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General News

MHLS Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Mini Grant Application Open

Mid-Hudson Library System (MHLS) member libraries that are interested in advancing equity and inclusion work to improve library services for their communities are invited to apply for the MHLS Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Mini Grant. This grant is in support of MHLS’ commitment to populations most impacted by censorship attempts through book challenges and library program challenges. MHLS established themselves as a Book Haven System on December 6, 2023 to uphold the public’s right to free and equitable access to information.

The American Library Association reported an unparalleled number of reported book challenges in 2023, increasing in each of the past four years. The vast majority of challenges were to books written by or about a person of color or a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. - ALA Book Ban Data.

Member libraries applying for the MHLS Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Mini Grant will need to demonstrate how your proposed project will invest in and support the work of promoting and advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion in your library and the impact on your community. Examples of potential projects could include but are not limited to:
• developing accessible and/or responsive library collections and programs for underrepresented/underserved populations
• promoting inclusivity in library collections through audits, weeding, and inclusive collection development
• programming and/or training for library workers or community members on topics related to cultural competence; bystander intervention and de-escalation; creating safe spaces for all or similar topics.
• staff training that strengthens diversity, equity, and inclusion practices

Twenty-two (22) grants in the amount of $1,000 each are available. This is a competitive grant. One grant per library. For the complete list of requirements and to access the application please visit https://midhudson.org/outreach-mini-grants/. Applications are due July 22, 2024.

Questions should be directed to MHLS Outreach & EDI Specialist, Kerstin Cruger.

This grant is supported by New York State Outreach Categorical Aid funds received from the NYS Library Division of Library Development.


Save the Date for MHLS Annual Membership Meeting

Friday, October 25th, is our 65th Annual Membership Meeting with Keynote Speaker Lisa Varga, Executive Director of the Virginia Library Association and Library Journal’s 2024 Librarian of the Year. Presenting Opening Minds, Closing Doors: The Threat of Censorship in Libraries

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Director Resources

NYS ConnectALL’s Digital Equity Technical Assistance Program

The NYS ConnectALL Office has released a Request for Applications for the Digital Equity Technical Assistance grant program. This program is a technical assistance funding program intended to help applicants advance their capacities in preparation for the Digital Equity Capacity Grant and Digital Equity Competitive Grant programs, which will be administered starting in 2025. Public libraries and public library systems are among the entities eligible to apply for the technical assistance funding, as well as for the DE Competitive Grant program.
Find more information on the Digital Equity Technical Assistance program here. The application window closes on July 30, 2024.


State Aid for Library Construction

The New York State Library has announced that the application portal for 2024/2025 State Aid for Library Construction is now open.

• The MHLS deadline for application submissions is Friday, August 9th. There will be no extensions granted for his deadline.
• For information and tips on how to successfully login and apply online for State Aid for Library Construction funds, please visit the State Library’s website: State Aid for Library Construction: Division of Library Development: NYS Library (nysed.gov). Please note that passwords expire periodically and may need to be reset. For username/password questions or help with login, please contact LibDevGrants@nysed.gov. The link to the application login is posted on State Aid for Library Construction webpage.
• Anyone planning to apply is advised to attend the MHLS Construction Grant Technical Assistance Workshop scheduled for Thursday, June 20th at 10:00 am.

For information on applying, please visit the MHLS State Aid for Library Construction Program web page.
Is this your first time applying or it has been several years since applying? Book time with Laura Crisci, Library Sustainability Coordinator, to discuss your project and ensure you are clear on the eligibility of your project and the steps involved to apply.

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Trustee Resources

What’s new in the Trustee Handbook?

Hiring a New Director: New in the appendices is a breakdown of the steps for hiring a new director. From creating a Hiring Plan to the role of the search committee to advertising for the position, this section shares legal considerations as well as best practices to help guide your board through this opportunity for your library.

Trustee responsibilities are small in number but broad in scope. This monthly Bulletin feature is designed to point out sections that are new in the updated version of the Handbook for Library Trustees of New York State.

Purchase a bound copy of the Handbook for Library Trustees of New York State, 2023 edition from the Mid-Hudson Library System. Order Form.


Ask Me Anything with Rebekkah Smith Aldrich

Ask Me Anything (AMA) with Rebekkah Smith Aldrich, MHLS Executive Director & Co-Author of the Handbook for Library Trustees of New York State is a monthly installment where Rebekkah will answer your questions! Feel free to submit your question here or contact Rebekkah at rsmith@midhudson.org with the subject line: AMA Trustee Question

Q: When there is a separately incorporated Friends of the Library Group of a library with a library board that also does fundraising, who takes the lead in setting fundraising goals?

A: This can get complicated, so communication is key! Ideally, the library board is securing adequate, sustainable funding for the library’s service program and facilities through a public vote. The State Library advises that at least 90% of a library’s revenue come through a public vote to ensure the library is successful. However, not every library is there yet which means some library boards are still heavily engaged in fundraising. In this case, where this is also a Friends of the Library Group, the Friends should be focused on things that would enhance services, programs, and the facilities based on a prioritized list provided by the library director and board. An annual meeting between the leadership of the board, Friends and the library director is advised to everyone is clear on the goals for the year. 

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