Connecticut State Library with state seal


March 27, 2006

This report is prepared bi-monthly in conjunction with the regular meetings of the Connecticut State Library Board. Items to be routinely covered include the following: the significant activities of the State Librarian and the staff, significant administrative decisions affecting the operation of the Library, status reports regarding in-progress activities, information regarding external events having an impact on the Library, media coverage of the Library, and information of general interest to the members of the Board.

The following report by the State Librarian, which will be included in the minutes of the March 27, 2006 meeting of the Board, covers the period of January 31, 2006, through March 26, 2006.

Attached to this report.


Vacancies (State Funded)

Vacancies (Federal Funds)




We have received the Report for Insurance Consultation for Personal Property – Fine Arts Collections/Connecticut State Library and Museum of History. This report was commissioned by the State Insurance & Risk Management Board. The Scope of the work was two fold. First, to provide consultation for going forward with insurance coverage for the collections in the Library and Museum. Secondly, to provide an appraisal for up to fifty sampled items total from both collections. The report will guide us as we move forward. The consultant concluded that “providing consultation and appraisal for large institutional collection holdings poses many difficulties that do not exist when performing similar assignments for smaller collections. The sheer size and scope of holdings preclude examining every collection group, mush [sic] less individual property to conclude value and/or make all encompassing recommendations. Since property is a bundle of rights, what is most important is identifying how to effectively proceed with insuring the collections as a whole, rather than every individual part.” It is clear from the report that we need to develop a plan to chip away at updating the appraisal of various collections. Some the consultant believes to be undervalued and some overvalued.

We have also received FM Global’s Risk Report for the State Library/Supreme Court Building. This report looks at fire and theft risk factors and contains several recommendations. Chief among them is the installation of a sprinkler system. Before any decision is made to sprinkle the building, I recommend we thoroughly investigate options and seek the advice of our Preservation Librarian and others.

Now that we have received both reports, Rich Kingston and I will be meeting with Daria Cirish, Director of Insurance and Risk Management, to discuss the reports, the issues brought to light at the last State Library Board Meeting and next steps.

In accordance with the vote of the Board, letters were sent to the Governor, Chairs of the Appropriations Committee and Education Committee and the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management.

Legislative Session
I have spent a considerable amount of time preparing testimony, working on draft legislation, attending hearings and meeting with legislators.

Library Leadership
I attended a meeting at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Washington D.C. Office to discuss the role that library leadership and advocacy plays in sustaining public access computing in public libraries. The foundation will be reviewing what they have learned from the meeting and other research and analysis and then develop a long-range plan for future Foundation programs. Outside of the federal Library Services and Technology Act funds, the Gates Foundation has been the largest national funder of technology hardware and training initiatives for libraries.

Patrick Smith, of New Britain, in February joined the Museum of Connecticut History’s staff, Administrator Dean Nelson and Curator David Corrigan, as Curator of Education. This newly re-established permanent, full-time position ends the museum’s 14 year education program hiatus brought on by the layoffs of 1992. A national search for candidates yielded some 50 applicants.

Patrick earned a Bachelor’s degree in anthropology and archaeology from the University of Connecticut, and Master’s of Education from the University of Hartford. His work experience includes innovative educational programming at the National Park Service’s USS Constitution museum in Boston, collections and exhibit curation at the Noah Webster House, extensive theatrical living history performances at the Old State House and site operations at the Antiquarian and Landmarks Society’s Bellamy-Ferriday House in Bethlehem.

In addition to gaining familiarity with the museum’s complex topography, he is now engaged in a re-design of the museum’s brochure and development of time-tested favorite “scavenger hunts” for visiting school groups. He is also conducting informal discussions with gallery visitors to learn how they know of the museum, what interests brought about their trip, and how their time here might be more fruitful. A summer program for students which makes use of the museum’s on-line Connecticut Patent Database and hands-on fabrications, to take place in select host libraries, is now in the works.

The Museum Planning Committee has been meeting monthly with consultant Laura Roberts. In January the committee looked at Assessment and mission. In February they examined the Museum’s current and potential audience. Over the next 4 four months the committee will consider stakeholders/partners/giving community; collections; programs; and facility. The committee consists of Daphne Deeds, Robert Harris, Fred Petersen, Mark McEachern, Brenda Milkofsky; Edmund Sullivan, Kathleen Maher, David Kahn and Paul Loether.

Strategic Planning.
The Strategic Planning process continues. The meeting in February focused on and the March meeting looked at

Accomplishments/Division News
The CONSULS Library group has been accepted for a LibQUAL Survey through the Association of Research Libraries' LibQUAL+(TM) program. The survey will measure the Library’s service quality and identify needs for improvement. It will begin the week of March 16th and run for 3 weeks, ending with National Library Week. A Web page with instructions on taking the survey ( has been created. All State employees will receive an insert in their March 16th paycheck inviting them to take the survey. Notices will be available at the reference areas and there will be announcements on our Web site. Emails are being sent to state agency and constituent groups, asking them to take the survey.

An entry in the Legislative Bulletin for the CSL Reference Resources was updated for this year’s edition and will appear throughout the Legislative session.

The February issue of the Connecticut Libraries Newsletter is almost entirely dedicated to the Connecticut State Library, especially the History and Genealogy Unit. The newsletter is available online at

State Archivist Mark Jones has offered a duplicate set of the Rowland Committee of Inquiry exhibits to the Division. The printed full set will go to Archives. The IS Division will review, organize, and make decisions about whether this material should be accessible to patrons and if so, how it will be made available, and process the duplicates for the secured storage.

The Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (LBPH) has been selected for a usability study for the new digital equipment by the vendor and the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped to be held the week of March 13-17.

Information Services Division Director Lynne Newell and Law/Legislative Reference Unit Head Denise Jernigan will be meeting with the planner in the Judicial Department to discuss the managing of the carpet installation for the reading room renovation. It could take up to a week for the installation. Decisions will be made about closing reference areas and moving furniture and books. Concerns about dust, noise and possible vapors from the installation will be addressed.

The Legislative Interns Orientation was held on February 1, February 2, February 7, and February 9.

H&G Office Assistant Kevin Johnson gave William Webb presentations in February at the Sedgwick Middle School in West Hartford, Bulkeley High School in Hartford, and the East Hartford Middle School. Kevin gave Jordan Freeman presentations in January in Hartford, and in February, at the Naugatuck Valley Genealogical Society, the DAR in New Milford, and the Plainville Historical Society. Staff celebrated Kevin’s 8 years and 270 presentations of William Webb in the Conference room on February 10.

The LBPH Advisory Committee has formed a subcommittee to investigate the feasibility of forming an LBPH Friends Group.

The Annual Public Library Survey 2005 data was submitted March 1st to the National Center for Education Statistics, which is part of the Census Bureau. For the first time in its 17 year history it was entered and annotated via the web. Connecticut was third in its group of 23 to have its entry accepted. Connecticut’s Public Libraries: A Statistical Profile, July 2004 – June 2005 has been published. It is available online at: If any Board member wishes a paper copy, please contact Data Coordinator Joanne Turschman at or (860) 566-2713.

The State Aid to Public Libraries payments have been computed and are being prepared by the comptroller to release the $347,109 to the 158 libraries who qualified. Each library will receive an average of $2,054.

Middletown Library Service Center (MLSC) and Willimantic Library Service Center (WLSC) staff completed their basic training in the new SirsiDynix Unicorn Library System in February. They are scheduled to go live with this new integrated library system, which will include a web-accessible catalog, in April.

The Connecticut Library Association (CLA) and the Connecticut State Library co-sponsor the Excellence in Public Library Service Awards. This year’s winners who will receive their award at the CLA Conference in May, are: Durham Public Library for Overall Service in a Community of Under 15,000; Terryville Public Library for their Special Needs Play Group; and Ridgefield Library Association for Inspiring Girls and Others in Science. A panel of five judges from outside Connecticut met on February 27, to determine the winners who were chosen from nine nominations. Mary Engels, Director of the Middletown Library Service Center (MLSC), coordinates the award process.

Ms. Engels also coordinates the annual exhibit of library photographs at the Legislative Office Building which will take place from April 3rd to April 13th this year. The exhibit features over 400 photos of libraries from across Connecticut.

The Welcome discussion group for libraries serving multilingual populations met at the Faxon Branch of the West Hartford Library on February 8, to hear Joyce Hamilton Henry from Democracy Works speak on a landmark study that has just been completed on immigration in Connecticut and its implications for libraries. Mary Engels and Steve Cauffman, State-wide Interlibrary Loan Coordinator, facilitate this discussion group.

The State Library received 22 eligible applications for Library Service and Technology (LSTA) grants for the 2006-07 year. The staff is currently reviewing the grants and will submit their recommendations to the State Library Board in May.

In preparation for a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the outsourced portion of the Connecticar statewide delivery service, a survey of libraries was conducted to determine an approximate annual volume of materials being delivered through the system. Libraries were asked to count the items being put out for the service on any day during the week of March 6th. Sixty-six out of 220 libraries responded. They reported 4,485 items or an average of 68 per library. Extrapolated to all 220 libraries that is 14,950 a day or 3.7 million annually! In our original RFP in 2000 we estimated 1.5 million.

,b> Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Plan Workshop
The Connecticut State Library, along with the Connecticut Library Association ADA Committee, is sponsoring an important workshop for all public libraries on how to write an ADA plan. Presented by Rhea Rubin and entitled Nothing About Me without Me: Planning for Library Services to People with Disabilities, the workshop will take participants through a planning process that involves people with disabilities in every step. This approach stresses the importance of libraries developing programs based on issues identified by potential users. The end product of this 2-day workshop will be a written ADA plan for participating libraries.

Douglas Lord, LSTA Program Assistant, authored the cover story for the March 2006 issue of Connecticut Libraries titled “New Britain Kids Get Ready to Read.” This is the latest in a series of articles Doug has written to highlight some best practices from successful LSTA grants. Doug is also a regular book reviewer for Library Journal whose February issue included his 207th review. This issue of Connecticut Libraries also featured a column by Tom Newman, Assistant Director of the MLSC, on the book Tuned Out: Why Americans Under 40 Don’t Follow The News by David T.S. Mindich. Also, Mary Engels and Anita Wilson of the Friends of Connecticut Libraries co-wrote an article titled “April is Friends of the Library Month.”

The February 2006 issue of Connecticut Libraries featured a cover story on the Middletown Library Service Center written on the occasion of the Center’s 50 year anniversary by Mary Engels. Tom Newman also contributed a “Treasures” feature on the State Library’s History and Genealogy Unit and February’s “Spotlight” was on Steve Cauffman, Interlibrary Loan Coordinator for iCONN.

Linda Williams, Children’s Consultant, published two articles on summer reading. “VOYA’s Best High School Summer Reading List, 2005” was featured in the February 2006 issue of VOYA (Voices of Young Adults). Linda is chair of the VOYA Summer Reading List Award Committee that sponsored this award. She also wrote “Summer Reading – Magic!” in the Fall 2005 issue of the ALAN Review which is published by the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the National Council of Teachers of English. Both articles are included in your packet. Linda has become a national voice for quality summer reading programs for schools and libraries. All these articles are included in the Board packet.

Governor’s Summer Reading Challenge Award
The Connecticut State Library and the State Department of Education have announced a Governor’s Summer Reading Challenge Award to honor an outstanding public library – school summer reading partnerships for the summer of 2005. The winner of the award will be honored in a ceremony with the Governor on April 20th at 2:00 p.m. in Memorial Hall of the State Library. Board members are invited to attend this event.

The January 2006 issue of the iCONN Times is available at

Gail Hurley resumed her full-time position as the reQuest Statewide Library Catalog Coordinator on February 17.

A flyer and quick reference guide on the Historical Hartford Courant was mailed to the 400 all historical and genealogical societies in the state as well as to all higher education institutions with history departments. A copy is included in your Board packet. Sharon Clapp also wrote an article in the February newsletter of the Connecticut League of History Organizations “History Comes to Life Through iCONN’s New Hartford Courant Historical Collection”. Information was also featured in the Recent News section of the website.

In order to increase awareness of iCONN among K-12 teachers, we placed a half-page paid advertisement in the newsletters of the Connecticut Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers – Connecticut. These publications are mailed directly to the homes of every public K-12 teacher in Connecticut. We plan to follow that up with a full-page ad on math/science resources in iCONN in their May newsletters.

The net proceeds that will be contributed to the Historical Hartford Courant project from the Love Your Library campaign with Barnes and Noble is $5,319.41.

In response to the state’s bid notification for iCONN Tier I databases, we received four bids: three bids for the general periodical databases and consumer health and four bids for the business databases. An announcement on the bid award is scheduled for the end of March.

Bill Sullivan, iCONN Administrator, gave an overview of iCONN on February 9 to the Standing Advisory Committee of the Board of Governors for Higher Education. The Committee includes university trustees, faculty, administrators, and students, and it meets each month to discuss foundational issues that lead to Board of Governors policy decisions.