Director Briefing - July 18, 2022

Survey: Public Library Disaster Preparedness and Community Recovery Assistance

Original Email from Rebekkah Smith Aldrich:

We are asking for your help to benchmark both public library preparedness for disaster and their contribution to community resilience efforts. This research is being conducted by Monika Antonelli (Minnesota State University, Mankato), Rebekkah Smith Aldrich (Mid-Hudson Library System), Adrian K. Ho (University of Chicago) and René Tanner (Rollins College).

The short survey will take approximately 10 to 15 minutes to complete and is intended for public library directors or public library administrators. The aim of the project is to aid the researchers in assessing U.S. public libraries’ readiness for weather-related disasters as institutions, as well as to assess how public libraries can provide assistance to their communities’ recovery in the wake of weather-related disasters.

If you would like to participate in this Minnesota State University, Mankato study (IRBNet ID 1919288) please click on this link to go to the survey . If you have any questions, feel free to contact lead researcher, Monika Antonelli at

The survey will close on August 31, 2022.

Thank you for considering this research opportunity.

Updated Computer Pricing from Bob

Our computer purchase form has been updated with the latest pricing from Dell. If you have printed copies lying around please download the update.

Direct link to the form:

Generally, desktops are slightly cheaper and laptops are a little more expensive.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Secure Zoom Meetings from Kelsy

Kelsy put together a handy OWWL Doc on securing Zoom meetings.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused a major shift towards remote meetings, in both our personal and professional lives. Called the "pandemic darling," Zoom saw its video communications tool increase from 10 million daily users in December 2019 to 200 million in March 2020. Many libraries started using Zoom to host staff and Board meetings, and share virtual programming with their patrons.

However, libraries also face unique challenges when it comes to using Zoom. Hosting a private meeting is secure enough, but opening Board meetings and virtual programming to the public sometimes leads to cases of "Zoom bombing," in which (often anonymous) participants engage in disruptive, inappropriate and/or offensive behavior over their webcam, microphone, or screen sharing. With the Open Meetings Law amended to allow videoconferencing in specific and pre-approved situations until at least June 2024, libraries who continue to host public meetings and events online are still susceptible to Zoom bombing…

2022 Public Library Collection Policy Template and Guide

The 2022 Public Library Collection Policy Template and Guide is now available for any New York State public library to use when developing their own policies. Based on requests from public libraries across the state, ESLN and PULISDO have partnered on the creation of an annotated "Collection Management Policy Template & Guide" to help public libraries confirm that their policies are ready for materials challenges. While inspired by the need of a public library be "challenge ready", this resource addresses every phase of collection management. Written by attorney, Stephanie Cole Adams (Ask the Lawyer), but reviewed by experienced library directors, it clarifies and emphasizes not only the law underlying collection management issues, but the very different roles of trustees and directors in the collection management process.

Link to annotated resource (PDF/Word)

Above all, we hope this "Library Collection Management Policy Template and Guide" is helpful. As with any resource put forward by ESLN and PULISDO, we invite further analysis and commentary. If the materials have proven useful to your library, we hope to hear that, too. For an unannotated version, contact your public library system director. Please provide feedback by completing the online form.


Questions of the Week: Exempt Employees

Q: What is an exempt employee?

An exempt (or salaried) employee is an employee that meets specific criteria (mentioned below) that "exempts" them from minimum wage and overtime laws.

Q: What criteria does an employee need to meet to be considered "exempt"?

First, the salary must be at least $990/week or $51,480/year to be considered an exempt employee.

Second, an employee must meet either the Administrative or Executive exemption test to be considered an exempt employee.

If an employee makes less than $51,480 or does not check all the boxes on the Administrative or Executive exemption, they would be considered an hourly employee.

Q: Does the exempt salary threshold change?

Yes, typically each year when the minimum wage is evaluated the salary threshold for exempt employees will increase proportionately.

Q: What is an hourly employee?

Most employees will be considered hourly. These are full-time and part-time individuals who make less than $51,480 and are paid an hourly wage for each hour they are worked. If an hourly employee works over 40 hours in a workweek, they are eligible for overtime pay and all appropriate laws would need to be followed.

Q: Our Director makes $45,000 a year, but frequently works over their required number of hours to take care of Director responsibilities, is that okay?

Only if they get paid for the hours worked over the regular number of hours.

If your Director has a 35-hour work week at this salary level, they are an hourly employee making $24.73/hour. Their weekly pay is $865.55 (35 hours x $24.73/hour). If they work more than 35 hours in one week, let's say it's a busy week and they work 38 hours, their pay for that week would need to be $939.74 (38 hours x $24.73/hour).

If the Director works more than 40 hours, a library must pay them overtime for the hours over 40.

Q: Do all employees need to keep timecards

Yes. Have timecards for all employees. It is also highly recommended that employees who are considered exempt by making more than $51,480/year should also keep timecards.

Q: We've never had an issue paying our Director less than the exempt salary, and they are generally happy to work extra without worrying about hourly pay. Is this a problem?

Yes, this is a significant problem. If this is a practice at your library, you are actively (and knowingly) breaking the law.

If anyone (does not need to be the employee) complains about inappropriate pay will trigger a Department of Labor investigation. The library will owe back pay and (significant) penalties. Trustees could also be liable in this type of lawsuit.

This is true for all employees.

Q: Should our Director be an exempt employee?

The ability to pay a salary of $51,480/year is up to the library board and budget decisions.

It is perfectly acceptable to have a Director who makes an hourly wage; however, they must be paid for each hour they work and cannot be expected to work without getting paid.
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