Westchester Library System

Empowering Libraries Empowering Communities

aka WLS   |   ELMSFORD, NY   |  http://www.westchesterlibraries.org

Mission

The mission of Westchester Library System (WLS) is to empower lives and communities by connecting people in Westchester County with the resources, services and programs available through WLS and the member libraries. Westchester Library System (WLS) will promote the love of learning, discovery of new ideas and opportunities for all in Westchester County. It will strengthen the member libraries of Westchester County by enhancing their ability to share information and resources and by supporting a welcoming environment to everyone in the community.

Ruling year info

1966

Exeutive Director

Mr. Terry L. Kirchner PhD.

Main address

570 Taxter Rd Suite 400

ELMSFORD, NY 10523 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

13-1882114

NTEE code info

Libraries, Library Science (B70)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Community Outreach Programs

WLS Outreach department offers services to underserved and unserved residents of Westchester County, including to immigrant communities, incarcerated individuals, low literate adults, people with disabilities, seniors, and at youth-at-risk. Illustrative projects and programs include: Community Conversations (supporting communities in an informed exploration of topics that are both challenging and highly relevant to current needs and aspirations), Music and Memory @ the Library (caregiver-directed program supporting those with dementia or Alzheimer’s), Senior Benefits Information Centers (volunteer-fueled counseling on Medicare and related benefits), Senior Law Day Program (co-chair of a collaborative effort to provide legal and financial education and counseling to older adults), HSE Connect! (volunteer-led tutoring to support adults in pursuit of a high school equivalency exam), and Westchester Connections (re-entry guide and services for those formerly incarcerated).

Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth
At-risk youth
Economically disadvantaged people
Ex-offenders

As a cooperative library system, WLS supports 38 independent public libraries among the diverse communities of the county. WLS empowers its member libraries and the communities served through:
• Cost saving efficiencies through cooperative and centralized services.
• Access online and through system–wide delivery to WLS’s member library extensive collection of 5.3 million items, including e-books, print books, audiobooks, music, DVDs, magazines, maps, pamphlets and more.
• A technology network serving all 38 public libraries – one of the largest technology networks in the county.
• Professional development and staff training for libraries and their boards, building stronger libraries in every community.

Population(s) Served

A focus on community engagement and outreach provides the framework for programs and services at the
Westchester Library System (WLS). It is through partnerships with the member libraries, governmental agencies, service organizations, community members, Westchester County and others that WLS is able to assist them in their efforts to create and grow welcoming, inclusive services and programs for all residents of their community and the County. WLS works to provide cost-effective approaches for administrative and technology support, cataloging assistance, delivery of materials, training of library staff and trustees, the sharing of digital resources. We do our work with a disciplined focus on equity, diversity and access, which gives our outreach programs and member library activities the broadest reach and relevance. We are committed to providing services for the interest, information and enrichment of all people in the communities we serve.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

A focus on community engagement and outreach provides the framework for programs and services at the
WLS. It is through partnerships with the member libraries, governmental agencies, service organizations, community members, Westchester County and others that WLS is able to assist them in their efforts to create and grow welcoming, inclusive services and programs for all residents of their community and the County.

WLS works to provide cost-effective approaches for administrative and technology support, cataloging assistance, delivery of materials, training of library staff and trustees, the sharing of digital resources. We do our work with a disciplined focus on equity, diversity and access, which gives our outreach programs and member library activities the broadest reach and relevance. We are committed to providing services for the interest, information and enrichment of all people in the communities we serve.

WLS is one of New York State’s 23 public library systems and was established by State Education Law in 1958.
WLS is a membership organization comprised of the 38 independent public and association libraries within the
geographic boundaries of Westchester County. Each of the member libraries is an independent organization with its own board of trustees, director, staff, policies and chartered service area. WLS strives to help each member library support the specific needs and interests of its community, while also encouraging the development of partnerships that result in more effective and cost efficient library services throughout the County. To that end, WLS provides ongoing training and professional development for library directors, staff, and library trustees fostering best practices in library services, community engagement, and fiscal responsibility. WLS also provides expert guidance in complying with NYS rules and regulations to member libraries. Additionally, WLS offers robust, community centered outreach programs collaborating with libraries, community agencies and nonprofits to serve the County’s most vulnerable populations.

a. As a cooperative public library system, WLS offers its member libraries cost efficiencies for the purchase of equipment and technology, robust training for library staff that includes leadership development, staff and management workshops and program development. A shared delivery system and online catalog enables system-wide availability of books and materials for all card holders.
b. A strong central outreach program offers robust programming for vulnerable populations, including seniors, youth-at-risk, low literate adults, adults seeking new job skills and transitioning into the workplace, including those who were recently incarcerated.
c. WLS is proactive in its work with libraries and its nonprofit partners and Westchester County to support individual libraries in efforts to continue library services and to provide digital access to those in need. As we collectively deal with the impact of COVID-19, WLS offers staff and public programs to help individuals cope with the uncertainty, anxiety and technology challenges of the pandemic.

Strong leadership, fiscal responsibility, and a dedicated, knowledgeable staff are the foundation for WLS’s capacity to meet and sustain its mission and goals. WLS is governed by a 15 member board of trustees each representing a “library district” within the County, ensuring effective governance and representation from every corner of the County. An active Public Library Directors Association (PLDA) represents all 38 member libraries and makes recommendations on critical library services.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

Financials

Westchester Library System
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Westchester Library System

Board of directors
as of 11/23/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Dr. Susan Morduch

Catherine Draper

Attorney

Karen Zevin

Market Researcher/Data Analyst

Jonathan Marshall

Library Advocate

Edris Scherer

Business owner

Bernie Seiler

retired/publishing

Susan Morduch

psychologist

Wes Iwanski

VP Technology/Downtown Travel

Maureen LeBlanc

former Assistant VP Federal Reserve

Andrea Bober

Citibank

Denise Serra

Senior Manager, Plan/IRS Qualifications Technical Services/Mutual of America

Karen Kelley

Consultant Heath Care

Julie Worthy

Attorney

Francis Okelo

Former Ambassador and UN Special Envoy

Joseph Puglia

retired, Yonkers City Schools Superindent

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 11/10/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or other sexual orientations in the LGBTQIA+ community
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 11/10/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.