Regents Advisory Council makes plans to revamp libraries

Sandra Riano and Jenny Garofalo, Sandra Riano, and Jenny Garofalo

The New York State Board of Regents will revamp both public and school libraries in coming  years. The Regents Advisory Council on Libraries Vision 2020 Plan presents a strategic design to modernize libraries. The Council, in partnership with New York State’s library community, recognizes the value of libraries and hopes to increase that value by implementing new changes.

“If I were to read a book for leisure I would choose paper,” said junior Mia Bryn. “However, digital copies of rare, important books would make research a lot easier and more accessible.”

Director for the Palmer Institute of Public Library Organization Mr. Jerry Nichols hopes that if input from the library and the community in general voices opinions on the changing role of libraries, then the 2020 plan could document “the best practices for our libraries in the immediate future.” The plan does not intend to modernize libraries by means of updating technology and e-resources.

“We will update practical proven concepts that lead to successful library services in a variety of settings, for example, schools,” said Mr. Nichols.

The proposal hopes to preserve the libraries’ core values by modernizing the state’s 7,000 libraries, allocating all changes to fit growing needs.

These core values, as stated by the Regents Council, include access to information with the assistance of informed and educated individuals, the library and its associates, the responsibility to teach tools of information literacy, and that the present generation has an obligation to uphold democratic values.

“That is the true challenge in a world where the information industry is dominated by profit driven corporations,” said Mr. Nichols. “Libraries’ commitment to the ideal of free access is the heart of all our efforts.”

Without financial support, the availability of free and public material will decline. However, libraries remain a necessity.

The plan will not affect students and education directly. By instituting these changes both students and citizens must actively participate in their communities to get the most out of public services.

By setting a standard of excellent library services is the plan’s main goal that students, teachers, and citizens alike continue to support the concept of unrestricted access.

“This plan is nothing more than a “to do” list. It will only make a difference if you and your fellow students continue to learn throughout your lives and become involved in your community,” said Mr. Nichols.