New York State Library Orientation for Library System Leaders



The State Library recommends that new Library System Leaders attend a New York State Library Orientation for Library System Leaders within three to six months of appointment. The NYSL Orientation brings together new leaders from the three types of library systems in New York State - public library systems, school library systems and reference and research library resources councils - with leadership of the State Library, the State Education Department and with each other. Designed as a basic introduction and partnership building opportunity, the NYSL Orientation sessions cover basic roles, responsibilities and obligations of State-established library systems, as well as programs and resources available to assist new Library System Directors in successfully carrying out their leadership responsibilities and building partnerships across the different Library Systems and with the State Library.

orientation attendees with Library Development staff

State Librarian Lauren Moore and other State Library staff met with new Library System Leaders during the October 10, 2019 State Library Orientation in Albany.

Desired Outcomes for Library System Leaders

  • Increased understanding of the critically important role of library systems within New York State’s statewide library infrastructure and the relationship of the systems to the State Library, the State Education Department, to each other and to member libraries.
  • Increased knowledge about the basics of Federal and State funding, laws, regulations, rules, program guidelines, planning, reporting and accountability expectations.
  • Increased knowledge about system director and State Library responsibilities, key procedures and timelines in relation to managing basic mandatory tasks such as State Aid applications, annual reports, plans of service, etc.
  • Increased awareness of key critical resources and partners that system directors can turn to for information, help and advice – State Library staff, the State Library website, system peer organizations and mentors through NYALS, PULISDO, SLSA, and ESLIN and the New York Library Association (NYLA).
  • Increased awareness of major programs and services provided by the State Library, the Office of Cultural Education and the State Education Department that systems and member libraries can take advantage of, benefit from, partner with and promote.
  • Build strong working relationships with their system’s State Library regional liaison and/or other NYSL staff and with system peers.

Target Audience

The NYSL Orientation is open to all three types of library systems. The primary audience is new directors of public library systems, reference and research library resources councils and school library systems. Other new library system leaders (e.g. assistant directors, outreach coordinators, youth services coordinators, etc.) may also attend upon recommendation by the system director and subsequent approval from the State Library (as space permits).

Timeline and Scheduling

NYSL Orientations are held three times a year – typically in October, March and July. Dates are set two years in advance and are posted publicly on the State Library’s website. All efforts are made to select dates that do not conflict with other major library events. The State Library will also reach out to new system directors upon initial appointment to provide information about registering for an upcoming NYSL Orientation. The NYSL Orientation may be cancelled if there are less than three attendees registered.

attendees in discussion with State Librarian Lauren Moore

Working lunch with State Librarian Lauren Moore, October 10, 2019.

Format and Content

Daylong, with the morning session focused on general topics applicable to all attendees, a tour of the State Library and a networking lunch with the State Librarian. The afternoon session may include two to four topical breakout groups, depending on the number and type of attendees. Breakout groups might include sessions for public library system leaders, reference and research library resources council leaders, school library system directors, youth services coordinators, outreach coordinators, etc.

Orientation Dates

  • Thursday, October 7, 2021
  • Thursday, March 10, 2022
  • Thursday, July 14, 2022
  • Thursday, October 21, 2022


To register, please send an email to Mary Beth Farr at least 5 days prior to the orientation session.

Planning Your Visit


Take I-90 West (cross the Hudson River) to I-787 South to exit 3B to US 20 West. Continue on US 20 West (Madison Avenue) for .7 miles. The Cultural Education Center is on the left.

Take Thruway Exit 23 to I-787 North to Exit 4 to US 20 West. Continue on US 20 West (Madison Avenue) for .7 miles. The Cultural Education Center is on the left.

Take Thruway Exit 24 to I-90 East to I-787 South to exit 3B to US 20 West. Continue on US 20 West (Madison Avenue) for .7 miles. The Cultural Education Center is on the left.

Take the Northway (I-87) or Route 9 to I-90 East to I-787 South to exit 3B to US 20 West. Continue on US 20 West (Madison Avenue) for .7 miles. The Cultural Education Center is on the left.

Follow Empire State Plaza signs, proceed straight under the Plaza, then bear left to loop back under the Plaza. Take the P1 exit and go through the arch to Madison Avenue. Take a right on to Madison Avenue. The Cultural Education Center is on the left.

See also: Empire State Plaza Map | Concourse Map


Limited paid parking is available at the Plaza or close by during weekday business hours. On-street parking is limited and several parking garages are available.

Empire State Plaza Visitor Parking Information

Lodging (distance from Cultural Education Center)

Links will open in a new window.

Sample Agenda

When What
8:45 a.m.
  • Arrival--check in at security desk on the first floor.
  • Order lunch.
9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
  • Welcome and Introductions
  • Overview of State Education Department, New York State Library, Statewide Library Infrastructure
10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
(includes 15 min. break)
  • Tour of Research Library & Talking Book and Braille Library
11:00 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
  • Overview of State and Federal Funding for Libraries
11:45 a.m. - 12 noon
  • Planning, Reporting, and Evaluation
12 noon - 1:00 p.m.
  • Working Lunch with the State Librarian
1:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
  • Key Resources for Library Systems and Libraries
    • Regional Liaisons
    • State Library Website and NYLINE
    • NOVELNY and Digital Collections
    • Disaster Assistance and Documentary Heritage and Preservation Services
1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Breakout Sessions
  • Public Library Systems
  • School Library Systems
  • Reference and Research Library Resources Councils
3:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
  • Youth Services
4:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
  • Wrap-up, Questions and Farewell


Following each orientation, the State Library will send out a brief evaluation form to all attendees asking for immediate feedback and improvement suggestions. The State Library will also send a second evaluation form approximately six months after each Orientation session, asking for additional feedback and improvement suggestions.

Orientation evaluation results will be used to continuously improve the NYSL Orientation for attendees. Results will also be reported to the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services as part of the annual Grants to the States Program Report and the evaluation of New York State’s LSTA Five-Year Plan.

Last Updated: September 3, 2021--sm