Monday Briefing - August 2, 2021

COVID-19 Delta Variant and Masks

In response to mask inquiries over the past week, here is some information from the CDC that you may have already seen.

CDC Website: Safer Activities for You and Your Family
  • If you are fully vaccinated, you can participate in many of the activities that you did before the pandemic.
  • To maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.
  • Wearing a mask is most important if you have a weakened immune system or if, because of your age or an underlying medical condition, you are at increased risk for severe disease, or if someone in your household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease, or is unvaccinated. If this applies to you or your household, you might choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission in your area.
  • You should continue to wear a mask where required by laws, rules, regulations, or local guidance.
Retrieved from on Monday, August 2, 2021.

Unfortunately, Wayne County and Ontario County are considered to have "substantial transmission" rates. I do not expect many companies to enforce masks unless something comes from the state, which has not happened yet. However, considering the Governor's current mandates with vaccines for certain groups of state employees and the slowing of vaccination rates, masking initiatives are certainly something to keep an eye on as we move into the fall.

American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)

More than $6.2 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds are available to help libraries and other cultural institutions across the state address the digital divide, increase access to the state’s cultural history and expand student access to digital learning materials, State Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa announced today.

Source: New York State Education Department Press Release

More information will be coming out soon on ARPA funding. I have been asked to be on the committee to discuss projects and distribution. I'll update everyone once I have a better idea of how RRLC will handle these funds.

Prevailing Wage and Libraries

Systems felt universally understood and agreed upon that Public Libraries could only enter into contracts that required vendors to pay prevailing wages for public works projects and/or maintenance done at the library. For the most part, Association Libraries were not required to do so.

Two things have taken place over the past few months which have confused our understanding of this issue and could potentially have implications for your library.

First is that a court upstate has ruled (in Matter of Executive Cleaning Servs. Corp. v New York State Dept. of Labor) that school district public libraries are “not a public agency within the meaning of Labor Law 230(3)” and therefore not required to enter into contracts requiring prevailing wages. There is still much confusion about how this might impact public libraries outside of the region where it was decided. We expect that the State may clarify the issue legislatively. Still, you should be aware of this in case it comes up in conversation. You will want to get the advice of legal counsel on how to address this issue before you enter into any new contracts that would otherwise require a vendor to pay prevailing wages.

Second is that as part of last year’s State budget process, a new law, which goes into effect on January 1, 2022, extended prevailing wages requirements to projects that previously were considered “private.” This is only in cases where total project costs exceed $5,000,000 and where the project receives 30% or more of its total construction project costs from public funds. Association Libraries who are considering an extensive renovation/construction project may want to ask legal counsel what, if any, impact this new law may have on them. There are many exemptions to this new law so that it may have no impact at all.

This is a topic that I have been following closely for a while and will continue to do so. Right now, the only advice I have is if you have questions regarding prevailing wage on a construction project, you should contact the Department of Labor and legal counsel.

ALA Adopts New Code of Ethics Principle

Back in June, ALA adopted a new Code of Ethics principle on racial and social justice. ALA President Patty Wong wrote:

"This addition to the ALA Code of Ethics supports the association's mission to foster cultural understanding by providing library professionals with a professional framework that supports equity, diversity, and inclusion," said ALA President Patty Wong. "On behalf of the ALA Executive Board, I would like to thank COPE, the ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Advisory Committee, the ALA Committee on Diversity, and ALA's Intellectual Freedom Committee for their diligence, commitment, and dedication to ensuring that library service is equitable and available to all."

Here is the full Code of Ethics; the new principle is bolded below.

Code of Ethics

As members of the American Library Association, we recognize the importance of codifying and making known to the profession and to the general public the ethical principles that guide the work of librarians, other professionals providing information services, library trustees and library staffs.

Ethical dilemmas occur when values are in conflict. The American Library Association Code of Ethics states the values to which we are committed, and embodies the ethical responsibilities of the profession in this changing information environment.

We significantly influence or control the selection, organization, preservation, and dissemination of information. In a political system grounded in an informed citizenry, we are members of a profession explicitly committed to intellectual freedom and the freedom of access to information. We have a special obligation to ensure the free flow of information and ideas to present and future generations.

The principles of this Code are expressed in broad statements to guide ethical decision making. These statements provide a framework; they cannot and do not dictate conduct to cover particular situations.
  1. We provide the highest level of service to all library users through appropriate and usefully organized resources; equitable service policies; equitable access; and accurate, unbiased, and courteous responses to all requests.
  2. We uphold the principles of intellectual freedom and resist all efforts to censor library resources.
  3. We protect each library user's right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted.
  4. We respect intellectual property rights and advocate balance between the interests of information users and rights holders.
  5. We treat co-workers and other colleagues with respect, fairness, and good faith, and advocate conditions of employment that safeguard the rights and welfare of all employees of our institutions.
  6. We do not advance private interests at the expense of library users, colleagues, or our employing institutions.
  7. We distinguish between our personal convictions and professional duties and do not allow our personal beliefs to interfere with fair representation of the aims of our institutions or the provision of access to their information resources.
  8. We strive for excellence in the profession by maintaining and enhancing our own knowledge and skills, by encouraging the professional development of co-workers, and by fostering the aspirations of potential members of the profession.
  9. We affirm the inherent dignity and rights of every person. We work to recognize and dismantle systemic and individual biases; to confront inequity and oppression; to enhance diversity and inclusion; and to advance racial and social justice in our libraries, communities, profession, and associations through awareness, advocacy, education, collaboration, services, and allocation of resources and spaces.
Adopted at the 1939 Midwinter Meeting by the ALA Council; amended June 30, 1981; June 28, 1995; January 22, 2008; and June 29, 2021.

To read the full press release:

Passing on the Emergency Connectivity Fund

Last week you may have noticed the email from DLD with the following message:

The Emergency Connectivity Fund is a $7.17 billion program funded by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to help schools and libraries support remote learning. The Program will provide funding to schools and libraries for the reasonable costs of eligible equipment and services that can be provided to students, teachers, and library patrons who lack connected devices, such as laptop or tablet computers, or lack broadband access during the pandemic. Schools, libraries, and consortia of schools and libraries that are eligible for support under the FCC's E-Rate program are eligible to request and receive support through the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program.

While I try not to make a habit of passing on funding for library projects, this is one of the rare instances where I do not believe there is a high enough ROI to pursue funding. Kelly, Adam, Bob, and I reviewed this information with our E-Rate consultants, watched the webinars, and asked many questions. After reviewing this information, we realize that libraries were retrofitted into the guidelines making fundable projects outside the general scope of what we are trying to do. Depending on the number of applications received during the first round, there may be funding for a round two. I will certainly keep an eye on it if things start to look better than our original assessment.

OWWL Libraries Supporting Older Adults Grant Program

Older community members, especially those in smaller and rural communities, often face challenges not experienced by their peers living in more densely populated areas. Some of these challenges include: geographical and/or social isolation, limited mobility and/or transportation, and inadequate access to resources such as healthcare and social services. As well-known, trusted public institutions, OWWL Libraries are uniquely positioned to support the growing number of older people in their communities.

OWWL Libraries are invited to apply for up to $2,000 each to increase or add services and resources that support older adults in their communities. Applications are due August 15, 2021. The six libraries receiving the awarded money will be notified by August 30, 2021.

Examples of projects could include:
  • Technology training;
  • Memory care support such as circulating Memory Kits;
  • Intergenerational programming;
  • Adaptive or assistive technology; or
  • Telehealth resources.
This program aligns with the System’s Plan of Service, specifically the goals and intended results for Coordinated Outreach to Special Client Populations. The OWWL Libraries Supporting Older Adults Grant Program is being funded by Coordinated Outreach funds.

For more information visit

Upcoming Events

Trustee Workshop: Differences in Library Types - Tuesday, August 10 at 5:00 PM

Discussion Points:
  • Key differences between
    • Municipal Public Libraries
    • School District Public Libraries
    • Association Libraries
    • Special Legislative District Public Libraries
  • How different laws and regulations apply to different library types
Click here to register.

Key Laws & Regulations for Libraries - Wednesday, September 15 at 5:00 PM

Discussion Points:
  • Some of the laws that should be thinking of regularly
  • How your library type determines the laws you need to follow
  • How laws, regulations, policies, and procedures interact with one another
Click here to register.

System Meeting: Ganondagan - Friday, September 17, 2021, at 10:00 AM

Presented by the First Voice Interpreters of Ganondagan, this workshop will give attendees a deeper understanding of the Hodinöhsö:ni’ Confederacy and the formation of the Six Nations League of the Iroquois. Clan systems, social life, stereotypes, and current issues will be discussed.

Ganondagan State Historic Site located in Victor, NY, is a National Historic Landmark, the only New York State Historic Site dedicated to a Native American theme (1987), and the only Seneca town developed and interpreted in the United States. Spanning 569 acres, Ganondagan (ga·NON·da·gan) is the original site of a 17th century Seneca town, that existed there peacefully more than 350 years ago. The culture, art, agriculture, and government of the Seneca people influenced our modern understanding of equality, democratic government, women’s rights, ecology, and natural foods.

The workshop will begin promptly at 10 am; System Announcements will follow.

Information regarding safety protocols and options to join the meeting remotely will be released in early September.

Click here to register.
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