Director Briefing - January 23, 2023

State Aid for Library Construction Info Session - January 31, 2023 at 4:00 PM

A reminder that Suzanne's annual State Aid for Library Construction Info Session is scheduled for next Tuesday, January 31, 2023 at 4:00 PM. If you're planning on applying for construction aid this year,
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 2023 grant cycle.

Click here to register

Mandatory Anti-Harassment Training

Just a reminder, all libraries must comply with New York State's anti-harassment training. If you are a member of the EAP, here are instructions on how to find the training:
  1. Go to
  2. Click on Employee & Family Login
  3. Enter your username and password
  4. Click on Training Center
  5. Click on Comprehensive Trainings
  6. Under Featured Playlists select: New York Harassment Prevention Trainings
  7. Select Culture of Civility: Creating a Harassment-Free Workplace - Click on Launch
  8. Click the Start Button
  9. There should be nine videos to watch (It is the same nine videos that you watched the past two years. EAP updates trainings every 4-5 years or if laws change.)
  10. After each video, you will be required to take a quiz and pass before moving on to the next video.
  11. After you watch all nine videos and pass the quizzes, you will receive a certificate to keep locally.

  • Supervisors will need to complete the Culture of Civility: Creating a Harassment-Free Workplace - Supervisors
  • Trustees should also take the Culture of Civility: Creating a Harassment-Free Workplace - Supervisors

Hate Speech in Libraries

On a recent Statewide call, two System Directors (one very close to our area) reported ongoing instances of hate speech occurring in their libraries. So far, the instances have been passive messages left in various places throughout libraries. This is just a heads up to suggest that as staff make their rounds and check bulletin boards, keep an eye out for any posting out of the ordinary.

Should your library discover any form of hate speech, ALA has a resource to help:

Reporting Hate Crimes and Hate Speech

ALA's Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services (ODLOS) works in close coordination with the Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) to respond to incidents that have been reported, as well as units across the Association and its affiliates as needed. However, if library staff have encountered hate speech that may not be defined as a crime, we acknowledge that the impact can be traumatizing. We encourage you to reach out to ODLOS at

Hate crimes can be reported on the OIF Challenge Reporting form.


Updated Mailing List from Bob

The "" mailing list has been renamed to "" - Please use the new list address going forward.

The Economist Leaving Libby from OverDrive

In December 2022, we received notice of a required digital lending model change for The Economist. New requirements by The Economist restrict readers who borrow a title to a maximum 24-hour lending period. After 24 hours, a reader who wants to continue to read the same issue can no longer access it remotely. For a reader to continue access to the issue, they must visit the library to renew access.

OverDrive has decided not to support this change in access. As a result, all editions of The Economist will be removed from OverDrive Magazine collections effective February 1, 2023. The last issue available for readers to borrow will be January 28, 2023. All back issues will also be removed from collections on February 1.

We are adding new magazines to the collection regularly, including Fortune which is coming soon. We will continue to find ways to increase the value of your always available OverDrive Magazine collection.

Kathryn sent an email last week with this information as well. She will continue to monitor this issue in case other magazines follow this lending model.

Recent OSC Audits Highlights

Keeping an eye on audits from the Office of the State Comptroller gives us a good idea of recent auditing trends and what should be considered critical areas for publically funded organizations. Below are a handful of audits that appeared last week and some key findings. Libraries are among the organizations that should make sure these areas are up to date with local policy and practice. If you're interested in reading library-specific OSC audits, you can search the OSC site for "libraries" and they all pop up.

Advocacy Day 2023

For Advocacy Day this year, rather than setting up another run of meetings, I will be visiting each of our legislators to deliver follow-up information from our in-district meetings. If you plan on attending Advocacy Day, let me know and we can set up a time to visit your legislator's office in the Capitol Building or the LOB.

NYLA 2023 Priorities

NYLA 2023 One-Pager.pdf

NYS Library Operating Aid: $147.1M

Increased aid is needed to support the foundational framework of New York State libraries, improving the lives of residents of all ages, abilities and economic status.

Adequate funding is needed to support school, public, and academic libraries and library systems.

NYS Library Construction Aid: $69.4M

Increased investment is needed to maintain and develop the physical infrastructure of New York State’s libraries, in order to ensure a safe, accessible and sustainable environment for the future.

The New York State Library estimates the deferred maintenance need at over $1.5B.

Over half of New York’s libraries are over 60 years old. Investments allow libraries to invest in energy-efficiency and support the local construction industry

Municipal Ballot Petition Reduction

This bill would align the petition signature requirement for libraries using a municipal ballot approach with the 25-signature requirement in place for libraries using a school district ballot approach for their budget proposals.

Elimination of Library Construction Cap

Libraries serving economically distressed communities may be eligible for Library Construction Aid awards beyond 75.00%. However, the law currently only allows public library systems to award 50% of their total allocation to such projects. This proposal would eliminate the 50% cap to ensure that libraries serving economically distressed communities and libraries in rural regions will be able to make use of the library construction aid intended to benefit these communities.

Book Fair Tax Exemption

This bill would make books, magazines, pamphlets and other items sold at both school sponsored book fairs & events hosted by friends of libraries groups exempt from sales tax.

Association Library Retirement Opt-In Option

This bill would allow association libraries that meet certain criteria the ability to join the New York State Retirement System upon approval of their board.

Access to Publicly Funded Research

This bill would ensure original research that is the result of state funding would be available, free of charge, to the public.

Check Out New York

This bill would provide one-pass per public library to every state park, historic site, and recreational facility operated by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Modernization of Civil Service

Working with the Civil Service Committee, legislative partners and allies at external organizations, we are seeking amendments to processes and protocols within Civil Service for the field of librarianship.

Question of the Week: Trustee Training Requirement

Question One: Do independent Treasurers of Public Libraries need to comply with New York Education Law, Section 260-D, by receiving two hours of training annually?

Good question! From the way Section 260-D is written, "...each member, elected or appointed, of a board of trustees of a public, free association or Indian library shall be required to complete a minimum of two hours of trustee education annually..." it appears only trustees are required. While Treasurers of Public Library Boards are considered officers of the corporation and must take an Oath of Office, they are still independent of the Board itself. They are appointed by the board but are not formally elected and cannot vote on motions. Because of this independence, I would say that the requirements from Section 260-D do not extend to independent Treasurers.

Association Library Treasurers are typically different. They are members of the board and would need to complete the two hours of continuing education annually.

Question Two: If a new trustee is elected and begins their term on July 1, will they need to have the 2-hours of training within their first six months on the Board?

This question is a bit difficult to answer right now. The way the question is written on the Annual Report asks for the training completed during the "last calendar year." This would mean, yes, the Trustee who was appointed in July would need to complete two hours of Trustee Training before December 31. However, not "Ron Opinion," if they could not complete the CE requirements in the first six months of their term, I would assume that the library could add a note on their annual report to justify that they have not been a trustee for a full year and will have the two hours complete before the start of the second year of their term.

Question Three: Can the costs for complying with the trustee education requirements be charged to the library?

Yes. Modest and reasonable costs incurred by a trustee in complying with the trustee education requirements may be charged to the library if there is board approved policy. All such costs must be approved by the board of trustees. The State Library recommends that the library’s trustee education policy and procedures provide information on this topic. The Trustee Handbook recommends that 1% of the library’s budget should be dedicated to continuing education.

Luckily, all the Trustee training offered by the OWWL Library System and the Trustee Handbook Book Club is free and online.

Question Four: Does the NY Anti-Harassment Training count towards the two hours of education for Trustees?

No. While we have received several legal opinions that Trustees are required to take the anti-harassment training required by New York because they are the employer of the Library Director, the anti-harassment training is not a training that would be compliant with the law.

The subjects that do count would be, "financial oversight, accountability, fiduciary responsibilities and the general powers and duties of a library trustee."

Question Five: What Trustee Workshops is the OWWL Library System offering this year?

So far, on our 2023 calendar, we have 13 hours of Trustee Training scheduled. I'm also available to attend Board Meetings or regional meet-ups if there is a specific topic you would like your board to discuss.

2023 Workshop Schedule Date Time Link
State Aid for Library Construction Info Session January 31, 2023 4:00 PM Registration
Roles and Responsibilities for New Trustees February 6, 2023 5:00 PM Registration
Trustee Handbook Book Club: Open Meetings Law with Kirsten O’Neill, Committee on Open Government February 21, 2023 5:00 PM Registration
Legal Compliance for Libraries March 9, 2023 5:00 PM Registration
Trustee Handbook Book Club: The Board-Director Relationship April 18, 2023 5:00 PM Registration
Trustee Handbook Book Club: Financial Planning & Budgeting June 20, 2023 5:00 PM Registration
Budgeting Q&A with Ron and Kelly July 17, 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
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