The nonprofit Friends of the NYS Library hosted a reception to formally introduce the new state librarian, Lauren Moore, before the Erie Canal exhibit tour and book talk at the NYS Museum last week. And while she may be surrounded by history in her new(ish) position, Moore’s eyes are firmly fixed on the future.
Moore was appointed to the post of state librarian and assistant commissioner for libraries by the Board of Regents in June and assumed her new responsibilities on Aug. 1.
According to the announcement of her appointment, Moore serves as as the primary representative of the New York State Library and for libraries across the state. She also has oversight responsibility for a $12 million operating budget, 100 employees, over 20 million collection items and nearly $140 million in state and federal aid to libraries.
Prior to her appointment, Moore was an active advocate for libraries through service on the board and committees of the New York Library Association (NYLA). As a member of NYLA’s Legislative Committee, she testified at a joint budget hearing held by the state Senate and Assembly, calling for adequate funding for libraries – especially when it comes to technology infrastructure.
Moore believes that libraries will play a significant role in the 2020 Census, which, as you may know, will be the first to be completed primarily online. This presents challenges – particularly in rural areas where broadband access is not easy to come by, and also in inner cities where many families may not be able to afford internet access.
That, according to Moore, is where libraries come in.
“In these hard-to-count communities, libraries will play a major role,” she said. “People are used to coming to their library to access the internet, and local libraries need to step up their efforts to “provide a safe and secure location for people to take the census.”
As chair of NYLA’s Census 2020 Task Force, Moore pointed out that libraries have become portals for other e-government functions like tax filing, job searches and health care enrollment. In order to maintain this role and to remain relevant in the future, libraries must continue to invest in technology and training. That is doubly important when it comes to ensuring that all New Yorkers are counted in the Census.
According to NYLA, an estimated one of every five New York households, or 1.5 million people, relies on libraries for internet access.
In her previous post, Moore was also appointed to the New York State Complete Count Commission. The bipartisan commission was created to inform and help direct the State’s efforts in the upcoming 2020 Census. (It’s scheduled to meet tomorrow). According to the group’s website:
Nationwide, hard-to-count populations include children under five years of age, people who live in dense urban settings and in very rural locations, immigrants, people of color and people who live in poverty. New York state has a disproportionately large number of people who fit into these categories.
Moore has served in leadership positions in libraries across New York, most recently as Executive Director of the Pioneer Library System in Ontario, Wayne, Wyoming and Livingston Counties in Western New York.
She earned a Master of Library and Information Sciences degree from the University of Pittsburgh and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Rutgers University.
PRO TIP: Want to help ensure that all New Yorkers are counted? Learn more about local Complete Count Committees here.
Colleen M. Ryan has always been a storyteller. An innovative communications professional with experience in government, nonprofit and business sectors, she recently launched CMR Communications.