Author Archive

Public Libraries – the Summer Un-School

June 21st, 2013 No comments


Summer program encourages youth to think, dream and explore through reading


As the school year winds down, young people can look forward to a summer of fun at their local library. Westchester’s 38 libraries are getting ready to launch their annual Summer Reading programs, an opportunity for young readers to experience the joy of discovery through reading.

Libraries will kick off 2013 Summer Reading with exciting programs and events like song and dance performances, magic workshops, craft sessions, science and nature projects, and storytelling. Youth services librarians will be available to engage young readers in facts as well as fiction through books and programs that are just right for them. In the mix are incentives, prizes, and certificates to inspire program participants to include reading in their summer activities.

Summer Reading programming reflects a statewide commitment of local libraries to the enrichment of youth.  By offering inviting programs and diverse reading experiences, public libraries counteract the “summer slide”, cited by researchers as the equivalent of a loss of a month of instruction over the summer break.  Don’t fall behind!  Jump ahead into programs that teach critical thinking skills, foster creativity, and strengthen every young person’s ability to be an independent learner.

“Libraries are the ‘Un School’ – no homework, no tests – but every opportunity to for children and teens to explore what uniquely inspires them to know more. Librarians around the county plan for months – and the end result is a uniquely-library blend of literacy and inquiry and flat-out fun” says Elena Falcone, WLS Director of the Office of Community Connections.

Programs this year are full of stories you never heard before and people eager to tell them.  Participants will have all kinds of opportunities to carry the fun of a story off the page and into crafts, performance, and more. Maybe that’s why attendance at last year’s programs topped 84,000 across the county.

Programs at many of the county’s public libraries reflect this year’s statewide themes – Dig into Reading and Beneath the Surface.  Look for how these themes are expressed in a library near you; you’ll encounter every variety of “digging” – from pirate and archeological adventures (maps, buried bones and treasures, arrgh!) to garden crafts and worms (a popular theme for books, movies … and candy treats).  Through discussions and workshops, teens are invited to go “beneath the surface” of books, films, and topics as diverse as cars, comics, and computers.

Programs typically begin in late June and continue through mid-to-late August. For additional information, please visit your local public library’s website. You can access a listing here. To access a flyer for publicity, click here.

Summer Reading in New York Libraries is supported by the NY State Library System.  Find out more at

Categories: Articles, Library Events, Press Releases Tags:

Superstorm Sandy and Social Media

January 10th, 2013 No comments

Superstorm Sandy and the role of social media

Superstorm Sandy presented many challenges, including the dissemination of information to individuals without power and/or internet access. At WLS, we decided to try using social media – Facebook and Twitter – to enhance our ability to share information about access to libraries, weather and traffic conditions, and overall safety issues related to the storm.

Shira Zwebner from Drive Action Digital has been working with WLS to develop our social media efforts and she prepared a report that reviews the impact WLS’s social media efforts had during and after the storm. It’s an interesting and quick read that highlights the growing influence of social media as an information outlet.



And the librarian recommends… Quiet!

December 19th, 2012 No comments

Looking for the perfect book to buy someone? I highly recommend Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. The author provides a fascinating and quick read about the experiences of introverts in an extroverted world.

This book is a great gift for both introverts and extroverts alike – each can learn something about the other, and how to communicate better with each other, by reading this interesting and at times humorous book.

As an introvert working in a profession dominated by introverts, I found it very helpful to think about how extroverts might tackle many of the daily challenges that I face at work. And for extroverts, this book would provide insight on introverted approaches to problem solving – there are some advantages to the introverted approaches.

And if you want to give yourself a gift, check out the book at your local library!

Happy reading.

Terry Kirchner, Executive Director


Delicious Gift Baskets from Dylan’s

December 11th, 2012 No comments

One of my favorite places to shop for the holidays is Dylan’s Wine Cellar in Peekskill. For those who know me well, you know that I am not a fan of clutter – so I try to give gifts that are easily consumable. Gift baskets prepared by Dylan’s are just that – food and beverages that are always welcome and easy!

A gift basket that I bought at Dylan’s for some lucky person in Westchester even comes with a book of drink recipes! You can shop online for gift baskets or visit the store in person at 50 Hudson Avenue, Peekskill, NY. The store’s phone number is (914) 930-8003.

Terry Kirchner, Executive Director


Money Smart Week & October Webinar

October 15th, 2012 2 comments

Your library can be part of ‘Money Smart Week @ your library,’ a national initiative of the American Library Association (ALA) and the Federal Reserve Bank (Chicago) to provide financial literacy programming to libraries in an effort to empower libraries, and help community members better manage their personal finances.

All types of libraries are invited to participate by developing programming for individuals of all ages and all stages of life. Library programs can focus on a broad range of topics such as:

  • basic budgeting
  • managing student debt
  • retirement planning
  • home purchasing
  • saving money through couponing
  • how to prevent identity theft

Register for the webinar on October 18th to learn how to participate in ‘Money Smart Week @ your library’ on April 20-27, 2013.

Smart Investing online training opportunity

October 12th, 2012 No comments

An online training course, Smart Investing: Reference Strategies and Resources, is available at no cost to librarians and other individuals looking to improve their reference strategies and knowledge of financial literacy concepts and resources. The course aims to promote confidence and competence in responding to library patrons’ questions on personal finance and investment. Completion of this course will result in a better understanding of the language and concepts in a variety of financial areas, including:

  • Personal financial planning and budgeting
  • Banking and banking products
  • Basics of investment
  • Investing in stocks, bonds (corporate and government), and mutual funds
  • Evaluating stocks using company and industry information
  • Mortgages, short sales, first-time home buying, and real estate as an investment
  • Retirement accounts, including IRAs and 401(k)s

A special thanks to the Santa Clara County Library District (SCCLD) reference staff and their partner, Infopeople, for making this stand-alone, self-paced course available to the library profession.

New Beta Catalog

October 10th, 2012 2 comments

WLS has been working on a beta catalog. This new version of the catalog creates a friendlier search environment and makes it easier to find both digital and physical materials available at any of the 38 member libraries. Try out the beta catalog and let us know what you think!


Local Government Tax Cap Webinar

October 6th, 2012 1 comment

Want to learn more about the tax cap as it relates to local government? The Office of State Comptroller (OSC) will be hosting a Property Tax Cap webinar on Thursday, September 27 and repeated again on Thursday, October 11 for Local Governments with a December 31 fiscal year end. Both webinars are scheduled from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 pm.

The webinar will address current tax levy limit requirements, an overview of the 2013 calculation, and a review of the recent changes on the OSC website and in their online forms. The session will also provide an opportunity for a question and answer session. The slide show for the webinar will be posted on the OSC website at a later date.

Categories: Resources Tags:

Delivery Services Request for Proposal (RFP)

October 4th, 2012 No comments

A request for proposal (RFP) to perform the delivery service operations between the member libraries and WLS (a total of 45 locations) has been email to thirteen (13) local providers and has been posted on the WLS homepage. The RFP process will follow the following timeline:

  • RFP issued: September 7, 2012
  • Bidders information meeting: September 21, 2012 at 10 am at WLS headquarters
  • RFP responses due: October 12, 2012
  • Meetings with selected vendor(s): October 31, 2012
  • Contract negotiations begin: November 27, 2012
  • Service start date: January 1, 2013

Fran Feuerman, WLS Chief Financial Officer, is the lead contact for this RFP process and any questions about submitting a proposal should be addressed to her attention at

Categories: Service Requests Tags:

Library Advocacy

October 3rd, 2012 No comments

There are currently two political action committees (PACs) that address advocacy issues related to public libraries and library systems in New York State. The first, New Yorkers for Better Libraries, has issued a 2012 Voter’s Guide that reviews the voting records of NYS legislators. Many of our local legislators scored well in this legislative review, with Assemblyman Thomas A. Abinanti (AD 92), Assemblywoman, Sandy Galef (AD 90), Senator Jeffrey D. Klein (SD 34), Senator Suzi Oppenheimer (SD 37), and Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (SD 35) receiving the highest ranking for their legislative support of libraries and library systems.

EveryLibrary is a national PAC that focuses exclusively on local library ballot initiatives and measures. This PAC was launched in early September 2012 and it plans to fundraise at the national level in support of local library ballot activities and to provide local libraries with the technical support and consultancy assistance needed to achieve a successful vote.

In addition to the information provided by these PACs, individuals are also encouraged to check the websites of the Westchester Library System (WLS), the New York Library Association (NYLA), the New York State Library and the American Library Association (ALA) to learn more about ongoing library issues and trends. An important Save the Date for NYS advocacy efforts is Tuesday, March 5, 2013 – the next Library Advocacy Day in Albany, NY.

Categories: Resources Tags: