Monday Briefing - May 2, 2022

2022 RRLC Library of the Year & All-Star Winners

Congratulations to Sarah Matthews for being an RRLC 2022 Library All-Star and Victor Farmington Library for being named Library of the Year! I was extremely excited to see our System represented. Well done!

PLSDAC - Friday, May 6, 2022 at 10 AM

Jenny sent the agenda link out last week. Here it is in case you missed it -

New York State Minimum Standards for Libraries

On the last Division of Library Development call last week, the State went into detail on Minimum Standards for Libraries. I thought this was a bit odd considering most of the people on the call were involved with developing the Helpful Information for Meeting Minimum Public Library Standards, however, after thinking about it, I am wondering if DLD is pivoting to implement a higher level of evaluation for libraries to make sure they are meeting Minimum Standards. This would make sense considering all libraries needed these items in place by January 1, 2021.

Fourteen Minimum Standards for Public and Association Libraries
  1. Written Bylaws (needs to be on library website)
  2. Long-Range Plan (needs to be on library website)
  3. Report to the Community (needs to be on library website)
  4. Written Policies (needs to be on library website)
  5. Written Budget (needs to be on library website)
  6. Evaluating Effectiveness
  7. Hours (needs to be on library website)
  8. Maintaining a Facility to Meet Community Needs (should be included in library long-range plan)
  9. Programming (should be included in library long-range plan)
  10. Technology to Meet Community Needs (should be included in library long-range plan)
  11. Provides Access to Current Library Information
  12. Employs a Paid Director
  13. Technology Training for Staff
  14. Community Partners (should be included in library long-range plan)
Along with the Helpful Information link above, we put together an OWWL Docs page to help libraries back in 2020, it can be found here .

In order for a library to maintain its charter, all standards must be satisfied. The System grants variances for specific situations where a library is unable to meet Minimum Standards, but it has to be with good reason.

To head off any potential "auditing" I'd suggest libraries double-check to make sure they have all these items in place.

Public Library Trustee Ethics Statement

United for Libraries has a template Public Libraries Trustee Ethics Statement that can be adapted for your board. This was brought up during the Risk Management Trustee Handbook Book Club. You can also see a version of this statement on pg. 105 of the Trustee Handbook.

Privacy Matters from Privacy International

During the Trustee Handbook Book Club, there was a resource shared on privacy that I thought particularly poignant considering all the news surrounding library practice, governance, and security.

To be free and equal

Privacy has become all the more essential in the age of data exploitation. The way data and technology are now deployed means that our privacy is under increased threat and on a scale that we couldn’t have imagined 20 years ago, outside of science fiction – the ways in which we can be tracked and identified have exploded, alongside the types and scale of information available about us.

Privacy is having the choice – it is the right to decide who we tell what, to establish boundaries, to limit who has access to our bodies, places and things, as well as our communications and our information. It allows us to negotiate who we are and how we want to interact with the world around us, and to define those relationships on our own terms.

Privacy is how we seek to protect ourselves and society against arbitrary and unjustified use of power, by controlling what can be known about us and done to us, while protecting us from those who aim to exert control over our data, and ultimately all aspects of our lives.

Privacy is foundational to who we are as human beings, and every day it helps us define our relationships with the outside world. It gives us space to be ourselves free of judgement, and allows us to think freely without discrimination. It gives us the freedom of autonomy, and to live in dignity.

In addition to all of the above, privacy is a right that as such also enables our enjoyment of other rights, and interference with our privacy often provides the gateway to the violation of the rest of our rights.

We are looking at stories of abuse through the lens of privacy, following the 30 fundamental rights and freedoms enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


Open Meetings Law and Online Meetings

The current provision allowing boards to meet online ends June 8, 2022. To replace it, section 103-a allows for hybrid meetings to occur when trustees cannot attend due to “extraordinary circumstances." From OML's Q&A sheet released earlier this month, it looks like boards interested in using videoconferencing as part of their meeting will need to do the following:
  1. Hold a public hearing;
  2. Adopt a policy that describes "extraordinary circumstances;"
  3. Record all online meetings, post them to the library's website, and keep them for five years.
Those are just a few items just to show that boards will need to do some work before they can take advantage of this provision. Also, in order for this to work, there must be at least a quorum of the board meeting in-person at a public location. So this is really only meant to accommodate a small number of Trustees who are unable to make an in-person meeting.

I will be working to add items in the System's Policy Manual so we can take advantage of this. After it is approved I will share it with libraries. For now, remember that boards will not be able to meet virtually after June 8, 2022 without having the proper items in place.

Trustee Handbook Book Club: Planning & Evaluation

Join co-authors of the Handbook for Library Trustees of New York State Jerry Nichols and Rebekkah Smith Aldrich for this fun and informative series! Each month trustees are encouraged to read a chapter of the Trustee Handbook and send in questions that the authors will address.

Before the event:
  1. Please read the Planning and Evaluation chapter before this session.
  2. Thoughts to consider before the program:
    • Is the library’s current long-range plan based on feedback received from the community?
    • Are the goals and objectives of the plan designed to meet the needs expressed by the community?
    • Are budget decisions based on goals expressed in the board-approved long-range plan?
    • Does the library have an operational plan to address gaps in resources necessary to be successful in achieving the goals set in the long-range plan?
    • Does the board annually evaluate the goals in the plan and adjust them accordingly?
May 3, 2022 05:00 PM | Click here to register.

Question of the Week: Budgets Posted to Website

Hi Ron, I am wondering if we are required to post our current library budget on our website?

Perfect timing on this question! Earlier on in the briefing, I included information on NYS Minimum Standards for Libraries. According to Standard 5, the library needs to have a Board-approved budget. Then, Standard 11, obligates the library to post the budget on your website. I've suggested to libraries in the past that a budget overview will most likely meet this standard, then if a community member asks to see the full budget you would be able to provide it to them.
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