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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:

TalkingPoint-SavingsImage

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.

2015 Advocacy Day Postcard-Image

            • 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
 

 

 

Got Numbers?

February 13th, 2015 No comments
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As we start to collect data for the New York State Annual Reports, I thought I would have a little fun with the numbers from 2013, as shown below.  The numbers really do tell a story, so even though completing these Reports can be boring and annoying, let’s try to think of the unlimited possibilities for using all of these facts and figures to convey the importance of libraries and how they can impact the world!

Fun Stats Blog Picture

Library Advocacy Day – February 26, 2014

March 6th, 2014 No comments
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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.