Meeting Date: Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Present:  Linda Aumick, Board President – Action Toward Independence

               Allison Johannessen, RSVP Coordinator, Orange County Office for the Aging

               Carl S. Berkowitz, RCLS Board of Trustees

               Matt Pfisterer, Director, Middletown Thrall Library

               Terri Thal, NYS Perinatal Association

               Laura LaSusa, OrangeWorks

               Dan Hulse, RCLS Development Officer & COSAG Chair

               Robert Hubsher, Executive Director, RCLS

Absent:  Tracy Allen, Adult Services Librarian – Finkelstein Memorial Library

               Joann Hargabus, Director of Services – Action Toward Independence

               Josie Longstreet, Independent Living Inc.

               Regina Cieslak, Orange/Ulster BOCES Team Lead/Youth Program

               Margaret McDowell, Hudson Valley Chapter NYS Health Care Providers

               Mimi Vilord, Rockland County United Way

               Grace Riario, RCLS Public Services Consultant & Outreach Coordinator

Chair Dan Hulse called the meeting to order at 1:55 pm after the members present enjoyed a lunch from Panera Bread.  This lunch was provided by RCLS Public Services Consultant & Outreach Coordinator Grace Riario as a way of thanking the group for their volunteer service.  RCLS Executive Director Robert Hubsher welcomed the council members and thanked them for their service before leaving to attend a teleconference with SirsiDynix.

Carl S. Berkowitz made a motion to accept the minutes of the October 24, 2013 meeting as submitted.  Linda Aumick seconded.  Motion passed.

Issues & Concerns: Introductions were made around the table.  Carl S. Berkowitz shared information with the council about Toy Libraries that provide access to adaptive toys for children with disabilities.  Carl shared the list of toy libraries in New York State.  There are none in the western Hudson Valley area.  The closest one to Orange County is at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie.  Carl distributed information from American Libraries magazine and the USA Toy Library Association ( Carl proposed to the committee that a library of this type be created and then circulated to libraries in the RCLS service area.  He has gotten endorsement on this idea from the RCLS Board of Trustees, the Middletown Thrall Library Board of Trustees and the Action Toward Independence (ATI) Independent Living Center Board of Directors.  Once established and created, Carl would like to see this be a travelling library that can be transported from site to site.  If there is enough of a demand for the toy library, then a permanent location can be selected. 

     Carl S. Berkowitz explained that logistics and specific details regarding a toy library need to be worked out.  Terri Thal expressed interest and volunteered to assist Carl with introducing this concept to the libraries in Rockland County.

     Carl hopes that by this Fall, that this program can be debuted and that seed funding can come from the Coordinated Outreach grant that RCLS receives.

     Allison Johannessen shared that she has created a similar library when she was an Activates Director at a nursing home in New Jersey.  She created toys and items that give stimulation to those residents who were bedridden or severely disabled.

     Discussion took place around the table with regards to funding a project like this. Carl S. Berkowitz will report back on this endeavor at the Fall COSAG meeting.

     Linda Aumick reminded the group that July 1, 2014 is when the new more stringent laws overseeing non-profit organizations go into effect.  Linda explained that NY State government is encouraging consolidation among the not-for-profit community.  She shared that it is becoming easier for non-profit agencies to dissolve and then affiliate or merge with another non-profit corporation. 

55+ Guide:  Each council member received two copies of the updated 55+ Guide.  Everyone liked the finished product.  Dan Hulse reported that 5,000 hardcopies of this guide were created and distributed to all RCLS member libraries and local senior centers.  The 55+ Guide can be access online through the RCLS web site. It includes a pdf format of the guide that can be downloaded and print.  On behalf of RCLS Public Services Consultant & Outreach Coordinator Grace Riario, Dan thanked all the committee members for their input and support during the updating process.  By having the online version, adding or updating any agencies and services’ information can be done immediately.

Connections Guide for Corrections:  Now that the 55+ Guide has been updated, RCLS is working on developing its own Connections Guide for the correctional facilities in the RCLS service area. This publication will be given to inmates as they are released.  It will contain information on job searches, housing, health services, etc., that are in the area where they want to relocate and settle.  On behalf of Grace Riario, Dan Hulse asked that if the council members know of any agencies that help inmates make the transition to the outside world and should be included in the Guide, please forward this information to Grace at RCLS. 

Outreach Grant:  Grace Riario asked Dan Hulse to report that the call for new Outreach Grant applications will be out in June.  For the Fall COSAG meeting, Grace will have pictures and statistics to show how the money that was previously awarded helped their communities.  She also hopes to have new applications for council members to review. 

Announcements:  Linda Aumick announced that Action Toward Independence (ATI) is using as an ongoing fundraiser.  They just got their first car donated and received $57.74. 

     Laura LaSusa reported that her office has new transportation affiliations starting with corporations from Newburgh and Middletown travelling to the distribution warehouses on Neelytown Road in Montgomery.

     Laura also reported that OrangeWorks recently held a job fair with 65 employers in attendance.  She explained that like the libraries, OrangeWorks holds regularly scheduled workshops for basic computer skills.

     Everyone thanked Grace Riario for the complimentary lunch and wished her well and hoped that she will be restored to good health very soon.

        Next COSAG meeting date will be in October.  Dates being considered are Wednesday, October 15 or Wednesday, October 22.  Grace Riario will send out a Doodle scheduling request in September with multiple dates for members to select the day that is best for their schedule.  

Meeting adjourned at 3:37 pm.

Minutes Author: Grace Riario
Committee: COSAG