Trustee

Spring 2012

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.

System Overview

by Jackie Thresher, Executive Director

Spring 2012 issue of Trustee

Nassau Library System

The Nassau Library System (NLS) is a cooperative library system with 54 autonomous member libraries.  Even though our service area is a single county, we are not a county library system.  Neither we nor our member libraries receive any financial support from the County.

The majority of our members are school district public libraries, but we also have 11 village, 5 special district, and 5 association libraries as members.  Four of our association libraries serve school districts, while the 5th serves a village.   Thirty-eight of our member libraries have public votes on their budgets.  The facilities and other resources of our member
libraries vary substantially.

Many residents are challenged by high housing prices and taxes in particular, as well as the overall high cost of living in this region, in general.  Nassau, too, is challenged by unemployment and underemployment.  Many work multiple low-paying, part-time jobs without benefits.  Illegal apartments in attics and basements in what are supposed to be single-family homes are common in many communities.

A primary function of NLS is to support and strengthen our member libraries.  We encourage and facilitate resource sharing and collaboration.  We also offer centralized services (such as cataloging) and coordinated access to databases and online services to achieve economies of scale via group discounts, saving member libraries (and the taxpayers that support them) dollars.

NLS is a source of continuing education for member library staff and administrators and trustee development.  Our staff provides leadership, guidance and assistance to member libraries in the areas of:  services to children, teens, the state-specified target populations for outreach; online services and technology; planning; library management and operations; compliance with regulations and laws. We offer crisis communication and media management assistance without charge to our member libraries via a contract with a professional firm.

NLS has co-central libraries - East Meadow and Levittown.  Our co-central libraries contract with two other libraries - Hempstead, a resource center for materials in languages other than English, and Hewlett-Woodmere, a resource center for music and art.

NLS promotes best practices and the continuous improvement of library service.  We serve as a liaison between member libraries, the Division of Library Development, and the statewide library network.  We advocate for our member libraries and their interests at the local, regional, state and national levels.

Continuing to provide essential services has been our primary challenge since the State began reducing aid to library systems in 2008.  We have been forced to request more financial support from our member libraries, which they are finding increasingly difficult to afford.  Another major challenge has been agreeing upon an equitable formula for cost recovery which allows our smallest and less-well supported member libraries to continue to benefit from the more costly services we offer.  We continue to work with our member libraries to address these challenges so that NLS can continue to be the infrastructure for public library service in Nassau.

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