Posts Tagged ‘WLS’

WLS Holiday Gift Guide

December 10th, 2012 No comments

The holiday season is upon us, and that means presents! Some people have the easiest time coming up with great gifts for family and friends. While other people need some help finding the perfect present.

This year, our staff decided to put together a 10 day holiday gift guide. Each gift idea truly represents the personality of our staff members!


“This year, at least two friends are going to score an Empire Pass, which gives a carload of friends, family, and pets free access to county parks all year long.  Westchester has hundreds, no, thousands of trails that take your breath away – because they are either energetic and/or absolutely beautiful.  Maybe I’ll add in a copy of 50 Hikes in the Lower Hudson Valley: Hikes and Walks from Westchester County to Albany, and my favorite thermos so they don’t forget about winter hikes – and really, what better time for hot chocolate?”

Elena Falcone, Director, Office of Community Connections


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.

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.

WLS Opens Senior Benefits Information Centers

September 12th, 2012 No comments

 Westchester Library System’s Senior Benefits Information Centers

Two Additional Locations Now Available Just In Time for Medicare Open Enrollment

Tarrytown, NY September 12, 2012–  A recent survey of older Americans conducted by the National Council on Aging discovered that seniors need answers: one in four were not confident they would be able to afford the costs associated with Medicare in future years, such as deductibles, premiums and co-pays. One third of the seniors surveyed said they were not confident they know all about the government benefits for which they are eligible.  Additional concerns were expressed about the availability of resources to support aging in place, and the challenges of giving and receiving care in later years.  For all of these concerns, Westchester County residents can get answers at Senior Benefit Information Centers located in public libraries around the county.

Eight public libraries in Westchester County offer free, one-to-one counseling to help seniors understand and apply for needed benefits and assistance.  Senior Benefits Information Centers are staffed by trained volunteers who bring personal experience and compassion to every encounter.  Available throughout the year, residents can gain assistance in understanding and applying for Medicare, food stamps, tax relief, and much more. Senior Benefits Information Centers save residents time and money, allowing them to stay healthy, protected, and connected.

Senior Benefit Information Centers help to address questions like these:

  • When and how can you enroll in Medicare?
  • What are the differences among Medicare plan options for medical and drug coverage?
  • If you’re already enrolled in Medicare and have experienced a change in health or financial status, are there plan changes you should make during the annual fall open enrollment period?
  • If you are having difficulty paying for healthcare needs, even with Medicare, what other benefits might be available to you?
  • Are you concerned that an older family member is not receiving needed services?  Have they asked you for help and you are wondering where to start?

As of last year, Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period starts a month earlier, running from October 15 through December 7.  This is a time for new enrollment, plan evaluation and changes, and a lot of marketing by health insurance firms. Make it your time to visit a local public library to confirm your benefit options and become acquainted with the fall programs available in libraries around the county.

Senior Benefit Information Centers are open weekdays; hours and times vary by location.  Sites include: John C. Hart Memorial Library in Shrub Oak (Tuesdays 10am-1pm), Mount Kisco Public Library (Wednesdays, 11am-2pm), Grinton I. Will Library in Yonkers (Tuesdays 10am-1pm, Thursdays, 11am-3pm), The Warner Library in Tarrytown (Wednesdays 10am-1pm), the New Rochelle Public Library (Fridays 10am-1pm), The Field Library in Peekskill (Thursdays 10am-1pm), and two additional locations now at the Greenburgh Public Library (Mondays 10am-1pm) and Port Chester-Rye Brook Public Library (Thursdays 11am-2pm).

Senior Benefit Information Centers are made possible through a partnership with the Westchester Library System, the Medicare Rights Center and Westchester County’s Department of Senior Programs and Services. For more information call Elena Falcone, Director of WLS’ Office of Community Connections at 914 231 3240, or visit the Westchester Library System’s web site at

About the Westchester Library System

The Westchester Library System (WLS) includes 38 member public libraries located throughout the County and is one of New York State’s 23 public library systems. WLS and its member libraries have a total collection of 5.1 million items, including 3.8 million books, as well as audio recordings, videocassettes, DVDs, print serials, and other materials. The mission of the Westchester Library System is to ensure that all residents have seamless access to excellent library service throughout Westchester County. The Westchester Library System serves as a center of innovation for the Westchester County library community. WLS provides model programs, affordable and easy-to-use information technology, and support services that enable libraries to continuously improve service to their communities. For more information, please visit