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Testimonials
A service of the Connecticut State Library and your local library

This testimonials site documents (with permission) comments that we receive from librarians, teachers and patrons that illustrate how iCONN resources are being used and their value -- in the classroom, for professional development, or by library patrons in general. We encourage teachers to comment on the impact iCONN has had on learning and teaching. Please send your comments to: William.F.Sullivan@ct.gov. Comments may be edited for brevity or clarity. Thank you for your assistance.

From High Schools, From Middle Schools, From Elementary Schools, From Public Libraries, From Academic Libraries, From Special Libraries


From High Schools 

From Kristie McGarry, Library Media Specialist, Derby High School:

 …iConn resources have been such an amazing supplement for our students here this year. We really appreciate all that you do to keep this going for our students here in CT! We are a great example of a small town that really needs this supplement.

From Pat Gherlone, Teacher, North Haven:

Thank you Connecticut for having such a resource for each and every citizen.

From Thomas Vaghini, Stafford High School:

iCONN resources have been invaluable for the students in my district. The funding my library receives is inadequate to meet the level of quality credible content that iCONN provides for our students. Databases are the ultimate 21st century information sources. They provide large quantities of current, credible and comprehensive information. Having so many available allows us to develop the skills necessary to develop students into discerning information consumers. They are (currently) accessible thanks to ICONN services and they are the first place I send my students when they start research on most topics.

From Nancy Florio, Library Director, Canterbury School, New Milford:

I just wanted to let you know that access to the databases through ICONN has had a tremendously positive impact on the quality of information our students now use for their studies and research projects. We are especially loving the eBooks available through the Gale Virtual Reference Library! Keep up the good work!

From Sarah Ludwig, Academic Technology Coordinator, Hamden Hall Country Day School, Hamden:

Thank you so much for access to iCONN. We use it all the time with our students - don't know how we could do it without you.

From Nikki Giangreco, Library Media Specialist, Westbrook High School:

Without iCONN, students and faculty/staff in high schools across the state will be without a plethora of resources that are beneficial to curriculum, class work, homework, etc. I want to ensure that our students have continual access to these valuable resources.

From Julia Roberts, Library Media Specialist, Staples High School, Westport:

I have been a library media specialist in both a priority district (middle and high school levels) and in an affluent district. I can attest that the difference in resources is vast. In the priority district iCONN was essential for most research. In the more affluent district we have the multiple benefits of iCONN along with other individual databases to which we can subscribe. Currently, I can see that this is inequitable. If iCONN is no longer available, that priority district will have to rely on search engines which simply do not provide the ease and reliability of databases. Those students will be left further behind. The resulting inequity would be a moral and educational issue.

Bill Derry, Coordinator of Information & Technology Literacy, Curriculum Center, Westport:

Losing iCONN would mean a severe and drastic decrease in the amount of quality information available to students and teachers for research. We have come to rely on iCONN as a very important and reliable source of digital information. Given where we are in the budget cycle and the current economic situation, there is no way that we will be able to replace these resources.

Sara Whalen, Library Media Specialist, Hamden High School Media Center, Hamden:

We subscribe to several excellent online databases; however, since we have been using Gale Virtual Library, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of students using databases for research. This tool is easy to use and provides reliable and credible information which students can access on site or at home. We've tried to secure funding, but it simply costs too much for our library. On behalf of my students, thank you for providing this service.

Jeri Hurd, Library Media and Technology Specialist, King & Low-Heywood Thomas School, Stamford:

While we use iCONN for all the usual research-related activities, I especially appreciate the AP Photos database. Our students create several image-based digital projects throughout the year (including video documentaries) and AP Photos is our go-to source for copyright friendly current and historical images. We especially appreciate the access to AP graphs/charts, which not only add great information, but also a professional look.

From Joan Nagy, Simsbury High School Library Media Center and Simsbury Public Library:

I have referred countless friends, relatives, library patrons, and even strangers to iCONN. When people find out what is available to them, they are amazed! I personally have been researching Tariffville (Simsbury) history as reported in the historical Hartford Courant. My children also use it for their school work. I am so thankful to live in a state that understands the value of information!

From Lynn Fontana, Team Leader, Trumbull High School:

Our students and teachers use ICONNregularly. The school saves more than $7,000 yearly b/c we have this site. For the state to cut now after schools have become dependent, is a horrible injustice. Education is supposed to be very important in this state!

Janet Roche, Library Media Specialist, Simsbury High School:

The sources for CAPT can be divided into literary, informational and persuasive. Literary sources include short stories, letters, speeches, and personal essays. Informational sources include reference articles, news stories, pamphlets, brochures, government documents, essays, magazine articles, editorials, and consumer material. Persuasive sources are essays, political speeches, political cartoons, and newspaper articles.

iCONN contains information from the types of sources used in the CAPT test. iCONN contains magazines, newspapers and journals. In addition to these sources, iCONN also contains information from the other types of sources used in the CAPT test. For example, a search for information about the U.S. Civil War in the Discovering Collection results in an excerpt from a diary of a prisoner in Andersonville, speech from the chief of the Cherokee nation, a report written by a confederate blockade runner and a poster urging African Americans to join the Union Army.

The types of sources used in the CAPT test are also available in print form in many school libraries. However, Simsbury High School Library has stopped subscribing to many magazines and journals since these sources are available through iCONN.

Further, information in electronic format is easier to access. Even if Simsbury High School Library had a print copy of a diary or letter from a prisoner of war, the student would not find the diary or letter as easily as he/she would find it in iCONN.

Patricia LaRochelle, English Teacher, Bolton High School:

I find iCONN to be an extremely valuable tool in teaching English literature. It is a wonderful resource.

From Roselle Weiner, Coordinator LRC-Library Services, American School for the Deaf (PreK - Grade 12), West Hartford :

InfoTrac, Discovering Collection and Wilson Biography have given our students access to information they would not have had in a more user friendly environment.

Our students often need assistance evaluating the information they have. Having the access on our campus allows their teachers to actively explain how the information pertains to their research projects in the students' home language - American Sign Language.

We could not provide this access with our relatively small periodicals budget.

From Joan Warren, Library Media Center, Montville High School:

iCONN.org has been an excellent resources for all four grade levels and almost all subjects. Discovering Collection and Wilson Biography have been the most heavily used in our English and Social Studies departments because the biographies are inclusive, accurate and have a clear picture of the subject.

Our Forensics class has found information for their independent projects on Infotrac which was unavailable at our independently purchased science source site. Having the choice of full-text as well as citations lets students reach well beyond our own library. Two of our English teachers have students using "What do I read next" to help with their book selection. I hope that is updated often.

Keep that resource coming!

From Karen Fecko, Glastonbury High School:

Mary Metheny and I want to report that we've been having great success in using iCONN with the classes we teach here at Glastonbury High School.

Up until this year, we have struggled to find good literary criticism for our American Literature classes. We had tried Gale's coverage last year and had not been very satisfied with it. But their new format has made it so much easier to locate good readable materials for our students. Because of space and money constraints, we gave up buying many of the Gale publications in hard copy years ago. So I can't even begin to estimate the money this iCONN database alone is saving us. So far 8 sections of our Lit classes have been introduced to the Discovering collection, and the word is spreading to our other English teachers. If all of our teachers brought classes in to use it, we have the potential of roughly 46 sections (average of 20 students per class) of Literature classes that could benefit.

Mary uses the Hartford Courant regularly with the social studies classes.

I have used Wilson Biographies with a number of classes, and Mary will be introducing it to all of our juniors (approx. 450 students) when they begin research on their U. S. history papers next semester.

On a less positive note, we use Infotrac very little because, compared to EBSCO, it is far less useful. I have found that it provides fewer hits, many of which are not relevant, and it is more confusing to use. Fortunately, we can afford to buy the EBSCO database, but if we were facing budget cuts, I would not give up EBSCO to use Infotrac.

In view of the budget cuts that iCONN is facing, our library media center and our curriculum would be seriously impacted if we were to lose access to the Discovering collection, the Hartford Courant and Wilson Biographies.

From Janet Leonberger, Hall High School, West Hartford:

Just a note to let you know that we are making good use of iCONN already here at Hall HS in W. Hartford. Last Weds. night (Oct. 17), we "taught" it to parents at the annual Open House, emphasizing the curriculum links and the "at home" uses for families. We have printed bookmarks which include iCONN's web address, along with others we use here. We are also using it regularly in our teaching. One example: our Freshman Orientation, a 2-day instruction/quiz component of the English curriculum, includes 2 iCONN sites in the "4 Basic Tools for Research" that we cover: 1) reQuest, for finding resources outside our library (we cover scoped searches) and 2) Wilson Biographies. We also introduce the other resources, which has paid good dividends: the teachers of the Freshmen are finding resources in the other databases which they are assigning to their other classes! Thanks for the resources.

From Middle Schools 

From Valerie DiLorenzo, Librarian, Rumsey Hall School, Washington Depot, CT:

I've been plugging iCONN at Rumsey every chance I get. I've already showed many Rumsey teachers and their students how to use various iCONN databases, including E-Reference books. Students/teachers might even be enjoying using iCONN!

From John Horrigan, Library media Specialist, Coleytown Middle School, Westport:

The iCONN resources are an invaluable resource for the citizens of Connecticut. Students at my school have 24/7 access to a much wider variety of resources than we would ever be able to afford. I can't imagine our school library without access to this rich resource. Keep iCONN and all of its wonderful databases.

From Marla Miner, Paraprofessional to the RHAM Middle School Library/Media Center, Hebron, Ct:

I strongly encourage my own children as well as the students I assist at school and at a teen center, to browse and use this intelligent and necessary site. Thank you.

From Mary Beth Applegate, Technology Coordinator, Holy Trinity School, Wallingford:

My 7th grade students have been given an assignment to research the town of Wallingford in the early 1900’s. I wanted the class to begin its research in the technology lab. After extensive searching, I found that the only applicable information is on the iCONN site, under the "Historical Hartford Courant" which has every newspaper article about Wallingford, from 1900 to 1926, which was printed in the Hartford Courant. Thank you for providing such a wonderful research tool.

From Leslie Poulos, Library Media Specialist, East Hartford Middle School:

Because of the school's limited library budget, East Hartford Middle School students were often limited in terms of using periodicals and current encylopedias (we have not replaced ours since 1995). We were grateful to hear about the CT Digital Library because it has proven an invaluable research tool. All teachers and administrators have been trained to use it (as of November) and students have been taught as they have come in to use it for various projects. At East Hartford Middle School, we have used iconn.org in many ways:

  1. Two classes have researched authors using Wilson's Biographies Plus. For the last two years, reading and English teachers have wanted to assign an author research project but did not because we could not afford to keep up our Contemporary Authors print subscription. Other teachers have signed up to use the computer lab to complete the same project in the future.
  2. ESL classes used Infotrak to research states for state reports.
  3. Science Classes used Infotrak Junior (periodicals and encyclopedias) to research birds as part of an "Invent a Bird" creative project.
  4. Gifted and Talented English classes used periodicals from Infotrak to prepare for debates on controversial topics.
  5. Social Studies classes used Wilson's Biographies Plus to research famous people associated with the Civil War.
  6. Reading classes have used the What do I Read Next database to create personalized pleasure reading lists.
  7. Reading and English teachers have used What Do I Read Next to find lists of fiction books on particular topics (civil war, immigration, Japan, etc) so they can give students lists of good books related to units of study.
  8. Teachers have researched topics for graduate research projects/classes using the Professional Collection.
  9. Newsletters sent home encourage parents to use this resource as a first step in helping students with research assignments.

Low-income districts with limited resources need iconn.org!

From Joann K. Barthelmess, Library Media Specialist, Swift Middle School, Oakville:

I have introduced my students and some staff to the wonders of iCONN. I teach 7th and 8th grade library media skills classes at Swift Middle School in Oakville. All 8th grade classes are introduced to the Infotrack junior portion of the database as a tool for researching their specific topic.

We have iCONN bookmarked on our iMacs in the Internet Cafe in the school library and on the Mobile Lab iMac lab.

In class I routinely go over the basic uses of the digital database and require use of it in a small research project that we do. Then as I collaborate with teachers on individual research projects I strongly suggest that students start at iCONN before doing a search on the internet.

This has been a Godsend especially in the poor budget climate we are in here in Watertown/ Oakville. I no longer have to pay for the SuperTom site subscription as well as being able to cut back on subscriptions to publications. IConn has provided us with most of the databases we need at this level. I hope there's more to come. Thanks for the support, we feel it here at Swift.

From Elementary Schools 

From Mary Tichey-Staack, Library Media Specialist, Branchville Elementary School, Ridgefield:

iCONN is a wonderful resource for upper elementary students. We have used the kidsinfo bits, the biography resource center and especially the newspapers database in research projects throughout the school year. Our students have richer learning and research experiences with this online and all the time available website.

From Chris Blaszczynski, Computer Literacy Teacher, High Horizons Magnet School:

I have to say, I am so impressed with both the research databases and the "Other Useful Resources" links that were provided. It will be very helpful to both my students and me!!

From Margie Jones, Media Specialist, South Street Elementary School, Danbury:

Although I have only worked as an elementary school library media specialist for a year and a half, already I am one of iCONN's greatest fans! When I showed the staff at my elementary school the difference between having a student google a famous baseball player versus searching for age-appropriate, vetted information for him from an iCONN database, they were amazed! I explained that these databases, while free, were priceless in terms of connecting our students to authoritative information on the Internet. In this era of dwindling budgets, when the cost of a new set of encyclopedias is prohibitive, it is wonderful to have a resource like iCONN to which we can direct our students.

From Jeanne Z. Lawrence, Jepson Elementary School, New Haven:

You are doing a GREAT job! Thank you. This is a valuable and accurate resource.

From Andy Geremia, a parent:

What a fantastic free resource! Thank you to all involved for making this resource available to library card holders.It is perfect the way the resources are broken down by school ages. It took 1 minute to find an age appropriate article on seals for my 2nd grader. Similar attempts using search engines like Google took fivetimes as long.

From Susan Casavina, Norton School, Cheshire:

The more I use it, the more amazed I am at the wealth of information available. I'm planning lessons on using it with all of my 4th, 5th, and 6th grade classes and staff. I still prefer SIRS to Infotrac, but it is another periodical resource and available at home for all of our students with email capabilities and a library card. Kudos to the state.

From Joe Viola, Milner Elementary School, Hartford:

My students and faculty use iconn.org everyday for research projects related to classroom instruction as well as graduate courses teachers are taking. It has made me appear to be the master library media specialist and I thank Connecticut for it each time we access the site. I even created a shortcut route with a desktop icon as this is a very neccessary tool for learning and teaching.

From Jill Dailey, Duffy Elementary School, West Hartford:

Intermediate classes are at a point at Duffy where they are using iCONN InfoTrac Kids Edition regularly. Teachers and students are impressed with the non-fiction hits related to many research projects right now. Also, I am presenting a "Computer Chat" session featuring iCONN with many of the staff tomorrow morning. Last, I highlighted iCONN in my Library Media Center Monthly column, and parents have been commenting as well. I know a great deal of discussion has already taken place for this year's budget etc., but as the issue arises in the future I finally (as a new LMS) have some specific experiences to add in support of a great resource.

From Ann Gargula, Webster Hill Elementary School, West Hartford:

At Thanksgiving, my brother-in-law asked if he could use my computer to show my nephew about iCONN. My brother-in-law is working on his PhD and uses iCONN extensively. My nephew, a senior in high school, was working on a paper and had hit a road block. Right there in the middle of our Thanksgiving celebration, family members are using iCONN. To top it off, my sister teaches fourth grade and had never heard of it -- she was wrestling the computer away from the guys because she was very excited about the possibilities for her students.

From Public Libraries 

From Shari Ifrach, patron:

I love iconn.org and use it often. I love sharing it often with colleagues and everyone including my college son.

From Dr. Peter Kramer, patron:

I just want to say that iCONN is a most valuable resource. It brings information to my desktop that I would not have access to unless I had an expensive subscription to an information aggregator. iCONN definitely increases the value of a CT library card, indeed it is the most valuable resource available through my library card (more valuable to me than the local library itself).

From David Reilly, patron:

I can't think of any way to improve iconn. Works as smooth as silk.

From Tiffany Cunningham, patron:

iCONN is fantastic! Thank you!...This web site has been so useful, and I'm thrilled with it.

From Lisa Sargent, patron, Stafford Library:

Just wanted to let you know how much our family values iCONN. Our local library in Stafford, though wonderful, doesn't always have the books we want ... but nine times out of ten, iCONN does! Often the books I'm requesting are semi-obscure titles on fundraising and business marketing. iCONN always finds them. A gem of a resource that every CT resident should know about. Thanks for providing.

Michael C. Dooling, patron, Middlebury Public Library:

I have sent the following to Middlebury and Milford legislators in support of iCONN.org:

Did you know that Milford, Connecticut was nicknamed "Sleepy Hollow" in the 19th century? And that the Whig Young Men of Connecticut proudly displayed that nickname on a banner at a political rally in Hartford in 1840? Or that Jesse Merwin, who was born and raised in Milford, lived in Tarrytown and was good friends of Washington Irving? And that he was the inspiration for Irving's character Ichabod Crane in his Legend of Sleepy Hollow? Neither did I.until recently. Important aspects of these all these associations lay buried for many years in old newspapers and have been nearly impossible to find until the past few years. Since the Hartford Courant, Boston Globe and New York Times and other newspapers were digitized and made searchable online historical information, once almost unobtainable, is now within easy reach through iCONN.org, our state's sophisticated portal to digital information.

I am an historical writer and an almost daily user of the resources made available through iCONN.org. I am the author of two books on Milford history - An Historical Account of Charles Island (2006) and Milford Lost & Found (to be published September, 2009). In both these books I make copious use of information from the digitized newspapers and periodicals made available through iCONN.org. I am currently writing another book - about several unsolved crimes in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont. One of these crimes is the oldest cold case in Connecticut. I have used the digitized newspapers to search for other crimes that have similar characteristics to the ones of interest to look for possible relationships. These resources have been invaluable for my research on all three books.

I understand the digitized newspapers and other such resources provided by iCONN.org are in jeopardy due to budget cuts at the state level. This would have a major impact, not only on me personally, but on all the other historians around the state who make use of these resources. Searchable, digitized newspapers and periodicals may not be understood as being important by individuals who don't use them but there is a large and growing number of historians, genealogists, and students who need and use this vast amount of information. Up until recently, microfilm was the only way to obtain this information but if the researcher didn't have a specific date of an event, he or she could spend a lifetime spinning their wheels at a microfilm reader looking for information that is now available in a matter of seconds. Please consider re-instituting the budget for all digitized materials through iCONN.org. Eliminating these resources would be a huge step backward in terms of information retrieval.

From Stephen Taylor, a patron:

My improvement is simple; don't let this service, or those related, disappear due to tax cuts. I've just finished reading an article in The Granby News stating that this is a real possibility. It says that Granby residents used this service some 3000 times last year; at least 10 of these were me. This service is valuable to me & I, for one, would be willing to pay for it.
I hope that you or the State are looking at the options of fees, pay for service, using book rate postal service paid by the patron, etc. to maintain some or all of your services, especially the data base as I often will drive to a library to pick up a book I find thru iCONN. I recently took up blacksmithing for a hobby and one highly recommended book was available in just 2 state libraries. I would have driven to get them but never would have found them w/o iCONN.

From Patricia M. Corless, Assistant Program Coordinator, Connecticut Clearinghouse:

The iCONN database has continually proven to be a valuable asset for the patrons served by Connecticut Clearinghouse. As a special library focusing on the issues of substance use and mental health disorders we are able to assist people working in the field to keep up-to-date with the latest research and treatment therapies. The cost of professional journal subscriptions is very high. Without ICONN our patrons would not have access to the information they need to provide their clients with the best possible care.

Elaine Lettiere, Library Media Specialist, Preston Public Schools:

As a school library media specialist for a small town, ICONN is an valuable resource. Having a comprehensive database allows our students to have equal access to information that students in larger more affluent districts have. The information is reliable and accurate and is available at a wide range of reading levels, making it an important component in differentiating instruction. Our students are more prepared for success in high school and beyond because of the availability of iCONN!

ReQuest is a vital service for libraries across the state. It allows libraries to share resources effectively cutting the costs that each library needs to allocate to build collections. My small middle school library alone has used reQuest to locate 4 videos and 20 books in the last 6 weeks alone. My budget would not have allowed me to purchase those resources but my students were able to access them just the same. Coordination of services and collaboration among schools and towns is what allows us to use our resources effectively.

From Fred Grave, patron:

Iconn is such a GREAT program, I'm so glad it exists!!!! Thanks for providing such a nice service!

From MaryRose Coll, library patron:

iCONN is easy to use and very helpful. From the convenience of your home you can access almost any library in the state for books etc. your town library doesn't own. A whole new reading/learning experience is just a few clicks away. I love it!

From George Waller, patron, Mansfield Public Library:

HeritageQuest is very valuable for historical/genealogical research.

From Candi Licence, patron, Willington Public Library:

I use this primarily for newspaper research regarding financial topics so lots of Wall Street Journal. This is a fabulous service.

From Robert Jochim, patron:

I find iCONN is a tremendous resource for me, and I very much appreciate everything that I am able to access, thanks to you all.

From Mary Annino, patron, Killingworth Library:

iCONN continues to be an extremely valuable asset in my life. I hope it continues to receive the support and funding needed to sustain the current level of service!

From Richard Conniff, patron, Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library, Old Lyme:

iCONN is great. I depend on it to research the books I write, and for articles in national magazines (June Smithsonian, e.g.), etc., using material I have gotten through interlibrary loan.

From Robyn Hasbrouck, patron, Stratford Library:

I just wanted to give you some positive feedback. I never knew until recently that the Inter Library Loan system was so easy to use. I had only, years ago, requested a book that my library didn't have and at the time I don't believe this online system was up and running. The ILL is wonderful and has allowed me to read many more books by my favorite authors than had been available to me at my own library. Thank you for making it so easy to find and borrow books!

From Cristina Santos, patron:

This is a very helpful system, especially now that the gas price is high, I don't have to drive to the different libraries to borrow what I need. I hope it will continue to be free of charge. Thanks a lot!

From Sarah Fox, patron, Westport Public Library:

This service is really great!

From William Popik, patron, Simsbury Public Library:

...this ILL service is FABULOUS!

From Jay Weitlauf, patron, Mystic & Noank Library:

I just want to commend you on this gem of a resource that you call iCONN. With the new search capabilities it is truly a wonder. It is a great testament to the foresight of its founders that it even exists and is funded by our state. Call me cynical, but it is rare that I am proud of the way my tax dollars are being spent! Well done.

From Shirley McEwen, Patron, Huntington Branch, Shelton Public Library:

Appreciate your being so easily accessible. Took just a few minutes to locate my research project. Kudos to all involved. Thank you. I am so pleased with the way the iCONN system works, enabling access to information that otherwise would not be so readily available to everyone, that I feel it should be shouted from the rooftops. Thanks again.

From Joanne Nesti, former NBC 30 News Anchorwoman:

What a discovery iCONN is. While researchers and writers can well appreciate its benefits, and students can find a wide variety of sources for school work, the rest of us can enjoy the fun of simply meandering through all it has to offer. Let's spread the word, fellow iCONN fans. This is a site too good to keep to ourselves.

From Bernard de la Rivera, patron, Norwalk Public Library:

Love using this website; love the opportunity to find books, CD's and DVD's not available in Norwalk.

From Helen Plante, patron, Prospect Public Library:

I love this service. It works great.

From Ellen Pawelczak, patron of Darien Library:

This is a great service -- thank you!

From Joan Nagy, Simsbury High School Library Media Center and Simsbury Public Library:

I have referred countless friends, relatives, library patrons, and even strangers to iCONN. When people find out what is available to them, they are amazed! I personally have been researching Tariffville (Simsbury) history as reported in the historical Hartford Courant. My children also use it for their school work. I am so thankful to live in a state that understands the value of information!

From Mary Anne Mendola Franco, Head of Network Services, Wilton Library Association, Inc.:

Libraries in Connecticut benefit from the databases available to us free of charge. They help us to give equal access to those Connecticut residents whose libraries might not be able to afford subscriptions to these databases on their own.

We all know how important it is to help people obtain accurate, authoritative, and current information and the databases we receive through state funding play a big part in helping us achieve this goal.

Many, many requests are received by state legislators for funding for many, many projects. Although we cannot lobby through our respective libraries, as private citizens we can contact our legislators and urge them to support funding for iCONN's budget request. Background information is provided through the links below, including specifics of the budget request as well as a link to legislators on the appropriations committee.

Please ask your friends and family to support funding for iCONN's budget request.

We can make a difference!

iCONN Fact Sheet (primary): http://www.ctlibraryassociation.org/pdfs/legiconn.pdf

iCONN Fact Sheet (supplemental): http://www.ctlibraryassociation.org/pdfs/legiconn3.pdf

Appropriations Committee: http://www.cga.ct.gov/APP/APP.asp (Scroll down to: Elementary and Secondary Education Subcommittee)

From Alaina Driscoll, librarian, Blackstone Memorial Library, Branford:

I just wanted to post a quick comment to say that the site looks absolutely BEAUTIFUL!! I love the new logo design and the green color choice! It's very pleasing to the eye. As a librarian at Blackstone Library, I'm sure that the updated site will encourage return users to the site and I'm going to (continue to) promote the heck out of it! Thanks for your great work!

From Brittany Ferri, patron of Silas Bronson Library, Waterbury:

I thought that the search engine was very useful and extremely thorough in the places it looked for the keyword. I liked how it set everything up and overall it was an excellent help to me. There should be more websites that help you as fully as this one did. Thank you!

From Kristen L. Davila, a patron:

I wanted to let you know how wonderful I think this service is!! Although I LOVE our hometown library, it is QUITE small and does not have an extensive collection. Through this service I am able to obtain so many books on topics that interest me and my family - THANK YOU!!

From Dave Kohn, patron of Saxton B. Little Free Library, Columbia:

I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for "connecting" me with the state library search page. Every time I use it I am amazed at how easy I am able to find and order books. I still can't believe I can do it from my home! It must have taken incredible amounts of time, effort and money to catalog the state's entire inventory of library books but I am sure that I am not the only one who greatly appreciates the fruits of all that labor. Just the other day, thanks to reQuest, I was able to find an out of print book that I had been looking for, for over 15 years!!! Unaware that something like reQuest existed, all I could do was check the stacks of the local libraries and used book stores and hope that someday I would get lucky. Then, thanks to reQuest, after a simple search that took all of about 30 seconds (!), I discovered not only that a copy existed in Connecticut but that its "home" was none other than our own Saxton B. Little Library!!!!! Apparently, my hometown library was the only one I hadn't checked!!!!!!!

Thanks again for turning me on to this amazing service. If possible, I would be grateful if you could share my appreciation with the people who made it all possible.

From Duby McDowell, Global Strategy Group, Inc. and former broadcast journalist:

The iCONN service is invaluable. For my work as a journalist, and in my current capacity as a consultant, access to the Hartford Courant archives is a necessity. The site is on my "favorites" list. I'm also grateful that it's giving access to people who cannot afford archive membership fees.

From Lisa Sargent, a patron:

I just found out about this fantastic service, free to me as an ordinary citizen of Connecticut. Superb! Yet another priceless benefit of the humble public library card...many thanks indeed!

Judy Lhamon, Acting Head of Reference and SCORE Manager, Silas Bronson Library (Waterbury):

Because of our dire budget situation, the library has had to cancel dozens of subscriptions to popular magazines and professional journals. Among those are:

  • Antique Trader Weekly
  • Antiques, The Magazine
  • Baseball Digest
  • Billboard
  • Bon Appetit
  • Christian Science Monitor
  • Essence
  • Field and Stream
  • Fine Woodworking
  • Gourmet
  • JAMA
  • Progressive
  • Saturday Evening Post
  • Seventeen
  • Village Voice
  • Vogue

The good news is that articles from many of these magazines, newspapers, and journals are available in Full Text from the Connecticut Digital Library, www.iconn.org. They can be accessed from any computer hooked up to the Internet. Librarians and patrons use iconn.org/CT Digital Library here all of the time. The lack of this resource would be nothing short of a catastrophe to this library. As the Connecticut Digital Library is funded by the State of Connecticut, we urge all users happy with this critical resource to let their state representatives know how important it is to all residents of CT, and especially to patrons of underfunded libraries like SBL, to maintain or even expand resources available on CT Digital Library.

From Catherine Ahern, Russell Library:

The Connecticut Digital Library, iconn.org, provides a wealth and breadth of resources that we could not otherwise have brought to our Middletown and Middlesex County users. The money saved by the State of Connecticut providing these resources enabled us to expand and add other products, items for career seekers, students, individuals of all ages. We hope that iCONN will be with us for a long time to come.

From Judy Eisenberg, Electronic Services Librarian, West Hartford Public Library:

The iCONN databases have significantly increased the scope and depth of our online collection. They have also saved us a considerable amount of money. Last year, we were planning to subscribe to Gale's Health Resource Center and Wilson's Biography Center but because these titles were provided by iCONN we were able to save over $7500. This savings allowed us to subscribe to additional online databases that were formerly beyond our reach.

The hypertext links between Infotrac Onefile and the Request Serials Catalog are another less obvious iCONN benefit. Using this feature has dramatically increased the scope of our serials collection. Now when customers ask whether our library subscribes to a particular magazine or journal, we not only check our own holdings list but the Request Serials Catalog as well.

We depend upon the iCONN programs. They are an essential addition to our Library's services.

From Sheila Cirasuolo, West Hartford Public Schools:

My son was home from NYC for Thanksgiving and was knee deep in study for a 6 hour comprehensive exam he is taking today in partial fulfillment of requirements for his masters in math ed from Lehman. He took my advice and used my library card to gain access to the ICONN data base and was able to find a couple of key pieces of info that he needed to know in order to be prepared for the exam.

From Kelly Conway, a patron:

I have found iCONN to be most helpful as a tool to search for personal use. Each month I use it to find out who has the latest book club selection. I have also recommended it to friends who are in graduate courses and needing research information. This is an invaluable tool for the general public, as well as educators.

From Academic Libraries 

From Daniel M. Dollar, MLS, Director of Collection Development, Yale University Library

On behalf of the Yale University Library, I appreciate the outstanding service provided by the State Library.

From Dorothy Richards, Librarian, Sacred Heart University Griswold Campus

Your web site is certainly impressive and very user friendly, and the resources for educators is fantastic...

From Jenny Innes, Public Services Librarian, Haas Library, Western Connecticut State University, Danbury:

It would be devastating if the people of Connecticut were to lose the excellent resources and services of iCONN. Through iCONN, access to high quality information and content of all kinds is available to everyone, not just those who are affiliated with an institution or can afford to pay. A well-informed and information literate populace is critical for the future of our state. In my position as Public Services Librarian, I work closely with education, nursing, and health sciences students. iCONN makes it possible for us to provide access to many databases we otherwise could not afford. I encourage all pre-service teachers to make use of iCONN once they begin teaching, and to encourage their students to do the same. We are all in this together. Especially in these tough economic times, we cannot afford to lose iCONN!

From Dr. Sue Clerc, Electronic Resources Coordinator, Buley Library, Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven:

I want to urge you to support funding for the Statewide Digital Library which would be eliminated under the Governor's proposed budget. I'm a librarian at Southern Connecticut State University and manage our electronic database collection. Losing the Statewide Digital Library would be devastating for our students and faculty.

We would lose:

PsycInfo CINAHL (Cumulative Index for Nursing and Allied Health Literature) ABI/Inform Of our electronic resources, these 3 databases rank #2, #6, and #7 in use.

PsycInfo is used not only for psychology, but education, nursing, public health, business, social work, and many other disciplines. It not only indexes articles but provides full-text access to them online. It received over 80,000 searches last year.

CINAHL is the premier database for nursing literature. Like PsycInfo, it provides access to thousands of full-text articles online. Losing it would severely damage the nursing program, not only at Southern, but around the state - all libraries in the state receive access to CINAHL through the Statewide Digital Library.

ABI/Inform is a suite of business databases that provide access to full-text articles on business-related topics at local, national, and international levels. Southern has an MBA program and students rely on these databases.

We would also lose all access to national and local newspapers, because the SDL provides access to the New York Times, Hartford Courant, Boston Globe, L.A. Times, Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, and Washington Post. We would also access to smaller local and regional newspapers and news services currently available through Westlaw Campus Research. Westlaw Campus Research is also our sole access point to cases, statutes, and regulations at both the federal and state levels.

We would also lose:
- Educator's Reference Complete
- Hoover's Company Profiles
- Business & Company Resource Center
- LegalTrac
- Health & Wellness Resource Center
- Academic OneFile
- Expanded Academic ASAP
- General OneFile
- Informe
- Access to several databases geared toward K-12 schools that are used by students in the education program who will go on to teach in the K-12 system.

All of these databases receive significant use. The worst part about losing these databases for Southern would be the disappearance of tens of thousands of full-text articles our students and faculty need. Our interlibrary loan system would also be devastated by losing access to these resources.

Bottom line: We pay roughly $350 a year to get all of these and the Connecticut state catalog. The state receives huge discounts from vendors (as much as 90%) because of the number of schools, colleges, and public libraries served, and also receives federal subsidies to offset the costs of the collection. The state universities, all of which have sustained serious budget cuts and we have had to cancel some database subscriptions; we cannot afford these resources without the Statewide Digital Library. Moreover, we make decisions about what to cut from the collection based on what’s available to us from the Statewide Digital Library.

My very rough estimate for Southern, just for PsycInfo, CINAHL, ABI/Inform, Westlaw, and the newspapers is over $100,000.

Obviously, the loss of these resources have an impact beyond the campus. All libraries in the state - public and private school libraries at all education levels and all public libraries - have access to these resources through the Statewide Digital Library. We can't afford to lose access to these resources either on our campus or as part of the public education system of Connecticut.

Linda Knaack, Instructional Services Librarian, Rensselaer at Hartford:

I work full-time at an academic library and part-time at a public library, both in Connecticut. I literally could not do either job without access to the invaluable resources offered through iCONN. Our academic students, most of whom are in graduate business programs, are very heavy ProQuest users. It is simply not possible to access this amount of material of consistently high quality on the open web. I will even go out on a limb and say that many students would have trouble completing their Master's projects without this resource.

In the public library, I constantly point out the iCONN resources available to our patrons. They are thrilled to have access to them, and whether it's wiring diagrams for someone repairing their own car, comparative purchasing information for vacuum cleaners, or resources on local Native American tribes for a junior high project, patrons use these resources to enrich their lives.

From Patricia S. Banach, Director of Library Services, J. Eugene Smith Library, Eastern Connecticut State University:

On Friday (5/29), I sent an email to the entire faculty and staff distribution list at Eastern alerting them to the devastation that would occur if iCONN were cut.

Specifically for Eastern we rely on the iCONN databases for several key and very expensive electronic resources. The ones listed below are not the only ones we use, but they are among the most important.

ProQuest Newstand, which includes the Hartford Courant and the Historical Hartford Courant, Boston Globe, New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, etc. I am estimating our share if we had to pick it up would be $15,000-$20,000 depending on coverage.

ABI Inform Complete: in 2005, we were quoted $35,000 for us to pay for this resource ourselves. The price is likely at $40,000 today.

PsycINFO: Would cost Eastern $7,560 for FY 2010

CINAHL with full text: Would cost Eastern $21,240 for FY 2010

Some of the prices above are estimates. I am sincerely hoping that this cut will not happen and I can avoid having to get firm quotes from the various vendors. If we had to cover some or all of these costs locally, it would be at the expense of other needed databases which we pay for ourselves. This is a large amount of money and would necessitate some very difficult cuts. Beyond the impact on Eastern specifically, there is the fact that for many (most?) town and school libraries, and community colleges, the iCONN Databases make up the bulk of their electronic resources or in many cases ALL of their electronic resources. And the impact ripples out from there. Every single town library and school library will be devastated in their ability to provide reliable authoritative electronic information. And resource sharing of books among academic and public libraries will also be severely hurt. We also make InfoAnytime available to our students. This is a 24/7 live chat reference service for use when our own librarians are not available. It will be gone.

I have encouraged faculty and staff at Eastern to express their concern.

Gunnar Sahlin, Reference Librarian, Norwalk Community College Library:

Norwalk Community College serves primarily ten towns in the area: Darien, Fairfield, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Redding, Ridgefield, Stamford, Weston, Westport, Wilton.

"reQuest" makes it very easy for us to find items that our students and faculty need. We are surrounded by excellent libraries. There are many reasons for our students and faculty to take advantage of them. I use "reQuest" nearly every day, and often several times a day. Students and faculty have also learnt to use the InterLibrary Loan feature, which is much easier than having to copy all the information to a paper sheet.

The excellent services provided by the IConn staff need to be supported for the benefit of the whole state of Connecticut. We live in an Information Age in which the best informed people have a positive influence for all. "iCONN" needs all the financial support it can have. Please support this very useful tool!

Suzanne M. Risley, Director of Library Services, Mitchell College:

Mitchell is a small private institution, with a student enrollment of approximately 650 FTE. We are tuition driven, and anyone who works under similar circumstances knows the uncertainty of this situation. Our resources are quite limited, yet Mitchell is successfully moving forward to establish itself as a four-year college, having added seven new baccalaureate programs within the last five years. We face the substantial challenge of supporting this exciting new initiative through the delivery of exemplary library services. Our students have the same information needs as undergraduates in larger institutions, and I simply do not know how we would cover all the bases if the Connecticut Digital Library lost its funding. What particularly distinguishes this wonderful service in my own mind is that it truly levels the playing field. Its existence assures equal access to information for institutions both large and small, whether public or private. The Connecticut Digital Library is a standard-bearer for information equity.

From Charles M. Getchell, Jr., University Library Director, Quinnipiac University:

Recently, our professional staff reviewed the roster of Tier II databases provided to us by iCONN. As we prepared our budget request for the 2003--2004 fiscal year, we were aware of the financial difficulties faced by the state government and the difficult tasks that lay ahead for the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and the State Legislature during their budget process. It remains our hope that the iCONN project will be funded at 100% of the governor's budget (released recently), and that more funds will be appropriated in the coming years so that this invaluable collaborative effort will not only prevail in its present state but grow in the years ahead.

If iConn were to cease to exist, we would need to identify approximately $77,000 to re-subscribe to lost databases. The rich, diverse coverage of the Tier II products--from ProQuest/ABI-Inform (business) to PsycINFO (liberal arts) to LexisNexis Academic Universe (all Quinnipiac schools) is a bedrock of research and information at this institution. We need every product provided though iCONN's Tier II as well as some of specialized products provided through the Gale suite of products, and any shrinking of the state's electronic library would have a most deleterious impact on our library and our community. Forced redeployment of our budget would reduce or terminate other important initiatives and purchases for our collections.

Beyond the immediate financial value for Quinnipiac, we believe that iCONN has had a significant impact on libraries and library users throughout Connecticut. In serving their respective constituencies and striving to improve life long learning, college, university, public, and school libraries have common bonds and goals. We all utilize the iCONN resources--be they Tier I or Tier II--to help further education in the state of Connecticut.

From Joseph E. Brady, a patron:

What a fantastic resource. I am working on my Masters in Teaching (Sacred Heart University at Lisbon) and heard about this web site from other students. This has saved me an incredible amount of traveling and search time. You need to get 'your existence' out to the public; or perhaps I'm just the last one to hear about it. Either way this site is the greatest one I've yet to find on the internet. Thanks.

From Christine Cooper, a patron:

I love the ATLA database! I'm writing my dissertation on a religious topic (medieval hagiography), and before I've always had trouble trying to find all possible articles in MLA, historical abstracts, etc. This database is great!!!

From Meg Smith, Capital Community College:

I am finding while working on reference, that I often go to the iCONN databases before the in-house one. The Expanded Academic ASAP, Health Source Plus, are so helpful. In ASAP, we can occasionally get NYT full text, but JAMA and other expensive medical journals are represented in full text. What a windfall for our nursing students. I hope that in the future, you will be able, through funding and other support, to maintain this level of service. The databases complement one another, it is easy to enter iCONN, and maneuverability once in, is very easy. Thank you for this wonderful service, and I hope we can get the word out to the general public.

From Barbara Karp, University of Bridgeport:

I have referred our eighth grade students, who are working on the History Day project, to the iCONN site. Many have reported finding articles and links to their subjects. I also have referenced the site to the graduate students in my Reading in the Content Area class at the University of Bridgeport. Several of them have used the site to select articles to review for the class. I have also directed several of the teachers at Cloonan Middle School to iCONN.

From David L. McChesney, Library Liaison-Business, Economics, Agricultural & Resource Economics, Research and Information Services, Homer Babbidge Library, UCONN:

iCONN has been wonderful for UConn's business program. Two databases we use heavily are ABI Inform Global and InfoTrac One File.

The InfoTrac One File tends to be used by our undergraduates and ABI is used by our MBA's and PhDs. These databases have high quality content and excellent search software. Many of our students will be joining Connecticut businesses and I can't think of a better way to illustrate the need for the iConn program. According to the UConn Fact Sheet from the UConn Factbook put out by the Office of Institutional Research (UConn) 1999-2000, 70% of UConn graduates end up working in Connecticut. Since the business program is one of the larger programs, I would guess that a large number of those graduates are business folks. So there is a return on the investment for Connecticut taxpayers.

Another reason to keep it in place is the use that small businesses can make of the business information databases. Generally, smaller businesses cannot afford access to electronic information without iCONN.

From Kristin Jacobi, Head, Cataloging Department, J. Eugene Smith Library, Eastern Connecticut State University:

Nothing does my heart better than to be able to check the holdings of different libraries near my house in Mansfield Center. It seems that having the web version of Connecticut's library holdings saves me time, every time. Also, with the mere input of my barcode from my local library card, I have access to great databases from my PC at home. Since I work at an academic state-funded institution, our database page at work is supplemented with such solid workhorse databases as: Academic Universe; ABI/Inform; and, Lexis-Nexis to name a few.

I am so proud to be able to tell my Librarian colleagues and friends what the great State of Connecticut is doing to improve their access to information throughout the state. Many cannot believe our good fortune.

Please continue with this program. I believe that all Connecticut citizenry needs access to these great resources in this "Information Age." Thank you.

From Special Libraries: 

From Brian Rogers, Frank L. McGuire Maritime Library, Custom House Museum, New London:

It would be hard to overstate the value of iCONN for the Frank L. McGuire Maritime Library at the Custom House Museum in New London. We use it constantly to see if other libraries have books we are considering for acquisition. We also use it to obtain information of other kinds, whether factual or bibliographic. The iCONN database actually serves as our book catalog; we are a relatively small and growing library and as yet we have no in-house library catalog.

On a personal note, iCONN (reQuest) is invaluable in expediting the borrowing of audiobooks from across the state for private use. Most libraries have only limited holdings of audiobooks, which are expensive to buy, but somewhere within the state just about every audiobook is available for loan.

It is difficult to imagine how libraries could provide the level of service they do without the availability of iCONN and reQuest. The benefit to the ultimate users -- researchers, recreational readers, business people -- is incalculable.

From Gail Roy, Health Sciences Librarian, Horblit Health Sciences Library, Danbury Hospital:

I believe that iCONN is one of the best resources in our state and I use it often for hospital staff and to serve members of the community seeking consumer health information. They are always pleasantly surprised when they learn about ICONN. I think you and your staff are doing a wonderful job with this project.

From Linda Williams, Willimantic Library Service Center:

I've been looking up mass numbers of authors (for my high school reading project) and I've been THOROUGHLY amazed at what you can get on iCONN. When we're doing reference for kids. I think we tend to use what we've always used. But you know those author queries we get? Something about (oh, name an author, any author). Put it in your radar to try the Wilson Biographies on iCONN!!! I've found almost every children's or YA author I've looked for there, and they are interesting blurbs that are really worth reading. Just thought I'd remind people of the great resource we might often overlook!


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