State Library News
For the People, the Government and the Libraries of New York State
Assembly Creates New Library Committee
How computers affect education and other crucial issues about the way we learn are the focus of a new Committee on Libraries and Education. "This Committee will anticipate and plan for changes everyone in the education community knows are coming," said Speaker Sheldon Silver. "If we are ready for them, we can seize the opportunity and make it available to all citizens. If we're not prepared, other societies will pass us by."
Assemblyman Martin Luster, chair of this forward looking Committee, stated that its creation "is recognition of the increasing importance libraries play in our daily lives. With the advent of information technology, libraries have become the main access point for a world of information not previously available to many New Yorkers." Assemblyman Luster previously chaired a subcommittee of the Higher Education Committee that dealt with similar issues. There is no stipend for the new post.
The president of the New York Library Association, Ristiina Wigg of Highland, hailed the action as "a farsighted move that helps ensure that New York will be competitive in the 21st century."
Education Commissioner Richard Mills said that "Ensuring that every citizen has access to the information they need has always been a cornerstone of library service. The potential for technology in delivering that information and making it accessible to every New Yorker is just the beginning of the challenges libraries face as they seek to help raise the knowledge, skill and opportunity of all the people of New York."
Photo caption: Assemblyman Martin Luster, Chairman, Assembly Committee on Libraries and Education Technology
State Library Provides Information Edge in Legislation
By State Senator Hugh T. Farley
Among its many roles, the New York State Library is designated the State Law Library (sec. 247, Education Law). A valuable reference resource for practicing lawyers, and for citizens who need direct access to statutes and court opinions, the Law Library also helps legislators when drafting new laws.
I chair the Senate Committee on Banks, in addition to my responsibilities on behalf of libraries. One of the issues facing the Banks Committee has been the problem of money laundering, in which criminals use financial channels to convert "dirty" money from drugs, gambling, and other crimes into "clean" money which cannot be traced to its source. When we decided to find ways to attack this crime, we wanted to find out what other states were doing about the problem in their jurisdictions.
Enter the State Library, with its complete collection of annotated statutes from all fifty states, and federal laws. My staff researchers took up temporary residence in the Library, emerging with a compilation of laws affecting money laundering across the country. The published results led to development not only of new legislation here in New York, but also to requests from Attorneys General and legislators in several other states, and usage by the FBI as a resource for federal agents charged with enforcing financial laws.
The State Library serves many roles - not only helping citizens to obtain information, but also helping the Legislature to draft new laws.
Photo caption: Senator Hugh T. Farley, Chairman, Senate Subcommittee on Libraries
State Library Hours
Seventh and Eleventh Floors
Cultural Education Center
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday
For more information, call (518) 474-5355 or e-mail <email@example.com>
Seeking a Multicultural Approach?
If you see multiculturalism as a path to harmony in an ethnically diverse world, take a look at The Dictionary of Art, one of the State Library's newest acquisitions. The scope of its multicultural approach is unmatched in other art history references. The Dictionary's 41,000 articles cover each of the visual arts within the cultural contexts of the nations where they developed and flourished. This exciting new 34-volume work also features more images than any other publication about art. Articles about painting, sculpture, architecture, the graphic arts, industrial design, photography, and the decorative arts range from biographical entries to analytical essays composed by 6700 scholars from 120 nations. Its comprehensiveness facilitates comparisons between Western art and that of Asia, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and the Indian sub-continent, Australia and the Pacific.
"The Dictionary of Art is one of the State Library's many resources about art," said Melinda Yates, Senior Reference Librarian at the State Library. "Its extensive art collections include exhibition catalogs, auction records, library catalogs from institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and thousands of art books and journals collected and maintained throughout the State Library's long history. The Library is also a repository for papers of major New York State artists, and offers free access to art Web sites."
Questions? Call Melinda Yates, (518) 474-5355.
Visit the State Library's Web Site
You can access the Library's Web site from your home or office 24 hours a day:
Conduct a search. Check out Excelsior, the Library's online catalog of its holdings.
Looking for a job? Scan listings in the New York State Department of Labor Job Bank. It's updated weekdays, except holidays.
Protect your investment. Learn what to look for when you buy home insurance in A Consumer's Guide to Homeowners and Tenants Insurance. You can access the full text of this and other selected materials.
Check out bills on gambling. Trace the status of bills on gambling --- and other issues --- as they wend their way through the Legislature.
Doing local history? Harvest a bumper crop of stories that reveal the character and background of your community. Consult a New York State Newspaper Project database and see what newspapers dating from 1725 are available on microfilm.
And Much More
If you don't have Web access from your computer, dial in (518) 474-9851 or telnet <nysl.nysed.gov>. For more information. . .
You can also access the State Library's Web site from many public libraries.
Take a Journey of Discovery
The next time you visit Albany, tour the State Library. Pick up a copy of "New York State Library Self-Guided Tour" at the Information Desk in the Lobby of the Cultural Education Center --- that's the big white marble building that houses the Library. Though it's called a self-guided tour, plenty of help is available along the way. Just ask for assistance at the Reference Desk, on your left as you enter the Library. A Reference Librarian will suggest strategies geared to your concerns. The Library's well trained staff and its tremendous (and still growing) electronic capability offer an astonishing blend of modern technology and old fashioned courtesy.
Designed to orient individuals to the State Library's collections and services, the tour is also an exciting option for school groups and organizations. It's the nation's largest State library, and only State research library. Savor its wide-ranging resources and its infinite potential to satisfy your curiosity and ignite your imagination.
For more information, call (518) 474-5355 or e-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Call ahead to arrange group tours.
Genealogy: A Road to Good Health
Genealogy is playing an ever-larger role in medicine, according to the Wall Street Journal. As doctors study hereditary links for a growing number of diseases, looking for your roos becomes more than a matter of pride in your family background. Information about the diseases yoru ancestors had and the causes of their deaths holds significance for medical research. This information alaos helps pphysicians evaluate your own health risks and those of your contemporary family. The American Health Association says that every family should keep a health history. The further back you go, the more you contribute to the records.
For information about doing genealogy at the New York State Library, call (518) 474-5355.
As the staff of the New York State Library quietly goes about their business, many New Yorkers are unaware of how often the resources of this institution touch their lives. The State Library is one of the nation's few public research libraries. That means, unlike many research libraries, everyone is welcome to use its extraordinary collections and wide-ranging services. Every day individuals throughout the State look to this Library for essential information. Furthermore, legislators and other members of government agencies use this Library for informed decision making about a host of complex issues that affect each of us.
Since 1991, however, budget cuts have been eroding the Library's services. Book and journal budgets were cut severely, staff reduced, and hours shortened.
Alarmed by these cuts, a group of concerned citizens organized the Committee for the New York State Library. During its four-year existence, the Committee has worked to restore funding. Although progress has been made, the battle of the budget goes on. The Library needs continuing support.
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.
A Zine-Lover's Dream
In the 1980s, when "The Empire Strikes Back", skate boards, and Yuppies drinking cappuccino characterized mainstream America, some people were expressing their discontent in zines (pronounced zeens as in magazines). These often ephemeral counterculture publications "lampoon, attack, parody, entertain, or instruct on any imaginable aspect of our culture," said Ron Chepesiuk in a recent issue of American Libraries.
Thanks to the fast action of State Library staff, a collection of over ten thousand zines lives on at the State Library. "It's the biggest and most comprehensive collection of its kind," said Chepesiuk.
"The collection was assembled by Mike Gunderloy, editor of Factsheet Five, a newsletter about zines," explained Billie Aul, senior librarian at the State Library. "When Gunderloy announced his intention to donate his collection to a library, we got real excited. Our Library is right across the river from where Mike published his newsletter so we were the first ones there and got the collection."
Zine collections encompass a broad spectrum of viewpoints. Laila Miltetic-Vejzovic, rare books and special collections librarian at Washington State University, said, "They reflect the attitudes and values of the masses. They are as valuable a special collection as anything a library can collect."
Although some say zines originated in the 1960s, they started long before that. "The zine is part of alternative press tradition extending back at least 200 years in American history," explained Aul. "There has always been a publishing network in this country outside mainstream publishing and that includes zines. Mike Gunderloy had copies of zines that were published by all kinds of obscure groups in the '80s," Aul said. "It's a phenomenal collection." Questions? Call Billie Aul, (518) 474-6282.
Photo caption: Comics as well as prose and poetry deliver counterculture messages.
All events are at the New York State Library, 7th floor Cultural Education Center. Unless designated otherwise, all are welcome. For more information call Mary Redmond at (518) 474-3940.
New York State Library News is produced by The Committee for 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