Winter 2008

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Regents Propose "New York Library Initiative" For 2008

By Janet M. Welch, New York State Librarian and Assistant Commissioner for Libraries

Winter 2008 issue of Trustee

The Board of Regents approved a budget and legislative proposal that, if passed by the Legislature and Executive, would provide more State support for public libraries and systems in 2008.  Training for New York’s public library trustees is a key component of that proposal.  The New York Library Initiative includes increased support for public library construction and renovation, library systems, all library programs in Education Law, trustee training, literacy, school readiness programs, and a robust Statewide Internet Library.

Libraries and Library Systems
The New York Library Initiative would continue and make permanent the $8 million in Library System Supplemental aid from 2007-2008.  There would also be a $3 million inflationary increase for all library aid programs in Education Law.
Trustee Training

The proposal also recommends $750,000 to provide training for trustees of libraries, library systems, museums and public broadcasting.  It is anticipated that the New York State Association of Library Boards will be a key partner with the State Library and the public library systems in developing and delivering this service.

Public Library Construction
While many public libraries were helped by one-time appropriations of $14 million for public library construction in 2006 and 2007, a recent needs assessment shows that there remains a $2.1 billion statewide need for construction and renovation.   The “New York Library Initiative” would provide $20 million in ongoing support for public library construction grants to enable public libraries to continue to renovate facilities and provide energy efficiency and accessibility for people with disabilities.

Statewide Internet Library
Following the overwhelming success of the NOVELNY pilot project, the New York Library Initiative proposes $10 million to grow and sustain a permanent Statewide Internet Library.   Included in the $10 million would be ongoing support for library systems to assist their member libraries in using new technologies and for additional statewide digital resources.

Growing Readers @ the Library
The New York Library Initiative also proposes $7.5 million for the “Growing Readers @ the Library” program.  Included is $5 million for early literacy programs in partnership with public television stations, $1 million for library summer reading programs, and $800,000 for library materials and services to New Yorkers with disabilities.  Another $750,000 would enable the New York State Library and New York State Archives to open to the public on Saturdays.

School Library Materials Aid
In addition to the New York Library Initiative, the Regents included an item in the State Aid to Schools proposal to increase School Library Materials Aid from the current $6.25 per pupil to $10 per pupil.  

For more information go to the New York Library Initiative web site at :  or contact Janet M. Welch, New York State Librarian and Assistant Commissioner for Libraries, at (518) 474-5930 or via email at

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