Trustee Newsletter September 2021

Annual Meeting and Election of System Trustees

System Trustee Election - Wednesday, October 13, 2021 at 6:00 PM

This year our Annual Meeting and Election of System Trustees will be held a bit differently. Due to the ongoing difficulties presented by the pandemic, we will be holding our election online rather than in-person on October 13, 2021 at 6:00 PM. You can register for the event here.

We will have a short and simple agenda that will include the following items:
  1. Election of representatives from Livingston, Ontario, and Wyoming counties to the System Board of Trustees.
  2. Remarks from the Executive Director and Board President of the System.
All Member Library Trustees are eligible to vote in this election.

While this is a smaller event than in years past, I hope you are still able to attend. It means a lot when Trustees across the System come together to cast their votes for our board.

System Trustee Candidates

Livingston County Representative

Liz Smith-Rossiter is currently a trustee for the Livonia Public Library as well as a Livingston County Trustee on the OWWL board. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Writing and Communication from Ithaca College, and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Buffalo State College. Liz works for the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), a labor union representing over 600,000 members across NY State. She understands the value of libraries as foundational to education for individuals of all ages. Liz and her family utilize a broad range of programs offered by libraries in our area, and will continue to support and advocate for resources for our library system.

Liz is currently filling an unexpired term on the System Board.

Length of Term: January 2022 – December 2024

Ontario County Representative

Jenny Tessendorf lives in Canandaigua and is an instructor in the Department of Economics at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva. She studied Political Science and East Asian Studies at Indiana University, holds an M.A. from the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce at the University of Kentucky, and did further graduate work in Political Economy and Public Policy at the University of Southern California. Jenny knows the great value added by strong community libraries and she and her family make good use of Wood Library.

Jenny is currently filling an unexpired term on the System Board.

Length of Term: January 2022 – December 2024

Wyoming County Representative

We are still looking to secure a Wyoming County Representative for this year’s election. If you know of a Wyoming County resident who is interested in the position, please let me know.

If a candidate cannot be found and added to this slate by October 6, 2021, the System Board will appoint someone at soon as possible following the election.

Length of Term: January 2022 – December 2024

OWWLie Award Presentation - Friday, October 15, 2021

The OWWLie awards (which made their debut in 2020) will be held as a smaller event on October 15, 2021. Award winners will be invited to attend an in-person event at System Headquarters (the event will follow all applicable COVID guidelines). All others are encouraged to register to attend virtually. Click here for the virtual OWWLie Registration Link.

Minimum Standards for Libraries

As a reminder, the updated Minimum Standards for Public and Association Libraries took effect on January 1, 2021. As part of the FY 2022 Annual Report, libraries will need to confirm that your library is up to date with all standards. If your library is out of compliance with a standard for a circumstance outside of your control, a variance will need to be requested. Any variance that needs to be requested must be submitted to Pioneer Library System by November 1, 2021.

To see the most up to date information on Minimum Standards visit

Trustee Workshops

We still have a few workshops scheduled to close out the year. Both Directors and Trustees are welcome to attend these workshops. Register for the Zoom information. These can also be viewed on the System Calendar .

If you missed a workshop, you can take a look at the resource page by visiting Trustee Workshop Resources

Trustee Book Club

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 at live events later this year.

Trustees from all public library systems in New York State are welcome. Library Directors from across the state are welcome to attend as well.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021 from 5:00-6:30pm: Duties & Responsibilities | Register Here

Before the event:

1) Read the chapter: Duties & Responsibilities
2) Thoughts to consider before the program:

  • What is your purpose as a Library Trustee?
  • What do you believe is the mission of your Library in the community?
  • Have you received a thorough orientation about the Library, it’s services and how it functions?
  • How can the Board be most effective as the public body entrusted with the future of the community’s library?

3) Submit your questions here.

Advocacy Updates

Amendments to Open Meetings Law

Currently, Boards are authorized to meet online until January 15, 2022. After that, I am hopeful that the following legislation will be in place to accommodate online board meetings going forward.

Senate Bill S7261
2021-2022 Legislative Session

Relates to videoconferencing at public meetings and requiring that the minutes of a public meeting at which videoconferencing is used reflect such fact and the extent of such participation. Source:

I have drafted a letter and submitted it to the Senate Committee on Libraries and the Assembly's Committee on Libraries and Education Technology in support of legislation to change OML to include hybrid and online meetings. While the bill is not currently in either of these committees, it will be good for them to know our stance on OML if it should come up. I will also be reaching out to the Governmental Operations Committee which is where the bill is now.

From our legislators, I have heard back from Senator Helming and Assemblywoman Byrnes saying that they will support this bill when it comes up for a vote.

Advocacy Page on Docs

The Advocacy page on OWWL Docs has been updated with all of the current legislative actions that we're keeping an eye on -

I will continue to update you on FY 2022 advocacy activities.

Articles of Interest

New Books will be Hard to Come by for the Rest of the Year

Book buyers, beware: New books will be in short supply for the rest of 2021.

Publishers are warning sellers and consumers that supply chain issues have forced a major slowdown in book production and threaten a shortage of certain titles for the rest of the year. Supply chain problems have touched almost every aspect of book production, storage, and delivery, mostly as a result of Covid-related bottlenecks. Printer capacity issues plagued the publishing industry last year, too, though 2021 is expected to be worse.


School District Bans Books

York, Pennsylvania (CNN)Students in a southern Pennsylvania school district are battling the latest example of panic spreading over how history and race are taught in schools across the US.


On Aug. 11, the Central York School Board banned a list of resources from Latinx and African American authors. The ban ignited protests from students, school faculty and locals. Below is the full list of banned materials.


Suze Phillips doesn’t have any children in the Central York School District, but that’s where the kids in her neighborhood go to school. She has a granddaughter who will eventually be a student there. And the certified history teacher who had dreams of becoming a librarian wants her granddaughter to have as diverse an education as possible. So, the 61-year-old Minnesota native made some changes to the Free Little library that sits in front of her house in Manchester Township. Now there is a sign encouraging readers to “share banned books here.”


A MESSAGE FROM: Robert F. Lambert, President, York County Libraries

Our mission at York County Libraries is to strengthen the York County community and to enrich individual lives by supplying information, providing recreation, promoting literacy, encouraging lifelong learning, and serving as the hub of their communities.

We are deeply saddened and disappointed by the decision of the Central York School District School Board to blanket ban or "freeze" over 300 resources -- children's picture books, K-5 books, middle and high school books, videos, webinars, and web links suggested by the district’s diversity education committee over a year ago.

We have reviewed the entire list. Many of the authors, illustrators, and spoken word artists, as well as their subjects, are people of color. Many of the subject matters are uplifting, affirming, and encouraging. Learning about human rights and learning about other peoples, cultures and perspectives are not political indoctrination. They are the lifeblood of our pluralism and our democratic republic. They are the oxygen for further questions and lifelong learning. They are the launching pad for a dynamic 21st century of diverse collaborations and problem-solving.

True to our mission, we welcome you to visit us, explore our diverse collections and to search our catalog to locate many of the books on the “frozen” list. If we do not have the title you would like in our physical collection, we will order it for you via statewide interlibrary loan.

Despite this unfortunate, misguided, and ill-fated scenario, this ordeal can serve as a launching pad for many teachable moments in York County and beyond. Many of these resources are receiving more attention. Some families are creating mini free libraries outside their homes that feature some of the prohibited books.

Please join us in creating a free marketplace of literacy, lifelong learning and ideas. That's what our libraries are all about. Communities throughout York County and beyond can emerge from this more aware and enlightened. We can be better than the status quo. As informed citizens we will be stronger, smarter, and kinder.


The Surprisingly Big Business of Library E-books

Steve Potash, the bearded and bespectacled president and C.E.O. of OverDrive, spent the second week of March, 2020, on a business trip to New York City. OverDrive distributes e-books and audiobooks—i.e., “digital content.” In New York, Potash met with two clients: the New York Public Library and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. By then, Potash had already heard what he described to me recently as “heart-wrenching stories” from colleagues in China, about neighborhoods that were shut down owing to the coronavirus. He had an inkling that his business might be in for big changes when, toward the end of the week, on March 13th, the N.Y.P.L. closed down and issued a statement: “The responsible thing to do—and the best way to serve our patrons right now—is to help minimize the spread of covid-19.” The library added, “We will continue to offer access to e-books.”

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