Become a Library Champion

Greetings NY Library Community:

Tuesday, Governor Cuomo released his FY2017-18 Executive Budget proposal & accompanying legislation. This signals the start of state budget negotiations. Though the Governor proposed an additional $1B in education funding in this year’s budget, a 4% increase over last year, he CUT STATE LIBRARY AID by 4%. Our libraries are critical to the state’s educational infrastructure. We need YOU to TAKE ACTION NOW and let your elected officials know that State Library Aid must be treated fairly in this year’s final budget – State Library Aid MUST increase in proportion to any increase in overall education funding.

From the Governor’s Executive Budget Proposal:

Library Aid – $91.6M (-4% CUT)

The proposed funding is $4M less than what was in last year’s enacted state budget. This proposed CUT fails to acknowledge the crucial role libraries serve in our communities, and the contributions they make to our state’s education system. Libraries ARE Education! State Education Law requires that Library Aid should be $102.6M for FY2017-18. Libraries should be fully funded under the law. Absent of that, library aid must at least increase each year in parity with increases in education funding.

Library Construction Aid – $14M ($5M CUT)

As you know, after a decade of stagnation, the State Library Construction Aid program received a $5M increase in last year’s enacted budget.  Governor Cuomo has proposed eliminating that additional funding.  The State Division of Library Development estimates that library renovation and construction needs are $2.2B statewide. Over 48% of public libraries in NYS are 60+ years old, and an additional 33% are 30+ years old. Investment in the Library Construction Aid program must be increased to address aging infrastructure, energy inefficient buildings and the evolving ways people use libraries.

NOW is the time for YOU to SPEAK UP and let your legislators know that state library aid MUST be treated fairly and equitably in this year’s state budget!

TAKE ACTION NOW! With less than 30 seconds of your time, you can send a letter to your elected officials and legislative leaders. Without your voice, library funding is faces a 4% CUT in this year’s budget.

As always, NYLA is relying on its members to take action, and contact your elected officials through NYLA’s online advocacy tools, encourage your colleagues and patrons to participate in these actions.  Encourage everyone to “Get on the List” NYLA has developed, and visit nyla.org/advocacy for updates. When engaging with your elected officials, it is important that you discuss the great work you and your library are doing, and to also stay on message by using the talking points we have on our website. For those of you on social media, we have posted a set of tweets that we encourage you to use, and tweet at your local Assemblyman and Senator.

LIBRARY ADVOCACY DAY is Wednesday, March 1, 2017! Come to Albany and make your voice heard!

—- Jeremy Johannesen

Executive Director
New York Library Association
6021 State Farm Road
Guilderland, NY 12084 518-432-6952 Ext. 101

518-427-1697 FAX director@nyla.org

Skene Memorial Library – A Proud History

Sometime around 1894, summer resident Mrs. Alexander Skene  first proposed the idea of the creation of a Library for Griffin Corners.  (As known physician Dr. Alexander Skene had a summer home east of Griffin Corners, and enjoyed their time in the Catskills immensely.   It took several years, but plans progressed, and a Board for a Library Association (one type of Library then quite popular in New York State–not municipally -President.  Other prominent citizens such as DeWitt Griffin, Mrs. T. C. Banker, and Mrs. George H. Lasher were on the board.    Plans progressed slowly.

In July 1900, Dr. Skene died,  but Mrs. Skene continued to pursue the goal of creating a library, now to be named in his memory.   Funds were raised, including a $5,000 donation from famed industrialist Andrew Carnegie.   (Carnegie endowed many libraries all over the country, but this was special to him–he and Alexander Skene had been boyhood friends.)

The cornerstone for the building was laid in November 1901, and Griffin Corners finally had its library.   Skene Memorial Library is unusual for it is one of the few area libraries built AS a library.   As people and conditions changed, the Association Library structure no longer was working here, and in 1930 the building was turned over to the Village of Fleischmanns, and Skene became a Municipal Library.

In 2001, in honor of its centennial,  Skene Library was placed on both the New York State and the National Register of Historic Places. A special Postal Cancellation was held to observe the centennial.

Skene Library in Pictures

Skene Library History in Pictures

images courtesy of the Greater Fleischmanns Museum of Memories