Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pine Hills Post Office Public Meeting -Wed, Nov 4


When: November 4, 2009 (Wednesday)
Where: The Elks Club Corner of South Allen & Yates Street
(Across from the Post Office)
Time: Open between 4 pm and 8 pm
Purpose: To show public support to negate the proposed closing of this vital neighborhood resource.

You can keep our beloved Pine Hills post office open. Public support does make a difference; there are numerous examples of it. We all know what a vital element this particular Post Office affords our Pine Hills Community and only with the response of the public will it stay open. Please indicate your support between the hours of 4 pm and 8 pm on November 4th. This is your chance to make a difference.

If you cannot be at the hearing, write a letter of support to:
Consolidation Study
Consumer Affairs
30 Old Karner Rd.
Albany, NY 12288-9631

Thank you.

Pine Hills Neighborhood Association

Friday, October 30, 2009

Time Change Reminder and Halloween Safety


Don’t forget about the Time Change on Sunday, November 1. Set your clocks back one hour--the change officially starts at 2:00am on November 1. The majority of the United States observes daylight time, but there are some exceptions, including Hawaii and most of Arizona.
If your kids are going trick-or-treating, check out some Halloween Safety tips. They include:
Ensuring that your child's costume is flame-resistant.
Accompanying young children and ensuring that all children walk along sidewalks.
Instructing children not to enter homes.
Examining all candy before your child eats it.
Have a safe and happy Halloween!


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Census Bureau Launches 2010 Census Campaign With New Web Site

The U.S. Census Bureau this week kicked off its communications campaign to reach every resident in America with the launch of its 2010 Census Web site, 2010CENSUS.GOV. The Web site will serve as a platform for a national dialogue about how the census develops a “Portrait of America.”

2010CENSUS.GOV features an animated marquee that symbolizes the Census Bureau’s place at the intersection of the American experience. By clicking on images representative of the population, visitors can view video vignettes that ease fears about the census and encourage participation in the once-a-decade population count. The marquee will evolve over time, bringing the diverse voices of America to the site.

Press release.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Friends of APL Plan November Programs

The Friends of Albany Public Library are offering a full slate of book-related programs in November. In addition to the regular Tuesday noontime book talks this month, the Friends are hosting a special Saturday event featuring a lecture by local author Julie Lomoe. All of the Friends’ events—which are free and open to the public—take place in the large auditorium of the Main Library at 161 Washington Avenue. For more information, call 427-4300.

Nov. 3, Tuesday, 12:15 p.m.— Poetry Reading
Poet, musician, and WAMC commentator Paul Elisha reads from his poetry collection Swash.

Nov. 10, Tuesday, 12:15 p.m.—Book Review
Bill Shapiro, attorney and lifelong student of international relations, reviews the book Dreams and Shadows: The Future of the Middle East by Robin Wright.

Nov. 14, Saturday, 1 p.m.—Book & Author Lecture
Julie Lomoe, Friends of Albany Public Library author of the year, lectures about her latest novel of suspense, Eldercide.

Nov. 17, Tuesday, 12:15 p.m.—Author Talk
Author Dan Valenti discusses baseball and his book Baseball Comes Home: A History of the Baseball Hall of Fame Game.

Nov. 24, Tuesday, 12:15 p.m.—Book Review
Donald J. Reeb, University at Albany professor emeritus of economics, reviews The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008 by Paul Krugman

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Contact Your State Legislators to Reject Proposed Library Aid Cuts

From Michael J. Borges
Executive Director
New York Library Association

Dear Library Advocate, as you may know, the Governor has proposed mid-year budget cuts to close a $3 billion budget deficit. The proposal includes a 10% across the board cut to all state aid programs like Library Aid, which will result in a $3.3 million reduction in funding for library services. School Aid will be cut by 4.5%.

The proposed $3.3 million reduction in Library Aid is on top of the $8 million cut imposed back in April and the $3 million cut sustained last year. If the proposed cuts are approved, it will reduce Library Aid to $88 million or 1998 level of funding. With library usage continuing to increase and people of all ages depending on libraries to improve their literacy, computer and internet skills and the unemployed using libraries to search for new careers and employment, now is not the time for further cuts for library services.

I strongly urge you to contact your state legislators to ask them to reject the Governor’s proposed cuts. Libraries have already done their fair share towards reducing the state’s budget shortfalls, other alternatives need to be used before asking the library community to take further cuts. These proposed cuts impact all types of libraries and library systems, public, college, schools, etc.

Go to and click on Library Advocate icon to send fax/email to your state legislators. Please pass this message on to other library advocates.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Without Melvil

There was an article in the local paper last week that the Albany Public Library was going to do away with the Dewey Decimal System in favor of a system that's more like a bookstore, as I understand it. I have mixed emotions.

On one hand, I see why the library would want to utilize a system like that which the book-using public is used to. While I grew up using the Dewey Decimal System in the Binghamton Public Library, where I worked as a teen, it's not as though I'm wedded to it. Indeed, the books in the special library where I work uses the Library of Congress classification, an alphanumeric system even more arcane for the casual user than Melvil Dewey's categorization. Also, when I was going to library school, I quickly tired of the jokes about my devotion to the DDC.

On the other hand, the conversation suggests that DDC is complicated and that the bookstore model is "better". Maybe it's me, but I always find what I'm looking for in a DDC or LC library, while I'm more likely to have to ask for need help from a book store clerk. That's because the categories in some bookstores are not as helpful as they might be.

The example that immediately comes to mind is Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II, by Douglas A. Blackmon. Last month, the Writers Institute and the Friends of the Albany Public Library sponsored Doug Blackmon to speak at APL.

For those of you not from the Albany area, the Writers Institute was co-founded 25 years ago by William Kennedy. Bill Kennedy is THE most noted writer to come out of Albany, and his fiction about Albany has been award-winning. I happen to particularly enjoy his nonfiction book, O Albany!

There was a dinner before the Blackmon presentation, and for reasons unknown to me, I had the pleasure to sit next to Doug Blackmon. We had a very interesting talk. One point that he made, relative to this current discussion, is how well or poorly his book sells in a given store depended, to a very large degree, on where his book was placed in said bookstore. If it was placed in the American history section - and the story certainly is an American story not often heard - then it sold all right. But if it were placed in the ghetto of the black history section ("ghetto" is my term) - as though the story were only important to, or applicable to black people - then it tended to do less well.

Now, a library book is not sold by the institution. But how often a book circulates certainly effects whether or not other books on that topic and/or books by that author.

I have no inside information just how this "bookstore" model is going to look until the Pine Hills branch - MY branch - reopens next month beyond what I've read here. But I'll be very interested to find out.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bike Master Plan Meeting - 10/27

The City of Albany, in partnership with the Capital District Transportation Committee (CDTC) is finishing a Bicycle Master Plan to identify a network of bicycle routes to help make cycling a more viable way of getting around the City. On Tuesday, October 27th, 2009, the final meeting will present the draft plan, concept goals and priorities, maps, and detail graphics to clearly and logically incorporate bicycling into the City and region's overall transportation network. The presentation of the final plan is from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM at the Albany Public Library Main Branch.

Date and Time: Tuesday, October 27th, 2009; Presentation from 7:00 to 8:00 PM
Location: Albany Public Library - Main Library, 161 Washington Avenue
Room: Large Auditorium (First Floor)

For more information on the Bicycle Master Plan: City of Albany, Department of Development & Planning, 21 Lodge Street, Albany, NY 12207 Phone: (518) 434-2532 x33


Monday, October 19, 2009

The Loss of Lever Voting

The ARISE Voting Equipment Task Force will meet 6pm tomorrow (Tuesday 10/20) at Albany Public Library main branch at 161 Washington Avenue in the Large Auditorium. The meeting is open to the public.

The group is concerned about the plan to replace New York's lever voting booths after next month's general election. Lever voting has been a trusted process of voting for decades in NYS. After Nov. 3rd, voters in our state will be forced to rely on programmable scanners to provide a trusted tally of our votes. In fact, these infamous optical scanners have now arrived and are already being tested across NYS in a controversial Pilot Program.

Though these scanners have not even been certified to our state standards, they are already being "tested" in this year's elections across our state without the verification from hand counting that was originally offered.

The group is promising "exclusive video of the new voting process with actual footage of the scanner shutdown process after polls closed on Primary Day last month." More information can be found here.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Come See Your New Pine Hills & Delaware Libraries

(Purloined from Eliisa Kane of APL)

Even though everyone's invited to the Pine Hills Grand Opening Celebration on December 5th and the one at Delaware on January 9th, we know there are lots of you who can't wait to get into the libraries before they open.

So, we've arranged for your very own Sneak Preview of both the Pine Hills and Delaware Branches on Thursday, October 29th, from 5:30 to 8 p.m., before we open to the public. This fundraising event, hosted by the Albany Public Library Foundation, gets you inside with the freedom to check out all the nooks and crannies. You'll marvel over the skylights and windows at Delaware and the huge light monitor and staircase at Pine Hills. All the while enjoying the tasty treats from New World Bistro Bar and Café Madison & Juniors.

It's easy to register online - right here.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

New York State Assembly supports 2009 Teen Read Week

New York State Assembly members support Teen Read Week and encourage teens to read and visit their local libraries.

The assembly has created a Teen Read reading list based on the 2009 theme, “Read Beyond Reality@ your library.” It encourages teens to read something “out of this world,” just for the fun of it, including sci-fi, fantasy, virtual realities, and much more.
In addition, written materials urge teens to visit their local public libraries.

Teen Read Week, October 18 – 24, is a national literacy initiative of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association. It is aimed at teens, their parents, librarians, educators, booksellers, and other concerned adults.

Contact your local Assembly members with information about your library’s Teen Read Week activities and encourage him or her to work with the library in support of teen reading.

To find the Assembly member for your library, visit here and enter your library’s zip code.

For more information on Teen Read Week, visit

Medieval Faire October 24th

The Medieval Faire this year is on October 24th from 10 - 5 and features a number of musical groups. Of special note, several consorts specializing in early music.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

By The Book: RA in a Dynamic World

A Readers' Advisory Conference
Albany Public Library, Albany, NY
November 13, 2009

Is your library considering going Dewey-free? How do you provide RA services to kids when there’s no children’s librarian available? What does the future of RA look like?

Join Albany Public Library in celebrating the sixth annual By the Book Readers’ Advisory Conference! The featured speaker is Cynthia Orr, winner of the 2004 American Library Association Margaret E. Monroe Award for service to adults and an editor of The Reader’s Advisor Online, a website and blog aimed at readers’ advisory and collection development for public libraries. With an exciting sequence of programs for professional and paraprofessional staff scheduled for Friday, November 13th, APL’s By the Book event is designed to give attendees real-world readers’ advisory tips and techniques that they can implement in their libraries.

Cynthia Orr has over 30 years of experience with four different library systems in the areas of collection development, public service, management and readers’ advisory service. She is the former Collection Manager at Cleveland Public Library and has also been Fiction Selector and Director of Technical Services at Cuyahoga County Public Library in Ohio. She teaches Readers' Advisory Services for Kent State University's Graduate School of Library and Information Science. Ms. Orr is a member of the advisory board for Libraries Unlimited's The Reader's Advisor Online, and editor of its blog as well as a consultant for OverDrive.

Cynthia Orr will begin the morning session with a presentation on what library professionals should know about the reading habits of the public. Ms. Orr will also present an afternoon session on how to stay current in a rapidly changing environment and lead a breakout session about the future of readers’ advisory.

Attendees may choose to participate in two breakout sessions. Other topics, each led by APL staff, include conducting readers' advisory on the move, readers' advisory for children if you are not a children's librarian, and going Dewey-free. These sessions are designed to give attendees the opportunity to discuss current issues with colleagues facing the same challenges.

Librarians, library school students, and paraprofessional staff are all invited to join for By The Book: RA in a Dynamic World. The fee for registration is $65.00 (includes lunch). Student registrations are available for $25 (student ID required).

Registration must be received by Friday, November 6, 2009.

For more information, visit here or contact Amy Maurer McLaughlin, Program Manager,, 518-427-4334.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ghoulishly Ghoud Fun at APL

Do the Monster Mash at APL Oct. 23, 6:30 to 8 pm., Main Branch.

Henry Louis Gates at The Egg

The Archives Partnership Trust 2009 Empire State Archives and History Award with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Harold Holzer
Monday, October 26, 7:30 pm, The Egg, Empire State Plaza, Albany
Tickets: $10, Call the Egg Box Office at 518-473-1845

The 2009 Empire State Archives and History Award will be presented to Henry Louis Gates, Jr., America's foremost scholar in the field of African American Studies. Trust board member and Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer will interview Gates as part of the program.

Contact the Archives Partnership Trust at 518-474-1228 or visit for more information about a private reception to meet
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. An additional fee applies.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Dewey Free

Purloined yet again from APL's Stephanie Simon:

Most of our library patrons are browsers. They wander the stacks, pulling book after book off the shelves, checking out titles, scrutinizing story descriptions, looking at author bios, and skimming pages. All in a search for just the right book to take home for a few hours of entertainment.

Here at APL, we're about to make the library browser's search for that perfect book so much easier. All you need to remember are two little words: Dewey free.
So, What is Dewey Free Anyway?

Dewey free is the common name for a library collection classification system that uses words instead of numbers to categorize and organize nonfiction books. Instead of using the traditional Dewey decimal system of numbers, books are organized, labeled, and shelved by subject areas -- just like in your neighborhood bookstore.

Albany's branch collections are just the right size for Dewey free to work and make a customer's library experience more intuitive and user friendly. Dewey free allows us to group similar subjects together and make more natural selections for displaying complementary books. Ample signage, a well-trained staff, and computer terminals will point customers in the right direction to find just what they need.

We've been working hard on the Dewey-free system. Staff members have been recategorizing and relabeling the existing branch collections, which will be moved into the renovated sites soon. We also have a big shipment of new books from Baker & Taylor arriving at Pine Hills next week. Things are also moving along at the other four branches under construction and renovation. The North Albany Branch Library will be converted to Dewey free sometime next year.

APL staff is committed to making Dewey free work at our branch libraries and helping our customers get the most out of their library experiences. Other libraries that have gone Dewey free have seen great success in terms of increased circulation and customer satisfaction.

We expect you're going to love the new Dewey-free branch libraries!
Our first renovated library -- the Pine Hills Branch Library at 517 Western Avenue -- is having a grand opening party on Saturday, Dec. 5, from 1 to 5 p.m. Come check it out and see how great a Dewey-free library can be!

From one bookworm to another,

Stephanie Simon
Albany Public Library

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Update on Google Book Settlement

From NYLA:

The New York Library Association joined the Open Book Alliance (OBA), a coalition of organizations and companies seeking changes to the Google Book Settlement. NYLA supports efforts to making books more searchable, readable and downloadable, but believes the settlement was deeply flawed and benefited only a select few libraries who have signed their own deals with Google. For this reason, NYLA working with other members of the Open Book Alliance sought changes to the Google Book Settlement that would insure competitive pricing, improve access to all types of libraries and protect patron privacy. NYS Librarian Bernie Margolis also sent a letter to ALA voicing similar concerns with the deal.

The U.S. Dept. of Justice filed objections with Federal District Court Judge Denny Chin, who is overseeing the settlement case, that reflected many of the concerns raised by the Open Book Alliance. As a result of this outpouring of concern from author and library organizations, the U.S. and foreign governments, the parties to the Google Book Settlement are going back to the negotiating table to rework the deal.

Last week, the Federal Judge gave the parties until November 7th to address the concerns raised. Although it is good news that the original flawed deal is dead, the short time frame to revise the settlement and the lack of input from library representatives to the revision process is not a good sign. NYLA agrees with the Open Book Alliance that an issue of this magnitude should be dealt with in an open forum with the participation of all affected parties.

NYLA will continue to work with the Open Book Alliance and other groups to insure that any revised settlement addresses the concerns of the library community. Stay tuned!

Michael J. Borges
Executive Director
New York Library Association

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Bus meeting

Citizens for Public Transportation will hold its monthly meeting Wednesday, October 21 at 7:00 PM at the Albany Public Library, 161 Washington Avenue, Albany.

Attendees will be invited to vocie their concerns about planned bus stop discontinuanaces and any other problem areas, particularly with snow removal at bus stops last winter. All concerns will be recorded and brought to the attention of CDTA.

Friday, October 09, 2009

State Librarian's Update #6

Please feel free to pass along this update to colleagues, friends, and anyone you think would benefit from reading about library matters in New York State. If you want to receive the State Librarian’s Updates directly, send your e-mail address to This update and past updates are posted on the New York State Library’s website.

State Aid: Typically by this time in the fiscal year over 95% of the State Appropriation for library aid would have been paid to libraries and library systems. This year is different. The State’s cash flow challenges and shrinking revenue have delayed the distribution process.
We just received approval (known as certification) to pay an additional $15 million of the total of $91.08 million approved in the 2009-10 budget. This means that 63% of the appropriated funding has now been paid. My understanding is that another $15 million (about 16%) will be provided by our control agencies at the beginning of November and the balance will be approved and hopefully fully distributed by the end of December. I know that this late distribution poses many challenges. I know that the calls of many library supporters to legislators urging the speedy payout of library aid made a difference. I wish there was a way to insulate libraries from the dreary economic picture. Education of public policy makers on all the issues of delayed aid payments is very important.

New Training Calendar: Elizabeth Carrature-Brown of the State Library’s Library Development staff has developed a new on-line New York Library Careers Information Calendar”. Please check it out. It is devoted to listing upcoming training and professional development activities across the state. It will include the widest range of training from “free” webinars to multi-session training programs. I hope you will contribute if you offer or provide training to the library community. It’s free.
As practitioners of lifelong learning, we need to not forget our own educational and training needs. Next year new regulations will take effect which will require newly certified public librarians to provide evidence of continuing education to maintain professional certification.
This new requirement will rely heavily upon the wonderful continuing education offerings of our state’s library schools, statewide library associations and public library, school library and 3Rs systems. Ideas to improve this new service will be welcomed by Elizabeth (

Regents Advisory Council on Libraries: The Regents Advisory Council (RAC) is the oldest of the advisory groups to the State Board of Regents. Its critical role is to advise the Regents, and the State Librarian, about important library matters and to reflect upon the issues which impact upon all of the state’s libraries. The Regents, at their September meeting, appointed four new members of the Regents Advisory Council: John Hammond, Executive Director of the Northern New York Library Network; Dionne Mack-Harvin, Executive Director of the Brooklyn Public Library; Mary Muller, President of the Board of Trustees of the Troy Public Library and Principal of Market Block Books; Louise S. Sherby, Associate Dean and Chief Librarian of Hunter College Libraries, City University of New York (CUNY). Congratulations to our new members. In welcoming the new members of the RAC, I ask that you share your concerns with them about matters that require the Regents’ attention. Contact information is posted on the RAC webpage. The RAC makes regular reports to the Regents, through the Regents’ Cultural Education Committee. At the September 25th RAC meeting, the Council voted to endorse the development and implementation of a separate New York State Learning Standard for Information Literacy. The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) has promulgated Standards for the 21st Century Learner which is widely used. It can be accessed here. This could serve as a great model for New York State. Our special thanks to Norman Jacknis, Ellen Bach and David Ferriero who have completed their RAC service. We appreciate their major contribution of time, energy, skills and interest.

Google Book Search: I was especially pleased to learn that the court hearing scheduled for October 9th on the Google Book Search settlement has been postponed until November 7th. The parties to this class-action suit, the Authors Guild and the American Association of Publishers have gone back to the bargaining table with Google. Libraries are NOT parties to the suit but will be significantly affected by its outcome. The governments of Germany and France are opposing the settlement along with the Attorneys General of six (6) states. I have weighed in to advocate for a list of 14 improvements to the settlement which I believe will help libraries and mitigate some of the expected long term financial consequences. You can see my perspective here. Obviously there are many views about the settlement, pro and con. The U.S. Department of Justice has shared its “concerns” with the Court and the U.S. Register of Copyright testified about her serious disagreements and concerns before Congress. I am somewhat optimistic that the settlement can be re-constructed to give libraries better access. School libraries were completely forgotten in the original settlement proposal. State libraries, law libraries and medical libraries also were not included.
While economic issues have been widely discussed the settlement needs a great deal of work to protect user privacy and to prevent censorship of materials. Stay tuned. There probably will be a google number of e-mails about the Google Book settlement.

Libraries and Broadband: And speaking of Google...The national “Fiber to the Library” (F2L) movement begun by Digital Village Associates has recently received a boost with the announcement of support by Google, the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA) and the Fiber to the Home Council (FTTH).
The Fiber to the Library movement aims to bring 100 Mbps Internet connections to all of the 16,500 public libraries in the United States by 2012. “Libraries serve as the most logical community hub and gathering place to provide access to emerging technology and information” according to Digital Village founder Donald Means. The short term goal is to influence the broadband planning now being undertaken by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC plan is due to Congress in February 2010.

Cultural Education Fund: The Cultural Education Fund is the vehicle for financial support for the State Library, the State Museum, the State Archives and Public Broadcasting. Fees, collected by County Clerks, often from real estate transactions, support the fund. The fund is bankrupt. If all obligations were included the fund would have a negative balance of over $5 million. Revenues experienced an uptick in September and we are buoyed by this possible symbol of economic recovery. Discussions are continuing about raising the level of fees collected to support the fund. Fees have not been increased in about ten years. This continues to be our best avenue of support for this fund.

Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA): The LSTA is the primary federal funding support program for libraries. I am pleased to announce that we have looked at this program and done some internal review and re-prioritization to be able to increase the funds available for grants to libraries by $300,000 each year over the next two years. A total of $1.6 million ($800,000 a year) will be allocated for two-year grants (April 2010-March 2012). While this is not a huge increase, we believe that every little bit will help. Systems will be hearing more about the program deadlines and priorities from Mary Linda Todd, the State Library’s LSTA Coordinator.

Election time: New Yorkers have reason to celebrate as elections to support the creation of new library districts have resulted in success.
Congratulations to all the library supporters and dedicated staff and board members working long hours to educate the public about the role that well-supported libraries play in the vibrancy of every community.
Special kudos to the people of Troy with a huge election victory supporting a new district with a healthy funding base and a newly elected Board. Despite the challenging economic times New Yorkers do understand and appreciate the value of library service!

Library leadership: I predict that you will be reading more and more about library leadership in the coming months. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is looking at ways of supporting and developing leadership as one of the best ways of moving libraries forward. So it is especially appropriate that New York’s library leadership is being tapped for national leadership. Sara Kelly Johns has just been nominated as a candidate for President of the 67,000 member American Library Association. Sara is an acclaimed school librarian/school library media specialist (Lake Placid Middle/Sr. High School), formerly served as President of the Association of School Libraries and is a current member of the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries. And, to amplify the importance of our state as a source for great leaders and because one New York leader is not enough, James G. Neal, Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian, Columbia University has been nominated to be Treasurer of the American Library Association. Long active in ALA and the Association of Research Libraries, Jim is a distinguished and sought-after speaker and wonderful library thinker…and doer! I have the privilege of knowing them both and am thrilled with their nominations. If you are not a member of the American Library Association, I cannot think of a better time for you to consider joining and exercising your vote for two highly qualified New Yorkers in next spring’s ALA election.

State Library Staffing: The voluntary severance program for state employees will result in the loss of eleven full-time library positions (down from the originally expected 18 departures) for the State Library.
Hardest hit will be our services to the blind and physically handicapped, the Talking Book and Braille Library (TBBL) and our preservation work. Under this state program, designed to reduce state expenditures, all the vacated positions will be eliminated. We are strategizing on the best ways to sustain our service levels in these vital areas.

New York Library Association Meeting: I hope to see you at the upcoming New York Library Association (NYLA) confab in Niagara Falls. The State Library, along with NYLA and the New York State Association of Library Boards will be hosting the always popular Friday morning (9:45 am, Conference Center II and III, Porter & Deveaux Rooms) program on legislative matters. Joining Deputy Commissioner Jeffrey Cannell and myself will be Regents Chancellor Emeritus Robert M. Bennett; Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Libraries and Education Technology; Assemblyman Sam Hoyt; Senator Antoine Thompson; Assemblywoman Francine DelMonte; Kevin Verbesey, NYLA Legislative Chair; and Mary Ellen O’Connor, NYSALB President. Please come with your questions about critical legislative and funding matters facing libraries of every type. I will also be hosting a “talk to the state librarian” session on Friday at 2:15 p.m. (Conference Center IV, Whitney Room). Needless to say, the NYLA Annual Meeting is a great way to learn about all the “new” professional trends, to become acquainted with best practices and to continue your own individual learning and networking.

ARIA and the Library Community: On September 10th the State Senate gave overwhelming approval to ARIA (Academic Research Information Access) (A.7229/S.5419) legislation designed to make state financial resources available for high-cost database resources for the academic and research library community. The Senate vote came after an earlier vote in the Assembly approving the legislation with almost no opposition. The legislation, as passed, creates a concept and mechanism but includes no funding support. The legislation is about to move to the Governor’s desk. He will have ten days to review and to either sign or veto. Regardless of his action it is a major achievement that the need for database resources, as an economic development tool, is acknowledged in this visible way. This is a great building block for the Comprehensive Information System that I have been talking about and have been calling NYSCIS (New York State Comprehensive Information System). I have supported the ARIA legislation. As with most legislation, it has a few areas I believe could be strengthened and broadened. Clearly the State Library needs a more direct role in the operation of ARIA. Sadly, ARIA has created a division in the library community. In challenging economic times, it has been seen by some as a potential dilution of the state’s resource commitment to public libraries and school libraries.
For others it creates an “exclusive” class of libraries for expensive database resources. For others it appears to be an initiative of the New York State Higher Education Initiative (NYSHEI) in conflict with the goals of the New York Library Association (NYLA). Of course, there are even many more views and perspectives. This diversity of beliefs, viewpoints, and opinions generally helps us as a community. It provides a basis for fruitful and productive discussions where we come together, share our common goals, understand our disagreements, and build new understanding. I am planning to bring people with a variety of perspectives together in the next months and will invite the NYLA Council and NYSHEI Board to meet with me soon to discuss this matter. I invite your assistance in helping to bring the library community together. Our strength and effectiveness must be built on a foundation of trust, respect and appreciation of our similarities and our differences. Thanks, in advance, for your help.

Bernard A. Margolis
State Librarian

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Countdown Begins for Pine Hills Opening

Purloined from APL's Stephanie Simon

Renovations at the Pine Hills Branch Library are almost complete. The fully updated building now features an open floor plan and grand staircase. The 1st and 2nd floors are bathed in sunlight from the new rooftop light monitor. Glass-panel windows have been installed to define the lobby area, walls have been painted, and cabinetry and flooring installed. Landscaping is nearing completion. The building also has new bathrooms, lighting, and an energy-efficient heating and cooling system. We're poised to begin moving the furniture, collections, computers, and other technology into the building this month. We expect to open the library to the public in mid-November.

A special grand opening celebration is planned for Saturday, Dec. 5, from 1 to 5 p.m. for the whole community. We'll have a ribbon cutting ceremony, entertainment, refreshments, and giveaways. This party is a great way to see the newly renovated library and all that it has to offer. Please mark the date on your calendar and make plans to join us at your new Pine Hills Branch Library!

Rest of the New Libraries Not Far Behind

We've got four other new neighborhood libraries opening, one right after the other. Here's a quick update:
• The Delaware Branch Library on Delaware Avenue is expected to open in December, with a grand opening celebration for the community set for Jan. 9 from 1 to 5 p.m. Building renovations are finishing up, and we'll start moving into the library in the coming weeks.
• The Howe Branch Library on Schuyler and Broad Streets is expected to open to the public in February. A new addition is being built, the windows have been refurbished, new electrical and heating/cooling systems are in place, and interior work is continuing.
• The Bach Branch Library on New Scotland Avenue is projected to open in the spring. Geothermal wells are in place, the steel structure is up, and crews are framing the interior.
• The Arbor Hill/West Hill Branch Library on Henry Johnson Boulevard is also expected to open in the spring. As with Bach, the geothermal wells are dug, steel structure is in place, and interior framing and systems work is underway.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Great story from NPR's StoryCorps

In case you don't think being a librarian can make a difference.

State Tax Department Plans Greater Responsiveness

New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Acting Commissioner Jamie Woodward announced this week new initiatives to ensure that the department is accessible and responsive to taxpayers.

To view the entire document please visit here.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Presenting Twitter

Wilfred Drew, Librarian at Tompkins Cortland Community College did a presentation recently at Southern Tier Library (Painted Post, NY) System’s “How Libraries Can Survive in the Digital Age.” His presentation was on "Why Twitter? What can Twitter do for my library & my community?" The material on the website he created he indicated is available to anyone that wants to use it. The URL is

Thanks, Bill!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Underground Railroad Tour

Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region, Inc.
Sunday, October 11th at 1:00pm
Meet at Albany Area Heritage Visitor's Center, Quackenbush Square
Phone: 518 432-4432

Our Opinion: Libraries help feed our democracy

From the Tallahassee Democrat

John S. and James L. Knight Foundation on Friday announced a grant of $83,250 that will help the Leon County Public Library expand its digital services...The grant certainly fortifies a report by the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy that was issued Friday, warning that the creation of "second-class citizens" in the digital age can erode democracy. As antidotes to that erosion, the commission recommends funding of libraries and other community institutions for adult digital and media training.

The local library also observed Banned Books Week last week, displaying books that have been challenged recently or banned over the years. If you want to read something that might surprise you, you can check them out.

Along with the Knight grant, this observation is a reminder that public libraries are not just about bestsellers or reference questions or lively teenagers who must be shushed now and then. It's all of those, a resource for the entire community and a place where free information helps keep freedom alive.

As author Kurt Vonnegut wrote in 2004, "The America I loved still exists, if not in the White House or the Supreme Court or the Senate or the House of Representatives or the media. The America I love still exists at the front desks of our public libraries."

Sunday, October 04, 2009



Every day, we are inundated with vast amounts of information. A 24-hour news cycle and thousands of global television and radio networks, coupled with an immense array of online resources, have challenged our long-held perceptions of information management. Rather than merely possessing data, we must also learn the skills necessary to acquire, collate, and evaluate information for any situation. This new type of literacy also requires competency with communication technologies, including computers and mobile devices that can help in our day-to-day decisionmaking. National Information Literacy Awareness Month highlights the need for all Americans to be adept in the skills necessary to effectively navigate the Information Age.

Though we may know how to find the information we need, we must also know how to evaluate it. Over the past decade, we have seen a crisis of authenticity emerge. We now live in a world where anyone can publish an opinion or perspective, whether true or not, and have that opinion amplified within the information marketplace. At the same time, Americans have unprecedented access to the diverse and independent sources of information, as well as institutions such as libraries and universities, that can help separate truth from fiction and signal from noise.

Our Nation's educators and institutions of learning must be aware of -- and adjust to -- these new realities. In addition to the basic skills of reading, writing, and arithmetic, it is equally important that our students are given the tools required to take advantage of the information available to them. The ability to seek, find, and decipher information can be applied to countless life decisions, whether financial, medical, educational, or technical.

This month, we dedicate ourselves to increasing information literacy awareness so that all citizens understand its vital importance. An informed and educated citizenry is essential to the functioning of our modern democratic society, and I encourage educational and community institutions across the country to help Americans find and evaluate the information they seek, in all its forms.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 2009 as National Information Literacy Awareness Month. I call upon the people of the United States to recognize the important role information plays in our daily lives, and appreciate the need for a greater understanding of its impact.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.


Friday, October 02, 2009

It's Banned Book Week

This is my favorite piece I've come across this season. It was written last year by a librarian, a tremendously detailed response to someone who wanted a book banned.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Troy elects seven as library trustees

Panel will guide the transition to tax-supported status

Read more here.

Holocaust Victims Insurance Act of 1998


New York State insurance law was amended in 1998 to address claims by Holocaust victims, survivors and their heirs, that certain insurers doing business in New York, either directly or through affiliates, that issued policies prior to the end of World War II had failed to pay legitimate claims.

Language in legislation emphasizes that, "Outside of Israel, New York is home to the largest number of Holocaust survivors and their heirs in the world."

The Annual Report to the Governor and the New York State Legislature on "The Holocaust Victims Insurance Act of 1998" was issued by the New York State Insurance Department from 1999 through 2009.

The Annual Report, describing the involvement of New York State in the restitution of Holocaust era assets, is available in the New York State Library's digital documents management system.

Bedbugs Infest Denver Public Library

Denver Public Library has destroyed 31 books and fumigated four areas of its central library after a bedbug infestation caused, ironically, by a patron dedicated to preserving classic literature.