Friday, October 05, 2007

NYS Regents Advisory Council on Libraries

In September, I was appointed to a five-year term on the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries here in New York State. The Council has three goals which can be summarized as "monitor, advise and communicate." Although my term did not start until Oct. 1, I was able to observe the Sept. 28 meeting of the Council (or RAC), which was held in New York City. It was a pleasure to meet the other members of the Council, include those whose terms were expiring. It was eyeopening to see what the RAC discusses. We discussed many topics including what might be proposed for library funding this year in the NYS legislature, and I'll have to admit that it will take a while to understand what comes out of what budget. We also talked at length about the New York Online Virtual Electronic Library (NOVEL), which has been in existence in NYS for several years. NOVEL provides all New Yorkers with FREE access to fee-based databases that cover:
NOVEL is now part of the Statewide Internet Library, which may in the future include digitized and other materials. NYS has a rich history that has left many artifacts and documentation. Native people, including the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois), have a long history in NYS. Europeans first explored NYS in 1524 and have impacted this region ever since. New York City was the first capitol of the United States. And things like the Erie Canal impacted the growth of the nation. From the consulting work I've done across NYS, I know that there is much that could be digitized that would provide more access to NYS history to students, genealogists, researchers and tourists. As I sit on this Council, I look forward to being part of the conversations about the growth of the Statewide Internet Library and what it might contain. Of course, I hope that it will grow to contain digitized materials, but I also know that several factors will go into that decision.

My first official meeting as a Council member is Nov. 30. I know I have some learning to do before that meeting. I am sure that we'll talk about NOVEL and the Statewide Internet Library again and look forward to where that conversation takes us.

And I promise that as I learn things that may be appropriate to mention here, I'll do so.

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