Saturday, October 30, 2010

Support FOCUS by Dining out Nov. 16 & 17

Help support the FOCUS Interfaith Food Pantry and the Homeless and Travelers Aid Society by dining out Tuesday, November 16 or Wednesday, November 17th. Partnering restaurants will donate a certain percentage of proceeds from those two nights to help stop hunger and homelessness in our community. Restaurants that are committed include:

Dale Miller: The Art of Dining
Angelo’s 677 Prime
Franklin’s Tower
Bayou Café

This list is still in formation, check the website often for updates!

Friday, October 29, 2010

FOCUS on Food

The FOCUS Winter Breakfast begins its 27th season on Tuesday, November 2nd! Over 50 volunteers have signed up to cover early morning shifts Tuesday - Thursday through next April. Last season, the program served over 16,000 meals and averaged 140 guests per morning.

This week, FRAC (Food Research and Action Center) sponsored a virtual rally to support ending childhood hunger. FOCUS supports a strong federal nutrition bill that doesn’t cut funding for SNAP (food stamps). 1 in 6 children in NYS experience hunger or are at risk of hunger. Click here to learn more about how you can help reduce child hunger.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

NYC Zombie March to City Hall

Urban Librarians Unite

Save NYC Libraries Postcard Campaign and Urban Librarians Unite Announce Halloween Zombie Walk to Save NYC Public Libraries
October 31, 2010
11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

Urban Librarians Unite announce a Halloween Zombie Walk in support of New York City's public libraries, to be held October 31, 2010, beginning at Cadman Plaza, Brooklyn and continuing over the Brooklyn Bridge to commence at City Hall, New York, New York, USA.

The Halloween Zombie Walk brings library-loving New Yorkers together for a day of public theater to draw public attention to the mid-year budget cuts faced by New York City's public libraries. What does any of this have to do with zombies? Well, without libraries there are simply no brains, and zombies need to eat brains to live. With libraries across the city closed on weekends there is a desperate food shortage. So New York City’s zombie librarians will be walking across the Brooklyn Bridge to City Hall this Halloween to protest the drastic cuts to their food supply. These zombies are starving and without the support of the public library their future appears grim.

New York City's three library systems serve 8 million residents from a combined 212 locations, numbering over 43 million visits in FY'09. Since the economic crisis began, library use has been at an all-time high, with many New Yorkers depending on their local library for access to the information, resources, and programs necessary to conduct job searches, complete their education, navigate the Internet, and access public services.

Mayor Bloomberg’s projected mid-year budget adjustment will cut funding for libraries by $16.5 million - 5.4% across the board. This comes on the heels of a devastating August reduction of $30 million that decimated weekend library service. Three years of brutal cuts during the biggest economic crisis in a generation have reduced public library funding by a shocking $74.5 million since 2008, or 20%. Additional cuts will result in further service reductions and layoffs, right before the holiday season. Unless Mayor Bloomberg and the City Council maintain funding, libraries' ability to provide New Yorkers with job search help, afterschool tutoring, computer access and instruction, English classes, and research assistance will be sharply reduced by December 2010.

Dress in your bookish zombie best and march/shamble your way to City Hall to support your local library and feed your brain.

For more information on the Halloween Zombie Walk, please contact

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Board of Education Candidates Forum

Thursday, October 28, Albany High School, 7-8:30 p.m.

A Board of Education Candidates Forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters and the Albany City Council PTA.

Halloween Fun and Safety

Find a collection of Halloween resources on's newest page.

Topics include:
Candy Has a Shelf Life
Makeup Safety
Spooky Space Sounds
Halloween Folklore
And much more!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

ACLU Report Seeks FCC Action On Internet Openness

Protecting the Internet against content discrimination by broadband carriers is crucial to protecting First Amendment rights in the age of modern technology, the American Civil Liberties Union said in a new report on network neutrality. In the report, "Net Neutrality 101," the ACLU urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to create strong policies that prevent Internet gatekeepers from exploiting their role for private gain. The report characterizes the need for "net neutrality" as a leading free speech issue of our time.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Get Smart About Your Finances with Free Workshops

The Main Library is hosting a series of free half-day workshops this week designed to help people with money troubles get smart about their finances. Participants can choose to attend one or more of the sessions to be held on Wednesday, Oct. 27, and Thursday, Oct. 28. All sessions are free and open to the public. Registration is required by calling the Main Library Reference Department at 427-4303.

Details HERE.

Friday, October 22, 2010


The New York State Regents Advisory Council on Libraries is pleased to announce that the 2010 Joseph F. Shubert Library Excellence Award has been awarded to the Queens Library for their entry entitled, “Queens Library for Teens”.

The Queens Library for Teens, part of Queens Library, opened in December 2008 and is located in Far Rockaway. With encouragement from the community, Queens Library pursued grants including a federally-funded Juvenile Justice Grant to support the renting of an empty storefront to house the teen library. It is two blocks away from the full-service library and is 3,500 square feet. It has unilaterally renewed library service for the community at every age level because it directs and serves teens in and out of school who had previously been disruptive in the community library. At the same time, it gives teens incentive to stay in school/get a GED and directs them into socially positive activities. The “bait” that draws teens to the space has been technology. The Queens Library for Teens has 40 customer-use computers with high-speed internet access. The teen computers can be used to do homework, access Facebook, and email. A key component is that the teens must behave in an acceptable manner in order to gain entry. Dedicated youth counselors provide service and referrals, while librarians at the full-service branch give in-depth traditional reference services. Collections, programs and facilities are geared toward the interests of teens. More than 120 teens use the center every week day.

Runner-up for this year’s Shubert Award is the Milne Library/SUNY Geneseo for their project entitled, “LILAC” (Library Instruction Leadership Academy). LILAC is a collaborative professional development project designed, organized and delivered by librarians and educators representing 8 comprehensive colleges, 4 community and/or technical colleges, 10 schools within the K-12 system and the Rochester Regional Library Council. To round out the variety of educational institutions involved in LILAC, eleven librarians were accepted into the academy with experience and background ranging from a local homeschooling initiative to an elementary school library to specialized librarians serving graduate-level programs. It was developed to be a semester-long intensive learning experience for novice instruction librarians that incorporates a variety of learning experiences including workshops, field experience, assigned readings, personal reflection, discussion, and a final culminating project. The academy was designed to provide librarians new to instruction the pedagogical training and practice necessary to effectively teach library and information literacy concepts and skills. With a $3,500 award from the Harold Hacker Advancement of Libraries Grant and $1,100 collected in participant fees, LILAC’s total budget came to $4,600. This figure, however, does not reflect the thousands of dollars contributed via in-kind and volunteer support (approximately $24,000).

The Regents Advisory Council on Libraries 2010 Shubert Award Committee (consisting of Sam Simon, Chair; Sara Kelly Johns and Louise Sherby) was enthusiastic in its decision to honor the Queens Library submission as an excellent example of “the spirit of the Shubert award”. Members from the Shubert Award Committee, along with a representative from the Friends of the New York State Library who have graciously donated the $1,000 award money, will present a plaque and the award money at the New York Library Association’s annual conference in Saratoga Springs in November. A plaque will also be presented to the runner-up, Milne Library/SUNY Geneseo
The Joseph F. Shubert Excellence Award is given annually to recognize the achievements of small, medium and large libraries and library consortia in New York State. The Award honors libraries or library consortia that have taken significant steps within the past two years to improve the quality of library service to users. For more information about the Joseph F. Shubert Library Excellence Award and the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries, visitHERE or contact the Office of the State Librarian at (518) 474-5930.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Book Review: Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth about the Coming Climate Catastrophe . . . by James Hansen.
Reviewers: James Collins, Ph.D., Professor of Anthropology, SUNY; Mary Ellen Mallia, Ph.D., Director of Environmental Sustainability, SUNY; & Jonathan Skinner, Ph.D., retired statistician.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Financial Literacy Training

Financial Literacy Training: Pass the Knowledge on to Your Patrons
Free workshops

Location: Albany Public Library, 161 Washington Ave, Albany NY
Dates: October 27 & 28
Times: Session 1, 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
Session 2, 1:30 pm - 4:00 pm
Presenter: Beth LeVine, Certified Financial Educator, United Way of the Greater Capital Region
Participants are asked to attend at least one full session. Lunch is included.

Wednesday, October 27, Session 1, 9:30 am -12:30 pm
• Financial responsibility: Explore your perception of money and how it affects your life. Get tips on the best ways to approach your clients/consumers about money and financial responsibility.
• Identity theft
Wednesday, October 27, Session 2, 1:30 pm - 4:00 pm
• Credit: 4 types of credit, loans, credit repair
Thursday, October 28, Session 1, 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
• Banking and budgeting
Thursday, October 28, Session 2, 1:30 pm - 4:00 pm
• Saving, establishing an emergency fund, types of investing, home ownership, retirement

Please RSVP with name of organization, number of people participating, and which sessions you will attend, to Meg Maurer via email or phone by October 25: or 427-4328

World Statistics Day

The United Nations General Assembly designated Oct. 20, 2010, as the first-ever World Statistics Day to highlight the role of official statistics and the many achievements of national statistical systems. Statistical organizations throughout the world will celebrate World Statistics Day at the national and regional level. The census, the U.S. Census Bureau and 13 other principal federal statistical agencies together have been collecting statistics about the nation's people, economy and society since 1790.

Here are some statistics, including statistics about statistics.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Buffalo libraries, trimmed again, won't close

From the Buffalo News, Sunday, October 17:

First the good news: your local branch library won't close next year ...
The library faces a projected shortfall of $6.75 million next year. That includes a $4 million cut in the systems county funding by County Executive Chris Collins.

To close the gap, Quinn Carey said, library officials have decided not to take the painful route of five years ago when the library system shrank from 51 branches to 37 during a budget crisis... But other difficult cuts will be necessary, the director said.

Among them:
Closing to the public the second floor of the Central Library downtown where a Teen Room and business and science collections now draw patrons and consolidating all public areas of Central on the first floor.

Cutting up to 130 full-time equivalent positions, which may mean layoffs for nearly 200 employees.

Drastically trimming open hours and staff levels, as well as some programs, at city and suburban branch libraries.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Book Review: When You Reach Me, a middle-reader novel by Rebecca Stead.
Reviewer: Lyn Miller-Lachmann, author and editor.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

New York State Archives and Library announce new Saturday hours

The New York State Library and New York State Archives will institute new Saturday hours beginning on October 16th. Saturday hours of operation at the two facilities, located on the 7th and 11th floor of the Cultural Education Center (CEC) at the Empire State Plaza in Albany, will be from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free public parking will be available in the Madison Avenue parking lots adjacent to the CEC. Directions and parking information is available on the New York State Museum website.

This new policy for expanded access does not affect the hours of the New York State Museum, which is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week, except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.
However if a major holiday (e.g. July 4th, Memorial Day, Veterans Day) falls directly on a Saturday, the Library and Archives will not be open (checking their websites is advised for such holidays).

The New York State Library has served New Yorkers, New York State government and researchers from throughout the United States for more than 190 years. It is the largest state library in the nation and the only state library to qualify for membership in the Association of Research Libraries. The Library's research collection of more than 20 million items includes major holdings in law, medicine, the social sciences, education, American and New York State history and culture, the pure sciences and technology.

The New York State Archives identifies, preserves, and makes available more than 200 million records of colonial and state government dating back to 1630 that have enduring value to the public and private institutions and to all the people of the Empire State and the nation.

Handbook of New York State and Local Taxes

The Handbook of New York State and Local Taxes provides a general descriptive overview of the taxes which New York State and its local governments impose, and is revised periodically to reflect recently enacted law changes. It does not include non-tax revenue sources such as motor vehicle fees and the Lottery. Instead, it focuses on taxes, especially those administered by the Department of Taxation and Finance.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

20,000 visit NYS Library exhibit at National Book Festival in DC

The New York State Library, Empire Center for the Book ,and the New York Council for the Humanities's booth at the Sept. 25 National Book Festival featured New York State’s rich literary heritage. Karen Balsen, New York State Library, Rocco Staino, Empire Book Festival, Erika Halstead, New York Council for the Humanities and volunteers stamped 10,000 US maps for children journeying through the “Pavilion of the States” exhibits; distributed New York themed tattoos and bookmarks; and provided maps and New York State literary related materials. Over 20,000 festival-goers visited the New York booth. Visitors to the New York display met Rebecca Stead, New York author and 2010 Newbery winner, who autographed copies of her award winning book, When You Reach Me.

For more information and pictures of New York State and the National Book Festival visit the New York State Library, Library Development page.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Twitter librarians

In an attempt to help participants in a webinar about Twitter that he did last year, Bill Drew, a librarian at the Tompkins Cortland Community College (TC3) Library, created a webpage of people, libraries, and organizations that may serve as a good place to start following on Twitter. It is described as very subjective and includes people and libraries that have told him they are willing to be followed and willing to help others learn to use Twitter. The page is HERE. The website he created for the webinar is HERE. It is open for the world to use and will be subject to change as he sees fit.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Every Street, Not Wall Street Community Forum.

Thursday, October 14 · 5:30pm - 7:30pm
Location Arbor Hill / West Hill Library
148 Henry Johnson Blvd
Albany, NY

More Info Ever wish you could tell your congressman how you feel about the decisions he's making? The decisions that have such an impact on your life?

Ever wish you could tell your state senator you’re tired of living in fear of losing your job, tired of struggling to afford health care and fed up with not seeing your kids get the education they deserve?

Ever wish you could tell them you do care, you do vote and they have to listen to you?...

Well, now’s your chance. On October 14th at the new library on Henry Johnson Blvd Congressman Paul Tonko, State Senator Neil Breslin and Albany Common Council member Barbara Smith will be listening to your concerns and telling you what they are doing to make sure that Every Street Not just Wall Street sees government working for them.


What: Every Street Not Wall Street Community Forum
When: Thursday October 14, 5:30-7:30
Where: Arbor Hill / West Hill Library, 148 Henry Johnson Blvd, off street parking available
• Congressman Paul Tonko
• State Senator Neil Breslin
• Albany Common Council, Barbara Smith

NANOvember 2010

The College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) cordially invites you to join the annual celebration of "NANOvember," a month-long adventure into the exciting world of nanotechnology.
Please plan to attend any of a series of events and activities - all of which are free and open to the public - that showcase nanotechnology and the global leadership of CNSE in the most important science of the 21st century.

Pre-register for CNSE NANOvember events

Help spread the word! Click here for a NANOvember flyer to pass along to your family and friends.

CNSE Community Day
Saturday, November 6, 11:00 a.m - 3:00 p.m.
CNSE invites residents of the Capital Region, Tech Valley and New York State to tour CNSE's Albany NanoTech Complex and receive an up-close look at the exciting world of nanotechnology.

CNSE Community Lecture Series

Monday, November 1, 6:30 p.m - 7:30 p.m.
CNSE Community Lecture Series presents Dr. John Elter
Explore the idea of using nature as a model in science as Dr. John Elter, Executive Director of CNSE's Center for Sustainable Ecosystem Nanotechnologies, discusses biomimicry.

Monday, November 8, 6:30 p.m - 7:30 p.m.
CNSE Community Lecture Series presents Dr. Alain E. Kaloyeros
Learn about the potential of nanotechnology, its growing impact on all facets of society, and the global leadership of CNSE and NYS with Dr. Alain E. Kaloyeros, CNSE's Senior Vice President and Chief Executive Officer.

Monday, November 15, 6:30 p.m - 7:30 p.m.
CNSE Community Lecture Series presents Dr. Matthew Hynd
Find out how innovative neuroscience research is being conducted with the use of nanotechnology at a lecture presented by CNSE Assistant Professor of Nanobioscience Dr. Matthew Hynd.

Monday, November 22, 6:30 p.m - 7:30 p.m.
CNSE Community Lecture Series presents Dr. Robert Geer
Learn how nanotechnology education is driving exciting 21st century careers with CNSE Vice President for Academic Affairs and CNSE Chief Academic Officer Dr. Robert Geer.

Nano at the Y
Saturday, November 13, 9:30 a.m - 12:00 p.m.
Experience nanotechnology, a science that is driving our technological future and the future of our region, with hands-on activities led by CNSE faculty and staff at seven of the Capital District YMCA branches.

Thursday, November 18, 6:00 p.m - 7:30 p.m.
Discover how nanotechnology is being used to advance DNA testing and other technologies used in crime scene investigations at this interactive lecture with CNSE Associate Professor of Nanobioscience Dr. Scott Tenenbaum.

Nanotechnology & Video Games
Saturday, November 20, 12:00 p.m - 2:30 p.m.
Delve into the large impact of nanotechnology on the evolution of video games with interactive gaming terminals and a lecture by CNSE Associate Professor of Nanoscience Dr. Vincent LaBella.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Awful Library Books

The best of the worst books found on public library shelves..

Librarians, bibliophiles and lovers of nostalgia are all welcome here.

This site is a collection of public library holdings that we find amusing and maybe questionable for public libraries trying to maintain a current and relevant collection. Contained in this site are actual library holdings. No libraries are specifically mentioned to protect our submitters who might disagree with a particular collection policy. (A good librarian would probably be able to track down the holding libraries without too much trouble anyway...)

L is for Libraries

"For some peo­ple it’s a church or place of wor­ship which is a refuge, a safe loca­tion to take a step out of every­day life and to breath. I’ve always headed straight for a library when I need safety and respite from the daily grind or when prob­lems need attention."

More HERE.

Small Nonprofits in Danger of Losing Tax-Exempt Status

From Guidestar:

"Time is running out for small nonprofits facing loss of tax-exempt status because they have not filed Form 990-N or Form 990-EZ for three consecutive years. The deadline for the IRS's one-time filing relief program is October 15, 2010. After that, nonprofits that (1) are required to file a 990 and (2) whose filings are at least three years in arrears will automatically lose their exemptions. To regain tax-exempt status, they will have to apply to the IRS all over again, a process that can take several months and requires payment of fees."

I went through the list and found over 200 with ZIP Codes starting with 1220.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

HRVH Historical Newspapers website launch

The Southeastern NY Library Resources Council is pleased to announce the launch of a new website, HRVH Historical Newspapers , part of the Hudson River Valley Heritage (HRVH) service. The Kingston Daily Freeman is the first newspaper to be included in this new digital newspaper repository and was completely digitized for the years 1903 to 1912. The entire contents of the newspaper issues can be searched by word and browsed by date. Complete issues of the newspaper can be viewed by full page or individual articles can be highlighted and viewed. This collection will be invaluable to historians, family researchers, teachers and students.

HRVH Historical Newspapers is the product of a two year demonstration project supported in part by Federal Library Services and Technology Act funds, awarded to the New York State Library by the Federal Institute of Museum and Library Services. Using this grant and other New York State funds, SENYLRC created images and digitized 2,974 issues and 26,341 pages of The Kingston Daily Freeman from microfilm and print issues of the newspaper. The Kingston Library supplied copies of the microfilm and the City of Kingston Historian provided 106 year old print copies of the newspaper for this project.

HRVH Historical Newspapers is freely available for public use. The goal is to have the newspaper site linked from as many library websites and portals as possible so that people know that this resource is available for them to use for their research.
The vision for HRVH Historical Newspapers is to provide access to digitized copies of historical newspapers from the Hudson River Valley region of New York State. New titles added to HRVH Historical Newspapers will be based on a number of factors, such as regional significance, the availability of paper issues or master negative microfilm copies of the newspaper, and available funds.

Feel free to share this information.
Newspaper article about the project.

Friday, October 08, 2010

The Handbook for New Public Library Directors in New York State

Interesting item buried in my e-mails from January: the publication of The Handbook for New Public Library Directors in New York State by Rebekkah Smith Aldrich, Coordinator for Library Growth & Sustainability at the Mid-Hudson Library System and current President of the NYLA Library Administration & Management Section.

"This 'New Directors’ Handbook', developed as a companion to the Handbook for Library Trustees of New York State, is an essential resource for everyone who is given the responsibility to manage a public library; or anyone who aspires to. Aimed at those just beginning in this challenging career, the Handbook focuses on the critical first steps toward success and follows through with a practical approach to continued organizational and professional growth. Though written for the newest administrator, even those with many years as a director will benefit from this fresh review of the job.

The Handbook is freely available for review and download.


Book Review: The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education by Diane Ravitch.
Reviewer: Raymond Colucciello, Ed.D., Superintendent, City School District of Albany, New York.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Business quotes

Every month, Forbes magazine has a page of quotes at the back of the magazine - "Thoughts and Quotes on the Business of Life". Here's the link to the online database.

UAlbany's Annual Security Report

A copy of the University at Albany's Annual Security Report is now available for your information. This report, which includes campus crime statistics, is prepared in compliance with the "Jean Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics Act" (formerly called and more commonly known as the "Campus Security Act") and can be accessed at this web site.

This report contains recently updated information for calendar year 2009 and comprises statistics for the previous two years as well. It includes numbers for reported crimes that occur on-campus; in certain off-campus buildings or property owned or controlled by the University at Albany; and on public property within, or immediately adjacent to and accessible from the campus. The report also includes institutional policies concerning campus security, such as policies concerning sexual assault and alcohol use on campus.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Book & Author Lunch November 13

Please mark your calendar for the Friends annual Book & Author Lunch at noon on Saturday, November 13th. We will honor writer and history professor Allen Ballard at the University Club and later at the library where he will speak.

Invitations will be sent out shortly.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

The movie Crash - free, with discussion to follow

ALBANY FRIENDS MEETING (Quaker), 727 Madison, invites YOU to the movies with
popcorn and drinks Friday, October 8 at 6:30 pm --all FREE

Crash(2005) R
Description: Tensions erupt when the tangled lives of a Brentwood housewife, her district attorney husband, a Persian shopkeeper, two cops, a pair of carjackers and a Korean couple converge over a 36-hour period in the diverse metropolis of post-9/11 Los Angeles.

A discussion will follow the movie.

A possible outcome:
Following an honest, not complimentary talk about Quaker history around racism, at Quaker meeting in February, a spirited discussion emerged on current racism experiences and news. This 'Friendly Discussion' group comprised of European and African Americans from the Quaker Meeting and the community, began meeting monthly. The success of this experience has led to the desire to form a second group.

A second 'Friendly Discussion' group will perhaps form following this movie to
continue meeting and sharing current racism issues.

For more information, contact Barbara Spring, Racism Concerns Comm, 518-772-2290

Monday, October 04, 2010

UAlbany Fall Festival and Book Fair Features Top Authors and Great Fun

October 9 event boasts nearly 30 UAlbany authors, a farmers' market, and student performances.

Grace White leaving town

Longtime Board member Grace White is leaving the area.

She will be missed.

Message from UAlbany President George Philip - October 1, 2010

Dear Members of the Campus Community:

This afternoon, I held a Town Hall meeting to inform the campus community of some of the difficult "next steps" the University at Albany will be taking to address its ongoing budget challenges. If you were unable to attend this meeting given the unfortunate timing, please understand that the decision to deliver this message on a Friday afternoon was not our preferred choice. It was necessary due to the limited availability of appropriate large venue options - particularly, since the Campus Center is undergoing renovation.

For those unable to join us today, I want to take this opportunity to share with you my message.

This year's State Budget reduced the level of State assistance to our campus by nearly $12 million. In fact, over the past three years, the campus has cumulatively suffered more than $33.5 million in State tax support reductions - more than a 30% decline. Since 2008, we have addressed these reductions to our revenue base through the elimination of approximately 200 vacant lines resulting from resignations and retirements, a soft-hiring freeze, reductions in non-personal expenditures and temporary service, reductions in graduate student support, a moratorium on non-essential travel, energy savings, operational efficiencies and more.

As I have said many times before, non-strategic and opportunistic short-term measures are simply not compatible with operating an organization on a sustainable basis. In the face of diminishing State support, these types of cuts are a clear pathway to mediocrity. It remains critically important for the University to rethink and rebalance its core academic and research mission given its reduced revenue base, and reallocate resources accordingly.

As late as August, we remained hopeful that passage of the Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act, including predictable and rational tuition in the future, would be adopted. If adopted as originally proposed, this landmark reform, coupled with sustained state assistance, would have helped us to address our current budgetary challenges, while at the same time, provide our campus with the tools and resources necessary to advance our academic enterprise. Regrettably, neither financial nor regulatory relief were enacted during the 2010 Legislative session.

As you may know, over the past several years, we have engaged the University community in numerous discussions about the principles that should guide budget-related decisions. I am most grateful for the perspectives and guidance provided by the Budget Advisory Groups I, II, and III, along with the University-wide strategic planning committee.

Like several other SUNY campuses, the University is now at a point where we must analyze, evaluate and consider implementing measures that reallocate resources and eliminate some existing programs. Such actions will potentially affect a number of units across the campus.

As we enter this period of further communication and dialogue, the University anticipates that the actions discussed today will unfold over a two-year period. By the end of 2012, we expect that the equivalent of another 160 full time positions will be eliminated - bringing the campus total to over 360 positions eliminated over the four-year period starting in 2008. To the extent possible, it is our sincere hope and intention to minimize the disruption across the University by achieving the majority of the reductions through attrition resulting from the early retirement incentive program, voluntary resignations and other future vacancies. Notwithstanding these efforts, by the end of this process, I regret that involuntary terminations of employment will be unavoidable.

It is important to underscore that administrative and support units have and will continue to shoulder a higher percentage of the cost savings measures adopted, which is consistent with the University's priority of protecting the academic mission. Based on what we know now, in this fiscal year and next, administrative units will absorb an additional 10% reduction in their state operating budgets, while colleges and schools will experience an additional 7% reduction. Over the four-year period ending in 2012, administrative units will have suffered a reduction in their state operating budgets of nearly 22.4%, while colleges and schools will have realized a 16.2% reduction. Of the reductions between 2008-2012, we anticipate that nearly three-quarters of the workforce actions will relate to professional and support staff, while the remaining will be faculty positions. These disproportionate reductions are consistent and in line with the values, advice and guidance I have received from the campus advisory groups previously mentioned.

In addition to job losses already incurred, our administrative and support units are being forced to implement additional budget actions that have and will continue to result in reductions in hours of service operations, diminished employee and student services university-wide, cutbacks in general operational and physical plant support, and more.

It is important to note that every possible effort is being made to ensure that the health and safety of our campus community is not compromised.

Once again, we are striving to manage future reductions in ways that will mitigate the impact on our existing employees. The University is also exploring administrative consolidations, ITS efficiencies, as well as conducting a comprehensive review of the expenditures associated with our athletics program in order to achieve additional savings.

Unfortunately, these efforts in the administrative and extra-curricular areas are by themselves not enough. The University's academic program will be further impacted. The Provost and Deans from each of the schools and colleges have been working closely over the past two years to consider and implement reduction scenarios as our fiscal challenges worsened. I am sure all of the faculty have observed and felt the impact of these changes as professional conference support has dried up, academic support services have diminished, assistantships have declined, some departments have become smaller, and class sizes have become larger. Many program changes are already underway to accommodate the current resource picture. No school or college has been exempt from these reductions, and some areas have in fact borne more of the burden only because of the opportunistic way in which the cuts had to be managed in the short term.

Going forward, Provost Phillips and I will continue to work with the Deans, Chairs, and applicable governance bodies to sustain the University's capacity to offer strong academic programs in areas of high student demand. In addition to the program changes already underway, we now must begin consideration of further actions, given the requirements of the academic calendar and the cycles associated with student and faculty recruitment.

As a first step in this more difficult phase of reallocation planning, I have issued a directive today to suspend all new admissions to five program areas - Classics, French, Italian, Russian, and Theatre. Provost Phillips and Dean Wulfert met earlier today with the faculty in each of these program areas to communicate this action and begin a discussion about the future.
This decision was based on an extensive consultative process with faculty, and in recognition that there are comparatively fewer students enrolled in these degree programs.

It is important to recognize that this action is by no means a reflection about the quality of the faculty appointed to these programs, or frankly about the value of these subjects to the liberal arts. They are and continue to be valued scholars and colleagues. The University will continue to offer a broad array of arts and humanities courses in its curriculum.

We have also taken steps in preparation for the final year of Project Renaissance - the student living learning community for first-year students. I have asked the University Senate to provide consultation to me on further action with regard to all of these program areas.

I am mindful that the identification of these specific programs makes it appear that the College of Arts and Sciences is bearing a disproportionate reduction. I want to assure you that larger reductions across the other schools and colleges are being addressed, but simply in different ways. I have asked the Provost to begin the process of initiating other program consolidations and efficiencies. While the magnitude of the reduction requires significant participation from all units, our approach will continue to be derived from the advice and guidance of each of the Budget Advisory processes: to be strategic and differentiated with a view towards the future and the goals articulated in our Strategic Plan.

In taking these actions, I also want to share with you two important principles that the University will uphold. First, the University remains fully committed to ensuring that all our students will have an opportunity to complete the specific major/program to which they have already been admitted. Equally important, the campus is committed to supporting faculty and staff impacted by resource reallocation and program decisions by providing opportunities to seek placement at another UAlbany program, to explore placement at another SUNY campus, if available, and/or to pursue retraining, where required.

As a point of clarification, I want to remind the campus community that there is a distinct difference between capital and operating funds and how they can be used. In recent months, you have noticed there is a significant level of capital construction taking place on campus. It is important to realize that State of New York prohibits SUNY campuses from using SUNY capital funding for operating related expenses, such as faculty and staff. This type of funding can ONLY be used for capital construction and improvement, as well as large equipment purchases.

Lastly, I have apprised the University Council of the campus's budget situation, and have fully reviewed with them the actions and the next steps the University intends on taking. Our Council members support us with confidence that UAlbany will continue to be nationally recognized as a center of excellence for education, research, and service.

Please be assured that I will continue to keep you informed of future developments. I also invite you to visit the Budget Update webpage on the University's MyUAlbany portal.

Once again, thank you for your dedication and support of the University at Albany.

Sincerely yours,

George M. Philip

Colorado Ballot Backers: Shut Libraries, Sell Rail

By STEVEN K. PAULSON The Associated Press
October 1, 2010, 4:23PM ET
Bloomberg Business Week

Supporters of three tax measures on the Colorado ballot say state and local governments could close libraries and put their books online and sell off light rail to cut spending if the measures pass.

Gregory Golyansky, vice president of the Colorado Union of Taxpayers, told students and professors from the University of Colorado Denver on Friday that printed books are going away and light rail is 19th century technology.

"Do we really need to fill our prisons with nonviolent offenders, drug offenders, prostitutes and what not? We will have about two-thirds less people in our prisons. Government doesn't need to be involved in building golf courses or exercise facilities or ice rinks. Libraries are going away. Paper books are the yesterday technology, being replaced by online information. Government should stop subsidizing things like light rail. It's essentially a 19th century technology," Golyansky said....

Opponents of the measures - Proposition 101, which would reduce automobile and telecommunications taxes; Amendment 60, which would cancel voter-approved tax-limit overrides; and Amendment 61, which would limit municipal borrowing and bar state debt - said state and local governments face draconian cuts if the measures pass.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act : Stimulus in New York State

A quarterly report by Governor David A. Paterson's Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Cabinet was issued in August. "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: Stimulus in New York State" provides an overview of projects, with charts and data, involving Job Training, Transportation, Clean Water, Housing, Energy, and Public Safety.

This report is available online HERE (pdf) and follows (chronologically if not bibliographically) reports from the New York State Inspector General's Stimulus Oversight Panel which are available HERE.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Radical Homemakers Author at Delaware Branch Oct. 4

“Radical Homemakers” author Shannon Hayes will appear at the Delaware Branch Library on Monday, Oct. 4, at 5:30 p.m. for a reading, discussion, and book signing.

“Radical Homemakers” uncovers a hidden revolution quietly taking hold across the United States. It is the story of pioneering men and women who are redefining feminism and the good life by adhering to simple principles of ecological sustainability, social justice, community engagement, and family well-being.

More HERE.


Book Review: Lusitania: An Epic Tragedy by Diana Preston.
Reviewer: David Colchamiro, M.R.P., retired transportation analyst.