Winter 2010

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 Editor's Desk

Sam Patton, NYSALB Board

Winter 2010 issue of Trustee

First, a “Happy New Year” to all

As I look back to my earlier years on the NYSALB Board, and as Editor of the TRUSTEE, I realize that I owe a tremendous debt to so many who have contributed, helped, suggested, written, photographed, proofread and critiqued for me over the last five years. Since the Spring 2010 issue will be my last one, I will wait until then to summarize their contributions, and the changes that have been made. If you readers have comments and suggestions on how we could improve the TRUSTEE and our other modes of communication - the Institutes, the web site, the Listserve, etc. - please let us know. Facebook anyone ? One of the rewards I get are messages from readers, whether kudos or corrections - at least I know that someone has read it!

Most of us involved in any group in New York are deeply anxious about our State finances, and the severe impact on programs and the increases in property taxes. Recently our own library had an unexpected financial problem when our heating system failed. We had to close to allow the repair work to be done. A minimum of staff were able to continue, but safety always came first. Our creative and dedicated people managed to get a lot done for the library, even in the face of this disruption.

I’ve just read in the “New York Times” of a novel way some libraries are responding to the tough times of some of their patrons. In one case, the staff have been given authority to negotiate on large sums, perhaps owed because children have borrowed a lot of books, and then kept them too long. The objective, says one library person, is to get the books back for use by others. In another area, patrons can donate food to food banks through the library, and reduce their fine by the value of the donation.

More that 55 years ago, I was a volunteer Bookmobile driver in rural Virginia, going through our Shenandoah Valley to many small hamlets. Our Bookmobile was a converted school bus fit- ted with shelves where books could be strapped in, so that navigating sharp mountain roads didn't spill all the material onto the floor. The arrival of the Bookmobile was sometimes the event of the day, and we were often treated like guests, with coffee, tea and pastries and the local news. So I was pleased to read an item in the ALA web publication on the origin of what we now call a Bookmobile. Paul Golaszewski, the writer, says that Hagerstown, Maryland was the first to take the library to rural patrons. A horse drawn Concord wagon, and later a mod- ified delivery wagon was used. It took the driver four days to make the entire trip over sixteen routes. Mr. Golaszewski gives as his source "Bookmobiles and Bookmobile Service," by Eleanor Frances Brown, from The Scarecrow Press, Inc. 1967.

The pictures are of the converted school bus I drove then and the Westchester "Digital Bookmobile" now. Look at the differences. I certainly wouldn't even try to drive it!

We carried only a small selection of books and some magazines. The Westchester vehicle makes available all the usual materials we expect today, and, thanks to modern electronics, many services we didn’t even dream of in the 1950’s!

One of the special aspects of being involved with NYSALB has been the number of people I have met through the Trustee Institutes. I hope you will join us on Long Island on April 30 and May 1, 2010. Look for more information and a mailing later in the year.

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