New York
State Library News

For the People, the Government and the Libraries of New York State
Summer 2000

Legislators: We're A Source For All Seasons

"The most productive session in recent history," proclaims the June 26, 2000 New York Times. The 223rd session of the New York State Legislature closed with resounding applause from many sides. Legislators passed 681 bills, a record unsurpassed in recent history.

That's great news to report to your constituents. But now that you are home campaigning, health care, education, the environment and other thorny issues are bound to raise a bumper crop of questions. Wherever you are spending the summer, the State Library can continue to keep you well informed via computer, phone, or fax.

For in-depth information, from what's hot to what's historic, just click on or call (518) 474-5355.

NEH Endows Newspaper Project

The National Endowment for the Humanities awarded $780,000 to the New York State Newspaper Project. The two-year grant started July 1. The Newspaper Project makes news--all the way back to 1725--available.

Eppard Testifies

Black and white photo of Philip Eppard and Janet Welch.

Photo caption:
Philip Eppard (left), President, Friends of the State Library and Dean, The University at Albany, discusses the budget with Janet M. Welch, State Librarian.

Editor's Note: Dr. Eppard's recent testimony before the Regents Commission on Library Services focused on increased funding for the State Library to: (1) regain lost ground in acquisitions; (2) extend hours to meet public demand; (3) add staff. Following are his remarks about extending hours:

The New York State Library needs to be able to improve access to its collections by extending its hours. The rich resources of the New York State Library are only available for onsite use from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. The effect of these limited hours is to restrict access to the collections. While it might seem that increased access to electronic information would make onsite use of collections less necessary, in fact the opposite is true. Wide dissemination of information about the holdings of the State Library through Excelsior, the online catalog, only serves to generate greater interest in the collections and thereby increases demand for onsite use. Access to other bibliographic databases has the same effect. Furthermore, it should be remembered that the New York State Library is a research library, and therefore it must meet the needs of a variety of users with extended projects and many of these individuals are unable to get to the library any length of time during the normal working week. Funding is sorely needed to allow the library to be open weekends and some evenings during the week.

If you want an unabridged copy of Dr. Eppard's eloquent testimony, see call the Regents Comission (518) 473-1195.

Friends Have More Fun

Two trips and a lecture have been added to the growing schedule of events sponsored by Friends:

September 13. See "Van Gogh Face to Face," an exhibit at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the recently restored Boston Public Library. Fee: $55 Friends; $60 Non-members.

October 12. Bennington Museum and the Park McCullough Mansion. Fee: $33 Friends; $38 Non-members.

November 16. Lecture by Ian R. Bartky, author of Selling the True Time: 19th Century Timekeeping in America. Co-sponsored by the Society of Bibliophiles and The Friends of the New York State Newspaper Project. State Library, 5:30 p.m.

Fees for trips include bus and admission to exhibits. Register for them in advance. Call Ursula Poland, (518) 439-6872.

Tell Us

Send comments and questions about the State Library and its newsletter to Mary Redmond, New York State Library,


The American Library Association placed the State Library, The Regents Commission on Library Services, and Joseph Shubert, State Librarian Emeritus, on the National Advocacy Honor Roll. Established this year, the Honor Roll celebrates individuals and groups who strengthened library services during the last hundred years. Honorees are selected for their leadership in areas such as legislation, research, training, and advocacy.

Visit the State Library's Web Site

Search Excelsior, our online catalog of holdings, and access national and regional databases. Use the State Library Web site to:

And Much More

If you don't have Web access from your computer, dial into our catalog at (518) 474-9851 or telnet. For more information...

You can also access our Web Site from many public libraries.

2000-2001 Budget

The good news:

The bad news:

Do You Know?

The Electronic Reference Station at the State Library provides onsite access to almost 300 databases.

19th Century Mosses Yield 21st Century Secrets

image of robustum, detail from Bryologia Europaea

Illustration caption: Robustum--Detail from DICRANACEA Dicranum, Bryologia Europaea

Botanists identifying many formerly unclassified plants in the High Peaks of the Adirondacks attribute their success to Bryologia Europaea, a beautifully illustrated six-volume set of rare books recently acquired by the State Library. Published between 1836 and 1855, this pioneering masterpiece about mosses that grew in 19th century Europe introduces many previously unidentified species. Many mosses that flourish in 19th century Europe are now found in the United States.

Until recently, the publication has been difficult to locate and could be consulted only at libraries at Harvard, Cornell or in New York City. Now Bryologia Europaea is available to all. You can study it at the State Library, or view its pictures with a virtual visit on the Library's Web site: For more information, call (518) 474-5355.

Get The Latest on Preservation

The Northeast Document Conservation Center will present two one-day workshops on preserving historical and manuscript collections. A session on Disaster Preparedness will be held November 15 at the William K. Sanford Town Library in Colonie. Preservation of Scrapbooks will be featured February 15 at the Guilderland Public Library. Workshops are co-sponsored by the State Library and the Capital District Library Council. Cost is $12 per session. Participation is limited to 25. Advance registration is required. For information call Julia Chiplock (518) 474-6971.

Be A Friend

Join the Friends of the New York State Library. In addition to the deep satisfactions of preserving your heritage and sustaining a world renowned public research library, you can obtain special discounts at local book stores.

Year 2000 Marks Millard Fillmore's 200th Birthday

Black and white image based on an engraving of Millard Fillmore.

Photo caption: Millard Fillmore

Millard Fillmore fulfilled the American dream. Son of a dirt poor tenant farmer, Fillmore became the thirteenth President of the United States. He was born in Cayuga County on January 7, 1800. By age 15, he had a job carding wool, and by 18 was teaching school. Then he read law, moved to Aurora (near Buffalo), and was admitted to the Bar.

Elected to the State Legislature for three terms, Fillmore drafted the act to abolish imprisonment for debt. After switching political parties from Anti-Mason to Whig, he served in Congress for four terms. He became Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, obtained an appropriation for Morse's magnetic telegraphs, and framed the Tariff of 1842.

In November of 1848, Fillmore was elected Vice President. When President Zachary Taylor died in 1850, Fillmore succeeded him. As President, he is noted primarily for support of Henry Clay's Compromise of 1850, which aimed at settling disputes relating to slavery. Upon completion of his term, Fillmore returned to Buffalo. He died on March 8, 1874.

Despite his accomplishments, this man is characterized as a dull overachiever: "Although honest and hardworking, Fillmore...was a pompous, colorless individual who rose far beyond his ability, and as such he left only a limited mark on his generation," says William E. Gienaff, Historian, Harvard University.

If you want to challenge or defend Gienaff's assessment, read the Millard Fillmore Papers, held by the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society and the State University College at Oswego. You can start your research with our Guide to the Microfilm Edition of the Millard Fillmore Papers and our many secondary sources. For information, call (518) 474-5355.

Hot Tickets

Can't buy tickets to a Broadway play or a football game you want to see? Check out Why Can't I Get Ticket? It's a report from the New York State Office of the Attorney General about an underground system of ticket distribution that diverts sought after tickets to concerts, shows, and sports events away from the public. Find it in Documents of the Month, a new feature on the State Library's Web site. Just enter; and scroll down.

Special Thanks

The following Friends joined at the $50 or above level since our listing in the summer 1999 New York State Library News:

Jean Clancy Botta
W. Robert Brittenham
Mr. & Mrs. Joseph Burke
Jose Cruz
George A. Damiano
James A. Lane
Maxine Lorang
George E. Martin
Ursula Poland
James C. Southgate

New York State Library News is produced by The Friends of the New York State Library and the New York State Library to inform New Yorkers about collections and services of their State Library.

Editor: Miriam S. Soffer

This newsletter is not published at State expense.

New York State Library News
New York State Library
N.Y.S. Education Department
Albany, NY 12230

State Library Hours
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9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For more information, call (518) 474-5355 or e-mail

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