Outreach, Engagement & Other Splendid Stuff

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After months of working on reopening plans, our member libraries have begun resuming services from their building --mostly curbside pick-up, or no-contact service. I've heard from multiple libraries that business is booming as people eagerly return, to restock, check-in, and have a glimpse of "normalcy." In the SALS region, we've been lucky -- all of our libraries are continuing to operate, and have managed to negotiate a difficult period with grace and ingenuity.

Around the country, other libraries have not fared as well. Some have furloughed staff, others have been laid off. Some librarians are reluctant to return to public-facing services, citing health concerns as the pandemic continues to rage across the country. But most are balancing anxiety about the health pandemic with the excitement of returning to work, reconnecting with our communities, and sharing materials.

If your library has a reopening plan they're willing to share, NYLA is partnering with Urban Libraries Unite to collect them in one place. By contributing your plan, we can help future librarians figure out how to resume services safely. In addition, the Capital District Library Council is tracking which libraries are open.

Thanks to all on the front lines, ensuring that our communities have access to information and a way to connect.

Phase Four & Travel Advisory

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The North Country has moved into Phase Four, which means that libraries in Hamilton County may operate with restrictions, and are expected to follow the retail guidance outlined by New York State.

Governor Cuomo began a tri-state travel advisory (New York, New Jersey and Connecticut) on June 25. It requires all individuals traveling from states with significant community spread of COVID-19 to quarantine for a 14-day period from the time of last contact within the identified state. The quarantine applies to any person arriving from a state with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a 7-day rolling average or a state with a 10% or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.

State Aid for Library Construction Portal Opens

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The online application for the State FY2020/2021 State Aid for Library Construction Program capital funds is now open. SALS member libraries must complete and submit project applications online by August 28, 2020. The SALS Board of Trustees will review project applications and recommend funding allocations to the New York State Library.

All applications must include:

  • Identification of project manager with contact information
  • Contact information for the library director

There are two changes to the program this year. The first, Chapter 389 of the Law of 2019 allows public library systems to apply for Coordinated Projects involving multiple library buildings and Chapter 381 of the Law of 2019 provides library systems with a limited dollar amount to fund projects up to 90 percent of approved costs for libraries serving economically distressed communities. The second, Chapter 120 of the Laws of 2020 was signed into law by the Executive on June 17, 2020. This new law amends Education Law 273-a State Aid for Library Construction to extend the statutory project deadlines for certain projects for twelve months. Due to unanticipated delays caused by COVID 19, this new law amends Education Law 273-a to provide these public libraries with an additional twelve months to complete all construction project activities.

When filling out the application, be aware that passwords expire periodically and may need to be reset. For username/password questions or help with login, please contact The link to the application login is posted on State Aid for Library Construction webpage.

Questions about the State Aid for Library Construction Program? Please contact Dianne Winter.

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Although our buildings may have been closed, library services have continued during the COVID-19 pandemic -- including programming. Adult programmers are invited to share their triumphs, challenges, and everything in between during the next Adult Program Swap from 10 to 11 am Thursday, July 23, on GoTo Meeting. We look forward to catching up!

Oath of Office Reminder

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This is a reminder that New York State Public Officer's Law §10 requires all public library trustees (but not association library trustees) to take and file an oath of office within 30 days of beginning their term of office. Public library trustees are public officers and the oath of office is required to officially undertake and perform the duties of a public library trustee.

If a public library trustee does not properly complete and file an oath of office, the trustee’s position may be deemed vacant. See Public Officer's Law §30(1)(h).

For more information about how and why the oath of office is administered, and where to properly file an oath of office, please see the Oaths of Office FAQ on the New York State Library website.

Questions about the legal requirement for oaths of office or about library types should be directed to Sara Dallas.

Dewey Fellowship Award

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The Library & Leadership Management Section (LAMS) of the New York Library Association is seeking candidates for the Dewey Fellowship award to attend the 2020 NYLA Conference in Saratoga, whether the conference is offered in person or virtually. The Dewey Fellowship pays for up to $1,000. of the cost of attendance of the NYLA conference. Dewey Fellows are acknowledged on NYLA’s website, will be announced at conference and in the NYLA bulletin.

To be considered for the award, all applicants must submit the following:

  • Current resume or CV
  • Have 5 years or more of library experience
  • A personal statement of no more than 2 pages single-spaced addressing accomplishments in your profession
  • How your involvement in activities help to advance the library community?

To apply for this scholarship, submit all requested items via email to Julie Kelsall- Dempsey at by June 30, 2020. All applicants will be reviewed by the LAMS’ Scholarship Committee. Selection will be made by July 15.

Celebrate Your Friends

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Would you like an opportunity to honor an active library supporter, Friend or Friends of the Library? The Daniel W. Casey Library Advocacy Award is sponsored by the Friends of Libraries Section (FLS) of NYLA. Given annually since 1993 (through the precursor of FLS, the Empire Friends Roundtable), the award honors a volunteer member or group from the library community whose efforts have contributed to the growth of libraries or Friends of the Library organizations.

To learn more about Daniel W. Casey and to find the nomination form, go to to the “Awards and Scholarships” page. The deadline to submit nominations for this prestigious award is Wednesday, July 1, 2020. This year’s award recipient will be announced at the FLS annual membership meeting in Saratoga Springs on Friday, November 6, at the NYLA Annual Conference.

Nominations must include all relevant information outlined on the application form. Make sure to describe the contributions of the nominee (group or individual) to library service in detail; including positions held, years of service, accomplishments, successful fundraisers, etc.

Please submit the nomination form and all supporting materials (press releases, promotional materials, etc.) electronically to Marie Bindeman, Coordinator, via email at, or mail three copies to Marie Bindeman, 5498 Hartford Drive, Lockport, NY 14094. Paper copies sent by mail will not be returned.

If you have any questions, please contact Marie Bindeman at or call 716-433-0548. Thank you for your interest!

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Resilient Communities: Libraries Respond to Climate Change is an ALA pilot program made possible by support from a private donor. The program supports public and academic libraries in efforts to engage their communities in programs and conversations that address the climate crisis.

The goals of this project include:

  • Raising awareness and providing accurate information about the climate crisis to the public through libraries
  • Designating libraries as Climate Resilience Hubs, positioning them to provide ongoing public education and community support during extreme weather events
  • Engaging library staff in local partnerships and environmental justice efforts that emphasize bottom-up organizing, shared community leadership, and the centering of those most impacted by climate change, particularly communities of color and underserved communities
  • Creating space in libraries for communities to engage in conversation, mobilize for the initiation of sustainability policies and practices, and build more resilient communities
  • Identifying and documenting relevant, replicable programming models for future national distribution

ALA will select twenty-five (25) public and academic libraries to receive a Resilient Communities grant.

Applications open online: July 1, 2020
Deadline for submission: August 28, 2020 by 11:59 pm (CDT)
Award notification date: September 21, 2020

The Jerry Kline Community Impact Prize

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The Jerry Kline Community Impact Prize, developed in partnership between the Gerald M. Kline Family Foundation and Library Journal, was created in 2019 to recognize the public library as a vital community asset. When libraries, civic entities, organizations, and the people they serve become close partners, their communities thrive.

One winning library will receive $250,000 in unfettered grant monies from the Gerald M. Kline Family Foundation. The winning library will also be profiled in the November issue of Library Journal and online.

The winning library will be identified based on the degree of its impact on the community in the following key areas:

  • Engagement – a) How do the local government and other civic institutions partner with the library—and vice versa—to support the service area’s defined civic goals? b) How does the library use deep engagement and co-creation with community individuals and non-governmental organizations to drive library services?
  • Recognition – What does the community recognize are positive outcomes from the library, and how is that recognition given? How is that reflected in support?
  • Inclusion – How does the library go the extra mile to meet the needs of marginalized or underserved populations among its community and to promote social cohesion and connection across differences?
  • Leadership development – How does the library ensure its own organizational strength and dynamism?
  • Environmental sustainability – How does the library lead on sustainable thinking for the library itself and the community at large to ensure future resilience?
  • Inventiveness – How are the library services original, both strategically and tactically?

Nominations will be submitted via an online form.

All U.S. Public Libraries are eligible for the prize, whether in a single building in a small town or a multi-branch system serving an entire region. Previous winners are asked to take a ten-year hiatus from submitting again.

Deadline July 15, 2020. (Submissions close at 11:59 p.m. EDT.)

Questions? Please contact Meredith Schwartz, Editor-in-Chief, Library Journal at

STEAM Equity Project

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Public library workers in rural communities are invited to participate in a project that will bring culturally inclusive STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) programming and exhibitions to their patrons, especially often-underreached Latino populations.

STAR Net needs creative library leaders who would like to work with us at the intersection of transforming library services, gender equity and cultural inclusion (especially with Latino families), STEAM learning, and positive youth development.

The Space Science Institute's National Center for Interactive Learning (NCIL/SSI), the American Library Association (ALA), Twin Cities PBS (TPT), Institute for Learning Innovation (ILI) and Education Development Center (EDC) invites you to learn more about our new STEAM Equity Project!

To APPLY NOW see ALA’s website to:

Twelve rural libraries will receive $15,000 to enhance STEAM offerings for their communities, three STEAM exhibitions, and more. Those interested in applying are invited to complete a brief, 15-minute Notice of Intent (NOI) about their community demographics and needs by July 20. The STEAM Equity project team will review submissions, and eligible applicants will be invited to submit a full project proposal in August 2020. Learn more and begin the application process online.

The initiative is offered by the National Center for Interactive Learning at the Space Science Institute (NCIL/SSI), the American Library Association (ALA), Twin Cities PBS (TPT), Institute for Learning Innovation (ILI), and Education Development Center (EDC), with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

All the Awards

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The New York Library Association has several opportunities to be recognized by your colleagues:

The Outstanding Advocate of Libraries Award recognizes and honors an individual who, or a group that, has made a far reaching, sustained contribution to the promotion and/or support of library and information services to the people of New York State or residents within a designated service area within the State. Recognition may include lifetime NYLA membership, citation, and gift.

The Outstanding Service to Libraries Award recognizes and honors an individual who, or a group that, has made a significant, sustained contribution to the development, promulgation, growth or extension of library/information services to the people of NYS or to residents within a designated service area within the State. Recognition may include lifetime NYLA membership, citation, and gift.

The NYLA Intellectual Freedom Award recognizes an individual, group, or organization that furthers the cause of intellectual freedom in New York State.

The Mary Bobinski Innovative Public Library Director Award recognizes a public library director who has developed or implemented an innovative program leading to an increase in financial support and/or usage of their library.

Please also note that the NYLA Sections & Roundtables offer awards and scholarships.

Learn All the Things!

Reading and Talking about Race: An Intro to ALA’s Great Stories Club

Tuesday, June 30th, 3pm

This is an online event.

A powerful movement against racism and police brutality is underway in our nation following the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other Black Americans at the hands of police.

How did we get here? How have oppression, resistance, suffering and triumph shaped the experiences of every American, especially Black, Indigenous and other People of Color? And most importantly, what can we do better?

Join ALA's Public Programs Office for a one-hour webinar to learn about free ALA book club resources that can help us navigate these difficult conversations and critically examine race and privilege. This webinar is open to everyone interested in holding thoughtful conversations about race and identity.

In this webinar, we will look at the Great Stories Club "Deeper Than Our Skins" collection. Since 2006, ALA's Great Stories Club has offered insightful humanities-based YA reading lists, discussion questions, and more to thousands of U.S. libraries. "Deeper Than Our Skins" is part of the Great Stories Club series on Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation, offered in partnership with the WK Kellogg Foundation.

This webinar will consider the following titles:

  • "Between the World and Me" by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • "The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano" by Sonia Manzano
  • "Dreaming in Indian: Contemporary Native American Voices," edited by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale
  • "The Shadow Hero" by Gene Luen Yang, illustrated by Sonny Liew
  • "Mother of the Sea" by Zetta Elliott
  • "Always Running: La Vida Loca: Gang Days in L.A." by Luis J. Rodriguez

To read more and see the presenter list, visit

The second part of this webinar series, to be held on July 29, will discuss the Great Stories Club theme "Finding Your Voice." To be notified when registration is open for the July 29th webinar, sign up for ALA’s Programming Librarian newsletter.

This series is made possible with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

The Road Ahead: Library Service in a Post-COVID World

Wednesday, July 1st, 2pm

This is an online event.

Libraries have stretched and changed in many ways in recent years to provide new and relevant services to their communities. The COVID-19 pandemic only serves to accentuate and accelerate many of the broader changes taking place not only in libraries but also in society – changes that will impact library service delivery plans in many ways. This includes how patrons choose to interact with libraries, how they utilize library resources and services, and what services and resources appeal to their needs and interests going forward. This webcast will discuss the way forward, including challenges and opportunities, advice for administrators and managers leading staff through significant changes in daily operations, practical discussion of patron communication and service strategies in light of the new normal in which we find ourselves, and encouragement to embrace this unique cultural moment as an opportunity to make a surprising and substantial positive impact in our communities.


Rivkah Sass, Executive Director, Sacramento Public Library

Kate Mutch, Assistant Director, Natrona County Public Library

Monica Baughman, Deputy Director, Worthington Libraries


Josh Neisler, Director of Business Development, Unique Management Services

Can't make the date? No problem! Register now and you will receive an email post-event with the URL to access the on-demand recording at your convenience.

2020 Census: Last Chance for a Complete Count

Wednesday, July 8th, 2pm

This is an online event.

A complete count in the 2020 Census is essential to make sure that libraries and their communities don’t miss out on billions of dollars in needed funding, as well as political representation. However, nearly 40% of households have not responded yet, and the count is even lower among populations that have been undercounted historically. Participants in this webinar will learn how the Census Bureau, libraries, and community partners have adapted their operations and outreach in response to COVID-19, and how libraries can support a complete count before the Census ends in October.

This webinar is co-sponsored by the ALA Public Policy and Advocacy Office and the Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services.

Introduction to Community Needs Assessment: Finding the Data

Wednesday, July 8th, 2pm

This is an online event.

During this session, you will learn about health information and data as it relates to community health assessment. Robert Martiniano will highlight reasons for conducting a community health assessment, the parties involved, and how to define a target community. The focus of this session will be identifying data issues and locating primary and secondary data to best describe the health of your community. You’ll also learn about prioritizing and contextualizing your findings once you’ve collected your data.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this session, participants will be able to:
1) Describe the organizations needed in developing community needs assessments
2) Develop and identify the community and/or population being assessed
3) Identify data issues and the data needed for community needs assessments
4) Describe how to contextualize and prioritize findings


Robert Martiniano, DrPH, MPA is the Senior Program Manager at the Center for Health Workforce Studies, which he joined in 2001. Dr. Martiniano has an extensive background in health workforce research and program management. He has a background in evaluation design using quantitative, qualitative, and mixed research design methods and is an adjunct professor at the Sage Colleges School of Management, teaching courses in introduction to health systems, strategic planning, and comparative health systems.

Sponsored by The Network of the National Library of Medicine- Middle Atlantic Region, a designated provider of contact hours (CECH) in health education credentialing by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc., this program is designated for Certified Health Education Specialists (CHES) and/or Master Certified Health Education Specialists (MCHES) to receive up to .75 total Category I contact education contact hours.

Bystander Intervention Training

Tuesday, July 14th, 10am

This is an online event.

This interactive training will allow participants to understand what being a bystander is and how they can serve as an active bystander. Through examples, discussions, and videos, participants will be able to develop strategies and skills to best serve their populations and be seen as an allies and support system.

All participants will have the option to request a certificate of attendance for one hour and 30 minutes of CE credit.

Whose Turn is it Anyway? Online Board Gaming and Libraries

Tuesday, July 28th, 3pm

This is an online event.

Closed buildings and social distancing don’t need to mean the end of engaging and fun board game groups hosted by libraries. Using popular and free online board gaming platforms (Board Game Arena, Yucata, Tabletopia, Tabletop Simulator, and Boitejeux), communities of gamers can continue meeting safely online. This webinar will explore how to make the transition to online board gaming, moderate meetups, and facilitate discussions among participants. The session will apply to those looking to move online, and anyone interested in starting their first gaming group.

Presented by: John Pappas, Head Librarian, Elkins Park Free Public Library, Cheltenham Township Library System (PA), and author of the Board in the Library series on WebJunction; and Bebo, author, photographer, video producer and founder of Be Bold Games