Florida State Library - Misinformation Galore!

Kathleene passed along this email from Barratt Wilkins, former state librarian, on the Florida State Library mess.

"Everyone interested in the State Library issue ought
to read the Executive Office of the Governor's newsletter entitled IN THE NEWS, v. 5, Issue 10, March 7, 2003 in which a "State Library Clarification" is printed as a part of "Message from Governor Bush".

First the newsletter indicates that the "circulating collection" is not "permanent". Only the permanent collections of the State Library are remaining in the Gray Building. The newsletter indicates that the "circulating collection" lost its usefulness in 1997, when countywide library service was achieved throughout Florida. It belies that the collection is a reference and research collection for state government and state agencies
and is relied on by State Library reference librarians to answer questions from state employees and officials, legislative staff, and legislators. It belies the collection is used by reference librarians in answering the 120 questions a day emanating from "Ask a Librarian" feature of MyFlorida.com
The so-called "circulating collection" was established in
1927--
76 years ago. That is fairly "permanent" for Florida. See my
earlier emails about how the collection is used for more
details.

Second the newsletter indicates that another reason for
moving

the "circulating collection" to Nova is that it will increase

accessibility. The current State Librarian was quoted in the

Bob Mahlburg's March 8, 2003 article entitled "Obstacles
loom

for library collection", as saying that renumbering and
relabeling

of the collection would make the collection INACCESSIBLE
for

at least A YEAR OR LONGER.

The third reason that the collection needs to be moved is that

there were only 60,000 circulations last year and according to

the newsletter, that cost Florida taxpayer's $184.62 per
registered

borrower, or $62 per circulation.

Well let's look at the nearly 21,000 registered borrowers at
the

State Library. Nearly 3300 of these registered borrowers are

other LIBRARIES, acting as registered agents for MILLIONS

of people all over the world. These registered libraries
include

many in Florida representing over 8 million registered
borrowers

in Florida public libraries alone. And then, you must
remember

that the State Library acts as the "library of last resort" for

most interlibrary loans and the "first" library for 30 rural
counties.

When you use millions of eligible borrowers, the cost per

"registered borrower" falls to approximately 40 cents or less

per eligible borrower in registered libraries! A big difference.

Please read Governor Bush's newsletter "State Library

Clarification" and judge for yourself.

Nova President Ray Ferrero, Jr.'s March 11, 2003 article in

the editorial pages of the TALLAHASSEE DEMOCRAT, is
also

worth reading. It talks about the attempt to house the
collection

at Florida State University. It does NOT say that the $5
million

to seal the deal with Nova was ever offered to FSU. It
wasn't!

It would appear that Nova came to the rescue to implement

some public policy decisions including making the State

Library's collection "more accessible to the public". It does
not

say that Nova will become the sole owner and beneficiary of

a $10 million collection with an appropriation of $5 million to

ease the burden. Department of State officials have
continued

to characterize the collection as 'mainly fiction and non-fiction

that can be found in most public libraries'. WHY does Nova

want such a collection? Surely it is not to "enhance Nova's

academic programs" as President Ferrero claims. Does
Nova

need it for the numbers for accreditation purposes? What is

the real reason for this state giveaway?

Finally, the current State Librarian has been quoted in
numerous

articles as indicating that a recent analysis of the collection

showed that the "circulating collection" had some 40,000
unique

titles. Representatives of the library community should ask to
see

this analysis of the State Library's "circulating collection"
against
the

holdings of the Florida's public libraries. Be sure the
numbers show

that ONLY SLF's "circulating collection" was used in the
analysis.

I have provided those numbers in earlier e-mails. Besides
the

number of unique holdings, ask for titles held by the State
Library

and one other public library, the number of titles held by SLF
and

two other public libraries, and so on up to 5. That will give
you

some idea of the rarity of titles in the "circulating collection".
One

would think that if the collection is truly 'mainly fiction and
non-fiction

that can be found in most public libraries', as the Department
of
State

claims, then the titles should be held in a minimum of 100-
200 of the

469 public library outlets in the state."

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