A Brief History
INTRODUCTION: These notes were taken from the Minutes recorded at meetings of the Suffolk County public library directors since 1963. At first these meetings were called by the first Director of the new Cooperative Library System, Walter Curley. PLDA, as a separate organization, does not come into the picture until 1968 when general dissatisfaction with the succeeding SCLS director, Gunther Jansen, caused the library directors to break away to form their own organization. Most of you know that minutes hardly ever convey the whole story. Decisions are recorded, but later readings never give the reader a full understanding of the struggles undergone to achieve those decisions. Sometimes there is no understanding at all. A full history should include eye-witness accounts and other records. I am certainly willing to add notes to this “history” if people will send me signed accounts that would add a human touch.
Pat Campbell 2003
Mr. Curley, the first Director of the Suffolk Cooperative Library System, starts to hold bi-monthly meetings of member-library Directors in 1963. The first minutes in our files date from February 13. The System office is located at 15 West Ave. in Patchogue.
Sixteen libraries are members of the System at the first meeting; by April membership has increased to thirty-five. Early in the year, Mr. Curley announces plans for in-service training for trustees. He announces that the SCLS budget for the year is $226,000, with $205,000 coming from the state. He explains that school district libraries contribute to the System on the basis of assessed valuation, while other libraries are assessed on the basis of population served. He also announces that he is planning two deliveries a week to member libraries in 1964.
At the June meeting, Mr. Curley says that central Reference Service is taking more time to develop then anticipated. The newest development at SCLS is the mechanized preparation of book orders, bills, packing slips and accounts with new IBM equipment. There is also a new Young Adult Consultant. A Bookmobile has arrived, financed by a $15,000 grant from the State Library. A building program is under study. Centralized cataloging has begun under Alan Hogden: “The Suffolk Cooperative Library System hopes to provide cataloging and processing at the rate of at least 100,000 volumes per year, free of charge, to member libraries and without limitations in range of titles to be ordered.” Miss Kit Sheehan, the Children’s consultant, plans a 4 session course, along with the new Young Adult consultant, on “Service to Children and Young People.”
The year ends with the following comment: that there is “widespread interest in the System – resulting in a steady stream of visitors” and there is much discussion of a “uniform borrower’s card.”
The year starts with 39 member libraries. At the first meeting, Mr. Curley announces that Mrs. Powell has been added as a cataloger. He also welcomes Sarah Courant from the Bayport-Bluepoint Library. He was trying to negotiate discounts with Baker and Taylor for group book ordering, but decides to go with Campbell and Hall of Boston instead. He is in the process, this year, of computerizing a Union List of Serials “on the Univac 1004” and will print 2 lists for each library. Later in the year he writes a grant requesting 2 tape drives for the Univac 1004 for $39,000. He also says he would budget $16,000 for Reference personnel for the 2 Central Libraries.
By the end of the year the System building is too small to hold Directors’ Meetings; now they will meet in the Vets Hall on Cedar Ave. in Patchogue.
This year Mr. Curley receives a state grant of $25,000. to set up an Audio Visual Department. This will pay for equipment, a staff person, and 100 films. Six of the Eight libraries in Islip Town have accepted the plan for a Reciprocal Borrowers Card, Mr. Curley wants at least 20 participating libraries, county wide.
Bids for the planned new SCLS building came in much higher than expected at $180,500. The System did group ordering of 5100 volumes this year. The experimental Inter Library Loan program got off to a good start, they received 240 requests in the month of June.
By 1966 the SCLS budget has increased to $450,000. Mr. Curley announces that he is planning a PR campaign for public libraries using prerecorded 30 second and 60 second radio announcements. In April there is a general meeting of directors to discuss building programs and their problems. SCLS has started a Large Print Collection; a list is being sent to all the libraries which includes the titles in individual libraries as well. The System has started collecting demonstration basic book collections for Children’s, YA and Reference services. These will be completed by 1967.
The newest member library is Terryville, Port Jefferson Station, which has become formally established. There is a search for a librarian. The initial library budget is $62,500 and $10,000 for capital expenditures.
The minutes of the first meeting in 1967, on March 8, are a great surprise for the new reader! Quite suddenly, and without explanation or fanfare, it is announced that the meeting is being held in the new SCLS building, and Gunther Jansen is the new System Director. (Side note from Annette Bassett: “ After a lengthy telephone conversation with Betty Markert , the Director’s secretary at the time, I discovered the following information. Walter Curley married the woman who was the first Assistant Director at SCLS, Marie Sullivan. At the time they married, she had to stop working at the System, and Ruth Weber was hired as her replacement. Walter was from the Boston area, and Marie was from New Hampshire, so both had good reason to want to return to New England. When he had a very good offer from the Arthur D. Little firm in Boston, he decided to leave SCLS for the new position. Betty thinks he departed in December of 1966. He was a greatly beloved and respected individual, and his departure from SCLS was both orderly and much lamented.” ) Mr. Jansen arrives in January 1967 and at the first meeting in March he states his goals for the coming year: initiating a new service to lend art reproductions, procuring grants of at least $50 for every library to purchase a microfilm reader, starting a pilot project to provide book lists for local adult education courses, obtaining circulating displays, and providing scholarships for MLS students. He also lays out a plan for “cooperative cost sharing” for more Bookmobile service.
LILRC is reorganizing to include institutional membership only. Mr. O’Brien (director of HHH) urges libraries to join.
The biggest issue in the early part of 1967 is the state requirement that libraries participating in N.Y.State supported Library Systems engage in reciprocal lending. Suffolk is already operating on an exemption which is about to expire. At this time, reciprocal lending libraries honoring all Suffolk cards are: Patchogue, Huntington, Babylon, Bayport-Blue Point, Bellport, Central Islip, Lindenhurst, Mattituck, Riverhead, and Emma S. Clark. Again there is talk of a uniform borrower’s card, and the tangential issue of the “fiscal independence of libraries.” ( Editor’s note: It is possible that this explosive issue contributes to the events of the following year, but details of all the differences between many directors and Mr. Jansen are not spelled out in the minutes.) In December, the System is doing a study of the varying fines, rules and regulations of the member libraries.
Gunther Jansen calls for a meeting of the member library directors at Sachem Library for the morning of January 17. An additional meeting is called for the afternoon of the same day “at which the possible formation of a Director’s Organization will be discussed”. At the morning meeting the topics of discussion are New York Standards for Children’s Services, and Reciprocal Borrowing. SCLS is asked to make a report of ILL statistics. At the afternoon meeting, the Member Library Director’s Association is formed. The first chairperson is James M. O’Brien from HHH, the assistant chairperson is Stanley Ransom from Huntington, and the secretary is Elizabeth Overton from Riverhead. Other members of the Executive Committee are assigned responsibility for various advisory committees: Adult Services, Elaine Phipps (Patchogue); and Children’s Services, Margaret Small (Bellport). A “Code of Procedures” is adopted.
At a February meeting, Mr. Jansen announces that Director’s meetings will be now be held every month: SCLS will hold Directors’ meetings every other month chaired by Mr. Jansen, in alternate months, the meetings will be chaired by Mr. O’Brien.
The March meeting is chaired by Miss Weber since Mr. Jansen has a cold. The executive board of the directors’ organization says that the ILL statistics from the System are not meaningful. Mr. Zedily from Sachem requests that the statistics show how many items each library borrowed and loaned, not just the number of requests filled from each library. The executive board also strongly recommends (by way of a motion) that the SCLS Board engage a full-time public relations consultant for newsletters, brochures and other publicity efforts.
At the April meeting, Mr. O’Brien is the chair and Mr. Jansen is not present. The Reference Advisory Committee recommends that SCLS publish a Union List of Serials. The executive Committee reports that Mr. O’Brien and Mr. Ransom attended the SCLS Board Meeting where they reported on the formation of the “Director’s Association”. They said that the reaction of the Board was “very favorable”.
At the May meeting Mr. Jansen is the chair. He reports on the library
budget votes: Riverhead’s budget of $179,480 passed 342 to 102. Islip had its vote IN the library. Cutchogue’s budget is $2,500. Mr. Jansen also reports that the SCLS trustees are considering a request to change their by-laws from one vote each to weighted votes based on population. Mr. Jansen also says that key vacancies at the System are being filled, so libraries can expect a “great improvement in System service”. He also asks that when Directors have questions or are dissatisfied, they contact him directly rather than discussing problems first amongst themselves and complaints only reach him via the grapevine.
The “Uniform Borrower’s Card Committee” asks for a show of hands on the question of the card and this indicates a majority of Directors are against the idea. Mr. Jansen remarks that a previous MAIL vote had showed a majority for it. Mr. O’Brien said he had voted for it in the beginning because he thought it was one uniform card for everyone. Now it’s become 3 library cards for different age groups. He feels the trend today is to make the entire library available to everyone and not to keep students out of the adult areas. There is heated discussion. There is a motion to disband the committee, then more heated discussion, “allotted time for discussion expires. Motion tabled.”
At the June meeting an announcement is made that Mr. Leonard Freiser has been appointed director of LILRC. He will have an office at HHH.
The Technical Services Advisory Committee of the Director’s Association recommends the acceptance of the following resolutions:
1. that the SCLS Board recommend the continuation of the processing of books for non-members.
2. that serious consideration be given to raising the charge for processing for non-members by up to 25 cents per unit.
3. that non-members who do not pay their bills have their services terminated.
4. That no new school accounts be opened.
(SCLS began processing for non-members in 1965. At present (1968) the Ramipo-Catskill System, Clinton-Essex-Franklin System, the Central Book Aid recipients of S. Adirondack System, several different Suffolk County Agencies, some 50 schools and some other small public libraries receive their books through SCLS. Suffolk County Community College also purchases books through the System, without processing. In 1967 283,000 volumes were processed, 51% were for member libraries. The cost was $487,328. the cost per unit was $1.68. The theory was that the more books of one title that were processed, the less it would cost per volume, because electronic equipment expenses are the same regardless of the number of volumes processed.)
At the July meeting, which is called to order by Mr. Jansen, it is announced that Paul Cirino is the new director at Middle Country. Then Mr. Jansen announces that a processing survey conducted by Booz Allen has resulted in some suggestions which will shorten book processing time from 7 – 8 weeks to 3 – 4 weeks! Booz Allen also recommended that an additional 25,000 square feet be added on to the building! The Technical Services Committee of the Association says that SCLS should try to achieve compliance with national standards, Marc II format. Dr. Lsedely is developing a “complaint form” for those who don’t agree with the System’s cataloging. Once again the subject of the Uniform Borrower’s Card is brought up. Dr. Zsedely objects to using 3 cards, he wants 1 card, 1 color. A motion was made to abolish the Uniform Borrower’s Card Committee, 5 were for the motion, 11 against.
The August meeting is planned to be held at Ocean Beach on Fire Island. There is a very small attendance because of rain. Then, some of those in attendance “missed the boat”. (editor’s note: sounds like a good story there!)
At the September meeting, Mr. Levering reports that the 16mm sound films in the SCLS collection are now available to loan “to responsible adults” in the communities but these adults are not required to be representatives of organizations. Mr. Ransom reports that the Booz-Allen study indicates that the System “has 46% less space than it needs to operate efficiently”. Ms. Phipps says that “smooth operation of purchasing and processing is a PRIMARY need, pilot projects should be deferred.” Mr. O’Brien reiterates his concern about System finances: System costs go up as member library book budgets increase and they purchase more books, but the System makes no charge for the increased services. Nassau charges $.25 per book for processing. Mr. Jansen is opposed to member libraries paying for services. However, the System will be ending this year $100,000 in the red.
The July meeting is held at Brookhaven National Laboratory and the Director, John Binnington welcomes those present. The main topics are Direct Access and the financial difficulties of the System. Dick Lusak also reports on the decision of Farmingdale Library to have their budget vote separate from the school vote because it had failed twice in passage. Acting Commissioner of Education, Ewald Nyquist ruled that the Boards of Education can set the dates for library budget votes, but he indicated that he is willing to sponsor a change in that section of the law. Comsewogue, Huntington and Middle Country have indicated they will file requests.
At the August meeting there is a review of the SCLS Building Program. The plan is for adding 24,000 square feet for a total of 36,000 square feet. The cost will be $835,000 of which $292,000. is a federal grant. R. Lusak was not able to attend this meeting “due to the pressures of building a new library” Mr. Cirino gives “a glibly humorous story of Mr. Lusak’s present tribulations.”
As of December 1969, Mr. Ransom is still President of the Director’s Association and they are still alternating turns as chair of monthly meetings with Mr. Jansen.
At the February meeting at South Huntington Library, Dick Lusak is elected president of the Director’s Association, Paul Cirino is Vice President and Mr. Ransom is secretary. Mr. Jansen has several times gone on recruiting trips to 8 library schools to try to fill vacancies on library staffs. Mr. Jansen also requests slides of member libraries for his lecture tour of Europe. During this year the following announcements are made: The County Aid for 1971 will remain at $100,000. Agreement has been reached on Direct Access and a new brochure is being published. Libraries are being asked to cancel their various “courtesy card privileges” since the new Direct Access rules should take care of all problems. The Reference Division asks the libraries to “crack down on ILL violators” They ask for accurate addresses and verification or a source of the reference to the required material. Film requests to the System are being received in record numbers. SCLS will offer a payroll preparation service to all member libraries beginning in Jan. 1971. The new building will be ready by early November.
Paul Cirino is the elected President of the Director’s Association. Director’s Meetings are now separated into two sets of meetings: general meetings with all directors present, and executive board meetings. The Association sends a letter to the Division of Library Development objecting to several problems they see in the plans for a February conference. They object to the invitational nature of the conference, and the exclusion of library administrators.
A sample Survey of Priorities of the Nassau System Services was presented by the chair of the Nassau Director’s Executive Board, Robert N. Sheridan. Paul Cirino sends a letter to all directors asking that everyone express their opinion, since the criticism has been made that directors of larger libraries have a disproportionate amount of influence with the System Board of Trustees. (The System Board has provided a place at their meetings for a representative from the Director’s Association.) He ends the letter saying that facts, ideas, and issues need to be clearly presented, and alternate viable solutions to problems need to be found. Director’s views need to be communicated to the SCLS Board. He is hoping for a “new spirit of trust, understanding, and cooperation.”
The System has not had a Head of Technical Services for 8 months. Acquisitions and book processing are badly delayed.
At the May meeting a motion is made to appoint a committee to look into the ethics of the Middle Island Board of Trustees and into their application for a permanent charter. After much discussion, the vote was 7 “no” and 5 “yes” and 1 “abstention.” (I asked Dave Clemens if he could clarify this mysterious motion and he commented as follows: “We cannot be sure about the reason for the motion. We do know that the library had three directors that year. Mr. Danton, who was asked to resign after a failed facilities vote; Mrs. Gartung, who was the senior clerk; and Ms. Howard, who was obtained by Mr. Jansen and served for about 6 months.”)
The Association Constitution is amended several times during this year.
The SCLS Reference Coordinator, Evelyn Greenberg, requests that “some public library in Suffolk County subscribe to “Playboy” magazine.” Suffolk Community College is the only subscriber she knows about and they have had repeated requests. There exists a very complete index published by Scarecrow Press.
At the August meeting, Mr. Jansen speaks about the possibility of putting the System budget on the County Ballot. The majority of directors present are against the idea, but Mr. Jansen says he will continue to investigate it.
At the October meeting, Mr. Jansen notes that a special committee of the NYLA Library Trustee Council is looking into the possibility of making the County the financial and administrative unit for public libraries. Richard Lusak notes that this is not possible since local public libraries are operating under educational and municipal law.
At the October meeting, the Minutes state there is “much heated discussion” of the proposed SCLS Budget. Mr. Kramer suggests that the System adopt a budget that expends only those funds that the State and County allocate for its support. The SCLS Budget is later presented with big cuts: there are no cost of living raises, no conference expenses, no Union List of Serials, and a fee scale is instituted for book buying and processing.
Mr. Lusak proposes that the Director’s Association send all official minutes of the meetings to all Board Trustees of all member libraries. The motion carried 16 to 0 with 1 abstention.
David Wilder is the new Director of LILRC. He has been Library Director at the University of Manitoba. His offices will be located at SCLS.
Victoria Wallace is the new Chair of the Director’s Association.
In January there is extensive discussion of the System Budget. It is noted that the SCLS Trustees are trying to decide whether the System will offer “financial participation” or “services for a fee”. At the same time, libraries are being polled about their thoughts on these matters. Mr. Berman says his library strongly objects to these two actions being taken at exactly the same time. The subject of “weighted votes” is also discussed at length. The directors ask that the SCLS Trustees make a written statement on its position regarding the matter of a “County wide library”.
A motion is made by R. Lusak and seconded by C.G.Donnelly, and the Executive Committee unanimously agreed, that the Constitution be changed to read that all meetings of the Director’s Association be chaired by the Chairperson of the Association and not alternately with the System Director. This motion will be voted on at a general meeting of the Association
Darlene Carter of West Islip Library is nominated to fill a vacant position on the Executive Board.
At the general meeting G. Jansen makes the following comments: He reports on his meetings at the NYLA Board in Albany and a three day trip to Washington, DC. He says the NYLA Intellectual Freedom Committee is investigating the dismissal of Mrs. Ford as Director of East Hampton Library. Mini-grants are available for innovation in library service through BOCES. There is much discussion on this last topic. There is consensus that the directors should “Look at the fine print” or “for strings attached”. R. Lusak feels that this is a small step in the direction of a BOCES takeover of library administration. At the general meeting a motion is made to object to University Microfilm changing from 35mm to 16mm when the company had sold 35mm readers last year with full knowledge that they intended to change.
Victoria Wallace distributes a letter that had been sent to the Executive Director of the NYLA Trustees Foundation saying that DLD is in favor of County level library administration throughout the state.
The Direct Access Committee reports on the results of their recent questionnaire; 42 libraries responded:
1. 27 favor a uniform code, 11 do not, 3 abstained
2. 23 said a library should be permitted to refuse Direct Access to patrons of a library after a budget vote defeat, 13 said no, 5 abstained
3. 30 libraries do NOT keep a record of Direct Access, 9 DO, 2 did not indicate
4. 34 resounding approvals of the Delinquency List, 1 disapproval, 6 abstain
An article on Nazi activity in the L.I.Press and written by Karl Grossman was included in the Minutes.
At the February Executive Board Meeting, Victoria Wallace reports that there is a chance of an increase in the state aid formula which may increase SCLS funds by $200,000. She also reports that at the SCLS Board Meeting she requested that they issue a formal statement on their stand concerning a County and/or State Administration, including financing, of public libraries. This topic was referred to committee by the SCLS Board. She also says that the SCLS Board is studying the status and future of the co-central libraries. Miss Wallace will ask them to hire an objective consultant. (This last point was decided by the SCLS Board to be “not necessary” at their next meeting.) An SCLS Committee has also been created to consider the matter of “weighted votes”.
A letter was sent from the Association to the Commissioner of Education applauding his decision to not fund the $500,000 request for a controversial pilot program for library services to children.
Miss Wallace again attended the SCLS Board Meeting. She reports that the Board approved a 5 year lease for new data processing equipment. One trustee cast a negative vote saying he thought the member libraries should see and comment on this before action is taken. There is considerable discussion of this topic by the executive committee. Miss Wallace reports that she again requested the SCLS Trustees to express their sentiments on the topic of County Administration of Public Libraries. They went into executive session, so she assumes a reply is being formulated.
A Special Meeting of the Executive Committee was called on March 20 at which they decide to oppose legislation already passed by the legislature and sent to the Governor (Rockefeller) for signature which adds the words “School District Libraries” amending the Civil Service Law (if passed this would place all supervisory personnel in the “unclassified area”.)
There is an attached letter from the SCLS Board: The Board “has no intention of supporting any move to establish a County Library System in Suffolk. The growth and quality of library service in Suffolk attests to the successful operation of the present structure.”
By July 1972, SCLS is beginning work on the 1973 budget. P. Abramov and M.Roochvarg have been appointed to assist SCLS staff in setting priorities. Other news: a program is announced to acquaint System staff with the new data processing equipment; consensus is reached that the Executive Board will not invite the “Right to Life Committee” program for a Director’s meeting; special programs are being considered in an effort to get better attendance at the monthly meetings.
Huntington Public Library wishes to become a sub-regional center for the Talking Books for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. The general membership voted to recommend Huntington’s petition to the SCLS Board, but the Executive Committee is unanimously against it. They say that postal service distribution from the regional center in NYC is adequate, and they feel also that if Huntington Library is not able to absorb the costs in the future, that SCLS would have to take on another financial burden. Later, at the October meeting, Mr. Ransom, the Director at Huntington, informed the Executive Board that his library had been designated a sub-regional Library for the Blind and Handicapped and he recommends that the Executive Board endorse his petition to SCLS that this be a Central Library Service. A motion was made and tabled until such time as DLD guidelines and recommendations are known. Then, at the November meeting, it is reported that the SCLS Board had given approval to the revised petition from Huntington Library. It will be financed by the Lion’s Club and will not be a System or Central Library Service.
At the August meeting, a discussion of the possibility of SCLS becoming a book wholesaler was held – this would create major financial savings of 40 to 42%
The Supreme Court is evidently reviewing cases that might result in declaring the property tax illegal. The topic is raised every so often.
Guenter Jansen suggests that Suffolk County Libraries should try to get the County to level a County property tax for libraries, giving a minimum level of support to all districts, and then allowing each district to raise more as it sees fit. Some committee members felt this was just another attempt to get a State or County Library plan.
During the October meeting the Budget Committee deliberates on the SCLS Budget and Myron Roochvaarg reports to the Executive Committee that there is a $90,000 budget gap that needs to be closed. They recommend the following: that a 5 year plan be instituted which gradually terminates technical processing; that there be an increase in financial participation and in the fee schedule; that there be cuts in staff, in contract cleaning, in the AV budget, and in the book budget.
At a meeting of the Directors on December 4th, the SCLS budget for 1973 is defeated by a “weighted” vote of 32 yes to 72 no. This was despite a count, by library, of 15 yes to 13 no. Guenter Jansen discusses the possibility of a budget with no technical processing and maintaining a reduced staff for everything else.
There is another Director’s meeting on December 13th. Mr. Jansen is not present. A pointed explanation is made that he has pressing NYLA legislative matters and is also trying to clear his desk prior to departing for Europe for a few weeks.
It is decided that the defeated SCLS budget would be resubmitted with the following “clarifying remarks”.
1. If the anticipated revenues do not materialize, the budget will be reduced in the technical services area.
2. If state aid is raised, budget modifications will be made.
3. If finances do not permit a full range of book processing services, any financial participation agreements signed will become null and void.
4. SCLS trustees and administration will work closely with the Directors to achieve the optimum mix of commercial & SCLS technical services.
5. A “yes” vote on this budget will not commit a member library in any way. Only the signing of a financial participation or alternative agreement can do that.
At the January 10th meeting of the Director’s Association, Myron Roochvarg is elected as Chair, D. Carter is Vice Chair, P Abramov is secretary. Mr. Jansen is not present at the meeting because he has just returned from his European trip. The deadline for returning the ballot for the 1973 SCLS budget is 5 days hence. (Editor’s note: I did not find out here whether the SCLS budget passed on the second vote.)
At the February meeting of the executive board, the following topics were discussed. Baker and Taylor has been asked to supply some statistics on processing. Mr. Jansen is asked to explain delays in processing. There is a proposal by the League of Women Voters that public libraries become places where people can register to vote; Representative Downey will be introducing a bill. The SCLS Board considered and rejected the recommendation of the Director’s Association that candidates for the SCLS Board must sit on local boards at the time of their election. The apportionment of SCLS Board seats is again discussed.
At the March meeting, various problems surrounding the question of whether SCLS should drop the processing of books are again discussed. Mr. Jansen comments that if the System does go out of the processing business, it will take “considerable time”. There is no unanimity among SCLS staff on the best action to take. P. Cirino from Middle Country Library has been using Baker & Taylor and it is working well. Other libraries (not named) are also using commercial processing companies; they are asked how it is working and most reply that they have been doing it for 2 or 3 years and have not needed additional staff.
At the May meeting Miss Phipps won the door prize for the third time! It is announced that the System Board will hold a special meeting on May 15 to hear all arguments on the termination of SCLS Technical Services. There are no minutes here of that meeting, but at the June 13th meeting of the Director’s Association, Mr. Jansen is absent and no decision seems to have been made. Miss Weber, the Assistant Director of SCLS does make an announcement that a memo would be sent out shortly on the procedure for those dropping out of financial participation on July 1st.
It is also announced that none of the bills in Albany of interest to libraries and passed by the legislature, have been signed by the Governor. (They are 30 day bills and must be signed by June 26th if they are to become law.)
At a general meeting of Directors, there is a long discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of having more than one kind of SCLS contract. It is finally agreed that one basic contract should be offered with appropriate appendices, particularly pertaining to the “home library” concept, which could then be accepted in part or as a whole by each member library. This recommendation will be passed on to the SCLS Board on a motion by B. Overton. It passed with one negative vote by M. Roochvarg.
At the July meeting of the executive committee there is, again, general discussion of SCLS contracts. Consensus was:
a. that next year only one form of the contract be offered, and
b. that those not signing contracts will receive only access to the Union Catalog, Inter Library Loan (but not delivery), and consultant services.
Mr. Jansen is looking into the possibility of a grant to fund a video tape program. Dues for the association are being considered. A question is also raised as to whether the Directors Association could have access to the SCLS annual audit.
At the August meeting, the SCLS Budget is discussed after a presentation by the Budget Committee (E. DiMattia, chair). It has been through four revisions. County Executive Klein has released his proposed budget and it contains $139,000. for SCLS – precisely the sum SCLS hoped for and has included in their 1974 proposed budget.
At the October meeting, Mr. Roochvarg says he attended the Sept. 17th SCLS Board Meeting and was surprised that, at the meeting, there was no discussion of the budget. At that meeting, a letter was read to the SCLS Board (from member libraries not now participating in the SCLS purchasing & processing service) objecting to the System’s subsidizing of technical processing. Another letter from D. Hyle, Director of Smithtown Library, was read to the Board saying that a number of libraries were very concerned about the ability of commercial processors to supply adequate cataloging for everything they ordered.
At the November meeting, M. Roochvarg starts a discussion about the decision of the SCLS Board to revoke the right of member libraries to vote on the System Budget annually. Directors who feel strongly on the matter are urged to contact their SCLS Board representative. A show of hands is called for to see which of the library directors present would not recommend signing the contract if assurances of a budget vote were excluded. Sixteen hands out of twenty-five voting members present are counted. A motion was made by D. Carter where the Chairperson is authorized to notify the System Board in the strongest possible terms, that the Association urges the inclusion of a vote on the annual budget in the SCLS contract. This motion passes, 22 yes, 0 no, 3 abstain.
Mr. Jansen is now in the hospital after recent surgery.
At the next executive committee meeting, the chairperson distributes copies of notes he made at the SCLS Board meeting since it is impossible to obtain “unapproved” minutes. There is a lengthy discussion as to whether the System’s borrowing the entire amount of its annual operating budget was really in the public interest despite concurring legal opinion.
At the end of 1973, a very tense year fraught with problems, the outgoing chair, Myron Roochvarg, presented an eloquent annual report to aid the new chair. At the December meeting, the 1974 SCLS operating budget passed by a vote of 12 libraries to 9 (the SCLS Board had restored the right of member libraries to vote at their November meeting). It was pointed out by Mr. Roochvarg that “such a poor showing (21 out of 48 libraries) makes us look rather silly in light of our recent effort to retain the right to vote.”
In January, E. DiMattia is elected Chair, P . Abramov is Vice Chair. Mr. Roochvarg attended the SCLS Board meeting and reports that the administration informed the Board that the 1973 operating budget will not balance. The deficit is unknown at this time. (Ed. note: there is a sentence in the minutes at this point stating that some libraries were considering joining the Nassau System!)
At the executive board meeting in February, M. Roochvarg makes a motion, seconded by R. Lusak, to record a vote of no confidence in the System administration. The motion is approved 14 to 1. At the March meeting, the executive committee receives a letter from the SCLS trustees asking them to define their vote of no confidence. There is also a side comment that the energy crises does not seem to be affecting library circulation.
At the April meeting, there is a general discussion of Direct Access. Stamping cards with a Direct Access stamp seems to be working well. Union Catalog calls have increased 20%, Interloan statistics have stabilized at 60,000. Does this indicate that borrowers are making use of DA instead of ILL?
Bay Shore Reference Librarian R. Verbesey, has written a letter protesting the sharp increase in Government Printing Office prices.
A questionnaire on priorities of System services is being printed and will be delivered shortly.
Huntington is closing the Sub-regional Center for the Blind on 7/1/74 suggesting that SCLS assume responsibility. A motion is made endorsing the concept, with the understanding that no System funds be used in 1974. Motion carries.
Copiague Library will not sign the System contract, and the System will request that only mandated services be given. G. Jansen suggested that a recent communication from Albany said that contracts were not legally necessary. M. Roochvarg says that contracts should be retained as a control on the System. He moves, seconded by D. Carter, that the executive committee support the system of contracts. The motion carries.
At the June meeting it is reported that Guenter Jansen had recommended to the SCLS Board that the System continue the processing of materials, but his motion was defeated since it meant adoption of a deficit budget. There is a discussion of the five million dollar Western Suffolk Reference Library supposedly to be located in Brentwood, proposed by M. Grant as part of the 1975-77 capital budget for Suffolk County. The SCLS System Services Questionnaire has 47 libraries respond, an all time record.Some results: ILL service leads the order of priority; recruitment and placement service is last; twenty-nine libraries feel that the System should subsidize technical processing, while sixteen do not. At a special meeting of the SCLS Board, the trustees defeat a motion 4 to 2 to continue to offer technical services on a subsidized fee basis, at least until December 1974.
In July, the directors are exploring other avenues for cataloging service. D. Wilder has had success getting cataloging for SCC from NYPL. He offers to try to get similar service for Suffolk libraries. P. Abromov, seconded by E. Phipps, makes a motion to encourage SCLS to explore the possibility of cooperative and joint processing with the Nassau System, NYPL, or any other agency. The motion carries. The SCLS Board has put a “freeze” on all book ordering for the rest of the year. The CSEA had obtained a “show cause order” to see if SCLS could be enjoined against laying off 26 staff members (let go because of reduction in technical services.) It was dismissed by the court.
In September, the Budget Committee reports that the county budget is still uncertain, and the amount of county aid for SCLS as well, so it is difficult to prepare a realistic SCLS budget. The Western Suffolk Reference Library will definitely be located in Brentwood and $100,000. of the $5 million allocated for the project will be used to make an initial purchase of reference materials selected by SCLS reference staff. An architect will be appointed in January 1975 and construction will start in Spring 1976. The Brentwood building will eventually become a branch reference facility when a permanent building is built elsewhere.
In October, the executive committee receives the news that the Westen Suffolk Reference Library project has been “tabled” until a survey of county needs can be made by an outside authority. The System also reports that it needs $88,000 for minimum service to the blind and handicapped, but has been allotted only $67,000 in the county budget. Some Suffolk libraries are proceeding in their attempts to leave SCLS to join the Nassau System.
The Chairperson for this year is Elizabeth Overton. At the January meeting it is reported that the negotiations with the County for the funding of the “Sub Regional Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped” are not complete. SCLS says it needs $84,000. and the county says it can only supply $67,000. On the question of the “Western Suffolk Reference Library”, E. Di Mattia reports that the Suffolk County Legislator Michael Grant has not answered any of his requests for information.. Governor-elect Carey has appointed a State Aid to Education Committee and it is suggested that the directors urge a similar consideration for libraries. This year, over 500 of the approximately 680 libraries in the state could not meet NYLA standards. G. Jansen is in Albany to discuss with the Department of Audit and Control the possibility of using figures from the Interim Census for increased state aid. $10,000 additional revenues were eventually received for this.
In March, Mr. Jansen is asked to comment on the newspaper articles reporting the contemplated secession of 7 libraries from SCLS. Mr. Jansen says there are many errors and inaccuracies in the statements made. He felt that a five year audit, now in progress, would clear SCLS of any fiscal irresponsibility. The areas of criticism of SCLS are:
1. fiscal irresponsibility
2. diminishing System services
3. System Board imbalance (not enough representation of western Suffolk libraries.)
4. free direct access overuse
5. lack of SCLS responsiveness to member library needs and expressed wishes.
6. no long range planning
At the May meeting, the “PLDA” (! First time this name is used.) passed a motion, 20 to 1 with 5 abstaining, to recommend a “performance audit evaluation of SCLS by the State.” The technical services committee unanimously agreed that SCLS member libraries should select the Nassau Library System as a primary source of processing, and every library should receive a subsidy from SCLS for this processing.
At the June meeting, R. Lusak reports that Assembly Bill #7911 was approved by the state legislature and forwarded for Governor Carey’s signature. It is a “home rule’ legislation formulated to amend the Education Law, paragraph #255. It would replace the SCLS Board as of Jan 1 and reduce the term for trustees to 3 years. (At the August meeting, E. Phipps announces that Governor Carey had signed the bill and the SCLS Board would dissolve on December 31.) Mrs. Smith says she will sue to overturn the new law, but other Board members did not join her. Mrs. Smith plans to sue Mr. Jansen since he will be the chief implementer of the law. Mr. Jansen was directed to “stand mute” in the case, but he will have legal counsel.
In November, there are various resignations from the SCLS Board and some others are “sworn in”. State funds are late. A bank loan is late too. Across-the-board cuts in salaries for all employees have gone into effect. On November 5, Mrs. Smith serves a restraining order on Mr. Jansen preventing any other elections. A hearing is set for Nov 13 in Riverhead. Mr. E. Wendel, president of Comsewogue Trustees, files a counter-suit.
There is an emergency meeting held on November 25 at SCLS. Mr. Jansen reports that the SCLS Board has laid off 41 full time employees and 8 part-time. They retained mandated services only. They felt this was the only way to secure a line of credit with a bank. Fourteen full timers and a driver will try to run the System. E Phipps asks what has become of Central Library Aid. Mr. Jansen says it is all gone.
(Ed. note: there is an agenda for a December 10 meeting, but no minutes are in the file.)
At a special executive committee meeting held on December 17 at Sachem Library, the directors consider the proposed bare bones budget for SCLS. Those present felt that the income was overestimated. They propose that the entire deficit be retired in 1976. There is general discussion about the Union Catalog and what to do if the computer is “taken”. The SCLS trustees are visiting banks to seek a line of credit. Mr. Jansen is questioned closely about: the Union Catalog, the computer, the banks, and employees. Mr. Jansen says that the trustees want the employees to sign a paper “not holding them responsible for their salaries”. Mr. Jansen says they might be fired if they don’t sign the form. He also says the new bookmobile (!!) goes into service next week! E. Phipps asks if it would not be wise to sell the new bookmobile and operate the old one. Mr. Jansen says the repairs would be prohibitive. The excessive cost of bookmobile service is discussed. The excessive cost of two highly paid administrative staff members is also discussed.
Mr. Jansen’s resignation is submitted to the SCLS Board and unanimously accepted, effective December 19. But he is asked to continue on the payroll to aid in an orderly transition. Ruth Weber is appointed acting director.
Miss Phipps from Patchogue-Medford Library is the new chair of the association. It is reported that the new SCLS Board was sworn in by Acting Director Ruth Weber on January 2. Each board member had been presented with a packet of papers relating to Judge Lazar’s ruling on the law suit brought by (previous trustee) Mrs. Smith against SCLS. The SCLS Board asked Mr. Bloch, representing Comsewogue Library, to come before the Board to discuss the case and answer questions.
Attached to these minutes is a report from the Long Range Planning Committee signed by Paul Cirino (Middle Country):
1. SCLS must decide exactly what its mission will be;
2. must establish a time of austerity and pay off the massive debt;
3. then use direct input from member libraries to establish priorities of service;
4. and must offer these services only to the extent they can be funded.
5. “Pie in the sky” planning is not acceptable.
Also attached is a report from the SCLS Budget Review Committee from J.R.Verbesy.
1. The most conservatively responsible figures should be used when estimating SCLS income.
2. The entire debt should be retired this year.
During this year the meetings are filled with discussions of the SCLS Budget, how to pay off the debts, and how to respond to the need to keep up services in order to be eligible for state and county aid. There is still talk of the plan to have a “Regional Library” and the Director’s Association sent a letter to the Commissioner for Cultural Education in the State Ed Dept to ask that a member of PLDA be considered to serve on a task force planning the regional library.
By the time of the April meeting, Mr. Jansen is gone, the transition period is over. Miss Weber also resigns to become the new Director of the Westchester Library System. It is reported that the SCLS professional staff has written a letter to the new Board of Trustees requesting that a member of the professional staff, a CSEA member, and a member of the Director’s Association, be invited to interview applicants for the position of SCLS Director. Miss Weber said that in Westchester the employees had no voice in the selection, but they did meet unofficially with the candidates and expressed their opinions to the Board. A motion was made at the Director’s meeting that a member be included in an advisory capacity when interviewing candidates for the position of Director. There were 27 yes votes, 2 opposed, 1 abstention. It was decided that the representative should be the chair, Miss Phipps.
At the June meeting it is noted that Miss Phipps did attend the first set of interviews. Evelyn Greenberg represented the SCLS staff.
A special meeting of the Director’s Association is called for July 14 to meet the new SCLS Director, Robert N. Sheridan. At this meeting Mr. Sheridan discusses the importance of having two committees: one to work on the Plan of Service, and the other to work on updating the Co-Central Library concept. He also says he will request the SCLS Board to seat the president of the Director’s Association at their meetings “to have a voice but without the power of a vote.” Likewise, he would like the courtesy of meeting with the directors at their executive committee meetings. On the subject of bookmobiles, Mr. Sheridan says, “although they are no longer in use” it is his feeling that a good opportunity exists for member libraries to augment their service on a contract basis, to rent or lease a bookmobile. Mr. Sheridan also speaks of the need to reorganize the staff and avoid additional lay-offs. He says he need a “grasp of the System’s financial problems”.
At the October meeting of the Director’s Association, Mr. Sheridan reports on a meeting with Mr. Foley’s County Committee about System support. SCLS will receive about $260,000. Staff reorganization at SCLS and financial stabilization seem to be underway. Ordinary topics like direct access and book mobile service, sharing costs of films for the AV department, and others, are now being discussed again. The West Islip Job Center is handling 340 requests a month. An Adult Independent Learner program is being held at the Islip Library.
A discussion is held about the role of the Director’s Association representative that will be seated at the SCLS Board of Trustee’s meetings. This person is to be called a “resource person”. This representative shall report on MOTIONS of the Director’s Association and his/her other expressed opinions are ONLY personal.
Lyn Ashe announces that she is moving from the Westhamton to the Southampton Library. Shoreham-Wading River is a newly established library this year. The most populated unserved areas are Elwood, West Babylon, Hauppauge, Miller Place and Rocky Point.
At the end of the year there are still long discussions of the need to “jockey loan payments and support funds” at the System. Mr. Sheridan is preparing a budget which will not be ready until January. Bob Verbesey asks about a “budget review committee.” The feeling seems to be that it is too late in the year, but Mr. Sheridan says that he would appreciate any help with finalizing the budget before presenting it to the System Board. Next year the budget committee should be set up by May in order to “nail down” early consideration in September. There is an inquiry about member libraries voting on the budget. Mr. Sheridan says this is no longer necessary since no library is now contributing to the financial support of the System. He adds that the “weighted voting issue” is now dead.
At the December meeting of PLDA, Miss Phipps reports that at the Annual Meeting of SCLS there was very small attendance but “good vibes.” Richard Lusak from Comsewogue Library was named chair of the committee reviewing the restructuring of the Association.
This year the Chair is John Clark (Bayshore-Brightwaters Library), Vice Chair is Vicky Wallace, Secretary is Lyn Ashe, Treasurer is Leon Crain.
Miss Phipps reports on the SCLS reorganized Board, and names the new officers. In February, it is noted that there have been many meetings of the SCLS Board and they have yet to approve the seating of the representative from the Director’s Association.
At the April meeting there is much discussion of the restructuring of the Association: who should be in which zones, how often should they meet, how firmly should zone meetings be “spelled out”, how long should a term on the Board last.
At the May meeting, the Association is formally restructured by a vote of 29 “yes” to 8 “no”. New officers are: John Clark, Vicky Wallace, Ken French, and Nancy Flanders.
525,000 titles in SCLS Union Catalog
County wide holdings: 3,000,000 volumes
200,000 volumes being added each year
590,000 registered borrowers in Suffolk County
In September, Mr. Sheridan reports that he has been meeting with the Suffolk County Historian and several Township Historians and with members of area historical societies. There is general concern about the scattered historical documents in the County. SCLS has offered to catalog all documents and to keep two copies of each document the System.
Mr. Sheridan also reports that he has asked Suffolk County for $261,000 in next year’s budget.
The rate of reimbursement for direct access use is a strain on the clerical staff of small libraries, they are asking for higher payments. (?)
Federal grants have been received by Bayport-Blue Point for a new wing and Connetquot for a new library building.
The Executive Committee appoints Bob Verbesey chair of the newly reactivated Direct Access Study Subcommittee. The first order of business is to decide if 25 cents per circ is a fair Direct Access reimbursement.
John Clark sent a letter to Peter Cohalan, Supervisor of the Town of Islip, asking for $90,000. for a micro-processor and programming for the 10 local public libraries to automate a circulation control system.
On Sept. 28 1977, John Clark, President of the Association, sends a letter to the President of the SCLS Board saying that the Association “wishes to withdraw its request for seating a representative with the SCLS Board of Trustees.”
Association members approve a name change from Administrator’s Association to Public Library Director’s Association. Incorporation is in progress.
At the December meeting there is a discussion as to whether the System Director should automatically be a member of each committee of the Association. It is agreed to refer the matter to the zones for discussion.
John Clark (et al) carries over as officer in the new year. Robert Sheridan reports that SCLS has paid all of its debts and will not have to borrow in the coming year. SCLS Services are fully restored.
It is suggested that the executive committee form a Civil Services Committee and an Inter Library Loan Committee.
The SCLS Board lets it be known that it is concerned about a new law which permits public library boards to expand from 5 to 11 members.
Future plans for SCLS include:
1. spending $50,000 for new films.
2. putting the Union Catalog into machine readable form.
3. getting a unified circulation system into member libraries.
4. promoting workshops for library trustees.
Mr. Sheridan stresses that we must have a County wide computerized circulation control system for efficiency. He strongly urges member libraries not to invest in individual systems but to wait until SCLS is ready to install a Central System.
In April there is a letter from Alice Rosenfeld of the Mattituck Free Library to John Clark, President of PLDA: “I am forwarding my dues to you late for the first time. I did it deliberately because I would like to make known my unhappiness with the Association in its present form. Most of the librarians to whom I speak feel removed from the workings of the system. It seems almost as if no organization exists. We have not had a meeting in six months which I find inexcusable. Our organization has been weakened and divided by this reorganization.” Ken French suggests that the Directors have luncheon zone meetings at regular intervals. Many members say they have missed the informal sociality that used to follow the monthly meetings. The Executive Committee agrees to set a May date, however, after the meeting date is set, some directors objected to having to attend , and pay for, a lunch in order to attend a meeting.
(Ed. note: there seems to be an enormous amount of upsettedness over the new Bylaws of the Association, which are yet to be approved.) There is a long letter from John Savage, Director of North Babylon, to Caroline Fitz, Director of Amityville, with a rather tight-jawed explanation of his interpretation of sections of the by-laws, especially concerning dues-paying versus non-dues-paying members. The East End Zone feels that “program meetings” aren’t “real meetings”; they miss the contact with everyone. Luncheons aren’t satisfactory either because you have to pay, and they feel that they can’t justify leaving their libraries for so long and having fancy lunches on library time. There is also a letter form Gertrude Schweibish, Director of East Islip, to Ken French of Port Jefferson. She voices her opinion that no vote should be ruled out, on matters affecting the SCLS Plan of Service, because of non-payment of dues. She also objects to the “zone meeting set-up” calling it “deplorable”.
In June, the Constitution Committee under Dick Lusak is reconvened to consider amendments or clarifications for consideration by the entire membership.
In September, Robert Sheridan reports to the PLDA Executive Committee:
1. a job center is being planned for an East End Library.
2. training workshops are being planned for library staff.
3. there is a plan to convert the Union Catalog to machine readable form.
4. and a Union Catalog is planned for NY Public, Brooklyn, Queens, the Westchester System and Nassau & Suffolk Systems.
The Long Island Libraries Regional Planning Task Force report is released on September 9th. It recommends the eventual formation of one Long Island Library System to include public, university and school libraries and LILRC.
Poll: Are the meetings of the Association adequate? Yes, 23 No,5
Are you satisfied with the present form of PLDA? Yes, 18 No, 7
At the November Executive Board Meeting, the amended constitution is accepted and is put on the agenda for the Annual Meeting of the members.
The officers for this year are: President, Victoria Wallace; Vice President, Ken French; Treasurer Alice Rosenfeld; Secretary, Nancy Flanders; and zone reps: Silva Lee from Huntington Town, Toby Hyman from Islip Town, Dick Lusak from Brookhaven Town, and Fran Balsam from the East End. By the March 16 meeting, 40 directors have joined. There is some discussion on what steps to take to discover the reasons the other 12 directors have not joined. A copy of a letter from Peter Abramov to the SCLS Board is distributed. It is critical of the way PLDA meetings are conducted. Victoria Wallace and Alice Rosenfeld will attend the SCLS Board Meeting to “try to resolve the misunderstanding.” Besides Peter Abramov, other directors who indicate why they cannot accept the Director’s Association the way it exists today are: Gertrude Schweibish, Betsy Gordon, Lee Crain, and John Savage. The reasons are:
1. They miss the direct interaction between member Library Directors at monthly meetings; they miss the SCLS Director’s Report and the other consultants reports.
2. Issue is taken with the formation of the Civil Service Committee; there should have been an open call for participants.
3. Members of the present Association do not have the right to advise SCLS on policy if they speak as individuals and not spokesperson for the library in which they are employed.
4. The present Association should closely follow its Constitution.
On November 30 1979, the Certificate of Incorporation for PLDA is filed with New York State; the attorney is Edward Lundstedt.
Officers for the year are: President, Ken French (PJ); Vice President, Joan Zaleski (Connetquot); Treasurer, Frances Balsam(Hampton Bays); and Alice Rosenfeld (Mattituck), Secretary. Myron Roochvarg is on the Executive Committee for the Civil Service sub-committee, and Bob Verbesey, for the sub-committee on Reciprocal Borrowing. Then there are the representatives for the 5 zones. Ken French sends a letter to all directors asking if they would like to be on the mailing list, inviting them to meetings, urging participation. Jerry Nichols is introduced in March as the new rep from Zone 5. 45 directors have become members by that month. A new statistical survey is being planned, this is a co-operative effort with SCLA.
A “Joint Statement of Cooperation” (between the SCLS Board of Trustees and PLDA) is adopted by the SCLS Board 7 to 2. At the May meeting of PLDA, Bob Verbesey makes a motion to reject the proposed Joint Statement. This motion failed to receive a second. There continues to be grave differences of opinion on whether a director’s comments and votes are his/her OWN or represent his/her LIBRARY. Directors who feel they should represent their libraries are threatening to quit. Others say “don’t quit, work for change from within.” Ken French comments: “They have no right to try to change the Association’s Constitution from the outside.”
(editor’s note: the following clarifications were written by Jerry Nichols. “In addition to the debate among PLDA members regarding the issue of whom the director represents (themselves or their libraries) a number of members disagreed strongly with the Association’s lack of support for, and active opposition to, the effort to move librarians into the unclassified section of civil service. There was considerable resentment regarding the Civil Service Committee’s control over the relationship between the public libraries and Suffolk County Civil Service. In the Spring of 1980, the entire Babylon Zone resigned from PLDA over these issues, followed by several individual directors from other areas. This group eventually called itself the Independent Directors Association (IDA). IDA remained in existence till 1986, though several Babylon zone directors returned to PLDA during that period. Eventually, their efforts resulted in the introduction of legislation to move public librarians into unclassified civil service. This would result not only in the elimination of testing and lists, but also the loss of Section 75 due process protection. The legislation was soon endorsed by the New York Library Association. It was controversial, to say the least.”)
A motion passes with one abstention which regrets the decision of Zone 5 to resign. “ The Association stands ready to talk to them at any time they wish to return as members.”
A second motion passes unanimously asking Zone 5 to reconsider their resignation. They are asked to come to the June 18th meeting “as members” and use the meeting to air all issues.
Paul Cirino writes a letter to PLDA saying he wants to join now that the SCLS Trustees have “finally” signed the Joint Statement of Cooperation which he said he had recommended 10 years ago. The lack of recognition was an “important factor” in his decision not to continue as a member, he says. But now, he says, a “vocal minority” of directors is seeking to “diminish the position of library director to little more than that of office manager” He says he is “disheartened to learn of the recent actions of the Babylon directors. His letter urges all directors to now become members. There is a discussion as to whether the Executive Board should send him a special letter of welcome. Trudy comments: “Must we continue to feed these tremendous egos?”
The “Joint Statement of Cooperation” comes to a vote at the June 9 meeting of the Executive Committee. It is accepted by 4, rejected by 1, with 2 abstentions. It then comes to a vote at a general membership meeting and is accepted by 25, rejected by 2 , with 1 abstention. Gertrude Schweibish of East Islip resigns in November over the issue of who she represents when she votes.
PLDA President this year is Joan Zaleski (Connetquot); Vice President, Victoria Wallace (Northport); Treasurer, Peter Gillard (Smithtown); and Secretary, Ken French (Port Jefferson). Zone reps are 1. Lyne Ashe, 2. Bob Verbesey, 3. Myron Roochvarg, 4. John Clark, 5. vacant. At the January meeting there is much discussion of the organization of the association and the various topics of discord: for whom does a Director speak or vote at meetings?, who gets to sit on the Civil Service Committee and how are decisions made about Civil Service?, what is the relationship to the SCLS Board?, when should the SCLS Board go into executive session? There is concern that the SCLS Board will question the validity of the organization as representative of the Directors if the membership falls below the 2/3rds level. There is also discussion of the fact that the CETA program ends in January and the SCLS budget will require staff cuts or, possibly, forced retirements.
By the February meeting, there are still only 33 Directors having joined or renewed membership.
A general membership meeting held on May 14 has only 18 Directors present.
At the June meeting, the Executive Committee passes a resolution that the Executive Board will work as a “committee of the whole” on any Civil Service matters and that Victoria Wallace will be the liaison person between the Board and the Civil Service Department. This resolution passes unanimously. At this meeting a letter is sent to Tom Gillen, new director of the Babylon Public Library, extending congratulations and enclosing a membership form and bylaws. Jerry Nichols (“…the little bastard from hell”) has resigned over the Civil Service Issue and gone back to Nassau. (ed. note: Jerry later says: “We did odd things in our 30’s.” and “This job (meaning his present job as Suffolk System Director) is my penance for that action”. His antagonists on the divisive issues of the early 80’s were Myron Roochvarg, Bob Verbesy and Dick Lusak; they all became his champions in the 90’s when he became System Director.)
A letter from Ken French to the Executive Committee of NYLA says “the pending Civil Service Legislation is an issue of great importance to public librarians. If it is signed into law, it will produce long term effects for librarians in this state. We feel that NYLA has failed to present both sides of the issue clearly.” (Ed note: The issue has to do with removing librarians from the classified section of Civil Service. NYLA seems to be pro. The issues themselves are never clearly stated in the minutes, just that they caused controversy.)
The officers in 1982 are President, Bob Verbesey; Secretary, Barbe Bonjour; and Treasurer, T. Brown. Zone Reps are 1. Beth Gray, 2. E. Brecha, 3. J. Zaleski, 4. Silva Lee, and 5. vacant. (In the 1982 membership list there are still no Zone 5 Directors.) Bob Verbesey announces that a bill which would permit school district libraries to borrow money by means of tax anticipation notes has passed the NYS Senate and is currently tied up in the Ways and Means Committee of the Assembly.
Libraries are trying to decide whether to put the new ROM Readers (containing the list of books in Suffolk Libraries for ILL) in public areas of libraries as suggested by SCLS who distributed them. Another issue, which is related, seems to be ILL procedures; but it’s not spelled out. Members are also discussing a possible “pass” system for Direct Access.
A touchy issue: some libraries are objecting to the PLDA officers speaking as if all members agree on a topic when no vote has been taken yet.
New Directors are : Donald Talkington at HHH, Carole Kelly at Brookhaven and Barbe Bonjour at Bellport. Continuing Education courses that are being offered: Computers and Library Applications, Employee Evaluations, and Library Law.
At the April meeting, the East End Libraries are talking about starting a video cassette pool. Zone 3 libraries are discussing the Gaylord circulation system saying that if Patchogue Medford Library, the Central Library, goes with the Gaylord system, the zone three libraries would want to interface with it. Zone 3 is also reporting a concern in the “decline of Reference Service at SCLS”. R. Sheridan said he would need “particulars”. Discussion follows. Consensus is that there are now no clear guidelines for libraries as to when to call SCLS Reference Dept or when to call Patchogue/Medford. The possibility of transferring all Reference to PM is also discussed.
President, Lyne Ashe; Vice President, Jeannine Cook; Secretary, Carroll Kelly; and Treasurer, Trudy Brown. Zone reps are: 1. Beth Gray, 2. R. Lusak, 3. Anna Davis, 3.V. Wallace, and 5. T. Gillen (representing two libraries, Babylon and W. Babylon.) Annette Bassett reports that the SCLS Board has approved the purchase of an on-line hardware/software automation package which will be used to circulate Talking Books. Discussion follows as to whether SCLS has plans to use this computer for other purposes. Mrs. Bassett says that the only other plans at this time are possibly to automate film circulation. L.Ashe expresses concern about the direction the System intends to go in this area. V. Wallace makes a motion that a committee be appointed to study long-term computer applications at SCLS and member libraries, This committee will include one representative from each zone. The motion carries unanimously.
PLDA holds a summer cocktail reception for 6 new directors: Ann Pavlak (Amityville), Nancy Baker (Brookhaven), Bill Cicola (West Babylon), Slavka Leigh (Bellport), Dina Reilly (Hampton Bays), and Cathe Romanelli (Sachem). B. Bonjour is now Director at Riverhead and becomes the Zone 1 Rep.; Cathe Romanelli becomes zone rep for Zone 2. At the November meeting, Dave Clemens is introduced as the new director at Middle Island Public Library (later becomes Longwood).
There are differences of opinion about Direct Access between IDA and PLDA. T. Brown and V. Wallace are chosen to represent PLDA in a discussion with two reps from IDA. Later in the year, V. Wallace presents the proposed Direct Access Code. Minor revisions are made, and the code is endorsed by the Executive Committee. (This is the first time that IDA is mentioned. I assume this refers to the Independent Director’s Association. There is no explanation as to whom or what they represent).
At the end of the year, a program is presented on microcomputer applications by Peter Abramov, Paul Cirino, Myron Roochvarg and Bob Verbesey.
Officers this year are: President, Lyne Ashe; Vice-President, Jeannine Cook; Secretary, Trudi Brown; and Treasurer, Silva Lee. There are various discussions about SCLS Reference Services during the first months of the year (one abruptly terminated due to snow.) One topic specifically mentioned in the minutes is whether Central Reference Services should be consolidated at Patchogue-Medford Library (the Central Library).
In February the PLDA Civil Service Committee presented a proposed revision of Civil Service Classification of Libraries and Minimum Qualifications for Directors to take the Civil Service Exams. By September, T. Gillen reports that members of the Civil Service Committee have met with Mr. Greenberg who seems willing to accept the PLDA proposal to change the requirements for rating libraries. He also reports that LRPC received a request from IDA and the Civil Service Coalition that a joint Civil Service Group be formed. The point is made that IDA should work within the framework already in place (PLDA). Or perhaps a joint committee should come under the umbrella of SCLA. This is taken back to the zones for discussion. At the end of the year, a discussion is held about the relationship between PLDA, IDA and SCLS. This is prompted by the composition of the SCLS Advisory Committee in connection with the awarding of Construction Grants. Zones are asked for input.
H.W.Wilson introduces a new product to PLDA members: the Wilson family of indexes available online through the Wilsonline Information Retrieval System. Zone 1 has a demonstration of the Gaylord stand-alone automation system. Annette Bassett gives a demonstration of the Magazine Collection by Information Access.
At the end of the year, the Treasurer announces two new members: Carroll Kelly, again, and Sara Courant .
This year the President is Barbe Bonjour, Secretary is Laura Farwell and Treasurer is Silva Lee. Zone reps are 1. K. Richter, 2. K. French, 3. D. Rinaldo, 4. T. Brown, and 5. C. Kelly. Early in the year it is announced that Joe Green is the new Director of the Nassau Library System. And LILRC has moved into new quarters at Stony Brook.
In the 1985 SCLS Budget, there is $30,000 for CD players. It is planned that member libraries shall receive a player and a starter collection of 20 CDs.
Jeanine Cook is checking into Gale standing orders and also into billing problems at Baker and Taylor. She’s also concerned about the rising service contract rates for 3M security.
The PLDA Executive Board has general discussions during this year about the need to share information on computer projects. There is a concern that libraries are duplicating efforts – for instance, several libraries are doing indexes. An Automation Committee should be responsible for keeping track of projects and take suggestions. There is also a discussion of videotape vendors and the range of prices they charge, no jobber seems consistently cheaper.
By May there are 36 paid members of PLDA. At the May meeting Annette Bassett (SCLS Assistant Director) gave the SCLS report. She was questioned about a “Mr. Dooley, the automation consultant retained to pursue microwave transmission, and the fact that the state refused to meet with him as he lacked the credentials they require.” Another question was raised concerning “surplus operating funds at SCLS, how they are reserved, how then expended, and to what budget they should be charged.” A letter was read from R. Verbesey concerning J. Richardson’s quarterly report. His attendance at BOCES meetings is mandated by law since he is a member ( as SCLS representative) of the planning committee to assist schools in setting up Library Systems. All agreed that an SCLS failure to communicate about the development of school library systems was the cause of the confusion. A motion was made by K. French and seconded by T. Gillen to request from SCLS a clarification of their involvement in, and position on, the development of school library systems.
The zone reps are asked to vote on the following Civil Service topics:
1. Reclassification by state report or by annual budget: The vote is a tie. Zone 1 is not present to cast a vote.
2. Should there be automatic or library requested reclassifications? Unanimous for automatic.
3. How many points for branches? Unanimous vote to keep the current plan which is 1 point for the main building and 2 points for the branch.
4. Payroll certification will be in July. Unanimous.
5. Minimum qualification changes were accepted unanimously.
(In 1985 there are minutes missing for April, and August and September.)
This year Tom Gillen is President, Trudi Brown is Vice President, Cathe Romanelli is Treasurer and Darlene Carter is Secretary. It is announced that Sachem Library will be open on Sundays. Brentwood Library is going for a $7,800,000. bond issue for a new building (it passes 3 to 1) . The architectural firm chosen to design the building is Architectural Associates, the same firm that designed Connetquot Library.
In February Zone 5 reports that the “non-participating libraries” had been asked to lunch, but the invitation was declined because the luncheon would be under the auspices of PLDA.
SCLS reports that they will only purchase “educational videos” Phil Levering, the media consultant, is also building a list of recommended “How TO Do It” videos.
Also at the February meeting, the Executive Board unanimously passes a resolution asking the new SCLS Director, Claudya Muller, to visit each library in Suffolk County within her first year at SCLS. Claudya Muller makes her first appearance at the PLDA March meeting.
Jerry Nichols is the new Director at Half Hollow Hills and Ken French is now Director in Huntington.
Civil Service will allow anyone with N.Y. certification in Library Science to take the Civil Service Exam. Librarian I exam will be given every year. There is much discussion regarding Promotional versus Open Competitive exams for Librarian II and III.
Claudia Muller is shifting staff and plans to visit 15 libraries by the end of May. She also attended a Zone 1 meeting. Herb Biblo, Director of LILRC, reports on a recent trip to Albany. He says all library funding is being reduced.
There is a discussion of the fact that the SCLS trustees are talking of changing their terms of office. Should PLDA take a stand?
In April it is reported that a union vote was defeated at Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Library. Bob Verbesey, the director, suggests that PLDA sponsor a program on “unions for non-union libraries”. Also in April, Flo Denny reportsthat SCLS has received a $60,000 grant for automation. They plan to replace the Rom Catalog with 2 CDRom discs; one will have the holdings of Suffolk and Nassau public libraries, the other will have the holdings of academic and special libraries.
At the May meeting, Darlene Carter reports that Lindenhurst, Central Islip, West Islip and Half Hollow Hills Libraries are talking with CLSI about library automation. Jeanine Cook reports that she had a discussion with Baker and Taylor about high shipping charges. She says they would agree to ship all orders to SCLS and then SCLS could distribute in the daily bag delivery for a three month trial. SCLS evidently agreed to try this. However, library directors vehemently apposed this idea. A resolution was voted down unanimously.
The building project referendum for Copiague Library passed. It’s a 25,000 square foot building for 3 million dollars.
There is a discussion of the possibility of all libraries having “telautograph” machines to transmit hard copy between libraries.
In December, Joe Eisner spoke to PLDA members on the investing of library funds.
(Editor’s note: There were no minutes in the file for this year, but Dave Clemens found Feb., March and April in his files.)
Elaine Brecha is President; Trudy Brown, Vice President; Cathe Romanelli; Treasurer; and Dina Reilly, Secretary. In February there is a discussion among members of the executive committee about salaries and benefits in relation to Sunday openings. Huntington is approaching Elwood regarding contract services, the directors feel there is a very remote chance that Elwood would be interested.
Bob Verbesey is a member of the Statewide Systems Study Advisory Committee and wrote a letter to the executive committee of PLDA asking permission to meet with them and the zones to gather input to help him participate effectively on the committee. The discussions seem to center on the autonomy of public libraries, and the viability and validity of school library systems.
There is a letter from the president, Elaine Brecha, to the Division of Library Development objecting to the denial of individual library memberships in LILRC.
82 people attended a program on “Dealing with Problem Patrons” presented by Arch Lustberg.
Cathe Romanelli is president, Slavka Leigh is secretary, and Trudy Brown is treasurer.
PLDA and LILRC send a joint letter to legislators asking for the following changes in library related legislation:
1. Members of the Regents Advisory Council should be elected rather than appointed. There should be regional representation among them just as there is regional representation among the Regents.
2. Libraries should not be limited to belonging to one special kind of System, but should be able to hold membership in other systems. For example, public libraries should have the right to join 3R’s if they feel it is worthwhile for them to do so.
3. Direct access regulations should give more flexibility to local systems to develop their plans of service. Since there is so much variation in the library systems in NYS, recognition should be given to this variety. The systems and member libraries should be able to come up with a plan that is acceptable to everybody and that works for them.
Some directors feel that the State Standards Committee is changing its approach from trying to compile a quantitative set of rules to creating a broad philosophical document that is flexible enough to take in the many varieties of libraries in NYS. Jeanine Cook is attending their meetings.
Concern is expressed about product advertisements on videos.
Claudya Muller reports at the February meeting that the SCLS Board of Trustees has approved the new policy concerning reimbursement of materials lost on ILL’s generated through the Gaylord System.
At the March meeting, Annette Bassett reports that the SCLS Board is under pressure from DLD to facilitate a meeting between the Commack Library Board and the Smithtown Library Board to discuss direct access.
Sara Courant expresses concern that the System trustees do not keep in touch with the libraries they represent.
At the July meeting, Zone 1 libraries felt they could not support the Standards which were written by PLDA (not included in the minutes) because they are unfair to small libraries, because trustees must be elected, and because of the per capita stipulations.
Zone 2 is investigating video circulation policies: 1. Age of people who may borrow? 2. Are they on open shelves? And 3. Are J videos in the J Room?
Zone 3 asks PLDA to respond to inaccuracies in a Newsday article on the Commack/Smithtown direct access problem. Zone 3 also wants more PLDA general meetings.
Claudya Muller asks directors to think about priorities – what can be eliminated from the SCLS Plan of Service - since SCLS has received no increase in funding from the State.
Cathe Romanelli made the following statement at the System Board Meeting and was met with silence: “As President of PLDA, I speak for all the Directors in Suffolk when I say that we are very sorry that Ken French is no longer director at Huntington. We think Ken is a fine administrator and a wonderful human being and we unanimously regret that he will no longer be one of us.” (Editor’s note: Jerry Nichols supplied the following clarification. “After a protracted illness, Ken French was asked by the Huntington Public Library Board of Trustees to resign. Many of his colleagues in PLDA were most disturbed by this action. Subsequent to his departure from Huntington, many directors supported Ken French’s candidacy for SCLS Trustee representing Brookhaven/Islip.”)
At the October meeting, C. Muller reports that the SCLS Board is in the process of amending their by-laws which will change the election of SCLS trustees. She also reports that Ken French was elected to the Board to represent Brookhaven/Islip. Mickey Cantwell is collecting information on the loss of revenue should some libraries pull out of SCLS as a result of the Commissioner’s ruling on 90.3 It is suggested that libraries write letters to the Commissioner in support of the rewrite of Regulation 90.3.
There is also a general discussion of the King’s System Study. The directors wish King Research Inc would adhere to their original promise to supply libraries with data which would explain how they arrived at their conclusions. At the end of 1988, there is great controversy over the King Report. Many library directors have refused to respond to a survey attached to the annual report to the state.
(Editor’s note: There are no PLDA minutes for 1989. The only records I have are some minutes of Zone 2 meetings that Bob Verbesey gave me when he cleaned out his office. C. Romanelli (Sachem), D. Clemens (Longwood), and B. Verbesey (Mastics) were all on the Executive Committee, so these minutes are informative.)
There is great interest in Zone 2 in having collection agencies for overdues. The zone members would like PLDA to present a program on the topic.
Zones 1 and 2 agree that zone members should pick replacements for reps on advisory committees, NOT the committee members.
There is a discussion of the decision that W. Babylon Library is to offer $750 to employees who do not take health insurance.
The topic that generates the greatest number of resolutions is the fact that SCLS is investigating revisions of the SCLS trustee election process. At the February meeting, Zone 2 resolved the following:
1. Motion made by D. Lusak, seconded by S. Courant, to leave the SCLS By-laws as they are. Motion defeated, 4 yes, 5 no.
2. Motion made by P. Cirino, seconded by C. Romanelli, to leave By-laws as they are, but add that future SCLS Trustees should resign from their local board of trustees, if applicable. Motion defeated 1 yes, 8 no.
3. Motion by E. Breacha, seconded by D. Lusak that SCLS Trustee candidates should require no other qualifications except being over 18 and meeting geographic requirements. SCLS employees should be exempt from serving. Motion passed – 8 yes, 1 abstain.
4. Motion made by P. Cirino, seconded by C. Romanelli, to leave apportionment of SCLS Trustees as is. Passed unanimously.
Then, at the April meeting, B. Verbesey reports that there are indications that, at the next SCLS Board Meeting, a vote will pass concerning library employees serving on the SCLS Board with the possible limitation of limiting it to 4 library employees at one time. B. Verbesey made a motion applauding the movement to allow library employees to serve on the SCLS Board, however, there should be written approval from member library boards instead of SCLS acting alone in changing its By-laws. This motion passes unanimously.
At the next meeting of the SCLS Board, the proposal to change the By-laws is tabled “for the time being”. A committee is looking into re-apportionment of trustee’s districts.
Other topics of interest this year include allowing individual libraries to join LILRC, and the fact that the King Study is to be delivered to libraries in May and regional meetings to discuss it will follow. The Long Range Planning Committee is discussing how to make decisions concerning the cuts that need to be made in System services. Concerns are expressed about the future of the Foreign Language Collection. There is some feeling that Advisory Committee Meeting minutes should be sent to all directors and that the meetings should be open to all.
The President of the SCLS Board, Tom Williams, attends the June meeting of Zone 2 and says that there is a possibility of renting building space at SCLS to BOCES. He says that SCLS will send a letter to all trustees outlining two plans for reapportionment and the issue of library employees serving on the Board.
This year Dave Clemens is President, Carole Simpson is Vice President, Stephanie Heineman is Treasurer, Tom Gillen is Civil Service Chair, and Jeannine Cook is Product Evaluation Chair.
In January, Myron Roochvarg sends a position paper to PLDA that requests changes in Commissioner’s Regulation 90.3 permitting local plans for Direct Access. PLDA endorses the position paper unanimously.
Comsewogue announces that they will have a referendum for their new building in June.
Zone 4 requests that SCLS change its By-laws to permit the President of PLDA to be on the SCLS Board.
All zones expess the feeling that the state report has become “a charade”, “is getting out of hand”, “is cumbersome.”
Claudya Muller reports that the Infopath contract with EEG was approved. She also says that the question of membership on the SCLS Board will be taken up again. PLDA then passes a motion unanimously requesting SCLS to explain the legal basis on which exclusion of a class of individuals (library employees) is not permitted to run for the Board.
A PLDA sub committee chaired by Cathe Romanelli met with a sub committee of C.W.Post Library School faculty to discuss internships, scheduling courses at Stony Brook, and teaching staff qualifications.
At the March meeting it is announced that the Bayport-Blue Point Library building referendum passed and that Brentwood and Half Hollow Hills are holding their dedications on April 1.
Claudya Muller reports that the SCLS Board will ask the Long Range Planning Committee to discuss eligibility of candidates to run for the SCLS Board. A motion is passed unanimously recommending Dave Clemens to serve as a member library representative.
The Library School sub committee, chaired by Cathe Romanelli, met with the accreditation committee and discussed frustrations with the library school at C.W.Post, including quality of instruction, students and faculty.
In July, Annette Bassett is appointed “Acting Director” as Claudya Muller has left her position as Director of SCLS.
The SCLS Board approved the appointment of PLDA President as a representative to the King Report Conference.
Applications for SCLS Director will be accepted until August 31, interviews will be held in September, and a new Director will be installed by January.
At the July meeting Cathe Romanelli reports that C.W.Post Palmer School of Library and Information Science has lost its accreditation ( the PLDA sub committee had recommended “probation”.)
In September, Flo Denny reports that there are 27 applicants for the position of SCLS Director. There follows a discussion of PLDA’s role in the selection process. At the October meeting, Zone 4 endorses Jerry Nichols for SCLS Director.