Library Advocacy Minutes

Wednesday, September 4, 2002, 7:00 p.m.


PRESENT: Cris Blanchard, Tim Burke, Robert Ganz, Barbara Kubli, Ginny LaJuene, LouAnne Lundgren, Bill Meredith, Margie Morris, Barbara Nichols Randall, Phil Ritter, Susan Zweig.

Call to Order – Ganz called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m.

Minutes - The minutes of the meeting on May 8, 2002, were accepted as written.

Advocacy Network Concept – In the absence of Mary Fellows who is working with the NYLA Legislative Committee on this project, Ritter explained that the concept involved the recruitment of three contacts for each state legislator: a library leader who agrees to be the main contact, a library-related contact (trustee, Friend, volunteer), and a non library-related contact. He passed around a list of the legislators in our area and asked for volunteers. Fellows will be at the next meeting to further explain this concept and her work with the NYLA Legislative Committee.

New York State Funding – Ritter noted that we need to begin planning for the NYS Lobby Day on March 18, 2003, and handed out two examples of what other Public Library Systems in the state are doing: 1) "Legislative Breakfast" in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, and 2) "Sorry! Your Library is Closed today" by Four County Library System. The pros and cons of each approach were discussed. It was the consensus that we are "at least a year away" from trying to do a legislative breakfast/lunch/cocktail hour event. It was agreed to discuss in March/April 2003 the possibility of such an event. There was no consensus on Four County’s program, and it was agreed that we would not pursue this idea. Ganz suggested that we needed some kind of "media event" such as a "teach-in" with our legislators that could be conducted simultaneously at libraries throughout the UHLS service area. LaJuene volunteered to work on developing an idea for such an event, will recruit one/two others to help her, and will present it for consideration at the next meeting.

Albany County Legislative Funding – Ganz reported that the legislature approved $.25 per capita funding in May. However, no library has received the funds to date. Ganz volunteered to follow-up on this and determine what the holdup is. It was noted the proper process was to get this funding included in the proposed budget and that this budget is formulated during October/November each year. Ganz proposed that the UHLS staff and the LAAC develop a "fact sheet" to show why County money is needed by the local public libraries, i.e. show what is being done statewide at the county level. Ganz and Meredith will then write a letter to the County Administrator and Legislature.

Rensselaer County Funding – It was reported that the Rensselaer County libraries are supposed to be receiving county funds this year, but no library has received any money to date. It was noted that there is no formula for the distribution of this money. It was agreed that they could use the same kind of letter that is being proposed for Albany County.

Proposed Description of Library Services in our Communities – LaJuene explained that she had been told that the local public libraries needed an "educational statement" that would show the services that are being provided by libraries in their communities and that this would better influence local legislators. Consensus was that the LAAC should prepare such a brochure to be used by the member libraries as they campaign for more funding. Ganz volunteered to review the UHLS Annual Report and to pare down the reports of each member library to one or two special programs or activities. The focus of the final brochure is to highlight shared services and high profile programs. Ritter is to send out an email to all member libraries, asking them to send to him by September 20 what they would want included in this brochure. Ritter will send these ideas to Ganz who will put something together for the LAAC to review at the next meeting.

Proposed Letter Writing Campaign by the Public and Friends Groups - LaJuene explained that she would like to see more "Letters to the Editor" in local newspapers expounding the virtues of the local public libraries, promoting programs, etc. It was suggested that the LAAC could develop a "generic" information sheet that could be given to people in order to encourage them to write letters. Randall volunteered to develop a prototype for the LAAC to consider at the next meeting.

Proposed Revision of Charter for Cohoes Public Library – It was reported that the Mayor of Cohoes recently proposed a charter revision for this library and that a question had been raised as to whether or not the LAAC could or should offer any assistance. The consensus was that the LAAC should not get involved in this issue at this time.

Other Issues – Lundgren and Morris reported that the Poestenkill Library was trying to get on the November ballot for a Chapter 414 Local Votes Law measure and that they needed help in convincing their Town Council that this is a good idea. Consensus was the LAAC and UHLS would write letters of support for this issue. Morris will prepare letters for Ganz and Ritter to sign.

Next meetings – It was agreed that the LAAC would meet next on Wednesdays, October 2 and November 6, 2002, at 7:00 p.m.

Adjournment – The meeting was adjourned at 8:40 p.m.