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Pull up a Chair at the Library – Discover services that can benefit you now

November 17th, 2015 No comments
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At a recent visit to the New York Library Association’s Annual Conference 2015, Program Coordinator Marissa Richardson spoke about her project, Pull up a Chair at the Library.

Intended for adults aged 50 and older, the program focuses on four key areas: Jobs, Family, Health and Home. Patrons are invited to pull up a chair for a discussion with a knowledgeable counselor to identify and assess eligibility for programs and resources than can offer needed support.

This project is currently available at the Yonkers Riverfront Library. For more information, please visit  http://www.westchesterlibraries.org/services-programs/pull-up-a-chair/

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.

Library Advocacy Day 2015

March 13th, 2015 No comments
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Library Advocacy Day – February 25, 2015
 A group of 13 library supporters from Westchester joined the New York Library Association’s (NYLA) Library Advocacy Day in Albany on Wednesday, February 25.  The group was made up of directors, trustees, staff, and advocates representing the following libraries:  (Armonk) North Castle Public Library; Bedford Free Library; Eastchester Public Library; Irvington Public Library; Mamaroneck Public Library; Mount Pleasant Public Library; Mount Vernon Public Library; New Rochelle Public Library; Pound Ridge Library District; The Warner Library (Tarrytown); Westchester Library System.
Pictured (L-R): Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti, 37th District, and Chair of the NYS Assembly Libraries & Education Technology Committee; Maureen Petry, Director, The Warner Library/Tarrytown; Pamela Bernstein, Librarian, and Carolyn Gallagher, Head of Children's Services, Irvington Public Library; Patricia Fontanella, Trustee, Westchester Library System & Library Trustees Association of New York State; Elise Burke, Executive Assistant, Westchester Library System; joined by Ric Swierat, Trustee, Mid-Hudson Library System (standing) and Joanne Sold, Chief of Staff for Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti

Pictured (L-R): Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti, 92nd  District, and Chair of the NYS Assembly Libraries & Education Technology Committee; Maureen Petry, Director, The Warner Library/Tarrytown; Pamela Bernstein, Librarian, and Carolyn Gallagher, Head of Children’s Services, Irvington Public Library; Patricia Fontanella, Trustee, Westchester Library System & Library Trustees Association of New York State; Elise Burke, Executive Assistant, Westchester Library System; joined by Ric Swierat, Trustee, Mid-Hudson Library System (standing) and Joanne Sold, Chief of Staff for Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti

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

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Our main ask of the legislators was to have Library Aid funded to the full extent of Education Law or $102.6 Million.  This year’s proposed Executive Budget for FY2015-2016 included only $86.6 Million in Library Aid, an amount which reflects levels equivalent to 1997.  The cost of living alone has risen 47% since then!  Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti, Chair of the Assembly’s Libraries and Education Technology Committee, has sent a letter to Carl Heastie, Speaker of the Assembly, and Herman Farrell, Chair of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee, in support of additional aid for libraries.

Through the efficient, centralized services provided by the public library systems, like Westchester Library System, millions are saved:

            • Facilitating sharing of library materials across the 38 libraries in Westchester
            • Ongoing maintenance of technology services including computers and wireless
            • Cataloging collection holdings for easier discoverability
            • Centralized purchasing of databases
            • County-wide collaboration and innovation

For those who could not attend Library Advocacy Day in Albany, a postcard campaign was held at the libraries in Westchester.  Over 1,700 postcards were sent to our Legislators.

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            • Ardsley Public Library
            • Briarcliff Manor Public Library
            • Bronxville Public Library
            • Chappaqua Library
            • Croton Free Library
            • Dobbs Ferry Public Library
            • Eastchester Public Library
            • Harrison Public Library
            • Hastings-on-Hudson Public Library
            • Irvington Public Library
            • Lewisboro Library
            • Hendrick Hudson Free Library (Montrose)
            • New Rochelle Public Library
            • Ruth Keeler Memorial Library (North Salem)
            • Ossining Public Library
            • Pound Ridge Public Library
            • Somers Library
            • Tuckahoe Public Library
            • Yonkers Public Library
            • John C. Hart Memorial Library (Shrub Oak/Yorktown)

Thank you to this year’s dedicated group of Library Advocates—for all the ways in which you participated!   Library Aid is only 1/10 of 1% of the total State budget, and you helped to make our voices heard!

To quote a recent article by Joe Queenan in March 2015 edition of The Rotarian:

The public library is an indispensable institution that somehow manages to get taken completely for granted. Like the clouds above us, like the birds that fill those skies, it is a glorious creation that is hiding in plain sight. Society pays little attention to it, even though society cannot survive without it. Not any real society.

Let’s not take our libraries for granted.  The deadline for an on-time budget is March 31st, so there is still time to contact your legislator and ask them to sign on to Thomas Abinanti’s letter.  You can also click here for NYLA’s Online Advocacy page to send an email message to our legislators that libraries are an excellent investment in New York’s educational and cultural infrastructure.

Elise Burke
Executive Assistant
Westchester Library System
 

 

 

Westchester Library System Learning Ambassadors – Where Awesome Teens Spend Their Saturdays!

March 3rd, 2015 No comments
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On Saturday February 28, 21 teens started their training to be summer Library Learning Ambassadors at 9 library locations and 2 childcare centers. What a great group – smart, funny, talented – and eager to do work that engages young children in literacy.

Like every training day for this program, we crammed in the content. This first day was focused on why the work is important, what is expected, how libraries operate and their role in the community, and exploration of types of programs and techniques for engaging children of different ages.

Learning Ambassadors from 2014 came and demonstrated some of their successful programming (which included one of the funniest limbo competitions I’ve ever seen….and a blend of stories and card tricks that worked even when the cards flew to the floor). A 2012 Learning Ambassador returned to teach methods for incorporating math concepts into story-programming.

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Favorite moments: (1) After the teens brainstormed a mix of things that could and should be part of library activities, I noted what an amazing collection of services these were to offer “free” in a community (form childcare to maker labs or job search) – and one teen said “but it just makes sense.” (2) In reviewing the library system’s downloadable resources, one young man said excitedly, “oh my god, I didn’t know, I need to do this!”

Libraries….there when you needs us, and when you want to be amazed.

Save the Date – #GivingTuesday

November 14th, 2014 No comments
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GT-STD-Web-Banner_300x2501#GivingTuesday is a first-of-its-kind effort that will harness the collective power of a unique blend of partners — charities, families, businesses and individuals — to transform how people think about, talk about and participate in the giving season. Coinciding with the Thanksgiving Holiday and the kickoff of the holiday shopping season, #GivingTuesday will inspire people to take collaborative action to improve their local communities, give back in better, smarter ways to the charities and causes they support and help create a better world.

Taking place December 2, 2014 — the Tuesday after Thanksgiving — #GivingTuesday will harness the power of social media to create a national moment around the holidays dedicated to giving, similar to how Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become days that are, today, synonymous with holiday shopping.

 

How is the Westchester Library System involved?

In advance of December 2nd’s #GivingTuesday, when nonprofits hope pre-holiday shoppers will consider making donations, The Journal News and lohud.com, in collaboration with Nonprofit Westchester, have compiled a searchable database of nonprofits in Rockland, Westchester and Putnam Counties.

Within this database are opportunities to support local nonprofits by donating money, or volunteering and donating your time to the organization — which is just as valuable, if not more.

#lohudcares database is now available here: data.lohud.com/lohudcares

 

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New York Health Exchange for you or your small business

January 22nd, 2014 No comments
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Small business owners and consumers across New York have have been enrolling in the New York Health Exchange.

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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
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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.

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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.