Monday Briefing - March 29, 2021

Very Important Top Priority Super Urgent Message from Bob

On the weekend of April 2nd we will be migrating Zimbra Mail to a new server. Access will be restricted late Friday night on the 2nd and you should assume there will be no mail access until Monday morning.

Communications for this upgrade will only come from Pioneer Library System sources like PLS Notes and Bob Wicksall ( At this time we don't plan to change passwords or reset accounts so emails of that nature should be ignored.

While access to Zimbra will be restricted Friday night the system will continue to receive new messages through the weekend. Although Zimbra may at times appear to be available you should not access email until early Monday morning. Any changes accidental or otherwise that happen during the outage will likely be lost and could cause corruption of your mail account.

If you have any questions or concerns please contact Bob .

Question of the Week Podcast

This week Suzanne and I are trying something different. Instead of giving a verbal rundown of the Monday Briefing, we're testing out talking about a question that came in from a member library. If this feels right, we'll try it again next week.

This week's episode is titled, "What does it mean to be the lowest responsible bidder?"

Action Requested: Plan of Service Questionnaire

The Pioneer Library System is currently drafting its 2022-2026 Plan of Service and we are asking for member library input on the areas contained in this questionnaire.

Please take 10-15 minutes to suggest priorities in the different areas below. These suggestions will be considered when drafting our upcoming Plan of Service.

Click here for the current Plan of Service.

Click here for the questionnaire.

Action Requested: Budget Kit Questionnaire

To keep the Budget Kit as effective as possible, we are asking directors to review its contents in terms of importance so we can determine what should remain and what should be dropped. Below is the link to the full Budget Kit, please review then answer this questionnaire.

Budget Kit 2019-2020

Governor Cuomo Announces New Yorkers 30 Years of Age and Older Will Be Eligible to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine

  1. New Yorkers 30 Years of Age and Older Can Begin to Schedule Appointments and Get Vaccinated Beginning Tuesday, March 30
  2. New Yorkers 16 Years of Age and Older Can Begin to Schedule Appointments and Get Vaccinated Beginning April 6
  3. New York State Will Make Eligibility Universal Nearly a Month Earlier Than President Biden's May 1 Deadline
  4. More Than 2 Million Total Doses Administered at New York State-Run and FEMA Assisted Mass Vaccination Sites
  5. More Than 9 Million Total Doses Administered Across All Vaccination Sites Statewide
  6. 171,419 Doses Administered Across New York State in the Last 24 Hours
  7. More than 1.3 Million Doses Administered Over Past Seven Days
  8. 30% of New Yorkers Have Received at Least One Dose
  9. Vaccine Dashboard Will Update Daily to Provide Updates on the State's Vaccine Program; Go to

Scholastic has made the decision to pull Dav Pilkey’s 2010 graphic novel “The Adventures of Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future” due to its perpetuation of "passive racism."

This decision follows Dr. Seuess Enterprises' decision to discontinue publications of six titles earlier this year. Click here for the Monday Briefing where we discussed this.

Coincidentally, Arthur (my son, age 9) and I picked up a used copy of The Adventures of Ook and Gluk last week. He is a fan of Dav Pilkey's Dogman, so we thought we would give this story a try. After reading about Mr. Pilkey's decision to pull the book from publication, it offered an opportunity for Arthur and me to discuss sensitive issues in literature. I'm not sure if he totally got it, but he asked a lot of questions and it was a realistic segue into other issues facing our world.

Urge your Legislators to Build America's Libraries! From ALA

We believe that every community in America deserves great libraries. That includes great librarians and library workers, great collections and programs, and great equipment, library buildings, and bookmobiles.

Library facilities are an essential part of our nation’s civic infrastructure. But for too long, this has unfortunately been overlooked by Congress. The Build America’s Libraries Act would provide historic funding to improve our nation’s libraries.

Introduced in the Senate on January 28 (S. 127), and the House on March 3 (H.R. 1581), the Build America’s Libraries Act would provide $5 billion in funding to repair, modernize, and construct library facilities in underserved and marginalized communities. Yes, you read that right – $5 billion with a B!

We love America’s library facilities, but we know that the current lack of federal funding is a barrier to enabling the programs and services our communities need. Most library buildings are decades old, including nearly 800 of the original Carnegie libraries which are still in use today. They face many modern challenges, such as adapting ventilation for the COVID-19 pandemic, preparing for natural disasters and extreme weather, and meeting current connectivity and accessibility standards to ensure service to all members of the community.

Federal funding for library buildings has not been provided in more than 20 years. But as the nation works with this new Congress to recover from a historic pandemic and reckon with the legacy of racial injustice, now is the time to think big. The Build America’s Libraries Act would prioritize funding to communities with high poverty rates, as part of a strategy to begin to reverse decades of underinvestment in communities of color.

Ask your Legislators to co-sponsor the Build America’s Libraries Act today.

Call to Action

A Message From NYLA

We Need Library Advocates Like You to Speak Up

Over the next few days, members of the Legislature and the Executive will debate & determine the contents of the State Budget. Due by April 1, the multi-billion dollar agreement determines how much money entities, large and small, receive for the next year. This includes funding for libraries!

Governor Cuomo once again decreased funding for libraries in his Executive Proposal. Fortunately, both the Senate and the Assembly rejected his cuts and instead proposed incremental increases over the funding that was distributed to libraries in 2020.

While we are grateful the Assembly & Senate rejected the Governor's cuts - a larger investment is neccesary.

Libraries across New York State rely on their elected officials to carry their requests forward and ensure the needs of the community are reflected in the Budget. How do they know what libraries need? YOU! By reaching out to your representative in these final days, we can ensure that libraries remain in the forefront of their mind.

Ready to take action? Cilck here to send an email to your Senator & Assemblymember urging their support of libraries in the final budget.

If you have already sent an email or made a telephone call - thank you!

Online Board Meetings

The newest order, which came out on March 21 ( disaster-emergency), extends the ability to host remote meetings until April 20, 2021.

OWWL Libraries Staff Academy

We have launched the OWWL Libraries Staff Academy which includes on-demand training for topics including computer & Internet skills, library programming, equity, diversity & inclusion, and leadership & management. For more information and to learn how to sign up for the Staff Academy, click here.

Don't forget to also check out the OWWL Libraries Learning Academy and share it out with your patrons.

2021 Virtual Summer Conference, from RRLC

Help us pick the theme for our 2021 Virtual Summer Conference!

As we begin to plan the RRLC Summer Conference, we're looking for feedback from Rochester area library staff on what conference topics interest you. On the survey below, vote for your favorite theme(s) or create and vote for a theme suggestion of your own!

Vote on the theme for the RRLC Summer Conference

This survey will remain open until Thursday, April 1st. Once we've tallied the survey results, the conference theme announcement and Call for Proposals will follow shortly after.

Interesting Reads: Early Literacy and eBooks vs. Print

Last week I read two interesting articles on early literacy and digital reading. The first was a piece by Perri Klass, M.D. which appeared in the New York Times. The topic was about how kids read and the learning that goes along with scrolling on a device vs. slowing down their reading. It supports a lot of the work that we as librarians already know and support about education.

The second article, by Jill Barchay, highlights the inefficiencies with digital books and calls out the lower quality of children's literature displayed on devices. A power quote in the article reads…

"improving digital books is a matter of “social justice”. “Unfortunately, many digital books are of really low quality,” she said. “We mustn’t forget that there are many families where reading is not an activity that adults enjoy and they might not enjoy it with their children. So in those families, having a book that reads to the child is a huge asset. At the very least, we need to equalize the quality of the two formats.”

“I’m not saying that the digital book can ever replace the loving adult. I’m just saying that it can be a good substitute if there is nothing else,” she added.

Neither article makes the case that digital reading is bad, simply that having a parent read print books to children is better. If that is absent in a home, a digital reading experience is the next best thing.

There are plenty more insights that can be gleaned from reading the articles. Below is a PDF version of the New York Times article and a direct link to the Hechinger Report article. Both are worth considering when thinking about your early literacy strategy.

How Children Read Differently From Books vs. Screens - The New York Times.pdf

Paper beats pixels on most picture books, research finds, Jill Barchay, the Hechinger Report
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