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  • Board Meeting


    NYSALB Board of Directors’ Meeting
    Hampton Inn and Suites, Albany, NY
    Saturday, September 6, 2008

    President Richard Strauss called the meeting to order at 9:06 AM.   Present: Directors R. Strauss, G. Stamatiades, S. Patton, A. Elman, M.E. O’Connor, F. Picart, S. Swierczek, S. Stockman, R. Reissig and Association Manager M. Malicki. Excused: J. Hurley, L. Jorgensen, and Guest:  Carol Desch, Coordinator of Statewide Library Services at The New York State  Library.

    Some discussion was had about the possibility that Director Larry Jorgensen may be unable to continue as a NYSALB Director representing Nassau County and possibilities were discussed as to possible replacement candidates.

    Prior to this meeting NYSALB Director and 1st Vice President Robert Presutti advised Richard Strauss that he was unable to continue as a NYSALB director and submitted his resignation as Director and 1st Vice President. Two candidates were proposed to fill his position on the NYSALB executive board. M.E. O’Connor was self-submitted as the only candidate on the official slate by her committee. George Stamatiades placed Francis Picart in nomination from the floor without prior arrangement. Francis Picart reported that he had advised the Nominating Committee Chair of his interest in the 1st Vice-President position early in the process but he did not submit a formal request in writing before the slate was compiled under the bylaws restrictions. He was advised by telephone that the slate was closed and nominations from the floor were not permitted but such nominations are actually permitted and so went forward.. M.E. O’Connor was elected as NYSALB 1st Vice-President.

    Minutes:  The minutes of the May 2, 2008 NYSALB Board of Directors meeting were presented for approval.  A Elman moved that the minutes be accepted as submitted.  M.E. O’Connor seconded the motion and the motion passed unanimously.

    Treasurer’s Report:  A. Elman presented the Treasure’s Report. M.E. O’Connor moved that we accept the treasurer’s report. F. Picart seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.

    An approximate 7% loss (6.88% actual) was reported on NYSALB investments over the last 12 months, due mostly to falling investment values relating to larger general economic conditions. Good membership growth was reported to include 460 members, of with 439 memberships are public libraries, 20 are public library system and 1 is an individual compared with 423 and 339 totals memberships reported in the two previous years. Lower than expected losses were also reported for the most recently past Trustee Institute. Handouts were provided for complete details.

    Committee Reports:

         Budget, Finance, and Planning: 

    1) A. Elman proposed and reviewed changes that he suggested to Article XI, Section 2, Paragraph 3 of the bylaws concerning NYSALB financial review policy. The changes would seek to establish in the bylaws that NYSALB accounts shall be reviewed annually by certified accountants. Initial drafts of the proposed changes were included in handouts which would be refined following the discussion at this meeting and sent to board members by email for comment. Questions were raised about the sufficiency of the $5,000.00 financial support level that we propose to allow for the annual review process, which seemed adequate upon discussion. Final review and approval of the bylaws changes are proposed to occur at the November 15, 2008 meeting.

    Guest Reports interrupted the Budget and Finance Report:

    Carol Desch began her report to the NYSALB board with a discussion of the progress of the search underway for a New York State Librarian to replace the recently retired Janet Welch. She advised that no decision had been reached at this point but that the process was fairly advanced with the field of candidates significantly narrowed and telephone interviews were in progress. NYSALB Directors raised concerns about the possible effects of the current state budget problems to limit the authorization to fill or fund the appointment. In her response Carol Desch advised that the Division of Budget had  given the State Library the authorization to proceed and assurance that the position would be funded. A decisionby Deputy Commissioner for Cultural Education Jeffrey Cannell and appointment of the new State Librarian is expected to be made in time for announcement at the 2008 New York State Library Association Annual Conference which begins on November 5, 2008 in Saratoga Springs, New York. No lay offs are expected this year but next year there may be a problem with a 3% salary increase scheduled in their union contracts.

    On the budget side Carol Desch reported that the State Library was struggling with a 2% state aid budget reduction of $874,020 with an additional 0.88% across the board cut to the overall State aid budget expected to come. Desch reported that Michael Borges and NYLA expected more losses including the loss of the promised 8% book budget increase from last year along with a loss of about 13% to the book fund and 10% to the Talking Book and Brail Library funds. On what could be seen as a brighter side Desch reported that they have been advised that Governor Patterson’s 2009 State budget proposal is now expected to be flat. Serious concerns were expressed to Carol from the NYSALB board members about the possibilities and effects that further executive cuts to library aid especially on the State Library  and on library systems even more so.

    Library aid began last year at $102 M and is now $99 M. Desch advised that the Regents had not yet begun to make decisions on their future budget recommendation but with announcement of the Governor’s 2009 flat budget proposal they are now starting their budget request recommendation process. Desch also reported that she expected the budget realities to adversely affect the placement and priority of the Trustee Training program in the 2009 Regent‘s budget request. There was some discussion of the upcoming NYLA Legislative Committee meeting on Tuesday September 9, 2008 and on how to seek their support for the independent NYSALB Trustee Training legislative .proposal if we could send a NYSALB representative to that meeting.

    There was discussion of what was necessary to go forward in pressing the NYSALB Trustee Training proposal in this 2009 legislative session. We advised Desch that the bill would be reintroduced in this year’s legislative session without modification and that Amy Paulin had already agreed to reintroduce the bill. George Stamatiades asked Carol Desch if she could help NYSALB update it’s fact sheets for the NYSALB legislative proposal by providing numbers for the total statewide values of the assets and annual budgets that the trustees covered by the legislation have under their responsibility. Carol agreed to determine those numbers and send us spreadsheets of the data by email before our next meeting. Some discussion was had with Carol and among the NYSALB board members on the possibility of incorporating financial training programs into the standard NYSALB Trustee Institute program.

    Carol Desch provided handouts covering updates on the search for a New York State Librarian and a draft of an amendment to Commissioner’s Regulation 90.7 proposed by NYLA. The NYLA amendment would require 60 hours of professional development over 5 years for holders of New York State professional public library certificates that would apply to holders of certificates issued after January 1, 2010.  A public comment period will be scheduled this Fall to seek comment on the proposed changes to 90.7. Carol Desch asked if NYSALB clearly supported the proposal and felt that if NYSALB supported the proposals the public comment forums should have NYSALB attendance.. Favorable discussion followed the review ending with a consensus of NYSALB support. Plans for attendance at the public forums would be worked out when the dates are announced.

    A progress report on the Bill and Melinda Gates Grant programs was given by Carol Desch reporting on the status of a $600,000.00 grant fund that is available to New York State libraries. 13 applications from 13 libraries competing for funds. Since matching fund positions are involved in the grant competition award criteria and in the final award amounts there are concerns going forward over the impacts that current and future budget reductions may have on the competitiveness of New York State Gates applications and on the final funding award levels that may come through the programs. Carol went on to report that the Gates foundation is demonstrating interest in the status of broadband needs in the states and has hired a firm to evaluate those needs. A hardware grant opportunity is now available to New York libraries through the Gates Foundation with 421 libraries participating in the opportunity out of a total of more that 600 eligible libraries.

         Budget, Finance, and Planning:  Continued after Guest presentation 

    A. Elman corrected the professional fees in the budget proposal moving accounting down from $5,000.00 to $3,000.00. He also advised that the bills should go out by Thanksgiving 2008. Some discussion occurred on cash vs accrual accounting methods and why the cash method is used and good for us.

         Executive Session was entered at 10:08 AM:

    Personnel matters were discussed.

         Executive Session closed at 10:58 AM and regular session was resumed:


    1) A Trustee Institute summary was given with Mary Ellen O’Connor suggesting a double session should be involved covering fiscal management and budget preparation for libraries. Comments were made on presentations given by Jackie Thresher that had good reviews but that might need a more dynamic presentation mode in our setting.

    2) Suggestions were sought for program speakers and topics for the next Trustee Institute at the Holliday Inn in Syracuse, New York. Heidi Holtz (Roseman) the current Program Director, Community Grant making at Gifford Foundation in the Syracuse, New York area was suggested for speaking on organizational lifecycles. Richard Strauss will follow up the possibility with Holtz and look for other possible speakers via the speakers bureau. Strauss will also follow up on ideas for tours and with the local Chamber of Commerce for possible help in assembling packets for the Institute.

    3). Discussions were raised on possibilities of extending the Friday and Saturday program sessions with greater emphasis on networking and the possibility of including a poster session was raised. No decisions were made on these issues.

    4). Food service possibilities were discussed including a Friday night HorsD'Oeuvres buffet with assigned seating to promote mixing of the attendees and the NYSALB Directors. A Saturday sit-down lunch with theme tables was also discussed. Politician visits were proposed for the venue with presentations limited to between 5 to 10 minutes.

    5). Additional program suggestions were made by Mary Ellen O’Connor suggesting strategic planning workshops and panel sessions on Saturday. Arnold Elman suggested “getting out the vote” and anti-fraud policy topics with possible presenter and content sources in the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, CPA’s. Other speaker suggestions emerged such as Richard Panz of Lancaster, New York, former Director of the Rochester Public Library and the Monroe County Library System. Sally Swierczek suggested that Utica, New York pollster John Zogby, President and CEO of Zogby International might be willing to speak on “whom are you serving”. George Stamatiades reported that his Queens library was planning a 3 day retreat for their board of trustees with a hired facilitator and suggested that we might want to consider incorporating the format into our institute or present it as a how-to presentation at an Institute. Other program suggestions included “Branding Libraries” via a public relations firm and programs for small libraries. George Stamatiades advised that he would have a person from his library available to present on “Branding Libraries”.

    6). The November 15, 2008 meeting was set as a target date for trying to finalize most of the details for the Trustee Institute.         


    The vote held to replace the retired 1st Vice-President was 7 in favor of Mary Ellen O’Connor who carried the vote and 3 in favor of Francis Picart.

    Several vacancies persist on the NYSALB board and Richard Strauss advised that he had been in contact with Director Larry Jorgensen from Farmingdale Library in Nassau County. It seems that Larry Jorgensen will be unable to continue in his NYSALB office because of his health and he will be asked to relinquish his seat on the Board. A replacement possibility know to George Stamatiades will be invited to join the board

    Mary Ellen O’Connor reported that there were some problems with successful outreaches to potential Directors but she expected to have 2 or 3 nominations available by the November 2008 meeting.

        Legislation and Policy: 

    Francis Picart reported on the status of the Trustee Training legislative proposal, which pass unanimously in the Senate during the last regular legislative session but did not emerge from the Ways and Means Committee in the Assembly. He reported that he has been in touch with Amy Paulin of the Assembly/ She is prepared to resubmit the bill unchanged in the Assembly and refer it out of her committee. She cautioned that in spite of support for the concepts she expects problems with passage in the Assembly because of the New York State economic problems. Mary Ellen O’Connor will reach out to Ron Canasteri to try to better position the bill for passage in the Assembly. After the November 2008 election planning will begin for educating and pressing new and returning legislators for passage of the Trustee Training bill in 2009 legislative session.

    It was agreed that the Certified Trustee Program should go forward and should be showcased at the Trustee Institutes and in the NYSALB newsletter. Expenses for certificates and related supplies will be put in the budget for the November 2008 meeting.

    George Stamatiades volunteered to chair the Membership Committee and the membership summaries were reviewed.

    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 advised that newsletter articles are due by the end of next week and that the newsletter will carry a bipartisan column from Senator Farley and Assemblywoman Paulin going forward. It was agreed that Sam Patton should contribute to library system newsletters and emailings.

    It was agreed that software costs of $200.00 to $300.00 should be borne by NYSALB to facilitate new program versions of software for Sam Patton to continue his work on the newsletter on his new computer platform.

    Joan Hurley reported that she did not look at the NYSALB web site until August 2008 and has since lost her computer data. She plans to have information for the November 2008 meeting. All links must be checked for existence and update and all data needs to be checked for current status and relevance.

    Attendees were sought for the NYLA Council meeting on Wednesday November 5, 2008 meeting. A reminder was made that NYSALB has 2 sessions at the 2008 Annual NYLA Conference beginning November 5, 2008 to November 8, 2008.

         Velma Moore Award and Distinguished Service Award:

    A newsletter article is needed to advertise for next year. A raise in the award amount was considered but declined by the board. It was agreed that nominees from previous years can continue to compete but they must reapply and the guidelines need to be revised to reflect the change.    

         By-Law Committee (ad-hoc):



    Richard Strauss will send articles on trustee training to the newsletter and articles and emails from Senator Farley with concerns about trustee training will be crafted for an article.

        Old Business 

    A Strategic planning session is planned for 7:00 PM Friday night November 14, 2008 before the Saturday November 15, 2008 NYSALB Board meeting. Pizza and Beer and flipcharts will be available for the session.

        New Business:


    There being no further business Mary Ellen O’Connor moved that the meeting be adjourned. The meeting adjourned at 1:49 PM.

    Respectively submitted,
    Francis Picart, Secretary

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