Trustee Newsletter September 2020

Pioneer Library System 31st Annual Meeting

Please join us for Pioneer Library System's 31st Annual Meeting on Wednesday, October 14 at 6 pm. This year's event will be held virtually, and the format will follow the typical agenda (Executive Director's remarks and Election of Trustees). In years past, we also 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 were created by system staff, member library staff, and trustees, and we think it will bring some levity to the end of a stressful year. Click here for more information about the 31st Annual Meeting and to register.

System-Wide Delivery

Since the last Trustee Newsletter, we have made some progress safely resuming regular Delivery and transporting Holds between libraries. On August 24, libraries started to receive scheduled weekly deliveries, and the first round of pre-COVID Holds (Holds that were suspended on March 16 when Delivery was halted) were released. During the week of August 31, the next round of pre-COVID Holds were released as PLS continued to monitor the capacity of delivery vans and staff. As things continued to proceed smoothly, patrons were able to begin placing holds for items owned by other libraries on Wednesday, September 9.

This phased approach is designed to keep system drivers and library staff from becoming overwhelmed by requests, to comply with all recommended guidelines for quarantining library materials, and to allow for contingency planning to efficiently pause services should a "second wave" of COVID-19 impact our region. We will continue to update Directors on all decisions as they are made so they can prepare appropriately and publicize relevant information to their communities.

Monthly Board Meetings

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

Additionally, the COOG (Committee on Open Government) released an opinion on August 10:

[I]f 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.”

Click here to read the full opinion.

Long-Range Planning Workshop Follow-Up

Thank you to everyone who attended our Long-Range Planning Workshop on 9/10/2020. We included all of the resources discussed on our Docs page along with the recording. Let us know if you have any planning questions.

https://docs.owwl.org/Community/LongRangePlanning

Minimum Standards FAQ

As we move closer to the end of the year, there have been questions regarding the new and updated Minimum Standards for Public Libraries in New York State that must be in place by January 1, 2020. Here is some additional information:

Standard #2: Long-Range Plan

"Each . . . library has a community-based, board-approved, written long-range plan of service developed by the library board of trustees and staff."

If your library's LRP has expired or will expire 12/31/2020, your Board will need to adopt a new/updated LRP. We are currently suggesting a 2 year plan given the time constraints and the constraints on the traditional planning process due to the ongoing public health crisis.

Click here to access PLS Resources on Long-Range Planning.

Standard #4: Written Policies

"Each …library has board-approved written policies for the operation of the library, which shall be reviewed and updated at least once every five years or earlier if required by law."

Policies must be reviewed and/or updated every 5 years.

The following policies are mandated by the State Library:
  • Open Meeting Policy
  • Confidentiality of Library Records
  • Conflict of Interest Policy
  • Whistle Blower Policy
  • Disaster Response Policy
  • Collection Development Policy
  • Meeting Space Policy
  • Code of Ethics
  • Personnel Policy
  • Financial Controls

Libraries may adopt other policies as needed.

Click here to access PLS Resources on library policies.

Standard #7: Hours

Each library…is open the following hours:

PopulationMinimum Weekly
Hours Open
Up to 500 12
500-2,499 20
2,500-4,999 25
5,000-14,999 35
15,000—24,999 40
25,000-99,999 55
100,000 and above 60
It is ok to have temporary, modified hours due to COVID-19; you will just make a Note on your Annual Report to New York State. Permanent changes to operating hours must be in compliance with the above chart. Please note when making permanent changes to operating hours (not COVID-related):
  • Hours should be fixed, not change week to week
  • Libraries should be open 52 weeks a year
  • Hours should include morning, afternoon, evening, and weekend hours
  • Standards do not require a library to open on legal Holidays or Sundays; the library may fall below the minimum weekly hours open requirement due to a Holiday closing

Additional Resources

Click here to access additional PLS Resources for new/updated Minimum Standards. The Pioneer Library System is available for consult on meeting Minimum Standards.

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