Letter To Libraries Online

An Electronic Newsletter from the Oregon State Library.......Volume 19, Issue 7, July 2009


Library Board News

STATE LIBRARY BOARD APPROVES MOVING FORWARD WITH DATABASE LICENSE

At their meeting in Milton-Freewater on June 19th, the State Library Board accepted the recommendation of the Library Services and Technology Act Advisory Council that negotiations proceed with Gale/Cengage for the next general periodicals statewide database license. Despite concerns raised by some in the library community, the Board voted to accept the results of the procurement process that was led by the State Procurement Office with assistance from the Statewide Database Licensing Advisory Council. In other business the Board invited organizations that submitted 21 LSTA grant proposals for 2010 to submit full applications by the August deadline. The 21 proposals for first and second year grants totaled over $1.1 million. The Board also approved a plan to spend $100,000 in donations to Talking Book and Braille Services in 2009-10 on a variety of projects to enhance and promote the service. Included is a plan to spend $22,500 to promote the new digital talking books.


STATE LIBRARY BUDGET AND SCHOOL LIBRARY BILL PASS IN THE LEGISLATURE

In the final days of the 2009 Legislative Assembly, the State Library's budget for 2009-11 passed easily in the House and Senate. The vote in the House was unanimous, and in the Senate only three legislators opposed the bill. The bill is a 0.5% increase to the current biennial budget. It funds the Ready to Read Grant program at 95 cents per child per year, down from $1 per child in this biennium. One vacant position was eliminated in Talking Book and Braille Services. Funds were added to fund 2.5 FTE in Library Development with state funds instead of LSTA funds, to comply with a directive from the Institute of Museum and Library Services that the state fund more of the administrative costs of the LSTA program. Another important bill endorsed by the State Library Board was HB 2586. It passed the House unanimously on June 26th and passed unanimously in the Senate on the last day of the session. This bill will require all Oregon school districts to plan for a strong school library program and will also make school libraries eligible for grants to improve student achievement from the Oregon Department of Education.


BOARD ELECTS NEW OFFICERS FOR 2009-10

At their June 19th Board meeting, the State Library Board elected Sue Burkholder of Eugene as the new Board Chair. Burkholder is a retired librarian. She served for many years as the director of the library at Southern Oregon University. She will take over the Chair's position from M. Yvonne Williams who retired from the State Library Board at the end of June, having served two terms. Burkholder was recently appointed to her second term on the Board by Governor Kulongoski. The Board also elected Richard Turner of Portland to serve as Vice-Chair of the Board. Turner has been a member of the Board since 2005. He works at the Oregon Commission for the Blind and is an active user of Talking Book and Braille Services.

State Library News

TALKING BOOK AND BRAILLE SERVICES CELEBRATES 40 YEARS AT THE OREGON STATE LIBRARY

July 1, 2009 marks the 40th anniversary of Talking Book and Braille Services providing service to libraries and citizens of Oregon through the Oregon State Library. In 1969, Talking Books moved from the Multnomah County Library in Portland to the Oregon State Library’s Church Street Annex in Salem. Talking Book and Braille Services has seen a number of changes in the last forty years, especially in the area of technology. Since coming to the State Library, talking books have been available on recorded discs, 4-track cassettes, and finally digital flash-drive cartridges later this year. As TBABS unveils the new digital players and books, we look forward to continuing our partnerships with libraries around the state in providing talking book and Braille service to eligible Oregonians.

Other Library News

EOU GETS FUNDING FOR PIERCE LIBRARY IMPROVEMENT

In the waning days of the Legislative Session, Eastern Oregon University was successful in getting $8 million in funding for improvements to the Pierce Library. The Library, which was built in the 1950's, is the only library in the Oregon University System that has not seen major improvements in recent years. EOU has been trying for several legislative sessions to get support for an improvement project. The Pierce Library is named for former Governor Walter Pierce and for his wife, Cornelia Marvin Pierce, the first Oregon State Librarian.


UO LIBRARIES GETS MAJOR NEH GRANT FOR DIGITAL NEWSPAPER PROJECT

On June 19th, the National Endowment for the Humanities announced that the University of Oregon Libraries will receive a $349,042 grant for their Oregon Digital Newspaper Project. The Project has already received an LSTA grant from the State Library and another grant from the Oregon Heritage Commission. The Project's goal is to make the history of Oregon accessible to citizens by creating an online historic newspaper collection. Newspapers will be digitized from the microfilm masters at the UO, selected from the years 1860 to 1922. The grant to UO Libraries was one of only seven grants made by the NEH this year as part of it's National Digital Newspaper Program. The Library of Congress is also a partner in the Program. The newspapers digitized by UO will eventually be added to a national collection, the Chronicling America website, which recently added its millionth page of content.


VISIT A GREAT PAST LSTA GRANT PROJECT - UNIVERSITY OF OREGON / PERCENT FOR ART STATEWIDE DIGITAL COLLECTION

Since the late 1970s, the State of Oregon has required that state-funded building projects with construction budgets over $100,000 include funding for site-specific art. The University of Oregon Libraries teamed with the Oregon Arts Commission to create a digital repository of images and related documentation of the art and its settings. The site offers browsing by artist, subject, project locations, and award year, as well as searching by keyword and controlled vocabulary. It also includes a map of projects across the state. If you are going to be vacationing in the state, take a look at the site and then visit some great public art.

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 Oregon is interesting and deserves to be better known and appreciated by people who work in libraries today.

The Multnomah Circulating Library, located in Oregon City, was the first community subscription library in the Oregon country. It was created to serve one of the first communities established in the Oregon country, sometime around 1840. William H. Gray, who was a former member of the Whitman Mission, and who would go on to write the first history of Oregon, was the organizer of this library, located in his home. He describes the founding of the library as follows:

“One hundred shares were taken at five dollars a share; three hundred volumes of old books [were] collected and placed in this institution … [and] one hundred dollars were sent to New York for new books which arrived the following year.”

In an interesting footnote, Gray reported that representatives of the Methodist Mission founded by Jason Lee “seemed anxious to keep from the library a certain class of light reading, which they appeared tenacious about.”

What is interesting about this library is the fact that it was founded so early in the American settlement of Oregon, when there were only a few hundred settlers in the Willamette Valley. Maybe this was the reason that the library apparently struggled to sustain itself, and there is no record of it after 1849.

Subscription libraries were still the common way of establishing library service before about the middle of the 19th century, following the model established by Benjamin Franklin and his famous Library Company of Philadelphia in the 18th century. Subscription libraries had two major shortcomings. Most were hard to maintain financially, and none of them provided free books for all. They only served those who could afford a subscription.

It wasn’t until 1854, with the founding of the Boston Public Library, that a new model of tax-supported libraries operated by local governments, and serving everyone, would begin to take hold in the Northeast and spread across the country. The story of the Multnomah Circulating Library is not untypical in Oregon, as most of the 19th century subscription libraries struggled to survive, and many failed or were able to limp along before being taken over by local governments in Oregon beginning after 1901. – 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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