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CONNECTION ~ Issue 50, Summer 2008
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In this issue:

State Librarian of California, Susan Hildreth
State Librarian of California,
Susan Hildreth

Update from the State Librarian

We have had a great spring as I hope you have as well. My last column ended just before the Public Library Association (PLA) Conference in Minneapolis. PLA President and Californian Jan Sanders, PLA staff, and loads of volunteers hosted a great event. For those who missed it, your State Librarian went toe-to-toe with PLA’s hilarious closing speaker, Paula Poundstone, who was interacting with the audience. The library community is very lucky to have Paula as the spokesperson for FOLUSA (Friends of Libraries USA).

In early April, I attended the groundbreaking for the North Natomas Branch Library – an exciting collaboration of the public library, the local school district and the local community college. Though I primarily attend library openings, Natomas is in our backyard (just 2 freeway exits from the Library and Courts building!) so on a lovely spring day the entire Bond Administration Office (formerly the Office of Library Construction) team and I luckily joined local dignitaries for the occasion. On April 4th, I was the featured speaker at a “Noon Program” at the Auburn Library, one of my old haunts. I was very glad that I was able to attend and see one of my mentors, Dorothy Sanborn who sadly passed away on June 4th. After contributing so much to Placer County, Dorothy went on after her library career to teach junior high English in the Peace Corps in Thailand. She will be missed.

Senator Dianne Feinstein (center) with Rosario Garza, Executive Director, Metropolitan Cooperative Library System (seated) and Jan Sanders, Director, Pasadena Public Library (at right) at the Senator’s constituent breakfast during Federal Legislative Day in Washington, DC.
[Photo courtesy Albert Tovar]

Also in April, I was a reviewer for Big Read grant applications and participated in several conference calls with other panelists to identify winning applications. I do not review California applications but am proud to say that nineteen California projects, including nine public libraries, were funded. April 16th was California Library Association Legislative Day, an event that lets us welcome many library supporters to Sacramento. On this particular “Leg Day,” my concerns that the Alzheimer’s group and the victims’ rights advocates at the Capitol might overwhelm our dedicated volunteers were for naught. Everyone worked, and networked, with zest: it was just a normal day in Sacramento!

On April 19th, I went to a tremendous event which marked a great day for the city of Fontana, the grand opening of the Lewis Library and Technology Center. On April 24th, I attended the annual trivia spelling bee for the Stanislaus County Library Literacy Program in Modesto. Even though hard economic times are upon Stanislaus County, it was an upbeat occasion and the Stanislaus team kept everyone on their spelling toes - many of the words stumped me and I am a fairly good speller. I volunteered to be a judge next year!

On April 27th, I had the honor and pleasure of addressing the first cohort of the Eureka Executive Leadership Institute. The next day I had to quickly move on to Salt Lake City for a meeting of the Western Council of State Librarians (all twenty-two of us west of the Mississippi) at the Salt Lake City Public Library. I had not visited the new library and was really impressed – please check it out if you travel to Salt Lake City - it is worth it.

On May 9th, I participated in the Library Journal Design Institute held at the San Francisco Public Library. Green was the theme for this educational day, and I encourage everyone to try to attend this exceptional event when it returns to the West in the future. Soon after the Design Institute I moved onward to Chicago where I attended a PLA Board meeting. I then made my way to Washington DC for the Gates Foundation’s meeting on broadband connectivity. Even though the meeting was on Mother’s Day, the place was packed with state librarians – a truly dedicated bunch! On May 13th and 14th I joined the robust California delegation for Federal Legislative Day. We had many formal stops on the hill but the highlight for me was Senator Feinstein’s constituent breakfast. The Senator graciously introduced the visiting librarians and someone in the audience proceeded to complain about Orphan Works legislation. Luckily for us, Jan Sanders, PLA President and former ALA Legislative Committee Chair, rose to the occasion and gave the Senator a primer on orphan works. Librarians to the rescue!

California State Library, Stanley Mosk
Library and Courts Building.


Also in May, Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) staff was in northern California to promote funding opportunities for libraries and museums. I attended the session in Sacramento and California State Library staff provided information at additional meetings. Don’t worry southern California – we have advised IMLS that they need to make another journey to the West! On May 29th I got up before dawn to participate in the kick-off event for the Contra Costa County Library a-Go-Go at the Pittsburgh-Bay Point Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) station. This book-lending machine in the path of busy commuters is already doing a great business. There was so much press coverage at the kick-off one would think no one had ever borrowed a book! Partially funded by Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds, this convenient service provides great visibility for the library. There is a similar installation in Yuba County.

On May 31st, several other colleagues and I attended a lovely memorial service in Carmel for Vickey Johnson, former director of the San Mateo County and Sunnyvale Libraries as well as staffer extraordinaire at several other California libraries. Vickey passed away in early May after a valiant struggle with cancer. She was a 21st century library leader in the best sense of the word and will be sorely missed.

I was very pleased to join the retirement reception for Anna Tatar, San Diego Public Library Director, on June 19th. Anna has been a great leader, mentor and librarian and we wish her the best in her retirement. With budget season in full swing June has already been a busy month, and things will really gear up with the American Library Association conference in Anaheim.

More to come on your State Librarian’s travels in the next issue.

Table of Contents

Update from the State Librarian

California welcomes American Library Association!

State Spotlight: Secretary of State Office

New and renovated library openings around the state

Library Journal Design Institute West: More Green

CSL Capitol Branch: Library service on the move

Voices from the street: CRB highlights issues affecting homeless youth in California

California History news: Antique posters and Stolen Child returns to CSL after over 130 years

California Cultural and Historical Endowment (CCHE) profile

California Library Awards

Rural library staff members from across the nation will meet in Sacramento for Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL) conference

California Civil Liberties Public Education Project (CCLPEP)-funded film debuts at Sundance Film Festival

California libraries launch pioneering automated service: Library-a-Go-Go and Go Library

Field Feedback

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