Director Briefing - February 13, 2023

SAM Scams / SAM Renewal from Suzanne

Tis the season for SAM scams! Some of you may have or may receive somewhat aggressive emails and/or phone calls saying that your SAM needs to be renewed and you must contact them. Delete these emails. They are a scam and are trying to get you to pay them money to renew your SAM. There are never costs associated with renewing your SAM and you should only renew via

A few other notes (re: SAM):
  • SAM is no longer using DUNS Numbers; they have transitioned to Unique Entity ID (generated by
  • The Unique Entity ID is a 12-character alphanumeric ID assigned to an entity by
  • As part of this transition, the DUNS Number has been removed from
  • Entity registration, searching, and data entry in now require use of the new Unique Entity ID.
  • Existing registered entities can find their Unique Entity ID by following the steps here.
  • New entities can get their Unique Entity ID at and, if required, complete an entity registration.
Visit for more information. If you plan on applying for State Aid for Library Construction, you should check your registration status because you will need a current expiration date (SAM expires annually). Additionally, if your library had a formal name change, the renewal process may take longer for your library, so you will not want to wait.

If there are any questions on SAM and/or Construction Aid, please reach out to Suzanne.

Congressional Earmarks and Libraries

In 2021, Congress revived the practice of including earmarks in its appropriations bills after a 10-year absence. Earmark funding goes directly to the entity designated by Congress for the specified project (separate from regular federal programs). Earmarks were rebranded “Congressionally Directed Spending” in the Senate and “Community Project Funding” in the House.

In the two years of appropriations laws enacted since then, Congress has directed earmarks to more than 100 projects involving libraries, totaling nearly $150 million in funding. These tables provide details about the library projects included in the fiscal year 2022 and 2023 laws.

Interested libraries may submit project requests to their Members of Congress for the upcoming appropriations bills (fiscal year 2024).

Click here for the full memo .

Congressionally Directed Spending Requests - FY 2024

The deadline to apply for the funding detailed in the memo is March 6, 2023.

Interested libraries to submit requests and/or reach out to Schumer’s staff ( to discuss their ideas. Last year, 3 New York libraries received earmark funding.

OWWL Library System Board Meeting Follow-Up

The System Board met last Wednesday. Below is a summary of the actions taken.

Prefab Website Template Update

Following the redesign of, we are working on redesigning the Prefab multisite that several member libraries use. Our goal is to start migrating sites to the new theme over the next couple of weeks. For newer directors, the Prefab template is a simple solution for libraries to meet Minimum Standards (if they are unable to host their own site) and to provide general library information.

414 Petition Progress

I've been working on a legislative project to try to amend the language in Education Law for the 414 petition requirement. Many libraries signed on to the initial letter sent to Amit S. Bagga, Deputy Secretary to the Governor, Intergovernmental Affairs, back in January. Since then, the System has reached out to our legislators for support and sent a Memorandum of Support for the amendment.

If passed, the amendment would change subparagraph 1 of paragraph b of subdivision 1 of section 259 of the education law, to read:
(1) Except as provided in subparagraph two of this paragraph, whenever twenty-five qualified voters of a municipality[, in a number equal to at least ten per centum of the total number of votes cast in such municipality for governor at the last gubernatorial election,] shall so petition and the library board of trustees shall endorse, the question of establishing or increasing the amount of funding of the annual contribution for the operating budget of a registered public or free association library by such municipality to a sum specified in said petition, shall be voted on at the next general election of such municipality, provided that due public notice of the proposed action shall have been given. An increase in library funding provided pursuant to this paragraph shall not apply to a municipal budget adopted prior to the date of such election.

Right now we're simply waiting to see if this gains traction after it goes through committee.

Cleaning Up Addresses in Zimbra Contacts from Kelsy

Kelsy put together a great "how to" on cleaning up the contacts in Zimbra. She emailed it out last week to the list. Here is a PDF of the email for reference.

Cleaning Up Addresses in Zimbra Contacts.pdf

Question of the Week: Reserve Funds (Rerun from March 2022)

Can my library have Reserve Funds? What is the limit to the funds? Do I need separate bank accounts for all of these funds?

Reserve funds are always a fun topic and this week a few libraries have asked a variety of questions about them. The best information comes from the Trustee Handbook:

Library boards may establish other special purpose funds for accounting and planning purposes. Monies may be transferred into and out of such funds only with formal board approval at an open meeting. It is common for the library to maintain an “undesignated” fund, or “fund balance,” to meet the cash flow requirements of the organization prior to the receipt of taxes. Each fund must be defined in the library's Reserve Funds policy, identified in the library’s annual audit and its purpose understood by every trustee. There is no limit to such reserve funds in law or regulation, but recent State Comptroller’s audits have questioned extraordinary reserves (i.e. in excess of the library’s annual budget).

Having acquired funds from a local government, community taxpayers or other sources, the board has an obligation to spend the money! Although a reserve fund is prudent and appropriate, the library should not hoard excessive amounts of money as a hedge against the proverbial rainy day. There should be justification, based in reality, for all reserve funds. Local governments, voters, and donors do not give or appropriate money to the library so the board can put it away in a safe place. They are buying service from the library! Trustee Handbook, pg. 61

Aside from a Capital Reserve Fund, which is recommended to be a separate bank account for tacking in the Annual Report, Reserve Funds may be in the same account and tracked through your traditional budget practices.

You can view the System's Assigned Reserve Policy as a reference point. Your library may not need the same Reserve Funds, but you can get an idea of what the descriptions should look like.
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