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08 May 2009

NY State Librarian Bernard Margolis visits Tompkins County Public Library

Attendance at the Tompkins County Public Library was very good on May 6th for a talk by New York State Librarian Bernard Margolis.  Mr. Margolis, formerly from the Boston Public Library, spoke about the hope that public libraries represent: hope for a better future.  He talked about the remarkable things that can be done in New York, saying that in order to do this, we must disregard the perceived impossibilities of various things, and avoid the seven dangerous words We have always done it that way. The state librarian said that we must solicit and elicit responses to improve what is expected of us.  What we do as librarians is imperative; it is essential and important. 

Mr. Margolis also talked about the NY state library and NOVELNY, a robust information machine - the foundation of a comprehensive system.  The NY State Library is a research library, with over 20 million items.  He also talked about digitization efforts in this area.

The heart of Mr. Margolis' talk focused on the library as part of the basis of democracy - better education and better prosperity equaling better health and better safety.  In order to lend to this, we need to walk together and work together locally with a common goal.  We need to speak up to legislators; take every opportunity to show our importance; craft our programs to meet patron needs; and shift our resources.  To be successful we have to go to the people

The main goal:  To add value to what libraries/librarians do - if we can be essential, we will not be ignored.

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