Fall 2001

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Comments To My NYSALB Colleagues

by Susan Lehman Keitel, NYLA Executive Director

Fall 2001 issue of Trustee

These lovely late summer days have only one disadvantage:  one would prefer not to work at one's  desk.  The garden, the yard, the pool, the beach, the mountains ... all resound with an appeal that outshines being inside and struggling to make sense of the Legislature, the budget, the courts, and the First Amendment.

The Governor and the Legislature have not yet finished the State's 2001 budget. As of this writing, the Governor has taken to the courts to try to derail the bare bones budget passed by the Legislature.  So we wait ... and wait.  Simultaneously, a Supplemental Budget is being developed for hope-for passage this September.  Rumor has it that libraries might receive increases in the Supplemental, or at least be given again the additional $5 million that was tacked on last year as a one-time appropriation.  We'll see.

The Governor is about to begin another budget cycle even though there is no resolution on the current budget situation.  For 2002-03, the Governor and his staff will be preparing his budget proposal in October and November for introduction to the Legislature next January.  Since 2002 is an election year, NYLA has every hope that increased state aid to libraries and systems will become a reality.

All your public libraries have by now received NYLA's Tool Kit for New Century Libraries. Each tool kit contains directions, information, and tools for you, your staff, and your patrons to use in advocating for New Century Libraries.  Starting immediately, and progressing through next year's budget period, NYLA needs trustees to take actions in support of the NCL proposal and to lead their libraries in activities that will show our elected officials that we need New Century Libraries to become a reality. Although the tool kits contain directions and all the material you will need, please feel free to contact me if I can be of help to you.

As a participant in the now-famous CIPA case which is being argued under the direction of ALA  through the Washington firm of Jenner and Block, NYLA is working to supply the lawyers with all the Internet filtering information and library policies they need.  NYLA is opposed to filtering public access computers, and abhors the threat made by the federal government to reduce federal aid to libraries that refuse to filter. However, our  larger goal is to see that public library trustees continue to have the power and the authority to determine the best policies for each of their libraries, no matter what the issue.  There is no excuse for any level of government to intervene in the policies of a local public library and to mandate what specific policies must be.

Albany is the site of this October's annual NYLA convention from October 17 through 20.  It is a perfect setting for attending programs and for seeing the Capitol, the Legislative Office Building, the State Library, the State Museum, the Albany Institute of History and Art, and our very own Albany Public Library, which will be the setting for our grand Vitality Event.  I do hope you are planning to join us for the convention this fall and for the programs tailored just to trustees.  Do not forget that Albany has wonderful parks, restaurants, shops, and concerts, too.

Together, NYLA and NYSALB can make a difference to New York's library community. Together we can influence the Governor and the Legislature to see the value of libraries, and to fund them.  Together we can achieve any goal we set for ourselves.  Let's start now, working together.

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