Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Legislation to Benefit Libraries Stalled in Assembly

posted on behalf of Michael J. Borges, Executive Director, New York Library Association

Three of NYLA’s 2010 Legislative Priorities have passed the Senate and all three bills could potentially save libraries and their taxpayers money, yet they remain bogged down in the Assembly Ways and Means or Rules Committees. The three bills are:

Cooperative Bidding for Public Libraries and Library Systems (Passed Senate 3/8 – In Assembly Rules Committee 6/8)
This legislation (S.3903 Oppenheimer/A.6154 Paulin) would add public libraries and library systems to list of public entities, like cities, towns, villages, BOCES, school districts, that are allowed to engage in cooperative bidding. Cooperative bidding allows libraries and library systems to go out to bid for services or products jointly instead of individually, thereby getting a better price and saving money.

Public Library Systems Eligible for Local Government Efficiency Grants (Passed Senate 6/3 – In Ways & Means 4/20)
The bill (S.6875A Oppenheimer/A.10412 Bing) would expand eligibility to apply for local government efficiency grants to include public library systems. Currently libraries are allowed to apply, but not library systems. By allowing library systems to apply for these grants, they can fund new or expand shared services or other cooperative initiatives that would save libraries money.

BOCES-Libraries Internet Partnerships (Passed Senate 3/15 – In Ways & Means 6/16)
This bill (S.4634 Oppenheimer/A.8673 Gunther) would authorize BOCES to contract with public libraries or library systems for internet services. BOCES would be able to add libraries and library systems to their bids for internet services, thereby lowering the price and obtaining higher speeds for internet service.

Another NYLA priority bill is also pending in the Senate and held in Assembly Ways and Means:

Public Library Construction Grants
This legislation (S.4248 Aubertine/A.6155 Paulin) (Reported to Ways and Means 6/3) would modify the public library construction grant program to enable grants to be used to purchase vacant land as well as lower local match to 25% of project costs for libraries in high need areas.

The Legislative Session is due to end either this week or next, so I urge you, your staff and trustees to contact your state Assemblymembers as soon as possible to get them to pass these cost saving measures for libraries.

Visit and click on Vote Button to send letter to your legislators.

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