Free Direct Access

January 20, 1998

To: Public Library Board Presidents

Public Library Directors

Public Library System Board Presidents

Public Library System Directors

From: Janet M. Welch, State Librarian and Assistant Commissioner for Libraries

Subject: Continuing the Statewide Discussion on Free Direct Access Policy – Step 3

**Please Respond by March 27, 1998**

Step 1 - Distribution of Free Direct Access Task Force Report and request for comment, September 1997

Step 2 - Development of State Education Department's proposal on free direct access policy after review of comments, November 1997

Step 3 - Distribution of the State Education Department's proposal on free direct access policy and request for comment, January 1998

The State Education Department and the State Library are seeking your input, by March 27, on the State Education Department’s proposal for revising the "free direct access" regulation (CR 90.3) to:

  • maintain the traditional principle of library service without charge to the individual,
  • encourage communities to provide adequate support for their libraries, and
  • end overuse of libraries by non-residents.

Your participation in this process, and the broad participation of librarians, trustees, library users and public officials, is fundamental to its success. Thank you for responding to my September 30, 1997 memo. I received 88 written responses which helped frame the latest recommendations. I look forward to discussing the enclosed proposal on free direct access policy with you and reviewing your comments about the proposal.

Developing the enclosed proposal was the second step in a four-step process for the revision of the free direct access regulation which I outlined for you in my memo. With your help, we now begin Step 3 in this important statewide discussion.

Step 3. The State Library is distributing the State Education Department’s proposal on free direct access policy to a wide audience to solicit reaction and comments for review.

Next Steps

Please share the enclosed documents with as many people as possible: library staff, system staff, trustees, public officials and users of libraries. It would be helpful if you could comment within the framework of the following questions:

  1. Is there anything in the recommendation that needs clarification?
  2. Is there anything missing in the proposed recommendation?
  3. Is there any part of the recommendation you cannot support?
  4. How would you change the recommendation to be able to support it?

Please direct your comments to me in writing by March 27. I appreciate your willingness to continue discussing this important issue with as many people as possible over the next few months. My address, FAX and e-mail are:

Janet M. Welch, State Librarian
New York State Library 10C34
Cultural Education Center
Albany, NY 12230
FAX number: 518-486-2152

In addition to soliciting your written input, I expect to meet on Long Island with those interested in the issue. Representatives from the State Library’s Division of Library Development are also available to consult with library systems and/or attend system meetings. After thorough review of the library community’s comments on the State Education Department’s proposal, we will move to Step 4.

Step 4. The State Education Department and the State Library will develop final recommendations for changing the free direct access regulation. The proposed changes will then be forwarded to the Regents for discussion and a vote.

For Further Information

Local board presidents and directors may wish to consult with their public library system for further information on free direct access policy. If you have questions about the Department’s proposal or the process for developing the recommendations, please contact your Regional Liaison in the New York State Library’s Division of Library Development.

Regional Liaisons by Region:

Capital District – Joseph J. Mattie

Central New York – Patricia Mallon

Long Island and Metro-James Farrell

North Country – Anne Simon

Rochester – Marilyn Douglas

South Central – Scott Hughes

Southeastern - Patricia Mallon

Western – Maureen Read

Enclosures (five)

cc: Directors of Reference and Research Library Resources Systems

Directors of School Library Systems

Last Updated: August 9, 2019