New York State Library | Annual Report 2008
"Founded during a time of vast economic and cultural development and change, the Library continues its mission to serve in a similarly challenging era."
Loretta Ebert, Director,
New York State Research Library.
Message From the Director
The story of the New York State Research Library is in many ways a version of "back to the future." Since 1818, the Library has provided information to New York's businesses, education, government, and people. Founded during a time of vast economic and cultural change, the Library continues its mission to serve in a similarly challenging era.
Technology enables us to both preserve and make broadly accessible important treasures that mark New York’s past and that of our nation. Historic manuscripts like the papers of the Van Rensselaer Manor, documenting over two hundred years of colonial American history, and Abraham Lincoln’s Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 can be protected for generations of New Yorkers to come, while at the same time we are able to work to make them digitally accessible to today’s students and researchers.
In our information-driven society, our mission is more imperative than ever. To better serve New York’s entrepreneurs and businesses, we continue to grow our collections of research and development databases, e-journals, and other electronic resources in science and technology. And we provide the training and outreach to ensure these resources work as hard as New Yorkers do.
Accessibility is vital to the Library’s mission. Working for decades to unlock the information within the very earliest documents from New York’s colonial past, the Library’s New Netherland Project is turning the study of American history on its head. This small staff of researchers and volunteers has given a voice to documents once obscured by a rarified language that now speak of a once lost world and an era that had a lasting impact on our culture.
New Yorkers with disabilities have access to a vast library of books both recorded and in Braille through the Talking Book and Braille Library This year we initiated a program that uses the latest technology to provide books in a digital format making them easier to read.
Our service to New York doesn’t stop within the Library’s walls. Partnering with institutions across the state, we help make sure that every New Yorker can access the information they need through shared materials and collections and cost-effective delivery services. This year we are collaborating with over ten thousand cultural education institutions on the New York Digital Collection Initiative. The Initiative will energize education and research while enhancing the state’s economic competitiveness by ensuring preservation of and online access to the unique historical treasures and research resources in New York’s libraries.
We look forward to continuing to find solutions to New York’s information needs with both new technology and scholarship, looking toward the future with our purpose firmly rooted in our heritage.
A Skilled Staff and