Director Briefing - January 2, 2024

Welcome to 2024

Happy New Year, everyone!

I hope you all celebrated, relaxed, and enjoyed the first day of 2024.

As you consider everything you'd like to accomplish this upcoming year, please let me know how I can help. If you'd like more/less information in these Briefings, a different format, shared with a broader audience, or anything else you can think of, I'm happy to adjust to what fits the group.

It has truly been delightful working with you in 2023. I'm looking forward to a positive 2024!

State Aid for Library Construction Info Session - Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Join us for an information session regarding the State Aid for Library Construction program. It is recommended that any libraries considering projects over the next few years should attend. We’ll review eligible projects, the procedure to apply, updates from the NYS Division of Library Development, and the approximate timeline of the FY 2025 grant cycle.

A Zoom link will be sent to all registrants in advance of the session.

This session counts towards the two hours of required Trustee Education.

Click here to register .

Resource: Self-Sufficiency Earnings Estimator

While chatting with a Director about staff salaries, I came across a New York State resource called the Self-Sufficiency Earnings Estimator ( ). You may have heard of this, but it is my first time coming across it. The tool recommends what a "self-sufficient" income is based on location, the number of adults in the household, and the number of children in a household. These are general numbers, however, they could prove to be helpful benchmarks when considering staff wages.

Here is an example of a Wayne County family with two adults, one infant, and one preschooler…

2023-12-29 14-09-27.png

The Resources page on ( has been updated to include Ground News, Kanopy, and LawDepot. Feel free to promote these resources to your patrons. ASL Inside has also been added as a resource through Mango Languages!

This Week in OSC Audits: Claims Auditing

I thought only one of the audits released last week was relevant to libraries. It dealt with Claims Auditing. This topic is covered quite a bit (because of its importance in fiscal oversight), and questions about this are asked regularly.

The key findings of this particular audit said, "The Board did not properly audit claims before payment. As a result, there was an increased risk that improper or unsupported payments could have been made and may not have been detected and corrected."

Library Boards are entrusted with Public Funds and must review all purchases before payment.

The OSC has a helpful webpage dedicated to the Claims Auditing process that would be good for Trustees/Directors to review.
Claims Auditing

Auditing claims demands more than a “rubber stamp” of the claim packages. Instead, it should entail a thorough and deliberate examination to determine that the claim is a legal obligation and a proper charge against the local government or school district. As a general rule, a claim package should contain enough detail and documentation so that the auditing body or official is supplied with sufficient information to make that determination…

Click here to view the full page .

The lack of a claims auditing process has been one of the critical points in OSC audits of libraries over the years.

Lack of an audit claims process: The full board is responsible for the “audit and approval” of each claim (a.ka. bill) prior to payment. Every claim needs to be adequately documented and supported by a voucher, purchase order (where applicable) and an itemized receipt or invoice. The board, by resolution, may
authorize payment in advance of their audit for claims for public utility services (electric gas, water, sewer and telephone) and postage – however, the claims for such pre-payments must be presented at the next regular board meeting or audit.

There is a helpful publication by the OSC titled "Local Government Management Guide: Improving the Effectiveness of Your Claims Auditing Process," which is worth a read.

Below are a few examples of Claims Auditing Policies/Procedures: Finally, the OSC is hosting a Improving the Effectiveness of Your Claims Auditing Process on February 7, 2023 . This webinar qualifies for CE hours for your Trustees, so feel free to share.

NYLA Voice: Good Things, Small Packages by Suzanne Macaulay

Column Description: Celebrating the good things happening in New York's small and rural libraries.

With this edition of The NYLA Voice being the last of 2023, I figured I would be writing a piece on New Year Goal Setting for Small Libraries (or very similar). However, as I type this from my bed and not the office, I am humbly reminded “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry” (Robert Burns, “To a Mouse”).

I had gum surgery on Friday, which I had meticulously scheduled to fall between a few late-November outreach events and our System’s funnest event of the year, the Annual OWWLie Awards. According to every single thing I read about this procedure (both information provided by my periodontist and Google), I expected to return to work Monday and then be totally and perfectly well and healed and ready to co-emcee on December 15. And yet, it is mid-week, and I am still at home, frustrated by the realization that recovery did not go according to plan…

Read Suzanne's full article here.

HBR: How to Create Your Own “Year in Review”

I enjoyed reading this article from HBR on creating your own "Year in Review." The authors, Helen Tupper and Sarah Ellis, suggest a process and pose several questions for reflection on the previous year.

As the year comes to a close, it’s easy to get distracted by deadlines and miss out on valuable opportunities to accelerate our growth. If we don’t take the time to reflect on what’s gone before, we’re more likely to make the same mistakes and less able to apply what we’ve learned going forward.

To take control of your career development, you need to identify and take ownership of what you should do differently in the coming year. So seize this opportunity to press pause to reflect on the last 12 months, play it back to identify what worked and what didn’t, and fast-forward to apply what you’ve learned. Here are three steps to get your own “year in review” started…

How to Create Your Own Year in Review - HBR 2023.pdf
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