Board President Briefing | June 2023

Action Item Request: Member Library Board Agreement, Systems Access and Confidentiality of Library Records Policy

In the coming months, I will ask each Member Library Board of Trustees to agree to the Systems Access and Confidentiality of Library Records Policy by approving a Member Library Agreement Form. At the last System Board Meeting, we took Member Library feedback and updated the agreement process to make it more flexible for libraries. Your board is welcome to pass a resolution, motion, or any other local practice to agree to the policy.

This policy aims to protect stored patron data and set rules for limiting risk factors associated with cyber security breaches. This is not new; these requirements have been in place since November 2021, and all Library Directors have agreed to these provisions in the past. The change now is that we're asking Member Library Boards to acknowledge the responsibilities of maintaining a database with patron data.

You are welcome to agree to the policy now and send it back to me. However, if you would like to wait, I will be hosting a Trustee Workshop on August 7, 2023, at 5:00 PM, where we will discuss the policy. I will also be answering questions regarding patron privacy. All Trustees are welcome to register to attend in-person or online. Please share this with your Trustees. This event will also count towards the two hours of mandated Trustee Continuing Education.
Member Library Policy Agreement

In order for Member Libraries to have access to Information Systems managed by OWWL Library System (including, but not limited to, email, the ILS (Evergreen), the System reporting tool, LibCal, and Prefab Websites), Member Library Boards of Trustees must read this policy and agree to its contents in accordance with their local governing practices. The Agreement below indicates the Member Library Trustees’ understanding that access to Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and other library record data contained in OWWL Library System’s Information Systems is limited to the requirements of library work and patron consent (as defined above in the “Definitions” section of this policy), and such information is not to be disclosed to unauthorized persons and must be kept secure at all times. Member Libraries will be held responsible and liable for any local infraction of this policy. Member Libraries may wish to collect local agreements from staff using any form they deem appropriate, providing the agreement upholds this policy. Libraries are welcome to use this policy’s System Staff Agreement Form as a sample form. Member Libraries will be required to acknowledge this policy annually, attesting to the Member Library’s commitment to continuation and knowledge of the requirement to protect PII appropriately, especially among new trustees and employees.

Source: Systems Access and Confidentiality of Library Records Policy

Tracking Trustee Education

Each Trustee on your Board is required to complete two hours of training this year. Board Presidents are responsible for ensuring Trustees complete this training, so be sure to track when Trustees submit for hours; they must be reported on the 2023 Annual Report. You should have a policy in place for Trustees to submit self-assurance forms if they cannot obtain confirmation of completion (for example, if they view a recording). Remember, this is a law from the State Education Department . Below are the 2023 Trustee Workshops that your Trustees are welcome to attend or watch the recording of to complete the two hours of training.

2023 Trustee Workshop Schedule, Recordings, and Resources

Workshop Date Time Link
State Aid for Library Construction Info Session ✓ January 31, 2023 4:00 PM Recording
Roles and Responsibilities for New Trustees ✓ February 6, 2023 5:00 PM Recording
Trustee Handbook Book Club: Open Meetings Law with Kirsten O’Neill, Committee on Open Government ✓ February 21, 2023 5:00 PM Recording
Key Laws & Regulations for Libraries ✓ March 9, 2023 5:00 PM Recording
Trustee Handbook Book Club: The Board-Director Relationship ✓ April 18, 2023 5:00 PM Recording
Q&A with Ron at Wadsworth Library in Geneseo (Resource Page) ✓ April 27, 2023 6:00 PM Recording
Q&A with Ron at Newark Public Library (Resource Page) ✓ June 8, 2023 4:30 PM No Recording
Trustee Handbook Book Club: Financial Planning & Budgeting ✓ June 20, 2023 5:00 PM Recording
Q&A with Ron at Stevens Memorial Library in Attica, NY (Hybrid - Submit a Question) July 10, 2023 6:00 PM Registration
Budgeting Q&A with Ron and Kelly July 17, 2023 5:00 PM Registration
Patron Privacy and Access Policies (Hybrid) August 7, 2023 5:00 PM Registration
Trustee Handbook Book Club: Strategic Planning August 15, 2023 5:00 PM Registration
Trustee Handbook Book Club: Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Access & Justice October 17, 2023 5:00 PM Registration
Trustee Handbook Book Club: Financing & Managing Construction Projects December 19, 2023 5:00 PM Registration
Trustees are also welcome to use the workshops recorded in 2022.

2022 Trustee Workshop Recordings

Workshop Date Time Link
State Aid for Library Construction Info Session ✓ Monday, January 10, 2022 5:00 PM Recording
Trustee Book Club: Budgets & Finance ✓ Tuesday, January 18, 2022 5:00 PM Recording
System Orientation for New Trustees ✓ Monday, February 7, 2022 5:00 PM Recording
Trustee Book Club: Facilities ✓ Tuesday, February 22, 2022 5:00 PM Recording
A Board's Guide to Book Challenges in Public Libraries ✓ Thursday, March 10, 2022 5:00 PM Recording
Trustee Book Club: Policies & Risk Management ✓ Tuesday, March 29, 2022 5:00 PM Recording
Trustee Book Club: Ethics & Conflicts of Interest ✓ Tuesday, April 19, 2022 5:00 PM Recording
Trustee Book Club: Planning & Evaluation ✓ Tuesday, May 3, 2022 5:00 PM Recording
Trustee Book Club: PR & Advocacy ✓ Tuesday, June 14, 2022 5:00 PM Recording
After completing each workshop recording, I update the Trustee Workshop Resources page on OWWL Docs.

Required Updates to Sexual Harassment Prevention Model Policy and Training

The Department of Labor released the final version of its updated model policy on sexual harassment. HR Works updated our Harassment and Discrimination Prevention Policy which is attached below. These updates will need to be worked into your existing policy/Employee Handbook. It is recommended that libraries do the same at their next board meeting so they remain in compliance with this law.

Also, keep in mind, Trustees are considered the Employers of the Director, so all Board Members are required to take the training as well.

Harassment and Discrimination Prevention Policy

Also, click here for an article from Proskauer detailing the updates to the DOL's policy.

Here are some highlights from the article:
  • Clearly explaining that, in New York State, sexual harassment does not need to be severe or pervasive to be illegal.
  • Defining sexual harassment as a form of “gender-based” discrimination, and providing an explanation of gender diversity (including definitions of cisgender, transgender and non-binary persons).
  • Including a provision explaining that intent is not a defense under the law, and that impact is what matters in assessing whether the law has been violated. The provision also refers to the New York State Human Rights Law to explain that whether harassing conduct is considered “petty” or “trivial” is from the perspective of a “reasonable victim of discrimination with the same protected characteristics.”
  • Adding provisions making clear that harassing behavior can happen in the remote workplace.
  • Providing an updated, non-exhaustive list of examples of sexual harassment and retaliation across many kinds of careers and industries. Some of the new examples include “Intentional misuse of an individual’s preferred pronouns” and “Creating different expectations for individuals based on their perceived identities.”
  • Including a provision in the section on Supervisory Responsibilities informing supervisors and managers that they should be mindful of the impact investigations into sexual harassment can have on victims, and stating that management must “accommodate the needs of individuals who have experienced harassment to ensure the workplace is safe, supportive and free from retaliation for them during and after any investigation.”
  • Adding a new section on bystander intervention, including an explanation of five standard methods of intervention that can be used if employees witness harassment or discrimination.
  • In the section on Legal Protections and External Remedies, making reference to the state’s confidential hotline for complaints of workplace sexual harassment which, as we previously reported, launched in July 2022.
  • In a new Conclusion section, clarifying that while the focus of the policy is on sexual harassment and gender discrimination, the New York State Human Rights Law protects against discrimination in other protected classes and the policy “should be considered applicable to all protected classes.”
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