A Message from the Chair
At the end of my third year as Chair of the Libraries and Education Technology Committee, I am
happy to report that we have again had a very exciting and productive year.
First of all, during the development of the budget, I was thrilled to be appointed to serve as an
alternate on the Subcommittee on Education in the joint-conference committee process. These
negotiations led to the first on-time budget for the State of New York in 21 years. An on-time budget
has a direct impact on libraries and library systems, because as many of you are aware, budget
extenders do not always provide for a continuation of library funding, and libraries and library systems
can find themselves waiting months past the start of the fiscal year to receive any state aid.
Not only was the budget enacted on time this year, but it included a 5% increase over the Governor’s
proposed budget, thereby restoring last year’s 5% cut. In addition to the legislative restoration of $4.5 million,
the Assembly was able to restore $338,000 to the New York Public Library as well as add $100,000 for library
services for the blind.
In addition to the budget developments, libraries had a productive legislative session as well. We authorized
referendums to create two new library districts and additional libraries were given access to Dormitory Authority
financing for construction. The legislature also authorized a program to create a scholarship fund for individuals
becoming educated to become librarians who agree to serve in New York State libraries and library systems.
Unfortunately, this bill was vetoed by the Governor, who argued in his veto message that this issue would be
better addressed in the context of the budget. I hope that all of you will join me in encouraging the Governor to
include this important program in his budget proposal in January.
After the budget and away from session, in my home district of Ossining in Westchester County, I was happy to
be able to attend the groundbreaking of our new public library building. Not only was it exciting to participate
personally in the referendum to approve the new building, it was a very educational process. Now, I know more
about the referendum process and I have also learned about many of the energy saving, environmentally friendly
steps that can be taken to reduce energy use and therefore save money for the library and its supporters.
Ossining has committed to a “green” building, employing four key environmentally sound aspects to the building’s
design and maintenance plan:
Geothermal Energy: This is a system of heating and cooling a building using the earth’s temperature and can
be achieved by employing a number of different technologies. By pursuing this route, the new building will not
need an independent source of either oil or natural gas;
Sustainable Gardening: Only plants that are native to the area, and that are pest and drought resistant, will be
used around the library;
The Commissioning Process: This process is a long-term maintenance commitment that is in place to ensure
that environmental goals are met by having future work and contracts be evaluated by an environmental
Application for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification: The LEED program created
by the U.S. Green Building Council, sets a national standard for developing and maintaining energy saving and
environmental conservation goals.
As libraries across the state seek to embark on new construction projects, perhaps you too can adopt an
environmentally friendly or “green” approach to new construction that will not only save on energy costs but will help
your community protect its environment.
As the new legislative year approaches, I look forward to continuing to work with all of you to improve and expand our
libraries and library services.
Chair, Assembly Committee on Libraries
and Education Technology