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Meeting of the Board of Regents | July 2007

Thursday, July 12, 2007 - 11:00pm

sed seal                                                                                                 







Jeffrey Cannell                                              


Strategic Advocacy Plan for NOVELNY



July 12, 2007


Goals 1-5







Issue for Discussion


Implementation of a new advocacy plan for permanent, ongoing state funding for NOVELNY (New York Online Virtual Electronic Library).


Reason(s) for Consideration


Review of policy.


Proposed Handling


This issue will come before the Cultural Education Committee at its July meeting as a follow-up to the discussion begun at the June meeting of new and effective ways to promote NOVELNY.


Procedural History


NOVELNY has been a Regents priority budget and legislative proposal since 2001. To date we have not gained enough support with the Executive or the State Legislature to produce funding for NOVELNY in the state budget, indicating the need for a new advocacy approach. The new approach requires a plan that will ensure a greater understanding within the Legislature of NOVELNY and its importance to the people of New York State and connect to the Governor’s expressed interest in statewide online information.


Background Information


With Regents approval, the State Library initiated the successful statewide pilot project to create NOVEL in 2001. To fund the NOVEL pilot as a demonstration project, the State Library used temporary federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds previously used for competitive grant programs for library systems and central libraries. Since its creation, NOVEL has developed into a fundamental information resource for more than 5,000 libraries in the state. 


The State Education Department purchases statewide licenses that allow it to offer cost-effective access to online resources through NOVELNY. Some of the licenses are very expensive. Many libraries in New York State would have no online resources to offer their students and communities without NOVELNY.


To date, NOVELNY has been supported only by temporary federal LSTA funds, which are designed to stimulate new initiatives but not sustain them over time. A state investment to sustain and expand the NOVELNY pilot project and make it a permanent state program would provide an indispensable online resource for all New Yorkers while creating significant and necessary savings for New York’s local taxpayers. The NOVELNY pilot project currently saves libraries more than $87 million per year through centralized statewide licensing. Every dollar spent by the state on NOVELNY resources would cost individual local libraries $35 in local tax dollars to purchase on their own.




The Regents should help to refine and execute the Strategic Advocacy Plan for NOVELNY as outlined in the following pages to generate a greater understanding of the value and potential of NOVELNY and to stimulate state funding to support and expand it.

Strategic Advocacy for NOVEL

A Three-Year Reform Plan for Libraries in New York State


New York
Knowledge Initiative—Strengthening Libraries for Literacy, Learning and Workforce Development


Building a robust state-funded, statewide information infrastructure is essential to strengthening New York’s libraries and is critical to the success of the three-year reform plan.


The Regents, SED leaders, and the higher-education and library communities have all recognized the need to reshape the NOVELNY pilot program into a more comprehensive program that can expand to address the needs of a larger community of users, particularly the higher-education, research, and business communities. The program must also be part of a larger vision of statewide economic development.


The proposed Statewide Internet Libraries program contains the elements of this larger vision for a statewide information infrastructure. The vision includes NOVELNY, and in addition, broadening access to vital research resources not currently available online through statewide digitization efforts, building statewide collections, preservation of print and non-print resources, and statewide resource sharing.


To serve the needs of the higher-education, research, and business communities and to win the support of state leaders and policymakers, the proposed Statewide Internet Libraries program must add more high-end Research and Development (R&D) and business/industry-oriented information resources to those currently offered in the NOVELNY pilot.


The NOVELNY pilot program has enjoyed increasing success among users. Yet efforts to build support for the program with the Executive and among legislators have not yet been entirely successful. Including a Statewide Internet Libraries program as one part of a larger effort to build a statewide information infrastructure to serve New York’s economic future would make its impact more tangible to state leaders. State policymakers must come to understand that the state’s information infrastructure is as vital to the state’s economic leadership and long-term health as highways and airports.


Strategies for implementing a Statewide Internet Libraries program include the following:

  • Amend the Regents priority New York Knowledge Initiative for Libraries budget and legislative proposals to show that this is a multi-year reform proposal and an important part of advancing both the P–16 Education Reform Plan and the Governor’s plans for improving higher education and the overall economy in New York State.
  • Develop an attractive and compelling background piece and presentation geared at the lay audience that articulates successes to date with library funding; shows why these successes are an impetus to move forward on the next stage of funding; and presents multiple-year priorities for legislation:
  • Emphasize the importance of libraries, librarians, and Internet library tools like NOVELNY to student achievement at all levels, P–16 and beyond, improving test scores, increasing literacy rates, keeping kids in school, and preparing highly skilled workers for a global economy.
  • Emphasize the importance of libraries, librarians, and Internet library tools like NOVELNY to the success of New York State businesses, higher education, and the research community, and as key components of the effort to strengthen New York State’s economy, particularly upstate.


July/August: Launch a new NOVELNY website. Use new materials geared at laypersons and meet with the Governor’s staff at the highest levels possible to discuss expanding to a Statewide Internet Libraries proposal, emphasizing the proven potential of NOVELNY to improve library services for all New Yorkers. Sell inclusion of the Statewide Internet Libraries proposal in the 2008–2009 Executive Budget.


Proposed Actions:

  • Invite Regents and other leaders to meet with the Executive and his staff to discuss the potential of the Statewide Internet Libraries proposal, including NOVELNY.
  • Organize the library community, staff, and volunteers to work with SED Government Relations, the Regents, and the Commissioner to get the Statewide Internet Libraries proposal and other 2008–2009 library funding proposals into the Executive Budget.


July/August/September: Form a coalition of groups that support NOVELNY. Reach out to businesses and the higher-education community to get business support for an expanded Statewide Internet Libraries program. Tie in the cost savings and cost effectiveness of leveraging resources through partnerships among the business, education, and research sectors.


Proposed Actions:

  • Work with R&D, higher-education, and business leaders to create a Business and Research Advisory Council for a Statewide Internet Libraries program, including NOVELNY.
  • Reach out to R&D, higher-education, and business leaders, groups, and organizations to build interest and support. Seek input on how Statewide Internet Libraries and NOVELNY can be developed to serve most effectively the needs of these communities and how the larger program can be defined and presented to state leaders.


October—December: The Regents, the Commissioner, and others speak about Statewide Internet Libraries, NOVELNY, and libraries in general at a wide variety of business and other association meetings:



Proposed Actions:

  • Provide to the Regents a list of organizations and leaders supporting a Statewide Internet Libraries initiative that will advocate with the Regents for inclusion of such an initiative, including NOVELNY, in the Executive Budget.
  • Emphasize the Regents role in reaching out to constituency groups.
  • Assist the Regents in writing letters to the editor and editorials about the importance of Statewide Internet Libraries, including NOVELNY.
  • Ask groups to put the Statewide Internet Libraries initiative on their agendas.
  • Ask groups to advocate actively with the Executive.
  • Organize the library community and others to attend Executive Budget hearings in the fall.
  • Encourage heads of other state agencies to speak in support of including Statewide Internet Libraries in the Executive Budget.



Proposed Actions:

  • The Commissioner speaks on the importance of funding Statewide Internet Libraries in his budget presentations to the legislature.
  • The Regents and members of the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries meet with key legislators. Visits will include practical demonstrations of NOVELNY, e.g., show-and-tell sessions on laptops equipped with wi-fi.
  • The Regents continue to meet with key legislators until a budget passes.