Spring 2011

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.

News from the State Librarian

Spring 2011 issue of Trustee

A Look 2000

In 2000, the New York State Board of Regents Commission on Library Services issued its final report ( and ten recommendations “to deliver 21st century library services to all New Yorkers.” The Board of Regents immediately adopted the Commission’s report and its ten recommendations as statewide policy for library services. This statewide policy has been in place for more than a decade now. The State Library, with assistance and feedback from the library community and the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries (RAC), has compiled a special report that captures implementation progress to date and continuing challenges (

The good news is that in the 10 years since the adoption of the Commission recommendations by the Board of Regents, New York’s library community has made great strides in improving the quality of library services for all New Yorkers. For example:

• Over 99% of public libraries meet minimum stan- dards for library service.
• Local voters established and funded 40 new public library districts.
• 475 public library buildings benefited from new con- struction or major renovation.
• The number of available public access computers grew from 1,181 to 15,928.
• NOVELNY searches grew from 1.1 million to 38.8 million a year.
• Expanded library service areas reduced the number of New Yorkers not served by a local public library by more than 37% from 1.3 million to 945,037 people.
•The number of young people participating in “Summer Reading at New York’s Libraries” jumped from 344,000 to 1.5 million a year.
• New York residents who are 18 and over are now able to obtain a State Library borrower’s card and the State Library is now open on Saturdays.

It will not be news to most library trustees that despite many great accomplishments during the past decade, there are still numerous challenges ahead. Advancing technology and the turbulent economy has placed libraries in a position which never could have been imagined ten years ago. Library use is way up at a time when economic pressures on local, state and federal budgets are also increasing. Trustees are dealing with increasingly complex political, legal and economic issues. The need for effective trustee education and training is more critical now than ever before.

The Library Trustees Association of New York State, the Public Library System Directors Organization (PULISDO), the State Library, the New York Library Association, and others have partnered over that past decade to improve and expand learning opportunities and tools for library and library system trustees.    The Library Trustees Association continues to offer a high- quality Trustee Institute each year. Many of the library systems offer outstanding web tools and resources for their trustees, while others have devel- oped online training modules and delivered face-to- face workshops. Thanks to Jerry Nichols, the “Trustee Handbook” was revised twice – in 2005 and again in early 2010. But all of this is not enough.

A Look Forward... to 2020

As New York’s library community moves closer to 2020, my vision and hope is that every trustee will have the tools, resources, and information he or she needs to successfully carry out the basic duties and governance responsibilities that are so critical to each library’s future. The Regents Advisory Council on Libraries (RAC), led by Bridget Quinn-Carey of Queens Library has been challenged by the Board of Regents to work with the State Library, the Library Trustees Association, the New York Library Association, and the library community to develop a new 2020 policy vision for New York’s libraries and library systems. Throughout 2011, RAC members will be reaching out to various stakeholder groups and key leaders both within and outside of the library community to shape this new vision. There will be an update on the “2020 Vision Plan” during the November 2-5, 2011 NYLA Conference in Saratoga Springs so mark your calendars! Some information about the 2020 Vision process is posted on the State Library website at ( dev/adviscns/rac/index.html) and more will be forth- coming. Public library trustees are encouraged to participate and to share their vision for the future of library services in New York State.

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