Niagara Falls Library Grows on the Go

February 27th, 2017

by Joanna Battaglia, Niagara Falls Public Librarygrow

Grow on the Go is an exciting collaboration between the Cornell Cooperative Extension, Eat Smart New York and the Niagara Falls Public Library. Patrons at the Niagara Falls Public Library were able to sign up for a shopping cart full of seeds and healthy vegetable seedlings. We had a Planting Party to get everyone started followed by biweekly Cart Clinics at the library to brainstorm common garden problems and plan meals with the bounty.

We were thrilled to be able to offer this program in an urban environment with many apartment dwellers and renters who face challenges in both gardening and access to healthy food. Providing a mobile garden to those who don’t have much green space helps get healthy food from their front porch to their plates in no time. Our participants loved being able to literally watch their garden grow throughout the summer, and so did we. This year the program will be expanding to the LaSalle Branch of the Niagara Falls Public Library and the Doris Jones Family Resource Center.


Here is is some of the media coverage of the program:

WKBW – “Grow on the Go” promotes healthy eating in Niagara Falls
Buffalo News – Shopping carts set course for healthier diets in Niagara Falls
Buffalo Healthy Living – Grow on the Go
WBLK – Grow on the Go Program in Niagara Falls Helps Those in Need
Niagara Gazette – Grow a garden in a cart!



Our New A/V Setup

February 23rd, 2017

At WNYLRC, we’ve upgraded the technology in our Board Room and Training Center, allowing for easier presenting, screen sharing, and meeting remotely. If you want a video tour, take a look at our latest YouTube video in which I give brief demonstrations of the equipment (and featuring a cameo from my dog, Ash). Or scroll down past the video for some photos.

In the board room, we have a monitor rather than a projector, so people sitting near the wall won’t have light shining in their eyes. And that’s a webcam above the monitor, so we can use Skype or other software for meetings where some people can’t attend in person.



And that’s a wireless keyboard and mouse near the bottom of the picture. Now you can control the presenter computer from anywhere in the room, rather than having to sit apart from the rest of the group.

A new keypad on the wall lets us use various ways to present. Someone can bring in their own laptop and connect via HDMI, VGA, or wirelessly with a USB device.



In the training center, we have a brand new projector with twice the brightness of the old one. Plus it’s a short-throw, meaning it’s a bit closer to the screen, so there is less space where the presenter will have the light in their eyes.


And again, there’s a keypad on the wall that lets us use various methods to connect to a laptop or other device. For that “wireless” option, we use a device called a Barco Clickshare.


This connects to a laptop through a USB port, and transmits what’s on the screen wirelessly to the projector. Up to four people can use them at once, making it easy to alternate between multiple presenters. You can see a brief demonstration in our video above, or check out this one-minute video from Barco to get the idea.

We can’t wait to start using this equipment at upcoming workshops and meetings. Make sure to check out our workshop schedule so you can come and see it in person.

Daemen President Published in Huffington Post

February 10th, 2017

From Heidi Bamford, WNYLRC’s Outreach & Member Services Coordinator:

President Gary A. Olson of Daemen College recently published an article in the Huffington Post titled The Unintended Consequences of Free Tuition. The very thoughtful and insightful article from the leadership of one of our WNYLRC member institutions highlights the need for policy makers and government representatives to take a much broader look at the impact certain proposals may have on all parts of the education system. It also points out that conversations with academic institutions are critical in gaining a comprehensive understanding of the stakes involved.

WNYLRC feels that the libraries are also a critical part of the conversation since they are best positioned to assess and address literacy skills gaps in the student body. Without basic literacy skills, no amount of money will keep students enrolled in school or prepare them to be productive in the workforce. WNYLRC wishes Governor Cuomo would acknowledge the role libraries play in K-12 and higher education and that libraries are education too and critical for the development of information literacy. WNYLRC would have preferred his proposed budget reflected a strategy to strengthen the ability of libraries to do their jobs in service of education.


The Unintended Consequences of Free Tuition Proposals
01/25/2017 12:20 pm ET
Gary A. Olson President, Daemen College

Standing beside senator and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo made national news when he announced this month the most recent in a growing number of free college tuition proposals. Coming on the heels of similar proposals by Sanders, presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, and Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo, Cuomo’s “Excelsior Scholarship Program” would provide… Read the rest on Huffington Post.

Microfilming a Current Newspaper? WNYLRC’s Lawyer Comments

February 6th, 2017

WNYLRC’s Ask the Lawyer allows you to email your question to our lawyer for professional, legal help. Every so often, we’ll be posting questions received (with no identifying information from the sender) and our lawyer’s response, for everyone to learn from. Check out this fascinating analysis of copyright with regard to current newspapers.

Member Question

Our local newspaper of record used to microfilm itself (using a third party vendor) for their own use in their private archives. I’m not sure what terms they had with the microfilm vendor, but it was relatively inexpensive for the public library to purchase a copy from the microfilming company for daily use. The newspaper has come under new ownership and longer microfilms itself. My first question is whether I understand 17 U.S.C. §108 correctly. Does paragraph A give libraries the right to make 1 analog copy of pretty much anything they own? Or, in this case, to microfilm the newspapers we have on hand? And does paragraph C give us the right to make up to 3 more microfilm copies, for preservation purposes? It would be our position that newsprint is always deteriorating (we have no climate control storage space to preserve a long run; people steal issues and cut out articles) and after “a reasonable effort” there will be nowhere else from where we can buy a pristine back run “at a fair price”…. Must we enter negotiations with the publisher to secure the right?

WNYLRC Attorney’s Response

A community library’s role in archiving and creating access to local news is critical, but changing technology, uncertainly of ownership, and costs can make the legal aspects of the process uncertain. The member’s questions, set out below, are on the forefront of this issue: how do libraries position themselves to preserve and provide access to published local news?

Section 108 of the Copyright Code was created to balance the rights of copyright owners with the access and preservation of their works, including newspapers. It allows for the copying of sections, whole works—and in some cases, the creation of multiple copies of whole works—by libraries and archives. The first question from our member sets the stage for this issue:

Does Section 108, sub-section (a) give libraries the right to make 1 analog copy of pretty much anything they own?

The answer is to this opening question is: No…Section 108’s application is broad, but it might not apply to your whole collection. The final paragraph (sub-section “i”) of the law contains some big exceptions: musical works, pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, or films/AV works (excluding news). So, while there are certainly limitations to these limitations (mostly for ADA access, as provided for in other parts fo the law), sub-section (i) means that not “all” parts of a collection may be fully copied.

That being said, exclusive of the exceptions in sub-section (i), under Section 108 (a), ONE copy can be made, so long as the library is open to the public, the copy is not made for commercial gain, and the copyright to the work is attributed—along with a notice that the copy was made per section 108. This is a critical protection for libraries, library staff, and patrons. However, the duplication it allows is balanced with the rights of copyright holders…and a careful read shows it was also drafted by congress to support certain actions in the “market place” (i.e. commercial archiving). This takes us to the next 2 questions.

[Can we] microfilm the newspapers we have on hand?

Answer: Yes. The creation of one copy of a published newspaper falls squarely under sub-section (a).

And does sub-section (c) give us the right to make up to 3 more (microfilm) copies, for preservation purposes?

Sub-section (c) is the section that allows for multiple copies to be made under certain circumstances. Applying the criteria of the sub-section, I regret to say the answer to this is “no.”

Rights under sub-section (c) only apply if the original (or copy of the original) is “damaged, deteriorating, lost, or stolen…”—or if they are embodied on an obsolete format, and that after a reasonable effort, an unused replacement can’t be purchased [a format is “obsolete” “if the machine or device necessary to render perceptible a work stored in that format is no longer manufactured or is no longer reasonably available in the commercial marketplace.”]. This formula is not a good fit with a recently published work.

However, in raising the question, the member raised an interesting and practical argument: It would be our position that newsprint is always deteriorating (we have no climate control storage space to preserve a long run; people steal issues and cut out articles, etc.) and “after a reasonable effort” there will be nowhere else from where we can buy a pristine back run “at a fair price” (ie. for less than the price of striking another microfilm).

For a question like this, it is best to go straight to the source: the Library of Congress circulars. The Circular on section 108 can be found at

In relevant part, it states:

Subsection (c) authorizes the reproduction of a published work duplicated in facsimile form solely for the purpose of replacement of a copy or phonorecord that is damaged, deteriorating, lost or stolen, if the library or archives has, after a reasonable effort, determined that an unused replacement cannot be obtained at a fair price. The scope and nature of a reasonable investigation to determine that an unused replacement cannot be obtained will vary according to the circumstances of a particular situation. It will always require recourse to commonly-known trade sources in the United States, and in the normal situation also to the publisher or other copyright owner (if such owner can be located at the address listed in the copyright registration), or an authorized reproducing service.

As can be seen, the delicate nature of newspapers and library capacity issues non-withstanding, proceeding under sub-section (c) without certainly that there is no commercial alternative does not meet the sub-sections’ requirements. The law is clear: the copies can be made only after the good-faith determination that no commercial alternative exists.

It is cumbersome, but saving a copy of the paper, and then establishing, on a routine basis, that back copies, digital archives, and third-party microfilm versions of the newspaper are not commercially available, meet sub-section (c)’s commercial determination requirements. This is an essential element of the law and cannot be left out, or there will be no infringement defense under sub-section (c).

The final question brings this all home: We really just want to start microfilming 2 copies of the paper…. Can we? Or must we enter negotiations with the publisher to secure the right?

Neither sub-section (a) nor (c) require permission from the copyright holder, so libraries do not need to ask the new owner before using the 108 exceptions as set forth above. However, as the question implies, a library seeking to go beyond what is authorized by the law would need to work with the rights holder. Hopefully, the publisher can see the value in allowing the two copies to be created, and will agree to an irrevocable license to the library, for the benefit of its patrons.

How SUNY Buffalo State Deals with Controversial Collections

February 2nd, 2017

Hope Dunbar, Archivist at SUNY Buffalo State, is the Issues & Advocacy Section chair for the Society of American Archivists. She recently wrote about how she deals with controversial collections and has granted us permission to publish it here too.

Dealing With Controversial Collections – The Remnants of Racist Artifacts and Objects
by Hope Dunbar

The materials that comprise the Lester Glassner African American Experience Collection were gifted to the SUNY Buffalo State Archive & Special Collections in 2009 upon Mr. Glassner’s death. From his late teens onward he collected dime store memorabilia and other pop-culture artifacts until his collection amassed many rooms within his New York apartment and numbered into the hundreds of thousands. A significant portion of his collection centered on black memorabilia—the good, the bad, and the ugly. Collection items range from 1850 to 2005 and include a staggering span of African American depictions in pop culture within the United States.


Upon the donation of the collection, the Archives & Special Collections had to determine how this material would be treated. Would it be displayed? Would it remain in the collection? Many items, most of the collection, depict patently racists images ranging from Sambo, Mammy, Uncle Rastus, and general “pickaninny” depictions. Archivists and librarians adhere to codes of conduct and ethics developed by both regional and national organizations, including SAA. We are taught through coursework and practical experience the complex nature of archival assessment and collection development, however we are rarely told what to do with offensive items. If we have tackled such topics, it is likely in our direct work with donors, patrons, and administration, as opposed to a formal introduction through classroom instruction.

In this instance, the Archive & Special Collections decided that the act of repressing such images would be to pretend such images, and consequently such opinions, did not exist. Instead, we framed the collection through the lens of discussion. These artifacts exist, they were produced to a mass market, and they depict cultural understandings of a historical period. Lester Glassner’s collection is extensive because he documented a full range of African American depictions through various time periods. He insisted the collection remain intact to provide context to the patron and student. Later items include positive representations such as African American Barbies, Santas, action figures, soldiers, and individual character depictions, such as Star Wars’ Mace Windu, Kendra from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Morpheus from The Matrix.

A selection are displayed in the main reading room and students who visit the department are encouraged to join the active discussion as we talk about the background and how the collection informs or clashes with their cultural perspectives. In addition, our collection page includes the historical background of the collection written by a former archivist in the department, again, to give context to the items.