CT Treasures: The Civil War Collection CONNECTICUT HISTORICAL SOCIETY MUSEUM AND LIBRARY by Tom Newman
any librarians wonder whether there is any logical reason to consolidate federal support for libraries and museums in the same government agency, viz., the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The Connecticut Historical Society provides a good example of why this can be very logical, indeed. When researching a topic as complex as the American Civil War, serious scholars expect to mine many sources, including visits to libraries, archives, and museums. The researcher might find relevant printed materials, manuscripts, photoCaptain Charles E. Bulkeley and fellow officers at Battery Garreche, Virginia graphs, broadsides, prints, or even three-dimensional items such as flags, portraits, or weaponry. Anyone doing Civil War research base also will be available soon on with a Connecticut focus can find all of these resources in one the Internet. The Civil War collections at CHS place at the Connecticut Historical Society (CHS) in Hartford. are a prime example of the instituAt CHS, the researcher will benefit further from having a single access point to all of the library/archives/museum mate- tion’s ability to provide research rial, as is the trend in similar institutions. Historians, genealo- material in multiple forms. The print collections include most of the regigists, students, hobbyists, and tourists all enjoy access to the “Museum and Library” collections through the CHS Research mental histories for Connecticut, as Center. This provides both the researcher and the staff with a well as published service records. more holistic view of historical subjects, thereby helping to Family genealogists often receive assistance in finding information on make all those connections critical for good scholarship. The CHS “is one of the oldest historical societies in the ancestors who may have enlisted in nation and houses one of the most distinguished museum and one of the Connecticut regiments. Ephemera collections include a library collections in New England. The museum’s collections include more than 242,000 prints and photographs and 38,000 “covers” collection, i.e., mailing enobjects, with strengths in 17th and 18th century furniture, cos- velopes with political and pro-war tumes and textiles, portraits and landscapes, tavern and trade slogans. Manuscripts include solsigns, decorative arts, toys, and tools. The library holds more diers’ diaries and letters, muster rolls, than 125,000 volumes, 1,300 maps, 3,700 broadsides, and recruiting broadsides, and some of three million manuscripts, including one of the nation’s finest the papers of the war governor, genealogical collections.” continued on page 14 CHS has exhibition galleries, offers educational programs, public programs and events, and is a lead participant in Connecticut History Online, a cooperative digital collection of Don’t miss over 15,000 images at www.cthistoryonline.org. (Other our annual salute Connecticut History Online partners include the Connecticut State Library, the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center at UConn, to departed Mystic Seaport, and the New Haven Museum and Historical colleagues, Society.) Currently, CHS provides an Internet-accessible OPAC beginning on page 5. for a portion of the library and archives collections. Museum collections are accessible via an on-site search tool; this data-
Your Foreign Correspondent by Julian Aiken
CLA Executive Board Meeting of June 4, 2009 University of Hartford, West Hartford
t may have come to some of our readers’ attention that I’m not from around these parts. I’ve tried to keep it quiet, attempted various false accents (which, frankly, haven’t translated so well in print) but the truth must finally out: I’m British. As British as nasty boiled vegetables, bad teeth, and inclement weather. And whilst I don’t hold with Byron’s view that, “He who loves not his country, can love nothing,” (except, perhaps, for on the 4th of July, when I can generally be found sporting a badge that reads ‘Give it Back!’) I remain patriotic when it comes to the task of keeping a wary eye on the comings and goings of the Great British Public Library. Sadly, there’ve been a lot more goings than comings of late. Britain has a fine old tradition of small local branch libraries, described by Culture Secretary Chris Smith as our “street-corner universities.” The Wirral, for example, a metropolitan borough with a population roughly two-and-a-half times that of the city of New Haven, boasts 24 public libraries across its 60 square miles. Currently, 11 of these are threatened with closure. It has been estimated that, over three years from 2006 until the end of 2009, 100 branch libraries will have shut down across the U.K. Oddly enough, while the smaller branch libraries are doing about as well as American auto manufacturers, a number of vast, architecturally dazzling ‘destination libraries’ are being built in large urban centers across Britain. Rebranded as ‘Information Centres’ and (my favorite) ‘Ideas Stores,’ these towering glass and steel beauties have been garnering more positive attention than Julian Aiken the latest Internet pictures of is head of access services President Obama in pink spanat Wallingford dex shorts. (Don’t ask me how I Public Library. discovered these.) And, sadly, firstname.lastname@example.org they have about as much substance as the aforementioned Photoshop delights, but more on this later. As someone who spent his formative years huddled over well-thumbed comic books in under-heated corners of British libraries, I was eager to see exactly how
serious the decline was in dear old Blighty, and accordingly indulged in some fairly extensive library tourism during my most recent trip to the Fatherland. My visits to branch libraries were pretty much universally depressing experiences. Small, dirty and terribly understocked, these libraries displayed all the old-world charm of the underside of my dear old Granny’s 1940s sofa. The book and media collections were what you might expect of a system in which the average spending on books is less than 8% of total public library funds. More surprising, though, were the opening hours, or lack thereof. Few of the libraries I visited ever stayed open beyond 7:00 p.m., many closed on seemingly random days during the week, and some of these undernourished institutions even shut down for lunch. The problems with the new überlibraries were no less marked. As outwardly stylish as those pink presidential hot pants, the library I visited in trendy Brighton (think San Francisco with pale blue tubby people) was alarmingly lacking in substance. The book collection was little better than those of its poor cousins. It had apparently run out of money for shelving, and couldn’t find room for biography, crime, sci-fi or classics. The signage was oddly confusing, and there was a rummy absence of actual librarians to help the confused visitor (or to cravenly apologize for the lack of Austen and Dickens on the shelves.) In May, the Audit Commission published a report detailing the steady decline in use of British public libraries. Use of libraries has “fallen by nearly a quarter in the past three years,” it noted. Yet "the demand and need for libraries is as strong as it has ever been.” The implication appears to be that British people like and need their public libraries, but are not using them because they are basically Not Very Good. continued on page 13
President Kathy Leeds expressed her pleasure in having served as president of CLA for the past year and handed the president’s gavel to incoming President Randi Ashton-Pritting, who thanked Kathy for her service. Treasurer Alison Wang distributed her report and said the Finance Committee would meet soon to discuss the association’s fiscal situation and the 2009/10 budget. ALA Jay Johnston reported that the ALA president’s new initiatives include early childhood education. He suggested that Beth Crowley, chair of the Children’s Section, be appointed to this special sub-section to advocate for Connecticut libraries. BCALA Vivian Bordeaux thanked CLA for providing a reception room at the conference to celebrate BCALA’s 10th anniversary. CLA Sections Sandy Brooks reported on the status of: 1) Business & Economic Development Section—needs a new chair; 2) Extension/ Services Section—has been inactive for a year following the retirement of the chair; no new chair has been appointed. A taskforce will review the sections and make recommendations to the board regarding their future. The taskforce will also review CLA/CLC roles and redundancy and discuss strategies to encourage participation and leadership. Conference 2009 Janet Woycik reported on the success of the 2009 annual conference in New Haven. Attendance was impressive, a great diversity of topics was offered, and the presenters were of high quality. She thanked committee chairs, the board and Pam Najarian for their support. Conference 2010 Debbie Herman noted that although the 2009 conference was a success, attendees indicated a reluctance to return to New Haven next year. The 2010 coordinators will announce the location of the 2010 conference in August. The committee will conduct a post-conference online survey to gather more advice on planning the 2010 conference. (See the summary report on page 12.) The committee is considering a possible tie-in with CASL and/or Book Expo. CT Center for the Book Kat Lyon mentioned upcoming events: Annual CT Book Awards, National Book Festival with Tomie DePaola, September 26. CT State Library Ken Wiggin discussed President Obama’s Summer of Service program and said details and volunteer opportunities will be available online beginning June 8. Governor
Rell was at CSL to kick off the Summer Reading Program. Sixteen CSL employees have accepted the state’s retirement incentive program; none of them can/will be replaced. CSL furlough days for 2009 are July 6, the day after Thanksgiving, and the day after Christmas. Guests Nancy Frede, of Frede Enterprises, discussed ways in which libraries can generate funding by creating job fairs and corporate sponsorship opportunities. Randall Fiveash, director of tourism, CT Commission on Culture and Tourism, distributed a packet of materials and discussed the CT tourism guide. Leadership Institute Carl Antonucci urged board members to encourage library staff to apply to the first annual CLA/CLC Leadership Institute, scheduled for August 14, at the University of Hartford. (See page 15.) Legislative Jay Johnston reported that the committee met with CLA lobbyist Bobby Shea, who urged everyone to write letters to their legislators in support of libraries. Shea said phone calls are effective; emails, although counted, are not read. It was recommended that the CLA website incorporate documentation and facts regarding the CT budget and that the State Library gather and send information to our webmaster. Memorial Resolution Peter Chase introduced a memorial resolution he prepared to honor Judith Krug, founder of the ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom and the Freedom to Read Foundation. It will be presented at the ALA Annual Conference on behalf of CLA. NELA Mary Etter reminded the board that NELA’s annual conference will be held in Hartford this October. New Section Proposed Steve Cauffman presented a petition with the required number of signatures (17), proposing to form a new CLA section: Resource Sharing Section. The purpose of the section would be to discuss statewide ILL and ILS systems and to present information at the CLA annual conference and CLA sponsored events. The board approved the new section under the leadership of Steve Cauffman. Region 5 Maribeth Breen reported on the legislative campaign taking place in Region 5 libraries. The Shoreline Times has had a series of stories on these libraries. Region 6 Betty Anne Reiter reported that the Community Foundation of Southeastern CT will distribute $13,000 to each of selected libraries in the region this month; $1,000 from each library will be used for a joint program entitled One Book, Every Young Child. NOTE: Complete and official minutes are posted at www.ctlibraryassociation.org/minutes.htm.
Lessons Learned During the Summer of by Randi Ashton-Pritting
ew Year’s Eve 2009 was celebrated like that of any other year—with a party, good thoughts and warm wishes for the coming year. But it wasn’t any other year. Reeling from the collapse of major financial institutions in late 2008 and a recession that soon affected just about everybody, the country was ready for change. Voters elected Barak Obama, a President who inspired the hope that better days were ahead. Since then, many changes have occurred—some good, the verdict still out on others. Early spring offered a ray of hope— two nice warm days in April, but then, the weather as well as the economy turned on us. Connecticut legislators and the governor had major differences on how to solve the state’s financial crisis and stopped talking. Governor Rell proposed draconian cuts to state support for libraries. CLA’s Legislative Committee, working with our lobbyist, Bobby Shea, kicked into gear. Carl Antonucci, Jay Johnston and Bobby, organized a letter-writing campaign among library workers and library patrons. News events were organized at libraries all over Connecticut, making sure the public understood the impact of the proposed cuts. As of mid-July, the state is still without a budget. Talks have resumed, but in secret. The State Library is operating under an executive order that allows it to maintain all services through July 31. Every agency, department, town and library in Connecticut is affected by the stalemate. Still at risk is funding for the State Library and its service centers, the Connecticut Library Consortium, interlibrary loan, Connecticar and Connecticard, and iCONN. Schools reopen in six weeks. Without iCONN to support students from elementary through graduate school, and teachers and faculty members (not to mention every citizen), Connecticut’s educational system will take a giant step backwards. Is this what our legislators and governor (who reads to students during library story hours and who backed the iCONN project 100% just eight years ago) can support? 3
Lessons learned here: 1) Take nothing for granted, 2) Make sure the public knows what gifts libraries are, 3) Be sure to thank legislators—promptly and continuously—when they support libraries, 4) Recognize how committed library staff are to offering quality services and resources to their patrons, and 5) Never, ever take things for granted again. The library community—and our patrons—must continue to press legislators and top government officials to support libraries, reminding them what is at stake. And legislators must continue to receive our thanks when they support libraries; it’s common courtesy and good politics. A key lesson we learned this summer is that all types of libraries have Common Ground. At news events, people from academic libraries supported public libraries. At Central Connecticut State University’s event, the public Randi Ashton-Pritting library crowd, including is director of the members of the East Granby University of Friends Group, came to supHartford Libraries. port academic libraries. What email@example.com a day! We all want the same thing for our patrons—access to and the free flow of information. The budget crisis has brought us together as never before. Now that legislators and the governor are talking, this is not the time to stop writing letters and making personal contact with them. Our struggle has been picked up in the local media and in national library journals. We need to maintain public awareness of the situation and what may be lost. This brings me to one more, vitally important, lesson learned this summer: the importance of the Connecticut Library Association! Only CLA, as the state’s professional association, has the legal status to lobby the state legislature and administration. Without strong representation in Hartford, our voice may not be heard. And without a strong association, it would be impossible to support our lobbyist Bobby Shea. IMPOSSIBLE! continued on page 13
Rock, Paper, Scissors: Game Theory in Everyday Life BY LEN FISHER (BASIC BOOKS, 2008) A Review by Vince Juliano
onnecticut librarians believe in cooperation. We routinely share resources on interlibrary loan. We form consortia to share the costs and benefits of computer hardware, software, and telecommunications. We share problems and solutions on Conntech and at CLA and CLC workshops. In the early 1970s, we dreamed up Connecticard, Connecticar, and other collaborative programs. Today, we discuss sharing the cost of developing open source software and the goal of deploying a statewide integrated library system. As committed as we are to it, cooperation is not foolproof. It takes good will and more. Game theory, as discussed by Len Fisher, offers insight into the “more.” Fisher describes the “Seven Deadly Dilemmas” that often are roadblocks to cooperation. Recognizing the dilemmas in library situations may give us the perspective needed to anticipate problems. Many dilemmas are variants of the Prisoner's Dilemma, a situation dramatically portrayed in television plots. Plea bargain offers are made separately to each of two suspects in a crime. Usually, the suspects will do better to maintain their covenant of silence since the authorities have only enough evidence to prosecute them for a lesser crime. However, each suspect is tempted by the offer of a shorter sentence for testifying against his partner, who will then be tried for a more serious crime and receive a longer sentence. If both prisoners make the deal, authorities receive the evidence they need to prosecute both for the bigger crime. The winning strategy is solidarity, but the Vince Juliano temptation to cut a deal is is assistant director of often irresistible. Middletown’s Russell Library. The Tragedy of the Commons Read more of his reviews at is a multi-party Prisoner's www.ctlibraryasssociation.org Dilemma in which the effects of many people refusing to cooperate will eventually lead to dire results. The reporting of Connecticard statistics requires honesty from all participants.
Yet, the temptation to count certain types of disallowed non-resident transactions exists. A few cheaters may not matter, but the program collapses if “everyone is doing it.” The Free Rider is related to the Tragedy of the Commons. It occurs when an individual takes advantage of the benefits of a group, but does not contribute to the group as a whole. Imagine a library that made many interlibrary loan requests to neighboring libraries, but refused to lend its resources. That library endangers the whole system because, before long, other libraries will retaliate by refusing to lend materials. The game of Chicken presents a classic dilemma. It occurs when the party that makes the first move loses. Think of two motorcyclists riding toward each other on the yellow highway line. Will one turn slightly to prevent a collision? This “brinkmanship” is probably rare in the library world, except in negotiations. Some of us have had to occasionally face vendors who presented us with take-itor-leave-it propositions. The best way to deal with such situations is to mix strategies. Sometimes you put on a show; sometimes you carry out your threat. Of course, your threat must be credible. If you threaten to walk away from a deal, be prepared to walk—at least some of the time. The Volunteer's Dilemma occurs when disastrous results threaten a group unless one party takes serious risks. Soldiers and first responders come quickly to mind. I recall a library director who took on a very time-consuming leadership position when we were forming the cooperating library service units many years ago. A true believer in cooperation, she helped establish one CLSU while some others held back. Her board of trustees lacked her vision. It cost her
her job, but libraries enjoyed the benefits of her sacrifice. The Battle of the Sexes has little to do with sex. It's when parties have to choose between two good things, but have different opinions on which of the two things is “better.” The best way to choose is not to choose. Instead, both parties should agree to a random solution, like tossing a coin or cutting cards. A knowledgeable insider told me that a disagreement between two powerful legislators with conflicting views on library funding was once settled by a coin toss. In Stag Hunt a group needs the cooperation of all members to attain a big payoff at substantial risk, while individuals are tempted to leave the group and settle for a smaller immediate reward at lesser risk. There once was a proposal that public libraries abandon Connecticard unless the State provided realistic funding. The risk was high. The potential payoff was big—if libraries stuck together. Too many of us were not willing to risk losing lesser, but almost certain, payments against the chance of receiving a bigger payoff. Stag Hunt requires a great deal of groundwork. Parties must believe in the plan and trust that others in the group will stick with it, too. Cooperation, even library cooperation, takes more than just good will.
Celebrating Our Colleagues A SALUTE TO THOSE WHO LEFT US THIS YEAR
Times change, sometimes more rapidly than we might wish. People come and go and, once they depart, the pressure of getting on with the job often leaves us little time to recall their accomplishments. So, as we did in the 2008 summer edition of Connecticut Libraries, we’re taking the opportunity here to appreciate the heritage bequeathed us by colleagues who’ve departed since September 2008, having served the Connecticut library community for at least ten years. Drop what you’re doing; it can wait. Take a few minutes to consider what a splendid profession we have. David Kapp, Editor Ann J. Arcari retired from the Farmington Library on June 30, 2009, having worked there since 1983 as Farmington Room librarian and also as a reference librarian. Ann organized the Farmington Room, the local history and genealogy collection, in its oneroom space when the library moved to its new building on Monteith Drive. With the 2003 renovation, she designed an expanded facility to include a public research space, a workroom, and office. During her tenure, she created many local history exhibits, programs and library displays. For the 2003 reopening, she and other staff interviewed a number of Farmington’s World War II and Korean War veterans, and organized a major exhibit of their memorabilia, including uniforms, artwork, and models to illustrate their service. For the town’s 350th anniversary, celebrated as “Farmington, the Farming Town,” Ann researched, wrote and created a large exhibit based on the Town Farm, the local almshouse. Ann used her research while earning an MA in American studies at Trinity College in 1998. Much of the material assembled for her courses has added greatly to the Farmington Room collections. At the reference desk, Ann fielded general questions. She has been a director and president of the Farmington Historical Society, contributing her knowledge of local history to their endeavors, as well. She looks forward to spending more time in her garden, pursuing her own genealogy, and traveling with husband Ralph. Ethel Bacon, a vibrant and spirited presence on the University of Hartford campus even into her later years, died November 6, 2008, at the age of 86. "Ethel Bacon’s life was testimony to her devotion to the University of Hartford," said Walter Harrison, president. "No one cared more about the university; no one knew more about its history. She was extraordinarily helpful to me as a new president in teaching me about the university, and throughout the years I turned to her for information about our history, our values, and our people." Bacon arrived at the Julius Hartt School of Music in 1938 and later entered the Hartt College of Music. After graduating in 1944, she started teaching at Hartt, and while working on her master’s degree was employed part-time in the library. In 1957, Hartt joined Hillyer College and the Hartford Art School to form the University of Hartford. Two
years later, Bacon’s position as music librarian became full time, but she continued to teach piano part time until 1966. In 1965, Hartt named Bacon outstanding alumnus of the year "for selfless dedication to the school and its library." Bacon was the university’s first archivist, a position she continued after she retired as music librarian in 1987, until 2006. In a profile published in the Observer in 2006, Bacon said the archives always fascinated her, "maybe, because I’ve lived through all those years" of university history. In 2001, the University Alumni Association presented Bacon with its Distinguished Service Award. Bacon’s life was an exceptionally full one. She traveled all over the world and was a member of the Appalachian Mountain Club for more than 50 years. A favorite pastime for many years was dog sledding, and in 1997 her children’s book, To See the Moon, was published, inspired by her beloved Siberian huskies. Louise Blalock, chief librarian of the Hartford Public Library, retired on December 31, 2008. While the vibrant and architecturally striking central library at 500 Main Street may be the defining symbol of Louise Blalock’s leadership, it is the innovative and effective library services she established that mark her 15-year tenure in Hartford and will be her legacy. Blalock created a program of service that directly responded to the needs of the community. With broad financial support, Blalock attracted $50M in capital project funding including public funding through bond referenda and $10M in service program funding. Louise Blalock was appointed chief librarian of the Hartford Public Library in April 1994. She holds an MA in Public Administration from the Robert Wagner School at New York University, an MLS from the School of Information Science and Policy, SUNY/Albany, and is a graduate of the College of New Jersey. Blalock has received many honors throughout her career. While at Hartford Public Library she received the following: Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Hartford (2009); Wilbur Cross Award for Lifetime Service to the Humanities from the Connecticut Humanities Council (2009); Rising Star Award for Advocacy for Intellectual Freedom and Creativity from the Metro Hartford Alliance (2009); Public Sector Leader of the Year from Hartford Business Journal (2008); Polaris Award for Leadership in Education from Leadership Greater Hartford (2004); National Award for Library Service from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (2002); Librarian of the Year from Library Journal (2001), and the Outstanding Librarian Award from the Connecticut Library Association & Connecticut State Library (1999). Catherine D’Italia, retired, special assistant, Office of the Chief Librarian continued on page 6
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Ann-Etta Cannon, Preston Public Library board member since 1999, died on April 19, 2009. Ann was a vital member of our community, serving 27 years on the school board, and for 20 yeas as a member (president for the past ten years) of the Society of the Founders of Norwich, which owns and operates the Leffingwell House Museum in Norwich. Ann helped to create and promote the Preston Read-a-Thon (now the Ann Cannon Read-In), an event in which parents and public officials read to grammar school students—and she dressed up as Mother Goose. She touched the lives of many, and her support during my time here was invaluable. Her legacy will live on at the library with the Ann-Etta Cannon Memorial Fund. Denise Bachand, director, Preston PL Attorney David P. Condon, partner in Waller, Smith & Palmer, P.C., served as trustee of the Public Library of New London from 1999 until his death in June 2009, most recently as vice president of the board from 2005 until 2007. He was a driving force behind the library’s capital campaign 2005, not only in the renovations and reorganization of the physical layout of the building, but most especially in the development of Project ASPIRE, a new “After-School Program In Reaching Excellence.” David brought together leaders of the public school system and community organizations to determine areas in which the library could provide programs that would supplement existing offerings for New London’s school children. He also sought out and met with potential providers of such programs, and the library continues to build on the foundation he laid. In May 2009, David re-wrote the job descriptions for every library staff position. By the time of his death, he also had re-drafted many library policies. David’s volunteer activities were not limited to the library. His years on the New London Board of Education, the Board of the James P. and Mary Shea Trust, and the University of Connecticut Law School Alumni Association earned him a place on the Connecticut Bar Association’s Distinguished Volunteers Roster in 2003. Alvin Kinsall, library president, PL of New London Laura Eisenberg retired as head of lending services at the Danbury Library on June 30, 2009. Laura began her career here near the end of 1986 and became circulation manager one day short of her eighth anniversary. During her tenand-a-half years as head of circulation, Laura exhibited patience, fairness and support in her dealings with staff and customers alike, and she was influential in setting up temporary headquarters for the library after the disastrous fire of February 1996. Mark Hasskarl, director, Danbury PL Bill Gamzon came to Eastern Connecticut State University’s Smith Library as reference/government documents librarian in 1998 with an MLS from SCSU and prior library experience at Westfield State College, UConn/Greater Hartford, and Manchester Community College. A mainstay of the ECSU reference desk, Bill has helped hundreds of students and faculty with requests as Connecticut Libraries
simple as finding periodical articles to those involving arcane knowledge of government information sources. In 2006, Bill became the library’s reference coordinator, responsible for scheduling desk coverage and coordinating development of the reference collection. He has served as the library’s liaison to various departments, including Political Science, Physical Science, and Environmental Earth Science. As government documents librarian, Bill oversaw a selective collection of US, Connecticut, and Canadian documents geared to ECSU curricula. He is a member of ALA’s Government Documents Round Table, the Connecticut Government Documents Round Table, and Government Publications Librarians of New England, as well as CLA. His colleagues at Smith Library will miss Bill, whose future plans focus mainly on the “3 R’s”, rest, relaxation, and reading, in addition to traveling with his wife, Sandy, who retired from Hartford Public Library, and visiting their children and grandchildren. Carol Abatelli, head of collections & electronic services, ECSU Siobhán Murphy Grogan resigned as director of Cragin Memorial Library in Colchester on June 26, 2009. She began her library career at Cragin in 1987 and has been director since 1997. While striving to expand library programs and services and increase staff salaries, she supported and motivated her staff to develop their skills and take pride in what the library offers the community. With unrelenting enthusiasm, Siobhán served on the library building committee for five years, and participated in the planning and design of the library’s addition and renovation, which won a Connecticut Excellence in Public Library Architecture Award in 2005. Siobhán and her husband Spencer have lived near Gardner Lake in Bozrah since 1985 and are avid kayaking enthusiasts. Siobhán plans to work at a school library when she and Spencer begin the next chapter in their lives by realizing their long-time dream of moving to Mexico. Katharine Hepburn said, “If you always do what interests you, at least one person is pleased.” Siobhán improved upon that by including innumerable people in her interests. Thank you for who you are, Siobhán. You will be missed. Beverly Himelstein, information services librarian, retired from the Learning Resources Center at Asnuntuck Community College on March 1, 2009, with 23 years of service. Sherry Gelbwasser, information services librarian, Asnuntuck CC Paul Keroack, reference librarian, Norwalk Public Library, retired on April 30, 2009. In addition to his knowledge in many other subject areas, Paul’s expertise in genealogy and business reference was especially valuable to NPL patrons. Liz Kirkpatrick, assistant director, Wethersfield Library, retired June 30 after 31 years of service. Liz started her library career in the Providence Public Library reference department. After receiving her MLS from Simmons, she directed the Capitol Region Reference Service for the Capitol Region Library Council (CRLC) before joining Farmington Village Library as a reference librarian. Liz arrived at Wethersfield Library in 1978 and became continued on page 7
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assistant director in 1980. She served as acting director twice and is the face of the library to local residents and is our institutional memory. In the 80s, she steered the library through its critical transition to automation. Liz has served as president of CLA and on CRLC’s Board of Directors and Executive Board. As an outstanding reference librarian, Liz can answer the trickiest questions, but it is love of literature for which she is best known. She is gifted at matching a reader’s interest with just the right book and is a talented book discussion leader. Liz is known for her unfailing graciousness. Staff members describe her as friendly, dedicated, sane, calm, optimistic, positive, professional, and noble—a saint! This year the Wethersfield Chamber of Commerce named her Town Employee of the Year. Liz enjoys writing poetry and running road races and marathons. After one race, I asked her how she did. “I finished first in my age group,” she said, then added, “I was the only one in my age group.” As a colleague, I have admired Liz for 25 years and have especially enjoyed the opportunity to work with her at Wethersfield for the past seven years. Laurel Goodgion, director, Wethersfield Library Les Kozerowitz, director, Norwalk Public Library, began his career there in 1987 and retired on April 30, 2009. Les served as president of CLA in 2003/2004 and, for some years, was a lively contributor to Connecticut Libraries. Beverly Lambert, director of the Bloomfield Public Libraries since 1993, retired in April 2009 to pursue her hobby of competing in Border Collie field trials throughout North America. Bev began her library career as a reference librarian in Springfield, MA, and prior to Bloomfield, she served as library director in Hamden, ME and Tiverton, RI. Bev was very active in Greater Hartford’s CONNECT library automation efforts. Her avid, wide-ranging reading tastes contributed to a diverse collection of materials at Bloomfield, and a corresponding significant increase in annual loans to citizens. Beverly’s tenure at Bloomfield was also noted for a series of remodels and enhancements to the main library building. When not traveling, she lives at her farm in Andover, with her spouse, the dogs and the sheep. Douglas McDonough, director, Manchester Public Library (and spouse)
Kathy Krazniewicz “Mrs. K”
Kate Mclelland “Mrs. Mac”
We love you. We miss you.
John Mcgavern, director of the University of Hartford’s library system for 34 years, died quietly on September 10, 2008 at Hanover Terrace Healthcare in Hanover, NH, at the age of 82. He graduated from Harvard University in 1949, and went on to earn a master’s degree in library science from Simmons College. Mcgavern began working at the university in 1959 at the original Hillyer College library. After a summer vacation, he returned to find that the librarian had left and he had been appointed to succeed him. Several libraries of the components of the new University of Hartford were scattered all over the city at the time—the Hillyer library on Hudson Street, the art library at the Wadsworth Atheneum, Ward College’s library on Niles Street, and the science and engineering library in the engineering school near the Colt building. John developed all of those libraries except Hillyer’s, supervised them through their growing periods, and oversaw their merger when the Harry Jack Gray Center was built in 1988. The music library, already in place when he arrived, had been located at the Hartt School’s original building on Broad Street. This quiet and unassuming librarian received extensive national news attention in 1977 after surviving a gunshot in the neck when his bus from New York City was held hostage. Asked by the New York Times if he desired revenge, he said, "If I wanted to seek revenge, there would be no difference between me and the man that shot me." Mcgavern retired from the University in 1993 and devoted himself to reading literature, science and Buddhist texts; cooking; playing the piano; and listening to chamber music. Judith Markiewicz, director of library services for Tunxis Community College, retired on June 30, 2009, after 32 years of service. From the early days of GEAC and CARL through the high tech demands of the 21st century, Judy always believed in the spirit of library cooperation to achieve common goals. She was an active member of the Council of Librarians of the Connecticut Community Colleges, the Council of Academic Library Directors, and college committees too numerous to mention. Her excellent knowledge of college library standards made her a frequent member of New England Association of Schools and Colleges Accreditation teams. Judy guided the Tunxis Library through a period of unprecedented growth and exciting technological change. She was a constant advocate for the library and its mission, allowing us to provide consistently outstanding service to our students, faculty, staff, and the community. Our beautiful new library is not only a visual showplace, but also a testament to her leadership and vision. The library staff will miss Judy and her exemplary quality as a leader, mentor, and friend—tremendously. Robert Royer & Lisa Lavoie, Tunxis CC Library Priya Rai, head of cataloging and metadata services at CCSU’s Elihu Burritt Library, has retired after 32 years of library service in Connecticut. Priya began her career at CCSU in 1977. In 1979, she assumed the position of head of technical services where she developed and oversaw many cataloging projects, including the transition from the library’s card catalog to the online CONSULS system. In addition to her work at CCSU, Priya was a member of continued on page 8
CELEBRATING OUR COLLEAGUES continued from page 7
CLA and served actively in the Technical Services Section for many years. Her keen knowledge of the cataloging profession and valuable contributions to the section will be greatly missed. Priya has worked with exceptional dedication to her department and her profession. She will be remembered by her colleagues for her intelligence, meticulous attention to detail, and generosity of spirit. Mary L. Relyea, director of Bethany’s Clark Memorial Library from 1976 to 2007, died on April 14, 2009, at the age of 76. After earning a BS in chemistry from Drexel and an MS in chemistry from the University of Wisconsin, she was employed at the U. S. Rubber Company Research Center in Wayne, NJ as an assistant technical librarian. During her tenure in Bethany, she guided this small town library through many changes, including the automation of library functions and, in 1995, the construction of a major addition that more than tripled the size of the original building. During the two years required to build the new addition, Mary continued to provide library services from a small facility elsewhere in Bethany, and then managed the move of the library into its new quarters. Residents missed Mary after she retired, and many commented on her extensive knowledge of literature. I had the good fortune to work briefly with Mary before she retired and I greatly respected the way she ran Bethany’s library. After she left, she still always made time for my many questions about managing the operations here. The community was saddened when she died just two after she retired. She was a wonderful head librarian for over 30 years, and her spirit can still be felt in our little library. Her legacy lives on in our collections. Sarah Shepherd, director, Clark Memorial Library, Bethany
Ann Tomlinson, director of children’s library services, Norwalk Public Library, retired on April 30, 2009. Starting in the South Norwalk Branch Library in1988, Ann held a variety of positions at NPL that benefited from her personal style. Judith Westcott, director of the East Haddam Free Public Library in Moodus, retired on May 31, 2009. She started her library career in 1982 and became director in June 1990. Judy oversaw the switchover from the traditional card catalog to the automated Winnebago system—but kept the shelf list, just in case. In addition to her everyday responsibilities, Judy achieved her goal of increasing the patron base. Working with local schools, she participated in and encouraged Government Day, the Nutmeg Book Award, work-study programs and middle school art displays. Her favorite outreach accomplishment, Meet Mrs. Claus, occurs in late December; it’s fun for both adults and children and is the library’s most popular event. Judy was also instrumental in starting the Friends of the Library organization. A well known resident of Moodus, Judy succeeded in strengthening the relationship between residents and the library. In her 27 years at the library, Judy has come to know the building inside and out, and they go together well. Both are charming, dignified and cheerful; they welcome the public and make staff feel appreciated. Those of us who work here, and patrons young and old, will miss Judith Westcott. All wish her well. Maureen Heidtmann, East Haddam Free PL
Connecticut librarians and library supporters gathered at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford on June 19 to say, "We're mad as hell and we won't take it any more," to Republican Governor Jodi Rell's proposal to slash state support for public libraries. Rell's proposed cuts would gut cooperative purchasing and service programs that save municipal libraries millions of dollars each year and that have taken decades to build, and would suspend state aid to public libraries, endangering federal support for them. Photo: David Kapp
Connecticut State Library Retirees
On June 18, a reception was held at the Connecticut State Library in Memorial Hall to honor the 16 CSL employees who retired under the Retirement Incentive Program. Certificates of appreciation were presented on behalf of the State Library Board by Mollie Keller, chair, and Kendall Wiggin, state librarian. Pictured in one row, starting from the left are: Cheryl Fox, Librarian II, Law Legislative Librarian (25 years); Marcia Matika, Librarian II, Government Information Services (21 years); Dick Roberts, Unit Head, History and Genealogy (32 years); Lynne Newell, Director, Library Division (36 years); Cheryl Schutt, Library Specialist, Law/Legislative Reference (35 years); Hilary Frye, Library Specialist, Law/Legislative Reference (36 years); Denise Jernigan, Unit Head, Law/Legislative Reference (35 years); Bruce Stark, Asst. State Archivist (14 years); Julie Schwartz, Unit Head, Government Information Services (32 years); Kris Golden, LTA, Willimantic Library Service Center (29 years); Rich Kingston, Fiscal Administrative Manager II (34 years); Lola Proulx, LTA, Willimantic Library Service Center (16 years); Eunice DiBella, Public Records Administrator (37 years); Claire Young, Librarian, Bibliographic Information Services (38 years). [not pictured: Don Wynne, Supervisor, Mail, Receiving, and Supplies (26 years); Sheila Mosman, Grants & Contracts Manager (20 years)]
University of Connecticut Libraries Retirees UConn Libraries Retirees (Left to right) Lynn Sweet, Meredith Petersons, Judy DeLottie, Paulette Traichel, Sandy Baker and Bob Fall are among nine UConn Libraries staff members who participated in the state’s Retirement Incentive Program. They included: Sandy Baker joined the UConn Libraries in 1979. Her most recent assignment was monographic acquisitions coordinator for the Digitization Projects Team. Lynn Cote, serials cataloger, worked in the library for more than 37 years, helping to transition from the print journal environment into the challenging world of online journals management. Judy Delottie, coordinator of interlibrary loan lending services, joined the staff in 1984 as an assistant to the head of ILL, then Bob Vrecenak. When Bob retired In 1999, she assumed responsibility for lending services. Judy also served for several years as a union representative, a member of the Exhibits Committee, and as a staff sharer at the Information Desk. Bob Fall, materials storage supervisor, began work at the library in 1974 as a member of the circulation department in the old Wilbur Cross Library, retrieving library materials from offsite storage areas and serving as backup in the mailroom. Lisa Hendricks, assistant, Information Desk/Collections Access Frances Libbey, bibliographer for the sciences. Quiet, but confident in her judgments, Fran’s wide reading in print and on the web allowed her to anticipate new research directions and become a personal SDI service for faculty across the university. A consistent voice for sanity and good humor amidst the storms of change, Fran often reminded us that while ER decisions might involve life and death, our decisions were only about journals and databases. She will be greatly missed. Meredith Petersons, information desk specialist/publications specialist, joined the staff in 1980 as an information specialist in Library Orientation and Instruction Services. Her expertise in publication design and signage brought her praise and consulting opportunities. Meredith served on the User Survey Team from its inception, managing comments from users and ensuring that each was answered. This work had a significant influence on library policies regarding service hours (expanded), food and beverages (allowed in the library), and the establishment of quiet study areas and additional group study areas. Lynn Sweet, coordinator, interlibrary loan borrowing services, joined the ILL department in July 1986, serving as the “front desk” person and student supervisor. Paulette Traichel, shelf preparation coordinator, worked as a library assistant for 28 years, initially in Historical Manuscripts and Archives Department. During her career at the library, she also worked in Circulation/Reserves, the Culpeper Library (AV), and Research & Information Services. Connecticut Libraries
A Little Birdie Told Me That . . . by Kate Sheehan
witter is the MySpace of 2009. It’s inescapable, possibly ridiculous, and it might just be important. There are a few crucial differences between the popularity of MySpace several years ago and the attention Twitter is getting today. Only one matters, though: Oprah. Once Oprah starts talking about something, librarians are bound to hear about it and Oprah is on Twitter. Like her book choices, you don’t have to like it, but you do have to know about it. So what is Twitter, besides microblogging? On paper, it sounds kind of silly. Once you’ve created an account on Twitter, you’re faced with a box that asks you, “What are you doing?” Like most other social sites, people can become followers of one another; your Twitter page will show you the updates of all of the people you’re following. Twitter has been created with mobility in mind. Updates are limited to 140 characters in deference to the limits on most text message services. Twitter updates can be sent and received on cell phones, and the very nature of the question that drives the service (What are you doing?) demands an ability to answer from anywhere. Like blogging, Twitter is faced with the “cheese sandwich” problem: lots of people talking about the mundane Kate Sheehan details of their lives. But Twitter is is a librarian at gets a lot more compelling Darien Library. when people write about kate@ something that interests you. loosecannonlibrarian.net Twitter’s early strength was as a tool for conversation. People who share a profession, an interest, or a neighborhood use Twitter to share information and opinions about their commonalities and to learn more about their colleagues and neighbors. For librarians, this has meant a community of “twitbrarians” who trade notes about services, technology and libraryland while learning about each other’s hobbies, towns and families during offhours. Librarians offer each other tech support, advice and, occasionally, an informal ILL service.
As Twitter has become more popular, it has generated some substantial data and with that, more uses. Like chat rooms before it, Twitter’s community has grown slightly less personal, but for libraries, the bigger tent means more opportunities to connect with each other and with patrons. Media stories of companies using Twitter to respond directly to patron complaints abound. Once Twitter added the ability to search for keywords, the potential for organizations to benefit exploded. Early Twitter functionality included replies (any tweet that includes @username shows up to that person as a reply), marking Twitter as a tool for conversation. Shortly after that, the hashtag convention was born. As people tweet about an event or topic, they add keywords preceded by a #. The official hashtag for this year’s ALA conference is #ala2009 (though people are also using #ala09). This allows users to search for a hashtag to see all tweets about a conference or other event, adding an emphasis on content as well as conversation. All of this becomes much more powerful when seen through Twitter applications. There is an endless number of tools online for Twitter, but the most popular applications capitalize on Twitter’s strengths to have conversations and to seek out those that are meaningful to you or your organization. TweetDeck (my current favorite) is typical of Twitter software. It parses Twitter into columns: 1) All Tweets— everyone the user is following, along with her own tweets; 2) Replies— every tweet that has @username in it; 3) Direct Messages—private tweets; 4) TwitScoop—hot topics culled from the public Twitter stream. (If you want your tweets to be private, you must give permission to anyone wanting to follow you.) These columns can be moved or deleted. TweetDeck fans can also add new columns that show every tweet matching a certain search term or hashtag. This is how companies keep up with what their users are saying. Many have official
Twitter accounts that they use to broadcast information and to respond to complaints and concerns posted by Twitter users. Others allow employees to tweet as unofficial spokespeople. Tweetdeck, Twhirl, Tweetie and Nambu are all popular ways of harnessing the potential power of Twitter. A few Google searches will turn up clients and sites that do everything from allowing tweets to be sent via email to trendspotting to enabling tweets of more than 140 characters. Advice about Twitter is legion online, but as with all social technologies, the technology is only as strong or as interesting as the people who use it. If your community isn’t tweeting and you’re not interested in using Twitter professionally, then the service holds little value to you. If your peers, friends or patrons are on Twitter, you’ll likely find it to be additive, interesting and very useful. A recent New York Times article offers a primer on getting started with Twitter, as well as a case study for using it effectively to respond to customers: w w w. n y t i m e s . c o m / 2 0 0 9 / 0 7 / 0 2 / technology/personaltech/02basics.html. Slate.com is another good resource for articles about Twitter, including an introduction to celebrities on Twitter, www.slate.com/id/2216708. Libraries are using Twitter to promote events, talk to patrons, highlight their web content, and post mini book reviews from staff and patrons alike. Librarians use Twitter as a social hub, a networking tool and a way to take notes and share ideas at conferences. Twitter is very text-oriented, and its power lies in its ability to create connections based on what people are talking about—right now. The concise format excludes lists of interests, favorite bands or embedded content from other social sites. Twitter is conversation, connection and communication, making it a natural fit for libraries and librarians.
Randi Ashton-Pritting DIRECTOR, UNIVERSITY OF HARTFORD LIBRARIES by Douglas Lord
ix-thirty a.m. finds most people, librarians included, sawing logs. But Randi Ashton-Pritting, director of the University of Hartford (UH) Libraries and new president of the Connecticut Library Association, is usually working at her desk by then. The personable Pritting says, “Turning on lights and getting the place ready for incoming folks is one of my favorite parts of the job. There’s something about taking the building from a dark warehouse to a living, breathing thing; you’re pushing life back into the building.” Amid the recession, political struggles, budget woes, and general uncertainty, Pritting is also shepherding UH through a migration in integrated library systems, from Voyager to LibLime’s open source Koha product. She characterizes the project with good cheer, “Why not build it ourselves? It can’t be any worse than any other vendor. Let’s go for it.” Though she acknowledges this won’t be the perfect system, she points out “neither was Voyager. With any product” she says, “to spend all that money only to have to do workarounds is frustrating.” Hoping to go live in July, Pritting also says, “What we’re saving in annual maintenance fees is enormous. We can do a lot of other things with that monkey off our back.” Like many librarians, Pritting’s route to the profession was circuitous. After graduating from the University of Rhode Island with a degree in textile chemistry (dual minors included business and plant and soil science), she bounced around for a while before landing—and loving— a job as stack coordinator at UH. While earning her MLIS from the URI (1992), she worked in virtually every UH library department: cataloging, ILL, acquisitions, reference, serials, and served as assistant director. Pritting’s 1998 MA in education came from the University of Hartford, as did her 2003 doctorate in education. Varied as this education was, Pritting dreamed of being an astronaut all through high school. “I loved it!” she enthuses. “I read anything and everything National Geographic put out; I did reports and even scrapbooked about it. ” Connecticut Libraries
“I don’t stand on ceremony,” Randi Ashton-Pritting says. “If books need to be shelved, and there are no students around, I’ll shelve books. Wherever I’m needed I go and work.”
Pritting’s eclectic tastes reflect the general voraciousness of someone who once wanted to work as a florist (floral arranging remains one of her many passions). Current reading includes Robert Schlesinger’s Ghosts of the White House, Gamble and Watanabe’s Public Betrayed: An Inside Look at Japanese Media Atrocities and Their Warnings to the West, Notes from Toyota-Land: An American Engineer in Japan by UH alum Darius Mehri, and The Calculus Wars: Newton, Leibniz, and the Greatest Mathematical Clash of All Time by Jason Socrates Bardi. Pearl S. Buck is her favorite author-ofthe-moment. As for music, she likes “anything with a really good rhythm,” including blues, jazz, big band, and swing. “Not so much the rap the kids listen to.” What else might one expect from someone whose favorite Beatle is Ringo. Pritting also recently spearheaded UH’s cPODs, a project that has garnered positive attention. These workstations feature 47” monitors, three-person computers, and surfaces and walls designed to help students work collaboratively. An upcoming 2.0 version will be built for eight students and include xBOX 360 and Bluray components, “everything for patrons to produce the best product, PowerPoint, or assignment possible,” Pritting says. Pritting’s major goal as CLA president is to increase the association’s membership. She is keenly interested in learning what drives someone towards—or away from—joining up. “It’s got to mean something to you, to be valuable,” she
says, adding, “Without members, we wouldn’t be able to support a lobbyist to help us get through this difficult time.” Pritting learned a lot about libraries from mentors like former UH Libraries director Ronald Epp and URI’s Pat Jensen, who sometimes helped her with “things they don’t teach you, things you learn by fire and by the seat of your pants.” Pritting had particularly kind words for the late Jensen, whom she described as “an incredible person who really took me under her wing.” The two remained friends after her graduation from library school. Some career lessons came from observing others make mistakes. “Not being like certain folks,” she says affably, “can have its benefits. You can be nice, you can have fun, it’s not just a job.” Along those lines, Pritting recalls that her least favorite job was at a bank setting up accounts and doing customer service. “Believe it or not,” she jokes, “the teller drawers have to balance at the end of the night.” The stint did, however, provide one bright memory: “I was in a bank robbery—that was cool. This wonky little old man made his way to the window and made off with about $2,500. The FBI [agents] came and flashed their badges, the SWAT team came, and it made the news.” Pritting has two canine “daughters,” Hannah Amelia and Molly MacDigger, and she and husband Bill enjoy traveling. Though current interests include Hungary and South Africa, she quips that she‘ll go “anywhere on a long weekend. I‘ll go to New Orleans for donuts.” Describing herself as “eager to help with any repairs to libraries; taking Douglas Lord down walls, drilling into is LSTA program assistant concrete, even painting.” for the Connecticut State Library. Pritting says she is “not your firstname.lastname@example.org average librarian. I don’t stand on ceremony. If books need to be shelved, and there are no students around, I’ll shelve books. Wherever I’m needed I go and work.” As if to prove the point, she says that “We’re having a make-your-own-sundae day soon,” of an upcoming UH Libraries morale-builder. “On crazy, nasty weather days, what’s better than ice cream and hot fudge?”
2009 CLA Annual Conference
WHY THEY CAME & WHY THEY DID NOT by Steve Cauffman
o provide yet another venue for feedback on CLA’s 2009 Annual Conference, in addition to the evaluations submitted at the event, Randi Ashton-Pritting, Jaime Hammond, Debbie Herman, Mona Scully-Smith, and Steve Cauffman designed an online survey and announced it via Conntech, CLC, and CASL email lists. The survey remained open from June 19 to June 30. We received a total of 278 useable responses: 180 from attendees and 98 from people who chose not to participate.
And Those Who Did Not Attend…
Those Who Attended… Of the 180 respondents who attended, 148 (84%) were librarians, 15 (9%) were library staff members, 4 (2%) were library friends or trustees, 2 (1%) were library school students and 7 (4%) listed themselves as “other.” Of this group 135 people were CLA members; 15 others said they plan to join CLA in the coming year. Public libraries were well-represented: 130 (77%) came from public libraries, 22 (13%) from academic, 8 (5%) from special, 2 (1%) from school and 7 (4%) from “other.” The majority of responding attendees were in their 50s or older: 88 (50%) were 51-60, and 31 (18%) were over 60. Younger attendees included: 26 (15%) who were 41-50, 25 (14%) who were 30-40, and just 6 (3%) under 30. The conference took place over the course of three days: 60 (34%) liked the three-day format, and 38 (22%) had no preference; 59 (34%) preferred a two-day conference, and 10 (6%) opted for a one-day conference. Eight people (5%) would be satisfied with a conference every other year. The most desirable months for holding the conference are April (103) and May (75), and the most popular days are Wednesday and Thursday. Cromwell led the list of preferred locations for the conference with 87 votes, followed by New Haven (79), Hartford (59), Mystic/Groton (49), Ledyard (13); 21 people had no preference.
General professional development was cited by 107 attendees as the most important reason to attend. Others (106) said they came to get fresh ideas for patron services, and keeping current with technology was most important for 81 people.
Of the 98 respondents who did not attend the conference, 62 (78%) were librarians, 8 (10%) were library staff members, 5 (6%) were library friends or trustees, 2 (3%) were retirees and 3 (4%) listed themselves as “other.” Once again, public libraries were well represented: 45 (58%) were from public libraries, 16 (21%) from school, 5 (6%) from academic, 5 (6%) from special and 7 (9%) from “other.” The majority of respondents were in their 50’s: 3 (4%) were under 30, 15 (19%) were 30-40, 14 (18%) were 4150, 36 (45%) were 51-60 and 12 (15%) were over 60. Of this group, 42 were CLA members, and 6 said they plan to join in the coming year. More than a third of the non-attendees (29 or 36%) would prefer a one-day conference, while 15 (19%) liked the three-day format, 17 (21%) had no preference and 19 (24%) preferred a two-day conference. The top months for the conference were April (32) and May (26) and the most popular days were Tuesday to Friday. For conference location, 36 liked Cromwell, 33 Hartford, 21 New Haven, 13 Mystic/Groton, 8 Ledyard and 8 had no preference.
Why Didn’t They Attend? “Could not spare the time” was the most frequently cited reason for not attending (27 people). Further, 21 said that the programs were not relevant to their interests, 19 said it was too expensive for their budget, 18 were not allowed to go or had no support from their library, 13 were not CLA members, and 11 said the location was too far away and that it was a bad time for the conference. To entice them to attend, 39 said to add programs that were more relevant to their interests, 30 asked to lower the cost, 26 said to hold the conference at a site closer to where they worked or lived. If they had gone, the most important reasons for attending mirrored the reasons given by those who did attend. To get fresh ideas for patron services was most important reason for 41 people. To stay current with technology was most important for 36 and general professional development was most important for 32 people. Our thanks to everyone who took the time to respond to the online survey. The 2010 CLA Conference will reflect your input!
PRESIDENT continued from page 3
Every member of the library community who cares about the welfare of libraries in Connecticut—whether school, public or academic—should consider joining CLA. When we work together, we can effect change. This summer’s budget crisis and our concerted response to it remind us that service and access to information for the citizens of Connecticut constitutes our Common Ground. Keep those letters and emails and thank you notes coming!
www.ctlibraryassociation.org President Randi Ashton-Pritting VP/President-Elect Debbie Herman Past President Kathy Leeds Secretary/Treasurer Alison Wang
Region 1 Representative Tracy Ralston
continued from page 2
Region 2 Representative Hal Bright
But what lessons can we learn from their experiences in these times when we in Connecticut are being threatened with shrinking budgets and services? The most important point to take from all of this is that we have to fight harder than ever to stay relevant to our patrons, and perhaps think outside the box to meet their needs. One British public library system, Hillingdon, turned around a seemingly terminal decline with the assistance of a powerful library advocate and advisor, Tim Coates, formerly a managing director of the Waterstones bookshop chain. Coates began by exploring why the public was turning away from its libraries. The responses were revealing: “They don't have the books and our library hasn't been decorated since the 1950s. Anyhow, they are never open,” said one respondent. “Libraries have lost touch with the public,” said another. A third: “There is a place you can go with all the books and magazines you want. It's comfortable to sit and it's open late in the evening. It's a good place to meet people. It's Borders [the bookshop].” Coates found the public wanted more material, better opening hours, and an agreeable physical space to visit. His employers also wanted him to cut annual spending by 260,000 pounds (roughly $430,000.) Coates devised and implemented a plan to refurbish all 17 of the borough's existing libraries, installed new Apple computers, improved book stock by 11.6%, and increased opening hours. He achieved this by simplifying the materials buying supply chain, sourcing furniture at a cost 30% lower than from traditional library furniture suppliers, and by putting Starbucks cafes in all the branches, the profits from which (and they are considerable) go back into the library budget. More controversially, the libraries scaled back outreach work on the theory that it wasn’t working. Visitor numbers were falling, not increasing. Instead, every resident in the area received a leaflet informing them of the reopening of the libraries and their services—and a voucher for a cup of coffee. The libraries have seen a 170% increase in new patron registrations, and a fivefold increase in circulation. As we in Connecticut are increasingly confronted with devastating budgets and widespread threats to services, it’s worth taking a moment to think about how other libraries are coping in similar circumstances. Whilst there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to our difficulties, we shouldn’t hesitate to look to each other and to others beyond our immediate professional circles to discover original solutions to common problems. Even if some of the answers we receive come from people with funny accents and bad teeth.
Region 3 Representative Vacant Region 4 Representative Cynde Bloom Lahey Region 5 Representative Carolyn Benjamin Region 6 Representative Theresa Conley ALA Chapter Councilor Jay Johnston NELA Representative Mary Etter Connecticut Libraries is published 11 times each year. Subscriptions: $45 in North America; $50 elsewhere. ISSN 0010-616X Editorial Team Carol Abatelli, Julian Aiken, Maxine Bleiweis, Sharon Clapp, Steve Cauffman, Bruce Johnston, Vince Juliano, David Kapp, Kirsten Kilbourn, Douglas Lord, Pam Najarian, Tom Newman (Chair), Kate Sheehan, William Uricchio Webmaster Kirsten Kilbourn email@example.com CLA Office Pam Najarian, Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org 860-346-2444 (v) 860-344-9199 (f) PO Box 75, Middletown, CT 06457
A consortium of 12 Eastern Connecticut libraries has plotted a Connecticut Authors Trail to showcase 21 Connecticut authors and their stories. The libraries embarked on the trail in July, but you can catch up to them during August and September. Go to sites.google.com/site/ connecticutauthortrail/ to find the camp sites along the trail and who you will meet there.
Jobline www.ctlibrarians.org/ctlibs/jobs.html Send articles, news items, opinions and photographs relating to the Connecticut library community to: David Kapp, Editor email@example.com 860-647-0697 4 Llynwood Drive Bolton, CT 06043
TREASURES continued from page 1
During the American Civil War, the U. S. Postal Service printed mailing envelopes with political slogans and sentiments to encourage support of the war.
William Buckingham. Among the more interesting letters are those written by a Union soldier and his future wife at home in Connecticut, and the letters of the African-American soldier Joseph Cross. Many of the manuscript collections relating to the Civil War are searchable on the CHS website. The graphics collections include engravings and lithographs, as well as photographs of groups, individuals, and battlefields. CHS has a fine collection of cartes de visite—small photographs printed on thin paper and mounted on a thicker paper card; these are organized by regiment and searchable by name. Among the museum collections are uniforms, soldier accoutrements, firearms, swords, and a surgeon’s field desk complete with the monthly reports filed by the surgeon. Of special note is a jaw-dropping hand-painted, silk regimental flag that was hanging near President Lincoln on the evening he was assassinated at Ford’s Theater. CHS also has a more mundane and (presumably) jawbreaking piece of hardtack saved by a soldier when he received it on his last day of service. Another interesting item is what may be the only known surviving banner from the “Wide-Awakes,” an organization of young Republicans who marched frequently during the early days of the Republican Party. Though historians of the Civil War will find much to study at CHS, it is genealogical research that provides 50 percent of CHS inquiries. CHS has a large collection of both published and unpub-
lished genealogies. There are also collections of local histories, vital records, church records, cemetery inscriptions, city directories, genealogical periodicals, and major genealogical resources on microfiche and microfilm. CHS provides on-site access to Ancestry Library Edition, Heritage Quest Online, and New England Ancestors. Still other treasures await CHS visitors. For example, there are important collections on the history of African Americans in the state, almanacs, bookbinding, historic Connecticut authors, early children’s literature, newspapers, Connecticut imprints, account books, and early travel accounts. And the museum houses the largest collection of 18th- and 19th-century tavern, hotel, and inn signs to be found in the United States. Recently, examples from this collection were featured in an Antiques Road Show program. The signs make for a spectacular display in the CHS auditorium. CHS is in its second year of providing a single access point to its museum and library collections. Librarians will be interested to know that the CHS staff is organized into collections development and collections access teams rather than museum versus library teams. Despite the need for cross training, organizations like CHS are seeing the benefits of this approach and believe that it results in better service to their users. The Connecticut Historical Society staff includes: Richard C. Malley, director of collections access; Susan Schoelwer, Crofut director of collections development; Nancy Finlay, curator of graphics; continued on page 15
Union soldiers on New Haven Green during the American Civil War.
TREASURES continued from page 14
First Annual Connecticut Library Leadership Institute Friday, August 14, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Gray Conference Center, University of Hartford The Connecticut Library Association and the Connecticut Library Consortium have planned a day filled with education, inspiration, and collegiality for library staff at all levels. The institute is an exclusive benefit of your CLA membership. If you are not a member of CLA and want to take advantage of this outstanding event, join up now at www.ctlibraryassociation.org. You’ll never find a learning experience like this for a better price (see below).
THE CURRICULUM Hardtack, a thick cracker made of flour, water, and sometimes salt, could last for years when properly stored. Before the Civil War, soldiers called it biscuit or hard bread, sailors referred to it as sea biscuit or pilot’s bread, but to the Union Army of the Potomac, it was known as hardtack, a name that stuck and spread to other units, including the Confederacy. Because it could be prepared cheaply and would last so long, hardtack was the most convenient food for soldiers, explorers, pioneers, or anyone else who needed to pack light and move fast. Crackers were rationed out, nine or ten to a soldier; there was usually enough to go around because some soldiers refused to eat them. Although hardtack was nutritious, soldiers complained that they could eat ten crackers in a short time and still be hungry. But the most common complaint was that the crackers were often so hard they couldn’t be bitten into, that it took a very strong blow even to break them. Another common problem was when hardtack got moldy or wet. Sometimes the crackers became infested with maggots or weevils during storage. When the crackers were moldy or moist, they were thrown away and replaced next time rations were issued, but soldiers usually had to put up with insect infestations. According to accounts, it was not uncommon for a soldier to find his coffee swimming with weevils after a cracker was broken up in it. Hardtack was eaten by itself, or crumbled into coffee, usually as breakfast and supper. Sometimes crackers were crumbled into soup to thicken it, or crumbed into cold water and fried in the juice and fat of meat, creating a dish known as skillygalee or cush. Some preferred their crackers toasted to more easily crumb them into coffee; or in the rare case when it was available, to eat them with butter. A few who managed to save a portion of their sugar ration spread it on the hardtack. Excerpted from kenanderson.net/hardtack
Cynthia Harbeson, reference librarian & assistant archivist, Judith E. Johnson, senior genealogist; Barbara Austen, Florence S. Marcy Crofut archivist; and Sierra Dixon, John Potter and Karen DePauw, research center assistants. CHS is located at One Elizabeth Street in Hartford. For more information, go to www.chs.org. All images in this article are “Courtesy of the Connecticut Historical Society.” Connecticut Libraries
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21st Century Communications Managing People Getting to "Yes" with an Intergenerational Work Force Managing a Budget Advocating for the Library, the Profession, the Program or Yourself
THE FACULTY • John Blyberg, assistant director for innovation and user experience, Darien Library (see his blog at blyberg.net) • Thomas W. Galante, chief executive officer and library director, Queens Borough Public Library, a not-for-profit corporation with revenues of $128 million employing 1,700 people at 62 public libraries in Queens County, NY • Walter Harrison, president, University ofHartford • R. David Lankes, director, Information Institute of Syracuse and associate professor, Syracuse University's School of Information Studies (who will be attending virtually!) • Lisa Lazarek, labor attorney, Kainen, Escalera, & McHale P.C. and co-author of “Labor Relations and Employment Law: Developments in Connecticut” • Bernard A. Margolis, New York State Librarian and former president, Boston Public Library, 1997 - 2008 • Annette Rogers, assistant dean, managing Academic Services and teaching, Barney School of Business • Joseph Swetcky, finance director, Town of Farmington • Sharon Weiner, holder of the W. Wayne Booker Chair of Information Literacy, Purdue University; cochair, National Forum on Information Literacy, and co-chair, Peabody Academic Library Leadership Institute
REGISTRATION DETAILS FEE: $30! Covers the program, all refreshments, lunch, and a wine and cheese reception. Attendees must register online no later than July 31. An essay of up to 250 words and submission of a resume/CV is required. Go to www.ctlibrarians.org/events/leadership.html for more information and to register.
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Connecticut Libraries July/August 2009 -- Volume 51, Number 6
Our Annual Tribute To Colleagues Who Left Us This Year Begins On Page 5. Also… Tom Newman discovers a great Civil War Collection. Page 1 Julian Aiken describes how some British libraries are attracting users. Page 2 CLA President, Randi Ashton-Pritting, makes her debut. Pages 3 and 9 Vince Juliano writes about games we play in everyday life. Page 4 Kate Sheehan says that Twitter is a natural fit for librarians. Page 8 A survey reveals why people attended the annual conference—or didn’t. Page 12 CT’s first annual Library Leadership Institute is an amazing bargain. For CLA members only! Page 15
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Connecticut Libraries, the official publication of the Connecticut Library Association, is facing the same economic constraints that many other printed publications now face. Before deciding to discontinue the printed edition of the publication, the CLA Editorial Committee would like to know how members and subscribers feel about issuing Connecticut Libraries as an online publication only. We need your advice urgently. Please respond to our online survey at http://tinyurl.com/n2ty2g no later than August 3. Thanks. If you do not have access to the Internet, please complete the form below and mail your answers to Tom Newman, Chair, CLA Editorial Committee, Connecticut State Library, 231 Capitol Ave., Hartford, CT 06106-1537. Please check one: I am a member of the Connecticut Library Association. I am a paid-up subscriber to Connecticut Libraries. 1) An online-only version of Connecticut Libraries is an acceptable alternative to a printed version delivered by USPS mail. Strongly Disagree Disagree Neither agree nor disagree Agree Strongly agree 2) If Connecticut Libraries is published only online, I need to be notified when a new edition is published. Yes, by email
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