustees Association of New York State, the New York State Division of Library Development, the New York Library Association along with members of PULISDO. Thirteen percent of New York’s 6,000+ trustees responded to a survey to help shape the content of the curriculum.

“No one is born knowing how to be a public library trustee,” commented HATS Team Mentor and Mid-Hudson Library System’s Coordinator for Library Sustainability, Rebekkah Smith Aldrich, “and with responsibilities for the governance, finances, facilities and retention of the public’s good will we need to give these honorable volunteers a fighting chance to do the best they can for the communities they serve. Library service is too important to leave to chance.”

The curriculum includes five modules to help Public Library Systems provide relevant, up-to-date continuing education opportunities for public library trustees. The module topics include an orientation, legal issues, financial and fiduciary responsibilities, planning and advocacy and the most common habits of highly effective boards.

“The Library Trustees Association (LTA) is the only NYS regents chartered association for trustees, founded in 1949. Our mission is to represent, assist, honor and educate trustees as providers of universal library service. We are pleased to have worked with the HATS team on the curriculum and to have partnered with them on presentations and the sharing of information,” said Tim Gavin, Executive Director of the Library Trustees
Association. “We encourage trustees throughout the state to attend HATS programs and we look forward to continuing to partner with the HATS team in future endeavors and as they refine their curriculum. The more education that trustees receive, the easier their roles will be, the stronger and more vibrant their libraries and communities will become, and the more recognition NY will receive as role models for the rest of our nation.”

Public library systems will each take the lead to customize the curriculum and offer regional workshops for local library trustees. PULISDO continues to create opportunities to support public library system staff in the implementation of the curriculum, ensuring that this curriculum continues to be relevant, accurate and a cornerstone for trustee education in New York State.

“NYLA is pleased to offer its endorsement of the HATS curriculum, and to support the goal of providing robust training opportunities to all those who serve as public library trustees across New York State, said Barbara Stripling, President of the New York Library Association, “The HATS program is a welcome positive step toward that goal.”

To learn more about upcoming trustee education offerings in your region please contact your public library system.

 

Team HATS:
Rebekkah Smith Aldrich, Mid-Hudson Library System (Team Mentor)
Lisa Erickson, Nioga Library System
Jennifer Ferriss, Southern Adirondack Library System
Ron Kirsop, Pioneer Library System
Grace Riario, Ramapo Catskill Library System
Amanda Travis, Onondaga County Public Library System

Team HATS got their start thanks to the ILEAD USA Program offered through The New York State Library.


If you would like more information about this topic, please contact:
Lauren Moore, Chair, PULISDO
585.394.8260
lmoore@pls-net.org.

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:


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.

 

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