State Senator Hugh T. Farley (R,C, I – Schenectady) reports that he was named Chairman of a newly-created Senate Select Committee on Libraries. This 19-member bipartisan body was established on January 10th through passage of a Senate resolution.
“This new committee will help the Senate in promoting libraries and addressing their needs,” said Senator Farley. “I am proud to have been a lifelong advocate for libraries, and will continue my efforts to assist them in meeting the needs of the public.
“From 1978 to 2008, I was Chairman of the Subcommittee on Libraries,” Senator Farley said, explaining the history of the committee. “When the Senate changed leadership in 2009, the Democratic Majority eliminated this committee. I was extremely disappointed and concerned by this. Libraries have their own special needs, and I had recommended reestablishing a special Senate Committee to focus on and address their issues. I applaud Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos for recognizing the importance of libraries and appointing this committee.”
The Select Committee is authorized to conduct meetings, conferences and public hearings, to gather information and to make recommendations on library-related legislative proposals.
Mike Borges, Executive Director of the New York Library Association, attended the Senate Session and said “The library community is very pleased that the Senate has reactivated a special committee on libraries and look forwards to working with all the members to address the needs of libraries and library systems around the State.”
Senator Farley reports there are some 750 public libraries in New York State, with a total of about 7,000 libraries when academic, school and special libraries are included. There are 17 public libraries and two library systems which serve Senator Farley’s district. Each year, Senator Farley meets with local library officials to hear their concerns and get their input.
“Libraries are very important to our communities and our State,” Senator Farley said. “They provide educational services and opportunities to people of all ages. Whether you are learning to read, doing a school project, advancing your education, learning new skills, seeking a job, pursuing your hobbies and interests, seeking access to the Internet or simply looking for a good book to read, libraries offer a wide variety of resources and services to the public.”
Senator Farley has sponsored virtually every piece of major library legislation since 1978. He was a member of Governor Mario Cuomo’s Commission on Libraries and was also an elected delegate to the White House Conferences on Libraries in 1979 and 1991. He has fought to secure State funding for libraries and to establish new forms of library services, including school library systems and hospital library programs.
In 2009, the Mohawk Valley Library System honored Senator Farley for his advocacy and support of libraries. In 2011, Senator Farley received the Ex Libris Award from the organization New Yorkers for Better Libraries in recognition of his leadership on library issues.