The Friday Follow-up: Bus Trip Training for an Ever Evolving System

Friday Follow-up:
a message from Brian M. Hildreth, STLS Executive Director
Bus Trip Training for an Ever Evolving System
Member librarians and trustees from STLS and Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System ventured out to Syracuse on Monday to visit Fayetteville Free Library and Onondaga County Public Libraries – Central Library. It was a long and exciting day of learning for all in attendance. See below for more images, or visit our Facebook page by clicking here (and don’t forget to “Like” it while you are at it). Thank you to everyone who coordinated and participated!
In 2016, STLS provided 380 unique training workshops and consultations involving 2,635 member library participants. This resulted in nearly 570 continuing education hours for librarians and trustees. Training opportunities have doubled in the last five years and participation has increased by 53%.


There are many contributing aspects to this rise in engagement. First, STLS has made a significant commitment, both in time and financial resources, to member education. Similar to the mission of our member libraries, we believe a well-educated membership can improve the quality of life in our community.


Second, STLS has secured grant funding to make this training possible. Since 2014, we have leveraged $56,169 through the Corning Incorporated Foundation and the New York State Library-Division of Library Development to improve access and marginalize training barriers.


Third, we have invested in our most important resources. STLS staff and consultants are regularly involved in state and national training. We do this to provide the highest return on investment for our membership. Library system staff is valueless to member librarians and trustees if we are not continuously learning. STLS organizational culture expects high level learning, networking and involvement in public library initiatives.


Lastly, our membership is passionate and ever growing. I have been part of our cooperative system since 2005. It is no secret that I care about the future of public libraries in the Southern Tier. We may not always agree on how we get there, but at the end of the day, we are all headed in the same direction.


In my experience, the culture of the entire system has transformed in the last twelve years. Our librarians know “good enough” is not “good enough”, and trustees are asking questions. In fact, they ask lots of great questions and often. This outcome isn’t because of one county, one library or one person. It is because our system is evolving through decades of effort.


In the next two months, STLS will offer two of its three significant annual events. On Friday, June 9th the Spring CE will be held at the Arthur A. Houghton Jr. Library on Corning Community College’s campus. The Spring CE is hosted by STLS and Chemung County Library District. It will incorporate 12 unique workshops geared towards library directors and staff. The registration deadline is June 2nd. Member librarians can find more information about the event by clicking here. Lunch will be provided.


Additionally, our annual Summer Trustee Retreat will be held Saturday, July 22nd in the morning hours. This year’s event will host a special session for member libraries’ treasurers and a legal knowledge workshop for member library trustees specific to labor relations. The location is the Powell Campus Center at Alfred University in Allegany County. More information is coming, and breakfast will be provided.


In closing, I want to thank STLS staff for coordinating this week’s bus trip to Fayetteville Free Library and Onondaga County Public Libraries – Central Library in Syracuse. Several member librarians and trustees spent their Monday visiting libraries outside of the system to obtain inspiration.


I know most “library people” love visiting libraries while traveling, but sometimes you have to take a vacation specifically to visit libraries. It is just one more way that we continue to evolve.

Have a great  Memorial Day Weekend, STLS! Thanks for all that you do.

Warmest Regards,

Brian Hildreth, Executive Director
Southern Tier Library System

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