There are a LOT of fabulous things happening in New England’s libraries and the leaders of each state’s library agency brought us up to date at today’s State of the States Program. Here are a few headlines from each state. I have invited the speakers to add comments about anything I missed or confused in my note-taking that they want to be sure everyone hears about.
Vermont is “on the move, hamstrung by insufficient resources, and full of promise.” They are challenged by the loss of so many library leaders (due to retirements) and excited by the emergence of new leaders. Their BTOP grant program has brought community college students into libraries to address technology assistance one-on-one. Vermont is working on digital literacy and for the first time is providing direct aid to libraries in the form of WAN internet access. They are working toward replacing the clunky VALS system and statewide delivery needs to be part of that.
Rhode Island (the Ocean State) is making waves in libraries. Collaboration is key. The new library standards–streamlined and updated–go into effect one year from now. They are looking at substantial budget cuts in the 2015 budget. Libraries in RI have been preparing for a deluge of questions on the Health Source Rhode Island healthcare marketplace, but so far there haven’t been a ton of questions. A moratorium on funding of new public library building was just lifted.
New Hampshire is recovering from the recession. Staff was lost at the State Library and is proving difficult to get back. Libraries are growing and building. Sunapee just broke ground for a new library and the new Durham Public Library opened recently (it is spectacular and well worth a visit). The Gigabit Library Network, a partnership with the University of NH, is using TV ‘whitespace’ to enhance broadband in the state. NHAIS has expanded to include local open source systems with nhaisLOCAL.
Maine: For details on their many projects, check out their award-winning-website. Here are the bullet points: infonet, moving things around the building, aspirational library standards, check off for libraries on state income tax, funding (among other things) routers that count wireless users, leadership training program, continuing education lineup, state digital documents in the cloud, a focus on humanities, Maine Readers’ Choice Award, and a completed BTOP grant program.
Massachusetts is still searching for a new Executive Director following Rob Maier’s retirement. The upcoming (fiscal 15) legislative agenda was covered by an excellent handout on this which will be on the website soon if the supply is gone. The resource sharing summit led to a committee which led to 3 projects: pilot ebooks, statewide library card, and digitizing. Digital Public Library of America should have launched in Boston in April right after the marathon, and events are coming up nest week. There was a shout out to the Massachusetts Center for the Book and their Mass Book Awards.
Connecticut (which went last as “punishment for not ratifying the Bill of Rights until 1939”) is working on a technology bench-marking project and looking at revising their very out-of-date building guidelines. They have changed their disaster recovery funding to a reimbursement model. Partnerships are where it’s at. The Connecticut Digital Archive is looking at how to preserve digital content. Focusing on financial literacy. It has been a wild year for legislation around e-book sales to libraries. Updating guidance on safety in libraries in light of Newtown. Received a grant from National Endowment for the Humanities to start work on newspaper digitization.