March 15, 2021

Audio Version of the Monday Briefing

For fun, Suzanne and I used Zoom to record this week's Monday Briefing. I can't guarantee we'll have time to do this every week and it's certainly low production quality, but some people might like to listen to us talk about the items below on their way into work rather than reading it.

Monday Briefing 2020.03.15.m4a

Legislative Bill Updates

Senate Bill S2588A

This bill relates to granting time off for public employees to receive a COVID 19 vaccination.

Signed by the Governor.

Section one of this bill adds a new section 159-c to the civil service law to grant public officers or employees four hours leave per injection to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, unless such officer or employee shall a greater amount of time under a collectively bargained agreement. Source:

From the Governor's Update:

[Govenor Cuomo] signed legislation granting employees time off to get the COVID-19 vaccine. No employee should be penalized for needing time off to get vaccinated. Under this new law, public and private employees will be granted up to four hours of excused leave per shot that will not be charged against any other leave the employee has earned or accrued. This legislation takes effect immediately.

Senate Bill S4435

This bill relates to requiring members of a board of trustees of public, free association, and Indian libraries to complete two hours of continuing education per year.

Currently in committee. Source:

Indoor Capacity from Suzanne

In recent weeks the state has begun to ease restrictions on public and indoor spaces. Libraries have not been directly named in updated guidance, so you will have to interpret the data and apply capacity limits that best suit your facility and the comfort level of you and your staff.

Capacity at restaurants outside of NYC has had their capacity raised to 75%. However, in restaurants, the patrons remain seated at their tables, whereas in libraries, the patrons are moving throughout the building, so 75% would look very different in your buildings and may not allow for safe social distancing.

Starting April 2, smaller arts, entertainment, and sporting venues, a category where libraries may fit a little neater, will be allowed up to 33% capacity. For many of the library buildings in our system, this is a more realistic number to allow more people in your building safely.

For some of our physically smaller libraries, it might be best to use the capacity guidelines for home gatherings. As of March 22, this number will be moved from 10 to 25.

Regardless of what you decide, requirements for wearing face coverings and practicing social distancing will remain in place. It would also be wise to continue with the cleaning and disinfecting procedures you have adopted locally as we are still operating under the mandates in NY Forward.

There is light at the end of the tunnel. You do not need to rush to full reopening or full capacity. Keeping controls in place until we have reached a higher vaccination rate will ensure that you, your staff, and your community remain as safe as possible through the remainder of the pandemic.

Grab & Go Learning Workshops from Suzanne

The first four Grab & Go Learning workshops are open for registration. These hour-long sessions will be conducted online with our friends at the Chautauqua Cattaraugus Library System.

For more information and to register: All sessions will start at 10 am.

Hope to see you there!

Ancestry Library Statistics from Bob

It has come to our attention that there were some errors in the Ancestry Library configuration. To confirm that your library is getting credit for sessions, please visit the following link from within your library:

Once there, please look at the upper right of the screen and confirm that your library name is displayed. If it says "Pioneer Library System" or anything else, please let me know.

Sunset of System Service: Hosting Online Board Meetings

This week marks the one-year anniversary of System staff working remotely. Over the past twelve months, we have tried a handful of new initiatives; some will stick around, while others need to end. Unfortunately, the System hosting online Board Meetings is one that is ending on March 31. While it has been great having an opportunity to chat with boards prior to their meetings every month, it is time we discontinue regular hosting so we can move on to other projects.

Even with the end to this service, Suzanne and I are still more than happy to attend online board meetings if you would like to invite us to discuss a particular topic. I imagine online Board Meetings will continue past the current March 28 extension of the 202.96.

If you do not have an online platform for meetings I would recommend GoToMeeting or Zoom. Both record and transcribe meetings really well.

Trustee Workshop Developing Library Policies - Tuesday, March 16 at 6:00 PM

Discussion Points:
  • Writing policy from draft to approval.
  • Considering corresponding procedures
  • Reviewing policies on a regular schedule
  • Considering long-term implications of board policy decisions.
Click here to register.

Federal Government Invests $200M in Libraries and Museums to Stimulate American Communities

While we are unsure how these funds will be distributed or how they will impact libraries, it is good news to know that $6,213,213.00 in federal funding will be available to New York.

Washington, DC—The Institute of Museum and Library Services today announced that President Biden has signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA), which designates $200 million in pandemic response funding for IMLS. Yesterday, both chambers of Congress approved the stimulus plan, a $1.9 trillion response to the continuing coronavirus pandemic.

The $200 million investment will enable IMLS to efficiently provide critical funding to State Library Administrative Agencies (SLAAs), located in every state and territory and with reach into local communities across the U.S. IMLS will also offer grants to museums, libraries, and Native American and Native Hawaiian communities, so that they may to continue to respond to the COVID-19 health emergency.

The forthcoming grant awards will support the vital programs and services these institutions provide to their communities, including those they were able to offer in new capacities throughout the past year.

“The coronavirus pandemic persists in taking its harsh toll on communities. This infusion of support for America’s vital community institutions is crucial,” said IMLS Director Crosby Kemper. “The need for access to information for health, job, educational, and unemployment resources continues across the country, especially in communities that were already vulnerable. We are dedicated to reaching those who need this funding the most as quickly as we can, through U.S. states and territories and directly to libraries and museums.”

For more details about the SLAA funding, please see the state allotment tables [New York: $6,213,213.00].

The passage of ARPA comes one year after the 2020 WHO declaration of the coronavirus pandemic. In March 2020, $50 million in CARES Act funding was also allocated for IMLS. For more information about IMLS CARES Act awards, please visit

For more information about IMLS, please visit and subscribe to email news updates.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Our vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


Grants to State Library Administrative Agencies

March System Board Meeting Recap

During the System Board Meeting on March 10, Jennifer Tessendorf of Ontario County was appointed to fill an unexpired term that Matthew Sickles had to resign from. We are happy to have her join the board. The petition and resolution written to amend the System Chater to three-year terms rather than five-year terms were approved. The paperwork has been sent to DLD; this will hopefully be on the next Board of Regents Meeting agenda. The System Annual Report and Assurances were approved, and our audit, AUD report, and a handful of policy/resolution updates. If you would like to look at my Director's Report, you can click here - March System Directors Report.pdf.

Changes to COVID-19 Travel Updates

Last week we had posted about travel restrictions and it looks like they are changing again starting April 1. The New York State website has not changed, but you can read more here -
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