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Total Construction Grant Award of $654,899 to 12 Library Projects in the Westchester Library System

August 5th, 2016 No comments
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ALBANY, NY – A grand total of $654,899 has been awarded in connection with the New York State public library construction grant program.  This program is funded from $14 Million provided in capital funds for public library construction included in the FY 2015-16 State Budget.  Below is a chart of the projects that these funds will enable.

Applicant Name

Title / Abstract of Project

Overall Project Cost

Submitted Project

Cost

Actual Award Amounts

North Castle Public Library (Armonk)-Main Library HVAC Replacement/ADA Compliance/Young Adult (YA) Lighting:  This project will replace an aging HVAC system, add ADA access to a room for public programming use and install LED lighting in our YA Room.

$39,912

$19,956

$19,956

North Castle Public Library (Armonk)-North White Plains Branch Library Branch Expansion, Lighting & Electrical Upgrade:  This project will upgrade lighting/electrical and add a deck to improve lighting, support expanded computer usage and add space for our North White Plains patrons.

$107,530

$53,765

$53,765

Eastchester Public Library Renovation of Main Floor Adult Services Area:
The renovation includes the installation of LED lighting, replacement of ceiling tiles and installation of carpeting on main floor and mezzanine.

$126,753

$63,376

$63,376

Greenburgh Public Library* Four Adjoining Glass-Partitioned Study Rooms: Installation of glass walls and partitions anchored to an existing library wall to create four 5’x6.5’ individual and group study  rooms.

$59,824

$44,868

$44,868

Larchmont Public Library ADA Compliant Bathrooms:  Remove the existing, out-of-date, bathroom in the main Library building and replace with two fully ADA compliant bathrooms.

$45,115

$22,557

$22,557

Mount Pleasant Public Library Bathroom Renovation:  We have five bathrooms: one for staff and four for public.  These bathrooms are original to the building and will be totally renovated.

$65,345

$32,500

$32,500

Mount Vernon Public Library* MTVPL Elevator:  Library seeks to modernize elevator to improve safety and access to the library.

$312,622

$156,311

$168,981

New Rochelle Public Library* Chiller Replacement Project: The scope of work is to replace the existing hermetic screw chiller with a modular chiller system and associated controls.

$553,200

$225,000

$93,487

Pound Ridge Library Automatic Door Installation:  Installation of automatic doors to make the Library more easily accessible to our patrons.

$35,200

$16,600

$16,600

Rye Free Reading Room Energy Efficient Lighting & Insulation Installation:  The library is replacing 16 fluorescent lights with energy efficient LED lights & adding spray foam insulation to the attic to reduce energy usage.

$38,701

$19,350

$19,350

Somers Library Bathroom Accessibility Renovation:  The two public bathrooms on the main floor of the library will be completely renovated in order to bring them up to ADA compliance.

$177,450

$88,725

$88,725

The Warner Library
(Tarrytown)*
Automatic Meeting Room Divider Project:    This project will enable staff to easily and efficiently create two public meeting rooms from one large room.

$40,979

$30,734

$30,734

*Meets criteria for economically disadvantaged community TOTALS $1,602,631

$773,742

$654,899

“The projects supported by the NYS public library construction aid benefit everyone,” said Terry Kirchner, WLS Executive Director, “local contractors gain business opportunities, the local communities gain economic benefits and improved property value, and local residents gain enhanced library facilities that offer lifelong learning for all.”

Celebrate Black History Month At Your Local Westchester Library

February 1st, 2016 No comments
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Black History Month is a month set aside to learn, honor, and celebrate the achievements of black men and women throughout history. Learn about famous firsts by black Americans, read the history of black history, and find information about milestones in black history. Check out just some of what’s going on at your local Westchester library this month.

dubois

W.E.B. Du Bois

HARRISON PUBLIC LIBRARY

Live Performance

“W.E.B. Du Bois, a Man for All Times” — Written and directed by Alexa Kelly, presented in conjunction with Pulse Theatre Ensemble. This play entertains and enthralls, as it compels the viewer to travel on this near-100-year journey. The audience is brought to laughter and tears. Sunday, February 7, 2-4 pm, Richard E. Halperin Memorial Library Building.
Film

SELMA: A chronicle of Martin Luther King’s campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965. Starring David Oyelowo; PG-13, 128 minutes. Saturday, February 20, 1-3:30 pm, Richard E. Halperin Memorial Library Building.

MOUNT VERNON PUBLIC LIBRARY

Book Discussion

Brian G. Johnson, trustee of the Mount Vernon Public Library, will be leading a book discussion of Richard Wright’s “Native Son” at the library on Monday, Feb. 29.This Black History Month event will examine whether the conditions and circumstances that prevailed during “Native Son” protagonist Bigger Thomas’s time still exist today. 6 – 8 p.m. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, contact Nishan Stepak, nstepak@wlsmail.org.

NEW ROCHELLE PUBLIC LIBRARY

Family Workshops: African Dance

Saturdays: January 30 – February 27, 11:00 a.m. – 12:15 pm Ossie Davis Theater

Anthony Wooden, Director of Bokandeye African Dance and Drum Troupe returns to the library for another series of free African dance workshops for children ages 7 and up, as well as their parents. This popular series, now a tradition at the library, provides instruction of native African dance, while also instilling an understanding of the rich cultural meanings of the movements, rhythms and dress, African village life, and the role of the extended family.  Registration will take place at the first class. Made possible by the Friends of the New Rochelle Public Library. Free.

Bokandeye African Dance and Drum Performance

Saturday, February 27, 2:00 pm

Bokandeye’s 20th Annual Performance at NRPL! Traditional movements and rhythms of African village life will reverberate throughout the Ossie Davis Theater, and the audience will be swept up by this exhilarating performance by Bokandeye Dance Troupe and students, directed by the fabulous Anthony Wooden. Be sure to arrive early! First come, first-served, to the capacity of the main library’s  Ossie Davis Theater. Made possible by the New Rochelle Downtown Business Improvement District

Exhibit: Strayhorn: An Illustrated Life

February 8 – February 29

This original exhibit of photographs, artifacts, art work and personal items tracing the extraordinary career of musician Billy Strahorn is based on a recently-released book of the same title. Strayhorn: An Illustrated Life, written by A. Alyce Claerbaut and David Schlesinger, and the exhibit, curated by Leslie Demus, Theresa Kump Leghorn, and designed by Jesse Sanchez, celebrates the centennial of the birth of the American jazz composer, pianist, lyricist, and arranger.

Billy Strayhorn: Lush Life Documentary Film and Reception with Glenda Davenport and the Hiroshi Yamazaki Trio

Sunday, February 21, 4:00 pm – 5:30: film; 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm: Music & Reception

As Duke Ellington’s long-time collaborator, Billy Strayhorn penned some of the world’s most definitive jazz standards. Nearly half a century after his death, however, Strayhorn’s musical genius remains unrecognized. In the 2007 Billy Strayhorn: Lush Life documentary, directed by Robert Levi, the mystery behind the complex life of this pioneering composer, arranger and pianist gets uncovered, bringing his rich legacy to light. Following the film, a reception will feature jazz singer Glenda Davenport and the Hiroshi Yamazaki Trio performing a set of standards, including hits of Strayhorn and Ellington.

SOMERS LIBRARY

Check out these children’s book recommendations on Pintrest:

https://www.pinterest.com/somerslibrary/black-history-month/

(TARRYTOWN) THE WARNER LIBRARY

fitzgal2

Gallery Exhibit

Annual African American History Month Gallery Exhibit featuring several local African American artists. This year we are displaying the work of Donald Whitely, Steven Ferri, and Hilary Blackman. Their biographies are available on our website http://www.warnerlibrary.org/fitzgerald-gallery. The exhibit will be up for the full month of February.

(YORKTOWN) JOHN C. HART MEMORIAL LIBRARY

Yorktown Historical Society Program

“History of Slavery and Slavery in the Area” by Mike Kahn, Board Member and Leader of Pines Bridge Monument. Thursday, February 18 at 7:30 pm. All are welcome. No registration.

Live Performance

Sunday, February 21, 2pm

“W.E.B. Du Bois, a Man for All Times” –Written and directed by Alexa Kelly, presented in conjunction with Pulse Theatre Ensemble. This play entertains and enthralls, as it compels the viewer to travel on this near-100-year journey. Brian Richardson portrays W.E.B. DuBois, a black American born just after the Civil War, and 5 years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Du Bois broke many barriers: he attended and graduated from Harvard, studied in Europe, ran for Senator, co-found the NAACP, participated in the founding of the United Nations and saw segregation declared unconstitutional. No registration, doors open at 1:45 pm.

Public Libraries Offer Career Counseling and Life Planning

January 5th, 2016 No comments
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clip_image002WEBS Career and Educational Counseling Service will be offering two types of free eight-week career counseling and life planning programs in public libraries throughout the County this winter. WEBS is sponsored by the Westchester Library System.

The first type of program is called a Managing Your Career in Changing Times. It will help adults assess themselves, explore career options, obtain career and educational information, find out about the latest trends in resumes and job search, and develop a career plan.  The program is geared to those who are unemployed, changing careers, reentering the workforce or returning to school. The seminar will be offered at three public libraries: Town of Pelham Public Library on Tuesday evenings, Greenburgh Public Library on Wednesday afternoons and Somers Library on Wednesday mornings. All programs will start in early March.

The second type of program is called Take Charge! Career/Life Planning After 50.  Its purpose is to help adults over 50 assess themselves and plan a direction for the next stage of life.  Options that will be considered include part/time or full/time work, volunteerism, entrepreneurial ventures, and learning and leisure opportunities. These programs will be offered at the Chappaqua Public Library on Tuesday mornings and the Yonkers Public Library (Will Branch) on Thursday afternoons. Both programs are nineteen-hour seminars consisting of an orientation session, eight weekly group sessions and one individual session with a career counselor. They will begin early March.

Individuals can find out about exact dates and times and register for a seminar by calling WEBS at 674-3612 on or after January 11, 2016.

August 28, 2015 is Dr. Terry Kirchner Day in Westchester!

August 28th, 2015 No comments
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TKirchnerDayFriday, August 28, 2015, has been proclaimed “Dr. Terry Kirchner Day” in Westchester by County.  Dr. Kirchner was one of the honorees at the Mount Vernon Public Library Foundation’s Light the Night with Literacy Gala on August 26th.  Westchester County Legislator Lyndon Williams (District 13) presented Terry with a proclamation in recognition of his support of literacy and the Mount Vernon Public Library.

The Gala was held to celebrate the collective efforts to support the Mount Vernon Public Library, and all proceeds will go toward supporting their Children’s Library.  As Tanesia Walters, current President of the Mount Vernon Public Library Foundation, noted:  “We must aid in fostering the growth and nurturing the youth of our community. Mount Vernon has future judges to appoint, lawyers to name, architects to train and community leaders to develop.”

This year’s honorees were recognized for their exemplary community leadership, and the other honorees included Camille Banks-Lee, former President of the Mount Vernon Public Library Foundation and former Executive Director for the City of Mount Vernon Youth Bureau, and Kenneth C. Davis, bestselling author of Don’t Know Much® About History: Everything You Need to Know About American History but Never Learned.

The Mount Vernon Public Library is the central library of the Westchester Library System, where Dr. Kirchner has been the Executive Director for the past 6 years.

Learn from Lynda

August 13th, 2015 No comments
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LyndaLinkedin_blackAvailable from your home or nearest library, Lynda.com is an online education service that can help you learn technology, creative, and business skills that will help you achieve your goals. Westchester Library System and partner libraries provide this premium resource with access to a vast library of high-quality, current, and engaging video tutorials taught by recognized industry experts. Best of all, it is FREE with your library card!

Easy to use!

  • Create your lynda.com Profile
  • Browse courses and save what you like to your own Playlist.
  • Your progress is saved and easy to view in your lynda.com Profile.
  • Get a certificate upon completion of a course.

More than 3000+ courses with 129,942 video tutorials are available.

  • Software like MS Word, Excel, or PowerPoint; Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator.
  • Web design: Web graphics, Interactive Design, Prototyping
  • Social media and web publishing tools like Facebook, Twitter and WordPress.
  • Photography: Lighting and Photographing a Still Life, Photography 101: Shooting in Low Light, GIMP:Essential Training
  • Business and career skills – productivity, marketing, time management.
  • Job Search Tools: with Resume design, Searching for Positions, Working with Recruiters

…and much more!

 

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WLS Trustee Institute re Renovation or New Construction? held 6/24/2015

July 24th, 2015 No comments
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TrusteeInstituteJune2014Renovation or New Construction?  Lessons from the Field on making the Right Decisionwith Raymond Beeler, co-founder of Gallin Beeler Design Studio Architects, PLLC, and Judith Lockman, Public Library Consultant, working with the Garden City Public Library and North Bellmore Library, both on Long Island (pictured left).

Judith Lockman started the evening off by sharing her experience with the renovation of the Syosset Public Library, where she served as director at the time.  At the start of their project, they quickly moved from a simple renovation to meet current issues to a project that would need to look ahead for decades to keep the library as a welcoming destination place for at least the next 20 years.  One key to this was adaptability and working with an architect who would listen and be flexible.

Their needs included the basics:  more space for public access computers, more programming space, addition of a café.  Field trips were encouraged among the Board Members to see different styles in action.  The café raised many questions, so one library that decided to close their café was visited as well as one that decided on a “nook” version with a seating area and only vending machines.  A café has different rules that are under health board and restaurant requirements, so Syosset decided to go with a combination/”nook” area; and that worked out very well.

Choosing an architect is also a community chore.  One is needed who has a reputation to meet and talk with all parties involved and is interested in the Director’s and Board Members’ vision for the project.  Input from the public is important; but often the public is not aware of the business transactions of the library—how the materials are delivered and processed—making input from the staff essential regarding workflow.  The building should help the staff do their job.

Ray Beeler spoke about this process for the Syosset project.  It is important to carefully think through a project in the beginning.  However, an architect must be willing to listen and seek out input from the public to bring the community along in the process.  The Syosset Public Library project had a $13.2 Million 30-year bond vote with a 2/3 Yes vote.   The stages of construction and floor plans can be seen from the slide presentation made.

The library offered modified/”drive through”-type services to the public as the renovation took place.  Once the construction was completed, the library allowed for staff time to give tours of the new library and they even had a FAQ page made up so that the library staff would be able to easily answer questions about the renovation project.  They even coined a catch phrase of “tastes vary” in order to answer the many comments about colors and design choices made.  Overall, the new library turned out differently than when the project started and has been embraced by and has truly become a destination place for their community.

Bellmore Public Library was the second project that Ms. Lockman and Mr. Beeler covered.  This project started with a needs assessment done by the architect that involved interviews with both full- and part-time staff members.  The results were brought back to the library board, which indicated that doing smaller renovations would not improve the functionality of the library.  A wrapper around the building was planned to increase the library from 2,800 to 4,000 square feet.  The planned development would add needed space for the children’s area and re-establish a front entrance.  This project also went out for a public bond vote in the amount of $8.9 Million.  In order to get people to vote yes, which means paying more taxes, it is essential to present something that makes sense.  Incorporate assistance from a financial advisor in order to determine the overall project costs; what the cost would be for each tax payer; and be clear about what the tax payer will be getting for those costs.  For this project, the Bellmore Public Library determined that the annual cost to a tax payer would be $71/year for 15 years or less than 20 cents per day in exchange for a beautiful community center.  In their publicity and informational flyers, they described the results of the construction in detail and coordinated a core group from the community to act as ambassadors for the project.  The result was a 2/3 yes vote, and today they have a wonderful new building that will service their community well into the future.

Additional questions were fielded along with more networking and sharing over delicious refreshments provided by our wonderful hosts—the Dobbs Ferry Public Library—and participant feedback was extremely positive!

WLS 55th Annual Meeting – 11/20/2014

December 3rd, 2014 No comments
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Librarians, library directors, library trustees, government officials, and friends of libraries gathered on November 20 for the 55 Annual Meeting of the Westchester Library System (WLS) at the Sheraton Tarrytown.

Barbara Morrow, President of the Friends of the Hastings-on-Hudson Public Library, and Sue Feir, Director, Hastings-on-Hudson Public Library, Co-Winners of the 2014 WLS Trustees Award

Barbara Morrow, President of the Friends of the Hastings-on-Hudson Public Library, and Sue Feir, Director, Hastings-on-Hudson Public Library, Co-Winners of the 2014 WLS Trustees Award

The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the second WLS Trustees Award. A total of 14 people representing 9 Westchester libraries received nominations for the Award, which was given for a commitment to provide open access to information and resources that foster innovation, inspiration and lifelong learning based on broad impact, innovation and collaboration. This year’s Award was presented to co-winners: Sue Feir, Director of the Hastings-on-Hudson Public Library, and Barbara Morrow, President of the Friends of the Hastings-on-Hudson Public Library.  A number of their accomplishments were highlighted.

Sue Feir:  

  • Spearheading a small yet transformative project to expand the library’s community room;
  • As creative advocate of collaboration, Ms. Feir recast the library as a host facility for school testing, local artist exhibits and free career counseling and fostered synergy between the library and Hastings Farmer’s Market;
  • Deployed the library to meet a public health need and began an annual blood drive, which in partnership with the New York Blood Center, became a regular library event held three times a year.

Barbara Morrow:

  • Organized various events to celebrate the library’s 100th Anniversary as well as a lecture series titled, Dewey on the Hudson—completing the celebration with a bang-up party and marching band through the streets.
  • Stayed on as President of the Friends to oversee new capital campaign, Above and Beyond: Expanding our Point of View, to extend the community room and build an outside deck overlooking the Hudson River.

The co-winners were presented with a check in the amount of $1,000 to the Hastings-on-Hudson Public Library, funded by the WLS Trustees. New York State Legislators Thomas Abinanti [92 AD] and Steven Otis [91 AD] were on hand to congratulate the co-winners; and Westchester County Legislator MaryJane Shimsky [12 CLD] declared November 21st Sue Feir and Barbara Morrow Day.  All of those nominated (as shown below) were recognized for their outstanding contributions:

Nominee Nominated by Library
Robert Cartolano Tracy Wright Eastchester Public Library
Lillian Hecker Patricia Perito Town of Pelham Public Library
Ann Hein Jeffrey Ault Dobbs Ferry Public Library
Haina Just-Michael Emery Schweig New Rochelle Public Library
Brian Kenney Paul Schwarz White Plains Public Library
Jenny Kolesar Jill Davis Hendrick Hudson Free Library (Montrose)
Gary Page Mary Shah Lewisboro Library
Charlotte Schachter & Ruth Shire, Co‑Presidents of the Friends of the Mount Vernon Public Library Carolyn Karwoski Mount Vernon Public Library
Heide Shilstone Elin Sullivan Bedford Hills Free Library
Tamara Stewart Hafeezah Basir Mount Vernon Public Library
Na’im Tyson, PhD Chris Hansen Mount Vernon Public Library

During the business portion of the evening, presided over by WLS President Chris Hansen, the following trustees were re-elected to a 5-year term expiring as of December 31, 2019:  Mary Amato of Yonkers representing WLS District XV [Yonkers]; Hope Furth of White Plains representing WLS District XI [White Plains]; and Dave Donelson of West Harrison representing WLS District VII [Harrison, Purchase].

WLS Report 2013-14WLS Report 2013-14-Highlights

Terry Kirchner, WLS Executive Director, gave an overview of WLS’s accomplishments in 2014, many of which were noted in the distributed WLS Annual Report 2013-14.

One important task of 2014 concerned the Integrated Library System (ILS).  WLS will continue with the current vendor SirsiDynix and further educate staff about open source products. This well thought-out decision represented a huge time commitment by all who participated on the WLS-Public Library Directors Association (PLDA) ILS Committee.  Other key areas for 2015 identified in conjunction with PLDA include:  providing more eContent; supporting program initiatives such as Creative Aging workshops and Makerspace activities; expanded marketing and further promotion of services available at local libraries; enhanced wireless services with printing options; and of course, training for the ILS and exploring open source products.

Keynote Speaker Kerri Willette, New York’s first Empire State Digital Network (ESDN) Manager

Keynote Speaker Kerri Willette, New York’s first Empire State Digital Network (ESDN) Manager

Keynote speaker was Kerri Willette, New York’s first Empire State Digital Network (ESDN) Manager.  Ms. Willette is responsible for coordinating activities of the ESDN, a statewide service hub for the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), which is being administered by Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO) in collaboration with eight allied regional library councils collectively working as NY 3Rs Association, Inc.  Ms. Willette gave an overview of the DPLA, which was launched in 2013 with 7.1 Million searchable digital objects, and spoke about what it takes to share data with the DPLA, which is not merely another search engine but a new tool that will help library’s special collections be discovered.  One of the roles of the ESDN will be to contact regional libraries to find out what is being collected and making all libraries aware of how to contribute their content properly.  The DPLA’s progress can be followed via the ESDN website and social media [@NYSdigital]; and Ms. Willette’s presentation has been posted to the WLS website.

Upcoming Events At Your Local Westchester Library!

November 14th, 2014 No comments
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Check out these FREE events going on today through Monday. For more information, please visit the library’s website, or call the number listed.

Wine Tasting - ArgentinaKATONAH VILLAGE LIBRARY:

Tonight, November 14: A Wine Tasting Journey through France. 7:30 PM. Admission is free, but please RSVP! Call us at (914) 232-3508 or e-mail our director, Van Kozelka, at vkozelka@wlsmail.org.

This free tasting is a fun and delicious way to sample and learn about two dozen remarkable French wines and enjoy delightful hors d’oeuvres!

This is also a convenient opportunity to order your top-pick wines and champagnes for Thanksgiving and holiday entertaining and gift-giving — while supporting your Katonah Village Library! (Half of all profits from your wine purchases will go straight to the Library; checks and credit cards only.)

resume-tipsRYE FREE READING ROOM:

Latest Trends in Resumes – Saturday, November 15, 11 am-12:30 pm

Join them for a free workshop conducted by a professional job counselor and learn to transform your resume into a marketing document. Find out about different formats, select which will work for you, and understand how to post your resume on job boards and social media sites. This program is brought to you by WEBS Career and Educational Counseling Service, a program of  WLS. Register in person at the library or at 914-231-3161.

 

 

gameonYONKERS PUBLIC LIBRARY – RIVERFRONT:

GAME ON! Stop by the Riverfront branch between 1-4 pm in the Event Space, on Saturday, November 15th for International Games Day. Play video games, board games, cards, word games and more! All ages welcome, children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. For more information, please call 914-375-7966.

 

 

STEAMFEST

RUTH KEELER MEMORIAL LIBRARY:

STEAM Fest
All science, all day for kids K+
Saturday, Nov. 15th from 11:00 -3:00

Some of this year’s activities will include, rockets, makey makey, soldering, vinyl cutting, 3-D printing, scanning and more.
Please register for this popular event by calling, emailing or coming into the library. This program was inspired and funded by the library Visiting Committee and the John R. and Dorothy Caples fund.

Note that library policy does not allow children under the age of 10 to stay alone in the library. Plan on staying with your child and have fun helping with the events.

 

BRIARCLIFF MANOR PUBLIC LIBRARY:

What is 3D Printing? A Hands-on Workshop – Saturday, November 15 from 1-3 pm at the Briarcliff Manor Public Library . Registration required.

daeFrom healthcare to space travel, learn how 3D printing is changing the world. The team from The Digital Arts Experience will show you how to create your own objects! This workshop will be held in the Digital Arts Experience van which will be in the library’s parking lot.

There will be four sessions at the following times:
1-1:30 pm and 1:30-2 pm (for families with kids ages 5 & up)
2-2:30 pm and 2:30-3 pm (for adults/teens ages 13 & up)

Same day registration for one-30 minute slot is required and will take place in person, in the library, only starting at 12:30 pm. Space is limited. For more information, please contact Melinda Greenblatt, Library Director, at mgreenblatt@wlsmail.org or 941-7072 x6.

GREENBURGH PUBLIC LIBRARY:

Kaplan SAT Practice Test  - Sunday, November 16, 12:45 p.m.- 4:45 p.m.

Why take a free Kaplan practice SAT? A practice test is one of the best ways to get ready for the real things.

You will:

  • Know exactly what to expect on Test Day
  • Get a complete analysis of your results
  • Learn exclusive strategies to improve your score

Registration is required. Go to event details at greenburghlibrary.org

Call 721-8224 for further details.

 

ebolaNORTH CASTLE PUBLIC LIBRARY:

Join them for a presentation on Monday, November 17 at 1 p.m. presented by the Westchester County Department of Health on “Ebola: Facts Not Fear”.

WLS Legislator Breakfast – 9/18/2014

September 22nd, 2014 No comments
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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
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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