Updates from the LACUNY Executive Council and LACUNY Officers are posted to CULIBS-L and reproduced here.
"Mutual aid is about recognizing that we all need each other—and in this network, we choose each other. We believe that when we pool our resources, our whole community can thrive."
MAMAS Money Network "Principles for Giving"
The Library Association of the City University of New York announces the creation of the LACUNY Mutual Aid Network. This network offers a way for CUNY library colleagues to both request and provide assistance for one another during the crisis of COVID-19 and its associated damages to CUNY by way of cuts to our budgets and job losses in our libraries. In light of the precariousness of the current moment, LACUNY has decided to reallocate this year’s budget to provide direct support for those impacted by this crisis. Funds that would normally be used for academic awards and in-person events will become grants for individual CUNY library workers who are experiencing hardship.
Mutual aid projects are based in solidarity and are not charity, as recently described by activists Dean Spade and Mariame Kaba. LACUNY’s Mutual Aid Network does not use means testing or any form of qualification to prove economic or other hardships. CUNY library workers beyond LACUNY members are welcome to apply for funds.
Currently, LACUNY can provide a one-time grant of up to $200 to each person who is granted funding. LACUNY will do our best to fundraise and fulfill all requests. To become a recipient of funds, you can fill out LACUNY Mutual Aid Request Form.
Funds will be distributed as long as they remain, but please complete the form as soon as possible for initial consideration.
We realize these small grants can not replace a job, hours, or benefits that have been lost. We are devastated for those in our libraries who are going through these losses, and call on our community to show support.
To contribute funds or provide support: if you would like to help those whose livelihood has been impacted by this crisis, please fill out this donation form. You can also indicate here if you would be willing to provide other support for those in crisis at this moment (in terms of personal and professional assistance).
We ask for your contributions to the LACUNY Mutual Aid Fund in support of the CUNY library community. We all know how critically important the work of the most precarious members of our team can be to the functioning of our libraries, and we ask that you join us in this small act of support for CUNY library workers.
This project has been developed by the following LACUNY members, and we welcome feedback and other communications:
Frans Albarillo, falbarillo (at) brooklyn.cuny.edu, LACUNY EC Member
Nora Almeida, nalmeida (at) citytech.cuny.edu, LACUNY EC, Previous President
Sarah Cohn, scohn (at) ccny.cuny.edu, LACUNY EC Member
Jeffrey Delgado, jeffrey.delgado (at) kbcc.cuny.edu, LACUNY Vice President/President Elect
Elizabeth Jardine, ejardine (at) lagcc.cuny.edu, LACUNY EC Member
Ian McDermott, imcdermott (at) lagcc.cuny.edu, LACUNY President
Nandi Prince, NPrince (at) citytech.cuny.edu, LACUNY EC Member
Alycia Sellie, asellie (at) gc.cuny.edu, LACUNY Member
Roxanne Shirazi, rshirazi (at) gc.cuny.edu, LACUNY EC Member
To our African American friends and colleagues, We stand with you. To our Non African American friends and colleagues, we must stand against white supremacy and systemic racism. Black Lives Matter. Today, we the LACUNY Executive Council, write to you in sadness over the acts of heinous police violence facing our African American community. The murder of George Floyd by police is another act of senseless violence that has plagued this country longer then this organization has existed. In these trying times, LACUNY stands firm against racial injustice and violence. We recognize and condemn these acts and other forms of racial violence, bigotry, and institutional racism. Now is not the time for silence and inaction but rather a time for social proactiveness. On behalf of LACUNY, I know that many members of our community are heartbroken over this event and the continued racism and discrimination that plagues our society. It is also challenging during the COVID-19 pandemic to get the in-person support from friends and family that can be a powerful source of comfort. During this pandemic, we might not feel comfortable joining direct action campaigns in the streets; you can support this movement through a financial donation to organizations including the Black Visions Collective Movement and Minneapolis Freedom Fund.
Other ways in demonstrating support are by: -Listen to communities of color -Call out white supremacy and its manifestation in institutions and in social spaces -Check in with your students, fellow staff and faculty -Vote - Write to elected officials -Teach about it in your library instruction classes In Solidarity, On Behalf of the LACUNY Executive Council: Ian McDermott, President Jeffrey Delgado, Vice President/ President Elect Ryan Phillips, Treasurer Wanett Clyde, Secretary Nora Almeida, Past President. Places to donate: https://www.blackvisionsmn.org/ https://minnesotafreedomfund.org/ http://nationalbailout.org/about
As we face uncertain times and distance learning due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and a massive migration to a new LSP, the LACUNY Executive Council has decided to postpone LACUNY Officer elections this year. Leadership continuity of the President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Urban Library Journal Editors, stand to keep us well on-track in a very significant period of unprecedented change. Not only would this provide steady leadership when needed, but would allow for a more fluid, robust and democratic election come Spring 2021. We are following a model recently established by the Council of Chief Librarians, a body that has decided to proceed with a retention of current officers in the name of stability and much needed continuity for one additional cycle of service. We believe the wisdom of this proposal situates us at our best.
This leadership continuity will become official at the May 2020 meeting. The LACUNY Executive Council, in conjunction with the Constitution and By-laws Committee, has created an amendment that would allow for continuity of leadership should an emergency, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, arise that a general election would not be applicable. This amendment would stand in preparation for another crisis, should it ever come again.
Furthermore, an amendment has been approved for the continuation of the Jay Bernstein award to be in effect for future academic years. Instead of a monetary prize, the recipient of this award will have their LACUNY membership fee waived for that academic year. Moreover, their registration fee for that academic year’s LACUNY Institute would be waived. Additionally, the LACUNY Travel Grants have been given a one-year extension, allowing recipients to use travel grant funds for conferences in fall 2020 or in 2021, when we hope conferences resume.
We hope you all have been safe and healthy during an unprecedented time. Should you have any questions please feel free to email the LACUNY Officers.
The LACUNY Institute 2020 Planning Committee has made the decision to postpone this year's institute until spring 2021. As noted in a previous email sent last month, the safety of conference attendees is of the utmost importance to us all, especially during this time of COVID-19.
We thank everyone who has been a part of this year's institute including those who submitted proposals, sponsors, registrants, and everyone else who in one way or another made a contribution.
We will continue to keep you informed with updates regarding next year's LACUNY Institute. Should you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Nelson Santana at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Library Association of CUNY strongly supports statements from the Council of Chief Librarians and Interim Dean Thistlethwaite urging the Chancellor to close all CUNY libraries immediately (see below). Our library colleagues need to be safe and to practice social distancing to the greatest extent possible. CUNY needs a uniform approach to this public health crisis. We will continue to collectively document and make public the status of library facilities in an effort to better protect and inform our community.
LACUNY membership deserves a workplace that values health and safety above all.
On behalf of the LACUNY Executive Council,
Coordinator of Library Instruction, Associate Professor
LaGuardia Community College, CUNY
March 17, 2020
Dear Chancellor Matos Rodríguez, Executive Vice Chancellor Cruz, and Associate University Provost Maruca,
The Council of Chief Librarians writes to express our grave concern regarding the decision to keep library spaces at the City University of New York open during the COVID-19 crisis. We understand better than anyone the critical role that libraries play in teaching and learning at CUNY, from broadband Internet access to desktop computers, laptop loans, and circulating library collections. However, in a public health crisis that relies on all New Yorkers to practice social distancing in order to quell the spread of COVID-19, libraries must play a different role. As gathering spaces for CUNY students and faculty, keeping our buildings open risks the lives of all of us, including the committed library workers who interact with patrons in our library spaces. Each one of these contacts increases the risk of community spread of this virus.
We urge the Chancellor to direct all campus libraries to close, following the current recommendations of New York City public health officials. We are committed to continuing to provide high quality remote research services and access to online research resources. Keeping CUNY students, faculty, and staff away from our physical spaces is the best way to ensure continuity of those services in the coming days and weeks.
We look forward to your response.
Maura Smale, Chair, Council of Chief Librarians
Polly Thistlethwaite, Interim University Dean for Library Services
March 18, 2020
Dear Chancellor Matos Rodríguez and Executive Vice Chancellor Cruz,
The Council of Chief Librarians writes to express our ongoing and urgent concern at the lack of a central direction from CUNY leadership regarding the shift to an online-only remote library during this COVID-19 crisis. We have not received a response to our email dated March 16.
Physical library spaces must remain inaccessible to library workers and all of our patrons during this public health crisis. Keeping these spaces open risks adding to the active community spread of this virus. As a statement in support of library closures issued by the American Library Association notes:
“Libraries are by design unable to practice social distancing to the degree recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health authorities. Keeping libraries open at this time has the potential to harm communities more than help.”
We are struggling to respond to concerns from CUNY library faculty and staff and the communities we serve about the status of library buildings. Please help us play our critical role in preserving the health of all New Yorkers. We are committed to providing a high level of services to our communities via robust remote library collections and research services for as long as this crisis persists. A central directive to close the buildings will allow us all to return to this urgent work.
We look forward to your response.
Maura Smale, Chair, Council of Chief Librarians
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