The Big Picture: The States and ALA

Representing ALA: Molly Fogarty-chapter relations: Chapter Relations Committee advocates for ALA chapters.  Looking to make the committee more visible. Would templates on the website help? Communications is a real issue. Training available at midwinter ALA meeting for chapter board members. Online advocacy tools available. ALA is very proud of their new website.

Maine: With state grant monies Maine will be starting a downloadableaudio books program-with Overdrive. Hope to be up and running by January.   Maine also hopes to start a Last Copy Center in northern Maine. Maine is a webjunction partner now. Webjunction continuing education courses are very popular. Maine is promoting their data bases-which has been a struggle in the past. They have a new spokes person, Tim Sample. It has been on television and shown to trustees and community groups. Large posters are drawing attention. Also available onlineandin print is a literary map of Maine (taken from an idea from a New York map). A Portland newspaper was asked if they would like to help with the project. Suggestions for the map were taken and narrowed to 50 titles. Books must be set in Maine, thus taking away the struggle of what is a Maine author. This map has spawn some book discussions and more suggestions for the map so the project may continue. This project was funded by the newspaper and volunteers for the committee came from all over such as the Maine Historical Society and Humanities Council.

Connecticut:5% budget cuts on all state agencies-including libraries. Especially scary for the onlinedatabase program which is down to the wire financially already-but they were able to cut and continue. Next Year-level-no budget increases and they are anticipating an up to 10% cut.  Regardless the state library is doing fine withprojects.  Delivery Service (which handles 2 million a year) survey results were positive withlessthen 2 day turn around-with most one day service. Connecticut’s grant program changed some certification guidelines-greener requirements. Being co sponsored by the Conn. Library Association and Connecticut Library Consortium visit www.libraryjournal.com/dieast to attend the Library Journal Design Institute “Going Green” on Dec. 4th in Hartford. 

Massachusetts: Public library use is through the use in Mass. Twice as many children registered for the summer program.  There has been eight consecutive years of all time high circulation records. Public access computers used to access the Internet are used 27,000 times a day. A new Mass Libraries web site was launched at www.mass.gov/libraries. The site promotes the electronic resources available and helps those find a library near them. Hopes are for a future state wide library event calendar. Attendance at library programs are also at an all time high. Mass. recently received an honor for outstanding commitment to preservation of collections. Important partnerships with Libraries for the Future and Gates Foundation. There is a new state initiative to provide broadband to communities lacking. There is approval for some capital funding for some communities. On Nov 4th there is a ballet question #1 that will eliminate the state income tax with a decrease in 40%  of funds. If this passes-there will be no state support for libraries. Municipalities rely on state aid. If this passes-all library services and libraries in Mass will be impacted negatively.

Vermont: Began with 4.8 % cut. New State Librarian in August-Martha Reid. Vermont is bare bones as is. Cuts put Vermont in danger of loosing LSTA funds-which would mean many jobs in Vermont. Vermont has the most public libraries per capita-new state librarian is curious about this winters heating bills. Will the libraries be able to fund the increase and may they need to help out those in the community that can not heat their homes well. Vermont is one of 8 states that does not recievestateaid. A recent initiative for state aid to libraries did not pass but is not dead. Patron record confidentiality legislation is now law. Records are protected but with provisions for children under 16, written permission from patron and court orders. See privacy issues in Vermont article in ALA magazine. Vermont is looking to streamline their online interlibrary loan system. Vermont surveyed libraries and museums on special collections-and will be looking at preserving these collections. About 80 libraries formed a consortium for downloadable books with Overdrive. Green Mountain Book Award was very successful-book award for teen books.

New Hampshire: The state in general is running a deficit. NH does not have a sales or income tax. An 8% budget cut is expected from the Dept. of Libraries by the state in 2009. Digital Archiving of state documents is now required. Vendor PTF was chosen. Special software allows for searching and obtaining of documents by each department. NH is in their 3rd year of a downloadablebook consortium. The service is popular withfees based on the population of the community. The state librarian is investigating a new state wide catalog. Open source solutions are being investigated. NH was a partner in the Gates hardware program. This is a matching program withnice programming on how to approach community members for funding. Verizon use to have a box to check to give a $1 for funding literacy. NH is working withNHCenter of the Book with these Verizon Funds for programs.

Rhode Island: 2008 very challenging with budget cuts (8-12%)and staff reductions by retirement. RI is facing loosing LSTA funds as well. Government now requiresthatmunicipalities only fund 80% of previous year. In September first state wide databases. Model for funding unique: working with Providence Public Library.  Have Tutor.com, Heritage online, etc. Open to everyone within the boundaries of Rhode Island using geographical authentication. RI became a webjunction partner in August

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