Trustee Newsletter January 2021

State Budget Update

Earlier today, Governor Cuomo held a press conference for the FY 2022 Budget Plan that is due on April 1, 2022. The biggest discussion point continues to be the impacts of a state bailout from the Federal Government. The Governor has two scenarios based on the amount our state could receive from the $350 billion President-Elect Joe Biden is planning for COVID relief.

The first scenario is that New York receives $6 billion which would not cover the $15 billion shortfall that our state is currently facing. Among all the other cuts it appears that State Aid to libraries would go from $91.6 million to $87 million. This is unfortunate, but from an optimistic view, it's better than a 20% cut.

Reduce Funding for Library Aid. The Executive Budget reduces FY2022 funding for Library Aid by 5 percent, from $91.6 million to $87 million. This funding provides operating support to public libraries, library systems, and reference and research libraries. Although reduced, FY2022 State support is $8 million greater than funding in FY2012 when the State was recovering from the Great Recession. These spending reductions may be restored if the State receives requested Federal COVID relief funds. Source: FY 2022 Executive Budget Briefing Book

The second scenario is that New York receives $15 billion which would cover a majority of the budget gap. This would most likely result in library funding that matched FY 2019 and/or FY 2020. That would mean flat funding, but again, better than a significant cut.

There are so many other estimates that we could come up with based on today's press conference, however, the information above seems to be the best that we can go off of for the time being.

For new trustees, State Aid is primarily to the funding we receive at the System level which pays for System services.

Advocacy Day February 26, 2021

This year Advocacy Day will be hosted virtually. I'm not exactly sure what it will look like yet, but NYLA has put a call out for people to "apply" for meetings with legislators. I encourage directors and trustees to fill out the form if you are available. I will also be checking with the offices to see if they are interested in meeting with us individually (online). Once I have a better grasp of NYLA's strategy I will send a message to directors. Here is the message they sent out last week:

Our Annual Library Advocacy Day will look a little different in 2021. With an all virtual format, library advocates across New York will have the opportunity to engage with their community, peers, and legislative representatives in new and exciting ways.

From social media superstars to advocacy letter writers, to our champions who will speak with their Senator or Assemblymember – everyone who wishes to participate in Library Advocacy Day 2021 will have the opportunity to do so. And, I am so excited to share more details about our special day in the weeks ahead.

As part of our planning process, we are asking NYLA members to fill out the below survey if you are interested in participating in a virtual meeting with your elected officials on February 26, 2021.

The link will direct you to Survey Monkey where you will be asked five questions. Please fill out the form by Tuesday, January 26.

Register For Library Advocacy Day 2021!

While I know many will miss the Well and seeing their colleagues from across the state, I truly believe Advocacy Day 2021 will be phenomenal!

2021 Advocacy Priorities

NYLA has updated its website with the 2021 budget priorities. The three biggest priorities impacting our libraries include:

Training for Library Trustees

Library trustees play an important role in the success and long-term growth of their libraries. Their actions effect policy, personnel and finances. Currently, the state does not require library trustees to obtain any formal training.

Passage of this bill would ensure that those choosing to serve their libraries as a trustee, have the comprehensive and necessary information to be successful.

NYLA Support Memo (2020)

LTA Support Memo (2020)

Status: Former Priority. Pending New Sponsor & Number.

NYS Library Operating Aid: $123.1M

Increased aid is needed to support the foundational framework of New York State libraries, improving the lives of residents of all ages, abilities and economic status.

Adequate funding is needed to support school, public, and academic libraries and library systems.

NYS Library Construction Aid: $45M

Increased investment is needed to maintain and develop the physical infrastructure of New York State’s libraries, in order to ensure a safe, accessible and sustainable environment for the future.

The New York State Library estimates the deferred maintenance need at over $1.6B.

Over half of New York’s libraries are over 60 years old.
Investments allow libraries to invest in energy-efficiency and support the local construction industry

I will be developing local information that we can use to discuss with our legislators. It will have a certain level of NYLA's asks, but it will primarily incorporate language to help unite the Monroe County Library System, Rochester Regional Library Council, and our legislative discussion points. I will be sending this to Directors soon.

Office Hours and Roles & Responsibilities February 18, 2021

To kick off our 2021 Trustee Workshop schedule (more info below), Suzanne and I will be hosting two events on Thursday, February 18, 2021.

The first will begin at 4:00 PM and will be Q&A Office Hours. Between the hours of 4:00 PM and 6:00 PM, you may log in to ask questions, raise concerns, or comment on anything libraries.

The second will be a Roles & Responsibilities workshop for new trustees starting at 6:00 PM. We will discuss the duties of Library Trustees in New York, the differences in responsibilities of the Board and Library Director, collective authority, and some basic laws to be familiar with.

Trustee Workshops 2021

Head over to our Trustee Workshops 2021 page for a list of what we have planned this year. Topics, days, and times were based on the survey that was sent to trustees a few months ago; thank you to everyone who filled that out. Throughout the year, as relevant topics come up, we may add impromptu workshops to the list. As that happens I will make sure to give you all a heads up. As always, both trustees and directors are welcome to attend these info sessions.

To register, you can visit the System calendar, or click on the links below. All workshops will be held virtually, the call information will be sent out in advance to those who register.

Online Board Meetings

The ability for boards to meet online continues to be extended. My assumption is that this will continue until the pandemic is under control. I encourage all boards to take advantage of meeting online if possible. Hybrid meetings where some members are in person while others are virtual are also legal. Be sure to follow all rules of Open Meetings Law while conducting meetings.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo extends suspension of in-person meeting requirement of Open Meetings Law until January 29 in Executive Order 202.87

Construction Grants

It is still unknown how much funding we will receive for construction projects this year, but I encourage everyone to take a look at their facility plans to see if there is anything that needs to be renovated, updated, refurbished, or built. Last year we did not spend all of our aid, so it may be a good year to apply. Suzanne will be holding an information session on March 9, 2021 at 10:00 AM. Even if you just want to learn a bit more about the program and you do not plan on applying this year, I would recommend attending.

Click here to register.
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