Over eighty attendees were treated to a dose of library reality when Mike Neppl, NYLA’s Director of Government Relations and Advocacy and General Counsel, spoke at WNYLRC’s 49th Annual Meeting of the Membership, Salvatore’s Italian Gardens on October 7th. Though being a legislative advocate and knowing the circuitous ins and outs of Albany politics was Mr. Neppl’s area of expertise, he fully admitted to being naive to the power and agility of library advocates prior to his NYLA duties. Through a rapid-fire “education” by dedicated library advocates across the state, he came to be a believer in the need for the relentless pursuit of budgetary augmentation. NYLA’s tactic of linking education and libraries has resonated with legislators and, as a result, this year’s $91 million dollar funding for the state’s libraries was a welcome respite from the debacle of the previous several years. Mr. Neppl did say there were many legislators firmly in the ranks of library advocacy but that this sitting governor has not been the biggest champion of institutions that did not exactly produce a financial boom in his “accomplishment” column. Through humor and encouragement to the audience already acquainted with the vagaries of the Albany “machine”, Mr. Neppl emphasized how important your continued attention to your local legislators and the firm pressure that must be exerted on Albany is a never-ending game. The sobering facts that Mr. Neppl presented: full library funding would be $102 million but this year, considered “not-so-bad” is only $91 million. As he pointed out, given the rate of inflation it really should be $123 million so we are still way off and even at full funding, the ability to keep fluid and changing as the society morphs ever more quickly will still be a difficult and steep hill to climb. Yet hope springs eternal and there are many bright spots as even Mr. Neppl noted: October 7th was supposed to be the apocalypse and, yet, everyone enjoyed a lovely evening networking and listening without cataclysm so much to be said for positivity. Make sure you visit www.nyla.org for the latest in advocacy news. Your work is not done yet.