As former State Librarian Bernie Margolis shared in this column in the Winter 2018 issue of Trustee, the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries (RAC), the New York State Library, the Public Library System Directors Organization (PULISDO), the New York Library Association (NYLA), and the Library Trustees Association of New York State (LTA) are committed to improving public library services. These groups increasingly partner together to address important policy issues. The most recent example of such collaborative work is the development of sustainable policies that will help assure equivalent levels of access to library services and resources through Minimum Standards for Public Libraries in New York State.
PULISDO led the initial two-year effort to update the minimum standards which were last revised some twenty years ago. Feedback was gathered through local and regional meetings hosted by the library systems and through several online surveys of key stakeholders. State library staff shared a final draft of the proposed new Commissioner’s Regulation 90.2 Standards for Registration of public, association and Indian Libraries (commonly known as minimum standards) with the Board of Regents in April 2018. After the 60-day public comment period, the Board of Regents approved the amendments during their July 2018 meeting (http://www.regents.nysed.gov/common/regents/files/718brca2.pdf ). The new regulations took effect August 1, 2018. Libraries not already in compliance will have until January 1, 2021 to comply with the fourteen (14) standards. The current minimum standards, which are also included in the text of the amended regulation, will remain in effect until December 31, 2020.
PULISDO and the State Library produced a new 2018 edition of Helpful Information for Libraries in Meeting Minimum Public Library Standards (http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/libdev/helpful.htm) which will soon be available on the State Library’s website. PULISDO is also offering targeted education programs and the library systems are providing technical assistance and support for any of their member libraries that may need help with implementation.
The standards include a multi-year phased-in approach to implementation that will help ensure success for even the smallest of New York’s libraries. Equally important will be our continued collaborative efforts as a statewide library community working together to secure additional local, State and federal funding for improving library and library system services for all New Yorkers.
If you have questions about the changes to Minimum Standards or if your library needs assistance in achieving compliance, I encourage you to contact your public library system director.
From the Desk of Carol Ann Desch,
Coordinator of Statewide Library Services, New York State Library