Director Briefing - October 17, 2022

2022 OWWL Library System Annual Meeting

We, unfortunately, had to postpone our Annual Meeting this month. However, we're on schedule to host the meeting and Trustee Election online on November 9, 2022, at 6:00 PM.

This will be a fairly short meeting where Trustees from across the System will be able to vote for the Trustees that sit on the OWWL Library System Board. I will also be giving an update on general System news and what we have coming in 2023.

If you'd like to attend, please click here to register.

Email Migration from Kelsy

Exciting news! We are starting the process of changing all "" emails to "" This is a major step in the change from Pioneer Library System to OWWL Library System. This is something that we are rolling out slowly, with the goal of having all emails changed by the end of 2022. We will be reaching out to each director to schedule a specific date when the change will happen for your library. Additionally, effective immediately, all new email addresses requested by directors will be "" addresses.

2023 OWWL2Go Commitments from Kelly

Below are the 2023 OWWL2go Commitment Agreement Form and funding worksheet.

Please email your completed commitment form to Kelly ( by Friday, October 28th.

Thank you for your continued support of our OverDrive fiction collection.

Closed Dates for 2023 from Dan

Please add your 2023 closed dates in Evergreen in the next few weeks. Having them in Evergreen by Friday, 11/18 will give you enough time to make sure that future checkouts aren't impacted.

Your closed dates are mostly holidays when your library won't be open. If applicable, you may also have to add closed dates for Summer Saturdays (if you are typically open on Saturdays during most of the year but not during the summer).

Adding closed dates affects future checkouts' due dates and overdue fine accruals.

Please review this OWWL Docs page before adding any closed dates. Please email if you have any questions or if you would like a walkthrough on how to add your 2023 closed dates.

Concealed Carry Improvement Act (CCIA) Updates

In June, the legislature passed (and Governor subsequently signed) the Concealed Carry Improvement Act (CCIA). Amongst the changes in law, was a list of “sensitive locations”, libraries included, where concealed weapons would be prohibited.

On October 6, a federal U.S. District Court judge declared several components of the CCIA unconstitutional, including the expanded list of “sensitive locations”. Immediately following the decision by the North District judge, the Attorney General for the State of New York request an interim “stay”.

On Wednesday, the Second Circuit granted the Attorney General’s request.

What does this mean? For the time being, the full CCIA currently remains in effect as the upper court reviews the lower court’s decision. As such, libraries may continue to enforce policies prohibiting the possession of firearms on their properties.

I will be keeping an eye on this issue as it develops and let you know of any changes that happen.

Computer Equipment Recycling Drop Off from Matthew

We will be accepting old electronics for recycling beginning Friday, October 21st until Tuesday, November 22nd. Old Library computers, monitors, printers, network equipment (routers, firewalls, modems), and accessories (mice, keyboards, cables, etc.) can be dropped off at OWWL HQ on Tuesdays and Fridays between 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM.

Please DO NOT send electronic recycling through delivery.

If you need help getting the equipment to our office, or if none of these days/times work for you, please email

When dropping equipment off at OWWL HQ, please enter the building through the door by the large meeting room and let someone in the CANS office know that you are here.

Some of the computers and monitors that are brought in to be recycled may instead be kept and used for System-wide programs. If you would prefer that your hardware goes straight to e-waste recycling, please let us know by email or during drop-off.

System Meeting: Fall Clean Your Collection

This Friday, October 21, 2022 at 10:00 AM is our System Meeting. Click here to register.

Question of the Week

Question: What is the role of the Treasurer, Finance Committee, Director, and Board in setting pay rates, salaries, and the budget?

Answer: Like most board-related questions, this one doesn't have a perfectly clear answer. Each library may handle the process differently and still get the same result. Ultimately, the easiest way to look at this is to consider the responsibilities involved in each of these scenarios.

When it comes to setting staff salaries and appointing staff, the Board has the final authority in approving salary amounts. However, before they get to that point the Director typically works to make sure the Board has the best information available to make these decisions.
Education Law § 226 (7) specifies that all personnel actions must be approved by the Board of Trustees at a legal meeting. This does not suggest that the Board selects staff other than the director. It does mean that the Board creates all positions, establishes salaries and formally appoints the staff upon the recommendation of the director. In other words, the director selects, the board appoints.

Though the board must ultimately approve all appointments, titles and salaries, and so note in their minutes, often simple staff appointments such as pages or part time support staff cannot wait until the next board meeting. In such cases retroactive appointments are commonly made. Likewise, public library boards will often approve an appointment “pending civil service approval” in an effort to streamline the sometimes awkward formalities of civil service rules.

Typically, the board will review the credentials of candidates recommended for higher level staff positions such as department head or assistant director in order to be familiar with the library’s leadership. This would also apply to the positions of Treasurer and District Clerk.

Source: Trustee Handbook, pg. 44.

As the Handbook suggests, the Director typically selects staff as well as the salary amounts and then presents them to the Board for final approval. This can happen as a "Personnel Change Report" that may be reviewed by your Personnel Committee prior to the Board Meeting.

The Finance Committee and/or Treasurer may be consulted for their opinion before it is decided by the Board.

Here is the authorizing language from Education Law 226:
Officers and employees. Appoint and fix the salaries of such officers and employees as they shall deem necessary who, unless employed under special contract, shall hold their offices during the pleasure of the trustees; but no trustee shall receive compensation as such. The president or chief executive officer of an association library corporation shall be elected by the trustees from their own number and shall be the chairman of the board. Source: Education Law, §§ 226(7)

A similar process happens with setting the annual budget. The Director, Finance Committee, Treasurer, and Board all need to be involved in reviewing the upcoming budget.
During its development, the budget draft should be reviewed and scrutinized by the president, the library treasurer/finance officer and/or the board finance committee, depending on local practice. The final budget draft should be the product of careful review and discussion by a number of people even before it is presented to the full board. The entire board should review and discuss the library’s budget. The final budget must be approved by the board prior to submittal to the electorate or funding authority.

Directors must be full partners in the budget development process in libraries of all sizes. As the manager of the library, the director has an important perspective on the library's programs, services, and costs that trustees do not. Smaller libraries may also seek assistance from their public library system. Source: Trustee Handbook, pg. 50.

The creation of the budget happens through a collective effort. As mentioned in the above quote, the Director should be heavily involved with this process since they are the ones executing most financial expenditures.

When it comes to the Treasurer, it depends on the type of library. Association Libraries do not need to have an independently appointed Treasurer (although they can if they would like). Public Libraries appoint a Treasurer that is not a voting member of the Board, but an independent individual who provides financial oversight.
What are the typical duties of a public library Treasurer? The Treasurer is a separate officer of a public library corporation and is appointed by the Board of Trustees. They are required to take an Oath of Office and perform their duties as defined in state law. Association Libraries are not covered by this law and may appoint a trustee to serve as Treasurer. Special Library Districts are advised to refer to their enabling legislation. The public library Treasurer is responsible for depositing and disbursing library funds, maintaining appropriate accounting records and providing a monthly Treasurer's report to the board.

Typical duties include:
  • Reconciliation of bank statements
  • Preparation of Monthly Report to the Board of Receipts & Disbursements
  • Signing checks for payment after Board approval
  • Oversight of Investments

Source: Trustee Handbook, pg. 97.

No matter the type of library, a Library Board cannot abdicate its responsibility to a single individual to have control in setting budgets, salaries, staff appointments, or any other legal responsibility. Committees, Treasurers, and Directors all have a role in providing recommendations, but the final product cannot happen without a motion from the Board.

Boards should feel comfortable debating, discussing, and in some cases even disagreeing on budget amounts presented to the Board. Going back to responsibility, the Boards job is to approve salaries and a budget that is in the best interest of the library.
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