Librarian of California,
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
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
I was busy during
November but the month’s highlight was the
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
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
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
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
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
wish everyone a healthy and happy new year and look forward to
working with all of you in 2008!