Comments on Second Draft -- Creating the Future: a 2020 Vision Plan for Library Service in New York State

Please regulate and require each school district to have a certified librarian in the elementary schools! Thank you!

-- Debra Kozlowski, H.S. Library Media Specialist, Yearbook Advisor, Holland H.S.

The goals proposed in this report are very well thought out and are necessary for the continuance of public’s  access to not only digital information but the means and ability to access that information. This is where Erie county missed the “turn” under the reins of Chris Collins who cut staff, branch library access and many other cultural services which go hand in hand with improving public knowledge for those who cannot afford or do not possess the necessary equipment and/or skills to employ the “digital world” in order to improve their lives and become a more valuable member of our society.

The holes that were put into Erie County’s existing library system need to be repaired in order to move into the future proposed by the 2020 report. -- Peter F. Schmid

It is heartening to read the preliminary recommendations within the Second Draft of the 2020 Vision and Plan for Library Service in New York State.  Having the Regents Advisory Council recommendations plainly stated does indeed make clear the centrality and importance of library funding (page 1, Executive Summary).

The “continuous opportunities for learning” which spring from “educational programs and services” (page 2) require stable funding sources.  Technological accessible resources require technologically competent staff as well as many more hours spent for electronic resource management vs. the processing required to have physical items both findable and available.
The Trocaire College libraries currently collaborate with other academic libraries in the region through WNYLRC, one of the 3Rs Councils, to reduce redundancies within collections (page 6, recommendation #21).  The Libraries are confident that Trocaire does understand the “libraries are the heart of intellectual inquiry” (Academic and Research Libraries, Models for Success, page 6).  The libraries especially appreciate recommendation 22 regarding the “primary role of academic librarians in fostering the integration of information literacy competencies into teaching and learning. . . to support student academic achievement. . .” (page 6). -- Judith K Schwartz, MLS, Director of Library Services, Trocaire College

The support for school librarians and their programs is vital to the success of our students with the common core and this second draft reflects this. We act as a conduit for students, teachers, staff and administrators and when missing make it difficult for schools to graduate adaptable, literate ( in all forms)) citizens of the 21st century. -- Mary Ann Hebert, School Library System Director - Staff Specialist, Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES

Seven people – not all members of the SU community – came together to discuss the 2020 vision. Members of the group did not see this document as being a plan, but rather a “vision to plan” (cover page).  A plan would have specific actions, rather than just recommendations.

Some thought that the recommendations should be reorganized by theme.  I know that the current organization makes the most sense to the Regents.  However, organizing by theme might make more sense to the library community.  Perhaps a document could be done  - after the Regents accept this – that is presented in theme order?

In order to understand the 2020 vision, you need to understand what is happening with libraries currently in NYS.  So this document does not contain enough information for someone who is not conversant with the current state of libraries.  Maybe pointers to additional information?  (Which wouldn’t necessarily lengthen the document too much?)

The number of libraries in NYS is on page 2, but should also be incorporated into page 1.

Under “School Libraries (P-12)”, people noted that there was good specificity.

People felt that the section on “Special Libraries” was a weaker section.  We had a long discussion about corporate libraries and whether they would want to share. (recommendation #30).  For me (a former corporate librarian), this section makes sense, but it doesn’t to people who have not been corporate librarians.  Perhaps some more text?  Or take “corporate” in the title and move it to the end of the list?  (People might focus less on the work then.)

We discussed whether this document needed examples, like a view of how people will interact with libraries in 2020.  Or a scenario of how libraries will impact those things that touch a person’s life.  We also recognized that might create a point of view that could be limited/limiting.  Another option would be to create “personas” to represent NYS citizens in 2020 and how they interact with information.  I don’t have a good resources about personas…but this gives you some idea of what I mean,  They can be quite powerful.

On page 9, the idea of “share and consolidate” (also recommendation #38) are topics that we cannot be flippant about. -- Jill Hurst-Wahl, Assistant Professor of Practice, School of Information Studies, Syracuse University

In the section on library systems:

I think that there is too much emphasis on consolidation of systems and system services.  I believe the focus should instead be on cooperation, collaboration and shared services.  While the input from NYALS did say that consolidation should be explored, the document that was agreed upon and submitted to RAC  was much more focused on shared services and collaboration.  Consolidation should not be done just to reduce costs.  The impact on the impact on the quality of services should be considered. There is little or no evidence that consolidation of libraries or library systems results in substantial savings without significant reductions in service.  Reducing the number of systems does not ensure the continuation of systems.  Several states have reduced the number of systems down to so few that the few that remain can no longer provide meaningful service to their vastly expanded members.  In Illinois, for example, it is my understanding that public libraries are in the process preparing to pull out of the remaining “mega-size” systems which provide less and are unable to be very responsive to member needs and planning to  join together in clusters of fewer nearby libraries to share services… essentially creating their own library systems.

Since most state aid to libraries in NY goes to library systems, I think that the section on library systems should be expanded and statements about the differences in roles and the value of the three types of systems should be included.

I am concerned about the diminishment of services to public libraries if public library systems are consolidated into multi-type systems where, there may be one public library specialist on the staff and no daily delivery service.  Multi-type systems must try to address all of the type of library segments of their membership.  In my 40 years of experience I have never seen a multi-type system that was sufficiently funded and appropriately staffed so it could do this well.  Also, the multi-type systems that I am familiar with operate on a one-vote-per-member library basis so that a tiny corporate library has equal say in the priorities and budget of the system as a public library, no matter what its size and size of the population it is chartered to serve.  This is true in NY where public library systems and school library systems have only one vote as do individual corporate, institutional and academic libraries.  In NJ where county public libraries with multiple branches only have one vote.  So the Ocean County Library with a main library and 19 branches has no more say than a special library serving a single law firm of 10 attorneys with only 1 MLS on staff.  This is not equitable and makes the diminishment of system services to public libraries (and the communities and individuals they serve) inevitable.

I am also troubled by the wording of the following statement:

“As library systems increasingly shift financial burdens onto member libraries, there is concern that richer regions of the state will come away with superior library services. Also, the new cap on property taxes may make it more difficult for library systems to assess increased member fees.”

  1. Besides the unusual phrasing – i.e. “come away with,” as written it seems to say that no region of the state should be able to offer superior services.  I don’t think anything should be said in a report by the library community that advocates for less than superior library service or can be used as a rationale for leveling down.  In my opinion it would be better to say:  “There is concern that only the more affluent regions of the state will be able to afford superior library services.”
  2. About “shifting the financial burden” and “assessing fees,” I think it would be more accurate and more politic to say “as library systems have had to ask their member libraries to cover more and more of the cost of services provided to them to make up for long-term underfunding by the state with no regular adjustments for increasing costs and substantial reductions during economic downturns….”
  3. I also think it would be more accurate and politic to say:  “The cap on property taxes may make it more difficult for member libraries to increase their financial support of their library systems to the extent needed to continue to ensure that needed and used system services can continue to be provided.”
  4. Public library systems don’t usually assess member fees, instead they propose fees for services that their member libraries agree upon.  I believe that most fees for services by public library systems are subject to approval by member libraries via a vote.  I am also concerned about the words “member fees” being misinterpreted as membership fees which public library systems are precluded by law or regulation from charging.

-- Jackie Thresher, Director, Nassau Library System

I have a comment about recommendation # 26 in the latest draft of the RAC 2020 Vision document.

Recommendation #26 occurs under the public library section and states: "Creation of digital literacy learning initiatives providing this 21st century skill to people of all walks of life, not those just enrolled in schools and colleges."

Using the word "creation" concerns me because it implies that public libraries should "reinvent the wheel" when it comes to digital literary initiatives.  As you know, many of our public libraries are small and short staffed.  They don't have time to "create".  I think the words "provide" and "support both statewide and national digital literacy initiatives" are better words and phrases to use. -- Linda Todd

On behalf of the SUNYLA Council, I am pleased to say that we find no significant problems with the new draft of the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries’ plan. Overall, it is simply a better document than the previous version.

The language is stronger and the addition of an executive summary and universal themes (Access, Information Literacy, Sustainability) are useful and well chosen. We feel that the various recommendations laid out are clear enough to take action on, yet not so narrow as to limit individuality or innovation in providing and obtaining services. Also, we are glad to see SUNYLA’s earlier input, and that of other library groups, reflected in several areas, such as a new recommendation specifically addressing information literacy and the inclusion of the Digital Public Library of America and Open Library initiatives in recommendations regarding e-resources.

While there are other things to admire within the document, I will leave it there and simply say—well done! Thank you for this opportunity to help shape the future of New York’s libraries and for your continued efforts in support of the state and people of New York. -- April C. Davies, President, SUNY Librarians Association

I would like to state my support for the proposed recommendations in the 2020 Vision and Plan for Library Service in New York State.

It is essential that the State Department of Education and State Library lead the advocacy on the continued importance and relevance of libraries. Libraries remain relevant in a digital world since all content is not currently available digitally. Moreover, as digital information increases, individuals increasingly need help making sense of the growing amount that is obtainable by them. It is not sufficient for librarians to simply guide people to information but to teach them how to become educated consumers and producers of information utilizing critical thinking skills. At Colgate University, the Libraries continue to experience high use of facilities, services, and physical collections as well as growing use of its unique and proprietary digital collections.

While the “development of a statewide/national digital library of shared use, freely accessible digitized books and research materials” is an essential goal, it is vital for the Regents and others to be fully aware of the significant financial, legal, and political challenges to establishing this objective. Additional resources needed for the development of this “digital library” should not displace current support provided to and needed by the state’s libraries.

New York State has an opportunity through its network of libraries to build a comprehensive information services system with librarians at the center who identify high quality information resources, negotiate collaboratively with corporations to secure favorable pricing, work with the archival and museum communities to ensure perpetual, open access to our cultural legacy, and design, develop and deliver high quality services with efficiency and economy. Librarians will be at the center of developing statewide digital platforms for sharing information as freely as possible.

Therefore, collaboration must be a key theme as we look forward over the next decade. Library collaboration and coordination through consortia will be able to make inroads with publishers involving economies of scale and enhanced resource sharing.
Universities sit at the crossroads of research, education and innovation with information needing to flow into society and business. However, they also operate in a local context by providing local community members, including businesses, access to relevant scholarship and by matriculating qualified students from within New York. A successful statewide research and innovation strategy as articulated in the 2020 Vision and Plan for Library Service will build on these strengths that depend on strong, continued support for libraries. -- Joanne A. Schneider, University Librarian and Professor in the Libraries, Colgate University Libraries

I'm concerned about the statement on page 9 re: NYS library systems..."there is concern that richer regions of the state will come away with superior library services." I don't think that is what you want to convey. Superior library service is to be sought. It is a good thing.

Rephrasing the line seems in order. Perhaps something like ... there is concern that all regions will not have superior library services. -- Maureen Chiofalo, Library Director

Utica College endorses the recommendations outlined in the Advisory Council on Libraries’ draft 2020 Vision Plan for Library Service in New York State. The plan’s recommendations are in harmony with our collaborative efforts with NYSHEI (New York Higher Education Initiative) to propose legislation designed to leverage the buying power of New York’s academic and research libraries to expand collections, promote access, including open access, and lower costs.

The 2020 Vision Plan is encouraging for Utica College in that it recognizes both the value of and challenges facing academic and research libraries. It is a positive, supportive document. -- Beverly J. Marcoline, MLS, Assistant Vice President for Library and Information Technology Services, Utica College

"Research shows that the highest achieving students come from schools with good library programs."-- Keith Curry Lance.

In the 21st Century Digital Age librarians are needed now, more than ever, to help students navigate through a maze of misinformation and disinformation.  Libraries on the primary and elementary level work to provide a solid foundation of information literacy skills that librarians on the secondary level can cultivate and nurture as they prepare students for college and daily life after high school.

Librarians create lifelong learners and help their students foster a love of reading.  The birth of the Internet does not mean the death of librarians.  Librarians recognize the resources found on the Internet as tools that enhance instruction and as a profession we are constantly changing and adapting to incorporate these tools into our daily instructional practices as a means of promoting student achievement.  Certified school librarians should be mandated on the k-12 level in all school in New York State. -- Margaux DelGuidice, School Librarian, Garden City High School


I have reviewed the Regents Advisory Council Vision 2020 Plan and approve of the recommendations. The only point I would make is that special attention should be given to enhancing the role of libraries as economic drivers in municipalities. This goes along with the recommendation that the Department of Education develop economic justifications for the investments that are made in libraries. Libraries are valuable resources for people looking for work during difficult economic times, as well as a source of inexpensive entertainment for families who might suffer financially. The Department should develop ways to promote and enhance these benefits. -- Jane Tsamardinos, counsel at the New York State Conference of Mayors

Thank you for this opportunity to comment on Creating the Future: A 2020 Vision and Plan for Library Service in New York. The recommendations for academic and research libraries are excellent, particularly (21), “collaboration among all academic libraries in the development of print repositories designed to reduce redundancies within collections while maintaining high levels of access.”

I’d like to request an addition to the strategic directions that would strengthen New York State’s library access to all institutions.  Our goal for New York is to achieve a state academic library consortium like that of Illinois, with unfettered borrowing among all the institutions.

Currently, research institutions have established off-site storage facilities, and collaborations between them have increased in the past decade.

  • ReCAP offers next-day delivery of print items between Columbia University, Princeton University, and the New York Public Library. It is a “high-density, environmentally-controlled shelving facility jointly owned and operated.” Since 2002, the facility has delivered nearly 10 million items. <>
  • BorrowDirect is “an expedited delivery system for books (primarily monographs) enabling faculty, students, and staff of Borrow Direct institutions to request circulating materials directly from the library where they are held, without the need for library staff to intervene in the process. CRL is committed to the same expedited delivery standard, shipping material directly to the borrowing patron’s library via UPS 2nd Day Delivery. Borrow Direct has successfully provided over 1 million items since the service was initiated in 1999. Borrow Direct provides unified access to the collections of Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Yale, and the University of Pennsylvania libraries.” <>
  • IDS Project is “a mutually supportive resource-sharing cooperative within New York State whose members include public and private academic libraries, the New York Public Library, and the New York State Library…The major goal of the Project is to continually implement and objectively evaluate innovative resource-sharing strategies, policies and procedures that will optimize mutual access to the information resources of all IDS Project libraries. Member libraries sign annual contracts committing to a common set of performance standards. There are no initial start-up fees or annual maintenance fees.” <>

The smaller states of Ohio (with OhioNet) and Illinois (with ILLinet) have enabled all libraries, from small to large, to request items for rapid delivery. As a small institution with less than 2000 students and a 37,000-volume library, we believe that the state of New York should ensure that our academic library can participate in broadening access via projects like the IDS Project. -- Jay Datema, Director of Library Services, Metropolitan College of New York

Generally I approve what I have read, especially, of course, with respect to preserving libraries, librarians, and funding. Specifically, collaborative efforts at cost-sharing in Western New York have reached the point where WNYLRC and the local Academic Directors Caucus are considering the consortial purchase of researches databases.  From there it is only a step to databases "in the cloud", or, if you like a "union" catalog of databases.  Conditionally I approve of "The publication of academic research generated by faculty that would be universally available at no cost to the user," I wonder however how this might be achieved over possible objection by faculty.  Finally, I hope that collaborative digital preservation projects might be a source of welcome funding be the State to the libraries and institutions participating. -- Frank Carey, Director of the Research and Information Commons and Library Services, Daemen College

Thanks for providing another opportunity for members of New York's library community to give you input on the second draft of "Creating the Future: A 2020 Vision and Plan for Library Service in New York State." Although I am a trustee on the board of the Mid-Hudson Library System, I want to be clear that I'm not writing as a representative of that board. That is, my comments are my own. I first provided input in April 2011, and submitted additional comments last November. I welcome another opportunity to make a few more remarks. As you'll see, many of my edits are suggestions for word replacements, punctuation changes, sentence break-ups, etc, but there are content-based suggestions as well.

Thanks again for this opportunity. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments.



Comments on the second draft of “A 2020 Vision and Plan for Library Service”

Title Page
In the fourth line that begins with the word "Preliminary," you might consider moving the word "State" from its position in the fifth line to the end of the fourth line. The revised line would read "Preliminary Recommendations of the New York State" etc.

Page 1, "Executive Summary"

Second paragraph, third line: Suggest deleting the words "in an open democracy" since that's understood. To me, that would make for a stronger statement. Same paragraph, fourth line: Suggest replacing the word "engage" with either "use" or "employ"

Third paragraph, first sentence: Suggest replacing the commas with semi-colons in that sentence. Also, in line 2, suggest replacing the word "address" with "meet"

Last paragraph, first line: Suggest replacing the word "those" with "that" and adding dashes in two places so that the revised sentence would read "This plan makes it clear that libraries—as educational institutions and community centers—are central" etc. Same paragraph, fourth line from the end: For consistency where it appears in other places, suggest spelling out "Regents" so it reads "Board of Regents"

Also suggest moving the text around a little so that sentence would read "However, it is hoped that this report to the Board of Regents makes clear that without increases in financial support, libraries and library systems cannot be sustained and continue to be responsive to the evolving needs of our state's residents."

Page 2, "Introduction"

First paragraph, line 3: Suggest replacing the commas after "society" and "efficiency" with semicolons.Also suggest deleting the word "are" in that line (fifth word from the end of the line)

Second paragraph, line 1: Suggest adding the word "directors" before "staff" in that line


First paragraph, line 2, second sentence: Suggest deleting the comma between the word "library" and "as"
Same paragraph, line 3. For clarity, suggest ending the second sentence with the word universities" and begin a new sentence with "It also charters cultural institutions", etc. Same paragraph, line 5: Suggest adding the word "together" after "tie" and in line 6, suggest adding a dash after the word "libraries" and another dash in line seven after the word "organizations" Otherwise, the sentence is a little long and cumbersome to read. Same paragraph, line 8: Suggest deleting the words "As such" and beginning the sentence with "The Board of Regents must also articulate" etc.

Second paragraph, line 2: Suggest ending the sentence after the word "today" and beginning the next one with "It is right before us," etc.

Page 3 “Libraries—An Investment in Our Future”

First paragraph, line 2, second sentence: Here's a suggested rewrite of that sentence “By offering all New Yorkers the opportunity to acquire the knowledge they need to be informed and engaged participants in an open democracy, libraries empower individuals. Same paragraph, last sentence: I didn't understand that sentence the first time I came across it, and I still don't. It simply doesn't communicate, I'm afraid.

Third paragraph, second line: Suggest replacing the word “re-tasking” with “reinventing” or “reallocating.” Third line: Suggest deleting the word “with” and adding “ed” to the word “skill” so it would read “the need for staff skilled in virtual” etc.

Fourth paragraph, second line: Suggest adding the word “print” after “with” because we need to have people skilled in print literacy as well as the digital kind. Third line: Suggest adding the word “find” between “to” and “evaluate”

Sixth paragraph, second sentence, line 2: Suggest adding “the collective memory of” after the word “for” so it would read “They are the repositories for the collective memory of our communities, our state, and our nation and offer us” etc. Line 3: Make the word “Dream” lower case

Consider adding on to that paragraph another reason libraries are so valued by residents—something that isn't mentioned anywhere in this report. Maybe a sentence could be added something like this “They are also a source of entertainment. Reading for enjoyment, as well as for information, makes libraries a draw for New Yorkers.” I am somewhat astounded that the words “enjoyment,” “entertainment,” “fun” or anything even close appear nowhere in the document. Nor does the word “read” appear. I realize who the target audience is, but still. I could be wrong, but my guess is that local libraries get more requests for fiction than non-fiction books.

Page 4

First paragraph, line 1: For more clarity, insert after the word “access” the words “to information” and remove “to information” from its current position in that sentence. Line 5: Suggest replacing the word “some” with “most” Second to last line, insert a comma between the words “systems” and “are”

Page 5

Second paragraph, line 1: I don't understand the use of the word “phenomenon” in this sentence. Could the sentence possibly be rewritten to read “The best school libraries are fully integrated into the P-12 learning experience and are at the hub of each campus, reaching into every classroom as well as into students' homes.”

Under the “Recommendations” second bullet: Suggest adding the word “certified” before “elementary school librarian”

In this section, I'm troubled that there is no statement/recommendation about the role of school librarians helping students discover the fun of reading. Without fostering a love for reading in children, I'm afraid that libraries as we know them will die. Or the only people using them will be old people.

Page 6

First paragraph, last sentence: It seems that a word is missing from the end of that sentence. Suggest adding “issues” perhaps.

Second paragraph, second line: It appears that the word “or” needs to be deleted.

Last paragraph, first line, second sentence and continuing: Suggest a little rewrite of the second sentence and shortening a little so the text would read: “They provide residents the right to free and equal access to information, a right now under duress,” etc. Consider ending the sentence with the word “services” in the third line. Begin the next sentence with “Some” and rewrite it slightly to read” “Some of these are free but of questionable quality; others are of high quality but also of high price; and others are comprised of collections that are no longer owned, but rented.”

Second line from the end of page: Suggest replacing the word “beacon” with something else—possibly with the word “beginning” or the words “starting point”

Page 7

First paragraph, first line: Suggest replacing the words “a gathering place” with “a community center” and ending that sentence after “learning place” Suggest beginning the next sentence with “Residents desire more business hours' more traditional” etc. Do you need to document this with the source of information. And in the next paragraph, do you need to cite the source of your information or give statistics?

Third paragraph, first line: Did you mean “unequal” or “uneven” in that first sentence? Perhaps “uneven” might express the reality a little better?

Fourth paragraph, third line: Suggest replacing “welcome new Americans” with “help new Americans assimilate”

Under the “Recommendations” suggest adding a bullet expressing something like this “Exploration and implementation of green resources and practices as cost-saving and environment-preserving measures.”

Page 8

The word “Recommendations” is missing before the section with the bullets. In the third bullet, replace “participate” with “participation”

Page 9

First paragraph, fourth line: In the sentence that begins “Library systems should assist” etc, suggest replacing the commas with semi-colons. Also suggest removing the word “should” before “collaborate” in the seventh line.

Second paragraph, seventh line: End the sentence after the word “institutions” and begin the next sentence with “Each will excel in its own area,” etc.

Page 10

First paragraph, all three lines: Suggest replacing the commas with semi-colons.

Under the “Recommendations” last bullet, second line: Shouldn't it be “P-12 education” instead of “K-12 education”?

Page 11

Is there supposed to be a section “Models for Success” for this page?

Last paragraph, lines 2 and 3: Suggest rewriting the second sentence slightly to read “Before it is too late, and libraries are forced to cut staff, services and hours—or close altogether—substantial, fair funding is needed for the new services and programs outlined in this document.”

Final page listing the RAC members, etc

In the pdf version, the two columns don't quite line up. Also maybe a note at the bottom of the page indicating that the years in the parentheses are the term expiration dates for the members might work better than the note at the top. -- Jean Ehnebuske

The following comment is from Tom Twomey, Chairman of the Board of the East Hampton Library in reference to the statement: The further proliferation of the Regents’ Public Library District Model to require all public libraries to become fully funded and governed through citizen participation and public vote. (23)

There is no empirical evidence that an elected library board provides better library services than a non-elected board.

On the other hand, there is evidence that non-elected boards provide excellent service at reduced taxpayer expense: the very large NYPL and the very small East Hampton Library.

Advocating for elected boards may increase the NYS taxpayer burden for library services without any improvement in the quality of library services in NYS. There is evidence that elected boards raise less private funds for operating and capital expenditures.

The need to secure taxpayer approval for public expenditures is met by the public referendum provision effecting association libraries.

Taken to its natural conclusion, advocating that all library boards should be elected, would mean that the NYS Board of Regents, all university and college Boards, even the Boards of the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the Museum of Modern Art should be elected by the residents of NYS because they are educational institutions and receive tax funds. However, no one would seriously propose such an end result.

The Regent's mission regarding libraries should be focused on encouraging excellent library services for the residents of NYS. The issue of elected versus non-elected boards has no place in that discussion without empirical evidence that indicates an elected Board provides better service to the residents of a library district. -- Dennis Fabiszak, Director, East Hampton Library

On Jan. 31, seven people gathered to discuss the document "Creating the Future: A 2020 Vision and Plan for Library Service in New York State."  The group included:

From the iSchool:

  • Blythe Bennett
  • Barbara Stripling
  • Barbara Kwasnik
  • Paul Gandel
  • Jill Hurst-Wahl


  • Mary Tiedermann, OCM BOCES
  • S. Ann Skiold, Fine Arts Librarian, Bird Library

We are pleased with the work that has already been done on this document.  We recognize that this document is meant specifically for the Board of Regents, and also realize that it will be viewed and used by many people for years to come.  Therefore, we encourage the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries to make this document a call to action.  A call to action is especially important given the current funding realities in New York State, where NYS government is funding libraries at 1994 levels.

We believe that this document should incorporate information about the economic value of libraries and the fact that they are a public good.  Part of the economic value of libraries is their ability and willingness to share services.  The ideas of sharing, partnerships and collaborations are ones that are important to the profession, yet can be sensitive subjects. We should not forget the history of our libraries and systems, and the value that they have provided both to the citizens of New York State and to members of the profession.  We need to tread lightly on the idea of consolidation, while also recognizing the need for unified services.

The document raised questions among the group including:

  • As we look ahead to 2020, we wonder if there is an assumption that libraries will be virtual?
  • Can we support technology without sacrificing space?
  • Should we have one library system that encompasses all of New York State?
  • What are the priorities, given that there are 60 recommendations?
  • Is this vision bold enough?
  • Are we -- New York State -- being ground-breaking or are we following?
  • What are the visions that are being developed and pursued in other states?

We believe that this document is a beginning and look forward to the work (e.g.. a strategic plan) that will occur after it is approved by the Regents.  We hope that regular reports will be released to the library community on progress that is made on its recommendations.

Finally, we see areas in the document where members of the iSchool at Syracuse might want to get involved (e.g., Milton Mueller in regards to topics around convergence).  Therefore, we hope that a continued conversation about the 2020 vision will occur in the iSchool, with an eye for how we can become involved in making the vision a reality. -- Elizabeth D. Liddy, Dean and Trustee Professor, School of Information Studies (iSchool), Syracuse University

Last Updated: May 25, 2021 -- sm