Of Librarians and the Patriot Act
One of the difficult things in life - and especially in times like
these - is to take an unpopular stand. In the debate over certain
provisions of the Patriot Act, librarians have been characterized as
"hysterical", "unpatriotic", and more. Vocal is more apt. The
Patriot Act is a complex, hastily written law that was passed
following the horrific events of September 11, 2001. Now a librarian
know only as "John Doe" has stepped forward to challenge the gag rule
provision of what has become known as the "library provision" or
section 215 of the Patriot Act. The ACLU sued the Federal government
in Bridgeport. The lawsuit challenges the National Security Letter
(NSL) provision of the Patriot Act, which authorizes the FBI to
demand a range of personal records without court approval, such as
the identity of a person who has visited a particular Web site on a
library computer, or who has engaged in anonymous speech on the
Internet. Section 215 of the Patriot Act gives law enforcement broad
access to any types of records - medical, financial, gun, library,
educational, sales, etc., without probable cause of a crime. It also
prohibits holders of this information, such as librarians, from
disclosing that they have produced such records, under threat of
imprisonment. A secret intelligence court in Washington issues the
court orders, and judges have little power to deny applications.
As this debate continues I am reminded of the words of two of our
"The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain
occasions, that I wish it always to be kept alive." Thomas Jefferson
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little
temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Benjamin
It is important that librarians, library trustees and library
friends continue to stay informed and work to insure the privacy of
library users in this state and nation.
For two points of view check out:
Kendall F. Wiggin, Connecticut State Librarian
Hurricane Katrina's Devastation
Libraries, at least those still standing, along the Gulf Coast and in
states where evacuees from Hurricane Katrina have been forced, are
doing their part to help those struggling to find federal assistance,
information about loved ones, and other critical information. Long
lines at library computers attest to the important role libraries can
play in times of crisis. Dealing with the personal suffering has
been a priority, and rightly so, but as relief efforts move forward,
libraries throughout the stricken area will need help in rebuilding
and restoring library service. A variety of funds have been set up
for those wishing to help libraries, museums and archives cope with
the massive tasks ahead of them.
The Flood of 1955 affected some 54 public libraries in
Connecticut, none more than Seymour, Putnam, Stafford Springs, and
the Waterville Branch Library in Waterbury. The Seymour Public
Library was completely demolished leaving only a small pile of debris
around the front steps. All of the library's books disappeared
without a trace. Yet the librarian, whose own house had suffered much
damage, reopened the library in a room of another building. Reports
at the time noted that one of the great intangibles was the loss of
books out in circulation in flood-stricken homes. One can only
imagine what this means in today's devastated Gulf Coast.
This hurricane season and remembrances of the Flood of 1955 serve
as reminders that libraries, archives and museums need to take a hard
look at their disaster preparedness.
Webjunction's Focus on Disaster Planning and Recovery for
Libraries page is a great place to start.
Kendall F. Wiggin, Connecticut State Librarian
M. Jodi Rell and members of the Connecticut National Guard aid in
the Katrina recovery effort.
flats of drinking water were sent to hurricane stricken
volunteers helped Connecticut government employees manage truck loads
of supplies for Katrina relief effort."
Connecticut Library Advocates Honored
In June 2005,the American Library Association and the Association for
Library Trustees and Advocates held the
Second National Advocacy Honor Roll Banquet in
Chicago during the American Library Association's Annual Conference.
For the 2005 Honor Roll, each state was invited to select up to three
advocates to be honored at the banquet, particularly those who have
been active throughout the past five years. For Connecticut, Governor
M. Jodi Rell was honored for her leadership in creating the
Connecticut Education Network and iCONN, the Connecticut Digital
Library. The Friends of Connecticut Libraries was honored for its 25
years of service to the state, the community, and individuals, and
for the critical role it plays in library advocacy. The Clementine
Lockwood Peterson Foundation was honored for the impact that Mrs.
Clementine Lockwood Peterson's $25 million bequest to the Greenwich
Library through the Foundation has had on expanding the Library's
facilities and services.
The purpose of the National Advocacy Honor Roll is to identify
and celebrate those individuals and groups who have actively
supported and strengthened library services at the local, state or
national levels. The honorees are advocates who have led major
initiatives or sustained efforts to enhance library development
and/or public awareness. Their accomplishments are noteworthy and
provide models for others to expand advocacy efforts.
The Floods of '55: Aftermath
Since Hurricane Katrina brought death and destruction to the Gulf
Coast, we have seen many examples of sympathy, support and material
relief. People across the country have volunteered to house
survivors. In Connecticut, citizens have been bringing bottled water
and other vital supplies to National Guard armories for shipment to
the devastated area. Celebrities, officials from other nations, and
prominent citizens have sent statements of sympathy and raised funds
for the recovery. Individuals have donated to the American Red
Cross, the Salvation Army, and other charitable organizations.
Television images have spurred on this generosity and the Internet
has provided the immediate means to connect to organizations and
groups assisting the recovery.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the terrible floods of
1955, one on August 19 and another on October 16. Just as in the case
of Hurricane Katrina, people from other nations, from the entire
United States, and local businesses and residents offered condolences
and assistance. The evidence of this outpouring can be found in the
records of Governor Abraham Ribicoff.
Governor Ribicoff did not merely wait in Hartford to hear reports
of the damage. He went to flooded communities, viewed the situation,
and talked with private citizens as well as community leaders. His
message was clear and emphatic. The State would assist in the
recovery, and communities could realistically hope for funds for new
development. Local people hit hard by the floods would live to see
their towns newer and better.
In his records, telegrams and letters in a file labeled, "Offers
of Assistance and Sympathy," shows that foreign officials, prominent
politicians, businessmen, and ordinary citizens expressed support for
those who had lost everything very soon after August 19,which came to
be known as "Black Friday." On August 23rd, James Hagerty, Press
Secretary to President Dwight D. Eisenhower, sent a telegram to
Governor Ribicoff quoting a telegram from Queen Elizabeth of the
United Kingdom. "I am deeply grieved, Mr. President," she started,
"to learn of the tragic suffering and havoc in the north eastern
states resulting from the hurricane flood. Please express my sincere
sympathy and that of my people to the relatives of the victims and to
those who have lost their homes." Yilma Deressa, Ambassador of
Ethiopia, conveyed Emperor Hallie Salassi's "heartfelt sympathy" in
Letters also came on official State letterheads. The Acting
Consul-General of the Netherlands stated that his countrymen living
in the United States would be proud to extend their help in
appreciation for the "magnificent response of the American nation
when, a few years ago, a great part of the Netherlands was overrun by
the sea." You Chan Yang, the South Korean Ambassador, likewise cited
the United States' generosity for "stricken areas of the globe."
Semah Cecil Hyman, Consul General for Israel, wrote from New York
City that,he had assumed his post on August 19. "It is to my great
regret," he wrote, "that to this first communication should have to
be added an expression of my deep sorrow for the flood calamity that
has befallen the State of Connecticut."
Fellow citizens sent their telegrams and letters. From Rome came
a telegram from the new U. S. ambassador to Italy, Connecticut's own
Claire Booth Luce, who confidently stated that she knew that Ribicoff
would "do all you can for the bereaved and the homeless and to aid
the reconstruction of the stricken areas." Luce informed the
governor that she had made a "strong appeal here for the
contributions to the Red Cross to help the flood victims." George
Frankel of Greenwich sent a telegram announcing that he would make a
contribution of $25,000 for "whichever agency you designate" out of
"deep respect and admiration for your leadership in behalf of all the
People of Connecticut." Dexter D. Coffin, owner of the Dexter Mill
in Windsor Locks, offered his assistance stating that Ribicoff's
leadership was "appreciated by everyone even though some may be on
the opposite side of the political fence as I am." Governor Edmund
Muskie of Maine encouraged Ribicoff by writing that he had heard
"excellent reports of the way you are handling the situation."
"Offers of Sympathy and Assistance" also contains detailed lists
of businesses and groups in and outside of Connecticut offering
everything from the use of factory machinery and work - stations to
storage rooms, from office spaces to services by business
professionals at no charge. For instance, John W. Torpey, President
of the East Hartford Town Council, offered the use of the town's
equipment and personnel. Samuel J. Coppola, Business Manager of
Local 478, ABC Operating Engineers, AFL, said that his members would
be willing to work "Saturdays, Sundays and nights to operate
equipment such as bulldozers, pumps, cranes, etc. in flooded areas of
Conn." Glenn M. Hall, Zone Manager, Motorola Corporation in
Hartford, said that the state could use "facilities of factory on
emergency basis to process and ship by air any base station, mobile
or portable radio communication equipment." The General Diaper
Service of Orange, Connecticut and International Latex Company of
Dover, Delaware proposed to give "unlimited quantities" of these
commodities that undoubtedly were in short supply. Not surprisingly,
these two companies received acknowledgements from the governor.
We do not know how many of these propositions were accepted and
implemented. Connecticut's citizens and those in other states and
lands untouched by the floods of '55, nevertheless, responded
generously to the worst flood in the history of the Northeast. Given
this tradition, it is not surprising to see the outburst of care and
charity in 2005.
Mark Jones, State Archivist
reQuest - Then and Now
Connecticut's Statewide Library Catalog - reQuest-has come a long way
since the late 1980s. In 1988, CONNLINET awarded money to the Capitol
Region Library Council for the production of a CD product to use as
an alternate to an online catalog for their system, CircCess. At the
same time, the Connecticut State Library was also looking into a CD
catalog. The two projects merged and became the basis of a statewide
union catalog, later administered by the Connecticut State Library.
Initially, reQuest served as an index to library collections in
the state, eventually including the Connecticut Union List of
Serials, an index to serials collections. Circulation status
information was not available. Early on, libraries requested that the
catalog show circulation/shelf status, but the technology just wasn't
available to make it happen. Now, with Z39.50 technology, reQuest can
connect to online library catalogs that also employ the Z39.50
technology and can display both the item and its shelf status.
A new feature that debuted in mid-June 2005 allows a user to sort
libraries holding the desired item by zip code and to rearrange the
holding libraries by the mileage from a specific zip code. The home
library's zip code is the default but users can change that through
the Advanced Search screen or by clicking on the zip code. Now, a
user can easily identify the nearest library that has a copy of the
item on the shelf.
Since the mid-90s, when the catalog evolved from a CD to an
online product, reQuest has offered additional services to libraries
through an annual membership. Today, close to 300 libraries are
member of request, Participating libraries can use any or all of the
following staff functions available in request: PAC Administration,
Interlibrary Loan (ILL), and WebCAT.
Interlibrary Loan was part of the original CD product, but
libraries had to print the ILL request and send it by mail or fax.
Since its inception as an online system, the ILL module has allowed
users to initiate and track their ILL requests, and library staff to
process requests entirely online. With the recent upgrade, patrons
also can now initiate ILL renewal requests online. The newly expanded
ILL lending policy allows libraries to provide information about
materials they are willing to lend and to activate a timesaving
feature so that they receive requests based on their lending
policies. Use of the ILL module has grown from a handful of libraries
in 1999 to more than 200 in 2005.
WebCAT allows a library to add, delete, and change its holdings
information directly in reQuest in real time. In addition, WebCAT
lets libraries download MARC records to their local systems, one at a
time or in batch, by using an "add to cart" feature similar to online
bookstores. reQuest members can also sign up for access to OCLC's Cat
Express product at a discount and use it to download records from
WorldCat's 58million MARC records. Use of the WebCAT module has grown
to almost 200 libraries in 2005, and use of Cat Express has grown
from a pilot group of ten libraries in 2001 to nearly 80 in 2005.
Beginning as a basic index to the holdings of 60 libraries,
reQuest has grown into a multi-featured system to better serve the
needs of users and library staff in Connecticut. For information
about contributing records to request or about cataloging services,
contact Gail Hurley at
860-344-2652. For information about reQuest ILL or about being set up
to show shelf status in reQuest, contact Steve Cauffman at
860-344-2020. Or call toll free at 1-888-256-1222.
Gail Hurley, Statewide Library Catalog Coordinator
Stephen Cauffman, reQuest Interlibrary Loan Coordinator
Thanks to Connecticut Libraries where an expanded version of this
article was first published.
Groundbreaking ceremonies for the Willington Public Library and Essex Public Library
Willington's groundbreaking ceremony on September 7, 2005, was held
at the site of the future Willington Public Library's new building
that is being constructed on donated property. The library will be
moving from a room in the school that serves the public and the
school (3,175 square feet) to a new stand-alone building (12,630
square feet), serving the public of 6,000 plus.
Willington received a $500,000 State Public Library Construction
Grant, state bonding funds administered by the Connecticut State
Library. The total project cost is $3,570,000. The library is
aiming to open their new facility in September 2006.
Essex Public Library had a groundbreaking ceremony on September
22, 2005. The library will be expanding from 4,408 square feet to
9,556 square feet with a projected population of 6,790.
The current library lacks a program room, quiet reading space,
sufficient shelving space for the collection, and adequate staff work
area, all of which will be rectified by the expansion.
Essex Library received a $500,000 State Public Library
Construction Grant. The total project cost is $2,400,000. The
library is aiming to open in September 2006.
Mary Louise Jensen, Building Consultant
State Comptroller Nancy Wyman at the Willington Public Library
Public Library groundbreaking ceremony, September 22, 2005
start of Essex Public Library construction
iCONN and UCONN Survey State Residents About Digital Library Awareness
The Connecticut State Library has contracted with UCONN's Center
for Survey Research & Analysis (CSRA) to survey Connecticut residents
about their awareness of the Connecticut Digital Library service.
Better known as "iCONN" among librarians and educators in the
state, the Connecticut Digital Library includes commercial databases
with over 5,000 full-text magazines, newspapers, scholarly journals,
and other online resources. iCONN also features a searchable
statewide library catalog that accepts online interlibrary loan
requests. The service is available on the Web 24/7 at
www.iconn.org. Access to the
service is free to all Connecticut residents.
iCONN is an initiative that was put forward by then-Lt. Governor
M. Jodi Rell in 1999. It is supported by the Connecticut General
Assembly, which has allocated funding for the program since its
inception in 2001. Since 2001 the resources have been searched over
30 million times by Connecticut residents. Anecdotal evidence,
however, suggests that public awareness of the program is low. To
establish a baseline of public awareness, UCONN's CSRA will conduct a
randomized telephone survey. The short survey will question state
residents about their knowledge of iCONN, their perceptions of the
project, and their level of public library usage. Beyond awareness,
the survey will help iCONN to understand what information the public
would be most interested in obtaining from iCONN.
For more information, contact Sharon Clapp, Outreach Coordinator,
Connecticut Digital Library, Connecticut State Library
Over the past year the number of searches in iCONN increased 32%
to over 11 million. Since the program's inception in 2001,
Connecticut residents and students have conducted over 30 million
searches in iCONN. Among the most frequently used databases, each
registering well over two million searches, are: iCONN Newspapers;
Discovering Collection (for middle schools and up); Health and
Wellness Resource Center; InfoTrac OneFile; Expanded Academic Plus
and Academic Universe (for colleges); and Kids InfoBits (for
elementary schools ).
Today iCONN provides an extensive set of information resources
available for all its citizens at
www.iconn.org. Log onto iCONN to
find magazine articles, reference books, newspaper articles, images,
and more. iCONN serves a variety of needs including student
homework, business and consumer health research, and genealogy.
Magazine and newspaper databases targeting different age groups and
needs make iCONN a valuable and useful resource for students of all
ages from kindergarten through college as well as for the general
public. Among the resources are the full-text of The Hartford
Courant back to 1992, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal,
and biography, science, and history databases. There also are
dictionaries and encyclopedias, subject guides to Internet resources,
and a statewide catalog of library holdings. In addition to using
iCONN at school and at the public library, students, parents and
teachers may access the databases from a home computer with Internet
access using their public library card number.
The Connecticut State Library administers the Digital Library in
conjunction with the Department of Higher Education.
Another Successful Year for iCONN at Durham Fair
"Fair weather" was more the rule than the exception for the 86th
Durham Fair. Whether it was good weather, great events, or the fair
food that lured them, iCONN was there for over 220,000 people.
Connecticut State Library staff, with the help of volunteers from
libraries throughout the state, publicized the Connecticut Digital
Library all weekend. The iCONN booth attracted visitors who wanted to
hear about the free online databases and statewide library catalog --
or at least get an iCONN balloon. Most people spent long enough at
the booth to learn the basic details about iCONN, and many asked
questions. A few had already heard about the service and simply
wanted literature to bring home for themselves, family members, and
However, many Connecticut residents had never heard of iCONN.
Booth visitors were thrilled to learn that the service was free and
accessible from home. Besides the usual "wow" and "cool" comments
from all ages, booth volunteers also heard students' stories about
using iCONN at school.
Lots of parents were relieved to learn there were places they
could safely send their children for research resources online. Other
visitors were simply pleased to hear that their tax dollars were
being used to provide online information resources to all schools,
libraries, and academic institutions in the state. "The state got it
right," one man said - in reference to iCONN - once he learned about
the project. Another said, "Thank you. That's probably the best
thing I've seen here today."
Several dedicated iCONN users told booth workers they "use it all
the time" and "love it!" They dropped by the booth to express their
gratitude for the service. Genealogists appreciated library
databases, librarian training that supported their efforts and
HeritageQuest which they accessed through iCONN. Several others
asked whether iCONN included op-ed's from the The New York Times, for
which the Times now charges a fee. We answered "yes!" While booth
workers met some card-carrying library patrons, lots of people told
them they didn't have a library card. Booth workers encouraged them
to get or renew their cards.
In sum, the iCONN booth was a hit and so were the free iCONN
balloons. The balloons put smiles on many childrens faces, while
booth workers talked to their parents about the resources available
online via iCONN. The sea of iCONN balloons floating above the
crowded midway led some to stop by for balloons for their own
children. Free caramels were also a big hit. Even without those
incentives, plenty of visitors were enticed by the lure of free
online resources and came over for flyers, bookmarks, and
refrigerator magnets promoting iCONN.
Sharon Clapp, iCONN outreach coordinator
booth at the Durham Fair
Cauffan explaining iCONN
Hall at the Durham Fair
overlooking the Durham Fair