Director Briefing - December 4, 2023


If you were unable to make the OWWLDAC Meeting last Friday, here is a summary of the discussions:

2023 Trustee Handbooks

OWWL Library System purchased enough copies of the 2023 Trustee Handbook for all current Trustees and Directors to receive a copy. I have been working my way through delivering these to libraries, but if you would like yours sooner, I am happy to schedule a time to get them to you (or you can visit HQ, just let me know). Otherwise, I'll be dropping them off at libraries as I visit them or when I am in the area.

The online version has yet to be uploaded by DLD; I'll let you know as soon as it is live.

For EAP Libraries: Benefit Reminder During the Holidays

If your library subscribes to the Employee Assistance Program, staff can access their 2023 Holiday Survival Toolkit. This provides a compilation of helpful seasonal tips on everything from budgeting to managing difficult family situations. Accessing EAP services is a confidential benefit, with many helpful services available to you, your staff, and their family members.

Feel free to share the link above with your staff enrolled in the EAP program.

OWWL Library System 4th Annual OWWLie Awards

It's time have an end-of-year gathering and give out some fun awards! Join us for good people, mediocre laughs, and (if you attend in-person) some sort of tasty snack.

The OWWLie Awards presentation will be offered as hybrid event; online attendees will be emailed a Zoom link the morning of the event.

Click here to register.

Reminder: Tax Cap Compliance for Public Votes

Each library with a public vote must file with the Office of the State Comptroller regarding their Tax Cap. It is recommended that libraries that go out for a public vote pass a board resolution indicating that they will or may exceed the tax cap. This is recommended whether you intend to exceed the tax cap or not due to the potential for reporting errors.

Currently, only five libraries in our System do not have a public vote (Allens Hill, Honeoye, Lima, Marion, and Livonia), meaning everyone else must complete this process.

Below are some resources that may be helpful. Visit the OWWL Docs Tax Cap page for more information.

Property Tax Cap

Libraries of all types that have their own Board and have a public vote on their tax levy are subject to the Local Government section of the New York State Property Tax Cap law. This legislation went into effect in 2011 and is designed to limit property tax increases to 2%, or the Consumer Price Index (CPI), whichever is less. Each year your library must file an online form with the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) to indicate your compliance with the particulars of the law. In the course of the Board’s budget deliberations, you may determine that your library may be justified in asking for more than the tax cap amount. To accomplish this, the Board must pass a tax cap override resolution prior to the public vote on the library’s tax levy. This resolution must receive an affirmative vote by 60% of the library trustees. The public vote must then pass by a simple majority to approve the levy amount. For more information, see:

- 2023 Trustee Handbook, pg. 83.

Annual Reporting/Filing

  • Office of the State Comptroller requires libraries that receive funding through a referendum (public vote) to complete tax cap reporting forms each year, even if you do not plan to ask for an increase or exceed the tax cap.
    • You must file and submit your online form with the Office of the State Comptroller before March 1st each year.
  • The Form Needs to be Completed and Submitted Online
    1. Property Tax Cap Form
      • To declare your intentions for the coming fiscal year and the tax levy being voted on this May. (The May timeline is a general guide as many libraries put up their tax levies and local school district votes).
      • Deadline to file: End of February

Reminder: Annual Update Document (AUD)/Annual Financial Report (AFR) and 990 Requirement

New York State General Municipal Law ยง30 requires each public library to file an annual report of financial transactions with the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC). After fiscal year 2023, this report is known as the Annual Financial Report (AFR).

Annual Update Document/Annual Financial Report (AFR) [Office of the State Comptroller, New York State]

- 2023 Trustee Handbook, page 18-19

All public libraries are required to submit an Annual Update Document (AUD)/Annual Financial Report (AFR) to the OSC, and all association libraries registered as a 501©(3) with the IRS should submit Form 990 to the Internal Revenue Service.

Reminder: Trustees Need to Complete their Two Hours of Required Training

Beginning January 1, 2023, each member, elected or appointed, of a board of trustees shall be required to complete a minimum of two hours of trustee education annually. (Education Law 260-d added by Chapter 468 of the Laws of 2021).

This means Trustees must have their two hours complete by December 31, 2023!

Your library should have a policy, a self-assurance form, and a spreadsheet to track Trustee Education activities.

Libraries will be required to report this on the upcoming Annual Report.

If Trustees still need to watch workshops, below is a list of the 2023 recordings.

One more workshop is scheduled for this year: Financing & Managing Construction Projects on December 19, 2023 .

2023 Trustee Workshop Recordings

Workshop Date Link
State Aid for Library Construction Info Session ✓ January 31, 2023 Recording
Roles and Responsibilities for New Trustees ✓ February 6, 2023 Recording
Trustee Handbook Book Club: Open Meetings Law with Kirsten O’Neill, Committee on Open Government ✓ February 21, 2023 Recording
Key Laws & Regulations for Libraries ✓ March 9, 2023 Recording
Trustee Handbook Book Club: The Board-Director Relationship ✓ April 18, 2023 Recording
Q&A with Ron at Wadsworth Library in Geneseo (Resource Page) ✓ April 27, 2023 Recording
Trustee Handbook Book Club: Financial Planning & Budgeting ✓ June 20, 2023 Recording
Budgeting Q&A with Ron and Kelly (Resource Page) ✓ July 17, 2023 Recording
Trustee Handbook Book Club: Strategic Planning ✓ August 15, 2023 Recording
Trustee Handbook Book Club: Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Access & Justice ✓ October 17, 2023 Recording
Additional resources and recordings can be found on OWWL Docs, Trustee Workshops & Resources . Feel free to forward this to your Trustees.

Today's Tip from Havard Business Review

This tip came in this morning, and since we all deal with the occasional upsetting email, I thought it would be good to share.
What to Do When You Receive an Upsetting Email When you receive an email that’s critical, hostile, or just plain rude, it can ruin your whole day. Here’s how to keep your emotions in check and respond rationally and professionally.

First, take your time. You don’t need to reply immediately. Give yourself a pause to really analyze the message, calm down, and think clearly before you craft your response.

Then, before you say anything else, thank the sender for taking the time to communicate their message to you. Even if they used a negative tone, make sure yours is positive.

Explain your perspective without blame or bluster. Keep in mind that this is only the start of the conversation. There may be facts that your counterpart was unaware of. You can use their email as an opportunity to share where you’re coming from.

Next, clarify the core issue. Communicate where the disconnect happened between you and the sender and ask follow-up questions to better understand what needs to be resolved.

Finally, focus on solutions. Once you understand the problem at hand, concentrate your attention—and your reader’s—on the future, where positive change can occur.

This tip is adapted from "How to Respond to an Upsetting Email," by Elizabeth Danziger

Announcing Two ALA Grants

Two of ALA’s annual library programming grants are now accepting applications!

The Libraries Transform Communities Engagement Grant will provide two libraries with $2,000 to expand their community engagement efforts: The Peggy Barber Tribute Grant aims to help ease library budget challenges by awarding three libraries $2,500 to support a proposed program, program series, or programming effort:

Applications for both grants close on February 1, 2024. Please email with any questions.
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