Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Citing the dire fiscal struggle of New York’s libraries in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and evidence that library usage by the people of New York has increased dramatically, the members of the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries urged the Board of Regents on April 19 to make state and federal funding for libraries a Regents priority. The Council’s 2010 annual report to the Regents, which includes this recommendation and others related to strengthening New York’s 7,000 libraries and library systems is now posted on the Council’s webpage.

Libraries across the State are reporting that use has increased by as much as 10 to 30 percent and, in some communities, as much as 50 percent. Bridget-Quinn Carey, chairperson of the Regents Advisory Council and Director of the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, emphasized that now is the time to invest in the infrastructure that libraries provide to our society and educational systems. She pointed to consistent under funding that has caused many libraries to dramatically reduce hours, eliminate staff and curtail resources – just when the unemployed and distressed New York families need them most. According to Ms. Quinn-Carey, “Libraries are in crisis. The frequent announcements of library closings throughout the United States are chilling reminders that even though libraries are critical in times of economic distress, many are the victims of short sighted fiscal policies that gut library support in budget balancing efforts.”

The Regents Advisory Council reports annually to the Board of Regents on library matters. The 2010 report highlights the need for stable funding and adequate staffing for library systems and the New York State Library. In addition, the Council asks that the Regents take action to ensure that all schools in New York State, including elementary schools, provide students with school libraries and certified school librarians. Dozens of research studies conducted across the county have demonstrated that students with access to a well-stocked school library and a certified school librarian have improved test scores of 10 to 20 percent.

In recognition of the dramatic changes in the library world over the past decade, including the pervasive impact of technology, the Council also asks the Board of Regents to take the lead in calling for a discussion about best practices in library and library system administration, collaboration and cooperation in order to inform the next decade of progressive library service in New York State.

Please contact Bridget Quinn-Carey with questions concerning the Council’s 2010 report to the Board of Regents. For more information on the Council, including a roster of Council members with contact information, please visit the State Library's website

The Regents Advisory Council on Libraries, the oldest continuing Regents advisory council, was established by the New York State Board of Regents on June 5, 1894. The Council advises the Regents regarding library policy, works with State Education Department leaders in developing a comprehensive statewide library and information policy and makes recommendations to the Regents concerning the implementation of the program.

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