Fall 2001

The Trustee communicates issues affecting libraries and library services. Once a library and systems join LTA, all their trustees automatically receive this quarterly publication published by LTA. To learn more about membership in LTA, Click Here.

From The Desk Of The Sub-committee Chair

Senator Hugh T. Farley

Fall 2001 issue of Trustee

As a library trustee, are you setting a good example?  Do you use your library -- really use your library -- for the information you need in your business or profession?

The Friends of the New York State Library recently reminded State legislators of some of the legal and legislative resources available at the State Library.  Using an example of legislation being discussed in the Senate and Assembly, the article in the State Library News identified sources of information in support of, and in opposition to, the bill.

The article then described a comprehensive new online service from the State Library.  "State Capital Universe" provides access to bills, laws, and regulations in all 50 states, enabling users to analyze trends and to compare laws in the different states.  Available 24 hours a day to registered borrowers of the State Library, this is an example of a library resource which we in the Legislature should be using.

Here's another example of the use of library resources in my job as a legislator.  New York State recently outlawed the use of handheld wireless telephones while driving.  Many legislators who voted in favor of the law did so based on a survey indicating that 85 percent of voters support such a ban.

I voted against the proposal, in part because of general civil liberties concerns, but in part because of my research on the topic.  My survey of the literature showed that there is little definitive science on the subject.  Most work to date suggests that wireless telephone use is likely no more dangerous than other driver distractions.  It is also quite possible that the distraction arises from the process of talking, not from the dexterity issue of holding both the telephone and the steering wheel. The law, however, permits the use of speakerphones or headsets.

Hence, someone who has done the research -- be it a legislator who voted for the bill or a citizen who was among the 85 percent polled in support of the ban -- should have serious questions about the value of the new law.

Our libraries are treasure troves of information for businesses and professions.  Some libraries have developed specialized collections to meet the research needs of local industries.  Others have built services which leverage library resources to meet a specific community need.  The Schenectady County Library's job-hunting program, which includes help with resume writing and interviewing skills, grew out of the dark days of corporate layoffs.  In today's booming economy, employers and employees alike continue to benefit from the library's services.

Trustees, and those of us who consider ourselves library supporters, need to be among the most active users of library services.  That way, we can speak from positive experience when we say: "Here is what the library has done for me."

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