Elmont library business model causes ...

Elmont library business model causes tension

There are 72 comments on the Newsday story from Aug 11, 2008, titled Elmont library business model causes tension. In it, Newsday reports that:

The typical library hush that usually descends over the Elmont Memorial Library has turned into quite the hubbub in recent months, complete with staffing changes, infighting and management turmoil.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Newsday.

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QED

Port Washington, NY

#62 Aug 13, 2008
Now Ive Seen It All wrote:
<quoted text>
Based on Nassau's INFLATED civil service salaries maybe but not in the "real world." 35-40k is more like it!
Based on private consulting rates of $300/hour and up, you're dreaming.
Real Facts

New York, NY

#63 Aug 13, 2008
Informed wrote:
<quoted text>
Not sure where you got your figures. If the total of 175,000 comes from Newsday's online data, what is included their is the number of registered borrowers not items circulated to or borrowed by the public. Nassau's public libraries circulated more than 10 million items last year.
The Budget, Borrowed and Holdings numbers did come from Newsday's online data. The "density" data came from Google's Maps.

Don’t get me wrong, my family does use the Library system quite a bit, and I say system, because we go to several local libraries here in SW Nassau. Honestly, my biggest frustration is with the hours the libraries are open. All of them seem to be open during the standard 9-5 day, however weekend hours are few and far between.

None of the Libraries we go to are open on Sunday. They are open until 9:00 some days, but not always, closing two or three days a week by 5:00.

Last year, my daughter forgot her school book that she needed for her homework. Unable to find a friend who was home, we went to the Local library, as we were told they have reference copies of the school districts books. However, it was one of those days when the library closed at 5:00.

Not that this wasn’t a valuable lesson for my daughter.

I have been saying for years that we need to consolidate. That applies from Libraries, to Sanitation, Water, Fire and School districts. In trying to stay on topic, I would suggest that perhaps if there was a central management of the Libraries, positions such as Mr. Marino’s would not exist. Perhaps some of those 11 libraries that I mentioned would also not exist. However, I must admit that I am being selfish in what I would like. I would rather have to drive a couple of miles to get to a central library that is staffed seven days a week and open more hours. I think it could be done for considerable cheaper that the existing system, and in the end provide more services.
Real Facts

New York, NY

#64 Aug 13, 2008
Furious Librarian wrote:
<quoted text>
As for the close proximity of all the libraries in S.E. Nassau County this part of the island is densely populated and has changing demographics. New home owners, especially those who are immigrants, like to know that their town is equipped with a full service library. Take a look at the Flushing Branch of Queens Public Library which is the busiest branch of the nation’s busiest library system. Talk about high density and close proximity. Can’t get any worse than Flushing and there are libraries as close or closer than those in Nassau. Sure NYC is always threatening to close libraries and that is a travesty considering the high rate of success the Queens system is having. Success is getting the patrons in and offering great services to keep them coming back for more. As for the library director situation at QPL, I don’t know if each branch has a director so I can’t address that.
Until towns and villages in Nassau get together and discuss shared services, individual town libraries will still be needed as will their library directors. So I’d say it is a possibility that some towns might move to that arrangement but I hope that doesn’t happen. It might save money but I see a decline in service like they have in Elmont.
.
Again, let’s not lose sight of the original discussion. Yes, I have a problem with a consultant doing the job of the library director. Elmont is paying two people very high salaries. They will save money by getting rid of the consultant and allowing the library director to control the budget. If the director is not able to control costs, get rid of him. I can’t say it any other way.
I rest my case.
Case well made. I do agree, paying two people is not nessesary.
Real Facts

New York, NY

#65 Aug 13, 2008
Informed wrote:
<quoted text>
The salary figures you have suggested would make it impossible for those getting them to live on Long Island. In order to pay as little in property taxes as you suggest you need to move to the deep rural South... where the cost of living is low but where there are virtually no public services.
I have to disagree with your statement.

While I believe that “Now Ive Seen It All” may be off the deep end, I am somewhat familiar with parts of the country.

There are many places that seem to be able to offer just as much, if not more public services at a much lower cost. I believe Fairfax County, Virginia is a good example. In many ways similar to Long Island, yet with a total of less than a dozen special taxing districts, taxes are much lower. A county wide school system with a superintendent that makes less than many of the local district superintendents here on Long Island make. A county wide fire department with much less equipment that what we purchase here.

I believe that we spend far too much on our public services.
Furious Librarian

AOL

#66 Aug 13, 2008
Real Facts wrote:
<quoted text>
frustration is with the hours the libraries are open. All of them seem to be open during the standard 9-5 day, however weekend hours are few and far between.
None of the Libraries we go to are open on Sunday. They are open until 9:00 some days, but not always, closing two or three days a week by 5:00.
Yes, it is a problem that we've all experienced. If you live on the south shore, RVC, West Hempstead and Hewlett Woodmere have Sunday hrs from Fall through the beginning of summer.

A central library would make it difficult for the older population or children to access the library and I bet you'd wait a long long time to read current books. I'd hate to see our towns go this route.
Authordude

East Hampton, NY

#67 Aug 13, 2008
close them all wrote:
<quoted text> i ain't from hempstead ****. unless you mean the whole town. now try and understand something, THE TAX PAYERS ARE TAPPED OUT! between property, school and library taxes people are being taxed out of their homes. libraries are from a time when books were not available to the average person. now they are just a giant tax eating boondoggle! and a place for the elderly to congregate. I DON'T WANT TO PAY FOR IT! BUY YOUR OWN STINKIN BOOKS AHOLE.
The internet is full of people like yourself, which is really all we need to prove that libraries are still a necessity.
PROUD Elmont Resident

Oyster Bay, NY

#68 Aug 13, 2008
Why Bother wrote:
Why do they need a library in Elmont? The dar denizens of that dump don't know how to read.
Wow! Aren't you just a box of sunshine! Just because parts of Elmont is bad, does not mean the entire town is the same. I am a resident of Elmont and a GRADUATE from Hofstra University, which means I must be VERY capable of reading and writing! Try to be a little more open minded. The fact that Elmont has a magnificent library is wonderful, so don't be envious of it. It's because of people like you that the ENTIRE town of Elmont has a bad name.

Since: Jul 08

South Shore of LI

#69 Aug 13, 2008
Furious Librarian wrote:
<quoted text>
Yes, it is a problem that we've all experienced. If you live on the south shore, RVC, West Hempstead and Hewlett Woodmere have Sunday hrs from Fall through the beginning of summer.
A central library would make it difficult for the older population or children to access the library and I bet you'd wait a long long time to read current books. I'd hate to see our towns go this route.
How could West Hempstead be considered the south shore?
Seen both sides

Brooklyn, NY

#70 Aug 13, 2008
Real Facts wrote:
<quoted text>..., my family does use the Library system quite a bit, and I say system, because we go to several local libraries here in SW Nassau. Honestly, my biggest frustration is with the hours the libraries are open. All of them seem to be open during the standard 9-5 day, however weekend hours are few and far between.
None of the Libraries we go to are open on Sunday. They are open until 9:00 some days, but not always, closing two or three days a week by 5:00.
Last year, my daughter forgot her school book that she needed for her homework. Unable to find a friend who was home, we went to the Local library, as we were told they have reference copies of the school districts books. However, it was one of those days when the library closed at 5:00.
Many libraries close on Sundays in the summer because school is out. The Plainview library is open from 1 PM - 9 PM on Sundays - even in the summer. Searching the entire Nassau catalog could have indicated that other libraries in the system might have had the textbook you needed - or you could have made copies of the pages from the one in the reference section. What about borrowing from a classmate and copying pages you needed?
Seen both sides

Brooklyn, NY

#71 Aug 13, 2008
Also meant to add that any library in Nassau is accessible by car - many within 1 hour or less from wherever you may live. From SW Nassau - Plainview would not be that far away. There is also Merrick, Hempstead, Long Beach, etc.
Real Facts

New York, NY

#72 Aug 14, 2008
Seen both sides wrote:
<quoted text>
Many libraries close on Sundays in the summer because school is out. The Plainview library is open from 1 PM - 9 PM on Sundays - even in the summer. Searching the entire Nassau catalog could have indicated that other libraries in the system might have had the textbook you needed - or you could have made copies of the pages from the one in the reference section. What about borrowing from a classmate and copying pages you needed?
Well, the actual issue was during the school year. My daughter’s homework was to answer X questions on page Y of their textbook.

About 8:00, panic struck as my daughter realized that she did not have her textbook. My daughter called one friend, who was initially going to give my daughter the questions, but apparently her mother stopped that when she though my daughter was looking for the answers. Two other classmates were “At Dance”. A trip to the local library to look at the reference copy of the textbook discovered it closed at 5:00.

In reality, I am actually glad it happened. My daughter learned a valuable lesson, or at least so I thought. Because my daughter ALWAYS has her homework, the teacher gave her a pass. However, it still was a valuable lesson, just not what I had thought.

My discussion with my daughter that evening was that actions have consequences, and in this case, not being prepared when she came home now meant she was not prepared for class tomorrow. She learned that sometimes, even dad can’t pull another rabbit out of his hat. Had I visited every library in Nassau, she may not have learned this.

The lesson that she actually learned was a little different, but still a good one. Always do the right thing, always stay above reproach, and sometimes, just possibly, someone will be willing to look the other way if you stumble.
Real Facts

New York, NY

#73 Aug 14, 2008
Seen both sides wrote:
Also meant to add that any library in Nassau is accessible by car - many within 1 hour or less from wherever you may live. From SW Nassau - Plainview would not be that far away. There is also Merrick, Hempstead, Long Beach, etc.
Well, this is my point. Unfortunately, I cannot really speak intelligently about our Library system, but my question was couldn’t it offer more hours and more services for less money by consolidating staff and buildings for the same or even less money.

I have often asked why some of the school districts in SW cannot be combined? I mention how Fairfax Virginia has a county wide school system, which produces the same results for substantially less money. Fairfax is not some southern hick town, it is the high tech center of Virginia.

I have asked about combining all the local fire districts. For example, national fire insurance standards suggest homeowners live within two miles of a firehouse. This would mean a single firehouse can support just over 12 square miles. Battalion four covers a 12 square mile area in southwest Nassau. We have 19 firehouses, and 66 pieces of equipment (trucks), about 16 of which are “Chief’s Vehicles”. Is there a cheaper way?

Do we really need thirty some odd school districts, with thirty some odd superintendents, and their thirty plus administrative assistants. Separate purchasing, custodial and maintenance, human resources, legal, do we really need all this duplication?

Can we combine Lynbrook and East Rockaway schools and libraries? What about Oceanside and Island Park? What about a single five towns fire department?

My point is, personally, I think the high taxes here are straggling us. Further, while many people mention that our high taxes give us such great services, I simply do not see it. Our roads are falling apart; many of our services are closed when people that work during the day can use them. A company picnic a few years ago in Eisenhower Park was a disaster. Two cars broken into, one laptop stolen, one cars tires slashed. Handouts that were given to our employee’s kids were taken by some family, and when we confronted them, they said they found them (we are talking about a dozen soft coolers, some nurf type balls, and about a dozen Frisbees). The parents of these kids apparently did not speak English, and when I attempted my high school Spanish, they just got up and left without saying a word.

We may think that our schools are the best, but I have met some very smart kids from all over. For many of them, their teachers are just as dedicated, and they even have the same resources available, but somehow, for a much lower cost.

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