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Advocacy Day Wrap-Up
by Martha Anderson

How does LTA measure the success of the 2015 Library Advocacy Day?

February 25 saw more than 775 library trustees, professionals, and student groups converge on the State Legislative Building – the largest attendance for an Advocacy Day. That translates to a record number of personal sessions with individual legislators.

Enthusiastic advocates filled the “Well” for a noon rally. Several legislators took time to announce their support for budget resolutions for increased library aid. Long standing library champion Hugh Farley, Senate Chair of Libraries and Education Technology, pledged Senate support for increased funding for libraries. Other speakers included Fred Thiele, outgoing Assembly Library Chair, and Long Island legislators, Michael Solanges and Joseph Soladino.

It was the library world’s first look at Tom Abananti, newly appointed Assembly Chair of Libraries and Education Technology. He spoke of libraries as a place to learn and a critical part of education that should be funded as a part of New York’s educational system. He referenced Governor Cuomo’s proposal that the surplus be designated for infrastructure and construction and added “libraries are a ‘road’ forward and a ‘bridge’ to the future.”

Advocates carried the library message to Albany. The Senate and Assembly have demonstrated support for library funding and construction aid through their one-house budget resolutions. The real test is whether the Senate and Assembly hold libraries as priority throughout the budget process.

President’s Memo
by Bob Presutti, LTA Board President

Importance of Library Trustee Training

 Over 6,000 library trustees in New York State are responsible for governing 756 local public libraries with 1,100 facilities.  More than 10 percent are appointed or elected for the first time each year and are in need of basic training.  Library trustees are required by law to be good stewards of $1.3 billion in public and private annual income, $3.3 billion in library collections and several billion dollars in other critical public assets such as library buildings and equipment.  New York is a diverse State and the scope of this responsibility is wide ranging, from diverse urban libraries serving millions of people with budgets over $100 million to rural libraries serving small, geographically isolated communities with budgets of less than $10,000.  Regardless of the size of the community, size of the library or size of library’s  budget, library board members need basic training.

Public and association library trustees and board members are an essential element in providing oversight and guidance to help maintain the effective and efficient administration of a local library.  Library board members who are versed in the powers, functions and duties of their positions, including their fiduciary responsibilities, will be better able to effective oversight and help a library meet its mission and be accountable to the local community, thereby protecting the public interest.

There are no ongoing, comprehensive State-approved education or training programs for newly appointed  or elected library trustees in New York State to inform them as to their fiscal oversight and stewardship responsibilities and to provide them with the current information and tools necessary to successfully carry out this critical policy and fiscal oversight role.

The LTA together with The State Library continues to partner with others to enhance statewide trustee training.  The Regents recognize that trained library boards can save communities money by making informed policy decisions regarding fiscal matters, personnel issues,legal matters and contractual obligations.  Library governance grows increasingly more complex every year, and library board members need basic training during their first year of service in order to understand and effectively carry out their mandated duties and responsibilities.

Your LTA is committed to provide the necessary imputus to secure the training that is so essential.

Get Your Library Questions Answered!
A Service for LTA Members: Ask Joe Eisner

Featured Question:

Is there any statutory requirement that either an association or a public library board hold an annual reorganization meeting?

There is no statutory requirement of which mandates that a library board must hold a reorganization meeting at any specific time, if ever. Nevertheless, it may be good practice to do so, but that option would be entirely at discretion of a library board.

While an annual reorganization meeting may be statutorily mandated for school boards and other types of governmental bodies, neither the Education Law nor any other statute mandates that library boards  must  do so. No doubt the by-laws of many library boards, regardless of type, may specify that such a procedure take place at a specific time, but if that is the case, the board can waive or change the time, either  by formal resolution or the acquiescence of a majority of board members. If that occurs, unless otherwise specified in the by-laws, previously elected officers would retain their positions, all resolutions adopted at a previous reorganization meeting would remain in effect until further action by a majority of the board, whether at a formal reorganization meeting or haphazardly at other times at formally convened meetings to conduct board business.

The benefit to a library board of holding an annual reorganization meeting would be to review procedures in effect, such as  the election or appointment of officers, schedule of meeting dates, auditing and payment of bills, and other matters which would tend to  expedite the conduct of board business.

Do You Have a Library Question Which Requires an Answer?

As part of LTA’s expansion of service to aid and assist library trustees and directors, LTA offers members an opportunity to confer with Joe Eisner, free of charge. Joe can be contacted toll-free at 1 (866) 720-8969 or by email at

For more information about Joe Eisner’s experience and background, please click on the “Ask Joe Eisner” tab under “Resources and Links” on LTA’s website.

News from the State Librarian
From the Desk of Bernard A. Margolis,
New York State Librarian and Assistant Commissioner for Libraries

The New York State Library is committed to helping you, as a trustee, to better serve your library and community. Are you taking full advantage of the trustee education opportunities offered by the Library Trustees Association (LTA) of New York State, such as the upcoming 2015 Trustee Institute on May 1 & 2 in Syracuse?  I hope to see you there!

As an appointed or elected library trustee, you have a critically important job to do. Ongoing education about trustee roles and responsibilities is important to your effectiveness, and in turn, to the success of your library. LTA, your public library system, the New York Library Association and, of course, your State Library work together to offer trustees valuable and timely education and training. With over 6,000 library trustees in New York State, trustee training is a big job!  Over ten percent of our library trustees are appointed or elected for the first time each year and are in need of basic orientation and training.

Trustees often share with me the challenges they face in attending in-person training. For some, it’s difficult to carve out time from a busy work week or family life.  For others, it’s the cost or the distance.  The State Library, working in partnership with LTA and with a national organization called OCLC WebJunction, is expanding opportunities for trustee education by offering a variety of free online resources to help library trustees achieve their personal learning goals. Topics range from the basics such as “What Every Trustee Should Know” and “Freedom of Information and Open Meetings Laws for Libraries” to more advanced topics such as “The Critical Partnership: Public Library Trustees and Directors” and “Public Library Finance and the Trustee’s Fiduciary Responsibilities.”

These online resources are available online 24/7 from work or even at home.  They include “live” webinars, “archived” webinars and online courses. “Live” webinars are interactive (with a chat function) and offer an experience similar to professional workshops in an easily accessed online forum. OCLC WebJunction online courses allow you to learn at your own pace. You can even start a course, pause it when other matters require your attention and then pick up where you left off at your convenience.

Information about State Library/LTA webinars for library trustees is located on the State Library’s website at: . Information about free OCLC WebJunction webinars, online courses and other resources is available on the State Library’s website at .

All of these resources are available to you and your library staff at no charge. Some library systems, or even individual library boards and directors are engaging in blended learning, viewing a webinar together (or individually) and then discussing what they learned as a group.  I encourage you to try out these convenient and easy-to-use online resources. New upcoming “live” webinar topics and dates are announced on the State Library’s official listserv called NYLINE.  To subscribe to NYLINE, please visit the State Library’s website at: .

See you in Syracuse!

Library Trustees Association (LTA) of New York State
presents the 2015 Trustee Institute – May 1st & 2nd

Crucial Connections

Location: DoubleTree Inn
6301 NY-298, East Syracuse, NY 13057
315) 432-0200 Room Block Code: LTA (Reserve Room by April 10 for Discount)

Hosted by the following systems:  Finger Lakes • Mid-York • North Country • Onondaga County

Please join fellow trustees from around the state as they connect with technology, resources, information, best practices, and each other.



3:00 – 6:00 pm


3:00 – 4:00 pm


“Wine Country in the City.” 6475 Collamer Road.  Short drive from the hotel.  (Nominal Fee)


4:00 – 6:30 pm


Hands-on Tech Lab, System tables, and vendor contacts

Cocktails (cash bar), raffles, complimentary hors d’oeuvres


6:30 – 8:30 pm

DINNER & PRESENTATION OF Outstanding Trustee and Friend Awards

Opening remarks by LTA Institute Chair Adria Ripka, Host System Directors and closing remarks by Bernard Margolis, Assistant Commissioner for Libraries and NY State Librarian

SATURDAY, MAY 2        

8:00 – 9:00 am



9:00 – 10:15 am



A.  Connecting with your Community

Presenter: Libby Post, President, Communication Services (Strategies and methods to connect with patrons, politicians and the public.)

B.  Connecting the Numbers

Presenter: Gail Kinsella, CPA, GGMA, Partner at Testone, Marshall and DiScenza (Focus on internal controls, types and purposes of audits.)

C.  Connecting the Legal Lines

Presenter: Robert T. Schofield, Partner and Ellen Bach, , Osterman & Hanna, LLP. (Legal “hot” topics, legal resources, questions and answers.)


10:15 – 10:45 am


Coffee Break and time for networking.


10:45 – 11:45 am


A repeat of earlier breakout sessions — a chance to connect with one of the other presenters.


12:15 – 1:30 pm



1:30 – 2:30 pm


Dr. David Lankes, from Syracuse University. Expecting More from Libraries.

Get a better feel for the big picture as our libraries play a vital role in community engagement.

System Overview – North Country Library System
by Steve Bolton, Executive Director, NCLS

In 1948, an experiment was conducted to see if New York State could promote shared services among small rural public libraries. The site of the experiment was Watertown, New York, and the results would change library service in America.

On the staff were eight librarians to help the member libraries adopt polices, improve their collections, provide reference service and improve funding.  In addition, librarians had to create a regional card catalog from scratch, design an interlibrary loan system, and start a delivery route.  This was a new endeavor in the library world, and people traveled to the system from around the country to observe its progress.

After a successful decade-long trial period, the North Country Library System was chartered in 1958, and what began as an experiment in collaboration led to a statewide network of 23 public library systems, 41 schools systems and nine “3R’s” systems.

Today, the NCLS service area includes Jefferson, Lewis, Oswego, and St. Lawrence counties in rural Northern New York – a geographical area of approximately 6,200 square miles. NCLS provides services to 65 libraries, three reading centers and five correctional facilities.

Over the past 66 years typewriters have become computers and the information from the card catalog now zips through fiber optic connections.  NCLS assists the member libraries in keeping pace with technology by hosting and designing web sites, providing databases, installing secure wireless service, maintaining a circulation system and fixing PC problems remotely.  But some things have remained the same. Librarians conduct classes and workshops for member library staff and trustees on the field of librarianship, including funding, technology, programming, and advocacy. NCLS assists member libraries with all manner of services, from grants and state reports to printing projects and materials repairs. New directors and trustees receive their orientation from NCLS, and our delivery service covers an area larger than the state of Connecticut!

The success of NCLS rests on the continuing close relationship that exists between system staff and the dedicated staff and trustees in the libraries.  The challenges in the North Country remain distances and economics.  (Not to mention our famous winter weather.)

With libraries 70 miles to south, 100 miles to the north and 75 miles to the east from the NCLS Service Center, workshops are increasingly difficult to convene.  We are answering this with more focused regional meetings, webinars, and video-conferences.  The majority of NCLS libraries serve small villages, with populations of a few hundred or a couple thousand.  A group of extremely dedicated staff and trustees provide their patrons with community centers, children’s programs, electronic resources for the life-long learner, and a portal to the information world.

Due to severe cuts in state aid, the cooperative experiment of 1948 is severely challenged today, but the same spirit of innovation and dedication that still infuses North Country library supporters will carry us forward.

From the Editor’s Desk
by Adria Ripka

I sincerely hope that, as you read this edition, all the snow has melted in your area. Growing up in Central New York, snow is nothing new for me, but January and February were brutal. Now that we are well into the new year, it is time to move on to new things as the days get longer.

One major project I encourage you to consider is to attend the 2015 Trustee Institute in Syracuse on May 1st and 2nd. The center pages of this newsletter give you a description of both Friday’s and Saturday’s opportunities to explore new options, brush up on your technology skills, and learn important concepts from accounting and legal professionals. The planning committee has worked hard to provide a mix of learning activities from diverse speakers as well as a chance to meet with other trustees, see vendor displays and also have some fun. Our display area will include a basket raffle and the PAC 50/50 fundraiser. There is no library tour planned this year, but a side trip to a new local winery is part of Friday’s options. Bring your own digital devices and get you questions answered at the Tech Lab.

This year’s Institute is an LTA collaboration with the Finger Lakes, Mid-York, North Country and Onondaga County library systems. I want to thank the System Directors and their support staff who have worked so hard with the planning committee to make the 2015 Trustee Institute an event you don’t want to miss. Steve Bolton (NCLS), Wanda Buchis (MYLS), Amanda Travis (OCPL) and Jean Currie (FLLS) all shared ideas, recommendations, and boundless energy at our planning meetings. With their input, LTA hopes the Institute will meet the needs of the trustees from those systems, as well as trustees attending from other parts of New York State.

If you have already registered for the event, well done. However, it isn’t too late to join us in May. Register on the LTA website or complete the form included in this newsletter and send it in. Each LTA board member and our Executive Director, Tim Gavin, looks forward to seeing you in Syracuse.

REGISTER TODAY! Online or return the form in this newsletter.

2015 LTA Trustee Institute: Crucial Connections

DoubleTree Inn, East Syracuse, NY May 1st & 2nd

LTA members receive significant discounts off Institute Registration.

More information about the Institute and membership can be found on the website.