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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.

The Cultural Education Committee had its scheduled meeting on September17, 2015

In attendance were committee members: Regent Tilles, Chair, Regent Finn, Regent Bendit, Regent Chin, Regent Cea, Regent Ouderkirk, Regent Cottrell, Regent Johnson. Absent: Regent Brown

In addition to CE Committee Members, in attendance were: Regents Tallon, Cashin and Norwood as well as Commissioner Elia and Executive Deputy Commissioner Berlin.


Chair’s Remarks: Regent Tilles welcomed everyone and opened the meeting.  Regent Tilles provided a brief update on the work of the Arts Assessment Panel.

Assistant Commissioner for Libraries and State Librarian Bernard Margolis introduced the panel of individuals who presented on various aspects of libraries and library systems.  Mr. Margolis commented that instead of focusing on four separate items as provided in formal agenda, the panel would provide a single seamless presentation on the topics described in the items.  He indicated that there was an abundance of material provided in the packets distributed at the meeting, including contact information for all of the presenters.

The first presenters were Jackie Thresher, Director of the Nassau Public Library System and Tim Burke, head of the Upper Hudson Public Library System.  Both reviewed the impact of public library systems and their benefits.  Burke remarked that the resource sharing of the Upper Hudson Library System saved member libraries over $26 million annually by sharing resources.  He also remarked that circulation of electronic books now accounts for ten percent of circulation at member libraries in the Upper Hudson System.  Mr. Burke and Ms. Thresher both commented that the collection development activities of libraries is impacted by the need to provide resources that are aligned with the Common Core and that ensuring that public libraries are meeting the needs of students is both a priority and an ongoing activity.

The next presenter was Erica Freudenberger, Director, Red Hood Public Library who described the collaborations and programs and services of the small library that serves the Village of Red Hook.  She highlighted the increased attendance, doubling of the library budget and value of participation in the services of systems especially the integrated library system and the delivery services of the Mid Hudson Public Library System.

Following Freudenberger’s presentation was Mary Fellows, Manager, Youth & Family Services, Upper Hudson Library System who reviewed the impact and benefits of library services to pre-school age children.  Citing the paper: Hart, B., & T.R. Risley. 2003.  “The Early Catastrophe: The 30 Million Word Gap by Age 3.” American Educator 27 (1): 4–9. Ms. Fellows described the positive impact of literacy programs for parents and children of pre-school children, especially those families who live in poverty.  These programs are part of the Department’s program “Ready to Read at New York’s Libraries” which provides staff development for librarians across the state for developing programs and services that increase accessibility and use of library materials for families of pre-school age children.

J’aime Pfeiffer, School Library System Director, Washington-Saratoga-Warren-Hamilton BOCES provided a high level overview of school library systems and their benefits to schools, citing the equity of access to online and other resources that school library systems ensure for the libraries of schools they serve.

Alicia Abdul, librarian, Albany High School reviewed the impact that her programs have on the literacy, learning and school experiences of students at Albany High School.  She also remarked on the expansion of her programs to address the literacy needs of students from immigrant families, citing an influx of Burmese families in the Albany City School District.  Ms. Abdul provided many specific examples of high participation by students in library programs, including some that have occurred on weekends, outside of the normal school day.

All participants stressed the collaboration, interconnectedness and value that libraries and library systems provide.

The meeting was adjourned by Regent Tilles at 10:05am.

Associated Agenda Item

Meeting Date: 
Thursday, September 17, 2015 - 9:00am