Application to the Gates Library Foundation for State Partnership Grant from the New York State Library
October 7, 1998
Name of State Library Agency: New York State Library
Address: New York State Education Department, Cultural Education Center, Room 10C34
City, State, Zip: Albany, NY 12230
Phone: (518) 474-5930
Fax: (518) 486-6880
Library web site URL, if any: www.nysl.nysed.gov
Grant administrative contact: Frederick Smith
Phone: (518) 486-4855
Fax: (518) 486-5254
Main technical contact: Frederick Smith
Phone: (518) 486-4855
Fax: (518) 486-5254
Main training contact: Frederick Smith
Phone: (518) 486-4855
Fax: (518) 486-5254
Contact information if different from Grant administrative contact:
Grant Applicant Certification
The purpose of Gates Library Foundation grants is to expand the availability of public access computing, and to provide access to the Internet and to digital information through the public library.
To be eligible to apply for a Gates Library Foundation State Partnership Grant, a state library agency must be able to demonstrate that it has established a coalition of public library leadership, along with other appropriate participants, which will work in a collaborative manner to achieve the Foundation's purpose as stated above. It is expected that this coalition will play a key role in the preparation of this application, and that it will continue to play a key role in working with the state library agency to assure the long-term sustainability of the public access computing capability in the state's public libraries that is made possible by the Foundation's grant.
In making this application, we certify that if the grant is approved:
1.The grant funds will be an incremental increase to other current and anticipated library funding and will not replace previously budgeted items.
2.This application is complete and represents the needs of this state. This state library agency meets the above eligibility criteria for Gates Library Foundation funding.
3.All good faith efforts will be made to sustain the public access computing capability established by this grant. Such efforts will be aimed at assuring that all computers and peripheral equipment are kept fully operational and appropriately supported with the necessary supplies. Also, every effort will be made to assure adequate on-going funding from public and private sources for the proper maintenance and eventual replacement of the equipment provided by this grant.
State Library Agency: New York State Library
State Library Director:
Janet M. Welch, State Librarian and Assistant Commissioner for Libraries
Appropriate State Fiscal Official:
Richard H. Cate, Chief Operating Officer, State Education Department
Governing Authority Chair:
Carl T. Hayden, Chancellor of Board of Regents
Governor or Appropriate Legislative Official:
Assemblyman Martin Luster, Chair, Assembly Committee of Libraries and Educational Technology
Senator Hugh Farley, Chair, Senate Subcommittee on Libraries
Note: Please see the following pages for signatures.
Public Library Leadership Coalition
To be eligible to apply for a Gates Library Foundation State Partnership Grant, a state library agency must be able to demonstrate that it has established a coalition of public library leadership, along with other appropriate participants, which will work in a collaborative manner to achieve the Foundation's purpose. This should be a strong coalition of library community leadership committed to the expansion of access to information technologies in public libraries, particularly those serving low-income communities and persons who are in the digital divide.
Please list below the names and affiliations of the members of the Public Library Leadership Coalition that is specified in the Eligibility Criteria statement above. (NOTE: At a minimum, the membership of this coalition should consist of representatives of large, medium, and small public libraries, as well as those serving rural, suburban, and urban communities. Some states may find it advantageous to add key leaders from other types of libraries, as well as state or local officials, who may play key roles in the development of statewide public library services and networking.)
New York's Public Library Leadership Coalition is composed of representatives from the New York State Library Association, the Public Library System Directors Organization, the New York State Association of Library Boards, the Central Libraries Association, and the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries. The members of the coalition and the organizations they represent are listed below:
|Mary Brink||Director, Nioga Library System||Regents Advisory Council, Public Library System Directors Organization|
|Paul W. Crumlish||Director, Warren Hunting Smith Library, Hobart and William Smith Colleges; President, New York Library Association||New York Library Association|
|Martin Gomez||Director, Brooklyn Public Library||Regents Advisory Council, Public Library System Directors Organization, Central Libraries Association|
|John J. Hammond||Director, North Country Reference and Research Resources Council; Chair, New York Library Association Legislative Committee||Regents Advisory Council, New York Library Association|
|James Holley||Director, Vestal Public Library||Regents Advisory Council|
|Patricia Mautino||Trustee, Liverpool Public Library||Regents Advisory Council|
|Edward M. O'Connor||Director, Southern Adirondack Library System||Public Library System Directors Organization|
|Bernadette Poole||Trustee, Rochester Public Library and Rochester Regional Library Council||Regents Advisory Council|
|Myron Roochvarg||Director, Commack Public Library||Regents Advisory Council|
|Lindsay Ruth||Director, Geneva Free Library||New York Library Association, Central Libraries Association|
|Janet Steiner||Director, Tompkins County Public Library||Central Libraries Association|
|Gary Strong||Director, Queens Borough Public Library||Regents Advisory Council, Public Library System Directors Organization, Central Libraries Association|
|Parry Teasdale||Trustee, Phoenicia Library; President, New York State Association of Library Boards||Regents Advisory Council, New York State Association of Library Boards|
|Catherine Way||Assistant Director, Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System and James Prendergast Library Association||Regents Advisory Council|
|Arthur Weeks||Director, Finger Lakes Library System||Public Library System Directors Organization|
NETWORK AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS INFRASTRUCTURE
Public libraries in New York State operate within a decentralized structure of 23 public library systems coordinated by the New York State Library. The State Library, which is part of the New York State Education Department, develops plans, establishes policy, and sets direction for library services. The public library systems provide leadership and support that enable 1,071 local public libraries and branches to provide high-quality services for the benefit of the residents of New York. In each public library system, a strong central library acts as a resource center for all system member libraries and branches.
The strength of this structure is its balance of state, system, and local responsibility. It combines the leadership of the State Library, which includes the largest statewide library development program in the U.S. as well as the State Research Library; the coordination and economies of scale of library systems; and initiative at the local level.
Decentralization is necessary and effective in New York because of the size and diversity of the state. Some public library systems in New York encompass geographic areas or populations as large as those of entire states. This structure has operated with great success for 40 years in a state with more than 1,000 public libraries and branches that include not only some of the nation's largest but also many of its smallest rural libraries.
Although the structure of New York's public library systems does not fit any of the network models described in the "White Paper on Possible Statewide Internet Connection Deployment for Public Libraries," we have received answers to questions "a" though "e" from each of the 23 public library systems; see Attachment I.
Current State of Network Operation
New York's focal point for the development and growth of technology-based library services has been its statewide Electronic Doorway Library (EDL) Initiative. An Electronic Doorway Library uses computers and telecommunications technology, a full range of library resources, and the services of skilled library personnel to provide access to information. New York's EDL Initiative focuses on electronic services provided by local libraries, but depends on support and coordination of these services by library systems. State and federal funding underwrites much of the work of library systems.
Through the EDL Initiative, the State Library formulates and disseminates criteria for electronic services. The initiative establishes voluntary thresholds for electronic information tools and generates incentives in the form of public recognition. It also creates a pathway for the state to collect data and monitor the progress of libraries around the state as they move to meet the criteria, allowing the State Library to measure the overall migration of the library community toward the goal of universal access to electronic information for New Yorkers.
A combination of factors contributed to the selection of the EDL strategy, rather than a statewide uniform network infrastructure, as the state's technology initiative. Of primary importance was the goal of providing the opportunity for all types of libraries-including public, school, special, and academic-to be included in the technology initiative. Because of the large number of libraries in New York (some 7,000), a strategy that would feature the electronic services of individual libraries operating within a statewide network of libraries seemed the most feasible without requiring a substantial amount of new funding.
Another factor in the decision was New York State's decentralized structure of systems that operate within the framework of statewide library cooperation. Based on this structure, state and federal funding for technology development is distributed by the State Library primarily to systems, which provide electronic services for member libraries. By building capacity for library technology at the local level, the EDL approach also directly involves legislators, community leaders, and others from whom support is needed to have this initiative continue.
New York's 23 public library systems manage their own network infrastructures. Many systems have implemented wide-area networks linking their member libraries to each other and providing connections to other systems, the State Library, and other external resources. The state's public library systems have shown that they are uniquely positioned to provide leadership, information, and support for development of a network of Electronic Doorway Libraries. The role of systems is fundamental to the success of the EDL Initiative because they encourage member libraries to develop local catalogs and other electronic links that create a gateway to resources.
To supplement the resources and services of the public library systems, New York's nine Reference and Research Resources (3Rs) Councils help to coordinate and further the EDL Initiative statewide. These regional cooperative councils, which include academic, health-care, business, and other special libraries in addition to public library systems and school library systems, are part of the coordinated statewide plan to promote access to library and information materials, including electronic resources. The 3Rs Councils offer services like Internet access to regional union catalogs; maintain websites with links to shared databases, area libraries, state and national resources, and search engines; provide training so that new technology-based services can be used effectively; and administer state and federal grant funds to area libraries to support projects that advance the EDL effort.
Electronic Doorway Library Development
Although New York State has not implemented a statewide uniform network infrastructure for libraries, it has developed and issued a series of statewide library technology plans that have provided direction and coordination for the networking efforts of the state's 23 public library systems in implementing the EDL effort.
The first technology plan consisted of two parts: "Libraries and Technology: A Strategic Plan for the Use of Advanced Technologies for Library Resources Sharing in New York State" (1987) and "Technology and Access: The Electronic Doorway Library" (1989). The second part presented an operational strategy for providing access to electronic resources, and introduced the EDL concept to the state's libraries.
The state's second technology plan, "The Electronic Doorway Library: Meeting the Information Needs of the People of New York State," followed in 1993. At that time, the Internet was still an emerging technology, and only a relatively limited number of New York's libraries had access. However, many libraries in the state were providing electronic services, and some were providing state-of-the art electronic information services other than the Internet. Therefore, in establishing criteria for the Electronic Doorway Library designation, Internet access was designated as a "beyond-basic" service and was not required for EDL status at the basic level. The developers of the EDL plan were confident that libraries that qualified only at the basic level would obtain Internet access and advance quickly to the beyond-basic level. By June 30, 1995, when the first group of 1,359 EDL libraries (of all types in the state) was recognized, the breakdown between the two levels was 55 percent "basic" and 45 percent "beyond-basic." By the end of 1997, when the number of EDL libraries had increased to a total of 2,396, libraries at the basic level had decreased to 28 percent while those at the beyond-basic level had increased to 72 percent.
In April 1998, the state issued its third statewide technology plan, "Doorways to Information in the 21st Century: Every New York Library an Electronic Doorway Library" (see Attachment II). In view of the rapid advances in technology, the third statewide plan accelerates the EDL process by establishing Internet access as a requirement for all EDL libraries. This plan also presents criteria for three levels of Electronic Doorway Libraries, enabling the state to synchronize with the 1996 Federal Telecommunications Act's goal of having all libraries connected to the Internet by the year 2000.
The 1998 plan provides a blueprint for EDL services in New York State for the years 1998-2000. It strives to
advance all New York libraries to the newly revised EDL levels-Basic 2000, Advanced, and Leader-as quickly as possible.
The table below lists the minimum requirements for EDL status:
TABLE OF ELECTRONIC DOORWAY LIBRARY LEVELS-1998
|Level||Mode and Capacity of Internet Connection||Type of Access Via Internet||Content/Access to What from INSIDE Library
(for library's personnel and users primarily by locally determined electronic resources)
|Content/Access to What from OUTSIDE Library
(via an Internet Service Provider using personal account or another library's Internet connection, although this does not preclude access by locally determined electronic methods also)
|Training and Access Skills|
|Basic 2000||Dial-up 28.8 Kbps line inside library building||Text-based||Bibliographic records and holdings of the library in a local on-line
catalog and/or system/regional union or virtual catalog; and
Bibliographic records and holdings of other libraries remotely via the Internet; and
Access to the Internet
|Bibliographic records and holdings of the library in a local on-line catalog and/or system/regional union or virtual catalog for all New York State residents via the Internet||Introductory training about use of the Internet and other electronic services for library personnel and users|
||Dedicated 56 Kbps line inside library building||Graphical; and
Z39.50, Version 2-Client and Server
|Commercial databases and other appropriate added-value resources electronically
accessible in library and/or remotely via the Internet; and
Digitized resources remotely via the Internet; and
Staff-initiated electronic ordering and/or delivery of documents available in library and/or remotely via the Internet
|Non-commercial databases and other appropriate added-value resources
electronically accessible in library for all New York State residents via the Internet; and
Staff-initiated electronic ordering and/or delivery of documents available in library and/or remotely via the Internet for registered borrowers of library
|Multi-level training about use of the Internet and other electronic services for library personnel and users|
||Dedicated T1 (1.544 Mbps) line inside library building||Multimedia; and
Z39.50, Version 3-Client and Server
|Content in digital format created by, and electronically accessible
in, library; and
Multimedia resources electronically accessible in library and remotely via the Internet; and
User-initiated electronic ordering and/or delivery of documents available in library and/or remotely via the Internet
|Content in digital format created by library and multimedia resources
electronically accessible in library for all New York State residents via the Internet; and
User-initiated electronic ordering and/or delivery of documents available in library and/or remotely via the Internet for registered borrowers of library
|Technology-based training about use of the Internet and other electronic services for library personnel and users|
Based on the earlier (1993) criteria, 75 percent of the 1,071 main public libraries and neighborhood branches qualify as Electronic Doorway Libraries at the beyond-basic level (providing Internet access). As these libraries migrate to the 1998 criteria, we expect all current EDL libraries with Internet access to qualify at least at the "Basic 2000" level.
Potential for Future Statewide Network Services
One of the recommendations in "Doorways to Information in the 21st Century" states:
"The New York State Library should continually monitor opportunities for statewide technology initiatives-e.g., services like those provided by GALILEO, OhioLink, or Sailor-and, working with libraries and library systems, investigate, coordinate, and implement those that will build upon, and add to, the strengths and successes of the Electronic Doorway Library Initiative."
As a first step in acting on this recommendation, the State Library will launch a statewide database access project in the fall of 1998. This three-year project, which will be funded with LSTA money at $1 million per year, will provide access to commercial databases for all libraries in the state that can access the World Wide Web, with the exception of corporate libraries. Contract negotiations with two database vendors are nearing completion. This type of major investment should serve as an incentive to public libraries, especially in isolated, poor communities, to get on-line so that their patrons will have access to resources that they cannot obtain in any other way.
New York State has recently formed a Regents Commission on Library Services to develop and recommend to the New York State Board of Regents a vision for library services in the 21st century. Among other things, the commission will be asked to evaluate and make recommendations on future statewide library services. The potential exists for new statewide electronic services, including a statewide telecommunications network, to result from the work of the commission.
The New York State Library, with the help of the 23 public library systems, is collecting the technology inventory data for the 1,071 public library buildings in the State requested as a part of this application. The State Library staff sent technology inventory questionnaires to the systems with a due date of October 26. The State Library will compile the information provided by the systems and submit the completed inventory to the Gates Library Foundation by November 6. (See copy of inventory survey form, Attachment III.)
The data in the following table are based on the 1996 public library annual reports and a survey conducted for the State Library in the summer of 1998 by Dr. John Bertot (SUNY Albany). Dr. Bertot's preliminary data show that there is considerable need for expanded access to computers and the Internet. For example, some libraries have only minimal-level connections, e.g., text-based, 14.4 Kbps modem or less. For a summary of Dr. Bertot's survey results, see Attachment IV.
Summary of Current Level of Public Access in New York State
|Number of public library buildings in New York State:||
|Number of public library buildings currently with Internet connection (for either staff or patron use):||
|Number of public library buildings currently offering patron access to the Internet:||
|Number of public library administrative entities currently offering unmediated patron access to the Internet:||
*These preliminary figures are from a recent survey by Dr. John Bertot. Response to date is 951 surveys out of 1,071.
The number of public library buildings with Internet access exceeds the number of Electronic Doorway Libraries because recognition as an EDL requires more than just an Internet connection.
These figures are from the 1996 annual reports submitted by New York's 741 public library administrative entities (does not include data on neighborhood branches).
Universal Service (E-Rate)
The New York State Education Department has expended much effort on helping libraries apply for E-Rate telecommunications discounts. The State Library is certified by the Schools and Libraries Corporation to approve the library system and library technology plans required for participation in the Schools and Libraries Universal Service Program. (See Attachment V.) Through the New York State Schools and Libraries Committee, the State Library has been working with partners such as the State Public Service Commission, public library systems, the K-12 education community, the New York Library Association, NYSERNET, and telecommunications providers to facilitate the process. The Schools and Libraries Committee issued a handbook to assist schools and libraries with their technology plans and applications. Communications to the library community to update the status of the process have been ongoing during the application procedure through NYLINE, the State Library's listserv, and on the State Library's website. In addition, the State Library operated an E-Rate telephone help line and conducted technical assistance workshops.
The public library systems have disseminated information, including the requirements and guidelines for developing technology plans, to their member libraries. They have played a major role in the process by assisting individual libraries in crafting their plans and by holding special workshops dedicated to E-Rate application procedures and technology plans. The systems then certified approval of the plans and notified the State Library of their approval. The State Library reviewed and approved the technology plans of all 23 public library systems in the state.
TRAINING AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE
The New York State Library and the state's 23 public library systems are committed to helping individual libraries apply for Gates Library Foundation grants, as well as set up and deploy the new technology. The public library systems have been actively involved in technology deployment and training for many years. Many systems and 3Rs Councils have training centers and mobile training labs, and they are well positioned to supplement and complement the training that will be provided by TRI. For example, if TRI plans to use a train-the-trainer strategy, the staff of public library systems and central libraries would be the logical choice to receive training and then train the staffs of member libraries and branches receiving grants. A system staff member could serve as the contact person to coordinate training for system member libraries and branches. The existence of highly qualified public library system and central library staff throughout the state will enable rapid deployment of the Gates Library Foundation's initiative.
Public library systems will also help individual libraries and branches plan for related issues. For example, the systems will consult with individual libraries and branches on Internet policy development; help conduct training for Boards of Trustees, as needed, on the various concerns involved; provide guidance in developing procedures for public-access use; and help in assessing physical space and security to accommodate PCs, servers, etc. With the help of public library systems, libraries and branches receiving grants will address these issues well in advance of launching new public-access computing facilities.
"Doorways to Information in the 21st Century" calls for library systems to assess library staff and user training needs on an ongoing basis, taking into account staff and users who are from diverse cultures, use different learning styles, or are visually or physically challenged. Because user training, when combined with outreach efforts, can play a significant role in attracting current non-users of libraries, it is particularly important in libraries serving the poor and those caught in the digital divide.
While many statewide and regional training opportunities are available to library staff, the 23 public library systems have the pivotal role in providing training and technical support to staff of member libraries and branches at the local level. With the rapid advances of technology in recent years, the public library systems have increased their training role as the most efficient means of educating library personnel in new technologies. Public library systems across the state are uniquely positioned to provide training and technical support for staff of their member libraries and branches due to the expertise of system staff, geographic proximity, and understanding of local concerns.
To focus the training effort, in 1996 the New York Library Association issued "Technology and Training for Libraries in Transition," a report to the New York State Education Department. The report provides a thorough examination of the training of library personnel in New York. It describes the skills required by library personnel in carrying out the roles of information specialist, educator, new-technology specialist, manager, and consultant. Technology competencies include use of the Internet, on-line searching strategies, and familiarity with computer hardware and software. For some personnel, required competencies include knowledge of infrastructure; the ability to install software and to configure and maintain computers and networks; advanced knowledge of searching and evaluating electronic resources; train-the-trainer skills; and experience in creating and publishing information. (The full report is Attachment VI.)
To enable staff to learn these critical technology skills, New York's public library systems, supported and supplemented by the State Library, the 3Rs Councils, NYLA, and many other organizations and institutions, have launched a major effort in ongoing training. For example, in less than six months in 1997, The New York Public Library coordinated intensive Internet training for central library staff across the state. Three types of training were provided: 72 staff members received basic Internet training, 564 benefited from advanced Internet training, and 53 participated in train-the-trainer workshops. The Pioneer Library System and the Rochester Regional Library (3Rs) Council have partnered to implement videoconferenced hands-on technology training sessions. The two-way interactive system links the RRLC Training Center with the PLS computer lab in rural Canandaigua, permitting twice as many trainees to share one instructor. Both of these projects were funded by Electronic Doorway Library Services Aid grants allocated by New York State. The systems and organizations that have been leaders in EDL training efforts provide models for other public library systems.
New York is also committed to training public library trustees. The State Library publishes a Handbook for Library Trustees, which addresses the role of technology in today's libraries. The State Library, the New York State Association of Library Boards (NYSALB), and the New York Library Association cooperate on workshops for trustees at the NYLA Annual Conference. NYSALB's Trustee Institutes, its NYSALBnet listserv, and its website and newsletter all serve to train trustees, recognizing that the policy-makers for individual libraries must understand the importance of technology and make a sustained commitment to it. A NYSALB-produced video that supports the implementation of electronic services is available to libraries and library organizations to train and inform trustees and the public.
Ongoing with the training of library staff and trustees is the training and support provided for users. With the advent of the Internet as an increasingly common information resource, public libraries have sharpened their focus on and accelerated their role in user training. Many of New York's public libraries have initiated innovative training programs not only to provide users with new skills but also to attract new patrons and reluctant users of new technologies to their public-access computing facilities. Here are just a few examples of the many programs around the state:
- Rochester Public Library and the Saratoga Springs Public Library have been conducting special Internet workshops for seniors.
- Students from the School of Information and Library Studies at the University of Buffalo offer Internet training classes at the Lockport Public Library. Classes have included "Using the Internet to Search for a Job," "Research Colleges and Scholarships," "Genealogy," and "Plan a Vacation." A future class will teach how to find long-lost people and relatives by using the Internet. Many senior citizens have enrolled in these classes, which offer a real hands-on experience for the patrons.
- The Queens Borough Public Library is offering a program that uses teenage mentors to train other library users in Internet access. This program began in the Central Library and subsequently expanded to the branch libraries.
- The Crandall Public Library in Glens Falls and the Shenendehowa Public Library in Clifton Park regularly hold workshops on many specific topics, including small-business startups, genealogy, etc.
As more individual libraries and branches connect to the Internet, library staff are conducting beginning and advanced Internet sessions for the public. Many of these sessions are booked weeks in advance, and the attendees are a mixture of traditional library users and people who have never been to the library before. User demand reveals a great need to expand on the user training currently provided. "Doorways to Information in the 21st Century" states:
"Libraries should provide Internet and technology training for users, including hands-on training. Training for users should meet the diverse needs of the populations served by libraries."
The technology plan goes on to say that training should proceed along a continuum that addresses the needs of the novice as well as the sophisticated user, and the economically, physically, visually, and developmentally challenged as well as the affluent, literate user.
By preparing this application to the Gates Library Foundation, the State Library is now paving the way for the state's neediest libraries to obtain the means to provide their patrons with access to electronic resources. With grants from the Gates Library Foundation, including the training provided by TRI, New York will be able to enhance training for users by building on the strong foundation of training and technical support that the state's 23 public library systems already provide.
Additional Training Needs
To assist the neediest and least technologically sophisticated libraries, we believe it would be beneficial for the Foundation to provide training for selected public library system staff, some central library personnel, and State Library staff in addition to the staffs of individual libraries. Currently two members of the State Library staff are dedicated to the Electronic Doorway Library Initiative. Although these two people will not train library staff and users, they should also receive training to allow implementation of the initiative to take place as smoothly as possible. Having additional trained public library system, central library, and State Library staff would facilitate coordination and consistency among member libraries and branches of a public library system and from one system to another.
STATE LIBRARY AGENCY'S TECHNOLOGY ROLE
The State Library will continue to be responsible for assessing the state of public-access computing, establishing criteria and standards for public libraries and systems, and supporting libraries in meeting the goals of the state's technology plan. Like the technology plans issued in 1987-89 and 1993, the current plan provides guidance and coordination for networking of libraries and library systems statewide.
To support the activities recommended in the current technology plan, New York provides state aid to public libraries and systems. Most public library systems use this funding to support, among other things, on-line integrated library systems and to provide other services for the benefit of member libraries. The 23 public library systems have received some $255 million in basic state aid in the last five years.
New York's LSTA (and before that the LSCA) Grants Program has emphasized technology dissemination in public library systems and public libraries for many years. Over the last two years, the state has awarded over $1.8 million in LSTA funding specifically to public library systems for Information Access Through Technology, making projects in this area a priority. LSTA funding has advanced library technology and patron access to computers and the Internet in New York State in FY 1997 and FY 1998 in a variety of ways, including Internet access for rural public libraries and bookmobiles; Z39.50 software to allow users to move easily from one catalog to another; access to frame relay and LAN and WAN development; public access to electronic health information; digitization of specialized collections for public access; development of websites and home pages for public libraries, including some specifically for children; and a variety of training projects for public library staff, trustees, and users, with some directed to special populations such as seniors, children, and people who are disabled, unemployed, and educationally disadvantaged. See Attachment VII for a listing of New York State's LSTA projects for 1997 and 1998 and Attachment VIII for a copy of "The New York Library Services and Technology Act Five-Year Plan, October 1, 1997-September 30, 2002."
In 1999, the State Library anticipates granting $1.8 million in awards to all library systems, including public library systems, for projects in Information Access Through Technology under the categories "Training" and "Content." As noted earlier, the State Library will also launch a three-year project offering statewide access to commercial databases ($1 million per year for three years).
Other statewide technology resources provided by the State Library include the following:
- Two years of special Electronic Doorway Library Services state aid has supported libraries and library systems in extending their infrastructure, accessing and developing content, and providing training. Total EDL Services Aid provided over the two years of this program was $4 million for all types of libraries, including public libraries. For a list of selected recent EDL projects, see Attachment IX.
- Regional Bibliographic Data Bases and Interlibrary Resources Sharing Program funds support development of regional union catalogs, Internet gateways, and access to databases, among other things. This program has provided nearly $12 million over the past five years for the benefit of all types of libraries and library systems, including public libraries and systems.
- NYLINE, the State Library's listserv, provides an efficient way to communicate with the statewide library community. NYLINE-P, a component of NYLINE, is intended specifically for communication with public library systems.
- The State Library's website (www.nysl.nysed.gov) provides extensive information on its own resources and activities in addition to links and gateways to related organizations and to federal information.
- Excelsior, a SIRSI on-line library system, provides Internet web access to the resources of the New York State Library's Research Library, including interlibrary loan through a program called NYSILL, for libraries and library systems throughout the state.
The library community in New York State has a long history of pursuing and fostering partnerships and collaboration with and among libraries, library organizations, businesses, foundations, and agencies to benefit public libraries. Most partnerships that further the Electronic Doorway Library Initiative have occurred at the local level.
Funding and Ongoing Support
Private-sector support at the local level throughout the state has made available funds and services to libraries, directly contributing to the EDL effort. For example:
- The Finger Lakes Library System has benefited from free dial-up connections for public libraries provided by several commercial ISPs. In Seneca County, Finger Lakes Technologies (a division of Trumansburg Telephone) offers free Internet to libraries, as does TDS Communications in Port Byron. Relex, a division of Auburn Cablevision has offered free Internet connections to Cayuga County's libraries for several years.
- In New York's Capital District, Time Warner and its Road Runner Service/Company are in the forefront in implementing a recent decision of the National Cable Television Association to expand the offer of free Internet access, via cable modem, not only to schools but to public libraries as well. More than two dozen public libraries in the district will benefit from this generosity of a national media giant. (Grants from the Gates Library Foundation would provide the equipment needed by rural and underfunded libraries to take advantage of Time Warner's Road Runner offer.)
- CWM Chemical Services, Inc., a waste-management firm in the Town of Porter, Niagara County, awarded grants of $9,000 each to the Ransomville Free Library and the Youngstown Free Library to purchase computer workstations and telecommunications equipment for public access.
- The Wilson Free Library of the Nioga Library System has received $10,000 from an anonymous donor for each of the last two years to support automation and technology at the library, including Internet access.
The State Library and the Public Library Leadership Coalition believe that grants from the Gates Library Foundation would enable many libraries to leverage further support from local sources, e.g., discounted or free ongoing telecommunications services.
To further statewide support, the New York State Board of Regents is proposing Libraries 2000, a legislative initiative that requests an annual appropriation of $12 million beginning with the 1999-2000 New York State budget to achieve the goals of the state's technology plan. If the Gates Library Foundation awards grants to New York's eligible public libraries, those grants will contribute substantially to achieving our goal to make every library building an Electronic Doorway Library. Passage of the Libraries 2000 initiative coordinated with implementation of the Gates Library Foundation grants will also constitute significant progress toward meeting the goal of universal service in the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996, i.e., to connect every library to the Internet by 2000, providing Internet access for all Americans.
Partnerships for Services
We believe that New York State is well positioned to reach the public and attract new users to public-access computing facilities because of our success with a major public awareness campaign and the state's long-standing commitment to outreach services.
Public Awareness of Libraries Project: Over the last six years, the state has made great strides in promoting public awareness of libraries and library services through a statewide Public Awareness Project-a partnership of the New York Library Association and the Viburnum Foundation. A major goal of the project has been to attract new users to libraries by informing them what today's libraries offer in addition to traditional print materials. The project produced two videos, which have been aired extensively on network and cable television. The second video, Libraries: Reach for the Future, includes three excerpted public service announcements that have had even wider exposure. The video and PSAs, which have reached millions of viewers, demonstrate the crucial role of libraries in the information age, especially for people who cannot afford their own connection to the Internet. The project also produced radio PSAs and news spots about libraries.
By training many thousands of librarians, library staff, and library supporters in advocacy skills, the Public Awareness Project has been extremely successful in gaining support from the public, decision-makers, and the media. The project's advocacy workshops and public awareness tools have become the models for the advocacy programs of other states and national organizations, including the American Library Association and the Canadian Library Association. Through this project, New York has already raised public awareness of libraries considerably, and given its library community the skills, motivation, and tools to attract potential users to new public-access computing facilities.
The Electronic Doorway Library Initiative has benefited from the Public Awareness Project. When libraries achieve EDL status, they receive press kits and logos to publicize the electronic services they offer. Librarians then use the skills and tools afforded by the Public Awareness Project to promote the availability of electronic services locally.
Outreach to Special Populations: New York State mandates outreach programs in public library systems. The systems have a long history of outreach to a variety of target populations, such as people who are educationally disadvantaged, members of ethnic or minority groups in need of special library services, unemployed and in need of job-placement assistance, living in areas underserved by a library, blind, physically handicapped, aged, or confined in institutions. Many libraries are using innovative techniques and new technologies to reach special populations, e.g., Rochester Public Library's outreach to seniors.
State and federal funds make technology available for programs to attract specific groups to the library. For example:
- A State Library-funded adult-literacy grant program encourages libraries to help the public acquire skills in literacy and English as a second language. Through the collaboration of libraries and Literacy Volunteers of New York State, low-literate adults learn to use electronic resources and services in their public libraries. The State Library's Parent and Child Services Grant Program enables libraries to purchase computers that introduce young children and their caregivers to new skills and technology. (See letter of support from Literacy Volunteers of America, Attachment X.)
- The State Library has worked with the New York State Department of Labor to provide access through rural public libraries to Labor's web-based workforce development products and resources. Information is available to job seekers, students, dislocated workers, welfare-to-work clients, and the business community. The State Library continues to work with the Department of Labor to expand this outreach in the area of welfare reform, helping people as they leave public assistance for employment, which benefits New Yorkers and the economy. (See letter of support from the Department of Labor, Attachment XI.)
- Rochester Public Library branches have been selected as the database access sites for the City of Rochester's Enterprise Community Zone (ECZ) Neighbors Building Neighborhoods (NBN) Project. NBNs have been established in each of Rochester's 10 ECZ sectors, and the database contains more than 1400 recommendations for improving the city. This effort has placed the library branches at the center of a major grass-roots operation, and has opened the library doors to several hundred new low-income/digital divide users.
- An EDL grant from the state enabled the Phoenicia Library, serving one of the poorest, most rural communities in Ulster County, to institute the C-Far program. This program placed two public-access on-line PCs in the library, each equipped with a large variety of educational software geared to elementary school students. The screen configurations exactly match those at the local grade school. The program includes on-site training for the parents of academically at-risk children and for the kids themselves. Designed in conjunction with the school, C-Far gives kids who might otherwise have been excluded from after-school computer access the opportunity to take advantage of the best the digital world has to offer.
- WorldLinQ is an innovative multilingual web-based information system developed by Queens Borough Public Library with the aid of a major grant from AT&T. Currently, WorldLinQ has three language modules-Chinese, Korean, and Spanish-but other language modules are in development.
- NOAH (New York Online Access to Health) is an on-line database of consumer health information in English and Spanish developed by libraries in partnership with volunteer and government agencies. NOAH, which has received national recognition, originated in New York City with The New York Public Library playing a large role in launching the project, but it now also includes the public library systems in Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse as partners.
Partnerships for Resource Sharing: A major collaborative effort that began in 1997 promises easier and lower-cost access to services and resources for public libraries as well as other libraries in the state. The New York Consortium of Consortia (NYCofC) is a voluntary organization of representatives of library systems and consortia in the state, including the State Library and the New York State Office of General Services (OGS). The organization's goal is to achieve, through aggregation, affordable access to an array of resources and services, primarily electronic, for all types of libraries. It also offers a forum for vendors of products and services to hear what libraries want and need.
Libraries and school districts are working together to share their resources, strengthening both libraries and schools in the process. Pioneer Library System is participating in a major technology project with the local Board of Cooperative Education Services to connect public libraries via high-speed connections to the Internet.
Partnerships for Ongoing Training and Technical Support Services
Because of the rapid advance of technology, the State Library and the 23 public library systems have accelerated training efforts at the regional and local levels. The public library systems receive ongoing funding from the state to implement the recommendations in "Doorways to Information in the 21st Century." Grants from several sources, such as the Regional Bibliographic Data Bases and Interlibrary Resources Sharing Program, LSTA, and EDL Services Aid have made possible training programs and purchases of equipment. Many regional and local training efforts involve collaboration. In fact, state grant procedures are structured to encourage partnerships and collaboration.
Public library staff in New York State also have a wide array of technical training opportunities available to them through formal and informal training programs and Continuing Education, including library system workshops, regional workshops and seminars, graduate courses, vendor training contracts, NYSERNET, SUNY/OCLC, and professional conferences such as the New York Library Association (NYLA) Annual Conference. The NYLA Annual Conference offers intensive workshops for library staff, as well as training for trustees (through NYSALB) and library Friends groups (through NYLA's Library Friends Roundtable).
General Statistical Information About Your State
Using the following table, please provide the requested statistical information about public libraries and funding in your state.
|# of library systems (1998)||23|
|Total # of library buildings (1998)||1,071|
|Total local funding for public libraries (1996-97)||$516,383,352|
|Average per capita local funding for public libraries (1996-97)||$28.70|
|Total federal funding for public libraries (1996-97)||$4,715,121|
|Total state funding for public libraries (1998-99)||$72,000,000|
|Average per capita state funding for public libraries (1998-99)||$4.00|
|State library current annual budget (1998-99)||$11,925,747|
|State library staffing level (FTEs) (1998-99)||186|
|State library staffing dedicated to local public library technology assistance (FTEs)||2|
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