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Report of Regents Cultural Education Committee to The Board of Regents

Regent Roger Tilles, Chair of the Cultural Education Committee, submitted the following written report. Your Committee on Cultural Education Committee had its scheduled meeting on March 16, 2015.

In attendance were committee members: Regents Tilles, Dawson, Bendit, Rosa, Cea, Cottrell, Brown and Finn. Absent: None. Regents In addition to CE Committee Members, in attendance were: Chancellor Tisch, Regent Cashin and Acting Commissioner Beth Berlin.

ITEMS FOR DISCUSSION

Chair’s Remarks: Regent Tilles welcomed everyone and opened the meeting

CE (D) 1 Building Better Libraries
A panel from four libraries representing different regions of the State, different-sized service populations, and different forms of governance and funding presented and discussed many of the broad range of activities and services being provided by our urban libraries, and the challenges and opportunities created by an aging library infrastructure.   The four panelists were:

Iris Weinshall, Chief Operating Office for NYPL
Mary Jean Jacobowski, Director, Buffalo and Erie County Public
Scott Jarzombek, Executive Director, Albany Public Library
Bridget Quinn-Carey, Acting President and Chief Executive Officer, Queens Library

Ms. Weinshall requested that the Board consider a request for an additional $2.8 million in capital funding for libraries to supplement the existing capital funds that are available.  She reminded the committee that approximately 2.8 million people in New York City do not have Internet services at home.  The public libraries across the city, especially those with free public wi-fi, are heavily used as access points for these citizens.

Ms. Jacobowski discussed the 900,000 people served by the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library each year at the 37 buildings in the system.  She shared a video that highlighted the deteriorating physical infrastructure at some of these libraries and commented that additional capital funding is needed to maintain and repair these facilities.

Mr. Jarzombek described the successful construction of seven branch libraries in the City of Albany and the positive impact that these branches have had on the community.  He commented that 75 percent of the residents of the City of Albany have library cards. 

Ms. Quinn-Carey commented that “investments in libraries are investments in communities.”  She commented that the Queens Public Library operates 65 locations.  She indicated that 41 of these locations are only approximately 10,000 square feet and are not capable of providing service to a growing user population.  She indicated that the borough of Queens will grow by approximately 300,000 people in the next year.  She indicated that the need for capital funds across the libraries in New York City is approximately $1 billion dollars.  

Associated Agenda Item

Meeting Date: 
Monday, March 16, 2015 - 5:05pm

Committee