Meeting Date: Friday, May 12, 2017

Present:  Deborah Worden, Assistant Director, Action Toward Independence

               Carl S. Berkowitz, President, RCLS Board of Trustees  

               Matt Pfisterer, Director, Middletown Thrall Library

               Karrie Williamson, Senior Librarian, Otisville Correctional Facility

               Dan Hulse, RCLS Development Officer & COSAG Chair

               Grace Riario, RCLS Assistant Director and Outreach Coordinator

               Linda Aumick, Board President – Action Toward Independence

               Maureen Jagos, Director, Chester Public Library

Absent:  Regina Cieslak, Prevention Coordinator, Catholic Charities, Newburgh

  Ashley Knox, President & CEO, Go Beyond Greatness, Inc.

              Terri Thal, NYS Perinatal Association & Not-for Profit Consultant

              Margaret McDowell, Gardiner Senior Resource Committee

              Josie Longstreet, Statewide Systems Advocate, Independent Living Inc.             

              Laura LaSusa, Employment Services Coordinator, OrangeWorks- (now retired)

Meeting location: Maddy’s Diner, North Street in Middletown. 

Grace Riario, RCLS Assistant Director and Outreach Coordinator called the meeting to order at 10:00 am, as Chair Dan Hulse was called away to deal with a family emergency.  Introductions of those present were made around the table. 

Linda Aumick made a motion to accept the minutes of the November 10, 2016 meeting as submitted.  Carl Berkowitz seconded.  Motion passed.

RCLS Reports:  2017 Outreach Grants applications:  Review and discussion on progress – Grace Riario led a review of this year’s grant applications that were submitted.  $1,000 will be awarded to each winning project.  Last year, Ellenville Public Library & Museum, Wallkill Public Library and Greenwood Lake Public Library were the award recipients.  We will have a full report at the next COSAG meeting. 

     Flyers for the Ellenville Public Library program were distributed to the council group.  The library is in the third year of a partnership with the regional Food Bank to feed children over the summer and is looking to continue the Backpack Program. 

      Carl Berkowitz reported that Ramapo Catskill Library System will soon be providing information regarding immigrant rights.

Announcements & Reports from Council Members:  

Karrie Williamson – reported that there have been hits to the NY State budget this year that will impact her programs at the prison.

     Karrie oversees a crocheting club in the prisons.  Inmates (30) are actively crocheting stuffed animals for St. Judes and Maria Ferari.  Also hats and scarves for children and women in homeless shelters.  Karrie is looking for donations of yarn.

     Her other popular program is having inmates recording books for their children on cassette.

     Karrie is now a certified NARCAN trainer for both staff and inmates.

Matt Pfisterer – reported that Middletown Thrall Library is taking part in an Anti-Loitering campaign in the City of Middletown. 

     Matt shared the observation that the homeless population is becoming younger and has more opioid users than ever before.  Matt and three of his staff have received NARCAN training.

Carl S. Berkowitz – reported that he will be getting a box of Spanish language paperback books from the Middletown Thrall Friends Used Bookstore and donating it to Karrie to use in the prisons.

     Carl also shared that the two Boy Scout resident camps in Rockland and Dutchess Counties have installed two wheelchair accessible tent sites; on concrete – on the ground, versus the elevated tent platforms that are normally used.

Linda Aumick – reported that the Board of Literacy Orange is in the process of discussing succession planning for their leadership.  They are also looking at a Financial Literacy Program for Women. 

Deborah Worden –  reported that Action Toward Independence (ATI) was awarded a $90,000 grant from Wounded Warriors for a service dog training program to help connect veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), with these service animals. 

     Action Toward Independence has also received a Construction Grant to enable them to expand their office space in Monticello. 

     Once again this past winter, ATI has served as an alternative HEAP application site as well as a daytime Warming Station.  The agency has also been instrumental in helping previously homeless people who are now in their own apartments. 

     Next COSAG meeting to be held Friday, October 6, 2017 at Ramapo Catskill Library System headquarters in Middletown.  

Minutes Author: Dan Hulse
Committee: COSAG