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Library Letter

Council of Albany Neighborhood Associations
Meeting Minutes for March 3, 1999

1. Introductions
2. Minutes - Corrections to February minutes:
The Police Community Services Units (not only the officers) have been dispersed to the north, south, east and west stations. Executive Committee should read: Marggie Skinner, Howard Stoller, Harold Rubin (Past President), Emily Grisom, Elfrieda Textores, Mac Mowbray, Maria Parisella, Chris Lindsay.
Page 3- The phrase regarding ZBA terms expiring and the Council can appoint new members is not correct. The Common Council has confirmation power of all nominations made after 1/1/99.
Harold Rubin moved to accept the February minutes as corrected. Emily Grisom seconded. Motion approved.
3. Communications/Announcements
Marggie wrote a letter to support the Albany Schenectady League of Arts’ application to CDBG for Come Sunday - A Celebration of Black Music and Dance. Apollo, the League’s new arts magazine, was distributed.
Community Gardens in planning stages for current season; letter mailed to presidents of NAs.
Albany Public Library events press release was distributed. For more information call 427-4346.
Zoning Board of Appeals information was circulated.
The Center for the Disabled is hiring for summer Clover Patch Camp. Call 489-8336 for more info.
March Handivan schedule circulated
CANA sent a card to the family of Pat Gorman and a contribution to the Delaware Area Neighborhood Association in his name. A planter and plaque will be placed in a prominent spot on Delaware Ave.
Cooperative Extension schedule distributed
John Samatulski, the new Lark Street BID Director, reported that there are exciting things happening on Lark Street. Initiating streetscape design study with state and federal funds. Redesigning from Madison to Central Ave. Received a New York State Council on the Arts Architecture grant to assist with the project. There will be a meeting on March 16th for initial planning. Lemme’s should be opening in a couple of months. Johnny Pak, owner of Alibi’s/Peking is opening restaurant at the former Margarita’s.
NRC Thomas Senchyna Award and Certificates of Recognition nomination forms were distributed. City agency employees, as well as public officials, are eligible. Publications produced by volunteers are also eligible. Please be sure to include supporting documentation for the committee to make an informed decision. Deadline is Thursday, April 13th. Call 462-5636 for more info.
Neighborhood Cleanup schedule was received from DGS. Cleanups are being done by neighborhood and only by Ward where there aren’t neighborhood associations.
Mayor inviting Marggie and Tom Gebhardt (among others) to serve on the “Complete Count Committee”. Members expressed importance of having real neighborhood people taking the census.
Parking Issue back on the table. Should we reactivate the parking committee? Downtown parking committee hasn’t met since Judge Hughes said that it couldn’t go forward. City says it will appeal the decision. Trying to get legislative approval. Need to wait and see how appeal goes.
Central Avenue BID Planning meeting on Tuesday, March 9th, at 176 Central Ave. on a variety of business development issues, e.g. parking, transportation, 5 pm- general meeting and dinner.
Article from City Limits, NYC publication, about new initiative in NYC to deal with abandoned properties. Rather than city taking ownership, bring in 3rd parties to take over properties to keep on tax rolls. Will be used by QOL committee- May be something to bring to attention of County and City.
News reports about Cousin’s Fish Market vs. City . Cousins is soliciting signatures on a petition to remove a fence put up by the City. Sheridan Hollow & Arbor Hill support the City in this action due to neighborhood health and safety concerns. Neighbors have valid concern with the dumping,.... Business community sees another example of City coming in with heavy guns. We want business in our community but they need to be good neighbors.
Discussion on battle between Upper New Scotland NA (not CANA member or participant) and YMCA over after school program at Bethany Community Church. Seems to be settling- 3 month trial period. We will wait and watch.
Congrats to Arbor Hill and South End for good publicity and good things going on in their neighborhoods recently.

4. Committee Reports
a. SUNY Community Relations
Next meeting Wednesday, March 10th at 7 p.m. at the Albany Police Department’s Traffic Safety Building at 526 Central Avenue. Planning for annual end-of-spring initiative regarding the special trash pick-ups and off campus student responsibilities/rights, hear an update on the planned location of “Parkfest ‘99” (Albany declined request for use of Lincoln Park) and receive an update on the new Public Safety Building at the University at Albany.
b. Community Police Council
Meeting on March 10th in Mayor’s Conference Room at 5:30 p.m.. Assistant Chief Wolfgang has been out recovering from triple by-pass surgery -- Richard Ellison is taking over responsibilities in his absence. Marty Jewell has resigned from Police Council and we need to appoint a new CANA delegate from uptown. Craig Waltz had volunteered previously and was appointed in absentia. Will be making nominations for first annual police council awards: one award to both an officer and civilian who have contributed to community policing. Received 24 laptops to go into cars for incident reports -- about a year and a half before entire system up and running. Still working on brochure - picking paper - and the funding issue is being resolved.
c. Schools
Budget advisory committee meeting tonight. Negotiation with teachers at an impasse.
d. Budget
Summary of proposed items for inclusion in the city’s budget went out with February minutes. Goal of the summary is to make the budget a functional document. When someone picks up the budget they should have a good understanding of what’s going on -- information should be comprehensive and complete. This summary is a collective agreement about what CANA wants to see and it was intended to apply it to the budget being prepared right now. Motion was made by Clare Yates to accept the summary as presented. Seconded by Elfrieda Textores. Motion approved.
e. Zoning
Common Council Zoning Committee open hearing at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 4.
f. Census
Will report back next month.
g. Other
More good news in Arbor Hill (that has received no publicity) Zaloga Post on Clinton Ave filled with computers thanks to “100 Black Men”- free computer training kids and others. No money involved. Want parents with children. Want volunteers. Also Credit Union got its charter and will be opening up by April- we hope- same site.

5. Guest Speakers:     Jeff Cannell, Executive Director, Albany Public Library
            Judy Rosen, Board President, Albany Public Library
Judy Rosen introduced Jeff Cannell’s background. The board received resumes from across the country in their search for a director which began about a year ago. The search committee was enthusiastic when they met Jeff, Director of the Wayne County Public Library in Goldsboro, NC. He came on board June 15, 1998. Prior to his 15 years in Goldsboro, he had been a branch manager at the Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh. He began his career as a bookseller for two national book chains. Jeff’s career is marked by innovation - in NC he orchestrated the adaptive rehabilitation of a branch bank building as a library with drive up window. His ideas on fiction classification were cited in the book “Guiding the Reader to the Next Book”. He received his undergraduate degree and MLS at SUNY Albany. Jeff and his wife live in Center Square, and have joined several community organizations including the Albany Rotary, Kiwanis, Torch Club, and Center Square NA. Things at the library continue to improve. Circulation has increased and major renovations the main branch are underway.
Jeff added that there are two main factors that contribute to his philosophy of librarianship - as a bookseller the bottom line was the bottom line- you had to pay attention to what the customers wanted. The second comes from Andrew Carnegie, a robber baron and philanthropist, who gave money for the construction of over 1,000 libraries. Libraries have always had strong role in helping people educate themselves from supporting the school curriculum, lifelong learning, helping the lesser advantaged, and information age learning.
There are exciting things happening at all four branches: e.g., New Scotland - just repainted; Delaware - successful mother daughter reading club; Pine Hills - largest branch with successful series of adult/children literacy program for Chinese speaking people; Howe Branch - proud of Howe connection and collaborating with community activists and education GED, Internet training.
Main Branch - million dollars in bonds for a face lift. Half will be spent on technology and half on the face lift ( including Howe painting, electrical HVAC work).
The First floor will get new painting and carpeting. To the left of the entrance will be a cafe operated by B A Gels. Reference area will be magazines (more circulation ) and AV materials. Increasing videos and books on cassette. Circulating collection will be on first floor.
The Second Floor will be the reference department (where children’s area is) multiple PCs available for use and subscribing to online databases. Children’s department will be where former AV department was. Both expanded with new shelving and decor.
Friends of the Library sponsor many of the programs. Individual dues are $10. As a member you receive the APL calendar and mailings.
Q: New hours don’t lend to the vibrant “24 hour” downtown. Why wasn’t there more community input?
A: Community input was from measuring the traffic in and out of the library. Fewer and fewer people were coming in from 8 - 9 p.m.. Busier street outside from 8-9 a.m. Still a meeting center as long as out by 8 p.m.
Q: Any discussions about some nights being open until 9 p.m.? It’s the only place where people can (and do) gather downtown in groups. Maybe not the whole building but the meeting space for community groups. Possibility of looking into feasibility of keeping building open for meetings and not circulation.
A: If this is a group concern, send a letter to Judy Rosen and she will bring it up to the Board. Please indicate community groups who have been impacted by change in hours.
Q: With a new facility and cafe opportunity, will the programming possibly change to include more art and culture? As a result perhaps extending the hours on certain night?
A: Programming has already began to change and will continue to. National Library Week will include a jazz musician who will not only be discussing a book but will also be performing.
Q: Will the APL benefit from the Cafe revenues and will it alleviate some of the fiscal constraints?
A: The cafe is meant to be a revenue source and a service. A foundation has just been formed that will be another funding stream.
Q: Is there going to be money in the budget for ongoing maintenance? Hope that there will be staff or volunteers to get books back on the shelf.
A: Maintenance is a priority.
Q: The book reviews used to be video taped and shown on public access TV.
A: Talking with Time Warner about doing something like this again.
Q: National Library Week speakers used to be dinner meetings and went to library.
A: Now they’ll be on Sunday afternoon and eat afterwards.
Q; Howe library suffered from lack of maintenance. It’s better now and let’s keep it that way.
A: There are outside contractors to clean the branches now.
Q: Do you use volunteers for reshelving?
A: No, union shop. Newer materials are back on the shelf within an hour. Always done in a reasonable amount of time.
Q: Possible to get cost of living increases in the city budget?
A: Activists for the library and inroads to other sources of revenue. Library more vibrant and will continue to be. Successful business will attract funders.
Q: It can be difficult to get a computer terminal. Number of adults is high. Will there be a sufficient amount of computer terminals to accommodate the demand?
A: Yes.
Comment: Jeff and staff should be commended for the job they’re doing at the library. Even though they’re dwarfed by the State library, the APL is doing a better job.
Henry Madej moved to send a letter to Judy Rosen requesting that they explore the feasibility of keeping the library open until 9 p.m. Emily Grisom seconded. Motion approved.

Minutes submitted by Sandra Thomas and Marggie Skinner

Attendance (3/3/99)             Committee
Mary Connair, DANA             Police
Harold Rubin, Center Square NA        Budget
Tom Gebhardt, Univ. at Albany
Holly Katz, Mansion NA             Zoning
Maria Parisella, Mansion NA        Police
Colin McKnight, Madison NA        Quality of Life
Michael Trout, Park South NA            
Jeff Cannell, Center Square NA
Dick Carroll, DANA             Quality of Life
Elfrieda Textores, South End Concerned Citizens
Eileen Purcell, Union @ Albany Public Library   
John Samatulski, Lark Street BID
Mac Mowbray, Hudson/Park NA
Donald Wardle, Center Square NA         Charter Reform/Transportation
Gene Solan, Pine Hills NA
Emily Grisom, Sheridan Hollow NA        Police Council
Howard Stoller, Melrose NA
Christopher Lindsay, Beverwyck NA        Schools/Budget
Kathleen Kearney, Hudson/Park NA        Quality of Life / Zoning
Henry M. Madej, Pine Hills NA        Census
Clare Yates, Center Square             Zoning, Quality of Life
Elizabeth Benjamin, Times Union
Anne Brewster, WPNA
Marty Gawoski, West Hill NA
Judy Rosen, Albany Public Library
Pat Maxon, Upper Washington NA        Library
Sandra Thomas                 Quality of Life
Marggie Skinner, Pine Hills NA        Zoning