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CONNECTION ~ Issue 48, Winter 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

This has been a busy fall!  In my last update, I was just about to leave for the CILIP (Chartered Type Institute of Name Library and Information Professionals) Public Library Group Annual Conference in Glasgow, Scotland.  I represented the Public Library Association at the Conference and hope that we will be hosting the CILIP chair at the PLA Annual Conference in Minneapolis in March. 

The Glasgow conference was a wonderful experience.  The Public Library Group represents all the Public Libraries Authorities (systems) in the United Kingdom (UK) including Britain, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.  There are about 150 authorities and most of them were represented at the conference.  All the conference participants attended most conference sessions and took their meals as a whole at the daily group breakfasts, lunches and teas.  Each evening a lovely cocktail hour was held prior to an elegant group dinner for which most people dressed semi-formally.  At the wonderful closing dinner complete with Scottish dancing, guests were in tuxes and formal wear. 

The Glasgow attendees were very welcoming and wanted to know all about libraries in the United States.  Of course, the UK group is facing many of the same issues as the United States (US) – lack of funding, constantly changing service expectations, and the shift of traditional librarian roles.  One key observation is that public library service is mandated by law in the UK.  This may be beneficial as a protection for library service but it does impact the nature of philanthropy for libraries.  Most UK citizens feel library service is a responsibility of the government; and thus there is very little private funding for library service.

Yosemite Valley, Half Dome
Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, 
[George Fiske], 1907.
[California History Collection, 
Calfiornia State Library]
 

I learned some interesting terminology overseas. “Issues,” for example, are circulations in the UK.  When you hear the expression “we have lots of issues,” it does not mean the library is facing lots of problems but that the circulation is increasing!  Also, though “customers,” not “patrons,” is the UK term for library users, I’m not sure if the term relates to the lack of philanthropy for libraries or not.  It was a great experience and I was proud to represent PLA and the US to our colleagues across the pond.

I returned to the US via Omaha, Nebraska where I attended the Chief Officers of the State Libraries (COSLA) meeting.  I was not sure I would be welcome in Omaha where, in 2007, they had to say “good-bye” to Stacey Aldrich when she moved to California in August to assume her new role as Deputy State Librarian.  The Nebraska folks were very gracious (despite their loss!). We had an exciting continuing education presentation with three interesting speakers – Aaron Schmidt, a mover and shaker with a great blog at www.walkingpaper.org , Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive in San Francisco and J.L. Needham, Manager of Public Sector Content Partnerships for Google (more information at www.google.com/publicsector).

I attended the California Library Association Conference in Long Beach amid the terrible fire season for our neighbors in the south: thank goodness no libraries were lost in the fires.  The conference was a great place to see colleagues and friends - thanks to all of you who eagerly attended the State Librarian’s Breakfast early on Saturday morning.  There were many great programs in Long Beach and the Master Speakers were terrific.  The Halloween-themed Infopeople exhibit area was very haunting!!! 

I was busy during November but the month’s highlight was the Transforming Life After 50 Institute in Pasadena.  Along with our partners Libraries for the Future and the California Library Association, the California State Library proudly hosted this highly educational event that focused on all life aspects of the emerging “boomer” population and how libraries might be able to engage this active population.  Please check out information about the Institute at http://transforminglifeafter50.org.  The Institute’s next steps include the 45 participating libraries completing focused needs assessments for this population in their communities, and opportunities for program grants for participating libraries in 2008/09.

In early December, collaboration was the theme.  I attended a meeting of the California Educational Technology Collaborative, with participants representing UC, CSU, community colleges, K-12 and libraries, brainstorming on sharing content and making the best use of broadband connectivity.  I also attended a meeting of the Expert Advisor Panel of the California Emerging Technology Fund.  It was exciting to discuss the potential of broadband in California with representatives of the Public Utilities Commission, the Governor’s Broadband Taskforce, telecom companies and consultants, and other interested non-profits.  It is important for libraries to be at the table in all these discussions.

At the invitation of Elizabeth Martinez, newly-appointed director of the Salinas Public Library, I had a great visit to Salinas on December 17th. What a success story - a library once headed for disaster is now on the road to recovery and exemplary services!  Deep community support is evident for the library from the Mayor and Council to the library customers! Many new programs, services and facilities improvements are in the works.  Mayor Dennis Donohue, an ardent library supporter and former CLA President’s Award winner, sees reading as the organizing principle in making a healthy community.  I wish we could clone Mr. Donohue for many other communities. 

I wish everyone a healthy and happy new year and look forward to working with all of you in 2008!
 

Table of Contents

Update from the State Librarian

Surviving the firestorm: Southern California libraries show their best

State Spotlight: California Museum for History, Women and the Arts

New and Renovated library openings around the state

Interview with new Braille and Talking Book Library Head, Mike Marlin

New videos promote cultural understanding

Braille and Talking Book Library staff member published through National Federation for the Blind

California Research Bureau plays role in California's retirement reform effort, 
conducts retirement study

Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums: Guardians of Language, 
Memory and Lifeways October 2007 conference

CSL scholarships make Ohio conference possible for 22 California rural library representatives

California Library Awards

California Center for the Book Director Mary Menzel interviews 
California author, Susan Vreeland in Winter 2007 Public Libraries

Field Feedback

Contact Information

 

 

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