Trustee

Winter 2009

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.

President's Memo

Winter 2009 issue of Trustee

Want to hear something…
Last week I had an opportunity to attend a Legislative breakfast sponsored by our local 3R’s council.  I’m sure you have similar events in your area, regardless of sponsor.  You know, where we get our local state representatives to come to an event to mix with library folks and have an opportunity to tell us how much they love libraries and we tell them that we don’t get enough money.

This event was well done.  Of course our local library folks stressed the importance of libraries in these tough economic times.  The state legislators reminded us that it was going to be tough on everyone, pretty standard stuff.

Here’s the rub.  One of our local legislators made some comments that really hit home to me and hopefully to those attending.  He made some very important comments.

Firstly he stated categorically that he rarely heard from library folks.  Not never, but not enough to even get any attention.

Secondly, he recommended that libraries raise their visibility in the community.  He recommended that libraries need to “brand” themselves to where communities would be up in arms if someone dared to harm their local library, financially or otherwise.

Lastly, he reminded us that this is really a “zero sum game,” that is if we don’t scream loud enough then someone else will get all the cash.

In response to each of these let me say…  First, I guess I’m just too “close to the elephant.”  Having been involved with libraries and library issues over the years it just seems impossible for me to believe that any state representative does not hear from his local libraries on a regular basis.  Shame on us! 

Here’s what you can easily do:
If you do not know who represents your area both for the State Assembly and the State Senate, call your local library.  They will have the information.  It is surprising the kind of information a library contains.  There are other ways, including the telephone book, your library system website or materials available from your local Chamber of Commerce.

Write a simple letter that states: “We need our libraries more than ever and we cannot afford to do with less.  By the way I vote.”  Mail it to his/her local office.  If you are web savvy try the NYLA website to automatically fax correspondence to your local representatives (http://nyla.org/index.php?page_id=925)

Secondly, the 2009 NYSALB Trustee Institute (May 1&2 in Syracuse) plans to have a session on “Branding your Library” with James Keller from the Queens Borough Library.  Plan to attend.

Lastly, when the resources are limited, the fledgling that screams the loudest gets fed.  Go visit your representatives at their local office, invite them to your library, demonstrate the value your library provides the community.

These are going to be very difficult times.  There are considerably larger and more active organizations going after a limited number of resources.  If we as trustees can’t make some NOISE, then shame on us.


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