State Libraries

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Ask-WA is pleased to announce the launch of Washington State's first online virtual reference portal. Connecting more than 60 libraries across the state, and backed by a worldwide cooperative, Ask-WA provides 24/7 reference service to the library users of Washington State.

Ask-WA is an essential resource for students looking for citations at three in the morning, for Washington residents doing personal research, for genealogists. Washington librarians are available to help you get started on that tough research project, investigate your family roots, or even just settle a bet.

Don't wait, ask us a question now at http://ask.wa.gov!

Furloughs for Hawaii's Libraries?

Like the rest of the nation, Hawaii's libraries are suffering in the economic downturn. The state public library system is considering several different options to deal with its shortfall. KGMB9 reports.

Instead of closing down five branches on the Big Island, Oahu and Maui, the state librarian (Richard Burns) is now proposing furloughs.

The plan includes anything between two and four furlough days a month, depending on the changing budget situation.

The state librarian also says he will leave 72 vacant positions unfilled.

New Hampshire State Library Undergoing Major Renovation

Wind shook the windowpanes and water dripped from the skylights. Collapsing plaster ceilings forced employees to take shelter under tables, all in the finest building ever erected by the state of New Hampshire, its library. Recently work began to renovate the first state library in the nation, a pink-and-gray granite Italian Renaissance structure on Park Street. The effects of decades of deferred maintenance are slowly being erased.

The library is open to the public, but unlike city libraries, it's designed to serve researchers, not readers of popular novels. It holds the history of the state's Legislature and laws, the genealogies of countless New Hampshire families, more than 150 years of annual reports from every town.

According to the Concord Monitor, first-time visitors should come to view not its documents but the building's amazing architecture. The library's entrance is framed by columns of polished granite. Inside are massive fireplaces, swirling Sienna marble wainscoting the color of butterscotch, marble mosaic floors with multicolored decorative borders, a dedication plaque made by Tiffany Studios, magnificent plasterwork unaffordable today, fine antiques, gleaming brass light fixtures and a domed chamber that until 1970 held the state Supreme Court.

Michiganders Protest Closure of Their Genealogical Library

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

Historic Letters Find a Home in New Mexico Library

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

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

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

Gov. Granholm Threatens to Dismantle the Library of Michigan

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

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

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

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

Granholm closes Dept of History, Arts & Libraries

More bad news.

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

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

Libraries are a Vital Community Resource in the Information Age

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

The report can be viewed here. [PDF]

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

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

Hawaii: A Lincoln Document, and a Mystery

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

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

WWII Find at New South Wales Library

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

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

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