Michael Stoller, Chair of the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries, announced today that copies of written testimonies and the video recording of the January 10, 2018 Assembly Standing Committee on Libraries and Education Technology public hearing on library funding are now available on the Creating the Future: A 2020 Vision webpage at: http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/libdev/future/index.html.
The primary intent of the hearing was for Assembly Committee members to learn more about the impact of the 2017/2018 State Budget on the New York State’s public libraries and library systems. The 2017/2018 State Budget included $24 million in capital funding for library construction and the allocation of $95.6 million in State aid for libraries and library systems.
Chair of the Assembly Committee Didi Barrett, Assembly Committee members Steven Otis and Yuh-Line Niou and Assembly member Patricia Fahy, heard prepared statements from 17 witnesses, describing how libraries and library systems across the State are collaborating and using technology to better leverage their resources to expand and sustain library services for all New Yorkers. The Committee was also interested in learning more about the future funding needs of libraries and library systems, the need for increased operating funds for New York’s 73 library systems – public library systems, school library systems and reference and research library resources councils and the estimated $1.7 billion need for public library construction and renovation.
Witnesses provided compelling local examples of such needs, while also emphasizing the positive impact on local communities of the State Aid for Library Construction capital funds and increased State funding for library system operations. Witnesses also provided Assembly Committee members with ideas as to how the State of New York could further assist local communities, libraries, library systems and the New York State Library in improving library services for all New Yorkers.
Witnesses testifying at the January 10 public hearing included:
- Rebekkah Smith Aldrich, Coordinator for Library Sustainability and Tom Sloan, Executive Director, Mid-Hudson Library System
- Wanda Bruchis, Director, Mid York Library System, and Christopher Sagaas, Director, Utica Public Library
- Timothy Burke, Executive Director, Upper Hudson Library System and NYLA President, and Scott Jarzombek, Director, Albany Public Library
- Nick Buron, Chief Librarian, and Jonathan Chung, Director of Government Affairs, Queens Library
- MaryEllen Elia, Commissioner, and Mark Shaming, Deputy Commissioner, Cultural Education, New York State Education Department
- Kathleen Gundrum, Executive Director, Capital District Library Council; representing the Empire State Library Network (ESLN)
- Robert Hubsher, Executive Director, Ramapo Catskill Library System
- Lauren Moore, Executive Director, Pioneer Library System.
- Mike Neppl, General Counsel and Director of Government Relations and Jeremy Johannesen, Executive Director, New York Library Association
- J’aimé Pfeiffer, School Library System Director, Washington-Saratoga-Warren-Hamilton-Essex BOCES on behalf of Dr. Jennifer Cannell; representing the School Library Systems Association, Inc.
- Dr. Colleen D. Sadowski, Director of School Library System and Media Services, Rochester City School District and immediate past Chair of the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries
- Iris Weinshall, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer and George Mihaltses, Vice President for Government and Community Affairs, The New York Public Library
- David Woloch, Executive Vice President for External Affairs, Brooklyn Public Library
Additional written testimony was submitted by Ronald Kirsop, Assistant Director, Pioneer Library System; and Terry Kirchner, Executive Director, Westchester Library System