Summer 2011

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President's Memo

By Mary Ellen O'Connor, LTA Board President

Summer 2011 issue of Trustee

Libraries ARE educational institutions!

In a landmark decision on May 17, 2011, the Supreme Court of Suffolk County ruled that libraries are educational institutions. This decision puts libraries on an equal playing field with schools and churches when it comes to zoning disputes.

LTA was approached by the East Hampton Library last year when it was seeking to expand its children's area without being subject to an environmental review that the local zoning board had been insisting upon. We were asked to file an amicus brief (friend of the court), and without hesitation, our Board of Trustee Directors agreed.

The ruling reads that chartered libraries such as East Hampton "are, indeed, educational uses and as such, serve the same inherently beneficial effects on the community as do schools," and are, therefore, entitled to "the same deferential treatment in zoning and like matters that are accorded to schools and religious institutions."

Hopefully, this ruling will be the turning point of change in the way libraries are viewed by lawmakers, policymakers and the general public. It cannot be emphasized enough that education takes place in libraries. If you want to learn about something you start at your local library where you can find a book, join a class, attend a program or ask a librarian for help. As trustees we need to fully understand and speak about the education component of the libraries we serve.

Congratulations and welcome to our two newest Trustee Directors! Kim Garrett who represents the Southern Adirondack Library System and serves as a Trustee of the Stillwater Public Library and John Eberhardt who represents the Suffolk County Library System and serves as a Trustee of the South Huntington Public Library.

At our September meeting Jim Britell, a Trustee of the Wead Library in Malone, NY will be joining our board. Jim will represent the Clinton, Essex, Franklin Library System. We are looking forward to working with him as LTA continues to grow.

At this time I would also like to congratulate and thank NYLA's Executive Director, Michael Borges, and the NYLA Legislative Committee for a remarkable year in
getting some important library legislation passed.

Kudos to all!

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