Fall 2003

The Trustee communicates issues affecting libraries and library services. Once a library and systems join LTA, all their trustees automatically receive this quarterly publication published by LTA. To learn more about membership in LTA, Click Here.

From The Desk Of The Library Committee Chair Assemblywoman Sandy Galef

Fall 2003 issue of Trustee

I am thrilled to be the new Chair of the Assembly Committee on Libraries and Education Technology.  Libraries are one of the most important institutions in the state.  No longer thought of solely as repositories of books, they have become the centers of our communities.  In my neighborhood and others throughout the state, libraries are where we go to be entertained, gather for events, research job opportunities, or just escape with a good book - in text or on tape.  Libraries are becoming the focus of our cities, villages, and towns where we go for music, lectures, and readings.  Libraries complement our schools with after school and  summer reading programs for our children.

Libraries have been so much a part of my life, first as a young second and third grade teacher in Charlottesville, Virginia and Scarsdale, New York, and next as trustee of the Ossining Public Library.  In those years, we debated over whether we should carry Judy Blume books and do they belong in a library for children or adults.  It was then that I learned firsthand about the debate of censorship versus self selection.  And now as a legislator, I use books on tape as I travel to and from Albany during session.  The New York State Library in Albany played a critical research role during my efforts as sponsor of the amendment to the New York State Constitution that was adopted last year, making the document gender neutral.

As new Chair, I have had my first Assembly committee meeting and have toured the New York State Library and learned about the many services it provides along with the multiple databases it offers to all valid card-carrying library users.  I hope to familiarize my colleagues with these services that will be useful to their offices.

We all know and understand that these are tough economic times.  In the good times, libraries received no increase from the state of New York.  In these difficult times, we must work hard to maintain last year's level of funding at $88.9 million.  The new state budget shows a 15% decrease in funding for libraries which would result in a loss of an additional 15% in matching federal grants.  All this is at a time when there has been a 20% increase in library readership since the World Trade Center attacks of 9/11.

As we look to the future, we must work toward increasing dollars for technological innovation and the integration of the library system to serve the public in an optimal way.  My major goal is to champion what libraries do.  I look forward to working with you, keeping in touch, and learning what issues are important to you.  In addition to budgetary items, we deal with legislation important to libraries.  Tough, challenging, exciting is how I see my new job as Chair.  I want to hear from you, get to know you, and exchange ideas.  Please contact me in Albany at 518-455-5348 or at my district office 914-941-1111.  I look forward to a wonderful working relationship.

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