I would like to send all our readers my best wishes for a healthy
and happy 2006. I have been quite busy since our fall issue of CSL
Connection. I would like to thank all who attended the State
Librarian’s Breakfast in Pasadena in November. We had a great
turn-out at that early Saturday morning event. The conference theme
was “honoring everyday heroes,” and at the breakfast we focused
on volunteers in our libraries. It was a great opportunity to see
and hear the moving stories of some very special volunteers and the
commitment they have made so that their libraries are successful.
Thanks to Valerie Reinke, Library Development Services, for serving
as the key organizer for that event. We are committed to creating
another great breakfast program for 2006 in Sacramento.
From November 28 through December 8, Library Development Services
Chief Tom Andersen and I traveled to Sacramento (not much of a
journey!), Redding, San Jose, Santa Barbara, Fresno, Pasadena, and
San Diego to attend focus groups in which each region’s library
administrators and staff discussed the current status and future of
cooperative services and resource sharing programs that California
Library Services Act (CLSA) systems offer to public libraries.
Maureen Sullivan, a library consultant who has worked with
cooperative systems in other states, led the focus groups.
Maureen’s synopsis of the wealth of information that was shared
during the focus groups will be available early this spring and
posted on the CSL website. I hope her report will begin a discussion
of how we can make our cooperative systems work better for
California libraries. I gained great satisfaction in sharing
in these pro-active gatherings of our colleagues. I was again
reminded of the unique mix of priorities and service needs that
exist among the diverse regions of our state.
On December 7, I was very excited to virtually attend a focus
group that included five different sites in the state. We connected
librarians in Palm Springs, Imperial County, San Luis Obispo,
Modesto, and Del Norte and had a great, virtual discussion about
cooperative systems and services. Thanks to Dan Theobald and the
Rural Initiative for coordinating this focus group and to the
Pasadena Public Library for serving as the host site.
Also on December 7, I had my quarterly State Librarian's
Webcast. To see the webcast, go to URL http://infopeople.org/training/webcasts/12-07-05/qwebcast.html. I
talked about the “Library as Place,” which is a role that is
becoming more and more critical for the success of our libraries. I’ve
really enjoyed my quarterly webcasts because they give me the
opportunity to share our state news with everyone in our California
library community. We are planning more webcasts for 2006.
They are scheduled for March 1, June 13, September 20, and December
12. Thanks to Holly Hinman and everyone at Infopeople for opening
this great virtual door.
Finally, I wanted to make sure that everyone was aware of an
important report that was recently issued by OCLC, “Perceptions of
Libraries and Information Sources.” Through Library Services and
Technology Act (LSTA) funding, one copy of this report is being sent
to each public library jurisdiction in the state. Please check it
out at www.oclc.org. The
report provides the findings and responses from an online survey in
an effort to learn more about:
• Library use
• Awareness and use of library electronic
• The Internet search engine, the library
and the librarian
• Free vs. for-fee information
• The "Library" brand
The findings indicate that information consumers view libraries
as places to borrow print books, but they are unaware of the rich
electronic content they can access through libraries. Even though
information consumers make limited use of these resources, they
continue to trust libraries as reliable sources of information. A
critical read in the report is its concise summary of conclusions.
You will find it at: http://www.oclc.org/reports/pdfs/percept_concl.pdf.
As we settle into 2006, I look forward to another challenging
year as your state librarian. In February and March, I will be
speaking at the California Library Trustees and Commissioners (CALTAC)
spring training sessions in northern and southern California. We are
in the midst of reviewing LSTA projects for 2006/07 and are planning
for the Library Directors’ Forum set for May in San Diego. I will
continue to travel throughout our state to meet library customers
and supporters and to make sure the critical mission of our
libraries is articulated clearly.