Connecticut State Library with state seal
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State Librarian's Report

July 31, 2006


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

The following report by the State Librarian, which will be included in the minutes of the July 31, 2006 meeting of the Board, covers the period of May 16, 2006, through July 30, 2006


Attached to this report.


Vacancies (State Funded)

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

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

(reclass from Office Assistant)

Vacancies (Federal Funds)



Librarian 2 Part-Time  (Public Records)





Accomplishments/Division News

The Library will be closed Saturday August 5 (and Sunday August 6) for major electrical work, planned by Judicial in conjunction with CL&P.

The History and Genealogy Reading Room is experienced recurring circuit breaks.  The  wiring system in History & Genealogy  was unsuited for late 20th century needs, let alone the electrical needs of the early 21st century.  We know that too many microfilm readers, photocopiers, vendacard towers and dispensers, high speed printers, and public access computers are connected to the limited number of circuits.  Providing additional electrical capacity to this area is a priority.

Redacted copies of the Committee of Inquiry (Governor Rowland impeachment) documents were received on an external hard drive from the Legislature. The collection has been cataloged, and will be made available to researchers upon request. Archives staff will be processing the complete original set of files.

Patron response to the Hartford Historical Courant, 1764-1922 online has been extremely positive and the Library has purchased a license for the issues from 1923-1984.  These will be made available to patrons as they are scanned and released by the vendor, ProQuest.  Issues through 1983 should be available by the end of 2006.

We have licensed a new electronic resource, NetLibrary’s Consumer Education Law subject set of 22 titles.  With the subscription we also have access to 3,400 Project Gutenberg and other public domain full text electronic book titles.

The State Library is now the official public repository for DVDs filmed by the Connecticut Television Network, a not-for-profit broadcasting company that covers matters of public policy in Connecticut. Each DVD is cataloged and made available through the Library's online catalog, CONSULS. Topics represented in the CT-N collection include legislative proceedings and hearings, Supreme Court oral arguments, academic conferences, award ceremonies, administrative agency hearings, and the popular Capitol News Briefings featuring the Governor and other public officials.

Beginning Monday July 17 and continuing until Friday Sept. 29 as a trial period, a third daily retrieval at 12 noon has been added. This retrieval is for ONSITE Archives and Secured Collections materials only (including aerial photographs). 

New information on the Website includes:


H&G Office Assistant Kevin Johnson gave 3 Jordan Freeman presentations and 3 William Webb presentations in May and June.

LBPH hosted the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped’s Advisory Committee meeting.

As part of the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism’s one-day statewide event to pay tribute to Connecticut’s unique world of history, art, film and tourism, we held an Open House on June 10.  More than 100 visitors, including many who had never been to CSL took tours of History and Genealogy and Government Information, viewed a “William Webb” presentation, and a "Hats-On History Tour". Special balcony activities included a Department of Transportation program that simulates driving a car down State highways, a census exhibit, and how to find your house using ArcView software.

Government Information Unit Head Julie Schwartz gave a talk at the Canadian Library Association meeting in Ottawa for the Access to Government Information Interest group, which is equivalent to our GODORT (Government Documents Round Table).

The National Library Services for the Blind and Physically Handicapped Consultant David Whittal visited the LBPH facility from June 5-7 to review program operations against the American Library Association guidelines.

LBPH Unit Head Carol Taylor taped two 15 minute programs for Dr. Marcus Brown, host of “Jumpstart” at the WJMJ Studio in Bloomfield on June 27.

Federal Documents Library Nancy Peluso continues to give presentations on Federal Web sites at the Service Centers.  Mrs. Peluso with Mrs. Schwartz is giving targeted presentations to groups of staff from other state agencies on the resources and services that CSL can provide to assist in their work.


The Division continues to experience severe collection space issues, as both the stack space at 231 and the Division’s offsite storage at Van Block reach full capacity use.  We are exploring all possible shifts to garner even the smallest amount of open shelf space. For example, to gain a few vertical bays of free shelving, we are removing three cabinets of microfilm on Stack Level 1B and some microfilms in the History and Genealogy Reading room into the Newspaper Microfilm Room. Items involved are include census microfilm, the Commercial Record, The Nation, Major Studies and Issues Briefs, US vs. ATT, Antiques and the Arts Weekly, and Scientific American.  For patrons, this will be helpful because there are microfilm readers in the Newspaper room.   We will also be exploring other methods of offsite storage.



iCONN has a new logo!  They will be migrating all their print materials to this new look. The iCONN web presence at will soon contain the new logo and reflect its new color scheme.

In addition to color changes, the tag line “Connecticut’s research engine,” replaces the old tag line of “Connecticut Digital Library.”  The logo was created by Miranda Creative in consultation with iCONN staff.  The new logo was used in the design of an ad placed in a special “back to school” supplement of the Hartford Courant.  Copies of the advertisement are included with your packet.

New Databases

iCONN added two new databases on July 1st.  These additions were made possible with the savings realized through the bid just completed for the Tier One databases.

History Reference Center

For history buffs, class projects and assignments; this resource provides articles from magazines, journals, reference and non-fiction books; biographies, documents, speeches, maps and photographs.  It also includes film and video clips of social, political and cultural historical events of the 20th Century from 1893 to 1985.

Science Reference Center

For science projects and research needs; this resource provides articles from scientific reference books, magazines, journals, biographies and images.  Topics covered include  biology, chemistry, earth & space science, environmental science, health & medicine, physics, technology and wildlife.

iCONN Remembers

Another major enhancement to iCONN was made in July with an upgrade to the barcode login screen for users accessing iCONN from home.  On the login screen is a checkbox with the note "Remember my card number on this computer".   If a user checks the box and enters their library card number, a cookie is placed on the computer.  The next time the user goes to iCONN on that computer, they will be able to simply click a “Begin” button.  No more typing 14 digit barcode numbers!

Continuing Education

Training for Connecticut library staff is a major focus for the Division of Library Development.  In the last fiscal year the Division offered over 167 continuing education and technical training opportunities to 2,095 Connecticut library staff.  Another 356 took advantage of the free online courses offered through WebJunction Connecticut.

The E-Learning Clearinghouse, a web-based, searchable database of online continuing education courses and academic programs for library staff, is now available on WebJunction.  This will be the first stop for library staff interested in developing new skills, taking continuing education courses, mastering technology or obtaining your library degree. It provides the most comprehensive consolidated source of information available about online courses and programs from all types of providers.  Course and program offerings cover a wide range of topics from Staff Development Made Easy to Developing a Disaster Plan.  The Clearinghouse was developed by WebJunction with funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Two sessions of Effective Reference Performance training were held at the Middletown Library Service Center in June.  The objective of this training is to enable reference staff to conduct effective reference interviews using model reference behaviors and to coach co-workers for skill acquisition and transfer. This training has been shown to improve reference success from 55% to 77%.  Kris Abery, Continuing Education Coordinator and Mary Engels, Director of the Middletown Library Service Center, coordinated this training.


At the end of June the State Library’s contract with BeavEx to provide Connecticar service to Routes 1 and 2 expired.  As a result of  an RFP, a new contract was issued to Service Warehousing & Logistics of Hartford and Stamford.  They began providing service to routes 1 & 2 on July 3rd.  The new contract resulted in a slight increase in the price of delivery.  However, the volume of items delivered on Ccar has increased dramatically over the last few years.  A recent survey indicated that approximately 3.5 million items are delivered each year.

Connecticut’s Newest Library

On June 9th, the Janet Calvert Carlson Library was officially opened in Franklin, Connecticut.  It was the first new public library to open in the state in almost 40 years.  They received a small construction grant from the State Library.  They have been officially added into the Connecticar and Connecticard system and have already made extensive use of the Willimantic Library Service Center’s collection and consulting assistance.  Mary Louise Jensen, Building Consultant, Sharon Brettschneider and Kendall Wiggin attended the official opening.

Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA)

The Division has begun a process to evaluate the LSTA program in Connecticut over the last 5 years.  Required by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the federal agency overseeing program, it must be completed by March 2007.

Service Centers


In Fiscal Year 2006, the Middletown and Willimantic Library Service Centers loaned 78,055 items to school and public libraries providing a value to local communities of approximately $2.7 million.


Grants to Municipalities

On July 10, 2006 the Office of the Public Records Administrator and State Archives awarded 91 targeted grants for a total of $757,000 and 9 competitive grants for a total of $337,670 for a combined total of $1,094,670 for Cycle 1. This is the first year that the Historic Documents Preservation grant program has awarded competitive grants.  The awards for the competitive grants ranged from $12,350 to $50,000.  The larger competitive grants will allow towns to advance the management of both active and historical records to a higher level than possible under the targeted or non-competitive grants.

Conferences and Workshops

The grant program staff held a workshop for Connecticut Town Clerks on June 8, 2006 at the Keeney Memorial Cultural Center in Old Wethersfield. The workshop was entitled “From Theory to Reality: Strategies and Tips for Putting preservation Principles into Action” and was the eighth workshop in a series of Historic Document workshops provided for Town Clerks. Sixty-one Town Clerks or Assistant Town Clerks attended the workshop as well as twenty people from other town offices and Connecticut State Library members, for a total attendance of 81.  State Public Records and Archives staff who attended the workshop are Eunice DiBella, LeAnn Johnson, Kathryn Makover, Lizette Pelletier, Mark Jones, Bruce Stark and Paul Baran.  Jane Cullinane, State Library Preservation Librarian, was one of the program speakers.

Meetings and Outreach

On May 27, Eunice DiBella, Mark Jones and Julie Schwartz met with Albert Meijer. Mr. Meijer is a professor of Public Administration at the Utrecht School of Governance in the Netherlands.  He was studying the Impact of Digitization in Government on Political Accountability in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York State. His research was conducted at the National Center for Digital Government located at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, and was funded from a Grant for the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research.

June 6, 2006 Eunice DiBella proctored the town Clerk’s Certification exam in Newington, Ct.

On June 22, Kathy Makover made a site visit to the Town Clerk’s office in East Windsor.  Her visit included an inspection of the town clerk’s vault, a review of the projects that have been funded by the Historic Documents Preservation Grant Program, and discussion and recommendations to the Town Clerk regarding future preservation and records management projects. 


June 13, Eunice DiBella attended a Blog workshop at the Connecticut State Library Service Center in Middletown.

State Archives

Editing the Public Records of the State of Connecticut
In mid-June, Chief Editor Douglas Arnold came to the State Library for a research trip.  Since 2002, Mr. Arnold has been working on volumes 18 and 19 of the series.  Next summer the State Library shall receive the camera-ready copy from Mr. Arnold and will print, distribute and sell the volumes. Vol. 19 will contain the proceedings of the 1818 State Constitutional Convention, the ratification debate in the General Assembly that has not been covered by historians, and the newspaper debate over ratification.  During his June visit, Mr. Arnold and State Archivist Mark Jones, who is coordinating the project, met with State Librarian Kendall Wiggin to report on the project’s progress and remaining work to be done and the future of the editing project.  The Historic Documents Preservation Program funds the project.

Notable Accessions:

  • Records of Former State Senate Majority Leader Richard F. Schneller , 1974-1988.  On July 18, the State Archives accessioned 12 cubic feet of files from State Senate Majority Leader Richard F. Schneller of Essex, Connecticut.  Schneller was elected to the Senate in 1974 representing the 20th District in the southeastern part of the state and retired as State Senate Majority Leader in 1984.  In between, he served as the chair of the Senate State and Urban Development, Education, and Appropriations committees.  He was State Senate Majority Leader from 1981-84.  After leaving the Senate, he was State Coordinator for the 1984 Mondale/Ferraro Presidential Campaign in Connecticut, and in 1986 he managed Governor William A. O’Neill’s reelection campaign.  Governor O’Neill also asked him to serve on the Governor’s Building Construction Advisory Committee, 1987-88, that was created in response to the L’Ambiance Plaza building collapse.  The records include correspondence with leading state and local politicians, files of the two campaigns mentioned above, files of the Building Construction Advisory Committee, news releases, press clippings, legislation files, and speeches.
  • Marilyn Seichter Collection, 1963-1994.  Marilyn Seicheter was a prominent attorney who advocated women’s causes both in the legal profession itself and greater society.  She was the first female president of the Connecticut Bar Association, a close associate with Governor Ella Grasso, and the first female chair of the State Ethics Commission.  She retired from the legal profession in 1994.  She assembled this collection of letters, photographs, articles, and memorabilia.  She died in 2002, and her nephew donated the collection to the State Archives in June of this year.
  • The Thomaston Women’s Christian Temperance Union Records, 1886-1908.  In the 19th and early 20th centuries the issue of temperance was hotly contested.  The State Archives contains numerous temperance petitions in the General Assembly records.  This collection documents the activities of a local branch of this national organization.
  • Blackman Family Papers, 1852-1893.  This collection contains 128 letters written by Oliver Blackman, who served in the Union Army and Theodore Blackman, who served in the Navy, sent to their sister Julia in Huntington Connecticut.  In addition, there is a diary of Theodore’s for 1864.  This is a treasure trove for researchers of the Connecticut’s participation in the Civil War.
  • Rowland Records. The State Archives accessioned 92 cubic feet of former Governor Rowland’s records to add to the 500 cubic feet already processed.