[Libs-Or] Letter To Libraries Online - August 2009

April Baker baker_april_m at oslmac.osl.state.or.us
Mon Aug 3 11:27:37 PDT 2009

Letter To Libraries Online
An Electronic Newsletter from the Oregon State Library.......Volume 19, Issue 8, August 2009

Library Board News

The outgoing chair of the State Library Board, Yvonne Williams, appointed a committee of three Board members to work with Library staff to develop new strategies to address the problem of Oregonians without adequate public library services. In the latest data, for 2008, 19% of Oregon's population has inadequate public library services. This includes approximately 10% of Oregonians who have no public library services and 9% who have substandard services. The State Library has been tracking this statistic for the past two decades as an Oregon Benchmark. As recently as 2007, the percentage of Oregonians with inadequate public library services had been reduced to 13%. However, more recently there has been an increase in the number. The new State Library Board chair, Sue Burkholder, will be joined by Board members Sam Hall and Cliff Trow to examine the data, and the strategies that have been used in the past to address the problem. In recent years the Board has given grant funding to grassroots organizations like the Lane Library League and the Linn Library League to plan and advocate for improved library services, particularly to Oregonians without services. The results have been mixed. New library districts have been formed in the Creswell area of Lane County, in Wasco County, and in the Ontario area. However, there are still significant numbers of Oregonians without service, particularly in the mid-Willamette Valley. The committee hopes to report to the Board later in the year on some new strategies that can be employed to try to extend public library services to unserved and underserved populations in the state. According to 2007 data, Oregon is one of 23 states that have not established public library service for all citizens. That year Oregon ranked 11th in the US in the percentage of unserved population.

State Library News

The State Library and Gale/Cengage Learning have signed a five-year agreement (two year contract with an option for three additional years) for a suite of 18 general periodicals and reference database products. The contract with EBSCO will expire on August 31, 2009, and all public, academic and school libraries will have access to the Gale databases before that date. The procurement process began nearly a year ago and was led by the Oregon Department of Administrative Services State Procurement Office. Members of the Oregon library community participated in creating the RFP, evaluating and scoring proposals, and conducting negotiations with the high scoring vendor, Gale/Cengage Learning. The Statewide Database Licensing Advisory Committee, led by Mary Finnegan of the Corvallis-Benton County Library, worked with a team of reviewers from all types of libraries and made a recommendation to the LSTA Advisory Council at their meeting in May. In June, the State Library Board accepted that recommendation and the process moved ahead under the guidance of the State Procurement Office until a contract was signed on July 31, 2009. Because the annual cost of the Gale databases is less than the amount of LSTA funds budgeted for databases in 2009-10, the State Library staff will be recommending to the LSTA Advisory Council and the State Library Board that the entire cost of the statewide contract be paid using LSTA funds, eliminating the need for library payments. State Library and Gale staff have begun transition planning and will be in contact with libraries about next steps. The library community can expect access to a transition website in early August, and trainings will be offered throughout the state as soon as they can be scheduled. For more information, please contact MaryKay Dahlgreen, 503-378-5012. 

The state libraries in Oregon, California, Washington and Idaho, working with the Peninsula Library System in California received a $170,025 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services as part of the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program. The state libraries will use the grant to undertake a project entitled "Western Regional Fellowship: Public Libraries and Baby Boomers." The project will train 100 public library staff from the three states to design and deliver improved library services to older adults from the baby boom generation in their communities. Fellows will learn from leaders in the field of aging, health, lifelong learning, and civic engagement, applying their lessons to libraries. Fellows will attend a 2 ½ day learning institute to be held in Portland in October, 2010. Approximately 25 Oregon library staff will be selected as fellows to participate in the program. Interested public librarians should watch for further announcements in the months ahead.

Applications for the 2009-2010 Ready to Read Grant are due August 31, 2009. One hundred and twenty nine public libraries are eligible to apply for the Ready to Read Grant this year. The list of proposed Ready to Read Grants for 2009-2010 reflects the $720,101 annual budget passed by the Oregon Legislative Assembly and signed by Governor Kulongoski. The application was mailed to library directors and children's librarians the second week in July. It is also available on the State Library website to download, complete, and mail. Contact Katie Anderson, 503-378-2528, for more information.


The 2009 Public Library Statistical Report is available here. Note the new login URL. Login information was mailed July 17. Contact Ann Reed, 503-378-5027 if you have not received the mailing with your login information. Please call or email Ann for help, or check out the FAQ.

TRAVEL to other libraries! NETWORK with professional colleagues! LEARN about innovations in library service! Peer evaluators provide a thorough, objective assessment report of the results of LSTA grant projects funded by the State Library. See the LSTA peer evaluator page on the Library Development/Oregon State Library webpage for more information, or contact Ann Reed, (503) 378-5027 for more details.
Other Library News

In June the Institute of Museum and Library Services published the latest compilation of national public library statistics for fiscal year 2007 on their website. IMLS collects data from all 50 state library agencies and the District of Columbia Public Library for the report. The report includes rankings of all 50 states and DC on a variety of public library statistics. Historically, Oregon has ranked highly in a number of areas. The report for FY 2007 is no exception. Oregon ranks second in circulation per capita, second only to Ohio. However, in 2007, Ohio's lead over Oregon, which had been only 0.51 circulations per capita in FY 2006, increased to 0.94. Oregon also continues to rank second in interlibrary loans borrowed per capita, second to Wisconsin. Oregon moved up to a 7th place ranking in local operating revenue per capita, from a 9th place ranking in FY 2006, and also moved up two places to 9th in total operating expenditures per capita. Oregon public libraries lag behind most other states in reference transactions per capita (30th), operating revenue from state sources (42nd) and public-use Internet computers per capita (36th). Oregon public libraries are fairly average in terms of their staffing, ranking 25th in total staffing per capita, and 18th in MLS librarians per capita.

The ALA Executive Board recently approved plans for the Library Support Staff Certification Program. ALA will begin accepting applications for candidacy in January, 2010. The Library Support Staff Certification Program (LSSCP) addresses the need for a national certification program to help the profession standardize expectations for library support staff, and to help support staff master critical job competencies. The program will also provide educators with guidance for training curriculums and help employers articulate job requirements. The project is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the American Library Association. It is a partnership between the American Library Association and the Western Council of State Libraries. For more information go to the Library Support Staff Certification Program website.

The Curry Public Library in Gold Beach is the only public library west of the Rockies to be chosen to host a traveling exhibit, Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War. The exhibit is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Library Association and the U.S. Constitution Center. The exhibit will open at the Library in February, 2010. The Library also will be holding a lecture series in February and March featuring Oregon historians. Library Director Corey Bard recently traveled to Philadelphia to attend a planning workshop and to receive a $2,500 grant in support of the project. According to an NEH announcement, "Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War offers a fresh and innovative perspective on Lincoln that focuses on his struggle to meet the political and constitutional challenges of the Civil War."

The Klamath Waters Digital Library is an outstanding past LSTA-funded project produced by the Oregon Institute of Technology Library. The site documents many sides of the controversy that swirls around the waters of the area. Representatives from all concerned parties were on an advisory board to the project and contributed to its robust collection. Project manager Kelly Peterson noted that in some cases, it was the first time the parties had talked directly to each other. The local Bureau of Land Management office made some rare documents accessible, including a vintage map. The map turned out to be the only source to help searches locate a WWII plan crash site. Visit their website.

P.S. (From the State Librarian)

In honor of Oregon's Sesquicentennial, I continue to devote my column to brief sketches of early Oregon libraries. The beginnings of library service in 19th century Oregon is interesting and deserves to be better known and appreciated by people who work in libraries today.
Last month I wrote about the first subscription library in Oregon, one that struggled and disappeared after only a decade. This month, by contrast, I want to write about the most successful subscription library in Oregon, the Library Association of Portland. Here is an account of the founding of the Library Association of Portland written by Mirpah Blair, a librarian at the State Library, in 1926:
"The Library Association of Portland was organized, in 1864, largely through the efforts of L. H. Wakefield. Seeing the need of such an organization, Mr. Wakefield began a canvass for subscriptions, and having secured $2,500 in a few days, a call was issued for a meeting of the subscribers. . Dues were placed at $3 a quarter and there was an initiation fee of $5 which was reduced to $2 in 1867 and abolished in 1869."
In 1869, the Association found a temporary home in rooms over a bank in downtown Portland, at First and Stark Streets, and occupied this location for 24 years, rent free.
The fortunes of the Library Association of Portland improved though at the end of the 19th century. In 1889 the Association was left a substantial bequest that enabled them to build their first library building in 1893 at Stark and Broadway. Also in the 1890's they began to receive a number of large gifts and bequests of money and collections. Finally in 1901, through the leadership of the Portland Women's Club, working with the Oregon Federation of Women's Clubs, the first public library enabling legislation was passed in the Oregon Legislature. This enabled what had been private subscription library, open to only a few, to become tax-supported public library, open to all, through a contract with the City of Portland in 1902. 
In 1903 the law was amended to allow counties as well as cities to establish tax-supported public libraries, but the law was written in such a way as to apply only to Multnomah County. In that same year the Library Association of Portland contracted with Multnomah County to operate their library as a free county library for everyone in Multnomah County. This arrangement lasted through most of the 20th century, until 1990, when it was decided that Multnomah County should operate, as well as fund, the Multnomah County Library. On July 1, 1990, the Library Association of Portland, having successfully operated a library for 126 years, graciously handed it over to the County, where it has been well-supported ever since. - Jim Scheppke

Contacts at the Oregon State Library

Technical Assistance: 503-932-1004.

Library Development: 503-378-2525, MaryKay Dahlgreen, Jennifer Maurer, Darci Hanning, Ann Reed, Mary Mayberry, Katie Anderson.

Talking Book and Braille Services: 503-378-5389, Susan Westin.

Government Research and Electronic Services: 503-378-5030, Robert Hulshof-Schmidt.

State Librarian: 503-378-4367, Jim Scheppke.

LTLO Editor: 503-378-2464, April Baker.
Letter to Libraries Online is published monthly by the Oregon State Library. Editorial office: LTLO, Oregon State Library, 250 Winter St. NE, Salem, Oregon 97301-3950, 503-378-2464, editor: April Baker
Letter to Libraries Online is available free of charge and is available only in electronic form on the publications page at the Oregon State Library's homepage: http://www.oregon.gov/OSL. Opinions expressed in the articles are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Oregon State Library. News items or articles should be sent to April Baker, or mailed to LTLO, Oregon State Library, 250 Winter St. NE, Salem, Oregon 97301-3950.
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