Outreach, Engagement & Other Splendid Stuff

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Last week, we had the opportunity to meet with Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R, 21st District) to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on public libraries. She let us know that the New York Congressional delegation is united in negotiating state and local aid in the next financial package, and acknowledged the importance of this funding for libraries as well as others. Stefanik expects additional federal funds for states will be a part of the next legislative package and is working to ensure that direct funding for libraries is included.

In addition to advocating for libraries, she listened to several member libraries, and interested stakeholders share their concerns and identify trends. Kathy Naftaly, the Director of the Crandall Public Library, suggested that broadband be considered a public utility, which is critical for communities to flourish in the 21st century. Stefanik agreed and reported that the Federal Communications Commission is currently working on expanding rural broadband access, and her office is working with the FCC so that New York will be eligible for funding when it is available.

Others on the call reiterated the importance of broadband -- in keeping students connected, in providing virtual programs and services to our communities, and WiFi connections to people in rural areas. When we mentioned the difficulty of finding personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies, Stefanik directed her office to help.

Our libraries shared some of the great work they've been doing, including offering Notary Public services, access to fresh fruits and vegetables, sharing a wide range of digital material, or working with complete count committees to ensure our communities are responding to the Census.

Thanks to all who shared stories of the tremendous work you're doing. Continue to rock!

Reopening Plans

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New York State has released new guidance for businesses regarding how the reopening of our economy will proceed and what businesses and organizations must do to comply.

Each organization must develop a written Safety Plan outlining how its workplace will prevent the spread of COVID-19. A business may fill out this template to fulfill the requirement, or may develop its own Safety Plan.

Reopening plans do not need to be submitted to a state agency for approval. All libraries must have a copy of their reopening plans on the premises, and make them available to the New York State Department of Health (DOH) or local health or safety authorities in the event of an inspection.

Refer to the State’s industry-specific guidance for more information on how to safely re-open. To find out where libraries fall, visit the New York Forward Business Reopening Lookup Tool, and use the NAICS code 519120 for libraries and archives. You will be prompted to select your county, and then asked for the code for the industry. At this point, libraries in Hamilton, Saratoga, Warren, and Washington remain closed.

Just the Facts

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The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), OCLC, and Battelle have formed a research partnership, REopening Archives, Libraries and Museums (REALM) to create and distribute science-based information and recommended practices designed to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 to staff and visitors who are engaging in the delivery or use of museum, library, and archival services.

Visit for more information on the project, research timeline, and committee members. Project updates and resources will be added to this information hub as they become available.

Libraries in a Time of Pandemic

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The Public Library Association has completed it's most recent survey collecting information about how public libraries have responded to COVID-19.

Findings include:

  • A desire for more peer connections and professional learning to meet evolving community needs
  • Concern about protecting library staff and sustaining library budgets with a request for advocacy support
  • Need for information and guidance related to phased re-opening of library buildings and in-person services
  • Desire to communicate and amplify the value of public library staff and the programs and services they deliver while also prioritizing the health and safety of staff and communities
  • Concern about digital inequity and uneven protections and services for marginalized and underserved community members
  • A desire for futures thinking and planning related to sustained library relevance and leadership

Moving Forward

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As libraries figure out how and when to reopen, there's no one-size-fits-all model. There is much to consider, including the health of library staff and our communities, the need for services, and political and economic pressure. Here are some resources to help in your decision-making:

National Voter Registration Day

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Voter registration is more important than ever as states shift policies to respond to COVID-19. At the same time, social distancing prevents many voters from getting registered in their communities, at DMVs, and more. To find out how to get your community ready to participate in upcoming votes, become a partner, and promote National Voter Registration Day!

Everybody Counts

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Public libraries have an important role to play in promoting the 2020 Census. The global health pandemic has had a dramatic impact on participation, and New York is lagging behind other states. To find out how your community is doing, visit the Response Rate page.

We're encouraging our member libraries to remind their communities to participate because Census data plays a huge role in the allocation of federal funding to states, cities, and communities. NYS receives billions of dollars in funding each year, and this funding could be in jeopardy if there is an undercount.

The Census will also determine the number of seats that NYS holds in the federal House of Representatives is based on Census data. An undercount of NYS residents will mean that we lose seats in the House, which means our state will not be as well represented as it should be.

If you're looking for census resources, the Southeastern NY Library Resources Council has put together a LibGuide with the following information:

Please use your social media to help spread the word about the importance of completing the Census 2020. There are short videos that can be embedded, information that can be shared. Libraries in Warren County can share posts from the Warren County Complete Count Commission on Facebook and Instagram.

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 Monday, June 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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The Institute of Museum and Library Services has two new funding opportunities for museums, libraries, federally recognized tribes, and organizations that primarily serve Native Hawaiians. The combined $15 million federal investment will provide direct support to these institutions, equipping them to respond to community needs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CARES Act allocated funding to IMLS to enable libraries, museums, and organizations serving tribal communities to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, including by expanding digital network access, purchasing Internet-accessible devices, and providing technical support services to their communities. The $15 million available through these new grants follows previous phases of funding announced over the past few weeks.

The deadline for submitting applications to either funding opportunity is June 12, 2020, with award announcements anticipated in August.

IMLS CARES Act Grants for Museums and Libraries support museums and libraries in addressing their communities’ immediate and future needs caused by the pandemic. Projects may focus on preserving jobs, training staff, addressing the digital divide, planning for reopening, or providing technical support and capacity building for digital inclusion and engagement. Applicants are encouraged to prioritize services for high-need communities.

To apply for these grants, as well as to IMLS’s other available funding opportunities, please visit the IMLS website.

Libraries Lead With Digital Skills

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Libraries Lead with Digital Skills is an initiative of ALA and PLA, sponsored by Google, to ensure that public libraries across the nation receive ongoing access to free tools and resources to help everyone across America grow their skills, careers, and businesses.

Tell us how your library is assisting job seekers and empowering small business owners with digital skills!

Select one of the Grow with Google resources to integrate into a new or existing outreach or virtual services and submit your idea via our simple application. Accepted libraries receive:

  • Funding – $2,000 with minimal application and reporting requirements, with the opportunity to receive an additional $3,000 bonus if your library is selected for a Spotlight Award (view more details).
  • Marketing support – ALA and Google can help get the word out about your program with social media guidance, marketing assets, and more.
  • Technical guidance – Have questions about curriculum resources or programs? Ask Google! Need some best practices in library programming? PLA is here to help!
  • A community of practice – Troubleshoot challenges and share ideas with other libraries that receive funding alongside ALA, PLA, and Google.
  • Advocacy tools – Use our impact evaluation tools and advocacy resources to create and sustain the digital skills plan for your community.

For full program details, review the requirements & eligibility and preview the application (PDF) questions to prepare your application.

Open applications include:

  • Virtual Library Services – now open to all eligible libraries in the U.S. to support continued programming during library closures and Covid-19 response efforts. Apply Now by June 1.

Questions regarding the application and process can be found on our FAQ page, or directed to the Libraries Lead Team at

Friends of the Library Dewey Fellowship Award

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The FLS Dewey Fellowship Award provides funds to cover the costs of registration, lodging, transportation, and more to attend the NYLA Conference - 2020 . 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.

To learn more about the Dewey Fellowship Award and the requirements for application, go to > Awards and Scholarships. The deadline to submit applications for this prestigious award is 5 PM, Monday, June 1, 2020.

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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

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).

Learn All the Things!

Psychological First Aid

Thursday, May 21st, 2pm

This is an online event.

Find out how to provide community stress management with Amy Nitza, Ph.D, LMHC, Director of the Institute for Disaster Mental Health SUNY, when she leads a webinar about Psychological First Aid.

This presentation will be in webinar format, with time for Q&A. It is for library workers of all types, inducing public, school, academic and special. These are presented free for members, affiliate members, and staff in the other ESLN council service regions.

Racial Equity During and After the COVID-19 Pandemic

Thursday, May 21st, 2:30pm

This is an online event.

Join Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, one of America's foremost historians and leading antiracist voices, and Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the NLIHC, for a conversation on how our housing and homelessness response to COVID-19 must center racial equity and address systemic inequities and discrimination. #RacialEquityandCOVID

Please register for this event by CLICKING HERE.

Programming for Adults with Developmental Disabilities: Why and How

Thursday, May 21st, 3pm

This is an online event.

Often residential and day programs for people with developmental disabilities bring clients to their local public library to visit, however, these groups don't really engage with the library's many services or programs. Adults with developmental disabilities also come to the library on their own. Many times, individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities are directed to youth services and not the adult departments which are more appropriate. This confusion could present a barrier to offering these patrons more than just a place to visit.

Would you like to offer programming for adults with developmental disabilities rather than just a place to visit? Join us for this one-hour webinar devoted to an exploration of a range of topics related to programming in your libraries for the adults with developmental disabilities in your community. Presenters Carrie Banks (Brooklyn Public Library) and Barbara Klipper (Autism Welcome Here grant) will cover the barriers and benefits of programming, best practices, and what is meant by a “culture of inclusion.” They’ll also leave you with some sample program ideas you can bring to your library. And, of course, there will be time for your questions and concerns to be voiced and addressed.

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

  • Be able to identify at least three things that keep many libraries from offering adequate programming and services to adults with developmental disabilities, as well as responses to those barriers
  • Be familiar with what is meant by a library “culture of inclusion” and how it supports programming
  • Understand the importance of involving self-advocates in planning and implementation, and of partnering with organizations in the community
  • Be able to identify at least three types of library programs that would be fun and interesting for an adult with developmental disabilities.

This webinar will be of interest to: Public library directors, adult services, outreach and programming librarians and library staff.

This webinar is made possible by a Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Lifelong Learning Continuing Education grant and Infopeople, the Califa training arm in collaboration with Syracuse University and Project ENABLE.

Introduction to Mindfulness: Nourishing Ourselves in These Times

Wednesday, May 27th, 2pm

This is an online event.

In light of the COVID crisis, this Zoom presentation blends learning, participant sharing and brief practices: straw breathing, gentle stretching, guided meditation, silent sit and gratitude. Emphasis is on strengthening our collective immune system and our responsibility (response+ability) to sharpen self-regulation skills in service to the Greater Good.

Facilitator: Madeleine Charney is a Research Services Librarian at UMass Amherst. She is co-editor of Recipes for Mindfulness in Your Library: Supporting Resilience and Community Engagement (ALA, 2019)(link is external) and works passionately to support healthy climate-soil-people-food.

Charitable Planned Giving as a Fundraising Tool

Tuesday, June 9th, 2pm

This is an online event.

The Friends of Libraries Section of the New York Library Association is pleased to a webinar, Charitable Planned Giving as a Fundraising Tool.

Taxes, annual appeal campaigns, and fundraising events are all essential parts of a library’s overall fundraising plan. But every library has a gap between annual projected income and the actual cost of daily operations. A frequently untapped source of long-term funding is charitable planned gifts. These unique legacy gifts are realized when a donor names the library as a beneficiary in their estate plans, helping to build an endowment fund to provide sustained income for the library over time.

After the webinar, attendees will be:

  • Capable of comparing the different approaches to raising funds for the library, with a focus on charitable planned gifts;
  • Able to apply tactics that will result in a foundation of donor support to help the library fulfill its mission and respond to community needs; and
  • Strategize ways to redesign fundraising activities to include legacy gifts and memorial contributions that benefit the library.

Participants will be invited to submit questions via chat during the webinar. The webinar will be recorded and archived for future viewing on the NYLA website.

Maria T. Bucci is a fundraising professional with more than 30 years of experience raising funds for charitable organizations. She has been Development Specialist for Wood Library, an association library in Canandaigua, NY, since 2006. She has raised over $1.2 million for Wood Library's operating budget through an Annual Fund Drive, creates opportunities for donors to include Wood Library in their charitable giving plans, and helps to plan and carry out multiple fundraising events throughout the year. Maria also serves as the library's grant writer and played a supporting role in securing $4 million for Wood Library during its “New Chapter” capital campaign.

Suggested participants: Officers of Friends of the Library groups; board members of library foundations; public library trustees; public library directors/managers; any interested library staff member or community volunteer working with Friends organizations.

Cost and Registration: Registration is now open. Current personal and organizational members of the Friends of Libraries Section (FLS) of the New York Library Association (NYLA) whose membership expiration date is beyond 6/9/20 may register at no charge. Elected officers of Friends Group organizational members who have been listed on the “Elected Officer Registration Form” on file with NYLA’s Director of Membership Services also qualify for free registration.

When registering, FLS members need their assigned user name and password to qualify for an “FLS Member Reg Pass” that will waive the webinar registration fee. Please note: FLS cannot be added to an existing NYLA membership in order to attend the webinar at no cost.

  • $25 for NYLA personal or organizational members.
  • $35 for those who are not yet members of NYLA.
  • Group registrations are available: $75 member rate /$99 non-member rate).

Interested participants may choose to join NYLA prior to registering for the webinar to receive the NYLA member rate.

A credit card is required for payment. Checks and purchase orders are not accepted. Problems registering online? Contact Membership Services at the New York Library Association, 518-432-6952, or e-mail Registration closes 48 hours prior to the start time of the webinar.

Library 2.020: Small, Rural, and Independent Libraries

Wednesday, June 17th, 3pm

This is an online event.

This mini-conference will focus on innovation and innovative thinking in rural, independent, tribal, and other small libraries--as well as the many unique challenges that they face. A diverse array of keynote panelists and curated presenters will cover topics that will likely include:

  • Innovations to provide Internet access and training to rural patrons;
  • New ways that small libraries can offer services that the big urban libraries offer;
  • Taking community partnerships to the next level;
  • How workers from small and rural libraries can easily connect with each other to get ideas and keep innovating;
  • Novel ways to fund special programs;
  • Unique "Internet of Things" offers that are tailored to specific communities;
  • Safety, security, and ways to deal with emergencies when the sheriff's department is far away.

This event is being organized in partnership with Jim Lynch from TechSoup for Libraries, Kate Laughlin from the Association for Rural & Small Libraries, and The School of Information at San José State University.

This is a free event, being held live online and also recorded. REGISTER HERE to attend live and/or to receive the recording links afterward.

Please also join this Library 2.0 network to be kept updated on this and future events.