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Regents Appoint Greta Byrum, Sandra Michele Echols and Dr. Beth Patin to Advisory Council on Libraries

December 22, 2021

At their November 2021 meeting, the New York State Board of Regents appointed Greta Byrum, Sandra Michele Echols and Dr. Beth Patin to the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries, all filling five-year terms beginning immediately and ending December 31, 2026. 

Greta Byrum (Beacon) is program director for the Social Science Research Council’s Just Tech program. Greta brings over a decade of leadership in digital justice to her work with SSRC. Previously, Greta founded Community Tech NY, a non-profit building collaborative community-owned broadband ecosystems with local partners; co-created the New School's Digital Equity Lab; and founded the Resilient Communities Program at New America, an initiative bringing storm-hardened mesh WiFi to five neighborhoods in NYC’s flood zones. Greta has a background in urban planning, communication technologies, and poetry; was a Loeb and a Fulbright Fellow; and serves on the board of the Metropolitan New York Library Council. 

Sandra Michele Echols (New York City) has a diverse array of experience and education, but what unifies her professional philosophy as a librarian, self-taught bibliotherapist, and scholar is a commitment to seeing and serving whole individuals and the fact that stories matter. Her love for libraries garnered her the New York Library Association 2020 Outstanding Services to Libraries Award. 

Echols has served in various leadership positions for the New York Black Librarians Caucus (NYBLC), the New York Library Association (NYLA), and the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA). Since 2015, Echols has also taught undergraduate and graduate courses at several colleges and universities in New York State, specializing in Information Literacy, Grant-writing, Career Development, and Reference and Information Sources. Always one who is up for the challenge, she recently became a New York City School Library Media Specialist, and is preparing today’s youth for 21st-century information, media, and digital literacy. 

Dr. Beth Patin (Syracuse) is an Assistant Professor at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies. Beth’s research agenda focuses on the equity of information in two research streams: crisis informatics and cultural competence. She is the co-founder of the Library Information Investigative Team research group and a recipient of the Meredith Teaching Award for Early Excellence. Currently, she is working on projects about epistemicide (defined as the silencing, killing, or devaluing of knowledge systems), libraries during disaster and crisis, and digital humanities and the Civil Rights Movement. In 2007, Beth was named an American Library Association Emerging Leader. In 2021, Beth received an Early Career Award from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services to focus on libraries and community resilience and is working on a grant from the Alabama Humanities Alliance to capture, preserve, and amplify the untold stories of the Civil Rights Movement in Huntsville, Alabama. Currently, she is a member of the Advisory Board for the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries.  

Other members of the Council are:  Meg Backus (Vice-Chair), Potsdam; Greg Benoit, Irondequoit; Tatiana Bryant, Garden City; AnnaLee Dragon, Kinderhook; Chancey Fleet, New York City; Susan Kowalski, Brewerton; Susan Polos, Katonah; Grace Riario, Middletown (Chair); Juan Rivera, New York City; Dr. Jamie D. Smith, Buffalo; and Alicia Thompson, West Seneca. 

The Regents Advisory Council on Libraries works with the officers of the State Education Department in developing comprehensive statewide library and information policy and makes recommendations to the Regents concerning the implementation of the program.  The Council is broadly representative of libraries and statewide constituencies served by the New York State Library.  For more information about the Regents Advisory Council, visit the State Library’s website at Regents Advisory Council on Libraries (RAC).

Nominations for future appointments to the Council are welcomed by the State Education Department.  They should be sent to the Office of the State Librarian, New York State Library, Room 10C34 Cultural Education Center, Albany, New York  12230; or email