New York
State Library News

For the People, the Government and the Libraries of New York State
Summer 1999

Legislators: Keep in Touch

While you're back home working in your districts this summer, please remember that the State Library is still here to help you obtain information. You can reach us:

And, when you and your staff are in Albany, you can visit our Legislative Office Building Library Access Point (12:30 - 1:30 Monday through Friday) or our main facilities in the Cultural Education Center (9:00 - 5:00).

Friends of State Library Testify

On June 3, 1999, Zebulon S. Robbins, Jr. and Ann Ross, both Friends of the State Library, presented statements before the Regents Commission on Library Services. They emphasized the need for adequate funds and sufficient staff to open the State Library weekends and evenings, and to bring book and journal acquisitions up-to-date.

"It is disgraceful for this magnificent institution of learning to be open only the '9-5' business hours of the State Education Department business offices," said Robbins. "People from the Hudson Valley, Western New York and the Adirondacks who travel to visit the State Museum on weekends often make staff at the Museum information desk aware of their astonishment and displeasure at finding the State Library closed."

Robbins cited surveys showing expanded hours a top request of library users. He also pointed out that New Yorkers are heavy readers, but because of severe financial constraints, current books in the Library's greatest areas of strength are unavailable and subscriptions to often-requested journals have been cancelled.

Ross stated that the New York State Library has one of the finest collections of materials on genealogy and local history in this part of the country, but that drastic budget cuts reduced the new books bought for genealogy and strained the microform equipment to the breaking point. "The freeze on new staff is even more of a problem," she added. "Sometimes...books don't get reshelved for two or three days." For visitors from all parts of the State, and from as far as Europe and Australia who often spend only a day or two in Albany, this can be very frustrating.

The recently formed Regents Commission on Library Services was charged to envision library services and the State Library's role in the twenty-first century. If you wish to express your views to the Commission, please write to the Regents Commission on Library Services, Cultural Education Center, Albany, NY 12230.

The Commission on Library Services: Raising the Roof

By Carole F. Huxley
Photo caption: Carole F. Huxley is Deputy Commissioner for Cultural Education, New York State Education Department

All of us have read accounts of communal barn raisings. The occasion brings the whole community together to create, in a day, the essential farm building that the farmer and his family working alone would have labored long to erect. Farmers cultivate crops; libraries cultivate minds. What the New York's library community is engaged in now, while more complicated and more time-consuming, is a "library raising" for the library of the future.

The Regents Commission on Library Services is the architect. Its mission is to consider deeply and creatively the materials and tools that we have to build with, to develop a set of preliminary blueprints to share with those who will have to build it, and then to present them to the Board of Regents for approval and advocacy.

We want those plans to shape the 21st century library to fit our customers' dreams for it. Over the past couple of months, the Commission has been listening to those customers, travelling the State for a series of hearings on the future of library services. We know from them some of the building blocks we need: a massive infusion of new technologies, quick access to the vast array of information sources in all formats, life-long educational and training opportunities - available when and where people need them. We know we will be building this library for an increasingly diverse population and for individuals whose opportunities in life depend on, in part, access to information.

The Commission has also discovered that the role of the State Library, as the general contractor creating this library of the future, will be vital. For example, the State Library's EmpireLink, which purchases statewide library rights to large-scale databases, has already brought rich new resources into libraries that could never afford them otherwise. The Commission heard requests that this enterprise be greatly expanded. Likewise, testimony cited the crucial role of Library Development's leadership and partnership with the library community to its successfully meeting the formidable challenges before it. Despite the constraints under which the State Library has worked over the past few years, it has established itself as a colleague and supporter of its fellow libraries.

The Commission on Library Services will soon craft a vision of the library that we must build together, and it will ask all of us to join them in a grand "library-raising" statewide effort. If we all are willing to roll up our sleeves and put our shoulder to the wheel, New York will have a magnificent structure.

Daytripper's Delight

September 29. See the New York Public Library's recently renovated reading room and take a behind-the-scenes tour of this illustrious institution. Sponsored by the Friends of the New York State Library, the trip is $30 for members and $45 for non-members. Reservations required. For information, call: (518) 474-5946.

Summertime Reading: Kids Love It

Celebrate! Read! That's the name of your local library's summertime reading program for children. Each year, the State Library funds and, with the help of a statewide committee, develops a theme and organizes this popular program.

"Graphics by Nadine Bernard Westcott and a manual are sent to every public library in the State. That means no matter how large or how small, your library can have a first rate reading program to keep preschoolers through teens reading all summer - and loving it," says Anne Simon, State Library Program Officer.

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:

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.

Declassified Documents Now Available

"Vietnamese Conflict. Cable from Ambassador Goldberg to Secretary of State Dean Rusk regarding UN Secretary General U Thant's three-point proposal for a peaceful solution to Vietnam...."

DOS Cable (2), 4/27/Secret.DCLS

This and thousands of other formerly top secret and confidential documents were declassified under Executive Order 11,652. Additional documents were declassified after Congress revised the Freedom of Information Act in 1974. Although the quantity and quality of documents released has increased steadily, researchers could not identify declassified documents or access a source to make copies. With the publication of these papers in the Declassified Documents Reference System, you can read them at the State Library.

Materials originate primarily in the CIA, the State Department, and the Department of Defense. Documents from other government organizations such as the National Security Council, the White House, and the FBI are also available.

Documents range from telegrams, correspondence and unevaluated field reports to lengthy background studies and detailed minutes of cabinet-level meetings. They offer previously hidden facts, new interpretations, and unique insights into decision making processes at the highest levels of government. Few students of the Cold War-through-Vietnam era will feel secure in their research until they check the Declassified Documents Reference System.

When used alongside traditional source material, this resource leads to new dimensions in recent history.

For information, call Reference Services at (518) 474-5355.

Distinguished Scholars Speak

The twenty-second Rensselaerswijck Seminar will be held at the Cultural Education Center in Albany on September 18. Five distinguished scholars will present papers about New Netherland. For information, call (518) 474-6067.

Work of DAR Volunteers Helps Genealogists

Photo caption: DAR volunteers and State Library staff: left to right, bottom row: Ruth Serafini, Patricia Stratton, Liz Lane, Ruth Veeder, James Lane; top row: Martha Smith, Edna Smith, Helen McCary, Richard McCary, Roger Wilber). Absent: Peggy Gifford, Priscilla Davis, Melinda McTaggert, Elizabeth Mrozek, Ann Eldred, Lorraine Whiting.

Locating genealogical information at the State Library just got easier thanks to the Revised Master Index. It references nearly one thousand books donated by the DAR. The indexed volumes were microfilmed by DAR volunteers assisted by State Library staff.

Talking Books Bring Joy to Mother's Day

A letter from a concerned daughter to the New York State Library Talking Book and Braille Library (TBBL) expresses the importance of the Library's books on tape program:

[Mother] is 88 years old and suffered a stroke... her eye sight has really failed and TV no longer entertains. She has always been an avid reader but lost that ability 3 years ago. Now due to your service, when I come to visit she is not just sitting doing nothing, she is listening to a cassette. It's great and she eagerly awaits each new book. We both thank you.

For more information about obtaining books and magazines on tape for individuals in upstate New York who are visually impaired, physically handicapped or reading disabled and for other TBBL services call (800) 342-3688 or (518) 474-5935; e-mail: or write: TBBL, New York State Library, Cultural Education Center, Albany, NY 12230.

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.

An Unlikely Winner

Grover Cleveland

"Ma! Ma! Where's my pa? Gone to the White House, Ha! Ha! Ha!" jeered Republicans during the bitter 1884 battle for the presidency. They were accusing Grover Cleveland of fathering a child out of wedlock. Cleveland, who opposed James G. Blaine, a former Congressman and Secretary of State, admitted that the accusation was true, proved that he helped support the child, and became the twenty-second (and subsequently, the twenty-fourth) President of the United States. While he was in the White House, he married Frances Folsom, his twenty-two-year-old ward.

Cleveland was born in 1837 in Caldwell, New Jersey, and moved to western New York with his family a few years later. He was admitted to the New York Bar in 1859, was elected Sheriff of Erie County in 1870, Democratic reform Mayor of Buffalo in 1881 (He was known as the Veto Mayor), and the twenty-eighth Governor of New York State in 1883. Cleveland resigned from this post on January 6, 1885 after he was elected President.

"His rise to the presidency was phenomenal because of its rapidity and because he was so lacking in qualities deemed essential for Gilded Age politicians, says Ari Hoogenboom, Historian, Brooklyn College. Cleveland was a bachelor and he never served in the military. "Brutally honest, frugal with public money, undramatic, ungracious, and obstinate, Cleveland was admired for his enemies rather than his friends....He possessed a contrariness that appealed to reformers." Upon completion of his second term as President, Cleveland retired to Princeton, New Jersey. He died June 22, 1908.

If you want to know more about the professional, political and personal life of this former Governor and President, consult the State Library. One collection, the Grover Cleveland Manuscripts, 1867-1908, consists chiefly of Cleveland's handwritten letters. Letterheads include offices of Erie County Sheriff, Mayor of Buffalo, Governor of New York State and President of the United States. The collection also includes texts of speeches delivered late in life, and a facsimile of his will.

The William Gorham Rice Papers also include letters and other documents by and about Cleveland. Rice, an internationally known expert on carillons and Secretary to Cleveland when he was Governor, collected material for a biography of Cleveland that was not written.

For more information, call Manuscripts and Special Collections at (518) 474-6282.

Special Thanks... Contributing Members of the Friends of the New York State Library, who have joined at the $50 or above level:

Robert E. Barron
Barbara Beverley
Jeffrey Cannel
George Damiano
William A. De Alleaume
Senator Hugh T. Farley
Robert and Felice Freeman
Eleanore F. Galant
Lewis and Coreen Hallenbeck
Liz Lane
Maxine Lorang
Peter Paulson
Francis S. Rivett
Norman S. Rice
Zeb and JoAnn Robbins
Lew Rubenstein
Steven Schreiber
Joseph F. Shubert
Jean Sheviak
Southern Adirondack Library System

Library Staff Star in Many Roles

Mary Redmond, Principal Librarian for Collection Acquisition and Processing, was appointed to a three-year term on the Depository Library Council to the Public Printer. The Council advises the United States Government Printing Office on issues related to public access to government information.

Carol Reid, Library Technical Assistant in Collection Acquisition and Processing, edits Pressure Point, the newsletter of the New York Library Association Intellectual Freedom Round Table.

GladysAnn Wells, Director of the Arizona Department of Library Archives and Public Records, received the Award of Excellence from the Museum Association of Arizona at the Association's annual conference. Wells was formerly Acting Director of the New York State Library.

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

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