Responses to input on new Statewide Plan from Individuals

The Questions

The Responses


2020 Visioning Process: Key Questions for the Library and Education Communities

  1. What are the two most important roles of libraries today?  What will they be in the future?  How will libraries fulfill these future roles?
  2. What are the greatest challenges libraries will face over the next 10 years?  What assets and resources do libraries have that can overcome these challenges?  What are the barriers that will prevent libraries from meeting these challenges?
  3. How can library service be extended to those currently not using libraries?  How do we engage community members in connecting their needs to libraries?
  4. What will be the most important roles of school libraries in the future?  What will increase the visibility and relevance of school libraries?
  5. How can academic libraries be more integral to their own institution’s community? Is there a role for academic libraries beyond the campus?  If so, what is that role?
  6. What can public libraries do to ensure their survival?  How can they better serve their communities?
  7. What will be the most important roles of special and research libraries in the future?  What will increase the visibility and relevance of special and research libraries?
  8. What are the greatest challenges facing New York State’s library systems over the next 10 years?  What are the assets and resources library systems will need to meet these challenges?
  9. How can the State Library and the State Education Department help libraries position themselves to successfully meet the needs of all New Yorkers for library services in 2020 and beyond?
  10. What will be the impact on libraries with the rapid growth of commercial information sources like streaming video, iTunes, and e-books?  How can libraries prosper in a Digital Age?

Casandra Beam

The simplest way I can reply to this inquiry is to say this:

My 20 and 23 year old children rarely think of the public library, or their university library, as a resource for information. They perceive all information as available right through their iphones. In the digital age, I would imagine libraries need extremely powerful and fast computers, with great graphics and search engines, and nice flat screen monitors, as well as wireless internet and support services to teach people how to use these tools effectively. I also think the library can still serve as a quiet space for contemplation and writing, when being at home or outside are not comfortable for people. Libraries can continue to serve as community spaces for trainings, social and political gatherings, business networking opportunities, classes, etc.

Books themselves probably are not in demand like they used to be, especially for young adults. I hope children continue to love real books! And of course, expensive oversized and specialty books are still out of reach for most people, and going to the library to view rare material will continue to be a treat.

My biggest concern is that in the deluge of digital options, people allow Google to manipulate their thinking by bubbling up websites to the top of their pages. People don't always continue searching beyond the Google filters. Somehow we've abdicated our intellectual power to Google. It reminds me of the classic conundrum around using PowerPoint – people actually simplify information to fit on the slide, rather than the other way around. Critical information gets lost, watered down, or simply dropped. The technology runs our thinking, rather than the other way around.

Anyway, it's a huge conversation! And, I recommend you read What Technology Wants by Kevin Kelly.

Thank you for including me in the discussion. I am an avid reader and book lover, and work for a living to preserve the English language and teach adults to read, but even I am drawn to the paperless book, and go to the library less than I used to.

Casandra Beam, CEO
Ulster Literacy Association


Jim Belair

Question 1: At our core, a library's purpose is to provide quality, free materials to our users for educational or entertainment reasons. I want to make sure to explain a clear distinction between a library and a librarian. Without the librarian, that is all a library is. The librarian's job used to be to give people the info and send them on their way. Today and into the future our role instead is to help them weed through the massive amount of items and find the materials that best fit their needs. Users have the information but they do not always know how to best use it.

Question 2: One of the biggest challenges is the notion that libraries can become virtual. This would be a HUGE disservice to our communities. Libraries are so much more- from the programs they offer to the ability to browse through and touch stuff! It is important that libraries embrace the virtual world of 24-7 mobile access, but they should never loss site of the in person users!

Question 3: By being open minded and embracing what is foreign to us. Half the battle is just getting people in the door. Why not purchase video games and have a video game club? Once patrons become more familiar/comfortable, they will probably expand their horizons and start looking to see what else is being offered by the library. Also, we need to promote ourselves and what we have to offer.

Question 4: We need to separate out the library and the librarian- once cannot function without the other. The library will become more of a learning commons- a place for people to meet, collaborate, find materials, have a LARGE fiction section...The notion of a school hub is out the window- to the music teacher, the band room is the hub, to the science teacher, the lab is the hub....Instead, there is the learning commons! The librarian must be visible in the school and not afraid to leave the library and go to the classroom for instruction. Also, the librarians job will not be to give the kids info, but instead help them sift through the mounds that they have and find the best information AND what best fits their informational needs. Additionally, the librarian must play a key part in teaching what digital citizenship is!

Question 5: From a k-12 school's perspective, academic libraries can continue to work with us to let us know how we can better prepare student's for entering this environment. Also, academic libraries are ideal for resource sharing. From a community stand point, I think it would be awesome to have libraries work with various student groups within the campus to bring programming that would benefit the community- this would make for a great partnership between public and academic libraries.

Question 6: Adapt to the needs of the community and be willing to try new things. See response #3.

Question 7: I do not have a clear cut answer on this. From a school's perspective, it would be great to know what resources/services they have to offer that could benefit our students.

Question 8: Money, money, money. State funds do not fully cover the cost of a system director and support staff. Also, we would like to branch out with various initiatives, but those cost money, which we do not have (such as content creation, eBooks...). I think a great resource we are not doing is statewide ILL -- in other words, have a mechanism to search school catalogs across the state!

Question 9: I am still internalizing this! Continue advocating for us and letting us be aware of what is going on. Also, it would be great to have Professional Development around grant writing! Additionally, work with the vendors when it comes to eResources so they understand our needs.

Question 10:

If we do not react, we are dead in the water! We need to embrace these and become leaders of them. We need to work with the vendors and help them understand what we do and why we do it. We need to offer face-to-face programming to our patrons on these items, in addition to how to videos that they can watch on there own.

Jim Belair, Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES School Library System Director

Note: I am a SLS Director at Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES and these are my thoughts, and not necessarily those of the school librarians within this region.


April. L.R. Bliss

Question 1:

1.A. Equity of access to information

Teaching users how to evaluate the quality of the information they find

1.B. The same roles as above, but with different technology

1.C. The same roles as above, but with different technology

Question 2:

2.A. Ready availability of unauthenticated information and deciphering misinformation

The ensuing chaos created by rapidly changing technologies

2.B. Professional staff dedicated to helping users learn how to find the information and resources they need

Membership in a library system that provides leadership to individual libraries

Flexibility in adapting services to current needs

2.C. Insufficient funding

Fear of change

Lack of leadership at system and state levels

Insufficient infrastructure

Question 3: Make the library a “desirable place to be”. Perhaps an adaptation of the book store model by including a café/performance space. This needs to include evening and weekend hours.

The availability of new technologies and the training to assist the user with those technologies.

In small communities planning boards should consider multi-use buildings. If the library was in the same building as the town hall, fire hall or the sports center they could share expenses.

Question 4:

4.A. Teaching critical thinking inquiry skills

Integrating critical thinking inquiry skills into Common Core State Standards

Being a valuable member of the literacy team, especially in underserved areas

Being the go to educator for intrinsically motivated or gifted and talented learners.

4.B. Showing improved test results

Dynamic programs

Regular reports to administrators, board of education and community

Certified school librarian as an integral part of the school’s instructional program

Question 5: All libraries need to have collaborative partnerships with other types of libraries. In our region a Bridging the Gap Program between the high school libraries and the academic library was coordinated by the School Library System. The point of view of the academic librarian is a most helpful guide for the school librarians.

Question 6: All libraries need to have collaborative partnerships with other types of libraries. As a School Library System Director I have arranged to borrow from the Public Library System unique materials to meet the special needs of students in our public schools.

Again partnerships with elementary school librarians to have students obtain library card.

Question 7: These libraries do not have a high profile with the public yet we want to ensure our doctors and other professionals have access to a highly qualified research librarian.

Question 8:

8.A. “School Library Systems have never been funded at a level sufficient for them to provide the services required under Law or necessary to achieve their potential.” (p. 29 King Summary)

Attracting qualified directors

Certification issues that require SLS Directors to leave the position in order to gain permanent certification.

SLS Directors are compelled by the governing agency to perform duties outside of the School Library System

SLS Directors are required to have administrative certification, but are often denied administrative appointment within the governing agency resulting in little or no control over SLS funding and operations.

8.B. Adequate funding

Leadership from Library Development

Flexibility to try new paradigms

Question 9: Convert NOVELny to a NYS funded project

Negotiate state wide consortium pricing for online resources not included in NOVELny

Develop and maintain a state wide union catalog which includes holdings from all types of libraries

Promote equity of access for all users in all types of libraries

An affordable courier system to connect all types of libraries.

Question 10:

10.A. Equity of access will become even more important

Librarians will be key partners in teaching the critical analysis and use of information

Need for professional development for librarians and/or library staff

10.B. Develop even stronger customer service relationships

Promote their role as information technology providers/interpreters

Provide equity of access to services and resources for all users

Take a leadership role in providing access to these resources; in training in their use and applications to the learning taking place in all types of libraries.


Kathleen Brown

Question 1: The two most important roles of libraries today are technology for those that can not afford and a meeting place for the community. Technology use is free in libraries. This may be the only location some folks have to use technology. As our economy limps along, this function of the library only becomes more important. The gap between the haves and have nots is very deep.

The library serves an important role in the life of a community. All can come and enjoy the resources offered by the library. Choosing a book, using the computer, or researching questions brings people to the library. When community members meet, discussion ensues.

Question 2: The greatest challenge to a library will be to find stable funding. The assets and resources libraries have to offer is a great wealth of knowledge, entertainment and a welcoming environment. The barriers that will prevent libraries from meeting these challenges are:

Small libraries do not have the expertise to explore alternative funding. The library systems offer help, but as their staff shrinks, the amount of time they have to offer will also shrink.

Small libraries in small towns are in facing contests regarding quality of life issues such as should we update the light poles and make them safer or should we fund the library; should we continue to have a small police force or fund the library. Libraries bring a quality of life to communities that can not be measured in lower electric bills or a rise in traffic tickets.

Question 3: Library use can be expanded by being responsive to the needs of the community and realizing that if the community doesn’t come to you, you have to go to the community. Use of technology will continue to bring people to the libraries. Programming which appeals to different segments of the community is also important. (Programming is expensive; even free programming. It takes time to plan and offer. This may prove to be a vanishing role in smaller communities.)

Libraries can also take a small collection of books to day care centers for children and their parents. Any celebration in the community can be improved by having the library’s presence felt. A YMCA or a Boy’s and Girl’s Club would be an ideal spot for a small library collection. These are not free options, however. Staff would be present in any of these scenarios.

Question 4: One important role of a school library will be to offer technology to those that do not have it at home. Teachers forget that not everyone has access to technology when not in school. School libraries should also be pioneers for new technologies, helping teachers work with new resources for integration into their classrooms.

School libraries also can encourage students to read, or to read more, or read widely. School librarians are in a unique situation to influence students in a way no one else can. School librarians do not give grades, are not judgmental on reading selections (using their wisdom to pair a student with reading that is appropriate for their age), and offer a haven in a busy school day.

Question 5: n/a

Question 6: Public libraries need to establish stable funding. Libraries need to continually research their community. This intimate knowledge of their community will provide a timely and accurate response from the public libraries.

Question 7: n/a

Question 8: The greatest challenge for library systems will be to continue to offer services that small libraries can not afford on their own. They also will need to remain strong in these economic times. They provide a united voice for libraries.

Question 9: These departments should be lobbying politicians to provide stable funding. They should keep all politicians current on what libraries mean to communities. They should offer help in finding other funding options; help such as staff to assist libraries in finding stable funding in their own communities. Posting information on a web page is great, but sometimes a person with experience is the best way to accomplish a goal.

Question 10:

Libraries need to offer access to technology that some folks can not afford. Depending on the financial status of the library and the surrounding community, technology may be come a “rotating” commodity; something patrons can check out. Computer stations can be set up to help patrons download books. Helping patrons select technology to fully utilize the resources of the library will be an important role to fill.

Kathleen Brown
Technology Coordinator
Cal-Mum Central School


Michael S. Burnett

Most libraries will have to close.  Financing a library will become prohibitive.  Detrimental devices as the 2% tax cap and the continued spiraling increase in NYS retirement system payments will force libraries to make cuts that will annihilate material and programming budgets.

The State's arcane belief that libraries are "free" to the public is demeaning to the profession and NYLA's lack of concern for this issue is absolutely inconceivable.  All areas of the state must be part of a library district and all areas must financially support a library.  There are no free rides today.  Those that don't agree are very out of touch with reality and should be replaced now.

Michael S Burnett
Library Director
Northville Public Library


Jessikah Chautin and Catherine Vidal

Question 1: In today’s world I think one of a library’s most important roles is to connect people with accurate information, be it for research, job search information, consumer reports or any other needs that require true and accurate facts. Because there is so much available online but so few filters as to the veracity or impartiality of what is being stated. It is very possible that any random website which provides “true” information lacks in accurate research and/or biased based on the website’s author. It is often up to libraries and librarians to provide the materials which can provide the best answer to any problem using the absolute best materials available. Various databases which must pass several standards before they are approved to go live are available through libraries as well as access to records which may not be easily available to the public. In addition to this it is also often up to the librarian to help their patrons sift through the many times overwhelming mass of text to find what suits them best. As the amount of information both true false and biased expands due to the “plugged in” nature of the world this will be needed more than ever. We need librarians to take the reigns and help their communities navigate their way through information in the often unfiltered 21st century technology and to help them to become savvy as well as digitally literate using devices which will deliver what they need.

From the standpoint of a children’s librarian, the other most important role of libraries today is keeping the integrity and enjoyment of literacy and reading alive. As reading is often considered a chore for young people, it seems to come down to librarians on the front lines connecting the reader with the “right” book that will ignite the reader. As a former reluctant reader I can tell you first hand that if someone doesn’t like to read they often won’t read well. While children are used to their reading level being assessed, they don’t always want to read. The knowledge of various materials as well as understanding the needs of each reader on an individual basis is extremely important. Furthermore, regardless of how many people say not to “judge a book by its cover” children in particular often do just that. It is up to us to sell what is between the covers or rather in the coming age of e-books when covers are not always readily available for browsing, and browsing is often the point where someone may decide if they want to read a book. Librarians are trained to take the time to work with not just researchers and readers but non readers in hopes that their views will change and they will eventually embrace literacy. Even if the mediums change, our jobs adapt.

Question 2: Since everything changes so rapidly I think the greatest challenges for many libraries will be keeping up with the way information is disseminated accurately. It seems like every day there is a new technology coming out which will “forever” change the way things have been done for centuries. Fortunately librarians are used to adapting to new environments. A little over 10 years ago, for instance, many libraries still used a card catalogue to look up materials. As use of computers became the standard librarians went with the change to keep up with the times and better serve their patrons. They had to be familiar with what was out there, why it was being used and how it could make libraries and librarians better for those they served.

Some barriers that may exist are the misconception that changing technologies mean people won’t be apt to use library resources. Luckily as times change most people seem to realize the value of libraries in connecting them to what is current, I personally hope and am confident this will continue. With shrinking budgets leading to less money to spend on new technologies and less staff to train libraries may find themselves with a lack of resources to provide what they need to keep up with everything in a timely manner.

Question 3: We can “go viral”! There is no reason Libraries and Librarians can’t use the modern media that has taken over communication to bring our resources to people who may not realize exactly what we offer for the modern age. Many libraries utilize Facebook, blogs and other social networking sites to inform the public that we are indeed here and we have a lot to offer. This is a good start, but I also believe that viral video campaigns can really bring about non-users. With several technology savvy people entering the field and clever marketing we can let people know we are here to stay and we remain relevant. As far as connecting with the communities go, I think we need to be as visible as possible. This may mean holding an “open house” in our buildings from time to time, or surveying parents in the local school systems on what they would like to see. We could reach out to senior centers as well. There is no reason we can’t ask our communities what they want. Of course not everyone will answer, but those who do will give us an idea of what we can do to keep up with their needs and perhaps then could spread by word of mouth to those who didn’t realize what we have. We can develop “app” type programs for mobile devices which integrate our systems and services with the digital technology so widely used.

Question 4: Preparing students with 21 century skills to navigate thru an ever increasing digital and multimedia world and an almost overabundance of information at every corner. Students need the skills to critically evaluate and sift through information in all its forms and for their own specific needs. This is not something they do innately but need be comfortable with none the less. They will need to understand how to effectively communicate and collaborate with their peers and co-workers in a digital age using various technologies. Students are content creators today, as such they need to know how to use information & create content in a responsible and ethical way. Research skills, information literacy skills, technology skills, and the ability to read, understand and critically evaluate information should be the focus of school libraries. 

School librarians should be an considered integral part of curriculum planning in every subject area. Research and technology skills are part of the new common core standards and collaboration with teachers will help people realize how important the library /librarian of today is (again, it's not just books - its research, technology, software, computers, digital literacy, everything needed to succeed in today's ever competitive tech world). Increased technology in the school libraries will also get visibility - if you have technology, students & teachers will gravitate towards it. Libraries can be an equalizer for students who do not have as much. Libraries should be the tech/information center of the school, by having tech savvy librarians who are willing to help teachers who aren't tech savvy, offering professional development throughout the school district, and collaborating in all areas of the curriculum to incorporate research & technology into the curriculum.

Question 5: Academic librarians should do sort of an outreach program to work with all department and programs within the university. Having a librarian liaison that specializes in science, law, business, education, etc. to get all those departments/professors/students in those programs into the library. Offering workshops on various types of technology, research, citation style, etc. anything to get students and professors into the library to see the value of the resources the library & librarians offer. Academic libraries should have a virtual presence that includes all sorts of web 2.0 applications so they can communicate with their audiences. Academic libraries can also be of service to the local community by offering services to target the community, whether it is events, programs, community outreach, etc.

Question 6: Public Libraries need to continue to move forward embracing the future of literacy and research while preserving what has made them great in the past. We need to be as tech savvy as possible in order to teach those who are uncomfortable with these mediums as well as support those who already know the basics but don’t know where to go from here on in. While new technologies may appear to be the end all and be all of reading we must remember it is the librarian’s job to direct the user to the best material for their needs, which is not always as clear as it may sound. The only difference is the interface. As long as we realize our own relevance and continue to go ahead with the jobs we do so well no matter if it is on digital readers or paper books our survival is in our ability to do our work officiently. We also need to keep a strong dialogue with our individual communities to meet their needs. As I had mentioned above, we can always survey or canvass our communities. We need to stay visible and audible. Sometimes even our own users are unaware of what we actually have to offer beyond books. We need to continue to sell ourselves. It is not a bad idea while helping a patron to say, “Did you know we have some great databases on this topic as well?” or “Have you been to our programs for children?”

We also need to act as a cultural outreach center for our communities, providing programs and services which continue to expand on intellect and exchange of ideas. When we keep our communities in a fluid dialogue within themselves we are forever evaluating the needs of the people within. People still crave stimulation beyond what they can do by themselves. Libraries and their staff have resources at their fingertips to provide various outlets for the intellect of their communities from the youngest patrons to senior citizens. We build our users from the ground up and must strive to address their needs from the very first moment they enter our buildings as to keep them coming back as life time library users.

I can’t tell you how many people you would think would know everything about the library they use are pleasantly surprised about what they didn’t know. We need everyone to know that we are more than just books. While books began as the foundation of our field, we provide so much more in the way of research, education, media, etc.

Question 7: Once again, the massive overabundance of information available online and digitally does not mean that this information is accurate and useful for research. Librarians as information specialists are there to make sure what is being used for research is actually correct and has passed the filters needed. Incorrect research benefits no one. We act as liaisons between what exists and what is correct to deliver researchers the best materials for their needs. Special libraries are invaluable for the reasons above as well, but in a more specific manner. There is no benefit in physicians, medical students, lawyers or any other specialized field using false research and incorrect data. As we all know it is very easy for anyone to build a website and make it look professional. We have access to various resources we can assess in order to provide and direct our users towards the materials to find the best and most correct answer to their problem.

Question 8: Obviously the shrinking budgets are making it very difficult for library systems to provide their member libraries with the resources that are used to connect them. Library systems exist to bind together the libraries within and connect their personnel to make sure they are meeting the needs of all of their communities. Library systems also work to educate those in the field in order to keep them up to date with the constant changes which occur. Without the organization and professional resources provided to libraries by library systems it is certain communication and modernization between communities will deteriorate.

Question 9: The State Library and Education Department needs to give strong support to libraries and librarians in this economy as well as the future to come. It is not enough to exist without a voice. Libraries have often received the stereotype of being “quiet places” our representatives in the government, be it the State Library or the Education Department need to act as an amplifier to allow our voices to be brought loudly to those who may have not listened to us otherwise.

It needs to be addressed that Libraries and Librarians exist as educators. I feel that this is often overlooked. The State Library and State Education department need to make sure these things are known to those who would otherwise overlook these facts.

Question 10:

The only thing which is changing about information and media is the devices we use to share it. Some libraries are already offering an iTunes like subscription which allows their patrons to download a certain amount of music files based on the label under which they are licensed. In turn, just because someone has an e-reader does not mean that they wish to purchase every single book they wish to read or need to own, some books are used for research, some are borrowed as a pleasure read and fails to satisfy the reader, etc. Libraries still lend books and will continue to provide research assistance and readers advisory, even if the material is not on paper. Not everyone knows exactly what they want/need/ and what is available to them. Often a patron will come in with an idea for something and leave with something completely different that works even better for their needs because of the hard work of the library staff who had spent the time to assess the core of their requests and connect them to what exists. We must stay current with these new technologies while they develop and use them to serve our communities as needed. Libraries have already began nurturing their media departments and expanding their staff’s digital literacy.

While libraries of the future may be changing the need for them and for librarians to run them evolves to fit the needs of the world they live in and the people they serve.

Jessikah Chautin and Catherine Vidal, a public and school librarian


Margaux DelGuidice

Question 1: The most important role of a librarian today is to teach the foundations of information literacy and help students understand the difference between misinformation and disinformation in a world filled with too much information. Students are not expected to have all of the answers when they are in the library. It is the job of a librarian, today and in the future, to help students find information and use the appropriate tools to ensure that they are retrieving facts.

Question 2: The biggest challenges that are facing libraries today is the ignorant idea that libraries are no longer needed since the Internet is so prevalent in our society. A lack of funding, that will continue to be denied to libraries that need it most, will compound this problem.

Question 3: Library services can be extended to those that are not currently using libraries by expanding the way librarians and libraries offer their services and materials. Examples: Apps for databases on SMARTPhones, ads promoting libraries and libraries on the Internet.

Question 4: The most important role of school librarians in the future will be the continuing education of students on the importance of information literacy. This will form the foundation that students will need as they navigate through the maze of the digital world into their adult lives.

Question 5: n/a

Question 6: Public libraries need to continue to strenuously collaborate with the schools in their community and promote themselves and their programs within their community.

Question 7: n/a

Question 8: The biggest challenges facing New York State Library Systems will be the lack of funding for their valuable services.

Question 9: Libraries and librarians are the hub and heart of every school. To do without librarian on any level is a huge disservice to students looking to succeed in an increasingly digital world. Certified school librarians k-12 should be a mandate in every school in NY state.

Question 10:

There already is an impact on libraries as a result of this new technology. Librarians are embracing these new forms of technology and educating patrons on their use. Libraries will prosper in a digital age because they are the disseminators of good, sound information. Librarians are the guides through a maze of misinformation.

Margaux DelGuidice
School Librarian
Garden City High School

Children's Services Librarian
Freeport Public Library


Jean Ehnebuske

Question 1: The way I see it, the key role of public libraries today is to provide access to information in a variety of formats for library users across all demographics. A secondary, but supporting and critical role, is to provide informed, professional, and friendly staff to facilitate that access, encourage exploration of other resources the library offers, and foster lifelong learning in library users. I think these two roles will be just as important in the future. To fulfill these roles, libraries will have to remain ahead of the technology curve, anticipate the new services library users will expect, and stay aware of demographic changes and trends in their communities.

Question 2: I'm afraid funding will be the greatest challenge. For many public library systems and their member libraries, Albany's newly adopted budget -- with its paltry "restoration" of library aid -- will means cutting staff, collections, hours and services. Although libraries will try to overcome these funding challenges by applying for grants, establishing library foundations, and hosting fundraisers, for example, these efforts will not be enough. The "barriers," sad to say, are the municipal, county and state "funding authorities." Public libraries need to find ways to showcase their services to funding authorities at all levels throughout the year -- not just at budget-making time -- and to emphasize the tax savings for communities that library systems create.

Question 3: If we had been asked in the previous question to name the second-greatest challenge to public libraries, I'd say finding strategies for outreach to those not currently using libraries would be it. Finding "the draw" is critical, but not so easy. I'm sure that this is not a unique or untried idea, but if library directors and staff decided to target, say, those in their community who enjoy the outdoors, the staff could talk to a few folks who are library users as well as hikers, say, and ask for their help in inviting their friends to a focus group. The purpose would be to find out what the library could do for them--how the library could serve them best. I think many people who are not library users do not think of libraries in terms receiving services that might be helpful or that meet their needs. They think that libraries have books, that's it, and that those books are mostly the ones English teachers made them read in high school. What if the library learned from the hikers, boaters or fishermen that they would like to see a collection of books on hiking? Or laminated maps of the local or regional area they could check out? Or a collection of books on tying flies? Perhaps they'd suggest that the library host a program on first aid for the outdoors. Or a program about camping with small children? Although I think public libraries are trying different strategies to appeal to community members who currently don't darken their doors, but there's more to be done.

Question 4: The most important roles can be fulfilled only if school libraries at all campuses, K-12, are staffed with certified, fulltime librarians and professionally trained aides; provide ample, age-appropriate, up-to-date collections; and offer in-library access to digital resources. School librarians are not only media center directors, they are teachers, and need to be viewed as key instructional personnel on the campus. Their role is not only to help students learn to find, assess and use information, but to help classroom teachers design lessons around library resources so that they can maximize their students' learning experiences. Until New York decides that certified, fulltime librarians are necessary on every campus -- not just on middle and high school campuses -- students will not receive the kind of library learning experiences they deserve.

Question 5: n/a

Question 6: As I wrote above, it is critical that public libraries help funding authorities understand that their communities value and rely on their libraries. One way to do this is to put themselves in front of those decision-makers on an ongoing basis and to get them into their libraries to see for themselves. Libraries also need to keep current with what community members expect them to deliver. One way to do this is for library directors and staff to get out into the community more often. I feel they need to cut a higher profile themselves if they want their libraries to have more visibility in the community. And the questions they need to be asking are "What can we do for you? How can we serve you better? What would you like us to offer that we currently don't?"

Question 7: n/a

Question 8: Since public library systems depend almost entirely on state funding, I see securing continued funding that is fair and substantial as the greatest challenge. Systems didn't receive that this year, and with the economy struggling, systems probably won't receive that next year either. It's difficult to understand how the model that public library systems have created -- one that applies economies of scale to deliver services efficiently and effectively -- would not be adopted by other state agencies that are looking for ways to cut spending and save tax dollars. Systems do this so well, but for this, they have been disproportionately cut in the state budget for several years -- including this one.

Although the assets and resources that are currently in place are working as well as they can on little funding, as we all advance into a more digital world, systems will need to continue to position themselves as leaders in this transition. Again, this will be challenging if greater funding is not made available.

Question 9: The State Education Department should write regulations requiring that schools serving students at all grade levels, K-12, be staffed with certified, fulltime librarians. Also, are there updated school library standards in place? If not, are there any plans to create/revise such standards?

Question 10: n/a


Janice Friedman

Question 1: The most important role of the library definitely depends on what library you are describing. I will direct my comments to school libraries. The primary role of the school library is to prepare students to be independent learners and readers, information seekers, and informationally literate. School libraries aim to promote the love of reading and instill in its students an appreciation of literature and a thirst for discovery. Libraries provide resources to support and enhance the curriculum as well as respond to student interests and individual information needs. Knowledge resources are managed and made available; support for information literacy is integrated in every aspect of the library. As far as school librarians are concerned the most important roles are assisting children in becoming knowledgeable about technology, understanding the language technology uses and how to use technology to further students’ ability to comprehend and understand the text they are reading.

In the future, libraries will be places where technology assists library users in their day to day learning. While resources will be available in different ways, the need for students to be educated in how to use these resources will continue to be paramount. Librarians will have to be trained in whatever new technologies their libraries embrace with an eye toward being one step ahead of the students. The introduction of the Common Core Standards will mean more than ever that literacy crosses all content areas. For libraries to fulfill their role as information managers and providers, they more than ever will have to look at interdisciplinary connections.

In an age in which information expands more rapidly than ever and personal, corporate, and government budgets are strained, libraries provide free and equal access to material. The resources are vetted so that patrons may be assured of quality and accuracy. These are timeless attributes of successful libraries and they will continue to be in the future. Libraries will fulfill these goals as they always have by hiring well-educated librarians and other library staff members dedicated to providing patrons with the best material at the lowest cost and providing outreach and training to patrons on the newest innovations and the potential uses of developing technology.

Question 2: The most critical challenge stems from budgetary concerns. Public institutions that rely on funding from a tax base will be hardest hit. If the library is considered to be an optional service, then they face the peril of losing critical financial support. Staff and budget cuts would negative impact the breadth and depth of services libraries provide. Libraries are faced with the concomitant challenges of rapidly changing technology and the costs associated with changing formats and diminishing or stagnant budgets. Librarians work hard to maximize the potential of each dollar and their experience in so doing is the greatest asset.

Keeping abreast of changes in technology and offering resources and materials in formats that appeal to all users is another significant challenge. Acquiring this technology and being on the forefront in terms of its use presents a challenge in terms of staff development and funding. The implications of future developments that we can’t even predict on the infrastructure present a challenge as well. Another challenge is related to managing explosive content and guiding students toward relevant information.

To respond to these challenges, libraries have to be kept relevant, staff has to have stellar professional development, and library users need to be exposed to a wide variety of resources and formats as well as receive training in the use of new technologies. Education is paramount, and funds have to be directed toward that endeavor.

As more resources become available online, library spaces should be reconfigured accordingly to allow for mobile learning and reading. While printed books will remain the mainstay of the library, non-print resources in the form of databases and ebooks are sure to make a greater mark.

Most certainly, the barriers libraries face will stem from funding in lean times. If funds aren’t allocated, library service will not be exemplary or even satisfactory. Libraries will have to keep up with changes in the world of information, and will have to do so while dealing with budgetary limitations.

Question 3: Libraries have been experiencing a notable increase in community use due to the economy. The digital divide is real and may persist and libraries will play a growing role in helping to bridge the gap. As far as school libraries are concerned, the intrinsic benefit of having them is that they provide a bridge to public libraries. In addition, for children whose parents are not inclined to take them to the public library, they are assured to reap the benefits inherent in regular library visits and related instruction.

Question 4: Studies support the critical connection between student achievement and quality library programs. The school library’s future roles should build upon this positive relationship. As the amount of information and delivery methods available increases, students must be trained to become savvy consumers and judges of content. Libraries will continue to nurture readers to be lifelong literature enthusiasts. A strong commitment to fair funding and curricular excellence by educational and political leaders will allow school libraries to gain the prominent position they must have in developing citizens ready for the challenges of the future.

Question 5: n/a

Question 6: n/a

Question 7: n/a

Question 8: Over the next ten years libraries will have to fight to stay relevant. In a world where budgets are shrinking, school libraries will have to market their services in a way that helps the communities they serve understand the value of what they provide.

Question 9: The State Library and State Education Department can help libraries position themselves to meet the needs of our constituents by providing cooperative buying and licensing agreements from vendors of online databases and ebooks.

Question 10:

School libraries already enjoy the availability and use of these relatively new resources. We were in the forefront of introducing the now heavily used resource, video streaming, to our faculty and students. Videoconferencing is another avenue that has taken off in the school sector, with libraries often taking the lead in organizing and facilitating these opportunities. Our collection of ebooks is growing, and we anticipate growing demand for titles in electronic formats that can be downloaded to mobile devices. Figuring out how to navigate this burgeoning field will continue to be a challenge. There is conversation now in the publishing field that libraries will be charged depending on how frequently a title is read which is a change from the current model of purchase. Additionally, our school libraries have introduced ebook readers such as the Kindle. These devices will definitely impact how titles are purchased and, of course, read.

School libraries will prosper in a digital age, just like in any age, through the realization of the following goals: fostering a love for literature and reading, encouraging independent learning and critical thinking, developing research skills using a variety of print and non-print resources, offering materials and technologies that respond to evolving academic requirements and developments, and functioning as the information center of the school. In addition, demonstrating how libraries can positively impact test scores will increase their value.

Janice Friedman, Director of Library Media Services and Instructional Integration
Uniondale Public Schools


Barbara Hamlin

Question 1:

1.A. Information resource and community center.

1.B. The same.

1.C. By strengthening their leadership role in the community; partnering with other community groups and institutions such as schools, child care providers, social service providers, and government.

Question 2:

2.A. Acquiring the needed resources.

2.B. Libraries will need to leverage their good community relations to develop a strong fundraising base.

2.C. The lack of commitment to and expertise in fundraising.

Question 3:

3.A. Greater outreach and aggressive marketing to the community.

3.B. Hold focus groups on a continuing basis, make sure the community is aware of the library’s resources such a free or low cost meeting facilities, have library staff join community organizations and groups.

Question 4: n/a

Question 5: n/a

Question 6:

6.A. Build a strong endowment and annual fundraising program.

6.B. Have a strong “customer service” ethic.

Question 7: n/a

Question 8:

8.A. Financial resources and lack of commitment by legislators to (re) build a strong system. Also, the inability to raise funds independently and the lack of public understanding of the importance of systems to their own local library.

8.B. The individual libraries within the system must find some way to support systems.

Question 9: Advocate for increased budgets with the Regents and legislators and encourage and provide training for a local “fundraising ethic” within individual libraries.

Question 10:

10.A. The changes are so fundamental that small libraries will have to look to systems and the State Library for direction. However, local libraries WILL change with the new technologies because we must meet the needs of our patrons!

10.B. Welcome and embrace change as part of the evolution of libraries.


Christopher Harris

The following responses were written by Christopher Harris, Director of the School Library System for the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership and reflect my personal views. My responses have been informed by my national work as a library consultant and author as well as through my work on the ALA Office of Information Technology Policy Advisory Committee and the ALA Presidential Task Force on Equitable Access to Electronic Content.

Question 1: Today, the two most important roles for libraries are quite similar to the critical roles played by libraries in this country over the past 100 years. First, libraries are a community investment in a shared information and narrative repository. Grouping funds allows a library to effectively and efficiently provide a large variety of informative and narrative texts to meet many different community needs. This role is greatly enhanced by the ability to loan materials between libraries to meet the unique needs of an individual that may not be fully represented in his or her local library. For school libraries, this critical role results in extensive cost savings over so-called classroom libraries where resources are segregated and unavailable for general use.

The second critical role of today’s libraries is that of a community center. Public libraries are a welcoming institution that do not require membership, commercial investment, or adherence to a set of beliefs. Libraries are an equalizing force that allow disadvantaged members of a community access to the same resources as others. More recently this has been seen in libraries as computer centers, but traditional gatherings like story-time are still just as important. For schools, the school library is often described as a refuge - a safe place for those who do not otherwise fit in.

In the future - a future dominated by a change to digital information storage and retrieval - libraries will need to adapt to meet new roles. While collection development will still be critical, there will be significant challenges to overcome in terms of licensing digital content. And yet libraries must find ways to continue to provide a common collection of resources; our democracy is based on open access to information. Libraries must accept the challenge of bridging the digital divide to ensure access to all regardless of ability to pay for hardware or access fees. One way to accomplish this is for the library to assume the role of content creator in addition to the traditional role of content aggregator. Libraries in Colorado are working with independent publishers in that state to offer new resources through public libraries. Can libraries in NY move beyond creating content from scanning historical resources to creating new content?

Moving forward, the second critical role will also remain similar. In an increasingly digitized world, face-to-face interactions become precious. High-tech contract workers craving human interactions set up meeting places so they can work together. Even programs like library gaming are evidence of this base need for interaction. Libraries don’t have the latest gaming equipment always, but they do have the unique aspect of offering gaming in a social setting.

Question 2: The single biggest challenge libraries will face over the next 10 years is rebranding the concept of library to encompass the new services and resources made available by the digital shift in information. Libraries cannot survive as warehouses for books; they must become (and be perceived as) dynamic spaces that create and aggregate resources of all types. My dream of libraries is embodied in another great NY institution, Wegman’s. No longer a warehouse of groceries to which we dread going, Wegman’s has become a destination…an experience. With cooking classes, restaurants, child care, movie nights, and other creative offerings Wegman’s has transformed itself into a new type of store. The challenge for libraries is to become the non-commercial version of Wegman’s built around information and inquiry as opposed to food.

Libraries have tremendous assets at their disposal to help in this transition. Most importantly, we have a well-established and well-respected brand. Everyone loves libraries. Our challenge will be to tweak the perception to make sure that we are still loved when we aren’t totally about the books. The biggest barrier to this, and indeed the second biggest challenge we face moving forward, is the uncertainty surrounding the shift to digital information.

With physical books, libraries enjoy a high level of protection under copyright law. The first sale doctrine makes it possible for libraries to purchase, share, interlibrary loan, resell, and otherwise dispose of resources as desired. Current case law and rulings from the copyright office deny first sale rights in the case of digital content. The databases, ebooks, and streaming video that libraries are currently collecting fall under licenses, not purchases. ALA is currently working on this issue with the Presidential Task Force on Equitable Access to Electronic Content (I am a member of this) but many questions remain unanswered. This needs to be worked out.

Question 3: n/a

Question 4: School libraries will be an essential resource for schools in the coming years based on emerging needs from three current developments in education; new standards, digital resources, and online learning.

Between the push for 21st-century learning and the adoption of the common core standards, libraries will be critical providers of new resources. Librarians have been teaching a 21st-century curriculum of inquiry, problem solving, and content creation for many years. Our challenge is to gain recognition for our past and future efforts. School libraries must immediately cease instruction in outdated library skills and adopt a curriculum based around guided inquiry and creative problem solving. Many libraries have already incorporated this through games-based instruction and other innovative instructional activities as defined by the AASL Standards for the 21st-Century Learner.

The role of the school librarian within the new curriculum standards will also be critically important. Certified school librarians are usually the only faculty members in a school that address the depth and breadth of the entire curriculum. Working in collaboration with classroom teachers, certified school librarians are pedagogical and curriculum consultants available to assist in planning and co-teaching lessons. The common core standards, for example, introduce many new inquiry based elements and call for higher level fiction and non-fiction texts that must be evaluated for content and reading level. Certified librarians have expert training in both of these areas, making them essential members of any curriculum implementation team.

As resources in schools continue to move into the digital realm, some might think that school libraries are no longer necessary. While the role of the library as a warehouse for books will diminish, the real work of the librarian as curator, selector, de-selector, cataloger, and trainer will continue. In fact, given the overwhelming ratio of stuff to valuable content in digital information environments there is an even more pressing need for someone to act as an information guide to help uncover the value online. This can be easily seen in streaming video products that continue to add content without removing outdated or incorrect content. Sure, the hard drives can store all of the old videos talking about Pluto as a planet, but it is not helpful for a school library to present that as an instructional resource given its inaccuracy.

Libraries and librarians in the digital world will also be essential for online learning. Not only can today’s school libraries provide a place for independent online learners, but the certified school librarian can serve as a mentor teacher for those learners as well. Moving forward, the library will need to extend into digital spaces as well as physical. Online support with 24/7 assistance for online students will be an important new role that will need to be supported.

The best way to accomplish this is to reinvigorate the perception of school libraries as sources for expert pedagogical and curricular support and guides for navigating the digital information realm through creation, selection, and de-selection of quality resources combined with any needed training. Librarians need to take an active role in the instruction of all content areas for all students. They need to be seen by school administrators as vital and active participants in the common school goal of student achievement. School administrators need additional guidance on helping to create a quality library program. Too often right now, the response to a poor librarian or a poor library program is elimination of the position. A principal would never eliminate the math program because of an ineffective math teacher. Underperforming libraries and librarians need to be reformed, not eliminated. That requires support from SED and school library systems; support of existing mandates (and hopefully extensions of mandates to include elementary librarians) from SED and professional development and intervention services from school library systems.

Question 5: n/a

Question 6: n/a

Question 7: n/a

Question 8: School library systems need to make a number of changes to remain relevant and effective over the next 10 years. One of the largest challenges we face is re-imagining the role we can play in the new library landscape. With the automation and online distribution of basic tasks like interlibrary loan, resource ordering, and communication school library systems are freed up to tackle bigger challenges. For example, at the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership we have developed an open source union catalog that allows librarians from the five school library systems in the greater Rochester area to search all school library catalogs and request materials. In our local system, we have extended this to cover tracking and managing interlibrary loan requests from public and academic libraries as well. The time savings from this have allowed us to provide additional services and develop new resources.

Development of resources and services is the future of library systems in New York. By leveraging the power of open source web development frameworks like Drupal, the SLS of the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership has created a library portal/discovery tool. Member librarians have a free website that serves as their online catalog and library website with social book reviews by students and pathfinders for classroom project support. This system was developed by librarians, with librarians, and for librarians. More importantly, it was developed within the funding of the school library system at no additional cost to our rural school districts. On demand development of cloud-based library services like this provides a strong future for school library systems. In our BOCES region, the SLS is viewed as having a strong vision for a digitally enriched future. We are seen as vital partners in the use of technology to enhance instruction in the libraries and beyond.

And yet the challenge of funding and structure of school library systems as a whole remains. While we certainly appreciate the codification of supplementary funding, the instability of payment timelines makes it difficult to use those funds for staffing. Other requirements for school library systems create barriers as well. For example, as tasks become increasingly digitized it may not be necessary for every system to have a full time secretary. Most traditionally clerical tasks have been computerized; the remaining support tasks require a higher level of expertise and autonomy and may not require a full FTE. Legacy regulations also call for fax machines for every communication coordinator but most schools have moved to digital phone systems that do not support fax lines. Furthermore, forms that would have been faxed in the past are now emailed or completed online. These are but two examples of the need to rework regulations to support a changed school library system that is developing and deploying cloud services as opposed to shuffling paper.

Question 9: The State Library and SED can best support the libraries of New York by supporting the three types of library systems. Our state is uniquely endowed with library systems that can provide direct support to libraries on a local level. Systems that are creating innovative programs and services need to be encouraged and supported.

Question 10:

Netflix, iTunes, Kindle…all wonderful resources for those who can afford them. The role of libraries is to ensure access to resources for all citizens, not just those who can pay. Libraries need to continue to work with major content publishers to develop new licensing models that support a broader range of access. Libraries also need to reach out to the growing number of independent publishers. We can offer a place for emerging content creators to showcase their work. Libraries and patrons get content and the creator gets attention; an increasingly precious commodity that is in ever shorter supply.


Annette Herbert

I am responding to the call for input on the RAC Statewide plan for Libraries. I think that it is imperative that, in addition to mandating librarians at the high school level, NYS needs to mandate that every school, K-8 also have a certified librarian teaching in the buildings. Students need access to quality literature as well as guidance in meeting their information needs. During this time of increasing information overload, students need to know how to be responsible users. Librarians are trained to teach these skills. I hope to see this madate soon. Thank you for asking for input.

Annette Herbert
Annette Herbert, LMS
F. E. Smith Elementary School
Cortland City School District


Paige Jaeger

2020 is too late for library reform. By then, libraries will automatically be redefined as money will make some close and other avenues of providing the same material will thrive.  I trust there will be a timeline where changes are made along the way, with a goal of reformation by 2015, as the world changes so quickly.  Who knows what we will be dealing with in 2020.
To redefine libraries, in general,  we need to look at:

  • Resources  (inequities)
  • Use (literacy, innovation, self-education, lifelong learning models, information station)
  • Purpose

Here are answers to some of your specific questions:

Question 1: to promote creativity, self improvement, community activism,  betterment of society and more

resource provider for  public -- cost efficiency

community gathering center,  "water cooler"

Question 2: Funding

Misinformation

Virtual misinformation satisfying an ignorant generation who doesn't know better.

Question 3: Foster the library in the school as the "go-to" place for good information, help and resources.  Society will follow.

Improve virtual resources available state-wide

Question 4: If I had the ability, I would adjust Library Materials Aid to be four times greater for rural and impoverished school districts.  (Currently funded at $6.25-the same as 1984 levels, when $6.25 bought 1 book.  Now the average cost of a book is about $22.50)

Statewide resources are grossly inequitable.   We currently have school districts spending in excess of  $1,076.00  per student on books and databases, while other districts spend their state minimum of $6.25  per student.... Could the state purchase more for everyone in NYS, rather than reimbursing districts for tools they purchase for their students?  Would this make it more equitable?

The libraries should be funded to evolve into community action centers.  I would fund the school librarian or the staffing of the public library hours for homework help hours in either the school library or the community library. If a community has a sub-standard library, then that communities'  school library should be jointly funded and open to the public if possible during summer and Saturdays.

I personally believe that technology centers and libraries need to merge space, share space, and become a hub of "creation, innovation, instruction, and collaboration." This is at the heart of the  Common Core Standards.   If we have a larger space, well-equipped for brainstorming activities, it might encourage teachers to teach outside their silos.    The error some districts make is imbedding technology without thought to lesson plan idea that should foster collaboration and creation.   Often the computers become tools to write, search for data, and just transfer an old paper task to an electronic version of the same assignment.   We need to get teachers one step further where students are required to :

  • Infuse information
  • Draw conclusions
  • Synthesize info and create, make meaning, discover,
  • Write well, and
  • Create knowledge products.

Other thoughts for our local school  endeavors:

I would like to pilot a library evolution think tank meeting here to share ideas within local districts. There are currently a number of districts that I can point to who are currently re-thinking their library program, library space, library building options, and/or have new librarians trying to re-define older program models.   They can't wait until 2020 - what model do they embrace to position themselves for the future?

  With the state embarking on "redefining" the library role,  it makes sense to allow a few districts time now to  discuss:

  • What does a  library space to look like for the future? - It makes no sense to build a library, or define library space based on an old model/paradigm
  • What mandates stand in my way for meeting student virtual needs?
  • How should a "library"  function for a changing educational model ?
  • How can a district embrace virtual resources and virtual learning through the library  (Cybrary?)
  • What virtual resources currently exist without cost, that we can use more effectively?
  • Does our educational model, and CCSS needs  require us to "think" of the library as an "information and literacy center?"
  • Library space should become the community and school's virtual think tank.
  • School classrooms need to get out of "silo" mode and into  "think tank" mode (which might occur in the library - Or, what I like to call the "Creation and Information Station"
  • How can we re-define/transform  library space  into a "Literacy, Information and Creation Station"
  • Funding laws have just been changed to allow districts more flexibility to fund resources.  This was one step in the right direction.

Question 5: n/a

Question 6: n/a

Question 7: n/a

Question 8:

  • There currently is a gross inequitable allocation of resources.
  • Could the state purchase more for everyone in NYS, rather than reimbursing districts for tools they purchase for their students?  Would this make it more equitable?
  • Suburban school districts and communities with large tax base have better libraries, better books, better buildings, and often better staffing.
  • Rural areas have paltry resources and that is exactly where the needs are greatest.  Those rural communities and schools often don't have:
    1. Broadband (often) in the area - or money for broadband in the homes
    2. Money for resources and good databases, books and staffing for community activities that the public libraries provide in wealthier areas
    3. Library buildings in either the schools or the communities.

Question 9: Funding laws have just been changed to allow districts more flexibility to fund resources.  This was one step in the right direction.

Question 10:

More and more will become available on the Internet, but more and more the prices will rise.  Everyone has to show an increase in the bottom line.  I believe we will see an increase in the call for freely available resources through the library, as the next generation has to pay for ARRA expenditures.  They haven't seen anything yet, regarding taxes.  That money has to be repaid and it will likely come from peoples disposable income.  They will thus come to the library for resources, meeting areas, etc.

Paige Jaeger
Washington Saratoga Warren Hamilton Essex BOCES
Coordinator for School Library Services


Daivd J. Karre

I am enclosing my personal thoughts concerning libraries and library system services in New York State. They are based on my more than 35 years experience in the profession, the last 20 serving as Executive Director of the Four County Library System.

These thoughts represent my opinions and ideas and do not reflect the policies, practices or intentions of the Four County Library System, its Board of Trustees or member libraries.

Question 1: In my opinion, the two most important roles of public libraries today are:

  • (as most public library mission statements say) providing educational, informational and recreational materials for citizens of all ages, and
  • Providing a meeting center for the community

In the future, I believe libraries roles will be much the same, even though the method of delivery will likely change significantly. While people physically come to the library now, many more will visit the library virtually in the future. We are now beginning to see the strain placed on many public libraries and systems because of the need to provide the same item in different formats -printed book, large print, downloadable eBook, downloadable audiobook, and book on CD - which strains the library budget even more. As we remain the "cradle to grave institution" we must realize and accept that in agreeing to serve this impossibly broad range of people, we will need to meet the varying demands of different generations. If we want to attract millennials, we need to have materials and services available in varied new technological formats. And these formats will likely appeal to most seniors, or if they do, significant training and teaching will be involved. It will be a difficult road.

As for a "meeting center for the community", that will likely remain a function, but how people will meet may change. Certainly there will be in-person meetings, but libraries will also need to be able to set up virtual participation. And this will require adequate funds and staff to manage the technology, as well as adequate bandwidth for acceptable connectivity. A growing issue is participation in social networking by libraries, as well as accessing library catalogs from cell phones. What's next?

Question 2: The greatest challenges to be faced over the next 10 years will be the same challenges faced over the last 100 years - adequate funding! And once there's adequate funding, there needs to be adequate and expertly trained staff.

From a public library perspective, the greatest resource a library has to overcoming this challenge of insufficient funding is the legal ability to go to the voters for sustainable funding. In my more than 3S years in the profession, it has never ceased to amaze me that after a library successfully goes to the voters for funding, the trustees seem amazed at their good fortune and note they should have done this process years ago.

Radical Suggestion #1: The Board of Regents should require all public libraries in New York State to be fully-funded by a voter-backed initiative by the year 2020

From a staffing perspective, I fear for the future of the profession. We are having difficulty attracting people to the profession and we are certainly "greying". Who will take the place of the numerous individuals who will retire by 2020? With the economic downturn, younger librarians are usually the first to be let go when funding cuts are made. Almost as critical is the fact that many libraries in the state are managed by people with little or no technological background or understanding. In major library centers, there will likely be an ability to hire a "techie" or two (or maybe even more). In most of the smaller rural areas, there is usually no one to understand the basics of a computer or its applications. While the requirement of SED to have new MLS librarians complete CE courses on a regular basis in order to maintain their public library certification, this does not go far enough.

Radical Suggestion #2: By 2015, the Board of Regents will require every MLS librarian holding a public library certification, as well as every person designated as the "library director" or "library manager" of any public library in New York State to certify that they have completed at least 10 hours of continuing education training during the year, of which at least three hours will be devoted to "technology and its applications".

Question 3: Despite the fact we are a "cradle-to-grave institution", we must accept the fact that not everyone out there will come to a library. However, this doesn't mean we don't have opportunities for more and better service. The most important criteria for extending library services is to have adequate funding to do so. We have become masters of "doing more with less". There comes a point where because we have tried to do the "more", we have begun to provide mediocre (or worse) service. Adequate funding helps alleviate this situation. Next, we need to understand what people want in the way of service and why they don't come. How many libraries are investigating - dare I say, implementing? - mobile apps. That user group is out there but we're doing a poor job at meeting their desires and needs. And they vote! As was pointed out in the recent OCLC Study "Perceptions of Libraries: 2010" we need to do a better job of advertising what we have to offer. Yes, it costs money to do this. But rather than seeing it as a wasteful use of limited dollars, an adequately funded library sees it as an investment in services. When it comes to marketing, we have lots of workshops but never hire professionals to do the job or fund their efforts adequately. Why?

Question 4: I have no experience in school libraries other than having an elementary school librarian as my spouse. I have been active enough in NYLA and ALA to know that there is one thing that needs to be addressed - certified librarians must be required for every elementary school. The studies on this subject are so numerous they'd fill a small library. All over the country they prove that a certified school librarian in an elementary school improves reading ability - and reading scores - significantly. No more excuses! Take action! Take a step that will result in something positive not only for the overly-critical test scores - but more importantly - for the kids that the system is trying to educate!

Radical Suggestion #3: The Board of Regents needs to stop quibbling about "the cost" and MANDATE (yes, I know that's a dirty word" but it's what must be done!) that every elementary school in New York State must have at least one full-time certified MLS librarian on site for the entire school day of every week during the school year

Question 5: n/a

Question 6: See my "Radical suggestion #1" (above). Hoping to survive based on funding from the largesse of local governments is ludicrous! As one legislator told me a long time ago, we're "low-hanging fruit". When times get tough, we're among the first to be cut. But we have the power, granted by Education Law, to ensure that doesn't happen. The Board of Regents needs to address where the "disconnect" rests in this process. And only the Board of Regents has the power to ensure it becomes a reality.

How else can they better serve their communities? By having Trustees who know their responsibility, take it seriously, and are held accountable. Once the Regents institutes my "Radical Suggestion #1", there will need to be greater accountability. School Board members are required to have training. Why aren't library Boards? I'm not suggesting that library Boards get a junket to Orlando for training, but what's wrong with having a simple Trustee Certification program? When I suggested this during the hearing for "New Century Libraries," I was laughed out of the room by the Regents. Really? You, as the Board of Regents that charters -and continues to provide the ability of a local library to exist -has no mechanism to ensure that those you've allowed to exist are properly following laws and Regulations? It can really be something as simple as a "learner's Permit" test. A simple 10-20 question "fill in the blank" exam - perhaps which accompanies their signed Oath of Office! - that follows the NYS Trustee Handbook and shows that they've at least read and written in' an answer for the basic duties of a Trustees.

Radical Suggestion #4: By 2020, all Library trustees in New York State Public Libraries will have completed a basic "Trustee Certification" course and will certify this on their Annual Reports. Failure to do will result in withholding of State Aid.

Question 7: n/a

Question 8: Library Systems, like local public libraries, will face funding challenges that will really threaten their existence. I will speak about public library systems. I give the Division of Library Development great credit for allowing public library systems to function effectively in the face of governing Laws which are over 50 years old. Barring a complete rewriting of Laws -which in this economic climate and political mindset would be suicidal! -we all need to address the need for adequate funding to keep systems afloat. We have demonstrated over and over that we create a cost-effective environment that saves local libraries millions and millions of dollar each year. In a simple ROI study of my system, the members gain over $13 million in services for a State investment of about $1.5 million. Where else in state government do you find that? But legislators constantly shrug their shoulders and even in good years turn a deaf ear to our funding requests. While the state budget has grown by almost $100 BILLION dollars over the last 2 decades, library funding has been reduced to 1993 levels. Ridiculous. As library systems, we have really only 3 places to turn for funding: (1) governments (NY, federal, local), (2) member libraries fees for services, and (3) grants - which are most often project-based and rarely for operational costs. So, where does that leave us to turn? Increase fees to local libraries or eliminate needed services that save money for local libraries.

Or maybe there's an alternative...let's look at specific sections of law and see what we might be able to do to make changes. After all, a few years ago the per-pupil reimbursement rate for school libraries was increased, so why not use this method for public library systems? Below are my suggestions, based on the fact that we (all the public library systems in NYS -including the New York City libraries) -are all about "tires and wires"! We deliver materials (the "tires" part) to patrons (from one library or branch to another) and we facilitate the connectivity with automation systems, networks and interlibrary loan services, as well as databases and. downloadable materials (the "wires" part).

Radical Suggestion #5: (The "wires" part) Work strenuously to adopt a revision to Education Law #273.(1)d (2), which I first put forth in 2005, to revise the way (and amount) aid to public library systems to support automation programs is calculated (see attachment #1). The change in the wording would be as follows: (new wording underlined; existing language removed as strike-through)

(2) Each public library system  with an automation program to support bibliographic control and interlibrary sharing of information resources of member libraries, and to coordinate and integrate the automated system or systems of such member libraries consistent with regulations of the commissioner, shall be eligible to receive an amount equal to the sum of one-dollar per capita of the population of the area served seven percent of the amount earned in subparagraph one of this paragraph, up to a maximum of $1,000,000. or seventy six thousand five hundred dollars, whichever is more.

Yes, the cost to the State would be about $11 million more per year, but there is something for all parts of the state, and it would alleviate the fiscal stress of systems (but not eliminate it) by proving funds for a needed - and heavily-used and cost-saving - program

Radical Suggestion #6: (The "Tires" part). Work strenuously to adopt an addition to Education Law #273. (1). 2. (perhaps make it part (4)) which would read:

(4) "The sum of $25 per square mile served by each public library system".

Yes, this would cost money, too! In fact, it would be about $1.18 million dollars (see attachment #2). However ,this would provide relief for a very cost-effective service library systems now provide.

And one final thought about these last two suggestions…why not phase them in, say over a 3 or 4 year period, so as to lessen this bite on government but to know that relief is arriving?

Question 9: It's come time for SED and the Board of Regents to make a decision. Are you really going to support libraries and library systems or not? For years, it seems that we have been the "throw- away" item when budget talks happen concerning education. In reality, merely "rounding up for libraries" when the billions of extra aid for K-12 education were being allocated would have preserved library systems. Now, we are facing bankruptcy. Truly - there are systems out there planning how they will go out of business. And when they do, the loss in cost-savings that localities will then face will be laid at the feet of SED and the Board of Regents.

Question 10:

Much of this has been discussed in my previous responses. These services will have a huge impact on libraries and library systems. In fact, they already have, as libraries seek ways to keep up with technology and bandwidth. What is really sad is that there is so much dark fiber around the state -bandwidth that could be used to help libraries meet their needs - and it is unavailable to us.

Radical Suggestion #7: SED will work closely with the NVS Office for Technology to identify existing bandwidth availability, and make such bandwidth available at a reduced rate for
libraries and library systems.

OK, what does this mean? It means -libraries and library systems are currently paying significant dollars to commercial enterprises (mostly cable companies) to secure bandwidth for local libraries. There is a huge amount of fiber available across the state. So, why don't we investigate getting this connectivity to libraries and library systems, and making it cost-effective for the libraries to access this connectivity? Undercut the commercial competition and create a revenue stream for the State. OK, it might not be a ton of money, but it's cutting the cost for library services and providing funds to the state. This could turn out to be a kind of '"E-rate for bandwidth" in New York State.

Attachment 1

§ 273. Apportionment of state aid

(2) Each public library system with an automation program to support bibliographic control and interlibrary sharing of information resources of member libraries, and to coordinate and integrate the automated system or systems of such member libraries consistent with regulations of the commissioner, shall be eligible to receive an amount equal to seven percent of the amount earned in subparagraph one of this paragraph, or seventy-six thousand five hundred dollars, whichever is more.

(2) Each public library system  with an automation program to support bibliographic control and interlibrary sharing of information resources of member libraries, and to coordinate and integrate the automated system or systems of such member libraries consistent with regulations of the commissioner, shall be eligible to receive an amount equal to the sum of one-dollar per capita of the population of the area served seven percent of the amount earned in subparagraph one of this paragraph, up to a maximum of $1,000,000. or seventy six thousand five hundred dollars, whichever is more.

Library
System
Name

2000 Census
200 Population

Current
Automation $

Proposed
Automation $
($1M max)

Difference
($1M max)

         
    Brooklyn 2,465,326 109,512 1,000,000 890,488
    Buffalo-Erie 950,265 76,500 950,265 873,765
    Chautauqua-Cattaraugus 223,705 76,500 223,705 147,205
     
    Clinton-Essex-Franklin 169,879 76,500 169,879 93,379
    Finger Lakes 312,189 76,500 312,189 235,689
    Four County 361,668 76,500 361,668 285,168
    Mid Hudson 627,042 76,500 627,042 550,542
     
    Mid York 369,337 76,500 369,337 292,837
    Mohawk Valley 282,918 76,500 282,918 206,418
    Monroe 735,343 76,500 735,343 658,843
    Nassau 1,334,544 76,500 1,000,000 923,500
     
    New York 3,313,573 146,146 1,000,000 853,854
    Nioga 324,387 76,500 324,387 247,887
    North Country 372,990 76,500 372,990 296,490
    Onondaga 458,336 76,500 458,336 381,836
     
    Pioneer 301,741 76,500 301,741 225,241
    Queens 2,229,379 92,896 1,000,000 907,104
    Ramapo Catskill 739,977 76,500 739,977 663,477
    Southern Adirondack 330,359 76,500 330,359 253,859
     
    Southern Tier 283,568 76,500 258,568 182,068
    Suffolk 1,419,369 76,500 1,000,000 923,500
    Upper Hudson 447,103 76,500 447,103 370,603
    Westchester 923,459 76,500 923,459 846,959
     
  $1,878,554 $13,189,266 $11,310,712

Attachment 2: Square Mile Funding Allocation

Library
System
Name

2000
Square
Miles
Served

Square Miles $

     
    Brooklyn 71 $1,775
    Buffalo-Erie 1,044 $26,100
    Chautauqua-Cattaraugus 2,372 $59,300
 
    Clinton-Essex-Franklin 4,467 $111,675
    Finger Lakes 2,512 $62,800
    Four County 4,050 $101,250
    Mid Hudson 2,937 $73,425
 
    Mid York 3,280 $82,000
    Mohawk Valley 1,729 $43,225
    Monroe 659 $16,475
    Nassau 287 $7,175
 
    New York 123 $3,075
    Nioga 1,408 $35,200
    North Country 6,187 $154,675
    Onondaga 780 $19,500
 
    Pioneer 2,474 $61,850
    Queens 109 $2,725
    Ramapo Catskill 2,467 $61,675
    Southern Adirondack 4,237 $105,925
 
    Southern Tier 3,498 $87,450
    Suffolk 912 $22,800
    Upper Hudson 1,177 $29,425
    Westchester 433 $10,825
 
47,213 $1,180,325

Daivd J. Karre, Executive Director / CEO
Four County Library System


Patricia Kaufman

Question 1: Providing access to information/education in a variety of formats and being a "third" place. I believe these roles will be true in the future. Physically, libraries may need less space for "stuff" and more space for social/interactive activities. The large central reference/research libraries will be fewer in number, replaced by smaller, more community centered buildings and mobile units to meet the needs of an aging, sedentary population.

Question 2: Money - to create the scenarios posed above. Libraries will need the technological infrastructure and the physical plants. Librarians want to serve; they are the greatest asset. The major barrier is the failure to be viewed as a necessity.

Question 3: First you need to know why they are not using libraries. Are there physical barriers? The sense that libraries don't offer them anything? The last question should be the other way around -- how do libraries connect to the needs of the community members?

Question 4: Years ago I lived in Kansas where school libraries were part of the language arts curriculum. Children began going to the library in kindergarten where the librarians were both certified teachers and certified librarians. By 6th grade, children knew how to conduct independent research using the resources of the library. That's what New York should be doing.

Question 5: n/a

Question 6: See answers to #1 and #3. If public libraries are perceived as a necessary place, one that meets the to-be-determined needs of the communities they serve, then they will survive.

Question 7: n/a

Question 8: See answer to #2.

Question 9: n/a

Question 10:

The key is "commercial". Libraries are predicated on sharing; commerce is predicated on profits. Until we can negotiate agreements that equitably meet the needs of both libraries and commerce, libraries will not prosper.

Patricia Kaufman, Mahopac Public Library


Frederick Kirsch

This is in response to your call for comments regarding NYS Libraries.

I suggest that you reform the vehicle for the collection of library tax in communities. Currently, school districts must place the library tax proposition on the same ballot with school district budgets. Schools must then collect the tax and pass it on. School districts have no say in what amount of tax is collected. In the past school districts have worked dilligently to present fiscally responsible budgets to taxpayers. Many times the library tax increase far exceeds the school tax increase by percentage. Voters associate the large tax rate increase being collected for the libraries with their school budgets. It is a negative reflection on school districts for a matter in which they have no say or input.

This process needs immediate reform.

Frederick Kirsch, Cazenovia


Melissa Leventhal

Question 1: Libraries are still a gateway to information and a place of community gathering. In the future I see libraries performing the same tasks, but from an electronic standpoint as opposed to a physical space. With the ever increasing amount of information available through the internet and using search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, et al. the average user will continue to be ever increasingly overwhelmed with search results. The library of the future will offer a chat interface to assist the user in their search, finding relevant sites or information for them by weeding through the results with fine tuned searches. It is imperative that libraries begin to actualize this need as more and more users see the Internet as the #1 source of information in the world.

Question 2: Reduced funding and the current youth’s generation and their technological prowess showing a lesser interest in using the traditional library. Libraries will have to continue to provide and promote their services, along with a greater push towards the technical services offered (i.e., e-books, music downloads, digital audiobooks). One of the greatest barriers I see is a lack of public promotion for the new services offered. There should be email blasts, newspaper advertisements (both traditional and in print) and a stronger utilization of the various social media outlets to promote the library services.

Question 3: See Q2. I think stronger advertising, especially with social media will help engage community members and broaden the library user base.

Question 4: n/a

Question 5: n/a

Question 6: I think the focus of the public library in the future, to ensure its survival is to really focus on expanding its digital collections, preserving the essential physical collection, offering virtual reference (from off site locations, or at the very least, away from the public reference desk so as not to dissuade the user in front of them), and maintaining, if not increasing the number of library events/classes offered, especially for small children and young adults.

Question 7: n/a

Question 8: n/a

Question 9: n/a

Question 10:

See Q1. Libraries must invest in training librarians in the art of virtual librarianship. MLA programs should be offering a course and/or practicum in virtual librarianship as opposed to including it in a reference course where it does not get the attention it will eventually deserve. E-books are wonderful and what I believe to be the new frontier. While studies haven’t shown the full developmental impact of e-readers on children (and I wouldn’t recommend an e-reader for anyone under the age of 12 myself) for adults, this is the next generation of libraries. I almost solely borrow e-books from the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library. The very best feature I’ve found is how the book automatically is returned to the system and therefore doesn’t generate any late fees. The convenience of not having to go out in bad weather is also appreciated. I’m more inclined to donate money to the library now that I am saving money by borrowing e-books instead of having to purchase them.

Melissa Leventhal
SUNY @ Buffalo, Department of Library and Information Studies Advisory Board, Chair
Project Coordinator/Clinical Data Coordinator, Gynecologic Oncology Group Statistical and Data Center


Maria Mesires

7th Grade Science Teacher, Case Middle School, Watertown, NY; Trustee for Flower Memorial Library, Watertown NY

Question 1: The two most important roles of libraries today are to service to the public (computers, research, tax forms, etc) and to provide the community with the opportunity to educate themselves (books, research, Internet, etc). In the future, libraries will be even more critical in providing goods and services to the community. I believe that libraries will be able to fulfill these roles with money to fund the purchasing of books and materials as well as to provide support staff to assist the community with it’s needs.

Question 2: The greatest challenges libraries will face will be in keeping up with the technology that is available (online books, audio and video, etc). Libraries have educated staff that can help to overcome the challenges but some barriers are money and making sure that the staff is properly trained to assist its patrons.

Question 3: Libraries offer a lot of goods and services that many people are not aware of. Libraries should advertise how they can assist people in the community. Programming or classes may be able to reach into the community to show them what is available at their local library.

Question 4: The most important role of school libraries is to have a collection of books available for students that peak their interests to read to increase their literacy, comprehension and vocabulary skills. In order to increase the visibility and relevance of school libraries, they need to be spearheaded by strong librarians or directors. They need to offer programs that center around good fiction or nonfiction that inspire students.

Question 5: Academic libraries can be more integral to their own institutional community by providing more services than just research based ones. I think that academic libraries do have value beyond the campus but many people may not feel that it is a place to go if you are not a “college student”. Again, if they could offer programs that would appeal to the community, that might invite them in to utilize the space more.

Question 6: If public libraries offer a lot of services to the community, people will know that they are places to get a lot accomplished more than just checking out a book. They can better serve their community by having well educated staff that can assist with not only finding books, but also assist with forms (tax forms or resumes) and technology. Our local library has agreed to house an Attain Lab that brings in a lot of people who want to learn computer skills and end up using the library for other purposes.

Question 7: The most important role of special and research libraries is their ability to house information about history, genealogy, materials or events of particular importance. I cannot stress enough for all libraries to increase programming and advertisement of what they offer as many people in the community are not aware of their existence, or of what might be available to the public.

Question 8: The greatest challenges facing NYS libraries is the technology issue and going digital. Libraries will need help in staying up with the digital technology age and providing staff that is competent and educated to assist the public with this.

Question 9: NYS needs to make sure that the libraries stay current and up to date on materials and services. Libraries need to help the community at large stay up to date with what is out there but if the library is not up to date then they will be viewed as antiquated places. By offering a lot of services and programs to the community, advertising themselves as more then just a place to get a book, many community members will see the library as a place to not only to do research or get a book but to increase skills or to learn how to use technology.

Question 10:

There are many people who cannot afford all the new technology that is out there and still need their local library for entertainment or information. With those people who can afford the technology, libraries can offer a lot of services that allow people to use their Kindles and iPods more effectively. By bringing libraries into the digital age, they can be prevented from becoming obsolete and archaic.


Richard Naylor

Question 1: By buying books and data bases the library leverages the value of the texts to promote education and a knowledgeable citizenry. And, by providing programs for patrons of all ages, the library brings the world to life and encourages thinking and learning.

Question 2: The eBook will challenge us to reinvent ourselves. We need to explain our services in context and work to develop fair laws that promote booksellers and libraries.

Question 3: By community programming we can reach the unserved by finding topics of interest – maybe we need to have a star basketball player do the program.

Question 4: n/a

Question 5: n/a

Question 6: n/a

Question 7: n/a

Question 8: n/a

Question 9: By working together we can develop laws that protect authors, publishers and libraries

Question 10: See above


Lisa Osur

Question 1: The two most important roles of libraries today are to provide resources and information relevant to their constituents' needs and support their communities as centers learning and gathering. Libraries will continue to fulfill these roles in the future as they adapt to the changing technology scene and incorporate updated skills and new reading formats.

Question 2: FUNDING & SUPPORT! Libraries' greatest assets are their trained and professional staff. The barriers are finding the time to advocate and educate the public about collective resources available in libraries (these become more evident as people struggle financially and need to use the library's services more). One of the largest barriers will be keeping the piece of the financial pie as the pie gets smaller and smaller.

Question 3: The best way to extent services in this day and age is to go digital and provide 24/7 access to patrons through whatever means are popular. Libraries need to keep up with the times and connect with patrons wherever THEY are -- on Facebook, apps on phones, email, Twitter etc. We can engage communities by providing fun ways to collect information on their needs -- surveys, usage statistics -- and providing outreach.

Question 4: The two most important roles of school libraries today are to teach literacy skills and instill a love of reading so that students can work to their best abilities and be prepared for the future.

Question 5: Academic libraries need to become more integral by doing the same things school and public libraries must do- move into the 21st century by providing their services where student need them- on their computers, phones, social networking spaces- and whatever that looks like as time passes. Academic libraries can continue to provide their alumni with access to resources as they move on in their lives especially in a day and age where people will be changing careers a number of times before retirement.

Question 6: Public libraries need to do as much community outreach as possible to increase their visibility. They need to step out of their doors -- virtually ad figuratively -- to take their services to wherever they are needed.

Question 7: n/a

Question 8: Again- FUNDING! In order to provide the needed outreach and keep abreast of current trends, services and resources, libraries need money. I also worry that the negativity and cuts of the past several years have turned potential librarians and library workers off to the profession which might cause an additional challenge of finding good people willing to pursue the education needed to provide library services.

Question 9: Advocacy- the NY State powers-that-be need to understand what we do and how we impact the lives of the citizens of our state. In times of financial hardship the State Library and Education Departments can also use their bargaining power to continue to provide the 'little guys'; (our local school and public libraries) with as many collective resources and as much training as possible.

Question 10:

There will always be commercial information sources and libraries need to adapt and figure out ways to provide those or similar, complementary or added services to patrons. The literacy and ethics lessons are needed more than ever in a digital age. Libraries stay relevant by using their budgets to provide their communities with the best resources to meet the need. If the need is for ebooks, then the library buys into Overdrive to provide free ebooks to the community (as well as the support and training on how to use them). Libraries will prosper by remaining on the cutting-edge, providing: the newest resources, training on how to use those new resources, computer and Internet access. Libraries are also transitioning to become social gathering and learning spaces- a-la-Barnes & Noble and I see this community space as being a direction libraries need to embrace (allowing food, even providing coffee and snacks, allowing a general buzz of noise, friendly faces and welcoming spaces).

Lisa Osur
Library Media Specialist
Holley Central School District


Lynn Patti

Over the past twenty-five years of my association with both the Waterloo Library and Historical Society and the Finger Lakes Library System, I've seen the steady erosion in funding for libraries and the library systems. Since the library systems are entirely dependent on monies from the State of New York, have no outside sources of income, do not make or sell products, they have to constantly reassess the services they can provide to their member libraries.

Each time a cut in funding is announced, the Systems' directors must scramble to see where they can best absorb the loss, cut services, consolidate jobs within their staffs and still provide the necessary services they are mandated to supply. They cannot continue to do this indefinitely.

The recent economic downturn has sent more and more patrons to their libraries for services they cannot afford themselves. All across the state, the statistics of library usage are climbing, as evidenced in the annual reports to the State DLD.
Libraries are the great equalizers for citizens of the state and nation. Anyone can use them, get needed information, entertain themselves and their children, attend informative programs and foster a lifelong love of reading.

However, the lights and heat must remain on and paid for, the insurance must be paid, and the staff needs a living wage. The only flexible area of the budget is book and material purchases. If there are cuts in that area, it defeats the primary mission of a public library.

 The "lip service" paid to library's concerns by our state legislators is just that-it doesn't seem to translate to active support and ultimately to funding. Library people are nice, calm people who do not make a fuss about things. There was a very good turn out for Legislative Lobby Day-the case for library funding was made clear-but the cuts are still in the budget.

Lynn Patti, Immediate past President
Finger Lakes Library System Board of Trustees and Waterloo Library and Historical Society Board of Trustees
Presently Secretary W.L.H S.


Candace (Dee) Portzer

This input is much of what another region sent in but I think it is important to know it is relevant throughout.

Question 1:

1.A. Equity of access to information

Teaching users how to evaluate the quality of the information they find

Teaching users how to use the information they find to create new knowledge

1.B. The same roles as above, but the technology will evolve

1.C. Adapting and embracing new technologies to deliver information services

Question 2:

2.A. Abundance of unauthenticated information

Adapting to rapidly changing technologies

2.B. Membership in a library system that provides leadership to individual libraries

Flexibility of professional staff in adapting services to current needs

2.C. Insufficient funding

Fear of change

Lack of leadership at system and state levels

Insufficient infrastructure

Question 3: Make sure that as many library services as possible are available to people virtually, through multiple platforms with an emphasis on social networking. Community members should be able to have an app available on their smartphone that connects them to library resources. Books should be able to be downloaded directly and databases accessed. Community members should be able to use social networking tools, like Facebook to interact with their library. The library should integrate itself into the existing framework favored by the community, we should not ask the community to integrate into our existing framework.

Question 4:

4.A. Teaching critical thinking inquiry skills

Integrating critical thinking inquiry skills into Common Core State Standards

Being a valuable member of the literacy team, especially in underserved areas

4.B. Showing improved test results

Dynamic programs

Regular reports to administrators, board of education and community

Certified school librarian as an integral part of the school's instructional program

Question 5: Many School Library Systems partner with academic librarians in their region on a multitude of projects. In partnership, academic librarians and school librarians can work to create curricular tools that span the full range of P-20 Information Literacy Skills. The academic librarian is also an asset to School Library System Council Membership sharing valuable insight.

Question 6: Make sure that as many library services as possible are available to people virtually, through multiple platforms with an emphasis on social networking. Community members should be able to have an app available on their smartphone that connects them to library resources. Books should be able to be downloaded directly and databases accessed. Community members should be able to use social networking tools, like Facebook to interact with their library. The library should integrate itself into the existing framework favored by the community, we should not ask the community to integrate into our existing framework.

Candace Dee) Portzer, Questar III School Library System Director


Beth Posner

Question 1: Libraries connect people and meaningful information for no cost (or little cost) beyond taxes or tuition, they teach information literacy skills to everyone and early literacy skills to children. I do not see the need for these roles going away. In the future, though, libraries will be able to do more virtually, but the library as place will also still be important to communities and individuals.

Question 2: The greatest challenges are financial as budgetary support is threatened, and dealing with change associated with online information (ie copyright, licensing, cost, etc.)

Question 3: Libraries need to have a presence where people go...online that could include twitter or Facebook and in the community that could include branches in malls or public schools.

Question 4: Children need to see reading as fun, not just as part of school, so that would be a great focus for school libraries.

Question 5: Academic libraries can become institutional repositories for open access to the work of their faculty and institutes as well as helping scholarly communication in general switch to an open source model for publishing, and they can become more involved with teaching information literacy for students and faculty. Beyond their campus, they are still sharing resources with other libraries so that more people have access to information and they can work more directly with businesses for a fee.

Question 6: Public libraries remain busy with children's programming, community events, tutoring and ESL programs, and much more. They do serve their communities well but could do more if they were open more hours and had branches in more locations where people go already.

Question 7: Specialized research libraries should focus on digitizing their collections and perhaps incorporating their physical holdings into larger research collections in the future.

Question 8: NY State shares the same challenges and opportunities of other library systems. Some particular issues however are that it is a large state and so in order to share library resources we need a good statewide delivery service.

Question 9: We need advocates for libraries to demonstrate to funders and the public all the good work that librarians do.

Question 10: Libraries can still provide free access to those who cannot afford to pay for information, and no one can afford to buy everything they might want or need. In order to prosper, however, licensing language needs to allow the same fair use rights as copyright laws and guidelines do.

Beth Posner
Head of Interlibrary Loan Services
Mina Rees Library
The CUNY Graduate Center


Linda Randel

Question 3: & Question 4: I propose an indirect answer to the above questions that would be cost effective and have profound impact on school libraries ability to reach all students with expert and relevant teaching and learning in the 21st century. The answer is to provide a certified librarian and a well-stocked library to ALL students as they enter into their formal education. This must start in kindergarten at the latest. A single teacher/librarian per school is the very least that the education system owes its students. Over 20 studies so far have validated the need for, and the value of, the librarian in raising building-wide test scores, enhancing the ELA program with literature at all levels and supporting the curriculum, building-wide. This process must start as soon as the student enter the school system and be scaffolded, grade by grade, in a continual flow of information literacy skills, as well as encouraging a love of reading by providing a wide range of materials to meet each student’s needs. As Stephen Krashen states over and over in his book The Power Of Reading, all learning is inextricably linked to a student’s ability to read and the single most important player in a school building to support this skill for all students is the librarian.

By extension, once students leave the K-12 school environment and embark on a career or college path, those who have been infused with a love of reading and have been taught information literacy skills are the students best prepared to be productive citizens. They become community members who care about and support their local school and public libraries and therefore become the mechanism that will help sustain all libraries.

Linda Randel, School Librarian, Anne M. Dorner Middle School, Ossining, NY


Meyer Rothberg

Question 1:

1.A. To provide our far-flung and rural communities with the educational materials and programs that will empower them to be life- long learners and productive participants in our changing society.

To provide individuals with the training they need to access the changing informational world.

1.B. In many ways, we are doing the programming already. Literacy training, GED classes, continuing education classes, technology training, book clubs, are some examples. But equally important are children’s and young adult classes, as well as outreach to our seniors, whether they be at home, in residential living centers, or in nursing homes.

1.C. For rural libraries, limited financial resources force us to hire non-professional staffs and to share in the purchase and maintenance of expensive print and non-print materials, electronic databases and equipment, and new communication resources, such as distance learning, video conferencing, and webinars. Because of our limited resources, all rural libraries need to work with our library systems (NCLS in my region) for staff training, technical expertise, materials delivery, and a host of other resource sharing activities. I would argue that, under the aegis of our regional library systems, rural libraries are true exemplars of resource sharing. We will need them even more, and to share our resources ever more wisely, in a future world of diminished financing from our local, state, and federal governments.

Question 2:

2.A. To maintain our physical infrastructure (building and grounds), we will need construction and renovation grants to help our communities maintain our aging buildings.

To provide for expanding demands from the public for new electronic resources and communication delivery systems.

To train our staff and our patrons in the use of these new resources.

2.B. Lacking financial resources, we need to count on our own ingenuity, resource sharing through our regional library systems, and a small measure of financing from our state and local governments.

2.C. By far, the biggest barrier for rural public libraries is funding.

Question 3: By networking with those organizations—social services, retirement agencies, our educational partners at the school and college level, even our hospitals—that connect with those non-users.

Question 4: n/a

Question 5: n/a

Question 6: n/a

Question 7: n/a

Question 8:The biggest challenge facing our library systems will be funding. Despite all of our political efforts, funding for our library systems has been systematically cut for many, many years. We just don’t have any organized political clout, no matter what is tried. The only long-term solution that I can see to change this would be to create a ballot mechanism—similar to the mechanism used by our association libraries to put a taxing proposal before the school district voters—that would allow the county taxpayers to levy a tax against themselves that would increase the funding stream of our library systems. If this doesn’t happen, the public library systems will eventually die or fade into something of minimum value to its member libraries.

Currently, one can access books and materials from one's own county, in my case Ulster. It would be both useful and sensible to have such access to all NYS libraries as an option if material is not available locally.

 Meyer Rothberg


Sam Simon

Question 1: Public libraries are cultural havens within their community. They provide open access to an incredible range of information resources and pleasurable material, print and nonprint to people of all ages, cultural backgrounds, gender, socioeconomic status along with the opportunity to turn for assistance to highly trained and qualified library staff that enjoy helping people.

I see no change in that role.  In fact, the face of society appears to be rapidly changing - more immigrant groups, e.g. Africans, Asians and Latinos are entering our country.  Society is facing an increasingly aging population, as well as an increasing division in our socioeconomic makeup. Job displacement will continue to grow as a result of corporations moving abroad to seek less expensive labor.  This has already resulted in people who have become unemployed or anticipating a job loss turning to public libraries for assistance.  Young people will be turning more and more to libraries for vocational guidance and to seek out resources relating to career building and scholarship opportunities.  Libraries hopefully will seize this opportunity to assemble the resources required to meet this growing need. Libraries should think of partnering with other community groups:the US Employment Service, local colleges and social agencies equally concerned with the welfare of the community.

Question 2: An unstable economy, diminishing library aid, and a local electorate that in good times would normally be supportive of approving school and library budgets, may now pull back.  Libraries have earned the respect and trust of people in their community.  There is a great deal of good will regarding libraries. Library trustees, library directors and Friends groups need to tap into this good will.  They will need to mount a sustained year-long effort to convince those officials who control the purse strings of the value and importance of libraries in a global economy that has become increasingly competitive.

Question 3: By initiating an aggressive outreach program.  Libraries should be represented at every Naturaliztion ceremony to greet new US citizens and register them for library cards; extend invitations to major community organizations to hold one of their meetings at the library at no charge; ask senior citizens clubs, service clubs, business groups if you could speak at one of their meetings about library programs and services. Write a book/library related column for the local newspaper as frequently as time and opportunity allows. If the community has a local radio outlet, request time to speak about library services and programs; prepare and offer a psa (public service announcement). Offer and publicize fax and notary services. If the library has a large non-English speaking community, employ someone who can speak the language, or find a volunteer who can be at the library during peak use.

Question 4: n/a

Question 5: n/a

Question 6: In addition to what was mentioned in question 3, Libraries will need to re-examine their hours of service so that the hours match more closely the days and hours that meet the needs of their citizens; eliminate overdue fines; make the library's meeting rooms and conference rooms available free or at minimum cost; provide meeting space for knitting ,quilting and other craft groups. Hold programs that deal with child care, health, self-improvement, etc. and invite speakers who are on the staff of municipal departments or work for nonprofits and will not expect a fee or honorarium; lastly, consider setting up a teen-advisory council and an adult advisory council to meet quarterly to discuss how well the library is doing its job, and ways it could improve service.

Question 7: n/a

Question 8: Systems most likely can anticipate increased demand from its member libraries for more services, i.e., delivery, more access to data bases, more computers and maintaining their support, more consultant help, and more advocacy assistance. More demand from the prison population, the homebound, and the handicapped.  Systems are heavily dependent on State Library Aid in order to carry out their mission. Inadequate state funding will cripple a System's ability to retain key consultant positions, hamper its ability to provide important training sessions for its staff and trustees. Systems are more and more asking their member libraries to pay for services that once were offered at no charge.  Shifting the financial burden to member libraries carries an inherent risk. Member libraries may then have to ask their local taxpayers to vote on an increased budget. In a soured economy, the risk of having the budget rejected is palpable.

Question 9: n/a

Question 10:

I think the impact will be great. Libraries will welcome the challenge that commercial and social information sources present, but with one huge caveat - this will only happen if libraries can count on a reliable and steady source of funding. In order to cope with the ever increasing scope and use of electronic media, libraries need to retain highly motivated and qualified staff who enjoy working with the public.

Sam Simon, Trustee, Ramapo Catskill Library System


Tracey Simon

Question 1: *Two most important roles today:* to serve as a place where people of all ages, social status, and financial means can exchange ideas freely and to close the gap between haves and have-nots when it comes to access to information, either in print or online. *In the future: *to remain a forum for the free exchange of ideas and to serve as free and open location from where all people have their informational, recreational, and educational needs met.

There has to be enough financial support from the government and the public so that we may continue to upgrade techonology and keep up with educational and informational trends. We must also have the support to provide whatever staff development is necessary to use that technology and aid our patrons in using it.

Question 2:  Lack of funding and public education. With the advent of the Internet, there is a mistaken belief that libraries are antiquated, when in fact, we are needed more now that ever to keep those with limited means from losing ground with new technology, to provide a safe and comfortable place for people to gather to meet or spend quiet time reading, working, etc.

Question 3: We need to have a more uniform message at the state level about what libraries are and what we can do for the public. (See the "Geek the Library" campaign online). This message needs to be in the newspapers, online, on radio, TV, etc. We're all about access!

Question 4: n/a

Question 5: n/a

Question 6: We need to have an influx of ideas and the means to support them to go beyond bricks and mortar, to bring the library to where people are, such as shopping malls, online, industrial parks, etc. very much the way ATMs are. We need to be able stay current in regard to accessing information and that access andr the dissemination of the resulting information and materials cannot be abridged or censored.

Question 7: n/a

Question 8: n/a

Question 9: n/a

Question 10:

Libraries have survived the dime novel, VHS, DVDs, and so far, the Internet, mostly because we've adapted and adopted them into our "business model." But we need to let people know that at a library, rather than finding the "popular" answers (like with Google), you'll find the most right and relevant answers. Rather than finding just what everyone else reads, you'll find what you, the individual, will enjoy most. (We've been doing that long before "cookies" came about. It's called "readers advisory.") And we do it without interference from commercial enterprises.

I believe that part of our survival lies in that we are a free and open place where all people can gather to learn, talk, read, and study...a second "living room." There are no "haves" and "have-nots" in a library. Everyone "has." People have privacy here. They have an oasis from the outside world here. We offer face-to-face human interaction that is rapidly disappearing in today's society.

They'll miss us when we're gone.

Tracey Simon, Director, Floral Park Public Library


Deana Simonetti

In a 21st century world, school libraries and Library Media Specialists are an integral part of education. The 2000 SCANS report, and this is over 11 years ago, had companies report that the top skills they are looking for in future workers, are the exact skills promoted and taught in school libraries. We offer professional development to teachers in addition to educating students. 21st century skills permeate every single curriculum area and should be an ongoing collaboration between the classroom teacher and Library Media Specialist. Library Media Specialists work with administrators, teachers, and students as an expert in the field of research and information. Colleges are telling education that students are graduating high school and lacking in necessary 21st century research and critical thinking skills. They are even offering remediation in these areas to bring students up-to-date. The visibility and relevance of school libraries will only be raised when school districts and administrators demand that the curriculum reflect 21st century skills. The natural leader in this area, the main collaborator, and the champion of integrating these skills into day to day curriculum is the Library Media Specialist. I have gone to many board meetings, professional meetings, etc., where it is clear that many district administrators do not value or even understand the resource of the school library and Library Media Specialist. In this day and age this is puzzling to me. I consider myself lucky to work in a district that supports its school library. With the support New York State can offer in mandating library in all grades, as well as recognizing the wealth of knowledge and importance of teaching our students relevant research and 21st century skills that will serve them throughout their lives, we will give school libraries and Library Media Specialists the support they deserve.

Public Libraries, School Libraries, and the Future:

It is distressing to see the articles and blogs describing the dire situation for public libraries in various parts of the country. I just read an article in Library Journal, "California Librarians Push Back Against Brown's Zero Budget for Public Libraries," and I can't believe as a country we're actually having these conversations. While the world may be changing and the mediums from which we obtain information and read books may be changing, the premise and reason to support and maintain libraries has not changed.

In 1849 New Hampshire became the first state to pass a law allowing local taxes to support school libraries. Prior to this private libraries and somewhat organized lending systems date back to Benjamin Franklin in the 1700's. Thomas Jefferson donated his private collection of over 7,000 volumes in the early 1800's to start the Library of Congress. When some of the books included were questioned by John Adams, Jefferson replied that there is no subject or matter that Congress would not need to know or consult in order to make decisions for the United States. So as books became cheaper to produce and wealthy Americans such as Andrew Carnegie donated money to support public libraries, the institutions grew. And now we're faced with the possibility of no longer supporting and maintaining these ever important institutions.

In a world of information overload and extremely biased sources of information, libraries hold the key. It is also important to forget that not everyone in this country has an iPad, laptop, or personal library. Public libraries ensure that the disenfranchised have access to information. Now that includes not just printed volumes, as those who haven't been in a library in a long time presuppose, but technology. Information that you do NOT have access to at home is available via databases, predetermined websites, programs, and of course, when you cannot find your way through the information jungle, through the help of a librarian. I don't think everyone is aware that librarians have Masters degrees. They aren't little old ladies working a few hours, but trained professionals in locating and authenticating information.

It seems the greatest fear for libraries, that technology would make our profession and our institution obsolete, are finally starting to turn the tide. The world is becoming bogged down in information and not all quality information at that. I've seen the tide starting to turn. People are starting to recognize that someone trusted must lead the masses through the information jungle. We are a profession that prides itself on being unbiased, gathering information that presents multiple sides without choosing one, and whose only goal is allowing people access to the information that will make them capable of making good decisions, no matter the topic. Libraries aren't private institutions and do not have a stake in the decisions you make, it doesn't affect our bottom line.

Libraries need to engage the community and find out their needs and how we can best meet them. When I have told people the help and assistance in locating information that they can find at the public or school library they often look at me in surprise. That shows me that we have not done an adequate job in educating our communities in all the resources available to them at their local public or school library. Also, everyone is part of the community of the library and if there is something they do want or need we should engage the opinions of the community to find out what they would most like to get from his/her library. I think once they discover the resources available to them they may think differently about the irrelevance of the library in a world of information overload.

Deana Simonetti, Library Media Specialist, Plainedge Middle School, Nassau County


P. Strictland

Dear RAC Members, I am writing to give feedback to what I believe pertains to item #2 (and #8, which is nearly identical) of the key questions for the statewide plan - our challenges, barriers and use of our resources. There is a great digital divide among librarians, particularly in public libraries. I've recently transitioned from academic to public and was aghast to find not only how behind the times the librarians are with computer skills but also their disinterest or even disdain for technology- not just in my new library but our whole system. This problem will worsen as e-books reach their tipping point and mobile devices/smartphones become more affordable. Libraries need to fully the future, not dismiss new technologies as trends and pawn tedious computer tasks off onto recently graduated librarians. The status quo could possibly be the demise of public libraries as the librarians with the skills are currently unable to use them due to nay-saying or because we're bogged down with menial, never-ending maintenance.

In the two public libraries where I've worked, an overwhelming majority of the librarians as well as most of the support staff not only lack contemporary skills but are not interested in learning them. For example my coworkers frequently bemoan having a digital catalog and make disparaging comments about the patrons who use the mobile technologies libraries are supposed to be embracing as an information distribution revolution. We subscribe to "Library Journal" and all have to report when we've read it, but the trends and current issues in it are rarely discussed and when they are it as threats, not tools. Skills which one has seen used in offices by ordinary, non information-professionals ten or fifteen years ago are not to be assumed to be held by librarians who entered into the civil service system prior to their introduction. Efficient practices like emailing forms and announcements have mostly been rejected in my workplace as unreliable however some staff have shared with me that they simply do not like change. The director, who was serving patrons as recently as the year 2000, does not know how to open an internet browser or surf to our webmail, and so they leave the email window open. This is not only a security risk but a sign of the times.

Academic libraries do not have this problem or not as badly in my experience. Perhaps that is a result of having a more homogeneous population who have forced academic librarians to deliver technologies in the formats college-aged patrons use, whereas public librarians dismiss the large sector of digital info consumers as not "real patrons."  In my opinion, the cause is that civil service employees are under no threat of competition in the job market and feel no pressure or obligation to learn new skills. Attending continuing education workshops does not provide for or prove one has been actually improving their skill set. The problem results in not only cheating the patrons out of the best service they could receive for their tax contribution but a very poor work environment for tech savvy librarians. Onto us is pushed all the mundane tasks which are the equivalent of changing one's own typewriter ribbon such as "fixing" a problem which turns out to be an unplugged monitor cable, being called away from library duties to walk a coworker through attaching a file to e-mail, zooming in on a PDF and other basic usage or solving simple problems most of us mastered in the 90s. Work is distributed unfairly as everything related to a computer, which becomes more and more, is added to the technology apt staff's duties. There are a few other proponents of using modern technology in our library system: we're stigmatized as troublemakers and book-haters. Foreseeable consequences of not encouraging computer competency for all will incite a giant rift between librarians. Some may be content to use their seniority to stifle change until their retirement- but at what cost? If I have to wait for my own seniority to, say, implement something as simple as LibGuides, I will continue learning about fun and efficient applications until I can't stand the futile longing and fall behind the times. While the technophobic begin to retire, the last among them will be suddenly find themselves an insufficiently skilled minority. I say this presupposing that publicly funded libraries, which are a fairly recent institution, will exist in 15 years. ALL librarians should take an interest in the future and understand how to fully work the equipment with which they perform their duties. Now that personal computers are common in our workplace, searching the Internet and installing software updates on our computers should be as commonplace a skill as placing a phone call on hold or making a photocopy. I am asking your committee to give this problem serious attention and devise a way to encourage the librarians who haven't stayed with the times to take responsibility and catch up. I am not comfortable sharing these comments in an official capacity but believe the future of public libraries depends on addressing this problem. Thank you for your consideration of what I believe to be a very urgent matter.

P Strictland (using maiden name for anonymity)


Martha von Schilgen

I have worked in public libraries in New York state and I have been a school librarian in New York, Vermont, and Massachusetts for the past 20 years. I attend conferences, online training, and workshops in an effort to add to my professional training and improve my teaching. I constantly read to find new books to get students excited about reading. I graduated with high honors from my bachelor's program and received a Challenger Fellowship for Teachers to complete my Masters in Library Science in New York State. In one elementary school, I raised circulation from 8,000 books per year to nearly 20,000 per year. I have raised circulation in other schools as well but not as dramatically. I am considered 'highly qualified' in three states. I have always gotten very good to excellent ratings when I was observed. I am good at getting kids excited about reading. I am good at teaching students about research. I love my work. I can think of no better way me to contribute to the world.

Sadly, I am in danger of losing my job in New York state. Studies have shown for fifty years that a strong school library program helps students to succeed. Unfortunately, New York has no mandate for elementary school librarians. When the states cuts funding to education, districts cut in turn. Libraries suffer. Every day for the past twenty years, I have driven past the elementary school in my home district on my way to a job in another district or, sometimes, another state. An entire generation of students missed out on having elementary library services in my home town. Who did author studies with them? Who taught them how much fun poetry can be? Who showed them the joy of reading? Who taught them how to locate and use information in print and on-line? Who taught them to dig deep into databases to find the perfect gem of information to support their theses?

If state ed wants to make the biggest impact with the fewest dollars, mandate library services for all students. Students in small rural districts do not enjoy the same services as students in wealthier suburban schools. Mandating library services for all students will help to level the playing field.

Martha von Schilgen, School Librarian


Jennifer Wasielesky

Question 1: Libraries are the hub of the school and need to make information available efficiently and effectively to the entire student body. They will need to change according to the demands of the environment, including, space, economics, population and technology. Libraries need to be prepared to use their budgets to provide resources that are in keeping with 21st Century learning. This means having a wide variety of electronic resources as well as print material. Students today are expressing what they know in a variety of formats. Libraries need to be equipped to provide these different mediums in order to maximize student learning. Examples are Starboards, projectors, e-readers, e-books, tablets, digital cameras, video cameras, etc. to create projects which demonstrate student learning.

Question 2: Over the next 10 years, libraries will be challenged with budgetary constraints, space constraints and will be limited in their employees. The budget for libraries keeps decreasing while 21st Century equipment and resources are more expensive than traditional material. The need for space increases as there needs to be a space for flexible classroom scheduling, students using the library on their own free time and instructional space. Enough space needs to be provided for a computer lab so that instruction can take place on electronic resources. The barriers that infringe on the success of libraries are boards who vote budgets down, the state who decreases funding and increasing enrollment which means there is limited space for expansion. A library media specialist is a huge asset to the library and the school, because they are able to make provisions within their existing space to allow for this kind of change. They are also trained to know how to use and access material online free of charge or at a minimal cost. Using the public library system and Boces puts libraries at a huge advantage of having more resources at their disposal.

Question 3: Electronic resources are at the core of engaging the communities (students) who do not use the library. Providing services that they can access from anywhere in the world will engage them to seek the help of the library before any other resource. After all, these are “free” services that are provided by credible library systems.

Question 4: The school library is the hub of the school. It is imperative that LMS are knowledgeable of the curriculum that is being taught in the school and that the LMS collaborates with teachers in order to maximize student learning. It is also important for LMS to initiate collegial type work throughout the school. What will increase the visibility and relevance of school libraries is updating them so that they accommodate 21st Century learning. One way to do that is to invest in databases for the core curriculum courses, to provide e-books for teachers and students to use. Teachers can use e-books to display passages through the Starboard and the projector. They can highlight passages, take notes, save them and print them for classroom notes, for extra help notes or for students who were absent. It is an excellent way to provide more without actually using more time. Accomplishing note taking while teaching is an excellent tool for teachers. Students can use e-books in the same way.

Question 5: n/a

Question 6: Public libraries should be collaborating with school libraries and providing as many electronic resources as possible for the school to keep their costs down. If tax payers are paying for both public libraries and for schools, why not pool resources so that resources can be shared and therefore only purchased one time through tax money?

Question 7: n/a

Question 8: n/a

Question 9: One way is to provide grant writing opportunities. All state of the art and innovative libraries that I have seen have been rebuilt with grant money. It would be awesome to have that kind of opportunity.

Question 10:

This makes libraries even more important than ever. There is so much information available to everyone it is simply overwhelming. Libraries are important because they are the hub for organizing this information, for disseminating it and for teaching effective practices.

Jennifer Wasielesky, Library Media Specialist, Lynbrook South Middle School


Ellen Widawsky

I am an elementary school librarian in a K-6 school on the south shore of Long Island. I would like to briefly respond to your survey regarding library services in New York state. I believe one of the most important roles of school libraries is to introduce children to literature, authors, and expose them to books. There is nothing as exciting as watching a kindergarten or first class of children choose which book to take home and share with their family. In my library I introduce children to authors they may never have heard of and share wonderful books with them. For some students my school library is the first and only library they have ever been in -- please remember not all families take advantage of the resources that the public library offers. My students can recognize authors as varied as Eric Carle, Leo Lionni, Mo Willems, Patricia Polacco, just to name a few. My school is lucky to have a generous PTA that brings in an author or illustrator every year. This year Chris Soentpiet was our guest. You might think a rock star was in our school when the author/illustrator visits us. The children are thrilled to have a real, live, author. You could hear a pin drop during the presentation.

I understand the future is now, and technology is obviously an important part of libraries. I think we have to embrace the technology while not forgetting what it feels like to curl up with a really good book. I believe and hope that libraries will always be in existence. The product we are maintaining may change, but I hope the library will always be a place people come to either for a great read or to find answers to questions.

Ellen Widawsky, School Librarian, Chatterton School


Michelle L. Young

Question 1: Libraries (academic in particular) have several roles, teaching students information literacy skills that include life-long learning, critical thinking, research skills, as well as computing skills. Academic libraries in particular have a role to co-teach and collaborate with faculty on research, teaching, and other endeavors as librarians and faculty are partners working towards the same goals (success for the institution and students). They also have a role to provide users with resources desired whether through purchased/subscribed content or interlibrary loan services. I believe that this is what will also be important in the future and libraries will continue to work on this regardless of any challenges...creativity and collaborations are key.

Question 2: Budgets (for everything from collections to staffing, construction, etc.) are the biggest challenge and no surprise. Rates will continue to rise but dollars for libraries will continue to fall. Libraries are seen as money pits that generate little to no self-supporting revenue and the problem is, their budgets are not reflective of the nature of our business and thus, tend to fall short. Creativity will be our biggest asset when trying to overcome this continual problem-thinking in terms of coordinated collective development, grants, and other ways to stretch the dollar.

Question 3: n/a

Question 4: n/a

Question 5: Academic libraries are already integral to their institution's campus community through instruction, service, programs, and other support (not to mention institutional governance, committee work, and other academic activities). This will continue to evolve as relationships become more vital out of necessity and out of action to collaborate.

Question 6: n/a

Question 7: n/a

Question 8: I believe like all libraries, funding and perceived relevance. As the electronic information continues to grow, educating consumers on the fact that this information is not free to libraries and that there are more advanced methods to reach the most information is critical.

Question 9: Collaborative collection development across institution types would be a great way to start. Grant opportunities and other ways to help support libraries of all types will be important as we move forward.

Question 10:

Libraries are even more relevant now because of these types of resources. Our clientele does not know what to do with that type of information and are often seeking our counsel. Just because it comes to your computer does not mean that it is relevant, reliable, etc. As professionals we know this. We need to educate our users of that fact.

Michelle L. Young, MLS
Director of Libraries, Associate Professor
Clarkson University

Last Updated: August 10, 2011 -- asm