Fall 2003

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.

Legislative Update Stalwarts Brave Snow For Advocacy By

By Jane Sweet, NYSALB Director, Legislative Chair

Fall 2003 issue of Trustee

The Advocacy Leadership Meeting February 12 at The Clarence Public Library had 65 in attendance despite severe snow conditions.  Western New York schools were closed due to the weather but the warm library and outstanding presenters made the day worthwhile.

Janet Welch, State Librarian, gave Good News: Strong School Libraries result in High Student performance; In the last two years library usage surged up 20%;   Bad News: State funding for libraries has been stagnant and last year there was a 3% reduction. Cuts will mean already fragile school libraries will disappear and/or no new materials available and there will be limitations or elimination of inter-library loans. Public libraries will have fewer open hours and possible elimination of special programs. Advocates job will be to promote New Century Libraries and NOVEL, informing legislators the value of their support of these two major items and of the effect of the Governor's proposed 15% library budget cut.

Michael Mahaney, Director of Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, Dr. Donald Ogilvie, Superintendent of Erie I BOCES, Dr. Richard C. Timbs, Superintendent of Erie II-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus, each corroborated Janet's message of the outcomes of the cutbacks.

Chancellor Robert Bennett, expressed concern about the effects, of budget cuts to the broad spectrum of library education from Kindergarten thru Higher Education and Adult Education.  "The economic engine starts with education thru libraries".

Commissioner Richard Mills, stated, we must be ready to find fellow supporters of libraries: parents, businesses, union (who have members recently arrived from other countries), real estate people, mom's going back to school and persons doing job searches.  When lobbying, be sure to carry the map of the state which displays in RED the areas of the state without any library services. Pursue the advantages provided by New Century Libraries and NOVEL.Thomas Jefferson said, "This free society cannot live without libraries!"

Susan Bartle, of Erie BOCES II, did an outstanding job coordinating the events of the day including a catered lunch.  All present filled out a post card for the Speaker of the Assembly or for the Senate Majority Leader expressing their individual concerns about the cutbacks. Prizes were given to three lucky winners of a post card drawing.

The afternoon session included presentations from Carolyn Giambra, Past President of NYLA, MaryJo Ketchum Past President of NYSALB and Rebecca Mahoney, Vice-Chair, Buffalo & Erie County Public Library.   All three agreed, becoming a familiar face to your particular state legislator is important. Make an appointment to visit in their home office if you are unable to get to Albany and present the case. "We cannot live with the Governor's budget!"

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