December 15, 2004
The Honorable Sheldon Silver
Dear Speaker Silver:
I am honored to present to you the Annual Report for the Standing Committee on Libraries and Education Technology for the 2004 legislative session. My second session as Chair of the Committee was even more exciting and productive than my first. I look forward to working with you and the rest of my colleagues to continue providing much needed support and assistance to New York’s Library community. This year, for the first time the committee was able to have a "Library Day" on the floor of the Assembly as a part of National Library Week. During this event, a package of bills and resolutions were passed.
Libraries have played an important role in my life for many years now, both personally and professionally. As a teacher, I saw first hand the impact that a strong school library plays in the overall educational experience of students. Later, as a trustee of my public library I saw the important role that public libraries play in the continuing education and cultural development of New York’s communities.
The Assembly Majority and the Committee on Libraries and Education Technology have a history of working to bring additional resources to the libraries of New York State. However, since the enactment of Chapter 917 of the laws of 1990, which provided libraries with a regular and steady funding formula, the scope of services that libraries provide to the public has been expected to expand with the changing technologies. Unfortunately, the funding provided to libraries under that formula has not grown at a comparable rate. There are a range of services, including internet access, computerized cataloging, database access, and staff with the skills to support these services that are now a necessary part of running a library. The Assembly Majority has made a tradition of proposing increased funding to help libraries meet these needs.
I was proud to stand with the Assembly Majority this year and continue to fight, first for additional funding for our state’s libraries and library systems while crafting a budget, then as a part of the attempt to override the governor’s vetoes of library funding. I was however, disheartened when the Assembly Republican minority voted to sustain the overrides of the budget that their conference had overwhelmingly supported only weeks before. I remain hopeful at this time that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will put aside their partisan differences and restore the funding levels for libraries that our bipartisan legislative budget set forth.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the members of the committee, as well as all of the members of the Assembly, for their commitment and dedication to the work of the committee. I would also like to thank you for your unwavering support of this Committee’s important issues.
Member of Assembly
2004 ANNUAL REPORT
STANDING COMMITTEE ON LIBRARIES
Sandy Galef, Chair
Susan V. John
Peter M. Rivera
Joan L. Millman
Joseph D. Morelle
Michael A. Benjamin
Ranking Minority Member
|TABLE OF CONTENTS|
I. COMMITTEE JURISDICTION
The Libraries and Education Technology Committee has jurisdiction over legislation introduced concerning the many issues affecting public, academic, school and private libraries. The Committee, created in 1997 under the leadership of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, handles legislation affecting the administration and funding of libraries and library systems across New York State. The Committee develops and reviews legislation which enables New York’s libraries to meet the challenges of the information age. Today’s explosion in information technology has placed new demands on libraries. As libraries are called upon to play an expanding role in educating New Yorkers, it is imperative that they receive the attention and support they require to meet these new challenges. The work done by the Committee assists libraries in sustaining the infrastructure and staff resources necessary to allow all New Yorkers access to technological advances available through New York’s vast library community.
Libraries play an important role in the educational and cultural development of all of New Yorkers. Through a wealth of electronic and print media, New York’s libraries provide individuals and communities with exposure to information that broadens their intellectual and cultural experiences. New York State has over 7,000 libraries which serve our citizens in many capacities. Many of these institutions are among the largest and the best in the United States. Of the forty largest libraries in the United States, six are located in New York, more than in any other state. New York’s largest library, the New York Public Library, contains over ten million volumes and is among the top research institutions in the world. New York’s libraries provide support for students, teachers, researchers, readers, job seekers, entrepreneurs and many others who need assistance in finding and using information.
II. PROVIDING LIBRARIES WITH NECESSARY RESOURCES
The libraries of New York State work hard to meet the needs of the populations that they serve. However, those needs may vary widely, even within one district. Public, academic and school libraries cannot serve their patrons without an adequate and reliable source of funding. The New York State Assembly has long supported libraries and the educational, cultural and economic roles they play in their communities. The Assembly Majority is committed to providing libraries with the resources to meet the needs of all our State’s citizens. Providing these resources requires a well-focused policy commitment as well as significant State financial support.
The Assembly has made increased funding for New York’s libraries a priority. To meet the funding needs of New York libraries, Chapter 917 of 1990 was enacted, establishing an appropriation which was designed to provide sufficient funding for both library systems and individual libraries. Unfortunately, as a result of the Governor’s actions, many of the Assembly’s efforts have had to be devoted to maintaining rather than increasing funding in recent years. After 7 years of flat funding and a consistent refusal to fund libraries and library systems at the 2000 census levels, the Governor proposed only $84.4 million in state aid to libraries and library systems in his FY 2004-05 budget. This represents a 5% cut of $4.4 million over last year’s final budget. The 2004-2005 budget approved by the Legislature included $88.9 million in funds for Chapter 917 programs, which restored the Governor’s proposed cuts. This restoration was vetoed by the Governor and unlike last year the attempt to override the veto was unsuccessful. This cut to state aid will lead to an automatic 5% cut of approximately $500,000 in federal Library Services and Technology grant money.
Library Scholarships Fund
A.5565-A, Galef This bill would create a State scholarship fund of $250,000 to provide up to 50 scholarships for individuals who are in programs to receive a Masters of Arts in Library Science. Recipients of these scholarships would then be required to provide library related services in New York State for a minimum of 4 years after the completion of their degree. This bill was reported to the Codes Committee.
Friends of Libraries Week
A.3072, Dinowitz This bill would create an annual "Friends of Libraries Week" designed to highlight the significant contributions made by Friends of Libraries organizations throughout the State. This bill passed the Assembly but died in the Senate.
Aid to Merged Library Systems
A. 4850, Pretlow This bill would provide supplemental financial assistance to library systems which merge. Currently, library systems which merge receive less state aid as a new, single system than the individual systems would have received. This bill was reported to the Ways and Means Committee.
Revolving Loan Fund
A. 4941, Pretlow This legislation would create a revolving loan fund for libraries, enabling them to fund needed capital construction projects. Loans would be awarded to eligible libraries and be repaid at low interest. Eligible projects would include expanding space for library services and increasing access for the handicapped. This bill passed the Assembly, but died in the Senate.
Maintaining Stable Funding for Libraries
A.8365, Bing This bill would protect the funding for libraries in areas which have lost population between the 1990 and the 2000 census as we increase aid to those libraries that are serving a growing population. State library funding is based on both the size of the geographic area and the population that the library is expected to serve. Therefore, many of the areas that have experienced a decrease in population are also the areas that would feel the greatest impact from a decrease in State funding. This proposal would ensure that all libraries receive at least as much money as they did the previous year. This bill passed the Assembly but died in the Senate.
III. IMPROVING AND EXPANDING NEW YORK STATE LIBRARIES
New Yorkers are blessed with one of the richest assortment of library resources in the nation. Even when resources are sometimes limited, New York maintains hundreds of chartered public or association libraries, 23 public library systems, 9 reference and research library systems and numerous specialized libraries. In addition, 42 school library systems serve the over 1400 school libraries located in elementary and secondary schools. From the New York Public Library, nationally recognized as one of the top research libraries in the world, to the smallest community-based book exchange, libraries play an important role in the lives of New Yorkers.
The Assembly Libraries and Education Technology Committee considered a variety of legislation designed to expand and improve libraries throughout New York State.
A. Creating Library Funding Districts
A.4723-B, Hooker; Chapter 313 of the Laws of 2004 This law authorizes a referendum to establish the D. R. Evarts library district in a portion of the town of Athens and establishes election and governance procedures for the district.
A.7381-A, Delmonte; Chapter 88 of the Laws of 2004 This law authorizes a referendum creating the Town of Lewiston Library District and establishes election and governance procedures for the district.
A.10157-C, Townsend; Chapter 166 of the Laws of 2004 This law authorizes a referendum creating the Constantia Library District and establishes election and governance procedures for the district.
B. Amending Existing Library District Laws
A.11492, Fitzpatrick; Chapter 771 of the Laws of 2004 This law changes the boundaries and election procedures of the Smithtown Library District.
|IV. PUBLIC HEARINGS|
October 12, 2004
Kingston, New York
October 13, 2004
Canandaigua, New York
October 18, 2004
New York, New York
October 20, 2004
Rochester, New York
October 26, 2004
White Plains, New York
Following the Governor’s vetoes of the restorations of library aid in the budget passed by the legislature, the committee held a series of hearings across the state to hear from libraries, library systems, patrons and citizens about the impact that reduced state support would have on them. Library and library system directors, employees, trustees, and users flooded into hearing rooms and waited up to four hours to share their perspectives on the funding cuts. The committee heard a wide range of testimony including comments from Carol Huxley, Deputy Commissioner of Cultural Education and Janet Welsh, State Librarian and Assistant Commissioner for Libraries, who spoke on behalf of Education Commissioner Richard Mills about the impact that the cut in federal aid as a result of the cut in state aid would have on the State library’s ability to provide services to libraries state wide. Michael Borges, Arthur Friedman and Rocco Staino, representing the New York Library Association, spoke about the important educational infrastructure provided by libraries and library systems. Medical librarians shared information about the importance of providing up-to-date information to doctors and other medical personnel. Entrepreneurs spoke about the ways that a public library helped them start a successful business. Elementary school students spoke about the important ways that they depend on libraries, both in their schools and communities, to advance their educations. Information was gathered about the ways in which libraries and library systems contribute to lifelong education, community enrichment, economic development and medical treatment.
V. COMMITTEE OUTLOOK FOR 2005
In the 2005 legislative session, the committee’s top priority will remain increasing funding to libraries and library systems across New York State. With each year that funding remains flat, libraries and library systems lose valuable buying power and the ability to expand and respond to their community’s growing needs. In addition, with each year that libraries and library systems remain funded at 1990 census levels there is a loss in federal funding, due to population discrepancies and the way in which the federal government is funding programs under the 2000 census figures. The Committee’s goals for the 2005 session will include addressing these funding problems, working to infuse more funding into existing projects such as the New York Online Virtual Electronic Library (NOVEL) and the Talking Book and Braille Library and looking to provide funding to new projects, including the New Century Libraries.
SUMMARY OF ACTION ON ALL BILLS REFERRED TO THE COMMITTEE ON LIBRARIES AND EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY
|FINAL ACTION||ASSEMBLY BILLS||SENATE BILLS||TOTAL BILLS|
|Bills Reported With or Without Amendment|
|To Floor; not returning to Committee||1||0||1|
|To Floor; Recommitted and Died||0||0||0|
|To Ways and Means Committee||11||0||11|
|To Codes Committee||1||0||1|
|To Rules Committee||0||0||0|
|To Judiciary Committee||0||0||0|
|Bills Having Committee Reference Changed|
|To Housing Committee||0||0||0|
|Senate Bills Substituted or Recalled|
|Bills Defeated in Committee||0||0||0|
|Bills Never Reported, Held in Committee||18||1||19|
|Bills Never Reported, Died in Committee||0||0||0|
|Bills Having Enacting Clause Stricken||1||0||1|
|Motion to Discharge Lost||0||0||0|
|TOTAL BILLS IN COMMITTEE||32||5||37|
|TOTAL NUMBER OF METTINGS HELD||4|
CHAPTERS OF 2004
|Bill Number/Sponsor||Chapter Number||Description|
|A.4723-B, Hooker||313||Creates the D. R. Evarts Library District.|
|A.7381-A, Delmonte||88||Creates the Lewiston Public Library District.|
|A.9706, Galef||442||Updates education law reference to the Library Trustees Foundation of New York State to reflect their new name, the New York State Association of Library Boards.|
|A.10157-C, Townsend||116||Creates the Town of Constantia Public Library District.|
|A.11492, Fitzpatrick||771||Amends the boundaries and election procedures of the Smithtown Library District.|
VETOES OF 2004
|Bill Number/Sponsor||Veto Memo||Description|
|A.10808-A, Grodenchik||251||Would make changes to the manner in which library aid is paid.|
New York State Assembly
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