LIBRARY SERVICES AND TECHNOLOGY ACT
A LONG RANGE PLAN FOR STATEWIDE LIBRARY DEVELOPMENT
AND INFORMATION ACCESS IN VERMONT
Web-based report under construction
[LSTA Program Area 1]
[Mission & Strategic Overview]
[Measurement & Evaluation]
[Library & Community Involvement]
[Goals & Priorities]
The purpose of this strategic plan is to outline the general direction and priorities for the development, delivery and improvement of statewide library and information services in Vermont for the years FY2000 through FY2004. The plan takes into account the role of the state library agency, the Vermont Department of Libraries (DOL), and its interaction with the various library and information access constituencies throughout the state. The plan describes the general goals espoused by the Library Services and Technology Act to which Vermont aspires and the specific operational objectives that will contribute toward the achievement of those goals.
The Department of Libraries is the agency of the State of Vermont with statutory authority under 22 VSA §605-606 to accept and expend federal library funds.
The establishment and implementation of a strategic plan requires the creation of and support clear information policies along with adoption of and adherence to a set of standards that maximize the ability of the Vermont library community to use its resources and to function in a global information community. These policies must be broad and visionary. They must permit libraries of all sizes and types to implement specific local programs and applications to meet local library objectives while simultaneously contributing to and sustaining a statewide library and information infrastructure that fosters adequate local library service, as well as interlibrary and interagency linkages and cooperation. These policies must insure access for the citizens of Vermont to the global information infrastructure.
MISSION & STRATEGIC OVERVIEW
The mission of statewide library services in Vermont, coordinated by the Department of Libraries, is to ensure that equitable access to library materials and information is available to the nearly 600,000 Vermonters regardless of age, geographic location, education, economic status or special need.
As described in detail later in this document, statewide library and information services in Vermont are designed to meet the needs of the state's citizens within the framework of Vermont's governmental structure and rural environment. Special emphasis is placed on making library and information services accessible to those Vermonters who do not have access from home, school or place of employment. In this time of information technology advancement, and in order to provide a sound basis for informed decision making, it is vital to have the total range of global information readily available for all Vermonters, Vermont education, business, and government.
Vermont lacks a county or middle level of government to provide ongoing public library support services. (The county level model tends to be more common in the U.S. outside of New England.) Vermont is the most rural state in the nation and has the highest per capita and per square mile number of public libraries. Therefore, library and information support services in Vermont at the state level are designed to directly support 200, mostly small, rural, public libraries. Two-thirds of these are in towns under 2,500 population. Further, the Department of Libraries is the agency with legal responsible for coordinating resource sharing among all types of libraries and for providing library and information services for persons with special needs and for Vermonters who do not have access to information available at the local level.
As one of its major priorities the DOL coordinates the statewide resource sharing network which provides interlibrary loan and the sharing of resources among more than five hundred public, school, academic and special libraries in Vermont. Nearly 400 libraries presently use online access for resource sharing. Local library and information resources in Vermont have never been adequate to meet citizen needs, making interlibrary cooperation and resource sharing a critical and a priority for the past sixty years. Resource sharing in Vermont actually began in the 1920's and was given a significant boost in 1940 with the development of the Vermont Union Catalog (VUC) which contains current acquisitions of all types of libraries from that time to the present in traditional card catalog format. Most of this union catalog information is now maintained electronically with cards continuing to be added for those few libraries that have no electronic alternatives.
Vermont had no automated library systems prior to the fall of 1986. In 1984, the Vermont Resource Sharing Network was converted from teletype machines to electronic mail. In 1986, the Vermont Automated Libraries System (VALS) came online, providing a pre-Internet model for a statewide online library network with electronic access to catalogs in major Vermont libraries and electronic mail for interlibrary loan. In 1988, the DOL and most academic libraries used E-mail, but only one public and no school libraries were involved. By 1996, over 360 libraries were electronically connected including all Vermont academic libraries, 130 public libraries, and over 200 school libraries. Several special libraries such as the Vermont State Archives, Vermont Historical Society, the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation, Vermont hospitals, and not-for-profit organizations also participate in the network.
The DOL portion of the Vermont Automated Libraries System (VALS), implemented in 1986, is a turnkey integrated library system with sophisticated networking capabilities that were designed to accommodate communications with all types and sizes of libraries in Vermont. Implementation followed a four-year planning process that was undertaken jointly with the University of Vermont and Middlebury College. Because consensus could not be reached on a single vendor, a multi-vendor, networked environment was planned with a legislative mandate to link the individual systems into a single seamless statewide network with easy access for the patron.
In FY1989, the vision of a linked distributed, statewide, automated network became a reality. Its innovative design won for Vermont one of ten prestigious national Harvard Kennedy School of Government/Ford Foundation Innovations Grants for innovation in state and local government. The statewide database links were implemented in 1989 and since then any library with a microcomputer has had access to all of the distributed databases with a single local phone call. Telecommunications costs for local libraries were underwritten by both state and federal LSCA funds. This has continued with LSTA funding. The network design meets Vermont's needs for local control and governance, for access to resources and communication statewide, and for reducing the telecommunications costs for the VALS network. It has also dramatically speeded delivery time for materials.
In FY1994, state funds were allocated to provide Internet access for all libraries in Vermont through VALS. In FY1996 the state telecommunications network (GOVnet) made it possible for all Vermonters to have access to VALS from a local library, home, or office for the cost of a local telephone call. During FY2000-2000, DOL will completely upgrade the VALS system (from state capital funds approved in FY1999), making it one of the most up-to-date and easiest-to-use systems in the country.
At a time when there are rising demands for materials and information access, it becomes extremely important and cost effective for DOL to coordinate the sharing of books and information among libraries of all types and sizes throughout the state. The speed and efficiency of technology in interlibrary loan has resulted in a dramatic increase in information requests from the late 1980's to date. Also, because no public library in Vermont can individually afford Internet access and other expensive online resources, small rural libraries rely on DOL to make them available via statewide licensing and VALS at no cost.
VALS is also important as the major online source for public access to state government information. Public access to VALS gives Vermonters access to a wide range of state government information from Supreme Court opinions and other legal and legislative information to the State's competitive bid system, the Human Services referral database, lobbyist and corporations databases in the Secretary of State's Office, and state employment information. 22 V.S.A. §606(9) designated VALS as the single access point for Vermonters needing a broad range of public government information across state agency and department jurisdictions.
One of the department's important missions is to provide support services, training and consulting for local librarians in profession library practices. The department has changed its focus from providing all types of library materials and basic library services to providing those resources which can be most effectively and efficiently provided from a central source and by identifying and providing services that individual local libraries cannot provide on their own (e.g., Internet, full text periodicals, etc.)
In the modern library and information environment, the Department no longer needs to operate nor can realistically fund multiple regional library facilities that duplicate the services provided by local libraries. As Vermont public libraries continue to grow stronger, with better trained staff, better collections and facilities, and with more hours of service, regional library services in the new millenium should be offered from single facility providing the entire state with only those materials not commonly purchased by public libraries. In FY1997, the department began to consolidate its regional library program as authorized by the Vermont General Assembly in 1996. One regional library was phased out in FY1997, a second in FY1998 and a third by the end of FY2000. Continuing the project to restructure regional library and other statewide services is crucial to supplementing statewide interlibrary loan and to supporting rural libraries, and their needs into the 21st century.
Considering the range of Vermont's state library agency's current services, even those with the lowest priority are vital. Services to the 1,500 residents in fourteen state-supported institutions and to 2,000 blind and physically disabled Vermonters represent the types of services that must be maintained.
The Department of Libraries operates in a unique way when compared to most other state library agencies in the United States. State library agencies throughout the U. S. are each structured differently to meet the needs of their individual states. Some provide services only to state government, some exist to administer federal funds and statewide library development, and others provide direct service to libraries and the public. Dating from the 1970 merger of the State Library and the Free Public Library service, the Vermont Department of Libraries offers all three types of service. In 1990, Vermont became the first state library system to allow statewide direct public access to its online databases.
Vermont's successful library and information resource sharing network depends on the good will, the cooperation, and the willingness of all types of libraries, large and small, to interact and share scarce resources. It is a unique and vital resource for Vermonters and has served as a national model.
The desired outcomes for statewide library services in Vermont over the next five years are reflected in its goals for library services and information access for Vermonters which are: 1) to ensure that every Vermonter has equitable access to library materials and information regardless of the individual's location, economic status, educational level, age, or special need; 2) to direct major effort and emphasis to those library services and programs which can be provided most effectively and efficiently by a central agency, e.g., Internet; 3) to strengthen and support local library services and professional library practices by training local librarians and trustees; 4) to coordinate the Vermont Resource Sharing Network and the Vermont Automated Libraries System (VALS).
In achieving these goals the DOL and libraries of all types and sizes in Vermont are interdependent. The DOL provides support services to local libraries and direct services to Vermonters and also coordinates resource sharing among Vermont libraries of all types. Supplementary and support services to public libraries target four areas: library and information training, technical assistance/consulting, supplementary materials, and making available access to technology and resources that no small rural library can be expected to provide individually.
Over eighty percent of the public librarians in Vermont are part-time employees and have no library training. This makes library training and technical support programs crucial. Professional library services in the areas of consulting, public library continuing education, technical support and cataloging services provided by the state library agency are also unique and not duplicated elsewhere in Vermont.
The Department cooperates with other libraries and information providers statewide. Through the resource sharing network even the most isolated Vermonters have access to over 5,000,000 materials which are made readily available to them from virtually every public or private library in the state. Cooperation has also allowed for major databases (e.g. newspaper indexes, federal document holdings, etc.) to be housed and maintained at one library institution participating in the network yet available to all.
Technological advances in the library and information world are an integral part of the statewide library operation and the provision of services. Five major technological trends will continue to have impact: 1) the development of online library networks (worldwide, national, regional, and state); 2) telecommunications advances, including ISDN, frame relay, etc.; 3) electronic publishing techniques including automated indexing and abstracting systems, information databases, full text retrieval/mass optical disk storage techniques; 4) electronic document delivery; 5) hardware and software developments, particularly use of a wide range of ever more powerful computers workstations in the library environment and more flexible, accessible local systems.
Technology impacts all statewide library operations and service areas of the Department. Because little had been done in Vermont with library automation, the directions taken in the mid-1980's set a pattern for libraries statewide resulting in a truly statewide automated library network rather than in a chaos of disparate systems. The goal of the network through FY2004 is to provide the capacity for every local public and school library to have at least one public access computer workstation for its patrons and for use by the citizens who do not have access to a home or workplace computer.
To achieve the goals of the statewide library and information services several strategies have been developed. The Department will not consider its goals successfully met, however, until: 1) every Vermonter has equitable access to library materials and worldwide information at the local level and; 2) all 200 existing public libraries are providing adequate services to their local citizenry. In this rapidly changing technological world the DOL's role is to provide support, training, and to make available those information services and library materials that local rural libraries, schools, and communities can not be expected to individually provide.
As the state library agency, DOL has restructured and reallocated its existing services based on economic realities and the challenges facing local libraries in the new century. DOL will stress those areas where it is most cost effective to provide services from a centralized location or on a statewide basis. Priority is given to library and information services that look to the future and are not duplicated elsewhere at the state or local level in Vermont.
As previously mentioned, cooperation is vital for access to information in Vermont. Small, rural, public and school libraries are not likely to assume responsibility for major library technology projects but, since FY1990, have had free access to the Vermont Automated Libraries System (VALS) using microcomputers. Nearly 400 libraries are now linked to the VALS system, up from 250 in FY1994. As of July 1991, individuals were also able to access VALS and the wealth of library, state government and other information available through it. In FY1994, access to the Internet was made available through VALS to all agencies of state government, all VALS participating libraries and to the general public. Using the state's GOVnet/K12net network, libraries and individuals, now have access to VALS for the cost of a local telephone call.
The tradition of multi-type library cooperation in Vermont is essential to the success of current and future resource sharing efforts. Except for the largest academic institutions, no individual library in Vermont has the resources or the expertise to provide the range of library and information services required to meet the diverse needs of Vermont's citizens. It is strategically crucial to keep public-private library partnerships moving forward to ensure that materials, expertise, and resources continue to be commonly available.
MEASUREMENT & EVALUATION
Measurement and evaluation of the effectiveness of statewide library services in Vermont is based on this long range plan which is reviewed and revised annually. State agency goals, objectives and tasks are measured annually based on monthly reports and statistics prepared by each program. Each task is reviewed in light of the task or service to be achieved. Detailed individual daily work logs are kept and analyzed along with reports of library visits, technical assistance reports, complaints, and amount of time spent in areas of technology, local library support, literacy, training, and direct service. Measurement indicators are kept in accordance with national reporting requirements and standards for library and information services but there are too many to list in this document. All measurement indicators and statistics are available upon request.
Formal workshops and training sessions are evaluated by both the participants and facilitators upon completion and records are keep on participation which provide the basis for library certification in Vermont.
Evaluation of the efficiency and effectiveness of VALS is determined by volume of use, number and type of problems logged, and the level of technical assistance requested by participating libraries.
DOL output measures do not include individual use of local libraries which are heavily dependent on DOL's supplementary resources and services. For example, a DOL book taken by a local library might circulate several times at the local library before being returned to DOL. Local library output and statistics are compiled separately in the DOL Biennial Report. Indicators are also not available for public use of VALS as that use is anonymous. The same is true for the Law and Documents collection where use is not only anonymous but also materials do not circulate and in-house use is not tracked.
LIBRARY & COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT
In this small rural state, constant communication is possible and does occur between the library community, citizens, and the state library agency. The Vermont Board of Libraries, a citizen advisory board appointed by the Governor, advises the State Librarian in accordance with 22 VSA §602. The Board extends an open invitation to representatives of all constituent groups to attend and participate in its bimonthly meetings to discuss strategic directions for statewide library services. State agency staff also participate in regular meetings of all library constituencies. The State Librarian meets regularly with the public library directors forum, school librarians, and the academic library directors.
The Special Services consultant is a member of and attends all meetings of the State Advisory Group for Vermonters with visual disabilities. The Technical Advisory Committee consisting of the full VALS partners advises the Department on technology, networking, and VALS. Children's Services are developed in conjunction with the Children's Services Advisory Group (CSAG) which advises DOL and brings together all librarians interested in children's services. This group develops standards for children's services, chooses theme for summer reading program, etc.
The state library agency is active in state associations such as the Vermont Library Association (VLA) and the Vermont Educational Media Association (VEMA) as well as national library organizations. Agency staff serve on such state government committees as the statewide Information Management Advisory Council (IRMAC) and the Vermont Historical Records Advisory Board (VHRAB).
Further, all federal monies that come into Vermont must go through an administrative and legislative financial and program analysis process before they are accepted for allocation.
The high level of dialog, input, and existing opportunities for exchange of ideas in Vermont precludes the need for yet another advisory council specifically for federal funds. Therefore, unless it is determined that the above groups are not effective in advising the state library agency, no new special advisory council will be appointed.
GOALS & PRIORITIES
As previously stated, the overriding goal of statewide library services in Vermont is to provide equitable access to library materials and information resources to nearly 600,000 Vermonters regardless of age, geographic location, education, economic status or special need. All activities provided under the auspices of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) should continue to revolve around the central theme of bringing the highest quality library service and information access to the maximum number of people.
Vermont's priorities for the improvement of statewide library services were developed in view of previously stated goals and desired outcomes established to meet the library and information needs of Vermonters and the program areas enumerated by the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). These program areas are: 1) establishing or enhancing electronic linkages among or between libraries; 2) linking libraries electronically with educational social or information services; 3) assisting libraries in accessing information through electronic networks; 4) encouraging libraries in different areas, and encouraging different types of libraries to establish consortia and share resources; 5) paying costs for libraries to acquire or share computer systems and telecommunications technologies; 6) targeting library and information services to people of diverse geographic, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, individuals with disabilities, people with limited functional literacy or information skills, persons having difficulty using a library and under-served urban and rural communities, including children from families with incomes below the poverty line; 7) LSTA program administration.
Specific objectives for both new initiatives and ongoing needs are defined under each program area outlined in the Library Services and Technology Act. In combination, these programs and their individual objectives result in a comprehensive plan for statewide library services, and access to information in Vermont. The specific, program-by-program tasks and their objectives also spell out the methodology, procedures, and timelines in which the priorities will be addressed over the next five years. It is understood that in this world of rapidly changing technology, adjustments will be made as necessary to accommodate for and take advantage of developments in the areas of technology and telecommunications, as well as for changes in state and federal economic climates.
LSTA PROGRAM AREA 1
ESTABLISHING OR ENHANCING ELECTRONIC LINKAGES AMONG OR BETWEEN LIBRARIES
Vermont has a statewide electronic library network, the Vermont Automated Libraries System (VALS). The design of the system was explained earlier in this document. Presently over 400 public, school, academic and special libraries participate on a regular basis either system to system or through dial access by computer. VALS was implemented in 1986 with four participating partners: DOL, University of Vermont, Middlebury College, and the Vermont State Colleges. Today most of Vermont's 26 academic libraries are full partners. The need in FY2000 through FY2004 is to allow a greater number of Vermont's rural public libraries to plan and implement local automated systems that support full MARC format and developing national standards and are also compatible with the existing statewide network. At this time, though two thirds of Vermont's public libraries are connected to VALS, just over a dozen public libraries out of a total of 200 have actually implemented in-house systems. Several others are in various stages of planning. Most small libraries have neither the expertise nor the funds to move forward with technology and will require significant professional technical assistance from the state agency to become full partners in the network.
To expand and improve library services by implementing integrated systems that are interoperable both with VALS and other established electronic networks.
Objective 1.1: To ensure that the Vermont Automated Libraries System (VALS) continues to be maintained as a linked statewide electronic network incorporating all types of libraries.
1.1-Task 1. Coordinate the VALS network by using DOLSYS/VALS as the "hub"of the resource sharing networks through FY2004.
1.1-Task 2. Provide funding from state or federal sources to ensure that every public library has available at least one dial-access connection to VALS at no cost to the library. FY2000-FY2004.
1.1-Task 3. Work with the VALS major partners on to ensure that state-of-the-art telecommunication access is available to all participating partners through FY2004.
1.1-Task 4. Explore the use of state and federal funding for a public library grant program to provide high-speed connectivity to VALS through the state's telecommunications network, GOVnet, by June 30, 2000.
Objective 1.2: To maintain the number of libraries connected to VALS at least at the present 400 libraries through FY2004.
1.2-Task 1. Update and disseminate both print and online specifications and procedures for connecting to VALS on a biennial basis. FY2000-FY2004.
1.2-Task 2. Provide technical assistance and training to any library preparing to connect to VALS. FY2000-FY2004.
Objective 1.3: To ensure that the planning, development, and implementation of local integrated library systems funded or subsidized by state and federal funding have interoperability with the existing statewide VALS network.
1.3-Task 1. Require that available state or federal funding for local integrated library systems be awarded only to those libraries that undergo an overall long range planning process that includes technology planning. FY2000-FY2004.
1.3-Task 2. Work with local libraries that issue an RFP for an integrated library system to ensure that all vendors under consideration are working to meet existing and emerging national and international standards, e.g. MARC, Z39.50, etc. FY2000-FY2004.
1.3-Task 3. Work with local libraries that select an integrated library system to ensure that selected vendor design and configuration is compatible with the existing statewide (VALS) system. FY2000-FY2004.
1.3-Task 4. Explore the feasibility of implementing and operating a statewide integrated library system for use by public libraries by June 30, 2001.
Objective 1.4: To ensure that the Statewide Technical Advisory Committee for VALS evaluates the policies and protocols for linking to and participating in VALS.
1.4-Task 1. Convene at least one meeting annually of the Technical Advisory Committee to review existing policies and protocols for the VALS partnership. FY2000-FY2004.
1.4-Task 2. Provide mediation and facilitation for any problems, disagreements, etc. regarding VALS brought to its attention by a linked partner, library or library constituent. FY2000-FY2004.
Objective 1.5: To ensure that DOLSYS/VALS hardware and software capability is maintained at a level equal to or above that of the other major VALS partner sites.
1.5-Task 1. Complete the upgrade of DOLSYS/VALS to WindowsNT and graphical environment. FY2000-FY2000.
1.5-Task 2. Work with VALS partners to co-ordinate local system upgrades and migrations to lessen impact on the network or enhance its functionality. FY2000-FY2004.
All libraries are encouraged to participate in VALS at whatever level is appropriate for that local or institutional library. The goal is to give all libraries access and assistance upon request. However, because of limits on funds and staff, priority must be given to public libraries which receive at least some public tax support. Priority is then given to those libraries that meet or are striving to meet the Minimum Standards for Vermont Public Libraries, but lack technological expertise at the local level.
Libraries may request technical assistance at any time through regional libraries and statewide consultants.
Priorities are also outlined by 22 VSA §605-606.
EVALUATION CRITERIA & PROCEDURES:
1) Compatibility with and willingness to participate fully in the existing network; 2) evidence of adequate long range planning by participating library; 3) willingness to provide needed statistics on workload, accomplishment, outcomes, etc.; 4) evidence that library will adhere to established policies, procedure, and protocols for interlibrary cooperation and resource sharing; 5) evidence that a local library system will support and implement national standards, including MARC format for its data.
Statistics are collected from libraries for service and program evaluation purposes and to determine eligibility for any incentive services such as VALS access, cataloging, or state and federal challenge funds when available. Grant awards are judged on a competitive basis and in accordance with stated grant parameters and guidelines.
Additional evaluation factors depend on statistical data on the level of use, the data generated to support the objectives, the number of problems that arise, and the level of growth of VALS.
Statistics collection and reporting are governed by 22 VSA §606(2).
LSTA PROGRAM AREA 2
LINKING LIBRARIES ELECTRONICALLY WITH EDUCATIONAL, SOCIAL OR INFORMATION SERVICES
In Vermont, two thirds of the 200 public libraries are located in communities with populations under 2,500. Fifty percent of the state's population lives in communities under 5,000. Library and information resources have never been abundant making interlibrary cooperation, resource sharing and information referral a priority over the past five decades. Resource sharing in Vermont began in the 1920's and was given a boost in 1940 with the implementation of the Vermont Union Catalog (VUC) which contains current acquisitions of all types of libraries traditional card catalog format. The VUC, coordinated by the state library agency is the basis for statewide resource sharing, and today is primarily electronic but a manual file continues to be maintained for small rural libraries and special libraries who still operate in a using traditional methods.
With the exception of adding the OCLC-ILL network and centralized computer cataloging for public libraries in the early 1980's, Vermont, at that time, technologically lagged behind the rest of the country. Vermont had no automated library systems prior to the fall of 1986. In 1984, the Vermont Resource Sharing Network was converted from teletype to electronic mail. In 1986, the Vermont Automated Libraries System (VALS) came online, providing a pre-Internet model for an statewide online library network with electronic access to catalogs in major Vermont libraries and electronic mail for interlibrary loan. In 1988, the DOL and most academic libraries used E-mail, but only one public and no school libraries were involved. By 1996, over 360 libraries were electronically connected including all Vermont academic libraries, 130 public libraries, and over 200 school libraries as well as many special libraries.
The DOL portion of the Vermont Automated Libraries System (VALS), implemented in 1986, is a turnkey integrated library system with sophisticated networking capabilities that were designed to accommodate communications with all types and sizes of libraries in Vermont. Implementation followed a four-year planning process that was undertaken jointly with the University of Vermont and Middlebury College. Because consensus could not be reached on a single vendor, a multi-vendor, networked environment was planned with a legislative mandate to link the individual systems into a single seamless statewide network with easy access for the patron.
In FY1989, the vision of a linked distributed, statewide, automated network became a reality. Its innovative design won for Vermont one of ten prestigious national Harvard/Ford Foundation Innovations Grants for innovation in state and local government. The statewide database links were implemented in 1989 and since then any library with a microcomputer has had access to all of the distributed databases with a single local phone call.
The design of the computerized library network was based on, and remains tied to, the tradition of interlibrary cooperation in Vermont, and the DOL must work to maintain that tradition and its high levels of resource sharing. The relationships between libraries, policies, and procedures for cooperation need constant attention to remain robust and viable.
In 1990, the decision was made to broaden VALS from a library network to a full information network that would also make available electronic state government information easily accessible to libraries and the public. In FY1996, GOVnet (Vermont's state telecommunications network) made it possible for all Vermonters to have access to VALS for the price of a local phone call from any library, home or office with a microcomputer.
DOL must work with the agencies and departments of state government to help make information produced by those departments available through VALS. Agencies need advise on preparation and presentation of their data for public access and ease of use. Where an agency or department is unable to make its own information available, DOL needs to be able to offer VALS and its network to achieve access.
Beyond state government, DOL must encourage public libraries to partner with schools in their communities to make electronic access and connectivity economically feasible. DOL must assist local libraries as they seek linkages with other community institutions such as hospitals, chambers of commerce and municipal and town governments to enhance the scope of information and access available to their users.
To maintain and improve resource sharing and cooperative efforts so Vermonters, no matter how isolated, have access to library materials, government information, links to government services, and information designed to address their individual needs.
Objective 2.1: To ensure the efficient flow of information to all Vermonters by facilitating through DOL and VALS, the ongoing transfer of interlibrary loan requests, materials, and information between libraries.
2.1-Task 1. Maintain the quality of response to requests for both specific library materials and for subject information each year at least at the prior fiscal year level. FY2000-FY2004.
2.1-Task 2. Call a meeting of major libraries involved in resource sharing activities to identify problems, discuss solutions, and if necessary submit recommendations to the State Librarian on a biennial basis. FY2000-FY2004.
2.1-Task 3. Make information available in the most appropriate and efficient format including, but not limited to print, microformat, image or other form of electronic publishing. FY2000-FY2004.
2.1-Task 4. Maintain the number of participating in the Vermont Resource Sharing Network at least at prior fiscal year level. FY2000-FY2004.
2.1-Task 5. Investigate online methods to expedite out-of-state interlibrary loans for local libraries using the OCLC ILL subsystem or other method by June 30, 2000.
Objective 2.2: To ensure the efficient flow of information between libraries primarily through the linked statewide network.
2.2-Task 1. Provide access to interlibrary loan using a variety of methodologies (e.g. U.S. mail, telephone, electronic) to ensure all libraries can easily participate in resource sharing. FY2000-FY2004.
2.2-Task 2. Add to VALS and/or provide statewide licensing to at least one new full text or information database each year. FY2000-FY2004.
2.2-Task 3. Assist local libraries with alternatives for the conversion of collections to machine-readable format and the acquisition of local automated systems. FY2000-FY2004.
2.2-Task 4. Maintain the Vermont Union Catalog (VUC) for non-automated libraries and online union catalogs (e.g. PUBcat, K12cat) to assist local libraries in locating and accessing resources in other libraries. FY2000-FY2004.
Objective 2.3: To provide access to the state's major library collections to ensure timely response to requests from small rural libraries.
2.3-Task 1. Maintain the DOL/UVM Access office at least at the FY1999 level through FY2004.
2.3-Task 2. Provide for a high-speed telecommunications link with each major online library system. FY2000-FY2004.
Objective 2.4: To develop and maintain links with and access to national networks, agencies, and organizations through VALS to further the availability of information that is beyond the capacity of local libraries to afford individually.
2.4-Task 1. Maintain at least at FY1999 levels, membership and participation in NELINET to ensure access to the OCLC national database for cataloging, interlibrary loan, and training purposes. FY2000-FY2004.
2.4-Task 2. Ensure all Vermont libraries have access to the Internet. FY2000-FY2004.
2.4-Task 3. Maintain Vermont libraries' access to major national and commercial bibliographic and informational databases through the VALS and/or the Internet. FY2000-FY2004.
Objective 2.5: To maintain access to state government information through VALS as new state and local government databases are made available to the public.
2.5-Task 1. Advise on and assist all three branches of state government with user-friendly access for libraries and individuals to online state services. FY2000-FY2004.
2.5-Task 2. Participate in the Information Resource Management Advisory Council (IRMAC), advisory to the Secretary of Administration, on issues of technology and information policy in state government. FY2000-FY2004.
Objective 2.6: To encourage planning for cooperative technology and telecommunications links between local schools, towns and municipalities, and other local community organizations and public libraries.
2.6-Task 1. Work with public libraries to identify opportunities for cost-savings in sharing telecommunications linkages with schools. FY2000-FY2004.
2.6-Task 2. Enhance the scope of information and access available to library users by assisting local libraries in forming cooperative agreements and linkages with town and municipal government, hospitals and other local organizations. FY2000-FY2004.
As in Program Area 1 above, all libraries in Vermont are encouraged to participate in VALS and in resource sharing at whatever level is most appropriate for the library to meet the needs of its patrons. The goal is to give all libraries the services and assistance they need upon request. However, because of limits on funds and staff, priority must be given to public libraries that receive at least some public tax support. Priority is given to those libraries that meet, or are striving to meet the Minimum Standards for Vermont Public Libraries. Priority is also given to projects that have the potential to succeed and to serve as models for other libraries statewide.
Any library wishing to may connect to VALS and through VALS to other electronic resources. Libraries may request technical assistance at any time through regional libraries and statewide consultants.
Priorities are also outlined by 22 VSA §605-606.
EVALUATION CRITERIA & PROCEDURES:
Vermont's resource sharing and information network is a partnership and all participating libraries must agree to fully support the established policies and procedures as well as submit required statistics on volume and type of use.
At the state level, the DOL will compile statistics provided by libraries, reported training needs, system problems and/or complaints. It will also monitor frequency of access to ensure that resource sharing partnership requirements are met by individual libraries. Libraries that do not meet partnership requirements will be notified and every attempt made to assist them in meeting those requirements.
Evaluation criteria for Program Area 1 also applies.
LSTA PROGRAM AREA 3
ASSISTING LIBRARIES IN ACCESSING INFORMATION THROUGH ELECTRONIC NETWORKS
Because of Vermont's rural makeup, two thirds of its 200 public libraries are located in communities with populations under 2,500. Fifty percent of its population lives in communities under 5,000. Eighty percent of Vermont's public libraries are directed by personnel with no previous or formal library training and the turnover rate in these often low paying positions is high. Twenty percent of the public libraries are open fewer than fourteen hours per week. Just over a dozen public libraries in Vermont have an in-house automated system, but in FY1998, 149 of the 200 public libraries used a computer and electronic mail for interlibrary loan compared to just one library in FY1988. 80 libraries offer computer access, including the Internet to directly to library patrons. Technology which virtually did not exist in Vermont's rural libraries ten years ago has evolved to give new life to the small rural public library as a community information center.
The financial and staffing limitations for the vast majority of Vermont's public libraries in this electronic environment make it critical that the state library agency provides in-depth statewide technical assistance, training, constant encouragement, and incentives in accessing materials and information electronically. The greatest challenge of all is to continue to bring new technologies to Vermont libraries in the next five years, and maintain the number of libraries currently using VALS to access each other and the statewide library and government information system at least at the FY1999 level of 400. The state will also continue to provide all public libraries with at least one dial access connection to VALS at no cost to the library. DOL hopes to assist libraries with the cost of higher speed dedicated connections during FY2000-FY2004. Further, a grant program has been established to provide public access workstations to make online access directly available to the public in local public libraries.
Given the needs of Vermonters, not only in the areas of basic library services, but also in the program areas emphasized in LSTA, it is obvious that no local library in Vermont is presently capable of providing library service and electronic access to completely meet the demands of its users. A small but growing number of libraries have automated at least one of their functions and have electronic access to various information databases. The state has a role in funding and negotiating for statewide licenses and contracts for access to online information to assist all Vermont libraries in increasing the level of access available at the local level.
To improve the quality and accessibility of library and information resources to all Vermonters by making available to local libraries support services, technical assistance, training, and other programs appropriate for libraries in Vermont's rural environment.
Objective 3.1: To assist local libraries in making available information through the use of new technologies appropriate to the library's needs and resources.
3.1-Task 1. Provide the telecommunications necessary, either through the state network (GOVnet) or other means, for local libraries to access VALS for library and information resources. FY2000-FY2004.
3.1-Task 2. Ensure that every local library in Vermont is offered a dial access connection to the Internet through VALS for the cost of a local telephone call. FY2000-FY2004.
3.1-Task 3. Assist local libraries, subject to the availability of state and federal funds, with the cost of high-speed, dedicated telecommunications links. FY2000-FY2004.
3.1-Task 4. Assist local libraries, subject to the availability of state and federal funds, with the cost of workstations for public access to electronic esources and the Internet. FY2000-FY2004.
3.1-Task 5. Maintain statewide licenses and/or centralized access to information databases (e.g. full text periodicals and other online resources) for all libraries in Vermont at least on the prior fiscal year level. FY2000-FY2004.
3.1 Task 6. Investigate the opportunities for electronic document delivery between Vermont libraries. FY2000-FY2001.
Objective 3.2: To provide training opportunities to enhance the skills of local librarians in using the most current technologies and methods of accessing information.
3.2-Task 1. Offer at least one training session each year to update local libraries on new technological developments and their possible uses at the local level. FY2000-FY2004.
3.2-Task 2. Provide training for local libraries on using the Internet. FY2000-FY2004.
3.2-Task 3. Offer mini-workshops on request to small groups of librarians with similar access needs. FY2000-FY2004.
3.2-Task 4. Provide at least one training session each year to help local librarians become familiar with the basics of VALS, electronic mail, and electronic information transfer. FY2000-FY2004.
3.2-Task 5. Provide a one-on-one, on-site training session for each new public library connecting to VALS. FY2000-FY2004.
3.2-Task 6. Update and revise the VALS manuals and documentation on a biennial basis beginning in FY2000.
Objective 3-3: To offer local libraries in Vermont assistance in providing public access to resources and information using technology.
3.3-Task 1. Provide at least one training session each year covering online information available through statewide licenses and/or through VALS. FY2000-FY2004.
3.3-Task 2. Assist public libraries as needed in planning for and implementing local online library systems. FY2000-FY2004.
3.3-Task 3. Assist and train local librarians to provide direct public access to their users at the local level. FY2000-FY2004.
3.3-Task 4. Assist local libraries in identifying options for offering training to their users in the Internet and information access. FY2000-FY2004.
3.3-Task 5. Explore the feasibility of operating a statewide integrated library system for use by public libraries by June 30, 2001.
In LSTA Program Area 3, as with Program Areas 1 and 2, the policy of the Department of Libraries is to help every library that requests access or assistance. Again, because of limits on funds and staff, priority must be given to public libraries that receive at least some public tax support. Priority is then given to those libraries that meet or are striving to meet the Minimum Standards for Vermont Public Libraries, but lack technological expertise at the local level. Priorities are also outlined by 22 VSA §605-606.
EVALUATION CRITERIA & PROCEDURES:
Evaluation will be based on the above program area objectives including annual statistical reports, along with in-depth staff analysis, participants and facilitators' evaluations of training sessions, and input from library constituencies and users statewide.
LSTA PROGRAM AREA 4
ENCOURAGING LIBRARIES IN DIFFERENT AREAS, AND ENCOURAGING DIFFERENT TYPES OF LIBRARIES TO ESTABLISH CONSORTIA AND SHARE RESOURCES
As stated throughout this plan, Vermont's size, population, and rural nature makes it imperative that all types and sizes of libraries come together to share resources to meet the rising expectations and demands for information of all kinds. Statewide resource sharing among and between all types of libraries has been in effect since the 1920's and has been coordinated by the state agency since that time.
Today resource sharing in Vermont is carried out both electronically and manually. Libraries are able to participate in the Vermont Resource Sharing Network at a level that meets their needs and the needs of their patrons. The only requirement for libraries to participate in statewide resource sharing is that they contribute holdings to VALS or the Vermont Union Catalog and they be willing to lend their materials as well as borrow from others, according to the established polices and procedures of the Vermont Resource Sharing Network.
In Vermont, local control of government is cherished. Vermont's governmental structure does not provide for county or multi-county government services. Local libraries work directly with the state for supplementary library services which in most other states are offered by intermediate levels of government. Each town covers a relatively small geographic area explaining the existence of 200 autonomous public libraries, many of which have an extremely limited financial base. Per capita tax support of local public libraries in FY1998 ranged from $0 to $115.00.
Chittenden County, Vermont's most populous area, has implemented a county library card with a majority of the area's libraries participating. Other libraries in more rural areas simply open their doors to any Vermonter with few restrictions. However, there is a growing awareness among libraries that because of the wide variation in levels of tax support by communities for their libraries, it is difficult to justify offering local tax-supported services at no cost to users beyond the communities' borders.
Community libraries (joint school-public) have also had varying levels of success in Vermont. Today twelve exist mostly in small rural communities. Tensions and the divergent missions of school and public libraries make the success of these joint facilities difficult in that they are often viewed by towns as a way to save money rather than a way to give better library service. School library versus public library territorial issues often arise. Class use of community libraries during school hours also often makes adult users feel uncomfortable.
Though traditionally, cooperative efforts have been initiated by the state library agency, there is also a need to promote and develop a higher level of cooperation between small libraries in various rural geographic areas, either on a county, regional, or even school district basis.
To promote resource sharing and cooperative access to library services and information regardless of location or format including the effective use of new technologies as they become available.
Objective 4.1: To ensure the efficient flow of information to all Vermonters by facilitating through DOL the ongoing transfer of requests and materials between all types of libraries.
4.1-Task 1. Maintain the quality of response to requests for both specific library materials and for subject information each year at least at the prior fiscal year level. FY2000-FY2004.
4.1-Task 2. Call a biennial meeting of selected local libraries involved in resource sharing activities to identify problems, discuss solutions, and submit recommendations to the State Librarian. FY2000-FY2004.
4.1-Task 3. Assist local librarians to improve local resource sharing by providing at least one training session specifically devoted to this topic in alternate years. FY2000-FY2004.
4.1-Task 4. Provide access to resource sharing using a variety of methodologies (e.g. U.S. mail, telephone, electronic) to ensure all libraries can easily participate. FY2000-FY2004.
Objective 4.2: To stimulate public library development by encouraging cooperative projects between libraries and social agencies, and other related community organizations.
4.2-Task 1. Target one state government agency and/or statewide organization to develop a cooperative library program with local libraries and related local social agencies. FY2000-FY2004.
4.2-Task 2. Identify and support model cooperative initiatives between libraries and local community organizations and institutions for possible replication in other areas. FY2000-FY2004.
Objective 4.3: To stimulate library development by encouraging cooperative projects between libraries of all types in a county, region, school district or other geographic area.
4.3-Task 1. Encourage public libraries to explore cooperative projects with local school libraries, especially in the areas of early childhood education, literacy, and technology. FY2000-FY2004.
4.3-Task 2. Aid local libraries in investigating and implementing at least one local library cooperative initiative on a biennial basis through FY2004.
4.3-Task 3. Investigate the possibility of cooperative arrangements between the state library agency and up to three large public libraries statewide to act as "service hubs" for other libraries and users in their geographic areas by June 30, 2001.
Objective 4.4: To ensure quality delivery of public library service to all segments in communities that have joint school-public ("community") libraries.
4.4-Task 1. Meet with local librarians and board of trustees of existing community libraries to discuss development and promotion of public library services for non-school patrons at least biennially. FY2000-FY2004.
4.4-Task 2. Meet with librarians, boards of trustees of public libraries, school officials, and the general public considering the community library option to discuss issues, problems, policymaking, and organization structure that ensures both public and school library service as needed. FY2000-FY2004.
An attempt is made to give all types of libraries the materials, training, services, and assistance they request. However, because of limitation of funding and staff, priority must be given to public libraries that receive at least some public tax support. Priority is then given to those libraries that meet or are striving to meet the Minimum Standards for Vermont Public Libraries. In working with local libraries on cooperative efforts, priority must be given to those projects that have widespread local support, the potential to succeed, and to act as models to be replicated elsewhere in the state.
The state agency in conjunction with the library community has developed standards for joint school-public (community) library facilities.
Priorities are also outlined by 22 VSA §605-606.
EVALUATION CRITERIA & PROCEDURES:
Statistical data, both statewide and local are collected annually to measure stated objectives, to meet national statistical requirements, and to meet 22 VSA §606(2). Biennial surveys are made of libraries (and their users) that are involved in local and/or multi-type cooperative efforts to provide additional information on program success and sustainability.
LSTA PROGRAM AREA 5
PAYING COSTS FOR LIBRARIES TO ACQUIRE OR SHARE COMPUTER SYSTEMS AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGIES
As mentioned previously, the state library agency has coordinated the operation of a statewide multi-type online library network (VALS) since 1986. Of the estimated 500+ libraries of all types and sizes, 400 are connected to VALS and use its online services on a regular basis. Every public library that agrees to the policies and procedures for participating in statewide resource sharing and wishing to connect is provided at least one dial access connection to VALS via the state's telecommunications network (GOVnet) at no cost to the library. The Department of Libraries subsidizes these connections from state and federal funds. School libraries' connections were subsidized through FY1995 by the Vermont Department of Education. In FY1996, the school community (including school libraries) was given low cost access to all resources through the state network (GOVnet). Academic libraries are connected in a variety of ways, with DOL sharing connectivity costs with the major VALS partners.
Of the 200 public libraries, 135, just over two thirds, are electronically connected. This number includes the vast majority of active, viable public libraries in the state. Of the remaining +/- 65, about one third do not have telephones. Many have also not chosen to participate in statewide resource sharing to date. Even so, each year, 2-3 very small libraries opt to connect to VALS.
Grant programs for local libraries to purchase computer equipment were offered in 1989-90 with 40 grants awarded to libraries in towns with populations under 5,000. This was done with state funds and funds made available by the Harvard/Ford Innovations Award. In FY1996-1997 a second public-private grant program, jointly sponsored by DOL/BELL-ATLANTIC/IBM, and partially funded with LSCA funds, was offered to public libraries to provide direct public access and 16 grants for computer workstations were awarded. If FY1998-FY1999, ten LSTA-funded public access workstation grants were made, with partial funding provided for an eleventh. IBM also provided a matching number of workstations. DOL intends to continue this competitive public access workstation grant program and expand the number of grants made as well as the scope to include assistance with costs of high-speed connectivity. This is reflected in the Department's State Five-Year Technology Plan pursuant to 3 VSA §2222(a)(9).
Two large public libraries were also awarded LSCA Title II grants between 1990 and 1995 to implement advanced in-house library systems. DOL hopes to offer competitive funding for additional large system projects, consortia, or advanced telecommunications, as outlined in this plan and our state five-year technology planning document in FY2001-2004.
Local libraries are beginning to acquire equipment beyond that provided with federal and state grant monies and implement local technology budgets and plans. The demand is increasing at the local level for higher speed connectivity. The federal Universal Service Fund program, e.g. e-rate, will help with the costs of this connectivity, but the state library agency also needs to provide assistance, both financial and technical in achieving this goal.
The Department needs to continue to insure that access to modern technological tools is available in local libraries, especially for those Vermonters who do not have alternate access at home, school or workplace.
To ensure that every Vermonter has equitable access to library materials and information regardless of location, age, education, economic status or special need.
Objective 5.1: To assist local libraries in acquiring computer hardware and software necessary to connect to VALS.
5.1-Task 1. Offer a competitive grant program as funding permits to provide public access workstations in public libraries for use with VALS, the Internet and other electronic resources. FY2000-FY2004.
5.1-Task 2. Provide dial access connectivity at no cost for any public library wishing to access VALS and the Internet. FY2000-FY2004.
5.1-Task 3. Maintain a statewide telecommunications structure to allow local tax supported public and school libraries to access to VALS for library resource sharing at no cost to the library. FY2000-FY2004.
5.1-Task 4. Explore the use of state and federal funding for a public library grant program to provide high-speed connectivity to VALS through the state's telecommunications network, GOVnet, by June 30, 2000.
5.1-Task 5. Work with the major partners on VALS to ensure that state of the art telecommunications access is available to all participating partners through FY2004.
Objective 5.2: To assist large libraries or library consortia with advanced technology and telecommunications needs.
5.2-Task 1. Offer a competitive grant program as funding permits to assist large public libraries and library consortia with the costs of advanced technology, network and telecommunications projects (e.g. advanced local library systems, high-speed connectivity, etc.) FY2001-FY2004.
5.2-Task 2. Assist libraries and library consortia with the technology planning process for advanced integrated library systems, networks, and telecommunications. FY2000-FY2004.
5.2-Task 3. Ensure that available state or federal funding for advanced technology and telecommunications projects is awarded only to those libraries that undergo an overall long range planning process that includes technology planning. FY2001-FY2004.
5.2-Task 4. Ensure that available state or federal funding for advanced technology and telecommunications is awarded only to those libraries whose projects meet prevailing industry and library standards (for example, MARC, Z39.50, etc.) and are compatible with VALS. FY2001-FY2004.
Objective 5.3: To assist public libraries and trustees in planning for, implementing, and the use of new technologies appropriate to their local needs and resources.
5.3-Task 1. Assist at least one public library annually in needs assessment and planning for the automation of library functions and services. FY2000-FY2004.
5.3-Task 2. Offer at least one training session annually to apprise public librarians and trustees of technology developments and to explore possible uses in local libraries. FY2000-FY2004.
5.3-Task 3. Provide training at least annually for local libraries on the use of the Internet and other available databases by library staff and/or library patrons. FY2000-FY2004.
5.3-Task 4. Offer at least one training session annually on technology planning as it relates to the overall planning process for local libraries. FY2000-FY2004.
5.3-Task 5. Explore the feasibility of a statewide integrated library system for use by public libraries by June 30, 2001.
Objective 5.4: To maintain electronic databases that include the holdings of public libraries and school libraries.
5.4-Task 1. Maintain the PUBcat (public libraries' union catalog) on DOLSYS/VALS requiring all public libraries using VALS and/or the resource sharing network to submit records for all new purchases in a format consistent with prevailing cataloging standards, electronic or manual. FY2000-FY2004.
5.4-Task 2. Maintain the K12cat (school libraries' union catalog) on DOLSYS/VALS requiring all school libraries using VALS and/or the resource sharing network to submit records for all new purchases in a format consistent with prevailing cataloging standards, electronic or manual. FY2000-FY2004.
5.4-Task 3. Assist public libraries in the electronic transfer of bibliographic records from PUBcat to local library systems to maintain current local databases. FY2000-FY2004.
5.4-Task 4. Assist participating public libraries in using PUBcat as a retrospective conversion database from which to extract records in building a local database. FY2000-FY2004.
Objective 5.5: To find alternatives to assist libraries in funding the costs of technology and online access.
5.5-Task 1. Work with state and federal regulators to assist in the development of policies, under the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (e.g. e-rate) to reduce costs for local libraries of acquiring technology and internet access. FY2000-FY2004.
5.5-Task 2. Ensure that all Vermont public libraries are informed and have the opportunity to participate in any program that provides for discounts authorized by the Telecommunications Act of 1996. FY2000-FY2004.
5.5-Task 3. Provide training in and assistance with the application process for local libraries to qualify for discounts authorized by the Telecommunications Act of 1996. FY2000-FY2004.
5.5-Task 4. Certify technology plans for public libraries as provided for by the Telecommunications Act of 1996. FY2000-FY2004.
5.5-Task 5. Work with private foundations and other non-public financial resources (e.g. Gates Library Initiative) to assist local libraries in funding the costs of technology and online access. FY2000-FY2004.
Priorities for basic public library technology and telecommunications grants will be: 1) for projects in libraries that meet accessibility standards; 2) for projects in libraries that meet the Vermont Minimum Standards for Public Libraries; 3) for projects with local support for sustainability beyond the initial funding period; 4) willingness to participate in statewide resource sharing efforts.
Priorities for advanced technology and telecommunications grants will be: 1) for projects that serve a large population and/or geographic area, either by a local library, or library consortia; 2) for projects that have completed a long range planning process; 3) for projects that meet national industry and library standards; 4) for projects that are compatible with the existing statewide online system (VALS); 5) for projects with local support for sustainability beyond the initial funding period; 5) willingness to participate in statewide resource sharing efforts; as well as priorities 1 and 2 of the basic public library technology and telecommunications grants.
An attempt is made to give all types of libraries the training, services, and technical assistance they request. However, because of limitation of funding and staff, priority must be given to public libraries which receive at least some public tax support. Priority is then given to those libraries that meet or are striving to meet the Minimum Standards for Vermont Public Libraries.
EVALUATION CRITERIA & PROCEDURES:
Public libraries may apply for funds for technology and telecommunications by completing the application forms developed by the Department of Libraries. Applications will be reviewed according to procedures established by the state library agency, or, if necessary, by an independent consultant. Final decisions for grants funded will be made by the State Librarian, in consultation with the Vermont Board of Libraries.
Final decisions on the distribution of funds under public/private initiatives will be made by a committee jointly appointed by the parties involved.
The Department of Libraries will review the grant process annually in consultation with local libraries and revise as necessary.
Applicants who have been denied approval of project requests or of payment of grant funds will be provided with the opportunity to appeal. A notice of appeal must be submitted in writing to the State Librarian within 30 days of the decision the applicant wishes to appeal.
Besides basic annual statistical information, long term measurement will include: 1) the degree of change and or improvement in local information services as described by the local libraries, including changes in skill levels of users and staff, demand for services, requests for additional related services and other relevant factors; 2) the change in availability of unmediated public access in local libraries; 3) issues and problems surrounding the ongoing operation and sustainability of a particular project.
LSTA PROGRAM AREA 6
TARGETING LIBRARY AND INFORMATION SERVICES TO PERSONS HAVING DIFFICULTY USING A LIBRARY AND TO UNDERSERVED URBAN AND RURAL COMMUNITIES INCLUDING CHILDREN (FROM BIRTH THROUGH AGE 17) FROM FAMILIES WITH INCOMES BELOW THE POVERTY LINE . . .
As previously mentioned, though Vermont is the most rural state in the nation, it has the highest per capita and per square mile number of public libraries (200) and the majority of these libraries cannot be expected to provide adequate basic library services on their own. Eighty percent of Vermont's public libraries are directed by personnel with no previous or formal library training and the turnover rate in these often low paying positions is high. Twenty percent of the public libraries are open fewer than fourteen hours per week, twelve percent have no telephone. Approximately half are not accessible to people with disabilities.
Vermont's governmental structure does not provide for county or multi-county government services. Local libraries work directly with the state library agency for services which in most other states are offered by intermediate levels of government. Local communities commitment to their local libraries make it imperative that the state library agency works to strengthen these libraries and works through them to provide services to Vermonters. The state library must avoid diluting scares resources by duplicating any local services at the state level.
Supplementary and support services to libraries in Vermont are provided by the Department of Libraries through its facilities statewide. DOL provides a variety of services both traditional and electronic, including statewide database licensing and database access, comprehensive training programs, and professional technical assistance basic library practices such as planning, operations, and programming. Centralized services such as computerized cataloging and maintenance of online databases and union catalogs, as well as reference referral services, that rural libraries can not individually afford are also provided and subsidized by the DOL.
At this juncture the library community has determined that training for all libraries is the most important priority. While academic librarians have the appropriate library training only 20% of librarians in Vermont have a degree from a library school accredited by the ALA. The remaining 80% rely on in-service training and on institutes and workshops offered in-state primarily by the DOL. School librarians and some public librarians also take advantage of offerings at post-secondary institutions in Vermont but only very few avail themselves of formal library programs out-of-state. In the new technology-oriented library environment, the maintenance of a skilled library workforce is a top priority for sustaining adequate library service in Vermont.
The financial and staffing limitations in Vermont's libraries makes it critical for the state library agency to couple its training efforts with in-depth statewide technical assistance and constant encouragement, including incentives, for even the most basic library functions. While the greatest challenge in the next five years is to continue to bring new technologies to Vermont libraries, it is equally important that Vermonters have adequate reading materials, basic library services and information access, and that they become computer literate. The training and consulting efforts of the Department are therefore supported and supplemented by a wide range of additional statewide library services including resource aids and publications, interlibrary loan, reference, computerized cataloging and card sets for eligible libraries, and model programs, such as annual an summer reading program, to name a few.
Although Vermont's unemployment rate of 3.2% remains below the national average of 4.4%, the variation between geographic areas in the state is high, ranging from 2.4% to 10.3% (Vermont Department of Employment & Training Labor Market Bulletin, March, 1999). Vermont continues to have the second lowest per capita income level in New England, with only Maine being lower (U. S. Department of Commerce, Survey of Current Business, November, 1998). Low income areas are scattered fairly evenly statewide and not necessarily confined to defined pockets making it important to upgrade local public library services in all areas of the state. Library and information services, both traditional and electronic, as well as referral services and cooperative programs with social agencies must be made equally available.
In the mid 1990's major efforts to reach families and children at risk, specifically "Beginning with Mother Goose" (BMG), were implemented jointly with the Vermont Center for the Book, the Vermont Department of Education's Adult Basic Education (ABE) Programs and the Vermont Agency of Human Services to reach at risk pre-school children and parents who had difficulty reading and using libraries. This family literacy project, now a national model, continues to expand its training and materials to providers and parents in high poverty areas of the state to improve parenting, literacy, and reading between parents and children so that people attain not only reading/computing skills but also "whole person" literacy.
It is nearly impossible for untrained part-time local library personnel to deal on an in-depth basis with people whose lack of literacy isolates them from the learning process and who have developed prejudices against reading and libraries. The challenge is to find creative and untried cooperative programs, such as "BMG" to provide training and encouragement for local librarians and to complement and supplement the existing statewide ABE efforts. Libraries will also be encouraged to cooperate with other statewide organizations in collaborative projects designed to bring about full literacy statewide.
Because of Vermont's rural nature, most library services to people with visual and physical disabilities will continue to be provided directly from the state library agency which is also Vermont's regional library for the blind. This service was automated in FY1990 and its ongoing development and maintenance continues as an important priority in Vermont's library offerings, especially as Vermont's population ages and requires enhanced reading alternatives.
Vermont has no urban libraries, because it has no city with a population over 100,000. Burlington, Vermont's largest city, has a population of less than 40,000.
To make available to local public libraries in under-served areas the appropriate services, technical assistance, resources, and programs to enhance the delivery of library services in Vermont's predominately rural environment.
To strive to meet a wide range of library and information needs for Vermonters with special needs including those with physical and visual disabilities or housed in state-supported institutions.
Objective 6.1: To provide ongoing training in basic library skills and professional library practices to local librarians.
6.1-Task 1. Maintain the DOL's educational offerings each year at least at the FY1999 level. FY2000-FY2004.
6.1-Task 2. Evaluate, revise and/or update the DOL's educational offerings annually. FY2000-FY2004.
6.1-Task 3. Offer at least two basic library skills courses each year in at least two locations. FY2000-FY2004.
6.1-Task 4. Make DOL's educational offerings available in various regions of the state each year on a rotating basis. FY2000-FY2004.
6.1-Task 5. Plan and implement at least four mini-workshops to be given on request. FY2000-FY2004.
6.1-Task 6. Assist library and trustee professional organizations in presenting at least one one- day training session each year. FY2000-FY2004.
6.1-Task 7. Conduct or sponsor at least three one-day workshops in various locations statewide on some aspect of library service to children (from birth through age 17). FY2000-FY2004.
6.1-Task 8. Conduct or sponsor at least one training session or workshop segment annually dealing with aspects of library and referral services to foster literacy in Vermont. FY2000-FY2004.
6.1-Task 9. Act as a reference and referral center for local library personnel on DOL's continuing education opportunities, professional organizations' training sessions, programs of local colleges and universities, and other education and training opportunities, as well as trends on the national level. FY2000-FY2004.
Objective 6.2: To offer a certification program for public librarians.
6.2-Task 1. Continue the cooperative state library agency/Vermont Library Association (VLA) certification process for nonprofessional public librarians. FY2000-FY2004.
6.2-Task 2. Work with the Certification Board, state library agency staff and local librarians to review and revise certification procedures and requirements on a biennial basis. FY2000-FY2004.
6.2-Task 3. Hold at least one meeting of the Certification Board annually. FY2000-FY2004.
Objective 6.3: To stimulate local public library development and professional library practices by promoting long range planning, self-evaluation, use of the long range planning program "Envisioning Excellence," and meeting the Minimum Standards for Vermont Public Libraries.
6.3-Task 1. Administer a minimum standards program for local public libraries. FY2000-FY2004.
6.3-Task 2. Work with individual libraries that are close to meeting standards to increase the number of eligible libraries each year by at least 2% a year over the prior fiscal year. FY2000-FY2004.
6.3-Task 3. Implement and promote local library use of accepted long range planning methodologies, including technology planning. FY2000-FY2004.
6.3-Task 4. Provide technical assistance and support to at least five public libraries each year in conducting and completing a community-based long range planning effort. FY2000-FY2004.
6.3-Task 5. Introduce and discuss planning and self-evaluation methods in at least three presentations each year, either at a statewide training session or library meeting or to local library boards of trustees, staffs, and interested citizens. FY2000-FY2004.
6.3-Task 6. Compile and distribute public library and other library statistics, output measures, and goal setting information annually. FY2000-FY2004.
6.3-Task 7. Work with a standards revision committee to develop revised minimum standards and to complete the state's administrative rules process by January 1, 2000.
6.3-Task 8. Work with local libraries to explain the revised minimum standards and assist them in meeting the standards so that the total number of libraries meeting standards during FY2001 remains at FY1999 levels. FY2000-FY2001.
Objective 6.4: To offer public libraries in Vermont technical assistance and professional consulting in all areas of public library services.
6.4-Task 1. Provide in-depth technical assistance to public and other libraries through on-site visits, in-office conferences, and telephone conferences to foster professional library practices and services at least at the prior fiscal year level. FY2000-FY2004.
6.4-Task 2. Create and produce at least eight annotated lists of children's and adult materials each year. FY2000-FY2004.
6.4-Task 3. Work with local libraries and/or statewide organizations to develop one new reading discussion series theme each year to broaden public appeal of such programs. FY2000-FY2004.
Objective 6.5: To work with public librarians, trustees, and related organizations to improve accessibility to library services for all ages in Vermont public libraries.
6.5-Task 1. Work with at least one local library annually to bring its facility into compliance with the Americans for Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG). FY2000-FY2004.
6.5-Task 2. Work with local libraries and other organizations in developing public library collections and services specifically aimed at newly literate adults. FY2000-FY2004.
6.5-Task 3. Make available resources to enable local libraries to provide direct public access to electronic resources. FY2000-FY2004.
6.5-Task 4. Work with local libraries to promote options for delivery of library services, such as mobile library services, home-delivery, and other types of outreach services. FY2000-FY2004.
Objective 6.6: To promote library services to children (from birth through age 17) in Vermont.
6.6-Task 1. Provide in-depth technical assistance, at least at the prior fiscal year level, to public and other libraries through on-site visits, in-office conferences, and telephone conferences to foster high quality children's services. FY2000-FY2004.
6.6-Task 2. Convene on at least on an annual basis a meeting of Children's Services Advisory Council to advise the state library agency on the current needs and future directions for children's services in the state. FY2000-FY2004.
6.6-Task 3. Develop and produce on an annual basis a theme-oriented summer reading program and related materials (e.g. bookmarks, reading records, certificates, buttons, etc.) to encourage and supplement the summer programs sponsored by local libraries. FY2000-FY2004.
6.6-Task 4. Develop and produce at least four annotated lists of children's materials for local libraries annually. FY2000-FY2004.
6.6-Task 5. Give lectures and workshops for college classes, citizen groups, and other individuals interested in children's books and services at least at the prior fiscal year level. FY2000-FY2004.
6.6-Task 6. Conduct or sponsor at least three one-day workshops or training sessions annually on some aspect of library service to children. FY2000-FY2004.
6.6-Task 7. Work with state government agencies and other statewide organizations to develop cooperative programs to promote library services for children and family literacy at least at the prior fiscal year level. FY2000-FY2004.
6.6-Task 8. Provide for the critical evaluation of children's materials in all formats (e.g. review sessions, book exhibit center, etc.) FY2000-FY2004.
6.6-Task 9. Act as a statewide resource and referral center for local libraries and other organizations on children's library services and literacy. FY2000-FY2004.
6.6-Task 10. Work with the Vermont Department of Education to co-ordinate goals and initiatives involving children's services and literacy. FY2000-FY2004.
6.6-Task 11. Co-sponsor the statewide children's choice program, Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award, and insure that the committee maintains its activity at least at the prior fiscal year level. FY2000-FY2004.
6.6-Task 12. Co-sponsor the statewide children's choice picture book award, the Red Clover Award, as well as help to select the titles, prepare the manual and publicize the program. FY2000-FY2004.
6.6-Task 13. Work with a task force of children's services specialists to update statewide guidelines for public library services to children by June 30, 2001.
6.6-Task 14. Explore the use of computer technology and online access to make information about children's services and cooperative efforts between local libraries and other organizations more readily and widely available. FY2000-FY2004.
Objective 6.7: To make available supplementary resource materials and collections along with technical assistance to local libraries on a regional basis.
6.7-Task 1. Provide supplementary collections of library materials from at least two locations. FY2000-FY2004.
6.7-Task 2. Support the statewide resource sharing system by maintaining interlibrary loan turnaround time at least at the prior fiscal year level. FY2000-FY2004.
6.7-Task 3. Ensure that each local public library is contacted at least annually by state library agency professional staff. FY2000-FY2004.
6.7-Task 4. Provide in-depth technical assistance through on-site visits, in-office conferences, and telephone conferences to local libraries upon request at least at the prior fiscal year level. FY2000-FY2004.
6.7-Task 5. Plan and implement at least four mini-workshops in various regions of the state annually. FY2000-FY2004.
6.7-Task 6. Make DOL's educational offerings available in various regions of the state each year on a rotating basis. FY2000-FY2004.
6.7-Task 7. Convene on an annual basis in various regions of the state, a meeting of local librarians to advise the state library agency on current needs, future directions, exchange ideas, and discuss state library agency policies and procedures. FY2000-FY2004.
6.7-Task 8. Maintain the service hours of two regional libraries at five days or forty-two and one-half hours per week for the convenience of local librarians. FY2000-FY2004.
Objective 6.8: To make computerized cataloging records and or catalog card sets available to eligible public libraries at no cost.
6.8-Task 1. Provide cataloging records at no cost to public libraries meeting the Minimum Standards for Vermont Public Libraries, number provided to be determined on an annual basis, subject to the availability of state and federal funds. FY2000-FY2004.
6.8-Task 2. Provide professional expertise and training in the areas of cataloging and cataloging standards, retrospective conversion, and other related technical services and processing topics to local libraries at least at the prior fiscal year level. FY2000-FY2004.
6.8-Task 3. Maintain an online union catalog (PUBcat) from cataloging records supplied to eligible public libraries. FY2000-FY2004.
Objective 6.9: To encourage and assist public libraries to plan and implement special outreach services and public relations efforts to reach nontraditional populations.
6.9-Task 1. Work with at least one local library each year to develop a collaborative program with agencies that work with adult basic education students, newly literate adults, English as a Second Language students, new parents, the aging, the homeless, etc. in order to expand public library services to these groups. FY2000-FY2004.
6.9-Task 2. Conduct or sponsor at least one training session on a biennial basis for librarians developing library services for nontraditional populations and to develop sensitivity to the needs of these constituencies. FY2000-FY2004.
6.9-Task 3. Provide technical assistance upon request to libraries planning for and/or implementing services to nontraditional populations. FY2000-FY2004.
6.9-Task 4. Encourage coalitions among local libraries and those agencies who serve immigrant populations and the promotion of cross-cultural awareness in both the library and the community. FY2000-FY2004.
Objective 6.10: To ensure that all public buildings are physically and attitudinally barrier-free to people who are disadvantaged or with disabilities.
6.10-Task 1. Work with all public libraries to meet the Vermont public building accessibility laws or to comply with the Americans for Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG). FY2000-FY2004.
6.10-Task 2. Provide assistance to local libraries in the area of self-assessment for determining level of access by people with disabilities. FY2000-FY2004.
6.10-Task 3. Work with local libraries to develop sensitivity to the needs of users who are disadvantaged or with disabilities. FY2000-FY2004.
Objective 6.11: To provide library materials to meet the special informational needs of people who are certified as legally blind or who have physical disabilities including residents of nursing and retirement homes.
6.11-Task 1. Maintain at the prior fiscal year level the number of materials circulated to this population. FY2000-FY2004.
6.11-Task 2. Maintain and distribute talking book machines or cassette players at least at prior fiscal year level. FY2000-FY2004.
6.11-Task 3. Produce using volunteer readers, at least one tape of Vermont materials each year. FY2000-FY2004.
6.11-Task 4. Maintain turnaround time for requested materials at least at the prior fiscal year level. FY2000-FY2004.
6.11-Task 5. Ensure that TDD technology is available in the Special Services Unit for patrons with hearing difficulties by June 30, 2000.
6.11-Task 6. Explore the use of computer technology and telecommunications, as well as online access in offering services to this population by June 30, 2001.
Objective 6-12: To provide for access to materials and resources to meet the library and information needs of residents of correctional, health, mental health care, and other state-operated facilities.
6.12-Task 1. Make available appropriate library materials in all formats, including interlibrary loan, to residents housed in state-supported, non-correctional institutions at least at the prior fiscal year level. FY2000-FY2004.
6.12-Task 2. Make available appropriate library materials in all formats through interlibrary loan to residents housed in correctional institution. FY2000-FY2004.
6.12-Task 3. Work with the Vermont Department of Corrections and other statewide organizations to develop at least one reading and discussion series that serves the reading interests and abilities of the residents on a biennial basis. FY2000-FY2004.
Objective 6.13: To provide training and technical assistance to library personnel working with the legally blind, those who have visual and physical disabilities, the immobile elderly, and residents of state- supported institutions.
6.13-Task 1. Meet with personnel from state-supported institutions which serve people with disabilities on an annual basis. FY2000-FY2004.
6.13-Task 2. Participate at least at the prior fiscal year level in meetings of those statewide organizations which serve people with disabilities. FY2000-FY2004.
6.13-Task 3. Provide at least one training session annually for volunteer readers. FY2000-FY2004.
6.13-Task 4. Participate in the planning and teaching of at least one training session each year for local librarians to develop sensitivity and skills in providing library and information services for people with disabilities. FY2000-FY2004.
6.13-Task 5. Act as a statewide resource and referral center for people with disabilities and to those who work with them. FY2000-FY2004.
6.13-Task 6. Provide in-depth technical assistance to libraries and other institutions, seeking to serve people with disabilities, through on-site visits, in-office conferences, and telephone conferences at least at the prior fiscal year level. FY2000-FY2004.
6.13-Task 7. Evaluate present state library agency services and plan for future projects and services for people with disabilities by June 30, 2001.
The policy of the Department of Libraries is to help each local library that requests assistance in serving any type of constituency. However, because of limits on funds and staff, priority must be given to public libraries that
receive at least some public tax support. Priority is given to those libraries that meet, or are striving to meet the Minimum Standards for Vermont Public Libraries. Priority is also given to projects that have the potential to succeed and to serve as models for other libraries statewide.
The Department of Libraries can also provide direct service when needed to Vermonters who are disadvantaged or not fully literate or lack English speaking skills and have no local library service. It makes every effort to assist local libraries in planning and developing appropriate services through training, program aids, and establishing connections with the agencies that provide ongoing economic, social and physical support to these constituencies.
Efforts will be made to contact volunteer organizations such as retired teachers, RSVP, etc. to make available additional competent personnel to assist local librarians.
Because of Vermont's small population, circulation of materials and equipment to persons with disabilities is provided centrally and directly to the user by the state library agency through the Regional Library for the Blind.
In addition, professional assistance and training are offered to public and institutional libraries in programming, developing sensitivity, and accessing the full range of library and information resources for all types of populations.
EVALUATION CRITERIA & PROCEDURES:
Efforts will be made to involve all type of libraries in the use and evaluation of the Department's services. The DOL will work with other agencies with greater technical expertise to assist in the evaluation of its services to special populations.
Output measures will be developed based on the objectives in this program area along with in-depth DOL staff analysis, local library reports, and reports and recommendations from advocacy groups. A wide range of statistics gathered on an annual basis from local libraries and users with special needs will also be used to evaluate, review and revise existing services as needed.
Participants and facilitators' will evaluate training, programs and DOL publications.
For services to the visually disabled the biennial analysis by the Library of Congress' National Library Service will also be taken into consideration.
LSTA PROGRAM AREA 7
The Vermont Department of Libraries is the agency of the State of Vermont with statutory authority under 22 VSA §605-606 to accept and expend federal library funds including those that come into Vermont under the auspices of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). The coordination and monitoring of the LSTA Grants to States program is carried out by the State Librarian's Office with the assistance of the Department of Libraries staff, the Board of Libraries, the Secretary of Administration, the Vermont General Assembly, the Vermont Auditor of Accounts, and the library community as a whole.
Activities include planning, budgeting, accounting, and evaluation to ensure compliance with state law, LSTA priorities, and federal regulations. Funds are also used for printing, postage, supplies, communications, and travel expenses for staff to monitor projects and meet with libraries and information groups statewide.
The amount of funding in administering the LSTA program is minimal (1-2%) because the staff accomplishes the above tasks in conjunction with other tasks that are state funded.
Needs: 1) Funding to support the activities of administrative and advisory personnel including travel, supplies, postage, communications, etc.; 2) Funding for printing and disseminating information related to the federal program to libraries and other interested groups; 3) Funding for accounting and audit services to related to LSTA and state programs.
To coordinate and facilitate the planning, administration, and evaluation of the Library Services and Technology Act Grants to States Program in Vermont.
Objective 7.1: To coordinate the planning, administration, monitoring, and evaluation for LSTA or other federal library funding on an annual basis.
7.1-Task 1. Prepare the forms, applications, plans and other required materials for all LSTA or other federal library programs. FY2000-FY2004.
7.1-Task 2. Ensure that proper financial records and statistical reports are kept for LSTA or other federal library programs. FY2000-FY2004.
7.1-Task 3. Disseminate plans for use of LSTA funds. FY2000-FY2004.
Objective 7.2: To administer the state plan and its objectives.
7.2-Task 1. Administer LSTA funds programs as outlined in the LSTA five-year plan for all areas of Vermont. FY2000-FY2004.
7.2-Task 2. Maintain internal controls that ensure federal funds are expended solely for those purposes for which funds have been authorized, appropriated, and awarded, according to the approved plan. FY2000-FY2004.
7.2-Task 3. Ensure that the LSTA funds are audited in accordance with all state and federal financial requirements. FY2000-FY2004.
7.2-Task 4. Develop and submit reports to state and federal agencies as necessary. FY2000-FY2004.
7.2-Task 5. Coordinate programs and projects supported by federal library funding with library programs and projects operated by local government, institutions of higher education, local schools, and/or other public or private library service programs, as well as other state and federal agencies. FY2000-FY2004.
Objective 7.3: To develop and implement evaluation tools which measure the program's effectiveness.
7.3-Task 1. Develop reliable and valid evaluation techniques for library programs including those funded from federal sources. FY2000-FY2004.
7.3-Task 2. Evaluate all programs at least annually. FY2000-FY2004.
7.3-Task 3. Prepare annual evaluations for submission to state and federal agencies as appropriate. FY2000-FY2004.
Objective 7.4: To collect and disseminate information about federal library programs/services statewide to the library community and the general public.
7.4-Task 1. Collect information on model projects and programs which can be replicated. FY2000-FY2004.
7.4-Task 2. Disseminate information concerning federal library programs online and in state library publications, media programs, and other publications as appropriate at least once a year. FY2000-FY2004.
7.4-Task 3. Disseminate federally funded planning and program documents through state library agency publications, online, public advertisement, and upon request. FY2000-FY2004.
The State Librarian's Office administers state and federal funds according to the requirements of state and federal law, and according to approved planning documents.
No LSTA funds are used for rent or for indirect costs.
EVALUATION CRITERIA & PROCEDURES:
All inquiries are directly handled by the State Librarian's Office and all materials are available for public inspection.
All programs are measured and evaluated statistically and by other appropriate means, and reported to
the required state and federal agencies annually.