New York
State Library News

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

Legislators: We Have Information!

Welcome back, Legislators. Visit us during the 2000 Legislative session and take advantage of the many special services the State Library offers you and your staff. Get statistics and geographic background on communities throughout the Nation. Trace the history of a hot issue or see how other State Legislatures handle a problem. Each of our facilities and the expertise of Reference Librarians are available Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. unless otherwise indicated. You can find us at the following locations:

State Library Access Point. Room 105 in the Legislative Office Building is a research station where you and your staff can search the Internet, request database searches, or consult with a librarian. Hours: 12:45 to 2:45 p.m. Monday through Friday. Keys were distributed to each Legislative Office for use when this Access Point is closed.

Reference Services Desk. Access our 19-million-item collections and use our extensive electronic resources along with the expertise of the specialized staff at our central facilities on the seventh floor of the Cultural Education Center.

Manuscripts and Special Collections. For research into historic documents, check our extensive collection of manuscripts, maps, and rare books. This unique resource is on the eleventh floor of the Cultural Education Center.

If you can't take the time to visit any of these locations, just call (518) 474-5355 for help from a Reference Librarian.


Photo caption: State Librarian Janet M. Welch (left) presents Research Library Director Liz Lane with her E-library card

Imagine sitting at your computer and dipping into the copious holdings of libraries throughout the State. You will be able to do that and much more when NOVEL, the New York Online Virtual Electronic Library, is established. This statewide digital library is already on its way to becoming a reality.

Carl T. Hayden, Chancellor of the Board of Regents, and Richard P. Mills, Commissioner of Education, recently introduced a proposal to the State Legislature for $12 million to fund this mind-expanding resource. It is part of a $23 million priority legislative package that the Regents are proposing for libraries. The Regents Commission on Library Services has joined this initiative with a recommendation to offer an electronic library card to any New Yorker who is a registered user of a public, school or college library. The E-card will bring New York's finest collections to your computer screen. "Just as your library card gives you access to print and other materials at your local library, the electronic library card will give you access to resources available through NOVEL. The State will provide this without cost to local libraries or cardholders," says Janet M. Welch, State Librarian.

Actually, NOVEL is not as futuristic as it sounds to some of us. Michigan, North Carolina, Georgia, California, and Maryland already have statewide digital libraries. And, the New York State Library, long aware of the possibilities, has been laying the foundation for NOVEL, in partnership with local libraries, for some time. The State Library's pilot project, EmpireLink, has been in operation since January 1999. It is a model for NOVEL and will become one of its cornerstones. EmpireLink currently offers New Yorkers free computer access to health information and full-text national and regional newspapers, as well as government and non-government publications from their local libraries. NOVEL will expand EmpireLink and interface with other online information systems at libraries, universities and other institutions throughout the State. E-card holders ranging from kindergartners growing up in the State's most geographically isolated communities to scholars in metropolitan research centers will eventually be able to access materials ranging from major collections of classic photographs to rare books.

In addition to increasing the scope of EmpireLink, the proposal for NOVEL embraces other initiatives. NOVEL will increase State support for digitization of primary source material in libraries throughout the State and place them at the fingertips of the E-library cardholder. The proposal will also help libraries provide an essential ingredient in accessing information-the expertise of librarians.

Continuing its forward-looking support for NOVEL, the State Library is creating a steering committee to make recommendations.

Aldrich Reviews The Astor Orphans

Hear an insider's comments when John Winthrop Aldrich, a member of the Astor family, reviews The Astor Orphans: A Pride of Lions, by Lately Thomas. Aldrich will speak at the Annual Meeting of the Friends of the New York State Library on Tuesday, March 14 at 5:30 at the State Library. A Barnes and Noble survey awarded five stars to this moving saga of the Astor family. It describes the plight of the eight little Astors who, upon the death of their Mother in 1875, became the richest orphans in the country. Mr. Aldrich is a descendent of this "pride of lions." A reception will follow his talk. The public is welcome. For information, call (518) 474-2274.

Libraries for Youth at Risk

"These are the students who need it the most," says Janet M. Welch, State Librarian. She was referring to students who live at the State's 34 residential sites for youth at risk. For the first time, the New York State Office of Children and Family Services Facilities, with the help of State Library staff, is developing legislation to establish computer-equipped libraries staffed by professional librarians at each of these facilities This initiative is a result of the Regents Commission on Library Services.

Fare Well, Lee Stanton

Lee Stanton retired on December 17. If you ever encountered him, even briefly, during a visit to the State Library, you have a sense of the excellence he brought to this venerable institution. In any consultation or interview, he quickly grasped the essence of an issue and gave a pithy answer. During 31 years of service, his responsibilities ranged from Reference Librarian to Interim Director of the Research Library.

His superb organizational skills and unfailing good humor helped the library weather many challenges. If you ask State Library staff about this, they will tell you how he managed the addition of services such as the Microforms Unit and the Electronic Reference Station under great fiscal duress. They will also detail how supportive and open he has been with the staff while still making hard decisions when and where necessary. And if you ask the Friends of the State Library about him, they will speak of his help and good counsel at the time of the organization's founding, and of his readiness to furnish interesting information for this newsletter.

We wish Lee well as he embarks upon his travels, learns to play the piano, sharpens his culinary skills and experiences the many pleasures of a new lifestyle.

Visit the State Library's Web Site

An image of the Cultural Education Center, which houses the New York State Library

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

  • Prepare to be counted. Find out about plans for the Year 2000 Census.
  • Find your public library. Click on your city's name for a link to your nearest public library.
  • Compare energy costs. Check out prices for heating oil and propane gas throughout New York State.
  • Help your child learn about government. "Ben's Guide to US Government for Kids" links to Internet sites for all grade levels.
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.

Got 45 Minutes?

Get the most from our online databases. Sign up for a free New York State Library Tool Tutorial. Designed to fit into your busy schedule, each class deals with a specific database. For more information, e-mail or write: Vicki Weiss, New York State Library, 6th Floor Cultural Education Center, Albany, NY 12230.

Saving Endangered Documents

Portions of New York's heritage still await discovery in documents stored in libraries, museums and other cultural institutions. But many of these resources are crumbling away. The State Library recently awarded grants totaling $500,000 to preserve materials in 37 cultural organizations throughout the State. These awards will save many unique collections including faded photographs, brittle newspapers, architectural drawings and scrapbooks. "Without these funds, important parts of our heritage will be continue to crumble and be lost to future generations," says State Librarian Janet M. Welch.

Life Among the Senecas

The Snow Snake Game, a sketch by Jesse Cornplanter.

Illus. Caption: Jesse Cornplanter sketched The Snow Snake Game in 1905

In this sketch by Jesse Cornplanter, Senecas are holding long, thin wooden spears called Snow Snakes. They are about to cast them into a trough they created by dragging a log across a flat, snowy field. He who throws his Snow Snake the farthest wins the game.

The Snow Snake Game is one of about 45 scenes Cornplanter drew between 1900 and 1909 at the request of Arthur C. Parker, an ethnologist. These sketches comprise most of the State Library's Cornplanter Collection.

Jesse Cornplanter was awarded the Purple Heart and other military honors for his service in World War I. After the war, he became a Faithkeeper of the Longhouse and worked with researchers to record Seneca rituals and songs for future generations. For more information, call (518) 474-6282.

Tell Us

Send comments and questions about the State Library and its newsletter to Mary Redmond, New York State Library, Cultural Education Center, Albany, New York 12230 or e-mail

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.

EmpireLink's Newest Addition

News junkies, researchers, and pols, rejoice. You can now feast on over 100 newspapers from all over the nation at the click of a mouse. Just ask a librarian at your local library or at the State Library about Dialog@CARL, the newest addition to EmpireLink. Libraries that signed up for it can furnish you with full texts of newspapers, journals, and other materials from a wide range of databases.

Dialog@CARL offers easy access that permits even unskilled patrons to conduct a search. More complex search features such as Boolean and database specific limiters are there for more advanced searchers.

We're On the Web

You can now can read articles from previous and current issues of the New York State Library News at Click on Research Library and click on General and Visitor Information, then click on New York State Library News.

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

Monday through Friday
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For more information, call (518) 474-5355 or e-mail

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