Responses to input on new Statewide Plan from Education and Library Organizations

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?

BOCES RICS

Question 1: Provide Free Access to and Instruction on Using Resources-Literature, Articles, Periodicals, Magazines, Research Information, Content, Rooms & Spaces to Read, Research, Meet, Socialize.

Provide Free Internet Access – Robust, Reliable, Fast, Wired and Wireless – along with assistance/instruction in using the Internet in the most efficient/safe/reliable way possible.

Question 2:

2.A. Adrastice volutionary change caused by digital technologies requiring reliable and competent resources (H/W, S/W, Electronics, Technical Support Staff, etc.).

2.B. Regional Support Centers (Regional Library Systems, Regional BOCES), Certified Librarians.

2.C. A constituent base that is spread between the “old” print medium/methods and the “new” techno-savvy generations; A vision of the future; Adequate resources to design, implement, and sustain the new digital-technology based “library of tomorrow”; lack of understanding by superintendents/administrators/schoolboards/communities regarding the importance of having qualified staffing in the libraries.

Question 3:

3.A. Dynamic Web-Page Interfaces; Interactive Presence such as video-conferencing technologies, Wi-Fi Access for all patrons; provide Community meeting rooms that are fully digitally equipped (HD video conferencing units, HD Projectors with inter-active whiteboards, phone conferencing capabilities; netbook/laptopcarts, Mobile Applications.

3.B. Through community outreach programs, Marketing Strategies.

Question 4:

4.A. Teaching students to think critically and find reliable, useful information, and to use the available software/hardware/other resources to the fullest potential possible.

4.B. Employing qualified staff in libraries and integrating the school library program in the entire school curriculum.

Question 5:

5.A. By opening their doors to the community at large and showing them that they are an additional resource to any public libraries in the area.

5.B. Absolutely.

5.C. Every library, whether school, public, or academic, can offer instruction and resources to their community. Since each is primarily focused on a different client base, they will have different resources to offer. Sharing them with one another allows them to serve a highly diverse community.

Question 6:

6.A. Embrace their community and communicate with them on a regular basis.

6.B. Include the community in as much as possible! Ask for input, and once again – communicate. Tailor trainings/resources, etc. to the specific needs of that community as much as possible.

Question 7: n/a

Question 8:

8.A. Resources. There are so many things possible, but funds continue to decrease, both for the systems themselves and the communities they serve, whether they are public, academic, or school.

8.B. Training, qualified staff, equipment, software… and sufficient funding to keep abreast of the technology.

Question 9: Require qualified staff at ALL levels, in all types of libraries.

Question 10:

10.A. Libraries need to be the leaders in these areas, not the followers. They need to be able to show people how to use them effectively.

10.B. By embracing the technology and learning it themselves so that they can help their client base to sort through the vast and ever-growing amount of information to find what is needed.


The City University of New York

For centuries New York has been a beacon of hope for those seeking expanded opportunities and better lives for their families. And now, even as this migration continues for newcomers, all New Yorkers are finding the need to migrate to new modalities for employment, education, information, communication, interaction and entertainment. What these new modalities have in common is that they increasingly rely on digital technology, and there are significant implications of this migration for libraries across all sectors in New York State.

Noted legal scholar Erwin Chemerinsky has written that “an informed public is the greatest weapon of democracy.” Over the next ten years the libraries in New York State need to become better positioned to arm our current and future citizens with the tools they need to compete effectively in a global marketplace for jobs, education, healthcare and prosperity. We live in an age of information overabundance, but as we know, while information is ubiquitous, knowledge is less so, and wisdom rarer still.

Technology has led to the decentralization of authority for producing books, music, movies. Individuals are creating their own content – wikis, blogs, YouTube videos etc. As the band The Kinks noted, “There are stars in every city, in every house and on every street.” Anyone can be an author or creator of content now as the barriers to entry are so low. And with so many more creators, so much more information is being produced. As the amount of available information multiplies, the problem of being able to find high quality, vetted information becomes magnified. Add to that the array of technological devices that are introduced to the market place and it is no wonder that we are already suffering from information overload. And it is about to get worse. Predictions about how much data is produced every year vary, but there is marked consistency in reporting that these rates are accelerating dramatically. If our citizens are challenged to keep pace now, one can imagine the severity of this problem by the year 2020. We need to work now to pull together components, many of which are already in place, to develop a state-wide information infrastructure.

New York State has an opportunity through our network of libraries to build a comprehensive information services system. Librarians are at the center of this comprehensive system, identifying high quality information resources, negotiating collaboratively with corporations to secure favorable pricing, working with the archival and museum communities to ensure perpetual access to our cultural legacy, and designing, developing and delivering high quality services with efficiency and economy. As new technologies emerge, it is at our libraries where much of the public will first be able to experience the new tools. And as new processes and procedures are developed for how to manage the coming information explosion, librarians, as was the case in the print-dominated world, are well positioned to be leaders in assessing needs and organizing new and more precise ways of accessing content and building bridges for our citizens to find precisely the information they need when they need it.

It is not sufficient any longer for librarians to simply guide people. We also need to teach them how to become educated consumers and producers of information. Librarians use the phrase information literacy, but it is really a form of critical thinking. Teaching people how to find information, assess it and evaluate it, and use it legally and ethically is a daunting challenge, but one to which we must rise for New Yorkers to fulfill Thomas Jefferson’s vision that "an informed citizenry is the only true repository of the public will."

Technology is also being utilized now to establish digital repositories where high quality content can be made available either instead of or in parallel with traditional distribution channels. Were New York able to develop a state-wide digital repository it would lead to scale economies, reduced redundancies, and increased opportunities for collaboration across institutions. Clearly there are many issues to resolve with such a transformation, but New York State can play a global leadership role in this transformation by drawing upon the skills and expertise of its librarian community.

Collaboration must be a key theme as we look forward over the next decade. Across New York State our libraries have done an exemplary job of collaboration. In the academic sector, the establishment of the New York State Higher Education Initiative (NYSHEI) has brought together academic libraries from both the public and private sectors. NYSHEI has developed a concept for an Academic Research Information Access (ARIA) and has been encouraging the New York State Legislature to vote in favor of creating this legislation. With full funding, ARIA would lead to State funding of $15 million towards high-end research resources. The legislation currently before the Assembly and the Senate (S3736-2011/A5181-2011) includes the following:

The public and private academic and research libraries of New York individually license research and development information resources, access to which is vitally important to the furtherance of an innovation-based economy. The primary obstacles limiting access to these information resources both at institutions of higher education, and within the entrepreneurial community, are the high cost of licensing agreements and restrictive contracts that inhibit collaboration. New companies and emerging industries will be encouraged to locate their business in New York State adding to state revenues that are derived by the existence of such private and public sector commerce. Therefore, it is in the best interests of the economic development and higher education interests of this state to enact the academic research information access act.

The passage of the ARIA legislation would be beneficial to libraries and small businesses across New York State, and would be consistent with the development of the New York Comprehensive Information System proposed by State Librarian Bernard Margolis.

New York’s libraries are not waiting for the passage of the ARIA legislation to engage in deep collaboration. In New York City, three leading institutions, Columbia University, New York University, and the New York Public Library have recently announced the Manhattan Research Library Initiative (MARLI). Under the terms of this initiative scholars from any of the three institutions may borrow materials directly onsite at one of the partners. Also in New York City, the library systems of The City University of New York and the Department of Education have launched a high school to college working group to help make the two systems more congruent. At the state-wide level, many libraries are members of the Information Delivery Services project based at SUNY Geneseo. The goal of the IDS Project is to promote innovative resource-sharing strategies, policies and procedures that optimize mutual access to the information resources of all IDS Project libraries. [IDS Project Website consulted April 15, 2011] Additional support for the IDS Project would allow for even greater utilization of the vast resources, print and electronic, that are acquired by libraries in New York State. In addition, state support for a physical delivery system to transport materials across the state would extend the benefit of a book purchased on Long Island being used by a community college student upstate in St. Lawrence County.

While these collaborations have much promise, there are obstacles to fuller collaboration as a result of New York State procurement practices. The Regents Advisory Council on Libraries might consider advising the New York State Regents to advocate for streamlined procurement practices to facilitate joint procurements by entities such as CUNY, SUNY and the New York State Library. There is an opportunity here for vast savings as a result of the leverage that could be brought to bear by working together in this fashion.

In summary then, the strategic plan for libraries in New York State over the next decade should include the following components:

  • Provide information literacy instruction across school, public and academic libraries
  • Advance the passage of the ARIA legislation
  • Support the IDS project including a statewide delivery system
  • Work to streamline procurement practices in New York
  • Develop a state-wide digital repository to house and make available the rich array of materials being developed within the state

Curtis L. Kendrick, University Dean for Libraries and Information Resources
The City University of New York


ConnectNY

Question 1:

  1. For academic libraries, as well as other kinds of libraries, our mission remains (1) to provide and preserve a wide expanse of information and knowledge in all of its formats and levels to our users and (2) to promote, stimulate and further the lifelong education of our clientele in the broadest possible sense so we have an informed citizenry, a skilled and creative work force and leadership that can lead our country to greater prosperity and growth.   That broad role should stay the same in the future.

  2. How libraries will fulfill this role will change in the future as our society and culture changes.  Technology, including print technology and information technology, will drive the future direction of libraries. Cooperatives like ConnectNY will become more important in enabling libraries to supply needed information and resources at a cost-saving and with greater speed and effectiveness.  Ideally statewide efforts, partially funded by NYS, would produce results like OhioLINK did in revolutionizing delivery of documents to patrons with added cost-savings and efficiencies. 

Question 2:

  1. Some of the greatest challenges for academic libraries over the next ten years are economic constraints on budgets, competition for resources, the rapid expansion of access to traditional library resources through other means (e.g. Amazon, Netflix), and other technological changes which impact the delivery of information in all its forms.    In this age of instant communication and gratification, libraries need to show the need for preservation of our historical record of the achievements of civilization as presented in our recorded print, audio, visual, electronic and other formats. All libraries need to continue to reinvent themselves to meet changing demands on their services.

  2. Academic and other libraries need to have value-added services which complement the delivery of materials, so that we remain the preferred source for all kinds of information, scholarly publishing, historical materials, and other forms of expression.  Our collections must represent the historical and contemporary thoughts on a wide variety of subjects and from a wide variety of disciplines  Our staffs remain an important asset, with their comprehensive understanding of the world of information and how to search and locate the best information on any subject. Libraries also know how to network with each other to bring efficiencies into the delivery of information…  Librarians also have core professional values which promote universal access to information for all, regardless of their economic or social status   Our greatest challenge is to open up worlds of information and educational resources to everyone who has need for information and knowledge.
  3. Economics is a major barrier for libraries to receive the funding to provide the widest range of information and collections as a public good. The concept of “good enough” in terms of the information that is available is also counter to what librarians are trying to espouse, that the quality of the information you receive is important to the kind of thinking you do and what you are able to produce as an outcome in whatever endeavors you are pursuing.  Technology can be both a blessing and a curse in the delivery of information and resources.  We do not want to leave anyone out of access to knowledge due to technological impediments or any other impediments. 

Question 3:

  1. While public libraries are reaching a wide audience in many communities compared to other venues, academic libraries must do more to transform non-users into users of libraries, especially in this age where many students think that the raw Internet can provide them with all the information they need. Our information literacy programs must educate students about the importance of evaluating all sources of information, about the more successful means of searching for information, and about the values of scholarly publishing to produce new knowledge, new ideas, and innovations in all fields. 
  2. Academic libraries have not done the best job with marketing their services.  They need to reach out more to students and faculty to make them awareness of what we offer, how easy it is to use our collections and services, and to form partnerships with students and faculty to create the best learning environment for users of our libraries.   Faculty outreach is critical since they are our colleagues in this educational mission. 

Question 4: n/a

Question 5:

  1. It is essential for academic librarians to be a central meeting place on their campuses, both physically and metaphorically, providing needed resources, services and facilities.  Librarians need to be well connected with their campus communities to know and respond to those needs.  Librarians must project their interest and knowledge in working with faculty and students in as many ways as possible to aid and enhance the teaching/learning process and the research process.   Through these means, libraries will be viewed as intrinsic part of the academy, contributing in a major way to the intellectual life of the college or university.
  2. There must be a role for academic libraries beyond the campus.  Almost all academic libraries serve their immediate communities through allowing on-site use of materials as well as local borrowing.  All academic libraries cooperate in loaning materials to public libraries through interlibrary loan protocols.   Depending upon the institutional mission, the role also could include instruction of K-12 students in the use of libraries, sharing of expertise with other libraries in the area, participating in joint ventures with other libraries, and providing services and resources to businesses and non-profits. 

Question 6: n/a

Question 7:

  1. Special and research libraries must continue to prosper if we are to support R&D and innovation in New York State.  Libraries affiliated with historical societies and other cultural organizations also contribute the attractiveness of this state to students, workers, and ordinary citizens.  Medical libraries are essential to our health industry.  New York State is rich in special and research libraries.  We do not want to do anything to detract from that competitive advantage that New York State currently enjoys in this area. 

  2. The State of New York should do more to publicize and promote special and research libraries as an asset and as places to visit and tour.  These libraries need to open up their facilities to tours, to develop web sites to advertise their collections and services, and to make their collections available as far and wide as possible.  

Question 8:

  1. Library technology and systems must continue to keep up with the trends in the related education and information industries, including development in open source and open systems.  Library systems must remain cost-effective and connect with the changes in delivery platforms that individuals use in their daily lives (e.g. personal devices, communication protocols). Local systems must communicate with other systems so that libraries can be connected in better ways than are currently available.  Library systems now restrict cooperation many times rather than encouraging cooperation and collaboration.   Costs of systems prevent libraries from providing new services. 
  2. Libraries need new funding from New York State to encourage developments in library systems, both from a technological and organizational standpoint.  Only with these developments can libraries of all types work together more closely for the benefit of all citizens of all ages and walks of life.   It will take money, leadership, and innovation to accomplish the further integration of our library systems, as has occurred in other states.
  3. The 3R’s need to reinvent themselves and reorganize to recognize the changing landscape in New York State, the U.S., and the world.   The 3R’s need to move towards a new set of initiatives and service programs which will foster the kind of innovations which took place when the 3R’s were first instituted.  The new vision needs to drive the organization of the 3R’s so that they are in a strong position to contribute to develop a new future for libraries in NYS.  This vision should include strengthening their relationships with academic libraries.

Question 9:

  1. The State Library and the State Education Department need to provide leadership to the library community through forums and other outlets for further discussion of these important library matters
  2. The State Library and the State Education Department need to provide financial resources to encourage and enhance cooperation and collaboration at all levels and in all types of libraries. 
  3. The State Library should remain a major research library in New York State, with special emphasis upon all aspects of the history of New York State and its people.
  4. The State Library and the State Education Department need to put more emphasis upon their relationship with academic libraries as an important part of the state infrastructure to support education K-16 and the economic and cultural health of the state.   This includes working with library cooperatives like ConnectNY when appropriate.  NYSHEI, the New York State Higher Education Initiative, should be recognized as an important organization for public and private academic libraries and the State Libraries should use this organization to foster communication back and forth with the academic library community. 
  5. The State Library and the State Education Department should foster private/public partnerships, including partnerships among the State Education Department and public and private academic libraries.

Question 10:

  1. Libraries are being challenged by the competition from commercial sources of information like Amazon, Google, and Apple.  That will not change.  In fact, it will increase.  Libraries should be pleased that information is now more ubiquitous than ever.  Children and adults benefit from the ease of gaining access to information.  While it does challenge the role of libraries are the premier source of information, it does not mean that libraries will go away.  Just as the invention of television and the internet did not lead to the end to radio broadcast, so these development do not signal the demise of libraries.  Rather, it means that we need to figure out how libraries can adapt to the new landscape and how we can form synergies with the new technologies to improve our delivery of information, education and other services. 
  2. E-books are an interesting example of a challenge for libraries to figure out how to meld our printed book collections with e-book collections for the maximum benefit.  Our values and our broad mission should not change, but our approach to how we achieve our mission must change.  ConnectNY is in the midst of discussions about the role of e-book collections in our libraries and in our consortium.  There are exciting prospects on the horizon, but we must find the balance between the old and the new, not to produce a revolution overnight (because we all know revolutions can be very disruptive and can be overturned), but to evolve into organizations that are nimble enough to respond to the important trends in education, publishing and information technology in a timely manner.  Those of us who have been in the profession for a while (like me) have seen tremendous change in libraries during our careers   I am sure we will continue to see those changes continue as we respond to the new needs and demands of our clienteles. 

Gary B. Thompson, Library Director of Siena College  and Past-Chair of CONNECTNY.

Submission on behalf of ConnectNY. 8/22/11


Friends of the New York State Library

Friends of the New York State Library statement on the future of library services for New Yorkers to the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries 2020 Vision Planning Taskforce

 1. Statewide Library Services: Strengthening the Role of the New York State Research Library

The New York State Research Library, the largest state library in the nation and the only state library member of the Association of Research Libraries, has a historic mandate of service to the government, the people, and the libraries of the state.

The Friends of the New York State Library applaud the efforts of the State Library in recent years to expand ever more into a "library for New Yorkers." Extension of borrowing privileges to New York State residents age 18 and above, re‑instituting public service hours on Saturdays, digitizing and making more of its holdings freely electronically available, and other initiatives have dramatically expanded access to the collections and staff expertise of this great institution.

The Friends recommend that the revised statewide plan recognize the special role of the New York State Research Library as a member of the state's academic and library community and a major information provider to libraries and New Yorkers throughout the state. The Friends also request that the statewide plan stress the need for adequate staff and financial resources for the New York State Research Library to fulfill its service mandates.

 2. Statewide Library Services As Part of Statewide Cultural Policy

Cultural resources, of which libraries are a major part, are important to the life and heritage of New York State. The Friends recommend that a number of options for the structure and administration of cultural policy in New York State be examined within the context of strengthening the capacity for strategic planning and prioritization to leverage selected investments in core culture.

A more detailed statement on options for proposed cultural policy organization will be submitted to the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries by the Friends of the New York State Library during the week of April 25, 2011.

Background: The Friends of the New York State Library is a not-for-profit group of readers, Library users, scholars, historians, and others whose mission is to stimulate government and public support for our nation's greatest State Library. The Friends support the Library through public education and advocacy, work with the State government and others to strengthen, preserve, and publicize the collections and services of the world-renowned institution.


Library Trustees Association of New York State

PROPOSAL TO THE NEW YORK STATE BOARD OF REGENTS
Library Trustees Association of New York State

LTA would like to be part of the Visions 2020 planning because we feel it is imperative for library trustees to be well-trained in their roles in order to successfully implement the 2020 Vision.

Library Trustees = Stewardship

Library Trustees in the State of New York are the stewards of $1 billion each year in local, state and federal public funding;

Library Trustees in the State of New York are the stewards of $1.3 billion in public and private annual income;

Library Trustees in the State of New York are the stewards of $3.3 billion in library collections, real estate and equipment;

Library Trustees are not required to have any training or education about their fiscal responsibilities to libraries or the State of New York.

The Library Trustees Association of New York State is requesting the Board of Regents to create a task force to develop a plan to implement trustee training in New York State. The task force should be representative of the library community with representative(s) from the Library Trustees Association of New York State, the New York State Division of Library Development, Regents Advisory Council, the System of Library Directors, the Library Committee Chairs for Libraries in the NYS Senate and Assembly, and an At-Large Representative from the professional library community.

The task force would be assigned to create a model for the methods of training trustees (on-line and classroom); fiscal impact on the State of New York, and on trustees; development of curriculum; and, certification.


Literacy Nassau

Question 1: The two most important roles of libraries today are: 1) to provide the general public with access to information, in the form of books, articles, internet access, and multimedia, and 2) to offer people public meeting space to discuss ideas, study, participate in a community-based effort, or even just relax. The library is a cornerstone in every community. As technology takes hold of society, inevitably the library will need to alter the means used to achieve its primary role (access to information), but I do not think the role itself will change.

Question 2: The greatest challenge libraries face is the idea that books, CDs, DVDs, and other “borrowable” materials are becoming obsolete. Everything is virtual these days; people are even able to attain post-secondary degrees in a virtual setting. Luckily, one thing remains: man’s innate need to socialize. We can increase our dependence on technology, but there is no substitute for the simplest things in life, like enjoying a sunny day by going for a walk, or meeting a friend for lunch. For many, the library is a gathering place. As long as people continue to find the need to gather, the library will have a role in society. The greatest barriers will be innovation (figuring out how to address the latest technology and integrating it into the “stacks”) and funding. Imagine if your library card could be used to carry media? If you could download an e-book from the library’s database right onto your library card and then somehow plug it in to your e-reader? Maybe there’s a way to develop that kind of technology in the future, to keep libraries from becoming obsolete. But that will, of course, require major funding.

Question 3: If libraries had some of their information accessible online, I think more people would use them. For example, if you could borrow an e-book using a unique code on the back of your library card through your library’s website, I think lots of new customers would be tapped in. Consider iTunes. People enjoy the freedom of shopping online. This is not to say that there will be no need to have a physical library building, in addition to an online feature. Remember, one of the key roles of the library is to offer the public meeting space. But building a web-based following would probably help the library system tap into a younger generation of non-users.

Question 4: School libraries are used as a lab to teach students how to navigate the library system for research purposes. I believe that as long as public school buildings exist, there will be a need for school libraries. I don’t know if the “visibility” of school libraries needs to be addressed, since their audience is both limited and restricted to children attending the school, but relevance could be addressed through some of the innovations mentioned in question #2. If public, community-based libraries increase their use of technology, and school libraries still use card catalogs and microfiche (for example), their purpose as a learning lab diminishes greatly in that they are not truly preparing children to use libraries “in real life”.

Question 5: I believe that academic libraries could be more ingrained into their local communities if they were accessible for public use. Most, if not all, of the campus libraries in my area (Long Island, NY) are not open for public use. In order to borrow books, one must show a student ID. I also believe that campus libraries could play a huge role in adult literacy by partnering with volunteer literacy agencies such as Literacy Nassau. We use public libraries to teach our adult students how to read, write, and speak English; we could potentially double our “classroom space” if we had access to college libraries as well. Considering the fact that 66% of our students are English Language Learners who are eager to attain post-secondary education in America but who first, must learn the language, opening up campus libraries to the public would make college (as an institution) seem less scary and more accessible for many of those future college students.

Question 6: Stay cutting edge when it comes to technology. Offer workshops that respond to community needs. Become acutely involved in local public education, and engage with community-based organizations to ensure visibility and public understanding of the resources the library has to offer.

Question 7: The most important role of research libraries is to provide as much relevant information as possible to the public with regard to a specific issue and how it has manifested over time. The resources available in a research library should help scholars and future leaders within a specific field develop ideas, experiments, and methodologies based on historical findings in that field. I believe this has always been the purpose of research libraries and will/should continue to be their main purpose. No matter how inventive technology becomes, the past should always inform the future; research libraries are a prime example of that.

Question 8: See question #2.

Question 9: By creating funding opportunities to support the growth of community libraries’ use of technology, and by creating opportunities for collaboration between public schools and libraries to keep a finger on the pulse of students’ needs as they pertain to research, resources, etc.

Question 10:

I believe that if the libraries refuse to keep up with societal changes, they will become obsolete. Conversely, if libraries are innovative in response to technological advances and create advances of their own to support web-based media, they will continue to be viable in the Digital Age.

Submitted by Karen Micciche, Executive Director, Literacy Nassau


Literacy New York

Question 1:

1.A. As a community resource for education, enrichment and access (Internet). And, as a welcoming community gathering place, a nonthreatening center for civic engagement.

1.B. Who knows? Does state and local leadership have the will and vision to 'invest' in libraries?

1.C. Engage the community in discussion and advocacy around the roles of libraries in their communities.

Question 2:

2.A. Resources, human and fiscal.

2.B. Acknowledgment in the community as a community resource, the better the library, the better the community.

2.C. Will libraries be viewed as a drain on fiscal resources, too expensive to maintain let alone grow? Do libraries have management that can articulate the key role of their library in the community, can those leaders enlist government support?

Question 3:

3.A. Recruitment and training of a cadre of volunteers, volunteers who can support library staff to maintain and expand services.

3.B. Raise awareness of the threat to libraries. Engage library 'friends' in advocacy efforts. Ask community members to volunteer in meaningful ways.

Question 4:

4.A. Connecting school-aged children to the depth and breadth of library information and services.

4.B. Get parents involved early and often.

Question 5:

5.B. Yes!

5.C. Again, become visible, let the community know about their resources, invite the community in. Get academia to tout the importance of their library to the community

Question 6: Reach out to children and their parents. Reach out to immigrants. Collaborate with schools, community organizations and organizations with a vested interest in libraries like Literacy New York affiliates.

Question 7: n/a

Question 8:

8.A. Resources, resources, resources!

8.B. Great infrastructure, expanded collections, knowledgeable and dedicated staff.

Question 9: Lead the charge; be out in front of the discussion in support of libraries.

Question 10:

10.A.  If libraries have leaders with vision then libraries can incorporate these new technologies into their programming.

10.B. Get them more resources. Encourage libraries to reach out to other organizations in the community with like-minded missions and visions for the future.

Bob Stevens, Executive Director & CEO, Literacy New York Greater Capital Region


Long Island University, Palmer School

Question 4: Today we are accustomed to seeing a physical space in schools that encompasses the school library. In the future this physical space will change because the roles of school libraries have changed. The walls of the school library will disappear and the emphasis will be placed more on the means of accessing information as opposed to a physical structure. School libraries are dedicated to providing the means for students to access, evaluate, synthesize, and create information. Because of the role of technology in our lives today, students can access information from a variety of places in the school and in the community. The role of the school library will be one of providing the means for the students to access this information, whether it is through a wireless environment, immediate access to information through computers, or the availability of this technology during the school hours and beyond.

School libraries of the future cannot be discussed, however, without considering the role of school librarians. With constant access to information, students must have the skills they need to harness this information for their needs. These skills transcend content and grade level and speak more directly to the process of accessing the information. Each student has different informational needs and the school librarian serves the needs of all of the students, the staff and the entire educational community of the school. The school librarian brings expertise in teaching 21st century literacy and technology skills in multiple literacies including information literacy, visual literacy, media literacy, and literacies for understanding and using information, both print and online. As a collaborative partner, the school librarian works with all classroom teachers to help the students learn these lifelong skills. The school librarian is an expert in various research strategies for differentiated learning of the inquiry process, skills and attitudes for learning in all content areas. Working with other members of the educational community, the school librarian will help the students develop their critical thinking abilities through inquiry lessons. As the students develop these abilities, they will be able to independently harness the information and create the knowledge they need to develop into lifelong learners.

Unfortunately, school librarians are in the news today because of the economic problems in our educational systems. School librarians need to be seen as relevant in the world of education and their visibility needs to be increased. Advocacy campaigns that describe model programs where the school librarian is an integral force in the school need to be highlighted in the news and educational literature. Funds should be provided to conduct research at these “best practices” sites. This research should then be shared with policy makers to reinforce the need for the school librarian’s expertise.

School libraries will be relevant and their visibility will be increased as school librarians show themselves as leaders in this age of technology.

Dr. Bea Baaden
Dr. Jody K. Howard
Palmer School of Library and Information Science, Long Island University


Medical Library Association, Upstate New York and Ontario Chapter

Question 1: First, connecting a library’s clientele to the information they need. This may be in the form of the library’s own information assets, or those obtained through networking and/or the internet. Second, training their clientele how to access, evaluate and apply this information not just from traditional research, but also from health information integration into electronic health records. Both of these roles are even more important in medical and health libraries. Accurate information, and quick access to it, can and often are matters of life and death.

Question 2: Misconceptions about the value, relevance, and importance of libraries in the information age continue to be one of libraries’ greatest challenges. People continually make the mistake that everything is freely available from the internet. This is not only untrue, but trained librarians provide much quicker, complete and accurate information access. Education is the best counter to this misconception, but it is an ongoing effort. Funding is another challenge. The misconception about online access to information also involves its cost, which is ever increasing – particularly for health and medical libraries. The numbers of information resources that must be purchased, as well as the increasing cost of each, are exacerbated by the continual cuts to library and library system funding.

Question 3: Education, and outreach and greater library staffing - all of which require funding.

Question 4: For medical and nursing schools, education about information access and evaluation will be extremely important. For of these schools, the librarians are faculty, and spend a great deal of their time teaching formal classes owing to the fact that the school administrators have recognized them as the best instructors for an increasingly important field of study  -where and how to access information, and critical analysis of its value and validity.

Question 5: For most academic medical libraries, further integration into their own institution’s community needs increased funding for both information tools, equipment and staff.  In this information age, remote access to information resources from outside the campus is expected, if not required. Of course, funding for offsite database access is necessary.

Question 6: Educating elected officials on the public’s need, and use of, their libraries - most of all on behalf of those least able to access information themselves. Also, convincing the public to make their voices heard, by voting out of office any official who continues to cut library and library system funding. Mobilizing the community requires constant advocacy, knowledge and training; this is a key role for public libraries.

Question 7: Counting health and medical libraries as special, then their most important role will be in supporting the provision of healthcare to the citizens of New York State. Acknowledgment of the importance of this critical information in healthcare by both clinicians and the government would help their visibility and relevance greatly.

Question 8: Finding new services and means of aiding their member libraries as they discover their new roles and methods of providing service to their communities. The library systems of New York will need renewed funding so they will have the staff and materials to do so.

Question 9: By providing additional efforts to reestablish library and library system funding in New York.

Question 10: By adapting to the concept that they are no longer just enabling information access by maintaining their own collections, but also by enabling access to information in any location and any format using technology and reciprocal agreements to other libraries.


New York Alliance of Library Systems

QUALITY library services are essential for New York residents; it is vital that the Board of Regents, the New York State Library and New York State government support library systems. Library systems provide the leadership and infrastructure that enables local libraries to succeed and support the needs of all New Yorkers.

Since the release of the Final Report of the Regents Commission on Library Services on July 14, 2000, public, school, and 3R library systems that provide services to public, school, academic, and special libraries have undergone significant changes. Issues that affect libraries and library systems in 2010 include state and local funding, user expectations and delivery of services, increases in new technologies and their use in libraries, and continued challenges in garnering meaningful support from elected officials, administrators, and influential state leaders to sustain and promote the key role libraries and library systems play in lives of all New Yorkers.

Funding:

A repressed economy increases the use of the library (See http://www.ala.org/ala/newspresscenter/mediapresscenter/americaslibraries/ALA_Report_2010-ATI001-NEW1.pdf) and places increased demand on services library systems provide their members. With dim prospects for new funding in the short termand midterm at the state level,and revenue and cash flow issues plaguing school districts, local governments and universities at the local level, the future of library systems as well as individual libraries is threatened:

Open positions due to retirements or reorganization go unfilled in academic libraries due to hiring freezes

Public libraries are laying off staff to meet budget shortfalls

Books go unpurchased in school libraries due to the exceedingly low per student allotment of $6.25 – well under the average cost of a book (http://www.nyla.org/content/user_4/Average%20Cost%20PEr%20Book.pdf)

Hours are reduced in many public branches with some buildings open such few hours that it is endangering their charter

Library systems are reducing, scaling back, or eliminating services such as system-wide delivery, grant programs to members, processing materials centrally, and professional development opportunities.

Certified school librarian positions are being eliminated at an alarming rate particularly in elementary schools where they are not mandated.

The current economic crisis has impeded growth and tax revenues but in some ways has strengthened the role libraries play in society. While state aid to library systems and their member libraries has been reduced 19%, use of public library services has increased substantially (See http://www.nyla.org/content/user_1/AT10_PL_Visits_98-08.pdf.) Reductions in state aid, while significant, have not caused any New York library systems to close their doors – yet.However, unlike individual libraries, most library systems are greatly dependent upon state aid to continue operations. By law, school library systems are unable to carry a fund balance and are providing services – albeit at a reduced level to its members - depending on the current level of state funding. Public library systems are coping with the economic crisis by borrowing from fund balances – clearly an unsustainable accounting practice. However, despite this challenging fiscal environment, most libraries retain the support and good will of their users, with high approval ratings and documented increases in usage. Public votes on library funding still continue to pass more than 95% of the time(See http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/libdev/libs/pldtools/guide/bdgtvte.htm).

New Technologies, User Expectations and Library Services:

Even while book circulation continues to grow, user technology has focused on open content, web-based services and resources, 24x7 access, and handheld devices, increasing expectations for what good library service is to the end user. Libraries acknowledge the economic benefits of group purchasing and shared resources and have developed many collaborative relationships with other organizations. Evidence shows that collaboration among libraries and library systems is critical for sustained viability. Libraries are often the pioneers in using and adopting new web tools and software to improve and an end-user’s library experience while also providing an economy of scale that provides a greater return on investment for every dollar funded(See http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/libdev/stackup.htm).

Over the course of a few years, grassroots collaboratives such as IDS (Information Delivery Services – a resource sharing cooperative developed at SUNY Geneseo)and ConnectNY(a consortium of libraries within New York State whose members have created a combined catalog of their collections)are creating a very different landscape for end users searching for materials and providing new models of resource sharing.

Information services, such as Ask Us 24/7, began with six libraries at the 3Rs Council in Buffalo in 2003 andsince then, the service has spread throughoutmuch of New York with over 38 public, school, and academic libraries as well as other library systems participating in providing help services to New York residents, students, and researchers.

School library systems have pooled their resources and developed a system, School Library Systems Consortium for Online Resources for Education (SCORE), which ensures consistent pricing and licensing agreements of databases across the state influencing business practices of database vendors.

Digital collections of historical significance from across the state are available through a single portal called New York Heritage – a collaboration of the nine NY 3Rs to bring digital content to all NY residents.

Public library systems are providing mobile access to library resources including audio books, e-books, videos, and music.
It is very difficult for libraries to convince the legislators and administrators of the importance of strong libraries and library systems and their impact on education and society in general. Studies prove that educational achievements of K-12 students are dependent upon a strong information literacy program spearheaded by a certified school librarian. (See http://www2.scholastic.com/content/collateral_resources/pdf/s/slw3_2008.pdf and http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/aasl/aaslpubsandjournals/slmrb/slmrcontents/volume13/small_phase3.cfm). Academic libraries support the educational and research needs of students and faculty but also provide information and services that support small business incubators, scientific research, and medical discoveries. Public and special libraries also support the needs of businesses and cultural organizations as well as the citizen-researchers, genealogists, early literacy, and unaffiliated scholars. All types of libraries can influence the breadth and depth of available content. However, it is through the library systems that all types of libraries are given the opportunity to collaborate in providing more, better, and faster library services to New York State residents. Library systems should be viewed as a model of shared services and collaboration in which every dollar funded through New York State to support librarieshas an estimated return of investment of at least $3.93. (See http://scls.suffolk.lib.ny.us/pdf/librarystudy.pdf) and could be as high as $13 (http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/libdev/stackup.htm).

Therefore, in this time of change and in light of the beginning of the New Century’s second decade, the New York Alliance of Library Systems offers these recommendations:

Libraries and Library Systems             

1. Library systems should assist their members in adapting to current expectations more quickly. For example, people use online services such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing to search the internet, quite reasonably expect that they will be able to identify library holdings in the same manner.Users have also become comfortable with streaming video, audio and video podcasts, digital books that can be read on iPads or Kindles, and, also quite reasonably, anticipate that library holdings will be delivered to them in the same fashion. No matter what new technologies become available, the development of innovative services that meet the needs of information seekers should be a high priority. Library systems can providethe leadership and the expertise in developing these initiatives. Ongoing training, with an emphasis on technology, should be required for all librarians.

2. Libraries and library systems should encourage their staff to be at the forefront of innovation – developing new technologies that enhance end users’ experiences and not simply adopting or massaging already developed ones. Emphasis should be placed on creating applications that enhance information seekers’ ability to understand content as well as creating incubators that allow librarians to work with experts in other fields to improve information retrieval and delivery.

3. Library systems should consider restructuring governance and initiating partnerships for greater collaboration at the regional and state level, and even consolidating if appropriate.

4. Library systems should build on their strengths and assist their members in building on theirs. Libraries of all types need to have staff expertise in using new technologies to deliver information and services, and need to provide materials in a variety of formats that are available all the time.Library systems are key in assisting their members in building on their individual strengths, resources, collections, and personnel. Library systems should anticipate and develop innovative services, adapt to changing climates, and be willing to cease out-of-date services when they no longer provide benefit to their members or the end-users.

5. Library systems should consider fees for special services and/or assist their membersin developing or taking advantage of revenue generating opportunities. Systems should proactively encourage and assist their member libraries that are eligible for publicly-voted funding to get on the ballot and win the vote.

State Library

6. The State Library should engage stakeholders as partners, beflexible in the application of regulation, and provide leadership in the development of shared or cross-contracted services.

7. The State Library should continuously review and update outdated standards, guidelines, and regulations. Legal assistance should be provided for public libraries seeking district library status. Incentives for collaboration, innovation, and sharedservices among systems should be offered, and best practices should be encouraged and rewarded.

8. The State Library should develop training that is required for all boardsand advisory councils to improve governance of libraries and library systems. Advocacy and development should be necessary components of the training to assist the library system and their members in improving funding and recognition.

9. The State Library should be recognized and funded for its critical role in the education and development of the state and its citizens.

Board of Regents

            10. The Board of Regents should focus attention on its role of library advocacy, and avoid seeing library services only through the prism of K-12 education. Education can take on many facets, and libraries and library systems of all types contribute to meeting the educational needs of NYS residents from “cradle to grave.”

New York Library Association, Academic and Special Libraries Section

Dear Chair Quinn-Carey:

The Academic and Special Libraries Section of the New York Library Association agrees with and would like to underscore the importance of issues raised the February 7, 2011 letter from the New York State Higher Education Initiative (NYSHEI) and others.

 The recommendations of the July 2000 final report from the Regents Commission on Library Services only suggested that New York State “promote access” to New York’s academic and research libraries. Promoting access is only part of what is needed with regard to these institutions – we need to enhance support for them and assure that they fulfill their role in today’s information economy.

Academic and Special Libraries are active participants in the “information revolution” and are poised to provide students and faculty, researchers, and the community with critical resources that enhance and encourage learning, discovery and innovation. Whether providing access to needed scholarly databases and research materials or promoting information literacy through instruction and reference services, these libraries are integral to assuring the future workforce of New York State is furnished with necessary skills and information to be productive contributors to our state economy.

When I brought the topic of this letter up to the ASLS board for consideration, one board member rightly stated that the Regents Advisory Commission “needs to understand that education does not end with high school graduation. In New York State the percentage of public high school graduates entering institutions of higher education within or outside NYS in the fall 2009 was 79.9%. Of that number, 67.3% of public high school graduates entered institutions of higher education in NYS. The percentage of nonpublic high school graduates entering institutions of higher education within or outside NYS was 97.3%. Regardless of which number you use, the impact on higher education is enormous. The need for partnering between the two is great and the opportunities are enormous.”

Lifelong learning, collaboration and cross disciplinary sharing are only a few of the characteristics that are enhanced through the provision of robust library resources and services in our special and academic library settings. Furthermore in some cases, these libraries provide essential services to the greater community.

Thus we urge the Committee to consider the value and importance of libraries above and beyond those in the K-12 and public arenas. Our academic and research libraries deserve enhanced support to fulfill their mission of fostering learning, information literacy, collaboration and research. These activities provide essential benefits to all residents of New York State, and will help guide our state into a productive and thriving future.

Sincerely, Blake Carver, President


New York Library Association, Public Libraries Section

Question 1: Libraries are necessary for the education of the population. Libraries are flexible enough to fill that need in many different ways for all members of the community. Information changes over time, but libraries change with the changing needs of the community.

Libraries ensure and will continue to ensure access to needed information for all.

Question 2: Continuing to attract inherently curious people to library services at fair wages and to keep the revenue stream essentially neutral. We have very talented minds in library services both as professionals and paraprofessionals—we can solve the issues of format changes, facility challenges, etc. but we cannot accomplish this without support of the larger cultural milieu. We are afraid that libraries are being marginalized by public perceptions.

Libraries need to continuously strive to meet the needs of the users when and where the service is needed.

Our greatest assets are our people, staff members, friends, board members and advocates of all types. We need to ensure that enough of them are willing to step up and support us when we need them.

Question 3: Choosing to use a library is a lifestyle choice. First, does the individual know the library exists? Second, do they know what services are provided? Third, are those services provided at a time and place that is convenient for the user? Fourth, do they find the policies/procedures and other barriers to service not too onerous?

The role of the library is to ensure that these questions are answered positively. Libraries that cannot do so, whether by choice, poor administration, or funding constraints are in danger of becoming increasing irrelevant to an increasing segment of their service population.

Engage community members by meeting them with the services they need, where they need them, at whatever hour they need them, and don’t put too many silly rules in the way.

Question 4: The critical role for school libraries is to ensure a level of information literacy among students. It is difficult for teachers to focus on its importance while also preparing the students for subject-specific tests.

In our opinion too many students are graduating without sufficient ability to think critically about information and who or what is creating and presenting it. Perhaps a Regents-type exam for information resources is indicated.

Question 5: Work in conjunction with the faculty not as an add-on. Negotiate this partnership via union contract and not as an administrative mandate. The role beyond campus may be to partner with public and high school libraries to provide transparent access to rare materials or expensive journals to their local public.

Question 6: I think this is the wrong question to ask. Seeking to sustain public libraries for their own sake is a mistake. Libraries exist and thrive because they are created by communities to fill the needs of the community. Libraries must identify those needs and seek to fill them to the best of their ability.

Libraries best serve their community when they understand what services the community wants and choose not to focus solely on services that they have traditionally provided, or those librarians want to provide. Constant incremental change with continuous feedback from users is the best way to serve the community.

Public libraries must maintain their unique local flavor and not homogenize them by trying a “best practice” designed for another community. Modify ideas to fit in to community needs. React and respond to community needs based on human interactions and not just traditional statistical measurements.

Question 7: They are needed to maintain society’s deeper investigations. As more and more research is translated into superficial sound bites (or bytes) there is even a greater need for our culture’s intellectual property to be maintained at a high standard be it chemical patent information at DuPont or particle physics experiments at CERN.

Question 8: Clearly the biggest challenge to New York State’s library systems is funding. It seems clear to me that the legislature has little or no ability or will to fund the systems adequately. They lack the vision to invest in services that have a long term benefit to society. The benefits of an adequately funded library system can take a lifetime to realize.

As funding decreases from the state level, increased local support, typically from the operating funds of member libraries will (and has) become necessary. With an increase in local support, those libraries contributing larger amounts of money may expect to have more influence in how the system is run.

The systems were created to assure a certain level of library service to every citizen of New York State. Without these subsidized services supplies through state funding, libraries may drop membership in the library system and self-create library cooperatives including only libraries of similar funding levels and goals. This would create great inequity in service levels.

The systems should be funded adequately to provide the resources needed to ensure at least a minimum level of library services for all New Yorkers.

The perception that the internet and corporate entities such as cable companies will function as the new resource library for information and entertainment for all is a challenge. New York State library systems have demonstrated cooperation, partnerships and fiscal responsibility and restraint.

Question 9: They need to provide the digital backbone that libraries and communities need to function. Increasingly government and corporations require interaction to take place digitally. Libraries fill the gap for the many New Yorkers that do not have access in the home. State level support for this role, particularly in rural areas would be a great benefit.

Question 10:

Libraries can prosper by growing their role as an access and distribution point. Libraries must band together in larger groups to increase buying and negotiation power. Legislative blocks to group negotiation must be removed.

Geoffrey Kirkpatrick, PLS President


New York Library Association, School Library Media Section

Question 1:

1. A. Access to information –for work, individual needs and personal interests.

Aiding users to not only find information, but to evaluate and use the information they find.

1. B. Keeping up with current and future technology including access to computers, e-books, and increased use of technology needed to create and communicate. Libraries will change to accommodate these needs.

Producing information literate students and patrons to actively participate in our democratic society.

1. C. Libraries will need to increase (or change) their hours to best serve their patrons' needs.

Libraries will need to increase virtual – anywhere - access and produce virtual teaching aids (webinars, videos, podcasts, etc.)

Question 2:

2. A. Acquiring the professional staff needed to work both in-house and virtually.

Keeping up with current and future technology—both the knowledge needed to teach others and the cost.

2.B. Credentialed librarians who are currently working to achieve the goals listed above in 1A.

A working system of interlibrary loan.

A working library system that encourages and aids librarians’ professional growth.

The resources provided through NOVELny.

Library professional organizations which provide growth, education, and leadership for librarians.

2.C. Quality and qualified staffing – tremendous cuts in staffing jeopardizes libraries infrastructure.

Funding—or the lack of it. Libraries have already experienced damaging cuts.

Out-dated facilities that don’t allow for flexibility in making current and future technology and print resources easy to find and use.

More and more affordable Wi-Fi and broadband is needed now and will increase in importance.

Question 3:

3.A. Libraries must re-examine the hours that they are open and change according to need.

More resources should be offered virtually.

Library cards should be more readily available (perhaps as an App!).

Library systems need to work with publishers to increase the viability of using E-books.

3. B. Through list-servs email, and social networking sites such as Facebook.

Through communicating more through our schools, social clubs (such as LIONS), senior citizen centers, etc.

More and better utilization of radio blurbs and newspaper articles.

Making the physical facility available and welcoming to patrons of all ages.

Question 4:

4.A. School librarians are leaders, instructional partners, information specialists, teachers and program administrators. EVERY school needs a school library and EVERY school library needs a certificated school librarian, a PROFESSIONAL is an expert in the selection of resources, promotion of reading and teaching and leading digital and information literacy. School librarians and school libraries do this by:

  • Providing access to reliable information and the teaching that gives students the tools to recognize reliable information in a world of “information” overload.
  • Connecting students with information, helping them build critical thinking skills and creating content in a world with changing formats and tools.
  • Implementing a well-defined and evolving information fluency curriculum that is infused with the subject content of every curriculum. Digital and information literacy impact every other curricular area in a school.
  • Teaching 21st Century Skills—including the ethics and management of using the many available information tools to students and staff, in formal group instruction and informally one-on-one.
  • Encouraging students to read not only for information, but also for pleasure.
  • Collaborating with teachers and students to provide online and blended learning opportunities in the library, in the classroom and outside of school.
  • Providing 24/7 virtual libraries for student access through various technologies (computer, phone, E-books, and tablets and other technologies that will emerge).
  • Collaborating with public and academic librarians to provide maximum access to resources and integrated programming.
    Designing, administering and managing a place designed for learning, either self-directed or collaboratively.

School libraries are places where students can come to read for pleasure, study, and research independently or with classes, and be creators of information. School library programs strive to be the space in the building that offers flexibility to the school community, a space that works for the needs of the learners, a learning commons. A certificated and life-long learning school librarian ensures the evolution of the program continues to support the needs of learners in the learning commons.

4. B. A certified school librarian who follows and enhances the curriculum through a supportive collection, a variety of technology, and flexible engaging programs.

A statewide information fluency curriculum framework that will provide equitable access to information skills instruction.

More school librarians who, with administrative support, collaborate with teachers to provide students with realistic experiences in finding, evaluating and using information to produce new knowledge using a variety of technologies.

School library websites that have “gone virtual” with home access.

School librarians who help to lead and teach not only students, but teachers and parents, as well.

School libraries that partner with school library systems, public academic and special libraries to open the walls of the school community.

Ongoing and carefully planned marketing and promotion programming that will inform teachers, administrators and the school community how school librarians positively impact student performance.

A strong school library system which supports building-level school librarians with leadership, education, data and collaboration.

Question 5: n/a

Question 6: n/a

Question 7: n/a

Question 8:

8. A. Sharing and supporting the ever-changing technology—hardware, software (licensing), and broadband.

Maintaining a continuing professional development program for certified librarians.

Adequate and reliable funding

8. B. Adequate and reliable funding.

Program flexibility, built on the needs of their member libraries.

Question 9: Support for adequate funding for all types of libraries and librarians must be a priority.

Develop and support legislation to require school librarians at all levels of the preK-12 educational system.

Monitor all proposed education legislation and education department regulations to include school libraries and librarians as appropriate.

Maintain and increase the resources in NOVELny.

Maintain and increase Wi-Fi and broadband so that libraries can expand their ability to reach more patrons.

Question 10:

Libraries must be confident in their ability to include a variety of information formats and their ability to teach the use of these formats.

Libraries must continue to be a point of access for all including those who cannot afford technology or have difficulty using it.

Libraries must continue to provide materials in a variety of formats to meet patron needs. Print books and periodicals are not going away just yet—there will be patrons who want and require these formats. Also, students need reading material that they enjoy as well as material that informs. Libraries will continue to provide both (sometimes, in one package!) in a variety of formats.

Frances Roscello, SLMS/NYLA President


New York Library Association, Youth Services Section

Our membership consists mainly of Children’s and Teen Librarians serving primarily in Public Libraries in New York State, along with a smaller but substantial cadre of school librarians. Rather than respond to your questions on a point by point basis, I am going to concentrate on what I believe to be the primary concerns of my constituents.

Because we serve a specialized area of the public library sector—children, teens and their caregivers we have a rather traditional view of library service because we are concerned with providing a set of core services that have not changed much despite the rapid pace of technological change that has swept the profession at large.

I have been in the field for over 40 years, and while much has changed, I have always maintained that the core of librarianship is to connect the public with the information and reading materials that they need. That has not changed since the time of Hamurabi or the Medieval Monastic Libraries to today’s electronic media driven collections. Moreover, for youth services librarians, the primary roles include introducing children to the joys of literature, the skills to find information for themselves and to encourage the development of literacy. While the modern librarian has to go beyond print, both for his or her own needs and those of our customers, technological change does not drive what we do as much as it may for other librarians.

My colleagues serve children from birth to the late teen years, but also model literacy skills for parents, teachers, day care providers and other caregivers. We provide a community center for youngsters, foster cultural and educational activities for our communities and supplement the formal education process.

Around New York State, public libraries play a vital role in early childhood education. Programs for babies, toddlers and preschoolers are widely available and provide not only recreation, but model literacy skills for parents and caregivers to continue in the home, introduce children to the stories, songs and poetry that form a cultural currency and help them get ready for school through basic literacy and numeracy skills to learning to work together in groups and develop other social skills. These programs begin well before Kindergarten and are free to the community while similar programs that may be available elsewhere are often costly or not available in smaller or poorer communities.

Once children begin school, we not only provide recreational reading, but homework support, sometimes through materials in the library, sometimes through tutoring programs, and especially through summer reading programs, encourage literacy development in out-of-school times.

Many communities lack programs for middle and high school students outside of their school buildings, which is another area where our libraries provide cultural and recreational support for older kids. Game tournaments, volunteer opportunities, arts and crafts programs, film and video showings and production classes, computer skills workshops and hosts of other educational and recreational programs give our children and teens new opportunities to learn, socialize and grow into productive adults.

I’m sure other respondents have pointed out libraries’ roles as providers of electronic access and training, and this is another area where many of our families find not only physical access to computers but also support to help children and adults maximize their skills often come only from libraries.

As children’s librarians, however, we cannot ignore the primacy of print. Especially as children are learning to read, they need a wide variety of books to reinforce what they have already learned, and to push forward to improve their reading. Electronic media are beginning to provide a wider variety of materials for adults, but for young readers ordinary, familiar books are still the primary vehicle for developing reading skills. and for most families the library is the only efficient, economical way of accessing lots and lots of books.

School libraries also must be recognized for the role they play in formal education. Not only do they support classroom studies with materials for reference and expanded (textbook) information, they can also be the intellectual hub of the school as noted in many recent studies. Librarians assist children directly, but also serve as an important link to contemporary literature for teachers, and in many schools they are also the technology “gurus” who are helping both teachers and students learn about search skills, avoiding plagiarism, finding valid information, and other electronic literacy skills that no one else is teaching.

Many years ago I attended a Regents’ Hearing at a NYLA conference when the mandate for school librarians was being discussed. One speaker, pleading for elementary school librarians, said, “Waiting to provide professional librarians in High School is like trying to teach penmanship without a pencil.” That is more true than ever, the search skills needed by students do not come from learning to play games on the computer or typing a word in the Google search box, they come from librarians in school and the public library children’s rooms teaching basic search skills to classes and individuals who will be using them for a lifetime.

I am attaching an editorial* from our current YSS Newsletter that addresses another vital concern of our membership, the disappearance of Youth Services Consultants and Coordinators from Library Systems all over New York State. Ideally we would like to see these positions mandated even though we understand the economic constraints that currently face our Systems.

I will continue to be the primary contact for the Youth Services librarians should you require further input.

Rosanne Cerny
President, NYLA/YSS

*The first subject on my mind is a very serious issue, the dismissal of three more Youth Services Consultants from two more Public Library Systems. The two recent firings have occurred in Westchester where both Judith Rovenger and John Sexton were let go, and in the Mid-Hudson LS where Christine Linder-Ryan was the victim of budget cuts. A year or so ago, administrative realignments at the New York Public Library eliminated direct leadership of both Children’s and Teens Services as a whole and divided the responsibility for materials, programs and training among several departments. (Anne Carol Moore is probably still spinning in her grave!) That these recent cuts have been added to losses in our ranks in other parts of the state should be a matter of grave concern to all of us.

Indeed, it was the first issue that the YSS Board took up at our February meeting. Cutting these positions is an assault on Children’s and Teen Services at every level. We all know at the local level how vital services to youth are for the health of our community libraries—a very high percentage of traffic in local libraries comes from children, teens and their parents and other care givers—and in many libraries the bulk of public programming revolve around our younger customers. Children’s Services also brings publicity, community support and political backers to public libraries, and in some communities the only non-school group activities for teenagers occur at the library.

For the local librarians providing these services, who are usually the only youth specialists in the building, the Consultant or Coordinator in the System is their major support for training, networking, liaison to the State Library for summer reading programs, grants and other services they provide. They share literature knowledge, programming expertise, links to other educators and service providers, ideas for new programs and services, and a host of other supports, especially for new practitioners. Even experienced youth librarians need the support and networking the Consultant’s committees and meetings offer, and the occasional advice on how to reconfigure collections or programs.

Like many new librarians, I started in a local unaffiliated town library in New Jersey. My Director was sensible enough to seek out more experienced librarians in the County who could offer some mentoring, and NJLA offered programs, but what a help a Consultant who could come to the library would have been! How many wheels did I reinvent? How many mediocre programs did my kids suffer through until I learned a few tricks? What professional training did I miss in those early days? Later on, as most of you know, I finally filled that consulting position in Staten Island and at Queens and training, and in some cases retraining was always my first priority. But I was also a sounding board for complaints, a resource for weeding, a middle-man who could talk to Managers about the needs of the collection, scheduling problems and a variety of other issues, and I know my colleagues all across the state were filling those same roles.

Where do the newbies turn now? Who serves as the liaison to the State Library? Who provides a presence for Youth Services for the whole county or multi-county system? Who brings in speakers and authors and other trainers to refresh one’s professional soul? Who reaches out to the media? Who represented youth on Advocacy Day?

The YSS Board intends to reach out to the systems to encourage them to replace these specialists as soon as fiscally possible, but you and your supervisors who value youth services in their libraries also need to reach out to System Directors and Boards to reiterate how important these leadership positions are, and how valued the member libraries consider them.

If Children’s and Teen collections, services and programs are valuable to our community libraries, the supervisory staff that trains and supports librarians at the local level are pearls without price.

Rosanne Cerny
President, Youth Services Section, NYLA


New York State Archives

Question 1: This depends upon the type of library (public, special, academic/research), and I presume this survey focuses primarily on public libraries and public library systems. The primary role is: provision of information – getting the requestor to the information he/she needs whether it is contained in a book or online. This means that the library must have available the tools to search for this information and the expertise to help the requestor if needed. More and more, the public library is becoming an intermediary between the requestor and a universe of information on the Internet, helping the requestor make appropriate selections that best meet the needs. This role will only increase in the future as more and more information is available online and it becomes more and more difficult to identify authoritative and trusted sources. Libraries may well become both the locators and the location of authentic and credible resources.

A second role of the public library is that of community resource – libraries offer space for community groups to gather and put on programs of public interest; they offer a safe environment for students to be after school and in some cases receive tutoring or assistance with studies; they offer access to computers and the Internet to community members (this means access to information in the broadest possible sense). I see this role continuing to expand into the future with an escalating need for people to have access to information over the Internet. Libraries will need to have available a sufficient number of computers that are capable of high speed access to large quantities of data to meet the needs of their users. Libraries are also partners in children’s education, from help with homework, to tutoring and online assistance, to summer reading programs, public libraries must take over to fulfill the needs of students whose schools have eliminated their own school media centers.

Question 2: The greatest challenge will be lack of resources to support staff, to purchase books (there will still be a demand for books), to subscribe to online resources and to develop and maintain access to local resources both in-house and online. Libraries will need to develop partnerships with like-minded local institutions to help them deliver services to the community. These partnerships may be with other institutions (such as historical societies, museums, etc.), with schools, and with local businesses. Partnerships with other libraries within a region (the library system) will also be important to share certain types of services or to work together to create efficiencies and reduce redundancies. Barriers might include a community’s desire to retain a certain local identity or to retain total control over the functions and activities at a specific library.

Question 3: Most people in the community have little knowledge of the breadth of information/services that are available in their public library. We need to do a much better job of marketing those services to the public as well as making the resource allocators in the community (local government, school district, businesses, potential donors, etc.) aware of these services and of the impact these services have on the community.

Question 4: School administrators and boards take the library for granted and many believe that these entities can be cut with minimal impact on the program and on the students. We all know that libraries are often the first casualties when budget need to be cut. They have not made the connection between the school library and learning. They need to understand that libraries don’t just support learning and what the teacher is doing in the classroom, but they are places where learning takes place and are integral to the education enterprise and not tangential. We need to have data to make this case and it needs to be made statewide, not just in individual districts. In the future, school libraries could be used to take classroom learning to the next level, to carry out additional learning through research and writing and to provide additional attention to students who are at risk. School libraries must be better integrated into the education process and they should be accountable as part of a team focused on eliminating the gaps in at-risk schools or raising the bar in more stable districts. Of course, mandating the library is another strategy, but the trend today is to eliminate mandates and reduce requirements on school districts, so this is an unlikely approach.

Question 5: I cannot comment on the first question, but will weigh in on the second. I believe there is definitely a role for academic libraries beyond the campus and I believe that, given the strong inclination of leadership in colleges and universities to better integrate with their communities, this trend will be encouraged. Academic libraries can provide the research resources that cannot be easily found in most public libraries, particularly through their special collections and archives. Most academic libraries have active digital programs and these resources are being made available on the Internet, so broad access to these resources is already in place. However, academic libraries, and particularly this state’s large research libraries, can provide leadership to public libraries, historical societies, museums and other repositories of historical materials to help them make their own records available through digital programs. There is a great deal of expertise in academic libraries that could be shared with local repositories. These larger institutions could also offer space to store digital images from community partners and host community images on their websites.

Question 6: Public libraries have to make themselves indispensable with services that are highly effective, cost saving, and cannot be replicated elsewhere. Then they have to market themselves and their services to their public and to those who can provide resources and/or other support. Unfortunately, there is still a strong tradition that treats the library as a sacred entity that simply must be supported; sort of like an entitlement. Of course library supporters all know the extreme good that libraries do, but that doesn’t fly these days. Libraries have to prove their worth and are in competition for very scarce funds. The only way to survive and to thrive is to rise above the competition because our product is so much better than others. Libraries must advocate for themselves and show hard data that proves why support of our public libraries is a good investment that will reap benefits across the community.

Public libraries must be even more public; that is, they must be more visible in the community and across the state. Marketing, marketing, marketing.

Question 7: I commented on research libraries in the section on academic libraries. Special libraries could, as well, fall into that category.

Question 8: The comments I made about public libraries’ need for more visibility and better promotion hold for library systems. In fact, the system can take the lead in developing a promotional campaign that would benefit all its constituent libraries. There may, as well, be other shared services that the system could take on for all of its constituents that would reduce redundancies and affect some cost savings across the system. This should be investigated and pursued. I do not know enough about library systems and the challenges they face to be able to comment further on this issue.

Question 9: Partnerships with other like professions such as museums, archives, historical records repositories, public broadcasting, etc. will be important as all face diminishing resources, loss of staff, greater demand for services, and greater demand for delivery in an electronic environment. The State Library should partner with the State Archives and State Museum and the RAC can partner with statewide entities such as the State Historical Records Advisory Board, the Local Government Records Advisory Council, the Museum Association of New York, the four historical regional service agencies, and others to consider ways that we can work together to provide services, reduce redundancies, reach a broader audience, make use of technology (including sharing technological capacity and expertise), and deliver services to our overlapping constituencies in more efficient ways.

Question 10:

Some will say that libraries will no longer be needed. I don’t believe that, but do believe that libraries must change to meet the demands and needs of their communities and constituents. Delivery of services must take into account the way in which users want services to be delivered (on iPhones, via the Internet, etc). Downloadable information would seem to be the wave of the future and libraries must be able to operate in that world. For some years, libraries will need to operate in two worlds – that of the circulating book, DVD, etc. and that of access to e-books, streaming video, etc. This will mean that librarians need to become fluent in the language of electronic access and understand the ways in which they can function within that world – including copyright issues, pricing, limitations on access, timeframes, etc. They must also be flexible enough to meet new demands which have not yet been introduced; the world has changed very quickly and will continue to do so. We must be prepared to change with it.

The State Library or perhaps the RAC may be able to provide guidelines to help librarians navigate in this new environment. Again, partnering with other fields in which these or similar issues are being discussed, solutions tested, and new practices employed may be helpful. Times are changing and it is clear that libraries will have to employ new ways of delivering services. The need for those services (and perhaps even greater demand for new services) will continue, but the delivery mechanism will have to be vastly different. We have to listen to our constituents to know what they want/need and stay abreast with the latest developments in the profession (including in the broader cultural community).

[Prepared on behalf of the New York State Archives by Christine W. Ward, State Archivist]


NYS Comprehensive Research Libraries; New York State Program for the Conservation and Preservation of Library Research Materials

Contact: Karen E.K. Brown, Head – Preservation Department, University at Albany

Question 1: Libraries must provide access to reliable information, regardless of whether needed resources are held by a library or reside online. In the future we will hold fewer physical collections and increasingly emphasize facilitating access to digital information resources. Libraries are community centers staffed by information experts there to provide support 24/7. It is important that we ensure information access for underserved populations, in particular those in our diverse society that must rely on libraries to make available the computers and internet access that are increasingly essential to everyday life.

Access to information vital for economic and political spheres, as well as for education and recreation, will not be possible unless libraries actively pursue preservation.
Just as we provide access, we must maintain and preserve our libraries’ resources and collections for ongoing use, many of which are unique in the world. The eleven NYS comprehensive research libraries have a twenty-five year history of collaboration working to ensure the provision and preservation of information resources. As we move into the future digital technology and increasing cooperation among libraries will impact how we fulfill our preservation role.

While continuing to care for physical collections, preservation will be much more focused on digitization and the preservation of digital information resources than it has been so far. Sustained support for digital programs, including a robust infrastructure (including establishment of institutional repositories and related collaborative preservation initiatives), standards and guidelines, and training and education are critical. Vendors, publishers, and commercial interests do not guarantee that digital information will be available for as long as they are needed, and access through these interests could prove prohibitively expensive over time. Research libraries will ensure that this digital information remains available in perpetuity.

Question 2: Libraries face the challenge of expanded costs both for buying physical materials such as books and DVDs, and for licensing electronic content such as e-books and e-journals. In the face of shrinking budgets many will rely on larger institutions to supply content, primarily our academic and larger public libraries. Patrons will weigh heavily on demanding digital resources regardless of whether they are purchased, leased, or reformatted from analog holdings. Libraries play a key role in helping users navigate these varying resources in an increasingly complicated digital information universe. Knowledgeable, professional staff is one of our greatest assets. They will play a large part in overcoming such challenges. To fill demands that cannot be met online, interlibrary loan services will continue to deliver traditional print resources, helping to stretch increasingly strained budgets.

It is important to recognize that many of our older, most valuable and unique holdings are aging. There is an ongoing need for preservation services to support circulation and use of general collections, as well as those that will necessarily be transferred to special and rare book collections.

Copyright restrictions strongly impact our ability to share materials in digital form. Unpublished, unique holdings held by academic and special libraries are especially problematic because of their very long terms (life of the creator plus 120 years is the rule for unpublished works), terms that continue to be extended for commercial interests. The rules for other formats such as sound recordings are even more arcane and unnecessarily hinder preservation and access. Libraries will continue to advocate for open access to both published and unpublished resources. We must advocate for and take full advantage of the library and preservation clauses of the copyright law, while helping to educate the public on their own fair use rights.

Question 3: Libraries have the content and professionally trained experts to help patrons fulfill their information requirements. Libraries will be taking on a greater dissemination role in the years to come. We must find new ways to attract patrons, by making a strong effort to market our services and by making sure that patrons know when they use a service that is provided by the library. With respect to online access to information it is critical that libraries brand content delivery in order to demonstrate and market their value and remain relevant to our users. Access portals to digitized information, databases, journal articles and other information resources should underscore the role of libraries in providing needed resources. Libraries need to have a very visible presence where potential patrons spend time – on Facebook, i-Tunes, etc.

Question 4: Young people need to learn information literacy skills and the difference between authoritative sources and those that are doubtful when searching online. School libraries are where students learn such skills, including citation and the essentials of conducting basic research. We gain through this experience true knowledge and the tools needed for lifelong learning. Here our citizens understand the value of libraries and the value of texts, images, and recordings from previous eras that are made available to them thanks to preservation and access provided by libraries.

Libraries must be attentive to how younger generations are communicating and use tools such as Twitter, Facebook and other social media to connect learners with information resources. In addition, greater efforts must be made to increase the visibility of our collections through internet search engines such as Google and through the many other online discovery tools outside of our library catalogs.

Question 5: Libraries have many strategies for integrating research and information discovery into their own communities. Academic libraries have been particularly successful in designating liaisons that are embedded into our academic programs. They are increasingly part of the learning process and curricula and are highly responsive to user needs. In addition, our physical spaces have been opened up to be more welcoming and provide great flexibility in terms of use. In addition, academic libraries are increasingly providing institutional repositories to assist faculty and students in providing access to and preserving dissertations, articles, and other content they create.

Academic libraries hold unique materials that are not available elsewhere. It is these special and rare holdings that will make libraries distinct in the future. These are tremendous resources that we offer to our communities, and, through digital technologies, to the world. It is important to digitize for access, but original physical collections must continue to be protected from premature loss and deterioration.

Digitization efforts must continue with sustainable funding and state support. These digital assets must also be maintained. Long-term preservation of digital information in the face of rapid technological change is a serious challenge. Preservation and information technology experts in our academic library community play a significant role in leading efforts to ensure access to information across generations.

Question 6: Academic libraries support public libraries and smaller institutions of higher learning and want to partner with them to achieve mutual goals, including resource sharing. There are communities of mutual interest that are best served collectively. One of these areas is digitization where academic libraries often provide training and infrastructure for their regions. These efforts to digitize unique, local holdings and make these accessible to everyone for free, online, will continue to have tremendous value to our communities in schools, post-secondary education, and beyond.

Question 7: Digitization projects and programs provide users remote access to special collections, manuscripts, documents, and resources once available only on site in print and other physical formats, such as audio and visual. Not only is access improved, but the original artifacts themselves are preserved for the future as a result of less handling. Digitization also allows researchers use materials in new ways. It enhances study methods by allowing one to search and compare within these collections.

In the current environment of fiscal restraint and cutbacks, libraries are necessarily focused on short-term information access goals. There is a serious risk that long-term maintenance issues will be put aside. The preservation of unique local collections and making these available online is likely the most important role that special and research libraries will have in the future. Without this constant stewardship and curation of our digital collections they will not survive.

Digital technology will not reduce the size of our analog holdings in the foreseeable future. Academic libraries have large existing collections and will continue to collect papers, books, journals, and analog information resources that we will need to manage and preserve in parallel with our digital resources. Online discovery increases interest in the original holdings, especially those items held in special collections and archives.

Question 8: The greatest challenges facing New York libraries systems over the next 10 years will relate to the provision of digital resources to our constituencies. Digital preservation will be part of this challenge. Libraries require expertise and technology to ensure preservation of our digital assets.

We must continue to advocate for the delivery of open content. Sustained financial support of collaborative programs is imperative if our collections are to be made accessible for future generations. We must also proactively engage with legal representation and copyright experts to ensure that our voices are heard so that we may continue to provide access to the resources our constituencies need.

Question 9: The library field looks to the State Library and the State Education Department as our government liaison and advocate. However, loss of staff, complicated contract negotiations and other bureaucratic barriers make it difficult to gain access to the services needed. In particular it is critical that our legislators recognize and value the diversity of our library systems and programs and give the State Library and the State Education Department the flexibility needed to serve these programs equitably and responsibly. Small programs often serve tremendous needs and provide important services that would otherwise fail without targeted, sustained and reliable support from the State. The State Library and the State Education Department should have the authority to combine programs where functional interests can be practically streamlined. Simplification of paperwork and contract procedures would also save time and money, and allow State staff members and librarians to concentrate their efforts on productive activities.

Question 10:

These rapidly growing information sources and tools are changing the way in which resources are discovered. Libraries must adapt in order to provide access as teaching and learning tools as styles shift and change. The research community must ensure that valuable content is not locked up by commercial interests such as Google. At the same time, it will be important for use to make our resources, especially our unique content, easily discoverable through Internet search engines. Libraries need to brand the resources that we hold, and preserve and facilitate access to so that our users recognize the value we provide.

Now, more than ever, the continued success of the digital library platform relies largely on the work of preservation experts to maintain, refresh, and migrate core digital files that will provide perpetual access to content using current and emerging tools used to display electronic media.


NOVELny Steering Committee

Question 1: NOVELny Steering Committee members cited many important roles for libraries today and in the future:

Information & Technology. Making sure our schools are providing computer/information literacy classes for kids K-12 and libraries in each area supporting that role. (The children really are our future.)

Connecting people with information

Connecting readers with literature

Providing guidance from lifelong learners

Providing connections within communities

Providing continuing education within communities

Educating kids to be digital citizens

Giving the public access to high quality, scientifically based information

Equalizing access to information and services - narrowing the divide between haves and have-nots. This role will always exist, even if it morphs and adapts with the challenges of new technologies.

Imparting information literacy skills to help people navigate an increasingly complex information environment with overwhelming amounts of information.

Question 2: NOVELny Steering Committee members identified a number of challenges:

Relevancy – making sure the customer understands what we can provide and how important it is for them to have it. A current challenge is that some staff already in the industry do not embrace change fast enough to keep up with what the customer wants. As a service industry, we need to ask the people what they want and provide what they ask for.

Need to redefine space – the library as the community’s “water cooler” space

Meeting the intellectual needs of a creative economy

Adequate funding

The public’s frequently held perception that it’s all available on Google

Misperceptions that print collections are no longer needed and that everyone has an e-reader

Image - historically libraries have fallen under the radar - need to market like a business and continually raise awareness - do what we can do well

Assets that libraries have include smart, experienced librarians and staff. Libraries could benefit by forming partnerships to leverage talent and expertise.

Funding and relevancy are major barriers that libraries face; libraries must stay relevant in order to garner financial support.

Question 3: We need to look at the reputation libraries have. What is the general perception in whichever library environment you are connected with (research, academic, etc.)?

Better marketing is going to help with those who do not see libraries as a place necessary for them.

Show the extra value that libraries provide

Libraries need to look outside the scope of traditional librarianship and consider incorporating marketing and or business professionals in their organizations. Many libraries do a great job, but do their communities know this?

Redefinition of “library”

Talk about library services - think beyond the traditional library building - expand online services in creative ways - identify niches in community and promote specific services to them

Question 4: Teaching technology to kids.

Making sure grades k-12 know how to research properly.

State requirement to have professional librarians at the grade school level. We need to provide proper library services while they are still young enough to want to learn about them.

Need to be a visual entity as much as a physical entity.

Partnerships or collaborative programs between school librarians and public librarians, and even community college or 4-year college librarians to reinforce technology skills and literacy efforts (P-16 partnerships).

School libraries will continue to support classroom instruction. In a day when the classroom teachers have very little assistance, the library is a tool for every class.

School libraries are a bridge between curriculums. Without the library, there will not be a tool for interdisciplinary instruction, collaboration, and Inquiry Based learning. Classrooms and classroom teachers will remain in their silos.

Question 5: Marketing and awareness

Partnering with faculty to infuse information literacy skills by including a library research component in assignments.

Community college librarians already have a role beyond the campus since they are open to the public.

Partner with the public and school libraries – events on campuses co-sponsored by and/or publicized through the other libraries, professional development opportunities getting the various library staff members together, all to foster awareness-raising and cooperation.

Encourage elected officials to pass and fund the ARIA legislation

Question 6: Survey your community. Ask the people what they want and, if it is within the scope of possibility, give it to them. Let them drink coffee in the stacks and let them answer their cell phones. A younger generation is now moving into the position of “buying” power. They have grown up with technology and if they still see the library as antiquated, they would rather pay for it somewhere else than be inconvenienced.

Remember that public libraries serve folks age 0-100, so there is a need to find a balance when serving such diverse interests and populations. Create user-friendly spaces in physical buildings when possible or focus on who actually comes into the library to help define spaces. Use web space and social media to provide space for other user groups (teens, business community, etc.).

Question 7: Providing access to evidence-based, reliable, high-quality information, in a cost-effective way.

Question 8: Invisibility.

Barriers to collaboration such as the procurement process.

The customer does not know what a library system is. If they do not understand the function of a consortium and what that group provides them at a personal level, they will not care and will not demand for it to be supported. Systems over the next 10 years will struggle just to keep delivery and catalog functions up and running and yet these are extremely important to a customer that uses these services all the time. Does this customer understand this? Our legislators obviously don’t and library systems provide some of the most cost effective programs seen in government. Youth services at the system level is another area that has seen great cuts this past year. Systems in the northern part of New York State have libraries with little or no youth service providers and if there are youth service providers there is high turnover and many do not have professional experience. Here is where a library system representative is most important, to make sure the children of these communities are getting the best possible library service available.

When the public doesn’t have any concept of the valuable services systems bring to individual libraries, neither do their legislators.

Marketing and advocacy -- Systems need to toot their own horns! We know we are great - need to let others in decision-making positions know. Systems can provide broader, more equitable and cost effective access to resources and services through collaborative purchasing contracts.

Question 9: The State Library/Education Department needs to be funded at the correct level. This goes back to the value and service provided. If the customer sees the value, and understands it, hopefully they will support it financially.

Need to clarify the difference between the state library, a building/collection in Albany, and the state library, the provider of services to libraries in NY. It appears that legislators may just think about the building/collection in Albany when making a budget. The state library is the only organization that can afford to think about the state as a whole.

How can we change a cultural mindset that devalues education and personal improvement?

Should we get into the media campaign business and meet the culture where they are? -- In front of the TV? “Get up. Get out. Improve yourself” “Read, ask questions, visit your library.” On social media?

Partner with the NY 3Rs on state-wide initiatives. The NY 3Rs have greater flexibility in dealing with vendors and contracts.

Support New York Heritage as the state-wide portal to digital historical content.

Question 10:

The majority of the people in this country either want to have these cool technological “things” or have them and don’t fully understand how to work them. In the public libraries we have already seen people come in and ask us for help with their new technology. Libraries have the opportunity to position themselves in the minds of the customer as the place to get the information, direction and resources to help make their lives easier. The impact on libraries will be great, we will have to keep up and be willing to change with the advancements. We will need the support of our State Library and Library Systems to help make that happen. It will be impossible for libraries at the local level to have the answer to all the questions and technologies that will arise. The support of the State Library and Systems will become even more invaluable.

As more internet services adopt a subscription model, the role of the library will be as important as ever.

Training. Computer literacy is a huge service area. Government agencies and employers are reducing staff and cutting corners - seems that the only fall back is the library – yet patrons do not know how to fill out online applications, create email accounts, upload resumes, print their W-2, file taxes, etc., etc.

Information technology infrastructure needs – are all institutions keeping up? For example, can an academic institution’s wireless network keep up with the increasing demand for wireless high speed access as more and more users arrive with wireless devices and expect seamless access?

Do libraries statewide need to standardize on a common e-book platform?

Other comments

Support open access by establishing a State-wide Digital Repository.

Provide information literacy instruction across school, public and academic libraries.

Advance the passage of the ARIA legislation.

Support the IDS project including a statewide delivery system.


New York State Council of Educational Associations

Question 1:

1.A. Access to information –for work, individual needs and personal interests.

Aiding users to not only find information, but to evaluate and use the information they find.

Promote creativity, self improvement, community activism, betterment of society and more, resource provider-cost efficiency, community gathering center, ‘water cooler’.

Access to materials is key to meeting the common core standards-librarians are the turnkey trainers for school trainers for school districts in accessing ‘quality’ material and resources. This access is a key component in the ‘equity’ issues that face our state and its children-particularly those from rural and small schools.

An educated populace is a literate populace. They must be educated in digital literacy if we are to remain a democracy.

1.B. Keeping up with current and future technology including access to computers, e-books, and increased use of technology needed to create and communicate. Libraries will change to accommodate these needs.

Producing information literate students and patrons to actively participate in our democratic society.

1.C. Libraries will need to increase (or change) their hours to best serve their patrons’ needs.

Libraries will need to increase virtual – anywhere - access and produce virtual teaching aids (webinars, videos, podcasts, etc.)

Question 2:

2. A. Acquiring the professional staff needed to work both in-house and virtually.

Keeping up with current and future technology—both the knowledge needed to teach others and the cost.

Funding, misinformation, virtual misinformation satisfying an ignorant generation who doesn’t know better.

NYS has not changed the regulations on school libraries for over 50 years due to this many school districts are eliminating library media specialists at the elementary level. These faculty members are a key component of literacy learning in the elementary grades-particularly digital literacy.

2.B. Credentialed librarians who are currently working to achieve the goals listed above in 1A.

A working system of interlibrary loan.

A working library system that encourages and aids librarians’ professional growth.

The resources provided through NOVELny.

Library professional organizations which provide growth, education, and leadership for librarians.

2.C. Quality and qualified staffing – tremendous cuts in staffing jeopardizes libraries infrastructure.

Funding—or the lack of it. Libraries have already experienced damaging cuts.

Out-dated facilities that don’t allow for flexibility in making current and future technology and print resources easy to find and use.

More and more affordable Wi-Fi and broadband is needed now and will increase in importance.

Question 3:

3.A. Libraries must re-examine the hours that they are open and change according to need.

More resources should be offered virtually.

Library cards should be more readily available (perhaps as an App!).

Library systems need to work with publishers to increase the viability of using E-books.

Foster the library as the ‘go-to’ place for good information, help and resources. Society will follow. Improve virtual resources available state-wide.

3. B. Through list-servs email, and social networking sites such as Facebook.

Through communicating more through our schools, social clubs (such as LIONS), senior citizen centers, etc.

More and better utilization of radio blurbs and newspaper articles.

Making the physical facility available and welcoming to patrons of all ages.

Question 4:

4.A. School librarians are leaders, instructional partners, information specialists, teachers and program administrators. EVERY school needs a school library and EVERY school library needs a certificated school librarian, a PROFESSIONAL is an expert in the selection of resources, promotion of reading and teaching and leading digital and information literacy. School librarians and school libraries do this by:

  • Providing access to reliable information and the teaching that gives students the tools to recognize reliable information in a world of “information” overload.
  • Connecting students with information, helping them build critical thinking skills and creating content in a world with changing formats and tools.
  • Implementing a well-defined and evolving information fluency curriculum that is infused with the subject content of every curriculum. Digital and information literacy impact every other curricular area in a
    school.
  • Teaching 21st Century Skills—including the ethics and management of using the many available information tools to students and staff, in formal group instruction and informally one-on-one.
  • Encouraging students to read not only for information, but also for pleasure.
  • Collaborating with teachers and students to provide online and blended learning opportunities in the library, in the classroom and outside of school.
  • Providing 24/7 virtual libraries for student access through various technologies (computer, phone, E-books, and tablets and other technologies that will emerge).
  • Collaborating with public and academic librarians to provide maximum access to resources and integrated programming.
  • Designing, administering and managing a place designed for learning, either self-directed or collaboratively.

School libraries are places where students can come to read for pleasure, study, and research independently or with classes, and be creators of information. School library programs strive to be the space in the building that offers flexibility to the school community, a space that works for the needs of the learners, a learning commons. A certificated and life-long learning school librarian ensures the evolution of the program continues to support the needs of learners in the learning commons.

4. B. A certified school librarian who follows and enhances the curriculum through a supportive collection, a variety of technology, and flexible engaging programs.

A statewide information fluency curriculum framework that will provide equitable access to information skills instruction.

More school librarians who, with administrative support, collaborate with teachers to provide students with realistic experiences in finding, evaluating and using information to produce new knowledge using a variety of technologies.

School library websites that have “gone virtual” with home access.

School librarians who help to lead and teach not only students, but teachers and parents, as well.

School libraries that partner with school library systems, public academic and special libraries to open the walls of the school community,

Ongoing and carefully planned marketing and promotion programming that will inform teachers, administrators and the school community how school librarians positively impact student performance.

A strong school library system which supports building-level school librarians with leadership, education, data and collaboration.

Question 5: n/a

Question 6: n/a

Question 7: n/a

Question 8:

8. A. Sharing and supporting the ever-changing technology—hardware, software (licensing), and broadband.

Maintaining a continuing professional development program for certified librarians.

Adequate and reliable funding

There is a gross inequitable allocation of resources. 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.

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*:

  • Broadband (often) in the area – or money for broadband in the homes
  • Money for resources and good databases, books and staffing for
    community activities that the public libraries provide in wealthier areas
  • Library buildings in either the schools or the communities.

8. B. Adequate and reliable funding.

Program flexibility, built on the needs of their member libraries.

Question 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?

Support for adequate funding for all types of libraries and librarians must be a priority.

Develop and support legislation to require school librarians at all levels of the preK-12 educational system.

Monitor all proposed education legislation and education department regulations to include school libraries and librarians as appropriate.

Maintain and increase the resources in NOVELny.

Maintain and increase Wi-Fi and broadband so that libraries can expand their ability to reach more patrons.

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

Question 10:

10.A. Providing access to these sources. Libraries will need to be able to provide teaching and learning situations to meet patrons needs.

Teaching how to evaluate and use information ethically will become more and more important.

Libraries will find they need to provide more and different technology hardware for patron equal access to resources.

10. B. Libraries must be confident in their ability to include a variety of information formats and their ability to teach the use of these formats.

Libraries must continue to be a point of access for all including those who cannot afford technology or have difficulty using it.

Libraries must continue to provide materials in a variety of formats to meet patron needs. Print books and periodicals are not going away just yet—there will be patrons who want and require these formats. Also, students need reading material that they enjoy as well as material that informs. Libraries will continue to provide both (sometimes, in one package!) in a variety of formats.

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.


NYSHEI

On behalf of our 140 member institutions and the larger community of public and private academic and research libraries, the New York State Higher Education Initiative respectfully submit our concerns for incorporation into the Board of Regents 2020 vision for library services. Our comments are in response to the ten questions posed by the Regents Advisory Council.

The question of “how academic libraries can be more integral to their own institution’s community” is problematic. Correcting the understanding of academic libraries implied by this question must start with the Regents Advisory Council (RAC) on Libraries itself, extend to the New York State Board of Regents, and reach all policy makers.

Academic libraries are essential to all of the well-performing academic endeavors of higher education. Academic libraries are the master cylinder of the functioning higher education engine, it is a role shared by research libraries at their institutions. Put conversely a campus – be it a doctoral university or a two-year college – will fall short in those academic areas where the library is not connected to the desired outcome.

It was this conclusion that led the Governor’s Commission on Higher Education to recommend statewide support for academic and research libraries. Specifically the Commission in its June 2008 Final Report noted the challenges to faculty recruitment and retention that result from a library that cannot support the work of a promising and productive faculty researcher. The Commission, chaired by Hunter Rawlings, President Emeritus of Cornell University, concluded that academic libraries are a prerequisite for “connecting faculty, researchers and students to a world of ideas.”

As campuses compete for grant dollars, particularly from federal funding sources, the strength of the academic library is often the difference between success and failure. As demonstrated by a 2008 study conducted at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, ready access to quality information resources makes the grant process far easier, more efficient, and more effective for campus researchers.

Living at a time when policy makers are increasingly seeking academic institutions to spark the sought-for knowledge based economy, academic libraries play a critical role. By igniting and propelling the technology transfer cycle academic libraries provide the materials needed for research, innovation, patents, licenses, and eventually entrepreneurial growth. Here academic libraries provide the critical input in a process that allows campuses to support growth and their host communities.

Posing the question of the integral role of academic libraries illuminates the threefold problem of the broader academic and research library community. First, the function and utility of the academic library is not clearly understood by decision makers. RAC can help remedy this problem – and at no financial cost. By educating stake-holders RAC can help elevate the position of the academic library as a vital information infrastructure.

Lacking an understanding of the role of academic libraries decision-making “mechanics” may not connect all pistons to the master cylinder. For instance, without a proper understanding, an administrator may not recognize the influence of academic libraries to faculty recruitment, or to the productivity of the campus-affiliated incubator. Without a proper diagnosis it is unlikely that a successful solution will achieved.

Lastly, because the role is misunderstood or underappreciated financial support can be lacking. Returning to the metaphor of the engine, insufficient fuel is applied. Policy makers – on campus and off – want schools to succeed. They want campuses to increase their grant funding, to attract the most promising talent, to support their host communities, and more. All of this can be more efficiently achieved by through support for the library.

RAC can help by advocating both for increased resources and for the efficient use of those resources. With the greatest collection of public and private academic institutions in the nation, coupled with globally recognized research institutions, New York possesses an extraordinary asset. However, barriers exist to collaboration, foremost among these are the state’s procurement laws. Though well intentioned, state rules make collaborative endeavors difficult at best.

Two models of collaborative efficiency are advancing in New York, ARIA and CIRA.

The Academic Research Information Access (ARIA) act is progressing in the legislature and is expected to reach the Governor’s desk this year. The measure has previously gained unanimous, bipartisan support in the legislature and the endorsement of higher education and economic development groups statewide. When realized ARIA will establish statewide leadership to obtain specialized information resources. By building a massive collaborative effort, ARIA would help libraries afford access to scholarship in support of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). It is an idea that has been championed by economic development interests because it would extend access to library resources to developing small businesses.

The focus on building non-traditional partnerships has been vital to the advancement of ARIA. Such bridge building started with educating persons outside the usual circles of higher education to the centrality of academic libraries to outcomes they desired. The ARIA approach is now being applied to CIRA.

The Clinical Information Resources Access (CIRA) act replaces the focus on STEM innovation of ARIA with a focus on clinical medical practice. This has allowed CIRA to develop with the help of policy makers otherwise focused on health care issues. From the Senate chamber to the Department of Health, CIRA is gaining proponents who understand the role of up-to-date information resources to the provision of quality health care.

The greatest challenge to academic and research libraries is changing the atrophied prejudices about our libraries.

The Board of Regents can and should play a leading role in changing popular thinking about academic and research libraries. That these institutions are the information infrastructure for the modern age is not in doubt. Recognition of and support for the information infrastructure must be pervasive. As New York’s first great experiment with infrastructure, the Erie Canal, ignited a transformative explosion for the state and nation, our information infrastructure has the potential to again elevate New York as the Empire State.

A grand idea such as this is not served by incremental policies and formulaic adjustments, but by new thinking and creative approaches. NYSHEI and its member libraries is working to realize this vision. We ask that RAC and the Board of Regents join us in elevating libraries to their rightful place.

Jason Kramer, Executive Director, NYS Higher Education Initiative.


New York State Historical Records Advisory Board

The New York State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB) is an independent nonprofit organization operating under the auspices of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), a program of the National Archives. The board provides advice and guidance to the New York State Archives, the Board of Regents and Commissioner of Education, New York State government, and to the historical records community statewide on historical records programs and issues in New York.

In libraries, historical records are typically found in variously named divisions of major research libraries (e.g., “archives and special collections” or “rare and manuscript collections”) and in local history collections of smaller public libraries. They are vital components of library holdings, and their associated programs and services often foster dynamic engagement with libraries’ constituent communities.

The responses below address the questions from the standpoint of SHRAB’s understanding of the ongoing importance of historical records and associated programs in libraries large and small throughout New York State.

Question 1: Current roles

Holding, preserving, and providing open access to information in all formats.

Providing tools and services that help people find the information they need.

Special collections and archives focus on the rare and unique primary sources that are permanently valuable. Even as these resources are increasingly digitized to provide access, the original materials, in their original formats, retain their full artifactual value.

Future roles

The primary roles will remain as repositories of and gateways to information. As existing resources are digitized for access and new born-digital resources proliferate exponentially, libraries’ role as trusted guides to and interpreters of authentic information and sources will be increasingly important.

Rare and archival collections will grow in importance as the repositories of pre-digital materials and authenticated originals of born digital resources.

Question 2: While libraries in their capacity as repositories and access points for mass-produced published materials may need to redefine their roles in a digital age, the identity and roles of archives and special collections will remain the preservation of and access to rare and primary sources. However, many of the formats and media, and therefore the challenges they face, are new.

Capturing and preserving born-digital information (email, websites, social networking content, etc.) is critical. The kinds of information formerly found in correspondence, diaries, drafts of written works, etc. are now created mostly in electronic formats that must be continually migrated to the next generation of electronic and physical media if they are to survive and be distinguishable from later versions or copies.

Meeting these challenges requires integral partnership between the library and archives, on one hand, and information technology (IT), on the other. Currently, they speak very different languages and have a great deal to learn about each others’ fields.

These conversations have begun to take place in earnest, however, at the local, state and national levels; theories, methodologies, and practices are being developed and tested.

Question 3: Libraries can be cultivated as inviting, welcoming physical places for individuals and community groups to gather for the usual individual library pursuits but also for education and community group activities (e.g., cafés, public meeting spaces, and library-produced programs).

Libraries can partner with organizations representing underserved communities to create programs and resources that meet the specific needs of particular communities and build relationships that foster mutual trust. This often requires finding ways to overcome long-standing physical and cultural barriers (town-gown, race and class, education level, etc.).

Archives and special collections divisions, including local history programs, can increase their outreach, public programming, and Internet presence though websites and social networking applications. Such efforts can make people aware of materials relevant to their lives and can give them a sense of ownership – “this is our culture, our stuff” – which is greatly enhanced by their being able to read and use the original materials.

Expanding or more energetically implementing collecting policies to include underserved constituencies inherently increases engagement with those constituents. Cornell recently acquired a major collection documenting the origins of hip hop and held a two-day conference to celebrate it that drew leading hip hop figures from New York City and elsewhere; it drew the attention of whole segments of the university and surrounding community that may not have been aware of the archives.

Question 4: n/a

Question 5: Several of the comments under #3 above apply here.

Academic libraries need to think strategically about how to stay relevant to faculty and students. Ask what do people need, and what does the library have, that they can’t get online?

More can be done, especially by archives and special collections, to publicize their holdings both online and through more traditional marketing and outreach.

Classes, services, tours, online and physical exhibits, and other public programs can build relationships within the academic community.

Licensed resources (such as major and specialized subscription databases and Novel, the New York Online Virtual Electronic Library) offer special value to the academic community.

The physical qualities of special collections and archives holdings are inherently interesting and convey valuable information. More can be done to emphasize the experience of direct interaction with rare and archival materials.

Large percentages of researchers at some academic libraries, such as Cornell University, are from outside the university community. Some university archives, Cornell and NYU are examples, actively collect records from their surrounding communities, thereby establishing mutually beneficial off-campus relationships.

Question 6: Many of the responses to previous questions will contribute to the vitality of libraries in the future. For example:

Offer computer access in-house to people without computers or Internet access.

Emphasize local history resources.

Public programs, including in-house talks and exhibits related to the libraries’ holdings, but also activities held in other community venues.

Develop or expand education programs in partnership with schools, senior centers, and other community-based organizations that highlight the usefulness and relevance of library’s holdings to people’s lives. Local history, cultural, and genealogical resources may be particularly effective. Attract young children and their parents with book circles, arts and crafts projects, etc
Keep up with emerging technology for making the traditional content of libraries available electronically.

Question 7: [See #5, Academic Libraries. All suggestions made for special and research libraries apply also to academic libraries.]

Question 8: n/a

Question 9: Continue to provide the State Archives’ Local Government Records Management Improvement Fund (LGRMIF) and Documentary Heritage Program (DHP) grants and the State Library’s Conservation/Preservation Grants.

Develop extensive, up-to-date online information and training resources, including webinars, interactive courses, best practices, etc. that help library and archives staff to develop and maintain their skills in a rapidly evolving technological environment.

Question 10:

Libraries can promote their role in helping patrons to navigate and evaluate the vast information sources available online, develop information literacy, and acquire research skills.

Libraries will have to work together to develop strategies for funding the acquisition of the content they make available (publications, music, video, lectures, etc.) as it is increasingly created, distributed, and used in electronic form. They will need to create public/private partnerships with content creators and vendors and develop new standards and business models that embrace the new realities.

For archives and special collections, preservation will be increasingly important. Lots of important born-digital materials will be lost during this transition. Academic and research libraries, private and public, will need to take the lead in developing the required technologies, partnerships, policies, standards, and capacities, perhaps including regional or statewide digital repositories. Archives and special collections expertise can be particularly valuable in these efforts.


NYS Public Library System Outreach Coordinators

As libraries have grown, we have established specialized departments for children’s services, young adult services, reference services, technical services, internet services and even, marketing services. Unfortunately, in many cases there are not enough resources left to provide “people” services.  It has been the passionate and dedicated history of New York State Outreach Coordinators to develop creative and beneficial programs and services to engage and enhance the lives of people in our society who are seen as un-served and/or underserved, and to provide training for professional library staff to meet those needs.  Decades of programs designed to promote enjoyment and education, tolerance and awareness, and growth and inclusion have attempted to enable the once “non-traditional” patron, to participate in all aspects of library service. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you choose to look at it, there is still a long way to go.

The Public Library System Outreach Coordinators encounter people who face the greatest challenges to achieving success. It is the goal of librarians working in the Outreach field to research, evaluate and implement programs that will best serve the needs of the most diverse groups of people. Therefore, moving forward, it is imperative that the Outreach Coordinator have a broad range of knowledge on a wide variety of topics.

The first step in accomplishing such a lofty goal is to ensure that the appropriate information is provided in the academic environment. Library schools must understand the growing diversity of our society, the library’s legal obligation to meet that growth and the fact that we, as a profession, have not done an adequate job in addressing the public’s needs. People who cannot read, people who live with mental, cognitive, sensory or physical disability, people whose first language is not English, people who are unemployed, people living in institutionalized setting (such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities and prisons) and people who are  seen as “different” -- are fast becoming the norm. However, we do not have the monetary or academic resources to address their growing needs.

Library schools across the country must mandate that their administration, staff and students are well versed in understanding how to create and provide accessible employment opportunities and patron services. Library professionals must be trained to incorporate both attitudinal and physical access to library facilities, services and technology, in order to provide the most useful and usable library resources to all.

People that public library staff may not typically include under the outreach umbrella are two of our largest “and” growing populations. Our population is aging at record speed, with needs as unique and diverse as one could imagine. Outreach Coordinators understand that people in our society are aging, that people require different access – at different ages – and in different locations. Conversely, the second growing population is people returning from military service. It is the younger face that we see coming home with more diverse needs. These individuals must have accessible ways to access valuable library services.

Additionally, as a result of injury during military service, many veterans, young and old, are homeless. These individuals are looking for information and resources to put their lives back on track. We must also broaden our traditional ideas of who is homeless. Today – families, children, moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas – are homeless. They are looking to their library for guidance, as well as protection from the weather and elements of life on the street.

Finally, a service that we have offered for many years is taking on new form and function. Homebound – Who is Homebound? Is it the patron who is getting chemo and cannot get to the library? Is it a patron who relies on a ride to the library and cannot return their books on time? Is it a person with a cognitive disability who does not understand the repercussions of returning their book late? Is it a patron who has low literacy skills and cannot read the book within the defined loan period? Being homebound can occur on many different levels and from many different circumstances. How can we address the various reasons and still provide appropriate, but equal library service?

We all know the story of how the public library plays an important role in helping people learn how to read, in helping people to write a resume, learn new job skills and learn to speak a new language. We also know that through public library system leadership, the ability of libraries to provide this essential support to patrons is strengthened in a cost effective way. What we don’t know is where the resources will come from in the future to address these and all of the other growing areas of outreach. It is crucial that public libraries have the passion to accomplish these goals, and that they have public library system support to help them understand and be able to implement their legal responsibility to do so.

8/31/11


New York State Reading Association

Question 1:

1.A. (1) A viable as well as integral piece in fostering community-quality programming is very important (2) Availability of informational text of all types (hard copies, digital) available for all.

1.B. I would hope the same if collaboration of quality programming is offered.

1.C. Appear welcoming to all…Communicating what they have and offering times that allow the working or school age person, as well as families, to utilize them. Libraries must offer out of the realm 9-5 times. They must be open hours the community can utilize them best. Advertising such will get the public involved. It is sad to see many libraries offering only certain extended hours to seasonal people and the local people suffering because of that. Our local people are the backbone of the community and when seasonal people are here for the summer, our local people are out working the jobs to satisfy the seasonal people. They don’t have the summer time to enjoy the library, so the fall/winter/spring times are best for them. Plus school is in session then and our local students/families need the times to be together. Let’s foster family!

Question 2:

2.A. Finances that are impacting all and the role technology plays in society.

2.B. The availability for all to be able to access informational resources hard copy or digitally.

2.C. Finances and qualified as well as knowledgeable staff (technology savvy a must in today’s digital age)

Question 3:

3.A. Programming is a must-also being flexible with hours open-the internet access (Icepac, Destiny, etc) to libraries is great-but people need a building to foster the importance of a library in a community. I think collaborating with local schools is a must as well. Students and families must see the connection between both.

3.B. Offering programming to suit needs of all, offering flexible times. Many of our families just starting out as well as the families who do not have internet access or the finances to purchase such, as well as books, tapes, etc, utilize the public libraries-but hours unfortunately do not assist them. Libraries can’t be open just 9-5. Look at the ones that are open in the evenings and see what great ideas they have in fostering community connections. (Movies, author visits, history info, craft times, story telling times, computer help, Teen Times, etc.) Libraries can’t be open seasonally hours either- they must have flexible times.

Question 4:

4.A. They should have certified librarians but I know this isn’t reality. They should be maintained with a certified teacher of reading or English (supervised by one main school district librarian) whose passion lies in immersing not only children, but adults in life long learning. He/she must be tech savvy as well and be able to open up a whole new world of digital literacy for all. The focus should be on utilizing multiple resources for life long learning-something that assists all in thinking outside the box. THEY SHOULD NOT be teaching computer literacy as well as library skills. This is way too much in addition to managing the library, creating lessons that collaborate with what the teachers are teaching, book fairs, author visits, and more!

4.B. Communication-they must let their communities know they are there! Reading Programs that hook all into reading. Family Nights, book fairs, author events, etc. Getting community members to VOLUNTEER! Hold a volunteer tea; make them feel they are needed! Collaborate with other school districts. Offer web-links to your library. (Webpage is the best with a variety of links). Participate in award winning programs such as NYSRA’s Charlotte Award, Three Apples, and others. Connect with publishing newsletters to keep up to date. Make sure you have subscriptions to various library support magazines such as School Library Journal and Booklinks. Offer professional magazines/journals for your teachers to utilize such as Mailbox. Whomever the professional is must be members of various organizations for effective communication: state and library organizations, state and local reading organizations.

Question 5: n/a

Question 6:

6.A. Communication-get the public involved, flexible scheduling, quality programming, collaboration with historical/museum events, collaboration with local schools.

6.B. See all above

Question 7: n/a

Question 8:

8.A. Finances and technology

8.B. Finances, technology, Communication

Question 9: Collaborating ideas, meeting as group quarterly, monthly electronic happenings around the state, EDUCATE all by providing communication/collaboration with various organizations. An example-presenting at various conferences or at other organizations meetings. (NYSRA had NYLA present their Summer Reading Program).

Question 10:

10.A. Collaboration, availability, programming

10.B. They can if they collaborate and offer programming to support it. Holding quality programming involving digital literacy allows an invitation to come into a viable place where community getting together matters. It really can be a welcoming piece if used collaboratively.

Mrs. Debbie Dermady, New York State Reading Association President.


New York State Science Education Leadership Association

Question 1: The importance and value of libraries continues to be as a repository of information to which students, teachers, parents, and the community has access 24/7. In addition, libraries provide access to literature that represents every facet of our lives as well as the diversity of other cultures. It is imperative that libraries continue to be available.

Question 2: As with many institutions, libraries must embrace and utilize technology to expand resources and to engage the next generation.

Question 3: Encouraging more extensive partnerships with museums, art galleries, nature preserves, industry and business should be explored. Libraries and those that partner with libraries should make efforts to dispel the reputation that clings to libraries that they are dark, dreary, dusty repositories of useless information. Indeed, that is certainly NOT the case, but more can be done to promote the information that libraries can provide and the connection with our lives.

Question 4: School libraries must embrace, utilize and expand the use of technology. Libraries should always have the reputation of providing not only valuable, but also accurate information to students. Schools should showcase the services that school libraries perform for students, teachers, and the community. These services largely go unnoticed and that is an error that should be corrected.

Question 5: Academic libraries must embrace, utilize and expand the use of technology. Libraries should always have the reputation of providing not only valuable, but also accurate information to students. Showcase the services that libraries perform for students, teachers, and the community. These services largely go unnoticed and that is an error that should be corrected.

Question 6: See #4 and 5 above. Public libraries should also advertise the services that appeal to the community…access to books, of course, but also access to films, videos, music, etc.

Question 7: Providing accurate, reliable information that can be made available as quickly as possible.

Question 8: One of the greatest challenges is to address the misconception that libraries are irrelevant to our culture. They are extremely relevant and valuable, yet there is not enough to promote the vast services provided by libraries.

Question 9: Support efforts to enhance library services. Provide technology assistance.

Question 10:

Libraries must embrace and utilize technology to expand resources and to engage the next generation. Libraries must also be able to provide training on the use of technology.


NYS3Rs

Libraries have traditionally upheld the democratic notion of free access to information. The modern library whether physical or virtual, located in a public school, a public building, a private college, a local corporation, or a city’s cultural treasure, is providing resources not easily attainable, offering instruction on how to use the information once a user finds it, making intellectual connections across disciplines, creating and disseminating content through digital repositories, promoting the written word for citizens of all levels, and impacting the economic development of the community in which it resides.

Library personnel and the resources a library offers are as integral to the information needs of its users just as teachers and textbooks are to a school or university, as researchers and their experiments are to a pharmaceutical company, or doctors and their knowledge are to a hospital. Academic libraries support the college or university’s curriculum and faculty research and in some cases act as the surrounding community’s public library. School library programming supports the curriculum of multiple grade levels integrating information literacy,reading and research skills to improve a student’s performance in the classroom. Special libraries such as hospital libraries provide critical care information to in-house doctors, nurses, patients, and researchers and in some cases, health professionals unaffiliated with the hospital, such as home health caregivers. The library personnel are expert in assessing the information needs and abilities of their users, working with information providers and other libraries in borrowing, lending, and securing better and more trustworthy information.

In November 2010, the New York Alliance of Library Systems collaborated on a working document envisioning library system services for the future. This joint document reflected the needs and desires not only of three distinct library systems (public, school, and the 3Rs) but provided linkages to the diversity of libraries that exist in NY. This document, New York Alliance of Library Systems: Sustaining and Improving Library Services in New York State in Light of Changing Technologies and economic Conditions, 2010-2020 white paper, subtitled the “NYALSWhite Paper,” has since been adopted by the New York Library Association as well as the Regents Advisory Committee on Libraries.

The NYALS White Paper also provides recommendations for improving and sustaining library services through an existing infrastructure that was developed by a forward-thinking legislature beginning in the 1960s. The creation of the three library systems, public, school, and multi-type, laid the groundwork for a state-wide framework of collaboration and coordination. Rather than being outdated, that collaboration is now a model for other entities in our state that seek efficiencies and cost savings.

The NY3Rs have taken advantage of this collaboration, not only through products and services provided within their regions, but by joining together, have created new services for users across the state. TheNY 3Rs and the nine regions they represent have joined forces to develop collaborative services and have been successful in avoiding duplication of effort. Two grass-roots initiatives developed by the 3R Councils over the past several years have provided a proving ground for cooperative programs among the systems.

Information Services: Ask Us 24/7

Public, school, and academic libraries, through their regional 3Rs, have been collaborating not only with each other but also with libraries across the nation as well as in countries whose time-zone happens to complement ours. Ask Us 24/7, the grass roots, widely adopted state-wide virtual help service has assisted residents all over New York State by answering their information questions, their research questions, and their policy questions in real-time by real library professionals. Why? Because not all information is on the Internet, not everyone searches with expertise, and not all information is free. This service is open to anyone and reaches an audience that may not step foot into a library building. More assistance in developing next level technologies is needed.

Digitization of NYS Resources: New York Heritage

Creating digital collections of historic and local information is critical for connecting the community to their local or campus library. New York Libraries of all types can work with their local 3Rs Council to identify and develop digital collections of resources that provide significant research value or outline the historic relevance of events or communities. New York Heritage is the platform the NY 3Rs have developed to connect diverse digital collections that depict New York State history as well as current state of affairs through photographs, manuscripts, local newspapers and publications, and oral histories. Participating libraries and organizations include public libraries, hospital archives, museum libraries and archives, academic libraries and academic archival collections.

The role of library systems has been key in the success of these two statewide programs. The regional nature of the NY3Rs allows us to have detailed knowledge of the needs and abilities of our members, allows us to encourage their participation, and assist them in developing their capabilities. As NY3Rs we build the capacity of even the smallest libraries in the state to offer these new digital-based services.

Despite these successes, the greatest challenges to NYS library systems and the libraries they serve continue to be long-standing issues such as funding, leadership, legislative support, and outdated perceptions. While the current infrastructure is very effective in meeting the needs of our diverse groups of libraries, library systems have struggled to secure adequate and consistent funding and have failed to secure strong advocates in the legislature.NYLA and its cadre of library advocates has made some inroads, and the creation of a NYS Library Political Action Committee by concerned library citizens is one tool that can aid libraries, libraries continue to fail in making theirvoice heard amidst other more organized special interest groups.Also at play are the outdated notions held by school administrators, legislators, and the state education department of what a library is.

The perception that a library is only books. As librarians we know that the container for the content is unimportant and no library any longer focuses only on books as the container. Yet the press continually asks if e-books will mean the end of libraries. The perception that education ends when an individual graduates high school. Colleges are directly impacted by the quality of the high school graduate and their knowledge on using information resources.Life-long learning is the norm; only the library provides that.

The perception that libraries exist in isolation. Libraries of all types work within their communities to strengthen existing relationships with their constituencies, develop partnerships with other organizations, and create programming that complements existing curriculum or services already in existence.

The perception that a library does not need a professional to operate the services. Librarians are required in New York State to obtain a master’s degree and are especially trained in delivering information services. School librarians must take an additional 15 hours beyond the 36-hour master’s degree in library and information studies in order to be a certified school library media specialist.

The perception that we can continue to do what we do with reduced funding.

Rapid growth of commercial information sources is not a new issue for libraries. The accelerated use of databases over the last 15 years taught us that technology will drive information creation and access One thing that we have learned is if libraries are not on the front lines dictating the licenses, packaging and content of electronic resources, we will be at the mercy of the vendors. The State needs to assist libraries throughout the state in purchasing of electronic and digital content including eliminating procedural and procurement barriers, and pressuring the vendors to eliminate restrictive guidelines that impact resource sharing.

Additionally, library systems have failed to develop collaborative marketing and public relation’s initiatives to position libraries in a more positive light and have ignored the media as a potential partner to our plight. We need to improve the news coverage of libraries overall and encourage the media to provide a more balanced viewpoint, e.g. include libraries as part of the K-12 educational initiatives as well as victims of state-wide cuts.

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? The New York 3Rs supports the recommendations made in the NYALS White Paper. In addition, the NY3Rs recommends:

  • Renewed efforts among library systems to create or identify champions in the NYS Legislature and the Executive Branch – leading to more funding.
  • A state-wide marketing and public relations campaigns to improve outdated perceptions of libraries
  • Greater support and rewarding of collaborative partnerships between systems. This includes a role for the State Library or other central entity in helping libraries and library systems share information about existing projects and seek new partnerships for them.
  • Efforts with in DLD, supported by Library Systems, to educate the rest of the State Education Department on the critical role libraries play in the democratic process, the instructional needs of children and adults, and the institutional link between technology and information
  • Library Systems and the New York State Library work more closely together to develop joint initiatives

To specifically answer the questions posed:

Question 1: Libraries roles have not changed, but how they achieve those roles has. Change will come at an increasingly fast pace. Library staff will need continuous professional development as to keep up and stay current. All library systems in New York provide strong programs of professional development, and the NY3Rs in particular are known for providing quality workshops and courses, in a cost-effective way, especially for those skills that are not dependent on type of library

Question 2: Libraries will face continual budgeting challenges and the need to seek ways of doing MORE – not just the same – for less. That, since their inception, has been the role of library systems in New York and we must seek ways to enhance that and be inclusive for all libraries. Libraries have always been known for their collaboration, and in NY that has worked well through the system infrastructure. This collaborative characteristic of library systems should be promoted and used more by DLD and SED.

Question 3: It is assumed that if a patron does not come into the library that it is not being used. This is not necessarily true. Residents could be using Ask Us 24/7 and their community library might never know since a library card is not necessary in order to access the service. Libraries need assistance in identifying and using more assessment tools to identify its users in the virtual world as well as the physical. There are other reasons why people don’t use libraries: the library’s hours may not be convenient; people may be unaware of the set of servicesa library has to offer or they may prefer to get information elsewhere such as online. Individual libraries have a responsibility to learn about the information needs of their communities and to reach out to people. Library systems have a role in educating and assisting individual libraries in the methods of assessment, evaluation, marketing, and other skills that the libraries will need to engage in this task. In fact, to some extent, library systems are already doing this [e.g. RRLC Library Marketing Institute in partnership with Ad Council of Rochester].

Question 4: Libraries – especially school libraries – are about reading proficiency and reading across the curriculum. School libraries are uniquely positioned within schools to assist all disciplines in this central task. Again, it is library systems – especially school library systems – that should, with adequate funding – be able to educate and promote the role of school libraries.

Question 5: Academic libraries have long had a role within their communities through their participation in NY3Rs resource sharing. “Resource-sharing” has taken on a larger meaning and now includes “skill sharing”, digital resources, project development – all with in multiple library and multiple type of library communities within a region.

Question 6: As noted in the response to number 1, the future of all libraries, including public libraries, lies in greater collaboration. Public library systems already have extended the collections of all libraries and reduced costs dramatically, and will continue to do so in the future, looking to areas such as shared ILS.

Question 7: People often don’t think of “special” libraries when they think of libraries. Yet our special libraries – including museum, hospital, and corporate libraries, and historical society libraries have some of the most unique content, and the librarians are among the most skilled in working with professionals in their fields to provide information needs. It is likely that the skills needed by the librarians in these types of libraries will continue to be even more specialized, requiring additional advanced degrees and familiarity with the “language” of a discipline. Library education will need to recognize this and encourage those with library degrees to get special degrees and to encourage those with special degrees to enter the library field.

Question 8: Please see the NYALS White Paper for answer to this question.

Question 9: See answer to number 10. The State Library and State Archives should expand their reach beyond the Albany area and partner with the very programs and entities it oversees. Many of the NY 3Rs are the service providers for the Documentary Heritage Program (DHP). The DHP has been a vital program in many regions because of its connections to small repositories and historical societies and its value to the digitization efforts of the regional Council. Library systems are no longer working in the background. Out of necessity, they will be creators of content, developers of service models, and facilitators of collaboration that improve information services throughout the state.

Question 10:

Libraries have historically been at the forefront of technology and they will continue to be expected to keep up and provide servicesas new technologies are developed. As with any new technology, libraries will need to develop newservice models that meet the needs and expectations of its users utilizing new information formats. Users are demanding immediacy and libraries will be challenged to provide that. However, library systems will need to take a leadership role in outlining licensing agreements and Digital Rights Management (DRM) for new formats such as e-books instead of allowing vendors to dictate access to us. Working together, library systems and their members can provide an economy of scale for purchasing and accessing information resources as well as developing best practices for using these resources.

The State Library and NYLA and ALA, with input from libraries and library systems can seek to have impact on these larger issues. Libraries working together through their library systems could develop new services that could replicate these models, and in fact, that is what did happen in the days when LSTA funding was used for project innovation. The lack of that source of funding or another to encourage experimentation has been and will continue to be an impediment. Library systems need to have an avenue that allows them to incubate ideas and pilot new initiatives.


PULISDO (Public Library System Directors Organization)

PULISDO appreciates the opportunity to respond to RAC regarding library system services and the future of public libraries in New York State.

Public library systems are critical to the future of New York’s public libraries. Public library systems have the leadership and expertise to ensure the continuation and development of local library services that meet local community needs into the future.

Question 1:Libraries are centers of their communities, providing a neutral place for people of all ages to pursue their individual goals – lifelong learning, information access, research, recreational needs, job skills, small business development, and e-government, as well as a public or virtual place for people to gather.

In the future, the core role of the library within the community will remain the same. The methods to provide those services will change.  Public library systems will be the catalyst for those changes.

Through public library system leadership, library staff and trustees will be aware of the needs of the community they serve and current trends.  Library services must be evaluated annually.  Library and library system staff and trustees must update their own skills and knowledge to make best use of the ever changing technology and community demands.

Question 2: Challenges:

Public libraries and public library systems need the capacity--funding, staffing, expertise and leadership to ensure the continuation and development of local library services that meet the diverse and changing interests and expectations of state residents for the next 10-15 years.

Library standards must be strengthened to improve the level of library service for all New Yorkers and to respond to current technology and new customer demands.  In addition, these mandates must be funded appropriately.

Assets:

Through public library systems, public libraries have the ability to participate in cost-effective and system-wide resource discovery tools for library catalogs, integrated library systems that manage circulation and patrons databases and provide access to all resources irrespective of format, vendor or means of delivery; and engages people by allowing them to rate content and write reviews, manage their loans, and use social tagging to create added value to library “catalogs.”

Public libraries have the ability to develop local funding by all available means, including the pursuit of chapter 259, chapter 414 and district initiatives, as well as rechartering.

Libraries can expand the materials available to their community through resource sharing facilitated by their participation in system integrated library systems and delivery services.

Public libraries can expand local library service through outreach and the formation of community partnerships, including local schools, raises the level of literacy in people of all ages and celebrates reading and the reader.

Public libraries can train library staff to support state residents in the use of new technologies and devices that access ebooks and other downloadable content provided by public libraries.

Libraries with good management can respond quickly to the rapidly changing environment.  Good planning with community involvement, the ability to evaluate results and to use data to make good decisions.

The 23 public library systems in New York State are essential in these endeavors.

Barriers:

Continued reduction of public library system funding that hampers the economies of scale to provide efficient and cost-effective local library services.

Tighter local budgets as a result of the current economic climate inhibit libraries’ abilities to meet growing local demands.

People in our profession are sometimes conservative when embracing new technology, business models, and new services.   They must constantly update their own skills and knowledge to fulfill their roles as librarians and trustees.   Trustees and staff must acknowledge that services must be developed and/or sustained in conjunction with community needs. 

Question 3: Public library systems have the tools, technology, expertise and responsibility to make connections with those who are not library users.

Libraries need to better connect with their communities, not wait for users to find them. The connection may be physical (promoting services where the people are—the grocery store, the community center, etc.) or virtual (employing social media, having a web presence that gives access to information). Utilizing social media to connect with those without the library on their radar can both demonstrate the relevance of a library experience as well as provide a new communication stream. More than anything, library staff and trustees need to plan with their communities, not for them.

The library is a part of a community with needs and resources; positioning the library as a key resource in that community is imperative. Trustees and staff must also understand that evaluation of current services may mean eliminating some and redirecting resources to address new needs. Each library must reflect its community, not some stereotype that may not be relevant to its service population.

Question 4: n/a

Question 5: n/a

Question 6: Libraries must think not in terms of survival, rather they must discover ways to thrive.  As information technologies and formats become more complex, libraries must have competent, well trained staffs able to assume a leadership role in introducing these new trends to their communities.  Library trustees must work diligently to secure adequate, stable funding streams in order to accomplish this whether it is through the establishment of library districts or through ballot referendums.  Library trustees must also realize the need to invest in their director and staff to provide the continuing education that can transform local services.

Public libraries need to engage their communities in planning services and position themselves as central to meeting those needs. Public library systems have the expertise and resources to enable libraries to reach their full capacity.

Question 7: n/a

Question 8: Challenges:

Public library systems need the capacity--funding, staffing, expertise and leadership to ensure the continuation and development of local library services that meet the diverse and changing interests and expectations of state residents for the next 10-15 years. They also need the flexibility to allow them to respond quickly to new services demands.
System mandates must be strengthened to improve the level of library service for all New Yorkers.  Such strengthening should include appropriate review, adjustments and realignment to meet changing needs. Mandates must be funded appropriately.

Assets:

Public library systems should assist public libraries in their efforts to strengthen local funding by all available means, including the pursuit of chapter 259, chapter 414 and district initiatives, as well as rechartering.

Public library systems should strengthen and develop cost-effective and system-wide resource discovery tools for library catalogs, integrated library systems that manage circulation and patrons databases and provide access to all resources irrespective of format, vendor or means of delivery; and engages people by allowing them to rate content and write reviews, manage their loans, and use social tagging to create added value to library “catalogs.”

Public library systems should assist public libraries to identify and expand local library service through outreach and the formation of community partnerships, including local schools, to raise the level of literacy in people of all ages and celebrates reading and the reader.

Public library systems should provide continuing education opportunities to public library staff to support state residents in the use of new technologies and devices that access ebooks and other downloadable content provided by public libraries.

Public library systems should work to develop knowledgeable and well-trained public library trustees.

Public library systems with good management can respond quickly to the rapidly changing environment.  Good planning with community involvement (member library staff and trustees), the ability to evaluate results and to use data to make good decisions.

Barriers:

Continued reduction of public library system funding that hampers the economies of scale to provide efficient and cost-effective local library services.

People in our profession are sometimes conservative when embracing new technology, business models, and new services.   They must constantly update their own skills and knowledge to fulfill their roles as librarians and trustees.   Trustees and staff need to understand that services must be developed and/or sustained in conjunction with community needs. 

Question 9: It may mean that the State Library takes on a more advisory and less regulatory role.

The State Library must provide leadership and be the strongest voice for libraries in New York.  Just as member library staffs look to system staff for leadership, so should system staff be able to look to the State Library staff for leadership.  Libraries, systems, and local residents need a strong state library to provide guidance and authority to address local issues.

The State Library currently does not have adequate staffing to provide this leadership, and the cost is huge:  missed opportunities for service and innovation, wasted time, and lost economies of scale. 

The State Library must also have a staff with expertise and enough time to assist library systems and libraries with higher level problems in a timely fashion.

New York has also lagged in maximizing the clout of statewide cooperative purchasing and extending broadband throughout the state. There could be a key role for the State Library in meeting those needs, although these tasks might better be delegated to library systems not having to navigate bureaucracy.

Question 10:

According to Library Renewal.org:

  1. Libraries need to remain relevant players in the information access landscape they inhabit, regardless of the technological or business changes that are seen.
  2. Library advocates must be part of the process to create new ways to access and distribute electronic content, the way people want it, when they want it and in the formats they want through the library.
  3. Libraries and librarians should have a role in running this system, negotiating deals for this system for libraries and the end users.
  4. The public should have access to great electronic content in a seamless fashion.
As technology advances, libraries have an enormous potential to bring new and changing information sources to their local communities and bridge the digital divide by providing access to such technology to all. New York State has the responsibility to guarantee that every New Yorker has access to adequate bandwidth. In rural communities, the library may be the only source of adequate bandwidth to access technology, and often the only wireless access point.

The biggest challenge is being a player in the digital rights management table.  Libraries have always had competition; it just seems more obvious and technically savvy. Libraries can prosper in a digital age by insuring that all have access to digital resources and expand their collections to include new sources and formats.

Public Library System Directors Organization, August 29, 2011


School Library Systems Association of New York State

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 with different technology

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

Question 2:

2.A. Ready availability of unauthenticated information

The ensuing chaos created by rapidly changing technologies

2.B. Professional staff dedicated to helping users 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 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.

Make the library a “cool space to be”. Perhaps an adaptation of the book store model by including a café/performance space. The Imaginon (Children’s and Teen’s Library of Charlotte, North Carolina is an excellent example. http://www.imaginon.org/

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.

Make the library a “cool space to be”. Perhaps an adaptation of the book store model by including a café/performance space. The Imaginon (Children’s and Teen’s Library of Charlotte, North Carolina is an excellent example. http://www.imaginon.org/

Question 7: n/a

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

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

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

Make sure that as many library services as possible are available to people virtually, through multiple platforms with an emphasis on social networking.

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.

Take a leadership role in providing access to these resources; in training in their use and applications to the learning taking place in the public or school library

Get out from behind the desk

Jennifer L. Henry
School Library System/Arts in Education Coordinator
NYS School Library Systems Association President
Champlain Valley Educational Services
Plattsburgh, NY 12901


SUNY Council of Library Directors

In response to the call “seeking broad input from the library and education communities to inform development of a new statewide plan for library services”, the State University of New York Council of Library Directors (SCLD) offers the following insight as to the role of academic, special, and research libraries in New York State.

The SUNY libraries provide services to our constituents:

  • To support the intellectual and economic development of New York State,
  • To facilitate creative application of innovative technologies and services to the region and the State,
  • By expanding access to emerging and recorded knowledge in support of teaching, learning, research, economic development and public service,
  • To enable them to play a pivotal role in the knowledge economy.

Additionally, we recognize:

  • The increasing importance that information literacy competencies play in student academic and subsequent professional success given the growing complexity in the information landscape. Library staff continue to be increasingly embedded in teaching and in collaborating with faculty in the teaching and learning process.
  • The library as a unique place on college campuses for learning and cultural engagement by offering a variety of venues, tools, and programming for group and individual study.

Attached also please find the recently approved “The Power of SUNY Libraries” a three-year strategic plan which will guide the course of SUNY libraries as we work with our partners and stakeholders to provide services and resources to the people of New York State.

My colleagues and I are available for further conversation and consultation and look forward to the Committee’s findings.

Very truly yours,

Mary Donohue, Chair, SUNY Council of Library Directors
Library Director, Evans Library
Fulton-Montgomery Community College


State University of New York Librarians Association

Question 1: A public library’s most important role right now is to ensure equal access to information for everyone. As information has become a commodity, public libraries are the only way that those in less secure economic situations have the information they need to be successful, both professionally and personally. Academic libraries also ensure access, but in a different way: academic libraries support research and education, which in turn result in economic development.

Equally important is the role of libraries, and librarians, in guiding and teaching patrons how to navigate through the morass of information that is currently available. At the academic level, librarians’ greatest role, and greatest challenge, is to make the available resources useful in a real way, and to teach patrons how to recognize differing levels of quality among information resources.

Question 2: Information is, now more than ever, a commodity, purchased, sold, and controlled by business interests, increasingly expensive. Libraries’ greatest challenge in future years will be to maintain affordable access to information for patrons amid shrinking budgets, and to clarify the importance of these efforts to legislators and other decision-makers. The greatest asset and resources libraries have are their librarians, staff, and collections, and through creative efforts and unwavering diligence, we will be heard. The biggest obstacle to be overcome is a lack of understanding on the part of key decision-makers of the extensive roles that libraries are currently playing in education and in our communities.

Another challenge libraries will be facing is staffing. The problem is three-fold: 1) the need to replace many of the librarians who will be retiring in years to come, 2) the need for new staff to have highly-desirable skills in library science, technology, and interpersonal skills, and 3) the lack of competitive pay for academic librarians in SUNY compared with other markets.

Question 3: Rather than attempting to cajole those currently not using libraries to use them, we have to concentrate on clear and ongoing initiatives within our respective communities in order to communicate, and, more importantly, model and demonstrate, the value of libraries. While marketing campaigns can help to build a positive image and keep an organization in the awareness of their user-base, a solid connection with and quality service to current users is the most reliable way to bring in new ones.

Question 4: K-12 and academic libraries are more crucially important than ever in a world of digital information and mobile technologies. People do not realize that, although a student may know how to download music and play games online, their critical thinking skills do not become fully developed until the late teens or early twenties; even after they have graduated from high school and moved on to college, students are often incapable of detecting bias or hidden agendas in information sources. These are crucial skills, necessary for a person to become a well-informed, fully-functioning and effective member of their community. School libraries couldn’t be more relevant; what they need to be is more visible. The community and administrators have to be aware, in an ongoing and readily-apparent way, of how libraries are helping to prepare students for lives and professions in the twenty first century.

Question 5: Community colleges already, for the most part, make their collections and other resources available to the surrounding communities to the further extent possible, often housing collections of local history or business. Most public and private research institutions already allow on-site public use of their facilities, but it is often difficult for academic libraries to make some resources available beyond their campuses because of licensing restrictions (another inhibiting feature of information as “commodity”). The main role for academic libraries beyond the campus is to partner with other libraries to improve access and resource costs through consortial arrangements. Academic libraries should try to develop relationships with K-12 libraries to ensure a seamless transition of skills and knowledge from high school to college.

Question 6: Public libraries are already serving their communities, and the number of people using public libraries is going steadily up. The most effective thing public libraries can do to ensure their survival is to increase advocacy, continue their already-expansive community services, and highlight those services in whatever venues are appropriate. Those who use libraries regularly recognize their importance; it is those who are not familiar with what we do who pose the greatest threat to libraries in the future. Alternate revenue streams might also be explored.

Question 7: The value of the special collections and the expertise available in public and private special and research libraries is inestimable. Professional librarians in these areas possess skills and knowledge that are extremely valuable, and are currently being underutilized by the citizens of New York. For example, the state court system libraries are open to the public, and yet few people are aware of these incredible legal resources which are freely available to them.

Question 8: The greatest challenge facing New York State’s library systems in the future will be a combination of dwindling funds, a misguided and uninformed perception of the importance of libraries, and a lack of communication and interaction. Library systems will need to organize even more tightly together and act with one voice, rather than each library staking out its own course.

Question 9: Due to time constraints and dwindling staffing, libraries are often unable to engage in the kind of advocacy and marketing that is necessary to ensure their survival. They rely on organizations like the State Library and the State Education Department for these kinds of efforts on a statewide scale.

Question 10:

Libraries can prosper through cooperation and creativity. For example, students and faculty are beginning to expect ready access to streaming video and other new information resources. Academic libraries are able to provide access to many e-resources (such as e-books and streaming video) primarily because of our cooperative efforts. That foundation can be built upon and the range of available resources expanded. Together, libraries can become leaders in negotiations between academic and commercial pricing models which ultimately benefit the citizens of New York.
While acquiring these resources is an issue, the funding to maintain access and to give instruction for the efficient use of these items must be considered. Resources that are not maintained, and which are not used to their fullest, are a waste of budget dollars.

The creation of knowledge is not fully dependent upon budgetary constraints. However, costs for access to this knowledge continue to rise, and libraries are too often seen as safe places to make spending cuts. Academic libraries will prosper in a digital age by playing to our strengths in collection development and providing instruction and assistance in finding quality information.

Angela M. Weiler, Associate Librarian, Coulter Library 
President, SUNY Librarians Assoc.
Onondaga Community College


Suffolk Library Administrators' Seminar

As public library directors and administrators in Suffolk County our group meets regularly to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing today’s libraries. We were pleased to consider questions put forth by the Regents Advisory Council. Rather than repeat the excellent comments previously posted by our colleagues from around the state we would like to make just a few observations and one significant (perhaps controversial) recommendation.

First, regarding libraries’ roles and future we believe that all libraries will continue to be a place of stories; where our youngest learn to participate in humanity’s “unending conversation” and their elders can make their personal contribution. To answer this challenge public libraries must:

  • Provide robust early childhood education that feeds directly into the Regents P-16 vision;
  • Refocus from “circulation to creation” by proactively creating and collecting local content to assure the continuance of community;
  • Actively serve as a catalyst for local civic cooperation and community engagement;
  • Continue to serve as a pathway to the American Dream for new immigrants;
  • Become a popular lifestyle choice for those seeking personal enrichment.

The challenges libraries face today are many, but we suggest that our greatest enemy is the apathy shown to libraries by our community and legislative leaders. There are many reasons for this, including our own complacency and the perception of libraries as “just books” in a rapidly changing society. These are issues we are all facing now. However, we will never be considered essential educational institutions by the public until our own Board of Regents and State Education Department truly recognize that all libraries are critical to the intellectual well being of our State and to the entire educational enterprise known as the University of the State of New York. Frankly we have seen little evidence of such an understanding over the past two decades. Even within the P-16 vision school libraries are being ignored to the detriment of our future citizens.

Lastly we would like to address the future of library systems in our state.

The fundamental purposes of all library systems (public, school and 3Rs) are to enhance local service, create economies of scale and save money. If this does not happen there is no reason for library systems to exist. The State of New York has recognized the value of promoting cooperation among libraries since 1950 by providing financial incentives (system aid) to do so. We believe this model of “library welfare” is no longer viable and is doomed to a slow death over the next several years. (It appears the state legislature and Governor agree.)

The strength of libraries, whatever services they may provide, remains in sharing and cooperation. The best vehicle for this remains the public, school or 3Rs systems in place. Consolidation of services will occur when and where it makes sense. The same is true of the consolidation of systems. Consolidation initiatives must come from the members, not from the state.

In recent years the most successful library systems have been those able to fully engage their member libraries (of whatever type) in the governance and support of their collaborative venture. Such systems have been able to respond to the creative and innovative ideas expressed by their members and have learned to provide the services their members need to be successful within their respective communities, schools or institutions. Each is different but each has become a catalyst for significant change within their region. These systems offer a practical model we believe should be supported by the state. We therefore recommend the following:

  • The Board of Regents and Commissioner of Education permit the Division of Library Development to promote innovation within the library system structure of the state by the encouraging flexible regional solutions and service programs to assist in the continued development of our state’s libraries;
  • Education Law be amended to provide a minimal base grant to each library system and to stipulate that additional funds, up to a formula based maximum, be provided to match, on a dollar for dollar basis, local library support for the particular library system; and
  • Any remaining unmatched funds from state library aid be made available as competitive grants to the state’s library systems for innovative projects.

We recognize this proposal may be considered controversial yet we believe a thorough examination of the concept will show that it will promote cooperation, innovation, competence and accountability in library service throughout New York State. The fact is that many libraries already provide support for their library systems. This concept needs to be recognized and encouraged by the state. We believe that by recognizing and supporting such partnerships the state will provide the incentive for deeper and more effective collaboration among all types of libraries and library systems.

We trust you will give due consideration to these comments and share them with the Regents and the New York library community.


University at Buffalo Department of Library and Information Studies, Graduate School of Education

Dagobert Soergel, Chair, Department of Library and Information Studies, Graduate School of Education, University at Buffalo

This version is much expanded, with contributions from faculty members, especially Jianqiang Wang, Brenda Battleson, and Valerie Nesset, and from Larry Nash White, University of East Carolina.

Question 1: Provide physical and virtual information spaces that are an integral part of an overarching system of ubiquitous learning from birth to senior age.

Be an information engine that fuels economic recovery by helping displaced workers to reinvent themselves for careers where workers are needed and help small business work smarter.

The two most important roles of today’s libraries are

  1. managing and providing access to a variety of information resources and (facilitating access to information through management of resources)
  2. educating, training, and helping users how to access and use such information resources.

These roles will largely be the same in the future, although libraries should and will continue to expand their services to include more digital information resources. In order to better fulfill these roles, libraries should continue to incorporate and maybe give more emphasis on digital information collections, hiring and training librarians who understand and study users information seeking and use in an electronic environment, and working more closely with digital library developers (including publishers).

These traditional library roles are a subset of a larger role that comes from a gap in the information service environment /economy that has always been there and seems to want to exist in the future: connecting the customer’s information needs (usually not even fully understood by the customer themselves) to their own understanding and expectations of what is possible to know, learn or access to improve their lives.

So many people have no understanding of what information they use or need in their lives; have too high / low an expectation of what can be done to help them with their information needs; cannot place a value information on information use; and need help facilitating access between their needs and resources. The future role of libraries will be to explore this gap and develop / provide those types of information services, resources, and learning experiences that help the customer understand their own information needs and values and how they can be met by libraries.

Question 2: Reorient their services to where they have the biggest impact

Fully embrace Web 2.0 technology to create a knowledge environment that combines the knowledge in the library's collection (and in other collection accessed through the library) with the knowledge of the library's users.

The greatest challenge libraries will face is perhaps the “fear of changes” among established librarians who are more comfortable with working in the traditional way (mainly on traditional printed collections in a face-to-face fashion). In addition to their unique printed collections and expertise in organizing and managing such collections, libraries’ largest asset is their experience of working directly with information users and hence their understanding of users. Taking the initiate to demonstrate to policy makers the importance and usefulness of such user knowledge and expertise for developing heterogeneous (printed/electronic) collections and providing enhanced services to patrons then becomes the key for soliciting library funding.

Make policy makers understand the importance of library services and therefore of library funding. Libraries need to really emphasize the value that they add to the community/institution and society as a whole. While they may not produce tangible wealth (i.e. money) they enable and facilitate wealth production. We need to start measuring the “profit” of the library ‒ the “social return on investment.”

There is the perception by funding agencies and political entities that libraries (and librarians) are obsolete and are no longer needed. Part of this has to do with the misperception by decision makers that everyone has access to the Internet and that everyone has the ability to effectively use what they find. There are many areas in NYS that lack affordable Internet access and many more that lack the technological infrastructure for high speed access, which is now a necessity rather than a luxury.

While these misperceptions (some of them a result to purposeful ignorance) are a problem, so too is the lack of funding and the view of libraries as an easy target for funding cuts. Historically, they are the first institutions targeted for cuts and some of the last to be identified for funding increases. In an era where there is a push for government entities to be run more like businesses, the challenge to libraries is to show that they contribute significantly to the economy and to the well being of society. A business exists to turn a profit, which can be measured and compared to costs. The “profits” of a library are intangible and difficult to measure. Furthermore, while cutting costs in business often leads to more profit, a cut in the operating costs of a library usually leads to a reduction in services and a concomitant decrease in benefits.

Lack of leadership and leadership skills is a powerful obstacle to achieving flexibility and revenue stream security. Leaders of libraries need greater administrative abilities to create and lead organizational and operational flexibility to create “flat world” library services defined as high tech – high touch and available 24/7, where each customer experience is personalized and where service options are flexible to maximize strategic value and impact. The other serious component of the leadership obstacle is revenue stream security: having leaders who can secure traditional revenue sources in the face of strategic redirection by providers; initiate ongoing development of new alternative revenue models / streams to supplement existing resources; and strategic accountability and stewardship of all resources. These actions (in combination) will assist library organizations to concentrate on fulfilling their mission, meeting community needs, and creating greater value and strategic impacts which will reduce strategic pressures on the library and aid the library in focusing more closely on generating the library’s strategic success.

An implication of this is that the management team of libraries needs to include people with backgrounds such as an MBA, with or without an MLS.

Question 3: By re-orienting services to be most useful to those most in need and then aggressively and proactively marketing these services. For example, if a factory closes, the library can work with the company to make all workers aware of the career development and job placement resources available at or through the library.

Some library services have been supplanted, for many (but not all) users by alternate sources, especially digital services (and not just Google). This has two implications:

  1. Libraries must improve access to digital sources by aggressively incorporating more self-developed and/or subscribed digital collections and providing effective access to such collections; this in turn calls for the use of information technology such as Web 2.0. The use of such new technology also makes it possible to make library patron to be both the users and the creator/contributors of library collections (e.g., by social tagging).
  2. The library can re-focus its resources on providing services not heretofore available, especially services to special groups (see Appendix 1)

More considerations on this point under Question 10.

Question 4: Fostering information literacy, which is inextricably linked with thinking and problem-solving skills. Being able to analyze a problem and to find information and critically analyze, synthesize, and apply it to solve the problem is the most important skill students must acquire to adapt in a ever faster changing world. Business looks for workers with these skills; they are essential for a healthy economy

The most important element of a school library is not the collection, not the computers, but the school librarian. Collaboration between teachers and school librarians is needed to integrate information literacy, thinking, and problem solving skills throughout the curriculum. This includes information organization and presentation skills.

The school librarian could become a "school information officer" who works not only with children but also with teachers to introduce them to systems that support lesson planning (and finding and selecting materials needed for a lesson) and promote collaboration between teachers in lesson planning.

The most important school library role will be to instill the beginning of the connecting the young customer’s information needs (usually not even fully understood by the customer themselves) to their own understanding and expectations of what is possible to know, learn, or access to improve their lives. This will enable them to continue and value their learning process into adult life; better understanding what information they need and what information access is possible will enable them to make the best use of what information services and resources are available to make a positive impact in their lives.

Question 5: Academic libraries need to become the hub of a knowledge exchange between faculty and students in both teaching and research. Academic libraries and course management systems should be integrated into one seamless system. Academic libraries should pro-actively support course development, student projects, grant writing, and research execution by being informed when such activities start and offer information support without being asked. In particular, academic libraries could be the engine that supports teaching and research collaboration by making connections among faculty and among faculty and students. The academic library is the best place to keep faculty activity reports now required at many universities (these reports include publications and research projects) and information about courses, practicum opportunities and such; the academic libraries could make these searchable from many angles. Through intelligent processing of all these data the academic library could discover connections among faculty etc. as discussed above and provide faculty and students with information that contributes to their work in unexpected ways.

Through its specialized collections and, even more importantly, the expertise of its staff, academic (and some public) libraries could provide high-quality fee-based information services to professionals (physicians, lawyers), business and government agencies.

By analyzing the collection use data by faculty and students, academic libraries can provide the sort of “recommendation” services, such as “you might be interested in the following books/journals” and “the following faculty that may have similar research interests as you.” Whenever new items are added to their collections or become available outside their collections (e.g., a new digital libraries is created at a difference university), academic libraries can inform patrons who may be interested in them through an information “push” service

On a more advanced level, we can use knowledge technologies to support an enhanced learning and research community.

Examples

  1. From a university-wide database of faculty CVs, faculty publications and research project descriptions, and course syllabi intelligent processing using ontologies could discover many areas for collaborative research and synergies that have the potential to generate entirely new and unexpected research results and application of such results. It could also match capabilities across the institution with calls for research proposals that require a combination of knowledge and skills that is available on campus but not readily apparent. It could also make connections between research projects and courses that could be enriched by reports on a research project, its methodologies and results.
  2. The library catalog could be enhanced by a social networking component to support discussions around books and other documents (possibly in the framework of a course) and enrichment of catalog records by social tagging.
  3. A combination of automated and human information extraction could produce a database, for example of facts in a specific biomedical area, supporting a project. A combination of several such databases (using standard ontologies for interoperability) would be a great resource. Providing a system with this capability and hosting the databases produced would be a high-value service of an academic library

See also Question 7. Research Libraries

Question 6: See Questions 1, 3, and Appendix 1 and 2

The public library could be the hub of a digital communications network in the community.

Partner with other institutions that provide vital services to users. Example: the Information Prescriptions and Books on Prescription schemes used to support health care in the UK. See also Appendix 1.

Question 7: Support research and development by novel services such as

  1. Maintain the databases to store research data, both data generated by a research project and external data important for the research project. This includes such services as annotating data generated using standard and project-specific ontologies and extracting and annotating data from the literature.
  2. Deploy systems for intelligent processing and correlation of large sets of data to discover patterns – new knowledge. Examples are information extraction from text, multi-document summarization, and data mining. Another example would be maintaining (with patient permission) a community-wide database of ontology-annotated electronic health records (HER) integrating patient data from multiple providers. This would enable such things as discovery of incompatible treatments and notifying patients and their physicians of newly-discovered dangers of existing treatments and newly-discovered treatments that might be better for a patient's condition. This would be achieved by searching the EHR database whenever the system learns of a piece of new medical knowledge for the patients to whom it might apply

Question 8: n/a

Question 9: Key to library success are

  1. user studies / community analysis to discover what kinds of information would contribute most to solving the problems of the community and its members,
  2. innovative ideas how to deliver the needed information in the most effective way and
  3. marketing and advocacy to make the community and its leaders aware of the value the library provides

The State Library can help by

  1. lending experts who can conduct or advise on user studies / community analysis for individual libraries;
  2. maintaining a database of innovative ideas, each indexed as to the circumstances under which it would be applicable, and of case studies of the application of these ideas. This would be a great tool for planning library services tailored to the need of the community that the library serves. Around this database would be digital communication in a community of practice of the librarians in the state, perhaps divided by type of library (but with opportunities of the cross-over of ideas).
  3. Provide information sources and consultation on marketing and advocacy, using existing resources such as www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/advocacy/advocacyuniversity/index.cfm

Question 10:

Users need a guide to navigate these vast, often confusing, and sometimes treacherous waters. Librarians are best positioned to be such a guide. Non-mediated information seeking by end users may create serious problems in that it will often not lead to the best results. It is claimed, even in library science publications, that reference service is no longer needed (or needed much less) because users just search Google. If some study were to find that most people self-medicate, would we conclude that physicians are no longer needed or would we be concerned about the quality of care, the appropriateness of the medications? Librarians are needed to assure that users get the best information to support their tasks. In other words, the library’s role is to connect the customer’s information needs (usually not even fully understood by the customers themselves) with what is possible to know, learn or access to improve their lives, expanding customers' understanding and expectations. If we can bridge this gap, we would resolve many of the factors involved with extending services to non-customers. It is essential that we keep the focus on the enduring role of helping users to bridge the information gap and not focus too much on the tools we use to do perform this role as these will change regularly.

Furthermore, it is likely that within the next 10 years, there will be tiered layers of information access based on one’s ability to pay. Libraries must continue to be the “great equalizer” as they have always been; they are the most important institution in a democratic society in that they allow everyone equal access to information regardless of one’s ability to pay.

Libraries must also develop digital tools and resources that improve upon many commercial tools in allowing end users to be more successful in finding the best information.

Appendix 1. Services to groups with special needs

It is an essential, and the most noble, role of libraries to help people with special needs to live full lives and participate fully on society, to bring marginalized groups into the mainstream. This takes many forms, for example

  1. Supporting a blind researcher in her work
  2. Helping students with disabilities to learn and to be in the mainstream, helping their parents to advocate, keeping teachers and other school staff informed how to best support learning of students with different types of disabilities
  3. Helping students with behavior problems, including bullying
  4. Providing information services, including books, to people who are shut in their homes
  5. Providing training to seniors in information literacy, especially in accessing health information
  6. Providing services to the homeless
  7. Providing services to immigrants to help them to become integrated in American society while maintaining a connection with their cultural roots
  8. Providing services to people below or near the poverty level

How can libraries with limited resources rise to this challenge? By partnering with other organizations who use the library's resources to deliver library services. This could be called the Avon model of delivering library services. Many of the example ideas have probably been implemented somewhere already. Many could be supported or at least started with special grants. If not, change priorities considering that library dollars leverage additional resources through partnering and volunteers, for high benefits (high return on investment).

Examples.

  1. Work with the human resources department of the company. Make them knowledgeable of resources, such as books and other documents that are available electronically and can be easily converted to speech and of programs such as Dragon Naturally speaking that convert speech to text and allow for operating many computer and communication functions by voice.
  2. Provide access to collections of learning objects / instructional materials for students with various disabilities and train teachers in using these resources. Such collections might be developed collaboratively by a network of teachers supported by the state library. Provide a portal that allows parents to access resource that show them how to help their child and how to advocate for their child.
  3. Have a resource collection in the school counseling office of books (fiction), adventure games, and similar materials that might help a student understand and perhaps conquer his or her behavior problems (bibliotherapy as part of an integrated treatment plan). Provide access to a Web portal that leads to suitable materials for both counselors and students
  4. Partner with Meals on Wheels. Already done in at least one place:
    Books on Wheels
    The Abilene Public Library offers home delivery service to Meals on Wheels clientele. Library books, CD's or audio cassettes will be delivered to the home along with the meals.
    Clients sign up at home and get to select the type of books they most enjoy reading as well as request books by their favorite authors. They can request large print books, books in Spanish, on CD or cassette.
    When they have finished reading their books, they place them in the zippered blue library bag and ask the Meals on Wheels volunteer to return them to the office or they can have someone drop them off at one of the Abilene libraries.
    http://mealsonwheelsplus.com/need.htm
  5. Training for seniors in information literacy (esp. health information literacy) can be done through partnering with senior citizens homes, senior clubs, etc. Many senior citizens will be willing to serve as volunteers to train their peers if teaching materials are provided and if they are trained in accessing resources such as PubMed or local hospital training resources.
  6. Have satellite collections in homeless shelters with an honor system of borrowing books. The collection could be continuously replenished by a drive for book contributions.
  7. There are many organizations that work with immigrants who could collaborate with the library. Satellite collections is one model, a social worker taking a group of people to the library is another. This needs to be supported by appropriate expansion of the collection, which may mean setting different priorities for collection dollars.
  8. A community-wide book drive organized by the public library could supply satellite collections for preschools / childcare centers that have a high percentage of children from families that live in poverty. Regular library visits by classes from such preschools, with transportation provided by the school system (in the middle of the day when school buses are not in use) is another possibility. Or training preschool staff in storytelling.

Appendix 2.   Take-aways from LIS 583 Public Libraries spring 2010 student presentations on Issues / Challenges / Opportunities

1 Serving increasingly diverse populations (by ethnicity, age, gender)

Services

Provide services that

  • meet needs daily life and career, education, and entertainment,
  • fit into the new (and evolving) information landscape,
  • use technology appropriately,
  • bridge information gaps between different groups, such as the digital divide (the public library as a force for social equity

Reinvent services – no sacred cows. New services for new goals or new services to meet existing goals better with today’s technology

Involve users to improve services or make them more efficient. Self-checkout, expanding access points in the catalog through social tagging, and a monitored local questions and answer site (where answers are given by users and by librarians, as is the case in many technical support sites) are just some examples.

User education is more important. Since many users do their own searching on the Web, they might as well do it better.

A library Web portal that

  • provides access to subscription databases not otherwise available to users (such as NOVELny—the New York Online Virtual Electronic Library
  • helps users to better navigate the Web

2 Align service with societal priorities, such as a focus on teen services contributing to gang prevention and employment information services.

Corollary: When determining service priorities, give most weight to the contribution a service can make to solving societal problems and less weight to present frequency of use. May need to intensify outreach to promote a service that has the potential of high societal impact.

3 Obtain funding for the continuation of services (which are more important in times of economic downturn when funding is sparse). This may involve mobilizing the public to make the importance of libraries in achieving the American ideal of equal opportunity a part of the political discourse.

Last Updated: September 1, 2011 -- asm