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  • Board Meeting


    NYSALB Board of Directors’ Meeting
    Hampton Inn and Suites, Albany, NY
    Saturday, November 15, 2008

    President Richard Strauss called the meeting to order at 9:04 AM.   Present:  Directors R. Strauss, R. Reissig, A. Elman, M.E. O’Connor, F. Picart, S. Patton, S. Swierczek, S. Stockman,: J. Hurley, Sam Leadley (Newly Elected), Nioga Library System, Bola Majekodunmi (Newly Elected) Roosevelt Public Library, Nassau Library System, Association Manager M. Malicki, and Guest: Carol Desch, Coordinator of Statewide Library Services at The New York State Library.

    Excused G. Stamatiades

    Before the start of the meeting reports there was some discussion about the outcome of the Strategic planning session that started at 7:00 PM last Friday night November 14, 2008 before the Saturday November 15, 2008 NYSALB Board meeting. Pizza and Beer and flipcharts were available for the session. The outcome of the session seemed to be that we needed to do a little more internal work and goal setting before generating a strategic plan. One thing that did emerge was perhaps a better understanding of a need to reach out to libraries in the downstate regions better, to collaborate with them on training and organization to the benefit of NYSALB and those libraries. Perhaps attempting to organize a Trustee Institute on Long Island would be a way to approach some of those goals.


    M.E. O’Connor presented two new highly qualified potential member candidates that were willing to serve on the NYSALB Board being Sam Leadley of the Nioga Library System Board and Bola Majekodunmi currently sitting on the Roosevelt Public Library Board in the Nassau Library System. Rita Reissig moved and Arnold Elman seconded a motion to accept both nominees. The motion carried unanimously and the two candidates were voted the NYSALB Board unanimously. M.E. O’Connor advised the Board that she is courting an additional candidate from the Westchester Library System for service on the NYSALB board and that she will continue to develop the relationship.
    Minutes:  M.E. O’Connor moved that the minutes of the September 6, 2008 NYSALB Board of Directors be accepted with A Elman seconding the motion.. Corrections were made to the minutes that included the presence of Joan Hurley at the meeting as opposed to her listing as excused. The corrected minutes were given to Secretary Francis Picart to implement. Additional corrections to the minutes reporting on Carol Desch’s visit were made by Francis Picart and will also be incorporated. A. Elman requested that minutes be received by Board members earlier in the meeting cycle than this set was received to help the board be more clear on what their agreed obligations are and to allow them to plan better. The minutes of the September 6, 2008 NYSALB Board were approved unanimously as corrected.

    Sam Leadley moved that the minutes of the Organizational meeting be accepted with Rita Reissig seconding. All voted in favor.

    Treasurer’s Report:  A. Elman presented the Treasure’s Report advising of a 26% loss in the capital value of the NYSALB portfolio. He advised that although the loss was anticipated, given the general loss in the performances of the stock and investment markers, it may affect out ability to support the Trustee Institute going forward this year. He advises that a rebalance of the portfolio continues with a policy of sell low and sell high to try to limit our losses and maximize our gains.

    * M.E. O’Connor moved that we accept the treasurer’s report. F. Picart seconded the motion, which carried unanimously after Carol Desch visit and break ended.

    Guest Reports interrupted the Budget and Finance Report:

    Carol Desch began her report by summarizing her view of the budget problems facing New York State and how they might affect libraries and general education statewide. She advised that the Regents have no plans to propose any items to the next State budget process that would require new revenue or new expenses including the Trustee Training legislation proposal. She advises rather that the Regents are focused instead on trying to realistically recover losses that have already been put into place affecting existing school and library programs in 2009 and focused on minimize losses that may be proposed in the Governor’s new budgets. To this end they are considering proposals such as seeking increases in state fees for local government transactions that might help stabilize funding for libraries, museums, and archives generally in the short run. Carol presented and discussed her updated fact sheets and funds allocation tables and expressed the hope that NYSALB can use the information as supporting arguments for the Trustee Training legislation proposal, if NYSALB chooses to go forward with an independent resubmission of the proposal this legislative session. The highlights of the proposal were summarized again for the Board by Carol and some discussion was had about the ability of NYSALB to have sufficient input to training venue and content in the future if the bill is passed in its current form. After the discussion three was general agreement that the bill was good and workable as it is. We again advised Carol of our continued commitment to resubmit the bill in the new legislative session. Carol expressed her feeling that we would have the support of State Ed and the Regents if we went forward.

    The possibilities for library and school aid cut proposals in the next state budget were discussed at length. The governor is expected to release his proposals next Tuesday 11/18/2008.and a 20% cut in library appropriation commitments of $26 M has already gone forward in the 2008-2009 year. Concerns were discussed about how cuts would be distributed as the expected budget collapse goes forward in the next few years.. A draft of a NYLA website letter addressing the problems that the cuts will bring to libraries and library systems was reviewed and NYSALB attendance at a Tuesday 11/18/2008 rally in Albany, New York was encouraged to help oppose the cuts. Carol reported that Kevin Verbesey, Director of the Suffolk Cooperative Library System, SCLS, now chairs the NYLA Legislative Committee and he is seeking partners to develop ways to accommodate budget pressures by seeking relief in staffing requirements and other regulations. Arnold Elman may look into working with that effort.

    Carol advised on several accomplishments in the library world this year that she felt we should take note of. She noted that the newly selected New York State Librarian, Bernie Margolis, former President of the Boston Public Library, made it in under the state hiring freeze wire and his position is funded with a starting date of January 8, 2009.She also noted the progress of the public librarian certification amendment with the open public comments period to end on November 17, 2008 and the award given to the Spanish Speaking Outreach Project was noted.

    Finally, several technical questions were fielded by Carol Desch. Sally Swierczek inquired about how to change a library charter to allow a for a range of trustees numbers on a board rather than a fixed number. She was advised to talk to her local system experts or to Mary Beth Farr in DLD to get information on charter changes. There was some conversation with S. Stockman about conversions of association libraries to school district libraries which was referred to the Library District Advisory Team and request were made by O’Connor and Stockman that Carol consider suggesting topics on foundations issues for future Trustee Institutes. Carol ended her visit by entertaining request from Sam Patton that she invite the new State Librarian for New York to consider writing articles for the Trustee Newsletter and to consider keynote speaking at a Trustee Institute soon. Carol advised that she would carry the invitation.

    Committee Reports:

             Budget, Finance, and Planning:  Continued after Guest presentation 

    • Arnold Elman presented the final version of the Financial Review Policy to the Board with no changes from the last revision. He moved the proposal for the Finance Committee without second that the Financial Review Policy be approved. The motion carried unanimously.
    • Arnold Elman advised that there were several applicants for NYSALB Trustee Certification but that funding was needed at this point to go forward. He referred to the 2009 proposed budget summary for summary amounts and provided the following detail:

      $0.77 per person for Certificates costing $69.00 (should be $154.00 if based on 200 items)
      200 pins to be ordered at $2.49 +$0.85 each totaling $3.34 each, $566.00 ($668.00)
      27*$90.00 for free Trustee Institute tuitions with former NYSALB trustees $2400 ($2430.00)
      The total cost then estimates around $3,000.00 ($3,252.00)

      It was agreed that Trustee Certificates should be given out at the Trustee Institute and a published list of the holders should appear in Newsletter (No time frame for publication of the list of certificate holders was given in the discussion).

      Joan Hurley expressed her desire to limit free Trustee Institute tuitions to sitting trustees to limit costs and asked that her concern be reflected in the minutes.

      Mary Ellen O’Connor moved and Arnold Elman seconded a proposal that free Trustee Institute tuitions be limited to sitting trustees. The motion carried unanimously.
    • A. Elman reviewed the draft of the proposed 2009 NYSALB budget that carries a total expenditure of $79,121.00. Looking back at the 2008 budget summary, he advised that the $56,000.00 in income that was expected from 2008 dues may ultimately fall short and may only come to $54,000.00. He further advised that a 25% to 35%dues increase may be necessary to balance the expenditures projected in 2009 and suggested that some savings may be obtained by not expending the full $3,066.00 amount in the Certified Trustee line of the 2009 budget. He expect no draw to be necessary against reserves at this time. Arnold Elman moved for the Finance Committee that the budget be accepted as proposed which needed no second coming from the Committee.


    1) The Trustee Institute scheduled for the Renaissance Hotel in Syracuse, New York from May 1, 2009 to May 2, 2009 was discussed with the following outcomes and ideas:

    • It was agreed that NYSALB would invite Bernie Margolis the new New York State Librarian to keynote or otherwise speak at the Institute.
    • It was reported that pollster John Zogby, President and CEO of Utica, New York based Zogby International (or his offices?) was contacted for a speaking opportunity at the institute but to date has not responded. He will be contacted again.
    • Invitations to give comments at the Institute should go out Ass. Amy Paulin, Ron Canestrari, Sen. Hugh Farley, and their replacements if necessary. Onondaga County legislators should be invited along with representatives of the Onondaga, Pioneer, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, Mid York, Monroe Library Systems and the institute should be advertised to PLSDO (Richard Strauss). NYSALB will invite all of the Onondaga County library directors personally and will reach out to the Onondaga County Chamber of Commerce for help with the institute costs and publicity (Richard Strauss). Polaris Library Systems will be tapped for support (Richard Strauss). All NYSALB Directors should contact their local Public Library Systems to advertise the Trustee Institute.
    • Stephanie Squicciarini of Fairport Public Library has been confirmed to give a workshop on school and public library cooperation.
    • James Keller will be followed up (George Stamatiades in absentia) to give a talk at the Institute on “Branding Libraries”. He is interested but needs his travel costs picked up. He will confirm if we can pick up his travel costs and we can.
    • Linda London (George Stamatiades in absentia) is willing to speak on “Impact Boards” (?) but requires a $300.00 honorarium which we would not pay.
    • Cliff Weno (did they mean Clifford W. Crouch 107th Assembly District?) future head of budget committee?.(unassigned)
    • Richard Panz of Panz Library Consulting or Josh Cohen of Mid Hudson to talk about library district issues “Now that you are a library district what has changed?” (unassigned).
    • Gail Concella Fiduciary Responsibility (Richard Strauss)
    • Other ideas discussed were:
      Selecting and evaluating a Director (Mary Ellen O’Connor).

      Problems were mentioned with Josh Cohen “forms and orientation as partnerships with Directors and Boards” (?). Sam Patton volunteered to give a presentation on similar issures that he has given earlier.

      If and how to hire and fire a Director. Francis Picart suggested Jerry Nichols as a speaker for this topic.

      Budget preparation talks can be looked into (unassigned).

      State Library, what can it do for you (unassigned).
    • Sally Swierczek will look into finding a personal contact at Zogby for Friday or Saturday if there is no State Library (?)
    • Institute Planning details:

      Cash bar and hors d'oeuvres For Friday

      Possible tours: Fayetteville, NY Library, Stickley Furniture Factory in Manlius, New York, Dewitt Community Library (Richard Strauss), Syracuse Library School (Sally Swierczek as her preferred tour),
      Poster Sessions for attendees and local libraries were discussed
    • Trustee Institute will be planned for a Long Island venue in 2010 (Francis Picart).

    2) Certified Trustee issues were discussed earlier.

    3). NYLA Annual Conference: (Richard Strauss) will attend the NYLA Planning Committee session in January and agree that NYLA will sponsor 2 programs going forward.

        Legislation and Policy: 

    Nothing new waiting for the next legislative session to start after the election results to plan resubmission of the Trustee Training proposal.


    There are three open slots and some attention needs to be focused on bringing on a person from Westchester.

    The possibility was discussed of expanding the membership of the Board to 22 to have all of the Systems represented equally.

    Some thought needs to be given to how the slate of NYSALB officers are chosen for the executive board with proposals brought to the March meeting.

    Changes may need to be made in the bylaws to clarify the number of terms a Director can serve if they are appointed to fill a seat in a midterm. A 10 year total  service should be the maximum of all terms and the changes will be written up for the next January 10, 2009 meeting.



    2009 membership renewal mailings went out yesterday 11/14/2008 with request for updated list of trustees. (Budget updates are needed as well).

    There was agreement for the need to update our information on statewide budget data for individual libraries to correct and revise NYSALB revenues.

        Public Relations/Newsletter:

    Sam Patton reminded the board that he will leave the NYSALB board soon and announced that Sam Leadley the new Director from the Nioga Library System may be willing to take over since he has editing experience from another newsletter.

    Joan Hurley did not have a review report of the NYSALB website available for this meeting but she committed to having one on a 2 week schedule The collected group of library policies are yet to be posted to the NYSALB website and they need to be move up in priority. The information should be made available in both text and pdf format and good mechanisms to search and access the information needs to be developed, perhaps with the group that helps us to administer the website content.

    The NYSALB Board has not yet published it concerns or positions about the recent and proposed budget cut to state library aid to the public domain and this needs to be done. Richard Strauss will put together a letter for out review that can be used to express our concerns and plans. Mary Ellen O’Connor will contact John Crrin, recently retired from the Albany Library with public relations experience, to test his interest in helping us to keep our ear to the ground about library sensitive issues and perhaps help us in writing public relations releases. The proposed NYSALB press release on the budget issues will be drafted and sent to John Crrin to seek hid help in content and distribution via Mary Ellen O’Connor.


         Velma Moore Award and Distinguished Service Award:

    Rita Reissig advised that she had been in conversation with a woman from the Bovina Library by telephone and she was following up a possible submission from that library. The committee was working from last year’s list of candidates for the most part and a winner was chosen. The announcement was sent to NYLINE and NYSALB but the Trustee Newsletter announcement was missed in the last publication and there will not be an announcement there.

    Mary Ellen O’Connor suggested that we should seek resolutions form the state Senate and Assembly to accompany the honor of the Velma Moore Award. That would enhance the value of the award to the recipient and the spirit of the award to NYSALB. It can also give an opportunity for local legislators to work together with NYSALB to honor trustees and receive public relations benefits as well if they participate in the giving of the awards. Mary Ellen O’Connor will look into the possibilities.

         By-Law Committee (ad-hoc):


        Old Business 
    A letter from John Allen to Sam Patton was read summarizing the outcome of last night’s strategic planning evaluation session which was held to see if we could benefit from his services and if he felt that he could help us overcome weaknesses and develop better strengths.

    The board considered a $3,000.00 to $5,000.00 cost earlier but the estimate form Allen was $4,000.00 to $6,000.00. Sam Patton will email the Allen proposal to the Board. Joan Hurley suggested that we contact other state trustee organizations in our efforts to better define our mission and ways to mark our progress. She will follow up and Francis Picart will help.

        New Business:
    2009 Calendar.
    January 10, 2009
    March 14, 2009
    May 1, 2009 at 1:30 PM during Trustee Institute
    September 12, 2009 (May 7, 2009 is Labor Day)
    November 14, 2009 (November 11, 2009 is Veteran’s Day)

    Jenifer Morris’ email was noted that Jerry Nichols will rewrite and update the Trustee Handbook. Martina Thompson, Richard Strauss, and Francis Picart will work with Nichols.

         Executive Session: was entered to discuss contract matters.
    There being no further business Mary Ellen O’Connor moved that the meeting be adjourned. The meeting adjourned at 2:43 PM.

    Respectively submitted,
    Francis Picart, Secretary

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