New York
State Library News

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

News for Legislators


Welcome, Legislators. The staff of the State Library is looking forward to continuing to work for you during the 1999 legislative session. Here are some of the special services we offer you:

Mark Your Calendar

Join us at the following programs in the Librarians Room at the State Library:

March 30. Annual Meeting of the Friends of the New York State Library. Peter Slocum and Hy Rosen, co-authors of the new book From Rocky to Pataki, speak about this publication. 5:30 p.m.

April 14. The Great ReadAloud. Readings from works illustrating contributions of ethnic groups in New York State. 3:00 p.m.

June 15. Lecture by Joseph Persico, acclaimed author of The Imperial Rockefeller (biography of Nelson A. Rockefeller) and co-author with General Colin Powell of My American Journey. Time and topic to be announced.

"Libraries 2000" Meets the Challenges of the Millennium

by Carol Ann Desch

photo of Carol Ann Desch, the State Library's Coordinator of Statewide Library Services
Carol Ann Desch is the State Library's Coordinator of Statewide Library Services.

As we begin 1999, our thoughts turn increasingly towards the millennium. Within a short time, we will stand on the other side of this important watershed. Where will our libraries be? What kinds of services will they offer in the 21st century? If recent levels of use are any indication, New York's libraries will be busy, lively places.

Whether it's a hopping neighborhood public library branch in Queens, an elementary school library in rural Essex County, a research library in Buffalo, or the New York State Library in Albany, the library as place is and will continue to be an important part of our lives.

Librarians will continue to use new technologies to help us navigate vast amounts of information. Librarians will work with others in their communities to make the library a place where people of all ages and from all backgrounds feel comfortable. Those who love reading, knowledge and learning will find new and exciting library services delivered not only in the reference room and storytelling area, but also to their offices, their classrooms, their bedrooms and even their cars.

Sound fantastic? Not really! Each of New York's 18 million residents, regardless of physical disabilities, geographic location or economic circumstances, could have access, through a local library, to a world of electronic information. What can we do today to ensure that our New York libraries can deliver the information and learning services we will need in 2010?

Invest $22.6 million in libraries

The "Libraries 2000" Regents Legislative and Budget initiative proposes that the State invest $22.6 million annually in the technology, infrastructure and content of its public, school, academic and special libraries to ensure that:

O Residents and students will have access to the Internet and to other electronic information sources by the year 2000, and

O Community libraries will have the funding they need for construction and renovation to provide 21st century library services to all New Yorkers, including those with disabilities.

Access to electronic information for all

"Libraries 2000" requests the Legislature and the Governor to invest a modest $12 million in technology and electronic library services. State funds will help local communities develop libraries as technology centers that everyone can use, offering training and ensuring equity of access to information at an affordable cost.

State purchase of commercial electronic information is a great investment! A recent project shows that with centralized purchasing, costs for electronic content can be reduced twenty to one. In other words, for every State dollar invested in centralized purchase of electronic content, a local library could receive twenty dollars worth of electronic information services.

Modernize buildings

A modest investment of $90 million over the next five years, and $10 million annually after that, will help libraries across the State leverage local matching funds to meet the $460 million needed for construction.

According to a recent survey conducted by the State Library's Division of Library Development and the New York Library Association, four in ten public library buildings outside New York City have inadequate electrical wiring to accommodate recent advances in new technologies. There are still over 100 libraries where persons with a disability cannot even get through the door, and another 45 percent where they cannot get to every part of the public space in the building. More than half of the public library buildings outside New York City are over 60 years old; 95 percent are over 20 years old.

"Libraries 2000" will help raise the knowledge, skill, and opportunity for all the people in New York State.

For more information on the Board of Regents "Libraries 2000" proposal, call Carol Ann Desch or State Librarian Janet M. Welch at (518) 474-5930, or check the New York State Library's web site:

Do You Know?

The New York State Library is the only library in the State which receives all information made available through the U.S. Government Printing Office-tens of thousands of titles each year. We can supply everything from the text of a Congressional bill to the latest State population estimates to a guidebook for a national park. For more information, call (518) 474-5355 or e-mail

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:

Instructions for reaching these sites are available at:>

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.

EmpireLink Inaugurated

Look for free access to commercial databases on a computer at your local library through EmpireLink. The first online database available is the Information Access Company's Health Reference Center-Academic (HRC Academic).

This full-text, multi-source database provides single-search access to a wide range of health information. This includes medical and nursing journals, consumer health magazines, reference books, news articles, and a host of other publications.

Contact your local library to find out whether EmpireLink is available there or possibly, from your home computer.

EmpireLink is a three-year pilot project funded through a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant to the New York State Library by the Federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

Free Maps in Your Computer!

Going camping? Buying land? Find out about a region's natural features by looking at a U.S. Geological Survey quadrangle map for New York State. Thanks to the New York State Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Clearinghouse, you can now locate these maps on the Internet.

Use the "clickable" map of New York State, then click on the quadrangle that interests you. View it on your computer or download it.

The State Library hosts the GIS Clearinghouse for the New York State Geographic Information Systems Coordination Program. For more information, visit the NYS GIS Clearinghouse's "USGS Digital Raster Graphics" page at:

Photo of Engraving from Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington
Engraving from Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington

A National Treasure in Our Midst

The United States Senate has been commemorating George Washington's birthday with a reading of his Farewell Address every February 22nd since 1893. The designated reader alternates each year between Democrats and Republicans. The tradition seems especially appropriate this year because Washington warns that political factionalism can threaten the nation's stability.

Although the Address was composed before political parties were fully accepted, "Washington feared that they carried the seeds of the Nation's destruction through petty factionalism." The document also warns against "geographical sectionalism and interference by foreign powers in the Nation's domestic affairs;" it urges people to rise about petty concerns and act in the national interest.

Washington prepared the Address with the help of Alexander Hamilton and James Madison in 1796, when he decided not to seek a third term. Washington never did deliver the Address orally. It was published in the September 19th Philadelphia Daily American Advertiser, and then in newspapers through the nation.*

The first draft of Washington's Farewell Address to the People of the United States is in the collections of the State Library. We acquired this national treasure when the 1871 Legislature appropriated $20,000 to purchase it along with Washington's surveying instruments, a dress sword, and a pistol presented to him by General Lafayette.

*Source of quotes and historical information above, Introduction, Washington's Farewell Address to the People of the United States (U.S. Senate Document #3, 1991) is available at the State Library.


For Civil War Buffs

Interested in the Civil War? I Will try to Send You All the Particulars of the Fight is a collection of maps and letters from New York State's Civil War Newspapers, 1861-1863.

To order, send a check or money order for $22.00 to Friends of the New York State Newspaper Project, PO Box 2402, Albany, NY 12220. Proceeds will be used to help the Newspaper Project preserve historic newspapers for research.

Take a Tax Deduction

You can now claim a tax deduction for dues and other contributions to the Friends of the New York State Library. Upon review of our application, the Internal Revenue Service recently determined that the Friends of the New York State Library, Inc. is exempt from Federal income tax.

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.

photo of Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt

State Library Now Major TR Research Center

One of the world's largest private collections of Theodore Roosevelt's books, manuscripts and artifacts was recently acquired by the State Library. The collection includes records of the Roosevelt Wildlife Forest Experiment Station, the Underwood & Underwood Photographic Archive of Roosevelt photographs, correspondence related to the Progressive Party, and hundreds of other documents.

In the tradition of the State Library's excellence in a variety of disciplines, the new acquisition makes this venerable institution a major research center for the study of Theodore Roosevelt and his era. The State Library purchased the new TR collection from Lyall Squair of Syracuse. He gathered it over a period of about 40 years.

The collection is a fountainhead of information for environmentalists as well as historians and political scientists. "A century ago, Theodore Roosevelt helped popularize the conservation movement in New York and across the nation," said Governor Pataki when he announced the purchase. "TR taught New Yorkers-and the world-that conserving and protecting our natural resources is essential to preserving and improving the quality of life we enjoy in this great country. He was an environmental visionary who inspired many."

Purchase of the collection marks the start of a statewide celebration. "In the early days of this century, TR helped define the conservation ethic that guides us today. At the dawn of another century, it is fitting that we honor the achievements of this remarkable New Yorker," said Governor Pataki in his appointment of a Temporary Commission to commemorate the centennial of Roosevelt's election as 33rd Governor of New York State. Pataki established the Commission because he believes that "New Yorkers today still have much to learn from TR's legacy."

For more information contact James Corsaro, (518) 474-5963; e-mail

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

Visit Our Electronic Reference Station

Want to obtain articles from newspapers and periodicals published by the ethnic, minority, and native press? Looking for abstracts of articles about history and culture of the United States and Canada, from prehistoric times to the present? Seeking statistics about business or the environment?

Visit the State Library's Electronic Reference Station. You can access over 300 databases ranging from ABI/Inform, which is about business, law, and finance, to Zoological Record. If you can't find what you want, ask the Reference staff to help you.

Keep Reading!

If you have vision problems or any condition which prevents you from reading or holding printed books, the State Library's talking Book and Braille Library (TBBL) might be able to help you. TBBL mails free tapes, playing equipment and braille materials to over 38,000 people in New York's upstate counties. For more information, call 1 (800) 342-3688 or (518) 474-5935.

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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