Preserving the Past, Informing the Future
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This report is prepared bi-monthly in conjunction with the regular meetings of the Connecticut State Library Board. Items to be routinely covered include the following: the significant activities of the State Librarian and the staff, significant administrative decisions affecting the operation of the Library, status reports regarding in-progress activities, information regarding external events having an impact on the Library, media coverage of the Library, and information of general interest to the members of the Board.
The following report by the State Librarian, which will be included in the minutes of the March 28, 2005 meeting of the Board, covers the period of January 25, 2004, through March 27, 2005.Financial Report
A meeting with the co-chairs of the Appropriations Committee resulted in the Agency submitting a proposal for increasing funding for the Museum of Connecticut History. At the public hearing and the work session there was considerable concern over the book budget. We have supplied back up material to support an increase in the book account. Considerable time was also spent discussing the need for a plan to increase the reimbursement rate for Connecticard. I forwarded a copy of the Connecticard report that the Board had approved in January to the Governor. It was also shared with members of the Elementary and Secondary Education Sub Committee.
There has been no further word on the Judicial Department's plan to make offices out of the mail and stock rooms.
The Division of Information Services, the Public Records Office and Archives are working on a plan to better utilize the Probate Vault Annex. The current plan is to renovate the area to serve as the secured archival reading area; the area for using the aerial surveys; and for housing some of the map collection. The History and Genealogy room would then be renovated and reorganized.
Public Library Construction
The Bond Commission met on February 4 and acted favorably on all 11 projects that the State Library Board had approved in November. This marked the first time in years that the Board's recommendations were approved at one time.
Information Services Division
Wireless Internet (WiFi) has been installed in the Library and tested by staff. Since some of our licensed databases, e.g., Library Lit, RefUSA, West Patron Access, are restricted to a limited number of simultaneous users, WiFi enabled devices could conceivably utilize all of the licensed users, thus shutting out users at our public terminals. Therefore, we will not announce the new capability to the public until we identify all databases with limited users, and find ways to protect them from open access by WiFi users.
Web page updates
Staff has been busy creating new web pages to provide additional information and access to CSL resources. A few of the recently posted new pages are:
An article about the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, written by Barbara Wysocki of the Cora Belden Library, was featured in Rocky Hill Life, March edition. Articles about LBPH also appeared in the New Britain Herald and the Middletown Press in March. The March issue of Avon Life featured an article about CSL. An article about History and Genealogy Office Assistant Kevin Johnson's presentation as Revolutionary War soldier Jordan Freeman appeared in the Meriden-Record Journal.
The circulation policy has been changed to classify all materials published before 1956 as `non-circulating". The policy date had originally been 1920, and then changed to 1955 for Connecticut Documents and Federal Documents. The latest change restores a uniform non-circulating date for all materials. Materials published before this date that are frequently used may be considered as candidates for research to find online copies that can be linked to our catalog record, or if not already available, to be digitized pending copyright restrictions.
NDIIPP (National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program
Through the NDIIPP, the Library of Congress is working to establish collaborative relationships to preserve digital information that is both significant and at risk of loss. State Library staff, Chief Information Officers, and Archives and Public Records staff from each state have been invited to an upcoming meeting to learn about a capability assessment and planning toolkit that has been developed by LC. States can use the toolkit to develop a work plan to build a comprehensive program for capturing and archiving state digital information, including Web pages, publications, and public records. CSL will send the Digital Archive team of Mr. Slovasky and Ms. Schwartz, Public Records Administrator Eunice DiBella, and the Dept. of Information Technology (DOIT) has been contacted to designate a staff member to attend.
1934 Aerial Photo Project
The photos are being sent for filming on a rotating basis. Patrons are pleased to have the 1934 mosaics available as an alternative way to view the photos while they are out being filmed. There continues to be high use of aerial photos in the History and Genealogy reading room.
Forecasts predict that on-site use of Libraries will decline over the next decade and that providing access to Web content and patron assistance in Web navigation will increase. Consequently, the Division's focus will be on making our unique collections available through the Web and the Digital Archive. The three reference units are working collectively to decide what goes into the Digital Archive and what unique items should go on the Web site.
The Government Printing Office (GPO) announced at the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting that they plan to limit the distribution of printed material to Depository Libraries to only '50 essential titles' beginning in October 2005. All other material will be issued in electronic format only. Law libraries and depository libraries are concerned about the digital archiving, authenticity, retrievability, and sufficiency of the electronic format titles. CSL Government Information staff and others will closely follow this issue, and will express concerns at an upcoming Depository Library Council meeting
The Division is considering how to best handle the staff shortage in Government Information as the unit has gone from six to four reference librarians to cover five and one-half days weekly, and is unable to fill the one remaining vacancy due to the hiring freeze. Possible options include borrowing staff from History and Genealogy on crisis shortage days, reducing library hours, and/or combining service points.
Division Of Library Development
Joanne Turschman, State Library Data Coordinator, submitted the Connecticut's information for the State Library Agency Data Report to the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science on January 7th. Ms. Turschman also completed the Connecticut Public Library Statistical Profile 2003/2004 from data submitted by public libraries in November. The Profile will be mailed to every public library and is available online at http://ct.webjunction.org/do/DisplayContent?id=10266
So how are Connecticut's public libraries doing? Compared to the previous year:
Connecticut Excellence in Public Library Service Awards
Each year the Connecticut State Library and Connecticut Library Association (CLA) solicit nominations for Connecticut Excellence in Public Library Service Awards.
These awards honor four Connecticut public libraries that have provided outstanding service to their communities. Awards are given to a small and a large library in two categories: an overall program of services and one specific outstanding program or service. The Friends of Connecticut Libraries and the Association of Connecticut Library Boards partner with CLA and the State Library in sponsoring the award. Winners of the Excellence in Public Library Service have been chosen for 2005. They are:
The State Librarian will present the awards at the CLA Annual Conference on April 12, 2005. Mary Engels, Director of the Middletown Library Service Center, coordinates the award process.
Governor's Summer Reading Challenge Partnership Awards
The Connecticut State Library and the State Department of Education will honor the winners of the 2004 Governor's Summer Reading Challenge Partnership Awards at a ceremony on March 24th from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. in Memorial Hall of the Connecticut State Library in Hartford. The award honors outstanding collaborations between public libraries and schools for successful summer reading programs. The 2004 honorees are:
Henry Carter Hull Library/Clinton Public Schools
Governor M. Jodi Rell will present the awards. A reception will follow the award ceremony.
Friends of CT Libraries
In honor of the thousands of volunteers who, as library Friends give of their time and talents to enhance library capabilities and services in Connecticut, April has been designated Friends of the Library Month by Governor Rell. In support of the observance, sponsored by the Friends of Connecticut Libraries (FOCL), award winning columnist, author and professor of English Literature, Regina (Gina) Barrecca has been named as honorary spokesperson. Libraries throughout the state will be celebrating Friends of the Library Month, which includes National Library week (April 10 to 16) with displays about their Friends, featuring Gina's books and her thoughts about the importance of libraries. They will encourage more people in their communities to join their Friends group.
The Friends of Connecticut Libraries will be celebrating their 25th anniversary as well this year. This very special celebration will take place at the State Library on June 4, 2005 in conjunction with the Friends annual meeting and awards ceremony. Regina Barecca will be our featured speaker.
Once again, the State Library and the Connecticut Library Association are sponsoring an exhibit of Connecticut library photographs at the Legislative Office Building from April 1 to 15, 2005. Legislators and other visitors to the Capitol have reacted enthusiastically to our display of library photographs in past years. Each legislator, staff member, and visitor to the legislature sees a visual representation of what an incredible resource our libraries are.
The New iCONN Implemented
iCONN and reQuest merged into a single system on February 7, replacing the previous versions of those systems. The new system allows users to conduct a simultaneous search over both reQuest and all the iCONN databases. The new system experienced serious delays on its first day of operation. The vendor added a second server which significantly eased the access problems and made other software-related system changes which further improved performance. Based on a careful review of comments made by librarians and patrons using the system since February 7, we have identified and documented a series of enhancements which, when implemented, will significantly ease the transition to the new system, especially for those users who were used to the previous system, as well as for new users. Implementing these enhancements is our highest priority now. We anticipate that the process of making improvements to the system will be a continuous process over the system's lifetime, informed by feedback from all its users. All users are encouraged to submit comments and suggestions using the form at http://www.iconn.org/SendComments.aspx.
To help train library staff on the new system Jane Emerson, Commercial Database Coordinator, presented four information sessions in January and February. Steve Cauffman, Interlibrary Loan Coordinator presented four additional sessions on the new reQuest/ILL.
Task Force for Review of Public Library Statutes
In December of 2004, the Advisory Council on Library Planning and Development (ACLPD) formed a Task Force for the Review of the Public Library Statutes. The charge of the Task Force is to review applicable Connecticut General Statutes, including, but not limited to C. G. S. Chapter 190, in order to make recommendations to ACLPD for revisions or additions. The Task Force will examine current statutes and gather input from library and user communities. Members of the Task Force are:
The Task Force will be hosting three forums in March.
Connecticut Education Network (CEN)
A subcommittee of the Commission for Educational Technology (CET) consisting of representatives of the State Library, the library networks, standalone libraries, and the CET met on February 17th to draft guidelines and policies for connecting libraries to the CEN. Few libraries have been connected thus far for various reasons, mostly budgetary. However, CEN and DOIT are now ready to proceed more quickly to hook libraries into the network. The suggested guidelines will be presented to the full CET at their March 30th meeting for approval. A letter of explaining the details of the proposal along with a survey was sent to public libraries in March. The library networks are working to complete the survey on behalf of their member libraries. The survey will ask specific details of the library's current telecommunications structure.
Public Records Administration
In February, the Public Records Administrator issued a new version of the municipal retention schedule entitled "Records Retention/Disposition Schedules for Towns, Municipalities and Boards of Education" in February. The schedule was distributed to town clerks, administrative heads of municipalities, superintendents of schools, and police chiefs. The information has been posted on the State Library website at http://www.cslib.org/retschedules.htm.
On March 4 State Archivist Mark Jones chaired a meeting of the Connecticut State Historical Records Advisory Board (SCHRAB) held in the conference room at the State Library Van Block facility.