WLS Legislator Breakfast – 9/18/2014

September 22nd, 2014 No comments

 

Over 60 library directors and trustees gathered together on 9/18 at the Westchester Library System (WLS) Headquarters for a Breakfast to thank our New York State Legislators for their support in adding back money to the FY2014-2015 Executive Budget for Library Aid and maintaining the $14 Million Public Library Construction Aid Program.

Nine legislative offices were represented as follows:

LegBreak_Legislators

NEW YORK STATE SENATE

  • John Tomlin from Andrea Stewart-Cousins’ office [35th Senate District]
  • George Latimer [37th Senate District]

NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY

  • Amy Paulin [88th Assembly District]
  • Kevin Czerwinski from Amy Paulin’s office [88th Assembly District]
  • J. Gary Pretlow [89th Assembly District]
  • Shelley Mayer [90th Assembly District]
  • Debra Lagapa from Steven Otis’ Office [91st Assembly District]
  • Thomas Abinanti [92nd Assembly District]
  • Elisa Jacobs from Thomas Abinanti’s office [92nd Assembly District]
  • David Buchwald [93rd Assembly District]
  • Sandra Galef [95th Assembly District]

Pat Braja, Director of Development, welcomed everyone for vacationing Executive Director Terry Kirchner, and talked about the important role that WLS plays as one of the 23 public library systems established in 1958 by State Education Law.

By providing services out of one location, versus each of the 38 libraries in Westchester having to provide these services individually, taxpayers save money.  WLS empowers libraries through services that include:   maintenance of the online library system; cataloging; Interlibrary Loan; delivery; professional development; and consultation services.  Library systems are a good investment.  In fact, studies have shown that for each $1 invested, a return of $13 in services is gained.

A portion of Library Aid also goes to outreach for persons who may be unserved or underserved.  Elena Falcone, Director of WLS’s Public Innovation and Engagement (PIE), spoke of some of the unique programs helping to meet these needs including:

Senior Benefit Information Center (SBIC)

TASC Connect!  – New name for the Graduate Equivalency Diploma (GED) that stands for Test Assessing Secondary Completion.

Learning Ambassadors

Cindy Rubino, President of the Public Library Directors Association (PLDA), focused on the State Aid received through the NYS Construction Grant Program.  Libraries have transformed into true centers of our communities; and library buildings also need to be renovated to meet new demands or simply to be updated with much-needed infrastructure projects.David Buchwald with Librarians

Originally, NYS included in its budget only $800,000 for the entire State for Construction Grant money [Westchester's portion was less than $34,000].  In 2006, this program was expanded to $14 Million, with Westchester getting approximately $654,000 (based on population).  Libraries can submit applications for their eligible construction grants and potentially receive up to 75% of the total project costs.  Over $5 Million has been awarded to over 90 library construction projects since this program’s inception; and posters were displayed for each Legislative District with that district’s construction project awards received.

However, costs keep rising.  While the additional money put back into the budget brought Library Aid to a total of $86.6 Million [Westchester's portion is approximately $2 Million], this amount still does not equal what is prescribed by Education Law–and the $14 Million for Public Library Construction has remained the same for 8 years.

The Legislators wrapped up the event by sharing their appreciation for the services that libraries have provided through such challenging times over the past years, with minimal resources.  Many are themselves avid library users and have a good understanding of how libraries can change the lives of their constituents; and they will continue, as they are able, in their efforts to support library programs in Westchester.

Retirement of Rhoda Gushue

April 10th, 2014 No comments

 

Elise Burke, Maurice (Mitch) Freedman, and Terry Kirchner

Elise Burke, Maurice (Mitch) Freedman, and Terry Kirchner

I recently received this picture taken of me with former WLS Director Mitch Freedman and current WLS Director Terry Kirchner at the Jazz Reception held to honor Rhoda Gushue upon her retirement as Director from the Bedford Hills Free Library.  Although the event was held almost a month ago (3/13), it still resonates in my mind.  Rhoda served the library and community of Bedford Hills for 43 years!  That got me to thinking–will I be working for WLS that long?  In this day and age, when new models of computers and software come out faster than when you can get used to the last one, I think that longevity is often under appreciated.  Do we really understand the dedication and love that one must have to “go the distance”?

In my workings with Rhoda over many NYS Annual Reports, I knew first-hand that Rhoda had a special commitment and loyalty to her work and profession; but it was wonderful to see how this event captured Rhoda’s spirit and shared her love of jazz, and to hear how others were touched by Rhoda’s career as well. I commend all who took part in putting together such a wonderful tribute.

During this National Library Week, these thoughts lead me to say a heartfelt thank you to the many other library workers throughout this County that display true dedication and commitment to their profession.  Your efforts are long-lasting–and that’s a great thing.

For more photos from Rhoda’s Jazz Reception, click on the link below:

http://www.bedfordhillsfreelibrary.org/galleries/album/2937543

 

Comics Plus: Library Edition is the new digital revolution bringing thousands of digital graphic novels and comics are only a click away!

April 1st, 2014 No comments

We have some fantastic news for you: our library now has thousands digital graphic novels and comics available to read on any web-connected device.  We have recently partnered with iVerse Media to provide you with an incredible collection of titles via their Comics Plus: Library Edition.  This revolutionary digital collection includes every genre you could wish for: fiction, non-fiction, fantasy, thrillers, romance, indie comics, Sunday funnies, and mangaCPLE Standard Logo Web Image.gif

How do you find these books?  Simply click on the Comics Plus: Library Edition logo on our home page and activate your account.  From there you can fill your virtual bookshelf with any title you choose to read.  When you do place titles onto your bookshelf, you will see an orange banner running diagonally across the upper right corner of the cover.  This tells you how many days you have left to read the title.   When the seven days are completed, the book is automatically returned-and you don’t have to do a thing!

Please feel free to browse the collection as we are sure you will discover an entire world of storytelling you never knew existed!  Of course there are hundreds of titles and series that you will recognize:  Adventure Time, Lego Ninjago, Doonesbury, Bleach, Archie, Sonic the Hedgehog, Naruto, Dilbert, Cathy, Garfield, Red Sonja, The Shadow- it is a virtual tidal wave of digital graphic novels and comics.  Among the many publishers we have are Archie Comics, BOOM! Studios, Papercutz, Andrews McMeel, VIZ Media, Ape Entertainment, Dynamite, Graphic Classics and many, many more!

What’s even better is that you can read them from any place you have a web connection and on any device: tablet, pc, smart phone, you can even read them on gaming systems!

Be sure to log in to our Comics Plus: Library Edition collection today and get your collection created!

Multi-language Book Fair coming to Westchester County

March 20th, 2014 No comments

Plan to attend the Multi-language Book Fair on Thursday, April 3rd!

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This free event, sponsored by the Westchester Library System, will take place at the White Plains Public Library, 100 Martine Avenue, White Plains from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. No registration is necessary.

The Fair will showcase materials in Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, French, Hindi and Japanese. Peruse and purchase adult and children’s titles of fiction, non-fiction, audiobooks and DVDs as well as electronic material. Remember, a personal contact with a book distributor will provide direct access to acquiring material in a specific focus, subject genre, or format to better reflect your multi-language community.

Nancy_BookFairOther activities include local food tasting; song, poetry and dance; and free raffles. Be sure to sample the multicultural cuisine from the countries represented! Food provides a wonderful way to introduce and share culture.

Parking is available in the parking garage underneath the library. The fee is $1 per hour and may be paid at the pay stations in the garage or the library lobby.

 

For more information, call or email Nancy Coradin, 914-231-3259; ncoradin@wlsmail.org

 

A special thank you to our sponsors:

library ideas hi res logo

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23rd Annual National Library Week Book & Author Luncheon

March 12th, 2014 No comments

Westchester Library System’s 23rd Annual Book & Author Luncheon

Features Outstanding Authors

Adam Kintish of TD Bank Receives the National Library Week Recognition Award

Westchester County, NY (March 6, 2014) – The Westchester Library System (WLS) will hold its 23rd annual Book & Author Luncheon on Friday, April 11th at CV Rich Mansion in White Plains, NY. Sponsored by Entergy and TD Bank, the event celebrates National Library Week and the theme Lives Change @ Your Library.  The luncheon features talented authors Josh Hanagarne, a librarian and Randy Lewis, former senior executive of Walgreens who write about turning points that have changed their lives.

The National Library Week Recognition Award will be presented to Adam Kintish, Senior Vice President, TD Bank for the bank’s local and national initiatives that support literacy and summer reading.

“We are thrilled to host our annual Book & Author Luncheon, a highlight of Westchester Library System’s National Library Week festivities.  Once again, we have an outstanding lineup of authors who are gracious to share their time and talent with us,” said Terry Kirchner, WLS Executive Director. “We appreciate the continued support of our sponsors, Entergy and TD Bank.  They have helped WLS provide the resources to empower Westchester libraries to touch the lives of people from all walks of life.”

The Luncheon, held from 12:00pm – 2:00pm, will be followed by an author signing. Registration begins at 11:30 am. Ticket prices for the Book & Author Luncheon are $95 for general admission. Proceeds from this event will support WLS’s community outreach programs that ensure open access to resources and information in Westchester’s public libraries. For more information or to purchase tickets, please call (914) 231-3241 or visit www.westchesterlibraries.org

The authors’ books, available for purchase and autographing at the event, include:

the-worlds-strongest-librarian-290

The World’s Strongest Librarian (Josh Hanagarne)

Josh Hanagarne fell in love with Fern from Charlotte’s Web at the age of six. Every day since, he has enjoyed reading more than eating, sleeping, and breathing. Today the 6’7″ Hanagarne is an author, speaker, performing strongman, and, despite having an extreme case of Tourette Syndrome, he works as a public librarian in Salt Lake City Utah. His memoir, The World’s Strongest Librarian, is his first book.

 

 

No Greatness Without Goodness (Randy Lewis)

Randy Lewis bet his career that he could create an inclusive no_greatnessworkplace at one of America’s biggest corporations where people with disabilities could not just succeed, but thrive. No Greatness Without Goodness is the powerful story of a corporate executive who, after watching the world through the eyes of his own child with autism, Austin, realized that we all have a greater responsibility to make the world a better place for everyone, including those with disabilities. As the Senior Vice President of Walgreens, Randy Lewis has created thousands of full-time jobs for people with disabilities.

 

Please click HERE for more information or to register for this event.

 

The Westchester Library System is located at 540 White Plains Road, Suite 200, Tarrytown, NY 10591. For a complete list of programs and events throughout the Westchester Library System, visit the WLS website at www.westchesterlibraries.org.

 

About the Westchester Library System
The mission of the Westchester Library System is to ensure that all residents have seamless access to excellent library service throughout Westchester County. The Westchester Library System serves as a center of innovation for the Westchester County library community. WLS provides model programs, affordable and easy-to-use information technology, and support services that enable libraries to continuously improve service to their communities. For more information, please visit www.westchesterlibraries.org.

 

Library Advocacy Day – February 26, 2014

March 6th, 2014 No comments

Library Advocacy Day – February 26, 2014

Pictured: Back Row (L-R): Robert Cartolano, President, Eastchester Public Library; Senator George Latimer, 37th District; Haina Just-Michael, President, New Rochelle Public Library; Tom Geoffino, Director, New Rochelle Public Library; Front Row (L-R): Patricia Fontanella, Trustee, Westchester Library System & Library Trustees Association of New York State; Sue Neale, Trustee, Westchester Library System; Pam Bernstein, Librarian, Irvington Public Library; Elise Burke, Executive Assistant, Westchester Library System

Pictured: Back Row (L-R): Robert Cartolano, President, Eastchester Public Library; Senator George Latimer, 37th District; Haina Just-Michael, President, New Rochelle Public Library; Tom Geoffino, Director, New Rochelle Public Library; Front Row (L-R): Patricia Fontanella, Trustee, Westchester Library System & Library Trustees Association of New York State; Sue Neale, Trustee, Westchester Library System; Pam Bernstein, Librarian, Irvington Public Library; Elise Burke, Executive Assistant, Westchester Library System

A group of 14 library supporters from Westchester drove up to Albany to join the New York Library Association’s (NYLA) Library Advocacy Day on Wednesday, February 26.

The group was made up of directors, trustees, staff, friends and advocates representing the libraries listed below:

Armonk-North Castle Public Library

Bedford Free Library

Briarcliff Manor Public Library

Eastchester Public Library

Irvington Public Library

Larchmont Public Library

Mamaroneck Public Library

Mount Pleasant Public Library

New Rochelle Public Library

Ossining Public Library

Pound Ridge Library District

Scarsdale Public Library

The Warner Library (Tarrytown)

Westchester Library System

We visited the offices all of the 14 legislators who represent Westchester County in the following order:

Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer [90th District]

Senator George Latimer [37th District]

Assemblywoman Sandy Galef [95th District]

Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson [36th District]

Assemblyman Steve Katz [94th District]

Senator Greg Ball [40th District]

Senator Jeffrey Klein [34th District]

Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti [92nd District]

Assemblyman Gary Pretlow [89th District]

Senator David Carlucci [38th District]

Assemblyman David Buchwald [93rd District]

Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins [35th District]

Assemblywoman Amy Paulin [88th District]

Assemblyman Steven Otis [91st District]

This year Governor Cuomo’s proposed Executive Budget for FY2014-2015 included $81.6 Million in Library Aid, an amount which reflects levels from 1996.  Library visits have increased 46% since 1996, and libraries have been keeping pace with the technological changes and information needs of their communities.  Additional funding is necessary as libraries continue to expand their role to provide workforce development resources and provide essential portals, along with guidance, to the increasingly important world of digital information.

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Pictured: Back (L-R): Kate Meyer, Westchester Library System; Lucinda Manning, Trustee, Ossining Public Library; Claudia Mausner, Ph.D., Environmental Psychology Consultant & Adjunct Associate Professor of Environmental Studies, Pace University, and Westchester Library User & Advocate; Front (L-R): Patricia Kaufman, Retired Director, Mahopac Public Library, Westchester Library User & Advocate; Julie Ann Polasko, Westchester Library System; Assemblywoman Sandra Galef, 95th District; Elaine Sozzi, Westchester Library System

In addition, users from the libraries noted below signed a letter of support calling for a 4% increase for Library Aid (same as the increase proposed for School Aid).  A total of 971 signatures were collected and the signed letters of support were delivered to the Legislators.

Briarcliff Manor Public Library

Bronxville Public Library

Dobbs Ferry Public Library

Irvington Public Library

The Field Library (Peekskill)

Tuckahoe Public Library

John C. Hart Memorial Library (Shrub Oak/Yorktown)

A special thank you is due to this year’s great group of Library Advocates.  All contributed in some way—sharing insightful success stories from their libraries, taking pictures, driving, writing, tweeting, participating.

Thanks to those who signed on in support of library funding and to those who sent messages to their legislators via other means.

And special thanks goes to New Rochelle Public Library for providing this year’s transportation to Albany!

The deadline for an on-time budget is March 31st, so there is still time to contact your legislator via NYLA’s Online Advocacy page per the link below:

NYLA_Advocacy

Meanwhile, libraries will continue to provide the essential services that are an investment in New York’s educational and cultural infrastructure, shaping a brighter future for all New Yorkers.

New York Health Exchange for you or your small business

January 22nd, 2014 No comments

Small business owners and consumers across New York have have been enrolling in the New York Health Exchange.

healthcare

The Business Council of Westchester (BCW) will continue its outreach to educate businesses on the implantation of the Federal Health Care Act by holding presentations at their office and at different libraries in the County.

 

Partnering with the Westchester Library System, the BCW will hold workshops during the day for businesses to take advantage of. Businesses will receive information about the availability of small business ACA tax credits, health insurance and care options for small business and their employees.

 

In addition, participants will also receive information about the availability of small business ACA tax credits, health insurance and care options for small business and their employees.

Trying to determine how many people you can hire in the coming year while covering health insurance benefits?  Want to know more about tax credits for which you may be eligible?

Come to any of these free sessions and get the information you need:

January 27th, 6 PM - BCW, 108 Corporate Park Dr., Suite 101, White Plains

January 30th, 4 PMBronxville Public Library, 201 Pondfield Road, Bronxville

February 6th, 1:30 PMMamaroneck Public Library, 135 Prospect Avenue, Mamaroneck

February 13th, 1:30 PMHarrison Public Library, Bruce Avenue, Harrison

February 20th, 1:30 PM - Town of Pelham Public Library, 530 Colonial Avenue, Pelham

February 27th, 1:30 PMTuckahoe Public Library, 71 Columbus Avenue, Tuckahoe

Presentations given by Glen Ganaway, Outreach Manager for the Business Council of Westchester and former financial manager for a physicians group.

Click HERE to download a flyer.

In Addition, health-related information is available by clicking on the link below:

Health Insurance Marketplace: Have health insurance questions? Get Quick Answers

TASC to replace the GED exam in New York State – What you need to know

January 7th, 2014 No comments

A new high school equivalency exam – the TASC (Test Assessing Secondary Completion) – will replace the GED in New York State.

The TASC will be similar to the GED but will change in difficulty and format over the next three years.

TASC

 

 

 

 

Important Information – the TASC will:

1) have 5 subject areas – reading, writing, mathematics, science, and social studies.

2) be primarily multiple choice, with one essay, and some short answer, in 2014.

3) be available in English, Spanish, and Braille.

4) be free in New York State.

5) be offered on paper. At some testing locations, it will also be offered on computer. The percentage of computer testing available will increase each year.

6) Accommodations for various disabilities are available. Approval for accommodations must accompany the application for a test date, so it’s important to apply early for accommodations.

GOOD NEWS FOR TEST RE-TAKERS! 

If you took the GED test between 2002 and 2013 and passed any of the 5 subject tests,  your passing scores will count until the end of 2015!

Connect with us at one of our TASC centers. Click here for hours, locations and other help.

For additional information, please visit the New York State Department of Education website http://www.acces.nysed.gov/ged/ or email us at tasc@wlsmail.org.

Want to make aspirations a reality? Dialog, Listen, Act.

November 8th, 2013 No comments

Just back from a 3-day training with The Harwood Institute’s Public Innovation Lab. http://www.theharwoodinstitute.org/be-a-public-innovator/

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Key take-aways:

A community dialog on shared aspirations creates new possibilities, particularly a way to identify where small actions can begin to (re)build trust among community members.

Taking these small actions begins to allow us to tell a different story about ourselves. Imagine changing the narrative from how no one cares, to one where we talk about the good that emerged when several did care and act.

There are tools to do this and chief among them is community conversation about the things that matter to a community’s members – a dialog libraries and librarians are well placed to host.

The American Library Association is behind this program in a significant way as a means to inform the continuing evolution of libraries.

For a taste of some of the dialog to come, consider how you would respond to the four questions below. Want to be part of this discussion? Send me your email address and I’ll let you know when we schedule Community Conversations in 2014.

 

1. What kinds of community do you want to live in?

2. Why is that important to you?

3. How is this different from how you see things now?

4. What are some of the things that need to happen to create that kind of community?

 

Here’s to discovering our shared aspirations and fulfilling them together.

Celebrating the 2013 Teen Learning Ambassadors

November 4th, 2013 No comments

On November 2, we gathered at the Yonkers Public Library to honor 21 very special kids who participated in the 2013 Teen Learning Ambassadors Program.

It was hard not to be moved by the Learning Ambassador celebration. Parents shared stories about how excited their kids were to go to work each day.  Many called their coordinator Francine Vernon – the brains behind this initiative – the next day to offer their thanks for having made such a significant investment in their children.  As Francine just noted to me, the kids had likely not shared with their parents what they were doing day-to-day, so this was a chance for them to be dazzled.

In truth, the parents absolutely glowed.  The teens, initially a bit tongue-tied during the interview, warmed to their subject. Then the librarian mentors added their perspectives, which were a mix of pride in their teen ambassadors and delight in what they accomplished.

A special thanks goes out to Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (35th S.D.) for joining us. We would also like to thank our supporters, without them there wouldn’t be a program like this:

  • New York State Library Summer Reading Funds
  • TD Charitable Foundation
  • The Thomas and Agnes Carvel Foundation
  • Great Potential/Liberty Partnership Program at Purchase College, SUNY
  • Wheelabrator Westchester

 

To learn more about the WLS Learning Ambassadors Program, and how you can support it, click here.

 

Sen. Andrea Stewart Cousins with WLS Ambassadors