Connecticut State Library with state seal

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State Librarian's Report

May 15, 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

May 15, 2006 meeting of the Board, covers the period of March 28, 2006, through May 14, 2006.



Attached to this report.



Vacancies (State Funded)


Library Technical Assistant -  Part-time (Collections) Recruitment in process.

(reclass from Office Assistant)


Administrative Assistant –  Full-time (Public Records) Recruitment in process.


Vacancies (Federal Funds)


Librarian 2 Part-Time  (Public Records) Recruitment in process.


Positions Filled Since Last Report


Fiscal Administrative Assistant  - Full Time (Fiscal)






Legislative Session

At the time this report is being written the Legislature has passed a budget that includes a $300,000 increase in the funding for the Connecticard Program bringing the total for the program next year to $976,028, a nearly 45% increase. Even though the Appropriations Committee had originally recommended a 100% increase, this is a great start toward our longer term goal of $4.9 million for the program.  The Library community has done a great job to get this increase in the final budget.   The budget also includes a new position for the Archives beginning in the later part of the next fiscal year.  


Unfortunately, efforts to get the revisions to the library statutes passed this session have not been successful.  Senate Bill 630 did get a hearing, but from what we were able to gather, there was opposition to the sections dealing with overdue library materials. Revisions were put forth from this office, but were not acted upon.  It will be important to get out in front of this proposal next year.


Business Office Relocation

The Department of Public Works has relocated the State Library’s business office from 18-20 Trinity Street to the Department of Environmental Protection building at 79 Elm Street.  The Ethics Commission is located in 18-20 Trinity and because of the substantial increase in staff to handle its increased responsibilities, the Department of Public Works decided to have the Ethics Commission stay at 18-20 Trinity and to expand them into the space occupied by the State Library. 11 employees were relocated to Elm Street and one to 231 Capitol Avenue.  Staff are to be complimented for the professional way in which they handled this unexpected move.


Succession Planning

There has been much written in the past few years on the pending retirement of the baby boom generation from government service.  Libraries across the state and nation are bracing for large scale retirement as well.  Since a large number of State Library employees will be eligible to retire over the next 5-10 years, we have taken the first steps in developing a succession plan.  Key to any succession plan will be identifying services (present and future), needed skill sets, understanding the fiscal climate, planning for recruitment of new and retention of current employees.  



Accomplishments/Division News
A flyer that announces our new Wi-Fi capability is now available in all reference areas. Reference staff have noted customer satisfaction with the Wi-Fi capability, as well as with other items such as the new electronic products access, including the Sanborn maps, and the Hartford Courant online ProQuest database.


An article written by Fred Hesketh about the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped appeared in the Rocky Hill Post newspaper on March 10. 


The Index to Special Acts, 1944-1969, compiled by Law/Legislative Indexer Cheryl Fox, has been published. It will be distributed to the trial court libraries and state agencies and will be sold to others for $50.00 to recover the printing costs.

Federal Document Librarian Nancy Peluso has brought attention to state documents that represent “hidden” historical and genealogical treasures. Examples include CT Historical Commission publications about bridges, tunnels and state armories. Ms. Peluso has submitted a proposal to present a session on genealogical information contained in Federal, State, and local documents at the 2007 New England Regional Genealogical Conference, to be held at the Connecticut Convention Center.

The LibQual survey was extended by one week to end on April 15. We expect to receive the compiled statistical results from the Association of Research Libraries in a few weeks. Over 250 responses were received with comments from about half of them.


The Hartford Courant digitization project discovered that some of the images on the microfilm were too poor to be satisfactorily digitized from the microfilm. Since CSL is the holder of the largest number of existing original issues, staff from Crowley Micrographics came here for five days to create digital images from our originals.  Some issues owned by the Connecticut Historical Society were brought here for digitization, as well.



History & Genealogy Office Assistant Kevin Johnson gave ‘William Webb’ presentations to school and historical groups in East Hartford, Hamden, Hartford, and New Canaan, and to the LBPH staff.


Mr. Johnson gave ‘Jordan Freeman’ presentations in Manchester and Plainville and to CSL staff at 231 Capitol Ave.


The Library will host an Open House on June 10, as part of an annual event sponsored by the Commission on Culture and Tourism to encourage Connecticut residents to connect with cultural treasures throughout the state. Staff will greet visitors, hand out Frisbees and informational items, serve refreshments, and provide tours. The LBPH and other parts of the agency will have displays in the lobby. Mr. Johnson will do a ‘William Webb’ presentation.  The goal is to have people enjoy their visit and want to return.


2005 Governor's Summer Reading Challenge Partnership Awards

On April 20th Governor M. Jodi Rell presented awards to honor outstanding public library – school summer reading partnerships.  The awards ceremony took place in Memorial Hall at the State Library.  The 2005 honorees for the Outstanding Public Library School Partnership was the E.C. Scranton Memorial Library and the Madison Public Schools.  Awards of Merit were also presented to the Canton Public Library and the Canton Public Schools; the Cora J. Belden Library and the Rocky Hill Public Schools; Essex Library Association, Ivoryton Library Association, Essex Elementary School and the Essex Elementary School PTO; the Lucy Robbins Welles Library and the Newington Public Schools and the Simsbury Public Library and the Simsbury Public Schools.  . Governor Rell stressed that reading for pleasure is one of the most important activities young people can undertake – and summer is a great time to enjoy it to the fullest.  “We have often said that reading is the most important academic skill of all, but it really goes beyond success in school,” Governor Rell said.  “Reading is a key to success in life itself.”  Also participating in the ceremony was Kendall Wiggin and Betty Sternberg, Commissioner of the Department of Education. 


Douglas Lord authored an article New Britain Kids Get Ready To Read in the March issue of Connecticut Libraries.


The Division of Library Development, in conjunction with the Connecticut Library Association American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) Committee, sponsored the first of a two part workshop on writing an ADA plan for libraries, entitled Nothing About Me Without Me on April 5th at the Middletown Library Service Center.  The workshop presenter was Rhea Joyce Rubin, author of the book Planning for Library Services to People with Disabilities.  Attendees will return for the second part of the workshop on July 19th


Rhea Rubin presented Are We Making A Difference? An Introduction to Outcome Based Evaluation on April 4th at the Middletown Library Service Center.  Ms. Rubin is a nationally recognized expert on the topic of Outcomes Measurement and has just recently published Demonstrating Results: Using Outcome Measurement in Your Library for the Public Library Association. 


On April 18th the Middletown and Willimantic Service Centers went live with their new circulation system and public access catalog.  Service Center patrons may now access our catalog online, place holds on materials via the catalog, view what they have checked out and renew materials online.  You may view our online catalog by going to: 


The Friends of Connecticut Libraries sponsored Sharing Among Friends sessions on April 22 at the Cragin Library in Colchester, April 26 at the Farmington Library and April 27 at the Case Memorial Library in Orange.  Each session gave members of local Friends groups the opportunity to share information and ideas on topics of interest with one another. 


The Friends of Connecticut Libraries announce the following winners of their 2006 Outstanding Friends Awards. 

  • Friends Group – Less then 10,000 – Friends of the Deep River Public Library
  • Friends Group – 10,000 to 25,000 – Friends of the Simsbury Public Library
  • Friends Group – Over 25,000 – Friends of the Norwalk Library System
  • Individual Achievement – 10,000 to 25,000  - Phyllis Kaercher, North Haven
  • Individual Achievement – Over 25,000 – Jane Sjoman, Wethersfield
  • Focused Project – Less than 10,000 – Friends of the Babcock Library, Ashford
  • Focused Project – 10,000 to 25,000 – Friends of the Plainville Public Library
  • Focused Project – Over 25,000 – Friends of the Meriden Public Library

Winners will be honored at the Friends of Connecticut Libraries Annual Meeting on June 3rd at the Hamden Library.  Featured speaker will be Anne Farrow, Champion, Friends of Libraries Month.


Linda Williams attended the Collaborative Summer Library Program Conference in Princeton, New Jersey.  The Collaborative, now composed of 41 states, completed the yearly process of working out agreements with the vendor, RFPs, theme decisions, slogans, copy and artwork around the Library Summer Reading Program.  Next summer’s reading theme will be Get A Clue @ Your Library.


Connecticar - Busier than ever!

The State Library recently conducted a quick online survey to determine the volume that is sent out on the Ccar system each year.  We knew the system was popular but were very surprised by the results.  The survey indicated that approximately 15,000 items are sent out each day.  That works out to over 3.5 million items a year!  The survey was conducted for the issuing of an RFP for the contract to provide delivery to 120 of the 219 libraries receiving Ccar delivery.  The RFP is due on May 1st.  The current contract with BeavEx expires on June 30th.



2006 marks the fifth anniversary of iCONN.  Our calculations indicate that schools, libraries and colleges save more than $20,000,000 annually from what they would have to pay individually for the databases that iCONN provides.  Using this figure iCONN has saved them $100 million in its first five years!


iCONN completed the bid process in which vendors were invited to submit bids in any or all of three categories of our core databases:  General Periodicals, Health Information, and Business Information.  The bid for all three categories was awarded to our current vendor, Thomson Gale.  As a result, iCONN will continue to offer all the Thomson Gale InfoTrac databases that we currently offer, as well as the Health and Business & Company Resource Centers.  The Thomson Gale proposal also included the five multi-volume electronic reference books:


In order to increase public awareness of iCONN, iCONN placed ads in The Hartford Courant (240,000 subscribers) on April 13, 2006 and on April 27, 2006, and reserved space for ads in Connecticut Magazine (91,000 subscribers) in its May, September and November issues.  A copy of the Hartford Courant ad is included in the Board packet.  In addition, an article on the Historical Hartford Courant appeared in the Courant on April 12, 2006.  This article is linked from the iCONN site at


The Connecticut Digital Library Advisory Board (CDLAB) endorsed Robin Dutcher, an advanced placement sophomore at Middletown High School, to join the CDLAB in the category of student, school or college.  Ms. Dutcher is the first student to join the Board.  This is subject to the approval of the State Library Board.



Mary Louise Jensen coordinated the Libratect Seminar, a workshop sponsored by the Connecticut State Library and Fairfield Library, which was attended by architects, librarians, and library board members, and was held at the Fairfield Library on April 27th.  She also coordinated Designing Fairfield Public Library’s Children’s Room, a workshop sponsored by the Connecticut State Library and Fairfield Library, which dealt with the unique interactive children’s room.  This is truly an interactive library broken up into "neighborhoods" that are planned according to a child's age. Each neighborhood has space and furnishings scaled appropriately to a child's age and size.  For more information tour the children's library at



The grant program staff, assisted by state archives staff, prepared and presented two half day sessions on Competitive Grant training at the Van Block facility to 45 town clerks. Grant training is required for eligible towns interested in applying for a competitive grant.  Items discussed included choosing and designing a project, setting goals and objectives, developing a timetable and budget, the review process, and the administrative requirements in completing a successful application.  


Eunice DiBella participated in a three person panel at a half day workshop sponsored by the Connecticut Chapter of the Association of Records Managers and Administrators (ARMA) International on February 28, 2006.  The topic of the workshop was “Business Interruption and Continuity-Disaster Recovery” and was held at the Courtyard by Marriott in Cromwell, CT. Eunice focused on records disasters over the past 20 years in Connecticut.



Meetings and Outreach

On January 26th, Kathy Makover made a site visit to the Windsor Town Clerk’s Office and met with Windsor’s newly appointed town clerk.  Ms. Makover reviewed the grant projects completed over the last five years, including the restoration of land maps, conservation and microfilming of vital records, and electronic scanning and indexing of town minutes.  She discussed the clerk’s plans for her upcoming competitive grant application and received a demonstration of the software to be used for the project.


On March 15th, Eunice DiBella, LeAnn Johnson and Kathy Makover visited the Wethersfield Town Hall to review the town’s proposed vault renovations, temporary storage space for vault records, and new records storage room.  They met with the town’s engineers, building coordinator, town clerk, and architect, and sent a follow-up report detailing the Public Records Administrator’s requirements.  The staff also met with the town clerk and her records management consultant regarding a potential grant project and sent additional information to assist their project planning.


On April 10th, the grant staff attended a meeting of the Connecticut State Historical Records Advisory Board and presented nine competitive grants to board members for their review. Staff gave the board an orientation to the grant review process and answered questions. Board members have agreed to act as independent reviewers for the Competitive Grant program. State Archivist Mark Jones chaired the meeting.


Public records staff participated in meetings with several agencies to discuss various records retention /management issues, and to update or revise records retention schedules. Agencies include Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Mental Retardation, Office of State Ethics, Department of Public Health and the Connecticut Development Authority. In preparation for the move from 18-20 Trinity Street to their new office space located at 79 Elm Street, public records staff have been working with staff in the fiscal and human resources areas to aid in the preparation of records disposal requests and in the transfer of records to the State Records Center.


Archival Consultant Lizette Pelletier has begun analyzing the state and municipal general retention schedules in order to update the state schedules and create a master schedule in electronic format. This will enable us to create a searchable index to all of the records series titles contained in these schedules.


Mark Jones served as a judge in the State Competition of Connecticut History Day held at the Connecticut Historical Society Museum.  The theme for this year was “Taking a Stand in History.”