Update Twelve (August 2, 2013)
from Bernard A. Margolis, New York State Librarian

Please feel free to pass along this update to colleagues, friends, and anyone you think would benefit from reading about library matters in New York State.  This update and past updates are posted on the New York State Library's website at: http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/library/about/statelibrarian.htm.

NOVELNY EXPANDS: I hope you find this news as exciting as I do! Effective August 1st, the New York State Library has negotiated an agreement to offer Gale/Cengage's OPPOSING VIEWPOINTS database to everyone in the state. This Statewide license will enable any school, library, academic institution or special library, regardless of size or budget, to access OPPOSING VIEWPOINTS at NO cost. OPPOSING VIEWPOINTS is one of Gale's most popular databases, widely used in public libraries, in schools and on campuses across the state. We are also particularly pleased that this database, under the contract, will be available for up to three years. We hope this will help everyone's future planning for database acquisition. The State Library continues to look at the possibility of offering other databases both free and those which require licensing fees. By offering databases statewide, individual libraries realize significant cost savings. The result is more great material for New Yorkers at a better price. Some libraries, which have already made commitments to license this database, will be receiving a credit with which to acquire other databases.

BULLET AID TO LIBRARIES: The Senate deserves the title of Library Champion! As NYLA's Executive Director Jeremy Johannesen shared with you on June 27, this year 369 libraries and library systems received designated funds of $2.5 million in State funds included in a Senate initiated resolution. I hope all the recipients have thanked their Senators for their generosity. Please tell your Senator how grateful you are for these funds, what their impact will be in your community and how much more State funding you need to accomplish all the great things that libraries are doing! Please especially thank Senator Hugh Farley for his persistence on behalf of libraries. The list of bullet aid allocations by library is posted on NYLA's website at http://www.nyla.org/max/4DCGI/cms/review.html?Action=CMS_Document&DocID=825&&MenuKey=news.

We also have linked (http://www.nysenate.gov/) to a list of all Senators with their mailing addresses and phone contact info. Please do not be bashful when you see your Senator to thank him or her for this important financial help.

PUBLIC LIBRARY CONSTRUCTION GRANTS – APPLY NOW! The public library system application deadlines for the 2013-2016 $14 million Public Library Construction Grant Program are fast approaching. I encourage you to apply for a matching grant this year. Libraries may apply for a State construction grant that could potentially fund up to 75 percent of a project. The minimum grant award is $2,500 for a minimum total project cost of $5,000. There is no maximum award, but the amounts of the awards will depend on the number of project applications received and the total funding available to each library system. Eligible project activities and expenditures include site acquisition (purchase of a site and/or an existing building suitable for conversion to library purposes), construction, and renovation or rehabilitation of a facility (which may also include installation or upgrading of a building's broadband infrastructure). Routine maintenance is not fundable.

All the information that you will need to apply is posted on the State Library's website at: http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/libdev/construc/index.html. The deadline for submission of applications from the systems to the State Library is October 10, 2013. However, each public library system sets their own deadlines for member libraries to submit applications to allow sufficient time for system review and system board approval. Don't hesitate - please contact your public library system today to find out their due date. We look forward to receiving your application!

WE MIGHT BE SPEAKING DUTCH: The New Netherland Research Center, part of the New York State Library's Research Library, is at the front and center of studying New York's Dutch roots. In collaboration with the New Netherland Institute, the Center is actively translating the earliest Dutch records housed in the state library. There is an active publishing effort, visiting scholars (currently Russell Shorto), and continuing education. Starting on August 5th, a teacher's institute will be held in collaboration with the Museum of the City of New York in Manhattan. Featuring prominent historians and educators, this will focus on our Dutch roots, religious diversity, Indian-Dutch relations, daily life in the Dutch colony, the Dutch founding fathers and the Dutch political and cultural legacy. Of course, all things considered are designed to be Common Core compliant and complementary. For more info go to: www.newnetherlandinstitute.org.

HISTORIC AGREEMENT from MARAKESH: The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) concluded its gathering of 600 negotiators from 186 nations with a great new treaty to "Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled". This treaty will expand access to materials, increase international exchange and of key importance to Americans, will increase access to published works in a wider variety of languages. So why should you care about what happened half-way around the world?! Well…this treaty means more materials for your disabled patrons. We have a wide variety of services to blind and disabled New Yorkers through the Andrew Heiskell Library…..which serves New York City and Long Island and the Talking Book and Braille Library at the New York State Library. If your library is not maximizing its efforts to serve the blind and disabled, call or contact the Talking Book and Braille Library here at the New York State Library at: 800-342-3688 or email at www.nysl.nysed.gov/tbbl.

According to the World Blind Union, of the million or so books published in the world each year, less than 5 percent are made available in formats accessible to the visually-impaired. We call this "book famine." No one has said it better than Stevie Wonder, the world-famous singer-songwriter and prominent advocate for the treaty: we must "end the information deprivation that continues to keep the visually impaired in the dark" – and today, we are proud to mark a major achievement in that effort.

In Stevie's words, this treaty can "open the doors to the world's written treasures, moving toward a future where there are no barriers to the expansion of knowledge and the enjoyment of culture – even for the visually impaired." The approval of its text is the first step towards formally approving it at home and bringing it into force worldwide. We are proud to have played a leading role in its negotiation.

TECHNOMAGIC: While this is not literally pulling the rabbit from the hat, it is close. Carrie Russell, Director of the American Library Association's Program on Public Access to Information, alerted me to the efforts of the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research program of the Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure (GPII) project. This project will be magic. The goal of the project is that, "Each information and communication technology device will be able to instantly change to fit users as they encounter the device, rather than requiring users to figure out how to adapt, configure or install access features they need." What a great idea! I have warned that libraries offering free ipads and other devices need to be aware of the need to serve those with disabilities and that some devices are not friendly to disabled users. Technomagic would solve many of those issues. Until Technomagic is here, please be both aware and sensitive to the needs of all your customers.

U.S. POET LAUREATE Re-UPS: Natasha Trethewey has been reappointed to a second one-year term as Poet Laureate of the United States. Pulitzer Prize-winning Threthewey plans a unique collaboration with PBS Senior Correspondent Jeffrey Brown and the NewsHour to highlight poetry and to report about poetry and society around the country. Stay tuned for this interesting series. Trethewey is also Poet Laureate for her native Mississippi.

COMMON SENSE: Is this a living example of COMMON SENSE or an aberration? You be the judge. Thomas Paine's important pamphlet Common Sense was published in 1776. An especially unique copy of that first edition with notes of Henry Wisner, a founding patriot from New York, was recently sold at auction. Wisner served in various political and military capacities including being a supplier of gunpowder and weapons to the Continental army. He has an important connection to the New York State Library. He was instrumental in the laying of the two Great Chains across the Hudson River in 1776 in an attempt to prevent the British sailors and boats from advancing up the Hudson. The New York State Library is the depository of several huge links of the Great Chain which are on display in the state capitol under the magnificent portrait of George Washington. This unique copy of Common Sense sold at auction in New York for $545,000. With thanks to Stephen J. Gertz and BOOKTRYST (A Nest for Book Lovers).

DECLARATION FOR THE RIGHT TO LIBRARIES: American Library Association President Barbara Stripling (Professor in the I School at New York's Syracuse University) is making a full court press for everyone to sign the new Declaration for the Right to Libraries. It is a wonderful effort to increase both awareness and support at the most basic level. When you receive information and petition copies, please get your supporters to sign. The goal is to place copies for signing everywhere….from Walmarts to libraries to beauty salons and barber shops. For more info contact: http://www.ala.org/news/press-releases/2013/07/ala-president-barbara-stripling-unveils-declaration-right-libraries.

CHAMPIONS OF CHANGE: The White House has announced twelve people in the museum and library communities who are Champions of Change. The honorees are providing powerful learning experiences. They are reaching young children and their families with early learning opportunities; offering exciting experiences for teens to develop skills in science, technology, engineering and math; and helping immigrants learn English and pursue citizenship and providing services for hard-to-reach populations so that everyone can succeed in school and in life. The Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity for the White House to feature groups of Americans – individuals, businesses and organizations – who are doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities. WOW! Three are New Yorkers: Leslie Bushara, Deputy Director, Education and Guest Services, Children's Museum of Manhattan; Sue Considine, Executive Director, Fayetteville Free Library, Fayetteville, New York; and Jennifer Manley, Vice President, Government & Community Affairs, Queens Public Library, Queens, New York. Congratulations to all for this wonderful recognition.

But… For the American Library Association's Transforming Libraries 2013 participants there are NO New Yorkers. Of 41 great participants selected, there were no New Yorkers. We need to change this next year! Help!

MORE COMMON SENSE….OR MAYBE CHEDDAR CHEESE: I never thought that one of the 20th century's greatest writers would be wrapped up in such a cheesy deal! The first major licensing agreement of the T S Eliot Estate is a sponsorship which will bring the Estate/Trust a $40 million international sponsorship. The $40 million will come from Dairy Management, the marketing agency of the United States Department of Agriculture and the East Asia Marketing Board which will use the famous poet's image and words to promote cheese and cheese products throughout the world. Particularly in China and Southeast Asia, the campaign will focus on how cheese promotes intellectual and artistic development in children. My take: "Eat cheese and be smart!"

LITERARY LANDMARKS GROW: Rocco Staino, head of the New York Library Association's Empire State Center for the Book, has hit another New York homerun with the naming of the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine as a Literary Landmark. The Church is closely connected to legendary children's author Madeleine L'Engel who served as the church's librarian for more than forty years but still found time to write the classic A WRINKLE IN TIME and other great children's books. Visit the Church at: 1047 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10025. See more at: http://empirestatebook.org/.

OVERHAULING E-RATE: The red cautionary lights have begun flashing for me as the Federal Communications Commission has announced plans to overhaul the $2.3 billion E-rate program. Libraries have become very dependent on this important program. E-Rate brings over $10 million annually to New York State's public libraries. Some changes that have already surfaced include eliminating coverage for long distance charges and switching from paper to electronic filings for applicants. Some of the changes will, no doubt, be quite welcome and some will be problematic. We need to pay attention as the revisions and changes are released for public comment. The changes are being viewed as part of a five-year effort to modernize and significantly improve our broadband infrastructure for schools, libraries and learning. According to the New York Times, when E-rate was established in 1997, only 14 percent of kindergarten through 12th grade classrooms had Internet access, according to the FCC. However, a recent survey of E-rate recipients revealed that nearly half had lower speed connectivity than the average US home – despite the fact that those classrooms and libraries have an average of 200 times more users than a regular household.

TIGHTER COPPA REGULATIONS TAKE EFFECT THIS MONTH: "Library sites are largely not impacted by the new rules since they apply to commercial enterprises," says Deborah Caldwell-Stone, Deputy Director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom at the American Library Association (ALA). "You're not selling data – that's the last thing you're doing as a library," she says.

The regulatory update to the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) was actually begun by the Federal Trade Commission in 1998. The changes are intended to limit the ability of companies to reach children under 13 without parental consent. It is designed to keep personal information about children out of the hands of any commercial enterprises.

O'DWYER'S BOOKLIST: O'Dwyer's, one of the insider publications of the Public Relations and Marketing Communications industry, has released a new list of the top ten recommended PR books. These "especially recommended" books might be great reads as you transition from a good summer mystery. Here's the list:

  1. You're Too Kind: A Brief History of Flattery, by Richard Stengel
  2. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, by Robert Cialdini
  3. Celebrity Leverage, by Jordan McAuley
  4. Edelman and the Rise of Public Relations, by Franz Wisner
  5. Always Live Better than Your Clients, bio of Ben Sonnenberg by Isadore Barmash
  6. The Tylenol Mafia, by Scott Bartz, ex-Johnson & Johnson
  7. The Power House, bio of Robert K. Gray, by Susan Trento
  8. Deadly Spin, by Wendell Potter, ex-Cigna
  9. Army of Entrepreneurs, by Jennifer Prosek
  10. No Such Thing as Over-Exposed, (for Donald Trump), by Robert Slater

SPOTLIGHT ON DIGITAL LITERACY AND GIGABIT LIBRARIES: 2013 is the year of digital inclusion, digital literacy and high-speed broadband! Visit the State Library's new Digital Literacy webpage at http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/libdev/digital-literacy/index.html to find out more about national and state initiatives and multiple online toolkits and resources designed to help public libraries shine as community anchors and technology hubs. Find information about EveryoneOn, Connect2Compete, DigitalLearn.org, US Ignite, Gigabit Libraries Network Super WiFi Project and so much more!

SUMMER to FALL: I hope you have had a great summer, filled with frolic, fun, friends and no little bit of relaxation…and Summer Reading at New York's libraries. While I am prepared to squeeze every bit more of summer warmth from the days that remain, I am also gearing up for the excitement that comes with Fall. Here at the New York State Library we are working with the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries on the Creating the Future: Vision 2020 Initiative. We also continue to look at our future projects and assess our capacities and future directions. We continually ask ourselves, What should today's State Library do…and be? What should tomorrow's State Library do…and be? I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas. Please don't hesitate to email me at BMARGOLIS@MAIL.NYSED.GOV. With this review comes the important chance to review our rich history. As you may know, we began in 1818, almost 200 years ago. Can anyone remember back that far?

Happy end of summer.

Bernie Margolis
Your New York State Librarian

Last Updated: October 28, 2014