Author Archive

Do You Know Your Legislative District?

February 27th, 2013 No comments

WeThePeopleChances are if you haven’t voted recently, you may not be able to answer this question so quickly.  In addition, legislative districts are subject to change based on the decennial census.  With the 2010 Census, the U.S. Congressional Districts as well as the New York State (NYS) Senate and Assembly Districts were re-defined—based on population.

There’s an excellent explanation about the NYS legislature and its origins on the NYS Assembly’s Kids’ Page.

Below are a few of the changes effective 1/1/2013 from the 2010 Census re-districting:


  • Part of White Plains was in District 88 but now all of White Plains is in District 93
  • All of New Rochelle is now in District 88; part is no longer in District 91
  • District 92 – no changes
  • North Salem moved from District 99 and is now in District 93
  • District 99 is now District #94 and no longer includes North Salem, which moved to District 93
  • District 87 remains the same but is now District #89
  • District 93 remains the same but is now District #90
  • District 90 remains the same but is now District #95


  • Mount Pleasant & Branch moved from District 35 to District 40
  • New Rochelle Main Library moved from District 37 to District 35
  • Scarsdale & White Plains moved from District 37 to District 35
  • District 36 – no changes
  • Briarcliff Manor & Ossining moved from District 37 to District 38
  • Chappaqua moved from District 37 to District 40
  • Bedford Hills, Bedford Village & Katonah moved from District 40 to District 37
  • Bronxville, Eastchester, Tuckahoe, parts of Yonkers moved from District 34 to District 37

If this is all too confusing, there is a great website that compares the old districts and the new districts; and you can enter your street address and quickly find out your district number.

As a government “of the people, by the people and for the people” [Gettysburg Address], it’s important to know who represents you.  If you don’t, find out today!



The Gift of Dance

December 17th, 2012 No comments

Shall We Dance? 

One of the best gifts I ever bought myself was a dance lesson to learn how to waltz.  It’s hard to believe that purchase was over 10 years ago – because I have been dancing ever since!  Dancing is fun; you get to move to great music; anyone can do it; and it’s fantastic exercise.   I can’t believe how far I’ve come—not only do I waltz but I now do all 5 Latin dances as well (cha cha, samba, rumba, Paso Doble, and jive)!  This is all thanks to two of the best teachers in the field, Dmitri and Svetlana Ostashkin of New York Dance Center in Ardsley.  If you know anyone who would want to move to the music and not just watch “Dancing with the Stars,” why not call New York Dance Center  at 914-478-8844 and give a gift certificate for a dance lesson?


For those who might be shy about moving to the music, there are several great DVDs that would make great gifts, but my favorites include all versions with the same title, Shall We Dance?  [although the Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers’ version does not have the question mark and is a very different story].  All can be found at Amazon or you can even check them out from your local library!

– Elise Burke, Executive Assistant


Westchester Library System 53rd Annual Meeting

December 7th, 2012 No comments

On November 14, 2012, Westchester Library System held its 53rd Annual Meeting at the Historic Hudson Valley Library’s new Headquarters & Library in Pocantico Hills. Even though many were still reeling from Hurricane Sandy, more than 50 people came out to represent our member libraries and enjoy each other’s company.

After the official business, WLS Executive Director, Terry Kirchner, gave a brief overview of the year’s past activities and unveiled WLS’s new logo.  An annual report was compiled for 2011-2012.  Again, due to Sandy, the full shipment of the reports was delayed and enough copies of the report were unavailable at the time of the meeting.  However, a distribution to each library will be made; and copies of the report are now available by contacting WLS Development Director, Pat Braja, at 914-231-2341.

Maureen Sullivan, President of the American Library Association, was the featured speaker.  Ms. Sullivan is a consultant to numerous libraries and a professor of practice in the Ph.D. program, Managerial Leadership in the Information Professions, at the Simmons College Gradual School of Library & Information Science.  She also was honored with ALA’s Elizabeth Futas Catalyst for Change Award in 1999. During the meeting, she was quick to start by noting how libraries are at the cutting edge of the changes happening in our world and how they are uniquely positioned with talented staff to help their communities embrace those changes.

However, there is a lot of pressure these days to perform differently; yet we must learn as we do.

Libraries are among the most trusted agencies; they value collaboration.  The promise of libraries to transform communities requires not civic engagement but community engagement.  We may not believe we have the skill to do it, but libraries are in a unique position to step in.  Ms. Sullivan spoke of a few of her Presidential initiatives:  one was to re-think ALA’s role as a professional organization and to get them to be more global.  The other is the training of library leaders as effective conveners.  Based on the book The Work of Hope by Richard C. Harwood, this initiative will seek to show library leaders how to identify the needs of their community and how they can step out to meet those needs in a meaningful way.  Some topics to be covered include:  being a coach; embracing the convener role; facilitating meetings; building sustainable personal relationships; and developing plans for follow-up.

In the weeks following our Annual Meeting, Ms. Sullivan announced an upcoming program in April 2013 entitled, “Strategic Liaisons: Game-Changing Conversations.”  This program will be held in conjunction with the Special Libraries Association (SLA) and will be held in Greenbelt, Maryland.

Westchester’s Big City Libraries

June 7th, 2012 No comments

Recently, The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Philadelphia Research Initiative put out a study entitled, The Library in the City: Changing Demands and a Challenging Future.

For those who work in an urban library setting, there were no surprises in the Executive Summary, which stated:

 “Big-city public libraries have rarely been as popular as they are today and rarely as besieged.”

The report goes on to document the growing popularity of various library services for 14 big cities around the nation, most of which are represented by a number of interesting graphs.

I thought it might be interesting to see how Westchester’s big cities would compare to the data found.  Some of the charts could not be replicated exactly.  Our latest available data is from 2010; we are in the process now of collecting the 2011 data.  Below are a few samples of the charts from the report along with their Westchester renditions.


One interesting note is that the current Director of the Philadelphia Free Library is a former Director of the Westchester Library System, Siobhan Reardon.