Of Librarians and the Patriot Act
Hurricane Katrina's Devastation
Connecticut Library Advocates Honored
The Floods of '55: Aftermath
reQuest - Then and Now
Groundbreaking ceremonies for the Willington Public Library and Essex Public Library
iCONN and UCONN Survey State Residents About Digital Library Awareness
Another Successful Year for iCONN at Durham Fair
October 2005

Of Librarians and the Patriot Act

One of the difficult things in life - and especially in times like these - is to take an unpopular stand. In the debate over certain provisions of the Patriot Act, librarians have been characterized as "hysterical", "unpatriotic", and more. Vocal is more apt. The Patriot Act is a complex, hastily written law that was passed following the horrific events of September 11, 2001. Now a librarian know only as "John Doe" has stepped forward to challenge the gag rule provision of what has become known as the "library provision" or section 215 of the Patriot Act. The ACLU sued the Federal government in Bridgeport. The lawsuit challenges the National Security Letter (NSL) provision of the Patriot Act, which authorizes the FBI to demand a range of personal records without court approval, such as the identity of a person who has visited a particular Web site on a library computer, or who has engaged in anonymous speech on the Internet. Section 215 of the Patriot Act gives law enforcement broad access to any types of records - medical, financial, gun, library, educational, sales, etc., without probable cause of a crime. It also prohibits holders of this information, such as librarians, from disclosing that they have produced such records, under threat of imprisonment. A secret intelligence court in Washington issues the court orders, and judges have little power to deny applications.

As this debate continues I am reminded of the words of two of our founding fathers.

"The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it always to be kept alive." Thomas Jefferson

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Benjamin Franklin

It is important that librarians, library trustees and library friends continue to stay informed and work to insure the privacy of library users in this state and nation.

For two points of view check out:
http://www.lifeandliberty.gov/
http://action.aclu.org/reformthepatriotact/nsl.html

Kendall F. Wiggin, Connecticut State Librarian



Hurricane Katrina's Devastation

Libraries, at least those still standing, along the Gulf Coast and in states where evacuees from Hurricane Katrina have been forced, are doing their part to help those struggling to find federal assistance, information about loved ones, and other critical information. Long lines at library computers attest to the important role libraries can play in times of crisis. Dealing with the personal suffering has been a priority, and rightly so, but as relief efforts move forward, libraries throughout the stricken area will need help in rebuilding and restoring library service. A variety of funds have been set up for those wishing to help libraries, museums and archives cope with the massive tasks ahead of them.

The Flood of 1955 affected some 54 public libraries in Connecticut, none more than Seymour, Putnam, Stafford Springs, and the Waterville Branch Library in Waterbury. The Seymour Public Library was completely demolished leaving only a small pile of debris around the front steps. All of the library's books disappeared without a trace. Yet the librarian, whose own house had suffered much damage, reopened the library in a room of another building. Reports at the time noted that one of the great intangibles was the loss of books out in circulation in flood-stricken homes. One can only imagine what this means in today's devastated Gulf Coast.

This hurricane season and remembrances of the Flood of 1955 serve as reminders that libraries, archives and museums need to take a hard look at their disaster preparedness.
Webjunction's Focus on Disaster Planning and Recovery for Libraries page is a great place to start. http://webjunction.org/do/DisplayContent?id=11514

Kendall F. Wiggin, Connecticut State Librarian


"Governor M. Jodi Rell and members of the Connecticut National Guard aid in the Katrina recovery effort.


"Many flats of drinking water were sent to hurricane stricken areas."


"Many volunteers helped Connecticut government employees manage truck loads of supplies for Katrina relief effort."




Connecticut Library Advocates Honored

In June 2005,the American Library Association and the Association for Library Trustees and Advocates held the Second National Advocacy Honor Roll Banquet in Chicago during the American Library Association's Annual Conference. For the 2005 Honor Roll, each state was invited to select up to three advocates to be honored at the banquet, particularly those who have been active throughout the past five years. For Connecticut, Governor M. Jodi Rell was honored for her leadership in creating the Connecticut Education Network and iCONN, the Connecticut Digital Library. The Friends of Connecticut Libraries was honored for its 25 years of service to the state, the community, and individuals, and for the critical role it plays in library advocacy. The Clementine Lockwood Peterson Foundation was honored for the impact that Mrs. Clementine Lockwood Peterson's $25 million bequest to the Greenwich Library through the Foundation has had on expanding the Library's facilities and services.

The purpose of the National Advocacy Honor Roll is to identify and celebrate those individuals and groups who have actively supported and strengthened library services at the local, state or national levels. The honorees are advocates who have led major initiatives or sustained efforts to enhance library development and/or public awareness. Their accomplishments are noteworthy and provide models for others to expand advocacy efforts.


The Floods of '55: Aftermath

Since Hurricane Katrina brought death and destruction to the Gulf Coast, we have seen many examples of sympathy, support and material relief. People across the country have volunteered to house survivors. In Connecticut, citizens have been bringing bottled water and other vital supplies to National Guard armories for shipment to the devastated area. Celebrities, officials from other nations, and prominent citizens have sent statements of sympathy and raised funds for the recovery. Individuals have donated to the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and other charitable organizations. Television images have spurred on this generosity and the Internet has provided the immediate means to connect to organizations and groups assisting the recovery.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the terrible floods of 1955, one on August 19 and another on October 16. Just as in the case of Hurricane Katrina, people from other nations, from the entire United States, and local businesses and residents offered condolences and assistance. The evidence of this outpouring can be found in the records of Governor Abraham Ribicoff.

Governor Ribicoff did not merely wait in Hartford to hear reports of the damage. He went to flooded communities, viewed the situation, and talked with private citizens as well as community leaders. His message was clear and emphatic. The State would assist in the recovery, and communities could realistically hope for funds for new development. Local people hit hard by the floods would live to see their towns newer and better.

In his records, telegrams and letters in a file labeled, "Offers of Assistance and Sympathy," shows that foreign officials, prominent politicians, businessmen, and ordinary citizens expressed support for those who had lost everything very soon after August 19,which came to be known as "Black Friday." On August 23rd, James Hagerty, Press Secretary to President Dwight D. Eisenhower, sent a telegram to Governor Ribicoff quoting a telegram from Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom. "I am deeply grieved, Mr. President," she started, "to learn of the tragic suffering and havoc in the north eastern states resulting from the hurricane flood. Please express my sincere sympathy and that of my people to the relatives of the victims and to those who have lost their homes." Yilma Deressa, Ambassador of Ethiopia, conveyed Emperor Hallie Salassi's "heartfelt sympathy" in another telegram.

Letters also came on official State letterheads. The Acting Consul-General of the Netherlands stated that his countrymen living in the United States would be proud to extend their help in appreciation for the "magnificent response of the American nation when, a few years ago, a great part of the Netherlands was overrun by the sea." You Chan Yang, the South Korean Ambassador, likewise cited the United States' generosity for "stricken areas of the globe." Semah Cecil Hyman, Consul General for Israel, wrote from New York City that,he had assumed his post on August 19. "It is to my great regret," he wrote, "that to this first communication should have to be added an expression of my deep sorrow for the flood calamity that has befallen the State of Connecticut."

Fellow citizens sent their telegrams and letters. From Rome came a telegram from the new U. S. ambassador to Italy, Connecticut's own Claire Booth Luce, who confidently stated that she knew that Ribicoff would "do all you can for the bereaved and the homeless and to aid the reconstruction of the stricken areas." Luce informed the governor that she had made a "strong appeal here for the contributions to the Red Cross to help the flood victims." George Frankel of Greenwich sent a telegram announcing that he would make a contribution of $25,000 for "whichever agency you designate" out of "deep respect and admiration for your leadership in behalf of all the People of Connecticut." Dexter D. Coffin, owner of the Dexter Mill in Windsor Locks, offered his assistance stating that Ribicoff's leadership was "appreciated by everyone even though some may be on the opposite side of the political fence as I am." Governor Edmund Muskie of Maine encouraged Ribicoff by writing that he had heard "excellent reports of the way you are handling the situation."

"Offers of Sympathy and Assistance" also contains detailed lists of businesses and groups in and outside of Connecticut offering everything from the use of factory machinery and work - stations to storage rooms, from office spaces to services by business professionals at no charge. For instance, John W. Torpey, President of the East Hartford Town Council, offered the use of the town's equipment and personnel. Samuel J. Coppola, Business Manager of Local 478, ABC Operating Engineers, AFL, said that his members would be willing to work "Saturdays, Sundays and nights to operate equipment such as bulldozers, pumps, cranes, etc. in flooded areas of Conn." Glenn M. Hall, Zone Manager, Motorola Corporation in Hartford, said that the state could use "facilities of factory on emergency basis to process and ship by air any base station, mobile or portable radio communication equipment." The General Diaper Service of Orange, Connecticut and International Latex Company of Dover, Delaware proposed to give "unlimited quantities" of these commodities that undoubtedly were in short supply. Not surprisingly, these two companies received acknowledgements from the governor.

We do not know how many of these propositions were accepted and implemented. Connecticut's citizens and those in other states and lands untouched by the floods of '55, nevertheless, responded generously to the worst flood in the history of the Northeast. Given this tradition, it is not surprising to see the outburst of care and charity in 2005.

Mark Jones, State Archivist


reQuest - Then and Now

Connecticut's Statewide Library Catalog - reQuest-has come a long way since the late 1980s. In 1988, CONNLINET awarded money to the Capitol Region Library Council for the production of a CD product to use as an alternate to an online catalog for their system, CircCess. At the same time, the Connecticut State Library was also looking into a CD catalog. The two projects merged and became the basis of a statewide union catalog, later administered by the Connecticut State Library.

Initially, reQuest served as an index to library collections in the state, eventually including the Connecticut Union List of Serials, an index to serials collections. Circulation status information was not available. Early on, libraries requested that the catalog show circulation/shelf status, but the technology just wasn't available to make it happen. Now, with Z39.50 technology, reQuest can connect to online library catalogs that also employ the Z39.50 technology and can display both the item and its shelf status.

A new feature that debuted in mid-June 2005 allows a user to sort libraries holding the desired item by zip code and to rearrange the holding libraries by the mileage from a specific zip code. The home library's zip code is the default but users can change that through the Advanced Search screen or by clicking on the zip code. Now, a user can easily identify the nearest library that has a copy of the item on the shelf.

Since the mid-90s, when the catalog evolved from a CD to an online product, reQuest has offered additional services to libraries through an annual membership. Today, close to 300 libraries are member of request, Participating libraries can use any or all of the following staff functions available in request: PAC Administration, Interlibrary Loan (ILL), and WebCAT.

Interlibrary Loan was part of the original CD product, but libraries had to print the ILL request and send it by mail or fax. Since its inception as an online system, the ILL module has allowed users to initiate and track their ILL requests, and library staff to process requests entirely online. With the recent upgrade, patrons also can now initiate ILL renewal requests online. The newly expanded ILL lending policy allows libraries to provide information about materials they are willing to lend and to activate a timesaving feature so that they receive requests based on their lending policies. Use of the ILL module has grown from a handful of libraries in 1999 to more than 200 in 2005.

WebCAT allows a library to add, delete, and change its holdings information directly in reQuest in real time. In addition, WebCAT lets libraries download MARC records to their local systems, one at a time or in batch, by using an "add to cart" feature similar to online bookstores. reQuest members can also sign up for access to OCLC's Cat Express product at a discount and use it to download records from WorldCat's 58million MARC records. Use of the WebCAT module has grown to almost 200 libraries in 2005, and use of Cat Express has grown from a pilot group of ten libraries in 2001 to nearly 80 in 2005.

Beginning as a basic index to the holdings of 60 libraries, reQuest has grown into a multi-featured system to better serve the needs of users and library staff in Connecticut. For information about contributing records to request or about cataloging services, contact Gail Hurley at ghurley@cslib.org or 860-344-2652. For information about reQuest ILL or about being set up to show shelf status in reQuest, contact Steve Cauffman at scauffman@cslib.org or 860-344-2020. Or call toll free at 1-888-256-1222.

Gail Hurley, Statewide Library Catalog Coordinator
Stephen Cauffman, reQuest Interlibrary Loan Coordinator

Thanks to Connecticut Libraries where an expanded version of this article was first published.


Groundbreaking ceremonies for the Willington Public Library and Essex Public Library

Willington's groundbreaking ceremony on September 7, 2005, was held at the site of the future Willington Public Library's new building that is being constructed on donated property. The library will be moving from a room in the school that serves the public and the school (3,175 square feet) to a new stand-alone building (12,630 square feet), serving the public of 6,000 plus.

Willington received a $500,000 State Public Library Construction Grant, state bonding funds administered by the Connecticut State Library. The total project cost is $3,570,000. The library is aiming to open their new facility in September 2006.

Essex Public Library had a groundbreaking ceremony on September 22, 2005. The library will be expanding from 4,408 square feet to 9,556 square feet with a projected population of 6,790.

The current library lacks a program room, quiet reading space, sufficient shelving space for the collection, and adequate staff work area, all of which will be rectified by the expansion.

Essex Library received a $500,000 State Public Library Construction Grant. The total project cost is $2,400,000. The library is aiming to open in September 2006.

Mary Louise Jensen, Building Consultant


State Comptroller Nancy Wyman at the Willington Public Library groundbreaking.


Essex Public Library groundbreaking ceremony, September 22, 2005


The start of Essex Public Library construction


iCONN and UCONN Survey State Residents About Digital Library Awareness



The Connecticut State Library has contracted with UCONN's Center for Survey Research & Analysis (CSRA) to survey Connecticut residents about their awareness of the Connecticut Digital Library service.

Better known as "iCONN" among librarians and educators in the state, the Connecticut Digital Library includes commercial databases with over 5,000 full-text magazines, newspapers, scholarly journals, and other online resources. iCONN also features a searchable statewide library catalog that accepts online interlibrary loan requests. The service is available on the Web 24/7 at www.iconn.org. Access to the service is free to all Connecticut residents.

iCONN is an initiative that was put forward by then-Lt. Governor M. Jodi Rell in 1999. It is supported by the Connecticut General Assembly, which has allocated funding for the program since its inception in 2001. Since 2001 the resources have been searched over 30 million times by Connecticut residents. Anecdotal evidence, however, suggests that public awareness of the program is low. To establish a baseline of public awareness, UCONN's CSRA will conduct a randomized telephone survey. The short survey will question state residents about their knowledge of iCONN, their perceptions of the project, and their level of public library usage. Beyond awareness, the survey will help iCONN to understand what information the public would be most interested in obtaining from iCONN.
For more information, contact Sharon Clapp, Outreach Coordinator, Connecticut Digital Library, Connecticut State Library (sharon.clapp@ct.gov).

Over the past year the number of searches in iCONN increased 32% to over 11 million. Since the program's inception in 2001, Connecticut residents and students have conducted over 30 million searches in iCONN. Among the most frequently used databases, each registering well over two million searches, are: iCONN Newspapers; Discovering Collection (for middle schools and up); Health and Wellness Resource Center; InfoTrac OneFile; Expanded Academic Plus and Academic Universe (for colleges); and Kids InfoBits (for elementary schools ).

Today iCONN provides an extensive set of information resources available for all its citizens at www.iconn.org. Log onto iCONN to find magazine articles, reference books, newspaper articles, images, and more. iCONN serves a variety of needs including student homework, business and consumer health research, and genealogy. Magazine and newspaper databases targeting different age groups and needs make iCONN a valuable and useful resource for students of all ages from kindergarten through college as well as for the general public. Among the resources are the full-text of The Hartford Courant back to 1992, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and biography, science, and history databases. There also are dictionaries and encyclopedias, subject guides to Internet resources, and a statewide catalog of library holdings. In addition to using iCONN at school and at the public library, students, parents and teachers may access the databases from a home computer with Internet access using their public library card number.

The Connecticut State Library administers the Digital Library in conjunction with the Department of Higher Education.


Another Successful Year for iCONN at Durham Fair

"Fair weather" was more the rule than the exception for the 86th Durham Fair. Whether it was good weather, great events, or the fair food that lured them, iCONN was there for over 220,000 people.

Connecticut State Library staff, with the help of volunteers from libraries throughout the state, publicized the Connecticut Digital Library all weekend. The iCONN booth attracted visitors who wanted to hear about the free online databases and statewide library catalog -- or at least get an iCONN balloon. Most people spent long enough at the booth to learn the basic details about iCONN, and many asked questions. A few had already heard about the service and simply wanted literature to bring home for themselves, family members, and friends.

However, many Connecticut residents had never heard of iCONN. Booth visitors were thrilled to learn that the service was free and accessible from home. Besides the usual "wow" and "cool" comments from all ages, booth volunteers also heard students' stories about using iCONN at school.

Lots of parents were relieved to learn there were places they could safely send their children for research resources online. Other visitors were simply pleased to hear that their tax dollars were being used to provide online information resources to all schools, libraries, and academic institutions in the state. "The state got it right," one man said - in reference to iCONN - once he learned about the project. Another said, "Thank you. That's probably the best thing I've seen here today."

Several dedicated iCONN users told booth workers they "use it all the time" and "love it!" They dropped by the booth to express their gratitude for the service. Genealogists appreciated library databases, librarian training that supported their efforts and HeritageQuest which they accessed through iCONN. Several others asked whether iCONN included op-ed's from the The New York Times, for which the Times now charges a fee. We answered "yes!" While booth workers met some card-carrying library patrons, lots of people told them they didn't have a library card. Booth workers encouraged them to get or renew their cards.

In sum, the iCONN booth was a hit and so were the free iCONN balloons. The balloons put smiles on many childrens faces, while booth workers talked to their parents about the resources available online via iCONN. The sea of iCONN balloons floating above the crowded midway led some to stop by for balloons for their own children. Free caramels were also a big hit. Even without those incentives, plenty of visitors were enticed by the lure of free online resources and came over for flyers, bookmarks, and refrigerator magnets promoting iCONN.

Sharon Clapp, iCONN outreach coordinator


iCONN booth at the Durham Fair


Steve Cauffan explaining iCONN


Exhibit Hall at the Durham Fair


Grounds overlooking the Durham Fair






The CONNector Editorial Board
Kendall F. Wiggin, State Librarian


 
Editor: Bonnie Delaney

Library Specialist: Hilary Frye

State Archivist: Mark Jones

Administrator,CT Digital
Library:
William Sullivan

Director, Library for the Blind
and Physically Handicapped:
Carol Taylor

Curator, Museum of CT History: David Corrigan

Reviewer: Sheila Mosman

Newsletter Production: Ellen Morrison

Connecticut State Library 231 Capitol Avenue Hartford, Connecticut 06106
 
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