Outreach, Engagement & Other Splendid Stuff

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A recent Sienna College Research Institute poll confirms what we know: Public libraries are essential to New Yorkers. Respondents rely on public libraries to provide childhood literacy programs, career enhancement services, and indispensable points of internet access. The findings include:

  • 60% of New Yorkers have recently utilized the resources of their local public library, with 75% of those respondents indicating they use the library at least once a month, and 25% indicating they visit at least once a week;
  • 75% of respondents report their local library plays a vital role in helping people find trustworthy information, including nearly 85% of Latino respondents;
  • 47% of African-American, and 30% of Latino respondents, as well as 30% of those without a college education, have recently used the library for career building and job seeking;
  • 89% say their local library contributes an essential role in creating educational opportunities for people of all ages;
  • 48% of respondents indicate that they have pursued personal learning activities through the offerings of their local library, compared to 51% reporting those activities took place in high schools or colleges, and 38% indicating museums or community centers;
  • New Yorkers value library services in all settings: 97% say it is essential that elementary school students have access to a school library staffed by a certified school librarian, 96% say it is important in the secondary school setting, and 91% in the college setting.

These results make clear that Governor Cuomo and state policymakers are out of touch with New Yorkers when it comes to valuing library services and confirms prior polling that showed 90% support increased funding, and 92% consider their public library as a core component of their local education infrastructure. Share the Sienna poll with your representatives, and remind them of the importance of funding New York libraries.

When you finish, take a minute to remind our representatives in Washington, D.C., that federal funding for libraries is critical. Ask if they are signing the "Dear Appropriator" letters that need to completed by March 19. We want to show Washington that libraries have widespread support, and deserve funding.

Libraries Mean Business

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What happens when a restauranteur, a bed and breakfast owner, a small business owner, and a yogi and spiritual consultant come to the library? They learn how to build WordPress websites. Last Thursday, Schuylerville Public Library launched the Libraries Mean Business initiative with a hands-on workshop led by Sarah McFadden, the digital literacy resource librarian from Cornell Cooperative Extension. Participants left with websites up and running! The evening began with a review of the many resources available through the library for small businesses and entrepreneurs and ended with a mingle -- including introductions to SCORE and the Saratoga Community Prosperity Partnership. Next stop: The Mechanicville District Public Library. If you are interested in hosting a Libraries Mean Business workshop, get in touch with Erica.
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Sheeba Raj, a lawyer with Equal Justice Works, is available to provide free and confidential immigration law consultations for our member libraries. Libraries would be responsible for scheduling appointments and making space for Sheeba to meet with clients. Prospective clients would sign up in advance and bring any pertinent documents for Sheeba to review. After reviewing the documents, Sheeba would either take the case or refer clients to other pro bono lawyers in the area.

Interested in providing this service? Contact Sheeba Raj at the Volunteer Lawyers Project of Onondaga County, Inc. Call 315-640-4890 or e-mail

Library Trustee Awards

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Are you able to throw together a book sale in less than a month? Have you overcome tough budget referendums and secure sustainable funding for your library? Do you use your superpowers to advocate for libraries locally, regionally, statewide and nationally?

One of the reasons our libraries rock is due to the work of our library trustees. We want to recognize one of our impressive library trustees with the SALS Trustee of the Year Award, given at the SALS Annual Meeting on May 21, 2018. If you have a super trustee, let Sara Dallas know by March 30, 2018.

Nominees should meet the following Eligibility Requirements:

  • Member of the Board of Trustees of a SALS member library for the 2017 calendar year.

  • Initiated service(s), program(s) or community involvement on behalf of the library.

  • Demonstrated exemplary leadership characteristics.

  • Pursued excellence in the library and sought to have the library make a difference in the community.

Nomination Procedure:

  • The Library Director or a Trustee may nominate an individual. Submit nominations on library letterhead and include supporting materials. Nominations by e-mail or fax will not be accepted.

  • One award will be given. One Trustee per library will be considered.

  • The nomination must be received at SALS before 4:30 pm, March 30, 2018, Attention: Sara Dallas

  • SALS Personnel Committee is responsible for the selection of the award recipients.


  • Award winners will be announced April 17, 2018, at the SALS Board Meeting. The award will be presented at the SALS 60th Annual Meeting on May 21, 2018.

  • Award consists of a framed certificate honoring the recipient’s achievements on behalf of his/her library.

  • If the award recipient is not present at the Annual Meeting, the certificate will be given to the library’s Board representative for presentation at the library’s next Board meeting.

Program of the Year

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How have your library programs made a difference in the community? If your library had a program that demonstrates creativity, innovation, community partnerships, enhances services to your community, or serves a previously unserved constituency, apply for a chance at winning SALS's Program of the Year award.


  • Program must have been initiated during the 2017 calendar year.

  • Any program---adult, outreach, young adult, children, community services or public relations -- is eligible.

  • Selection is based on programs that have demonstrated creativity and innovation, demonstrated community partnerships, enhanced services to the community, or reached a previously unserved constituency.

  • The program must have pursued excellence in library services and sought to have the library make a difference in the community.


  • A program may be nominated by the library, by a community member, or by a Trustee. Submissions should be described on library letterhead and include by any supporting materials. Nominations by e-mail or fax will not be accepted.

  • There can be only one program of the year. One submission per library will be considered.

  • The nomination must be received at SALS before 4:30 p.m., March 30, 2018, Attention: Sara Dallas

  • SALS Library Services Committee is responsible for the selection of the award recipients.


  • Award winners will be announced on April 17, 2018, at the SALS Board Meeting.
  • Awards will be presented at the SALS 60th Annual Meeting on May 21, 2018.

  • The award is a framed certificate honoring the library’s achievements.

  • If a representative from an award-winning library is not present at the Annual Meeting, the certificate will be given to the library's Board representative for presentation at the library's next Board Meeting.

Deadline for submission is March 30, 2018.

Libraries Addressing Poverty

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How do we create libraries that are welcoming to everyone? By facing our assumptions, and recognizing that for many people, libraries can appear intimidating, confusing, and expensive. Learn how to create space for marginalized communities when Josh Willenbrink, Karen Bradley & Leah LaFera host a Bridges Out of Poverty training from 9:30 -11:30 am Thursday, March 29, at the Schenectady County Public Library.

Participants will learn about messages you may be inadvertently sending to those in poverty; simple changes can libraries can make to be more accessible to potential library users, and have a more significant impact in your community.

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For the past year, SALS has been working to position member libraries as business incubators -- a place where local businesses can go to get support and services to help them be successful. As part of that initiative, we're providing an opportunity for every library in the SALS to have a Notary Public.

Since beginning last spring, we've had nine libraries participate, and now have twelve licensed Notaries Public in our libraries. Together, they have already notarized more than 200 documents.

If you haven't yet had a chance to take part in the training, we are partnering with SUNY Adirondack once again to offer Notary Public classes. SALS will reimburse libraries that attend the SUNY Adirondack Notary Exam Preparation Class -- either the face-to-face classes or online, self-paced course. This opportunity is limited to 15 participants -- if you are interested in taking advantage of this program, you must let Erica know by April 12, 2018. Send an e-mail to

SALS will cover the cost of one person from each member library to:

  1. Attend the Notary Exam Preparation Course at SUNY Adirondack
  2. Take the one-hour Notary Exam
  3. Secure a Notary Public License

In exchange, participating libraries MUST:

  1. Let Erica know they intend to participate
  2. Register with SUNY Adirondack & identify as part of the SALS group
  3. Pay for the class, registration, and license
  4. Submit paperwork to be reimbursed -- including documentation indicating completion of the SUNY Adirondack class.

The Notary Public License Exam Preparation—Face-to-Face classes are four hours long. The next in-person class will be from 9 am to 1 pm Thursday, May 3.

Both are on the Queensbury Campus. The price of the class is $65.

  • All materials will be provided, and information about how to link to NYS Department of State licensing information, booklets and forms will be distributed.
  • The Notary Public exam will not be given during this workshop. There will be an 80-question practice exam.
  • Participants will receive a certificate of completion at the end of the course. Submit this with the paid bills to SALS for reimbursement.

The Notary Public License Exam Preparation Course online, self-paced, notary course is offered through May 4 using the Angel learning system.

The Notary Public exam will not be given during this workshop. Information about the exam schedule will be available in the class. Registration for this course closes on Friday, April 13. The cost is $75.

Please identify yourself as a SALS member when registering to obtain documentation of online course completion to submit with a copy of the paid bill to SALS for reimbursement.

To register and pay for the course call 518-743-2238, e-mail, or complete and submit the registration form. Remember to identify yourself as a SALS member.

Please note that you must complete all required components of the course and submit your paid bill and the course participation documentation to receive reimbursement from SALS. The deadline for submitting documentation for reimbursement to Erica is May 15, 2018. No reimbursements will be made after that date.

Support for this program comes from the New York State Library’s Adult Literacy Library Services Program.

PC Order Time!

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It's a new year and time for new PCs! The 2018 Beginning-Year Group PC and Equipment Order has begun. If you ordered PCs in the previous end-year order, the PCs are being delivered now.

1. Please make the order deadline! Missing it delays the process of everyone getting their PCs and affects the schedule for the next order. The full group order schedule for the year is located at

2. All order forms should be e-mailed as an attachment to The subject should contain your library’s 3 letter code (E.g. “XYZ - 2018 Beginning-Year Group Order”). This makes it easier to separate actual orders from questions.

3. Once your order has been received and processed, we will send you an e-mail confirmation. This may take a day or two depending on current workloads.

The deadline for this order is Friday, March 16, 2018.

The full ordering schedule is available on the JA Project web site…

ALL the PCs will be shipped to SALS to be configured. Once each PC is configured it will be sent to your library in the delivery. Kitten not included.

Summer is Coming

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While the weather may still be frightful, it's time to make plans for this year's summer reading program. The next Adult Program Swap will focus on adult summer reading program at 9:30 am March 28 at SALS. Bring your great ideas to share with others. If you need inspiration, check out the Capital Region Adult Programming Blog by Leah LaFera.

Talking Book & Braille Library

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Remember that question on the Annual Report about the Talking Book and Braille Library? Guess what? The Library of Congress National Library Service (NLS) is launching a national television and radio campaign Monday, February 26, on National Public Radio, the History Channel, and the Hallmark Channel about using the Talking Book and Braille Library.

You may get questions about how patrons would apply for access to talking book and braille library program services. Information on eligibility and application for these free services is available from the New York State Library Talking Book and Braille Library.

SALS, UHLS & MVLS have teamed up to host a program to answer all of your questions from 9:30 -11:30 am Tuesday, April 10 at the Upper Hudson Library System. Shawn Lemieux, the Senior Librarian at TBBL, will tell us about free services for people who need physical and visual options for reading. The discussion will include the TBBL application and certification guidelines and additional referrals and resources. There will be a demonstration of the equipment and options for using BARD, BARD Express, BARD Mobile, and third-party players, and an opportunity to try out the devices and ask questions.

If you have any questions about the program or eligibility, get in touch with Erica, and plan on attending an introduction to TBBL.

Applications for service require certification of eligibility by an appropriate authority, which includes librarians, library directors, and library managers. Learning disabilities require certification from a medical doctor or doctor of osteopathy.

Applications may be downloaded and printed from the websites.

Got Your GOAT

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Join your teen-serving library colleagues from three states for a FREE day of energizing ideas, problem hacks, and go-to colleagues! Not only will this be the Greatest Of All Time (G.O.A.T.) teen librarian meetup, it is the first for librarians from eastern New York, western Massachusetts, and Connecticut. We'll meet from 10 am to 3:30 pm Thursday, April 26, at the East Greenbush Community Library at 10 Community Way in East Greenbush, NY.

If your job includes a focus on teens, you’re invited!

To keep it free, please BYOL (Bring Your Own Lunch). We'll provide drinks, dessert - and an author Skype visit! Register here.

Shop Til You Drop

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Everyone loves a sale -- especially when it's coordinated by the state! It's time for the annual NY GovBuy, a statewide government buyers event, provides practical training that enables purchasing officials to stay informed about relevant procurement related issues and more effective ways to meet fiscal challenges. This year's GovBuy will take place May 2 & 3rd

at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center and Albany Capital Center, Albany, NY.

The trade show will provide attendees an opportunity to visit exhibitors' booths to learn about the many goods, services, and technologies available. This event is sponsored by the Office of General Services (OGS), New York State Association of Municipal Purchasing Officials (SAMPO), the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) and the State University of New York (SUNY). Registration is free but you must register to attend.

Listen Up!

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The Pew Research Center has released a report on reading habits in the US. Print books continue to dominate, but audiobooks are increasingly popular -- one in five people listen to stories.

Challenging Times

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Conservative groups in Iowa are targeting public library LGBTQ collections, demanding that material is labeled and segregated from the rest of the collection. Problems began when a display celebrating the American Library Association's LGBT Book month came under attack. Now multiple libraries are facing opposition.

Collection Preservation

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Gaining intellectual control over collections is just one aspect of processing and cataloging. Join Amelia Parks, the Archives Specialist at DHPSNY for a Red Flag! Identifying Preservation Needs While Processing Collections workshop from 9:15 am to 3:30 pm Wednesday, April 18, at the Crandall Public Library. The workshop will focus on developing a system for identifying and prioritizing the collections care needs of items (archival materials, maps, photographs, moving images, etc.) during the accessioning, processing, and cataloging phases. Common degradation issues encountered in collections and methods for assessing condition will be discussed.

This session will also present procedures for assigning conservation and housing priorities and will suggest potential “red flags” to alert staff when a conservator should be consulted. Participants will have the opportunity to assess the condition of items in a study collection and assign conservation and housing priorities to each item using the procedures presented in the workshop.

Click here to register.

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The Public Library Association and the National Network of Libraries of Medicine are seeking public library workers to participate in virtual focus groups this spring. The focus groups are being conducted as part of Promoting Healthy Communities, a nationwide initiative intended to increase public library workers’ knowledge and skills related to consumer health services.

Participants will be asked to share questions, experiences, concerns, and success stories related to the delivery of health information through public libraries.

Each participant will be interviewed by telephone for approximately 90 minutes and will receive a $25 gift card.

To preserve privacy, no individual or library will be identified in the transcripts. For more information, e-mail Dr. Catherine Arnott Smith at

Free Art Books

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The Distribution to Underserved Communities Library Program invites you to place an order of free art books for your institution.

The D.U.C. distributes books on contemporary art and culture to public schools, libraries, prisons, and alternative education centers nationwide. Books are brand new, free, and shipped at no cost. All public institutions of learning that self-define as underserved are eligible to participate.

If you are a new participant, visit the D.U.C.'s guidelines to get started.

Earth Day

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NOVA's Case for Climate Change airs April 18th on PBS.

Climate change is the defining challenge of our time, yet widespread misunderstanding and misinformation have hampered the ability of individuals-politicians, and public alike-to understand and address the issue. In this 2-hour documentary, NOVA will cut through the noise and help define the way forward. Why do scientists agree that our climate is changing and that human activity is causing it? How will it affect us, and when? What will it take to bend the curve of planetary warming toward more benign outcomes? Join scientists around the globe on a quest to better understand the workings of the weather and climate machine we call Earth, and discover how they are finding that we can be resilient-even thrive-in the face of enormous change.

Interested in screening this film for your community? Contact Gina Varamo at to register for a free screening kit.

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The Friends of Libraries Section is pleased to participate in NYLA’s Dewey Fellowship Award program. Each year, four Sections of NYLA are eligible to select a NYLA member to attend the Annual Conference, all expenses paid. The award is underwritten by the Lake Placid Foundation and will be awarded by FLS every other year. One Section nominee will be chosen. The recommended candidate’s application is ultimately reviewed by the NYLA Awards Committee. The fellowship award is then approved by NYLA Council.

The FLS Dewey Fellow are chosen based on the following criteria:

  • 3+ years of volunteer experience as a member of a Friends of the Library organization (e.g., an officer or committee chair of a Friends group; a former board member of NYLA’s Friends of Libraries Section);
  • A record of accomplishments as a Friends member; and personal involvement in activities to advance the library community (e.g., activism on the local or state level, service on FLS Executive Board, service on an FLS committee).
  • The applicant must be a personal member of FLS/NYLA or a member of a Friends group that is a current organizational member of FLS/NYLA. Current members of the FLS Executive Board are not eligible for the fellowship.

The FLS Dewey Fellowship Award will pay a maximum of $1,000 of the cost to attend the 2018 NYLA Annual Conference is November 7 - 10 in Rochester. Reimbursements include registration, a pre-conference continuing education seminar, tickets for various meal functions, lodging, and travel.

Applicants must file a completed application (Word Document) by 5 p.m. Wednesday, June 15, 2018. Application packets should be submitted to Kitty Bressington, Coordinator, FLS Dewey Fellowship Award, c/o Linden Financial Consultants, 141 Sully’s Trail, Ste 7A, Pittsford, NY 14534 or e-mail: Any questions about the award may be directed to Kitty at this e-mail address.

The FLS Dewey Fellowship Award Committee will review all eligible applications and notify applicants of the final results in late summer 2018.

Growing Your Library's Role: Creating a Community Garden with Impact

Wednesday, March 14th, 2pm

This is an online event.

Join Pottsboro (Texas) Area Public Library for this 60-minute webinar, where the library's director will discuss how planting a community garden led to the development of unique partnerships and an influx of new users from diverse market segments. Learn how the rural library's programming horizons were broadened and how the library took on a new role in their small community.

This webinar will review the steps Pottsboro Area Public Library took to get their community garden started and where it is going.

Participants of this webinar will learn about:

  • Creating a community garden that is scalable for all budgets and spaces
  • Components and operation of community gardens
  • Potential community organizations for partnerships

Best Practices for Management of Friends Boards

Tuesday, March 20th, 2pm

This is an online event.

Regardless of the size of a Friends group, if the organization has achieved 501(c)(3) status, there are specific accountabilities the Friends officers must meet to keep the organization legally viable. In this review of nonprofit boards’ legal and fiduciary duties, an attorney from the Pro Bono Partnership will explain ways to provide the best oversight possible for the organization, keeping Friends groups functioning effectively and using their charitable resources appropriately in support of their library.

Recent changes to the New York Nonprofit Revitalization Act of 2013 affect the day-to-day operations of the Friends, including transacting business by the Board, conflict of interest policies, and more. Learn what documents should be kept in your board book, how technology can and cannot be used to conduct board business, and practical strategies for more effective meetings.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify and apply the essential legal and fiduciary responsibilities of nonprofit boards
  2. Recognize the effect of recent changes to NYS laws governing nonprofits and be able to implement organizational changes in order to be in compliance
  3. Hold effective Board meetings for Friends organizations by applying the best practices addressed in the webinar
  4. Determine standard operating procedures for updating by-laws and handling other management issues for nonprofits


Courtney Darts is an attorney with the Pro Bono Partnership which provides business and transactional legal services to nonprofit organizations including libraries and their Friends groups in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Courtney was appointed the organization’s first Legal Director in October 2017. She oversees the Partnership’s legal program, educational workshops, publications, and internship program. She also provides direct legal services to nonprofits in New York and Connecticut, focusing on nonprofit, tax-exempt, and corporate governance matters.

Intergenerational Programs at the Library: Connecting Generations for Healthy Communities

Thursday, March 29th, 3pm

This is an online event.

Walk into almost any public library and you’ll see people of all ages engaging in the community space. When libraries offer programs and services that intentionally spark connection between generations, they contribute to more vibrant and cohesive communities. Learn how your library can develop inviting opportunities to encourage more intergenerational connections on a day-to day basis. This webinar will discuss why intergenerational relationships are important and will help you develop skills to foster intergenerational communication in your library. We’ll explore ideas and resources that will turn your library into a community intergenerational catalyst.

Presented by: Jennifer Kulik, Ph.D., Founder and CEO of Silver Kite Community Arts; and Wendy Pender, Older Adults Project Specialist, King County Library System (WA)

Teaching Privacy in Libraries: Strategies and Tools

Thursday, March 29th, 3pm

This is an online event.

At a time when society is facing a new set of challenges around privacy, surveillance, censorship and free speech, library workers, as stewards of information and providers of internet access, are in a prime position to educate patrons about their digital rights.

Join presenter Alison Macrina, director of the Library Freedom Project, as she discusses practical strategies that can bring privacy back to our library communities at a time when these rights are most at risk. She will demonstrate tools and best practices that can be taught in any library environment, in one-on-one patron interactions or computer classes.

At the end of this one-hour webinar, participants will:

  • Learn about standard privacy best practices including passwords and password managers, endpoint security and software updates
  • Become familiar with several of the most trusted privacy technologies including the Tor browser and HTTPS
  • Learn how to incorporate privacy literacy into existing computer classes, or teach a standalone privacy class as well as how to stay up to date on privacy news and information

This webinar will be of interest to all library staff, particularly those who offer programs around technology.