Trustee Newsletter July/August 2020

Executive Director's Note

I hope this summer edition of the Trustee Newsletter finds everyone well. A lot has changed in the past several weeks, and this newsletter will provide some key updates. In the last issue, I outlined System-Wide Reopening Plans and what that looked like through the various phases of NY Forward. Since the Finger Lakes Region hit Phase 4 on June 26, all 42 libraries in our system have resumed at least modified, in-house services. The decisions on what services to offer and how to implement them will look different from library to library, and that is perfectly ok. Each of our libraries is unique and should do what will work best for them so long as libraries remain in compliance with NY Forward, all Executive Orders, and CDC Guidelines. At the system, we continue to advise libraries to proceed with caution as a second wave in the fall is a real possibility. There is no one path forward; making decisions that put the health and safety of your staff, volunteers, and community members as the top priority are the ones we should all be making. We will continue to support you the best we can, and I want to extend my sincere appreciation for the support and cooperation all of the libraries and their Boards have extended to the Pioneer Library System over the past several months.

31st Annual Meeting


Planning is underway for the Pioneer Library System's 31st Annual Meeting. This year's event will be held virtually on Wednesday, October 14 at 6 pm. The format will follow the typical agenda (Executive Director's remarks and Election of Trustees), and then we will have a special awards ceremony. In year's past, we recognized library staff, volunteers, trustees, and community partners who made significant contributions to their library or the Pioneer Library System. However, 2020 was an unprecedented year and our traditional Pioneer Awards didn't quite fit. Instead, we will present the OWWLie Awards.

The OWWLie Awards will honor those who made interesting, entertaining, innovative, fun, and/or inventive contributions to their library or the Pioneer Library System. The OWWLie Award categories will be created by library staff and trustees. Decide who you believe deserves recognition for whatever reason (Best Virtual Meeting Snacks? Longest Emails?). Creativity and silliness welcomed and encouraged! Nominations are due by Friday, September 4. Click here to access the nomination form.

Click here for more information about the 31st Annual Meeting and to register. Hope to "see" everyone there.

System-Wide Delivery

Many of our member libraries have been receiving questions from patrons regarding delivery and borrowing materials from other libraries. Currently, only local Holds are available in our catalog and we have been conducting temporary clean-up runs to help transport materials back to their owning libraries. We are working on getting delivery back up and running, but there are several variables we have to take into consideration before we can start, including:
  • The capacity of delivery vans and staff
  • 72-hour quarantine of materials as suggested by the REALM research from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (72-hours is how long the virus is estimated to live on specific materials)
  • The capacity of our 42 member libraries to process incoming materials while operating with limited or modified services
  • Handling materials that were requested by patrons or due prior to the COVID-19 shut-down
  • Contingency planning for a possible "second wave" of COVID-19 so we can turn off services in an efficient and timely way
  • Keeping libraries, PLS staff, and patrons as safe as possible
  • Complying with all guidance from the Governor's office
We will be beginning a phased approach to opening delivery soon. Directors will be kept up to date on all decisions as they are made so they can prepare appropriately and publicize relevant information to their communities.

Online Meetings & Hybrid Meetings

The provision allowing online meetings has been extended until September 4, 2020. As long as these provisions are in place, I would recommend taking advantage of them.

Also, the COOG released an opinion on August 10th that can be found here -

The opinion mainly states that;

if a public body is convening an essential meeting, the body must ensure that it adheres to social distancing, masking, and any other administration requirements, and if there is any question about whether it is able to maintain a safe space in which to hold an essential open meeting, it must provide a contemporaneous video or audio broadcast such that members of the public who cannot safely attend in person “ha[ve] the ability to view or listen to such proceeding and that such meetings are recorded and later transcribed.”

Minimum Standards

Although COVID-19 did force the temporary closure of library's physical spaces and disrupted services, libraries will still be expected to meet the updated Minimum Standards for New York Public & Association Libraries by January 1, 2021. Click here to access helpful information and resources on the updates including the presentation slides from our Trustee Workshops on Minimum Standards. Click here for sample policies that libraries can review and adopt locally if needed. If there are any questions regarding the Minimum Standards and compliance, please reach out.

Upcoming Trustee Workshops

Please just us for two upcoming Trustee Workshops:
  • Roles & Responsibilities for New Library Trustees Tuesday, September 1 @ 6pm
    Discussion points will include:
    • Duties of Library Trustees in New York
    • Differences in Responsibilities of the Board and Library Director
    • Collective Authority
    • Basics of Open Meetings Law
  • Strategic Planning Thursday September 10 @ 6pm
    Discussion points will include:
    • Flexible Strategic Planning options for your library
    • Strategic Planning compliance for Minimum Standards
    • How to use the PLS planning template
These workshops will be held virtually. You can register for either/both by clicking on the links above.

Click here to access previous Trustee Workshop Resources.

Last Month's Issue

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