State Libraries

Michiganders Protest Closure of Their Genealogical Library

Protesters stand outside the Michigan Historical Center and Library in Lansing earlier this month to protest the plan to break up the genealogical collections at the library. More from the Detroit Free Press.

Historic Letters Find a Home in New Mexico Library

The handwritten letter to former New Mexico Gov. Lew Wallace is polite, articulate and to the point.

"Dear Sir," begins the missive. "I wish you would come down to the jail and see me."

The letter is from Billy the Kid, dated 1881, and it and others like it are now housed at the Fray Angelico Chavez History Library in Santa Fe, NM.
Here's the story.

Gov. Granholm Threatens to Dismantle the Library of Michigan

Tough times...but what's expendable and what's not?

From The Toledo Blade: Librarians and library advocates across the state of Michigan are mobilizing to defend the Library of Michigan, which could be dismantled and its collections scattered in a budget-cutting move.

An executive order from Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm last week transferred control of the Library of Michigan in Lansing to the Department of Education and recommended the department implement cost-cutting measures that library advocates believe may leave state residents without an important resource.

While previously the state library had operated under the Department of History, Arts, and Libraries, and in that capacity been able to allocate its budget as it saw fit, the order abolished that department at a savings to the state of $2 million.

Granholm closes Dept of History, Arts & Libraries

More bad news.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm has closed the Michigan Department of History, Arts and Libraries. The department's functions will be handled by other state departments under an executive order the Democratic governor signed Monday. She announced her plan to close the department in her February budget proposal. Chicago Tribune reports.

Granholm on Monday also announced potential plans for the Michigan Library and Historical Center in downtown Lansing. She is establishing a board to look at transforming the library into a high-tech center in partnership with Michigan State University, the city of Lansing and others.

Libraries are a Vital Community Resource in the Information Age

IMLS Report: Libraries are a Vital Community Resource in the Information Age

The report can be viewed here. [PDF]

Washington, DC—The character of library services has changed dramatically with the advent of new information technologies, the continuous development of locally-tailored services, and the expectations of the 21st century library user, according to the first analysis of the Grants to States program by the Institute of Museum and Library Service (IMLS). The report, “Catalyst for Change: LSTA Grants to State Program and the Transformation of Libraries Services to the Public,” focuses on services provided through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grants to State Library Agencies, the single largest source of federal funding for the nation’s libraries and the only library grants that require state-wide planning. IMLS conducted the study to inform the American public, the Administration, Congress and the library community about the program’s contributions.

To address the growing demand for online services, libraries have added computer workstations, increased available bandwidth, and provided training in communities where they are often the sole provider of free access to the Internet. Some State Libraries Agencies are incorporating technology investments into their statewide strategic plans while other states manage such investments on a local or regional basis, according to the new report. -- Read More

Hawaii: A Lincoln Document, and a Mystery

From the AP: A document with Abraham Lincoln’s signature and dated Sept. 22, 1862, has been found in the Hawaii State Archives, but no one seems to know how it got there. A project of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Illinois has confirmed its authenticity. It orders the secretary of state to affix the seal of the United States to his “proclamation of this date.” The Emancipation Proclamation was issued on that date. The document appears to have been at the archives since at least 1935. In the 1860s, Hawaii was an independent kingdom.

Anyone care to suggest how the document arrived at the Hawaii State Archives?

WWII Find at New South Wales Library

German industrialist Oskar Schindler’s list of 801 Jewish workers he helped escape death during World War II has been discovered by a researcher at Australia’s New South Wales state library. The list will be displayed at the library and online from Monday.

The researcher found the carbon typescript copy of the 13- page list among six boxes of research notes and newspaper clippings belonging to “Schindler’s Ark” author Thomas Keneally that were donated to the library in 1996, the library said in an e-mailed statement. Library spokeswoman Vanessa Bond confirmed the discovery in a phone interview in Sydney.

Librarians Learn How to Assist Job Seekers

Now, more than ever, librarians are serving the public as employment counselors, helping patrons write resumes and research job opportunities.

Earlier this week, the Mooresville NC Public Library hosted a "Job Search Workshop" conducted by the State Library of North Carolina. It's purpose was to educate regional librarians on how to better assist people who use their libraries' resources to look for employment.

"This is one of the ways we felt we could respond to this economic crisis, the joblessness, the kind of panic that people feel when they're searching for a job and maybe haven't done that for a decade or more," said Mooresville Library Director John Pritchard.

Pam Jaskot, a library consultant with the State Library, said librarians from across North Carolina have been completely overwhelmed by the amount of people coming in to use their facilities, especially those using their computers to search for employment.

Has your State Library or your library system offered programs of this nature? Please let us know.

Hard Times: Resources for Library Users and Staff

Times are tough. Library funding is down, library use is up, and people are asking more and more questions demanding more and more time from their public library staff. In response to these increasing demands on library resources, Library Development staff at the Washington State Library have been compiling resources and trying to find ways to help their libraries cope in Washington State. The result: resource pages for library users and library staff.

"Resources for library users collects helpful web sites dealing with employment resources, job-hunting, resumes and skills-building, economic information, and technological training. Resources for library staff includes grant and stimulus information, specific databases for consideration, promotion and advocacy information aimed at the services libraries provide in tough economic times.

Some of the resources listed are Washington State specific, but there is plenty there for everyone. Libraries are encouraged to copy the lists or parts of the lists as they like, and provide feedback on the blog if there are any resources they feel are missing.

Margolis Heads from the Bay State to the Empire State

New York State will soon have a new Librarian, a rather well-known one who's crossed the Massachusetts border...Bernie Margolis.

Margolis begins his new job after 11 years as president of the Boston Public Library, the nation's oldest. He was ousted in June after a political dust-up with Mayor Thomas M. Menino. Margolis defied the mayor's order to filter Internet content on the library's public computers after concerns were raised that patrons, including teenagers, could view pornographic sites. The two men also fought over library funding, how much to focus on technology improvements and expansions at branch libraries.

"Conflicts between library directors and mayors in Boston go back to 1878," he said. "History repeats itself every 20 years or so. Unfortunately, my timing was bad."

The denouement of their long-running battles came when Margolis likened Menino to a dictator and denounced the mayor's "anti-intellectual bent." More from the Albany Times-Union.

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