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From jonjab@u.washington.edu
Date: Sun, 13 May 2001 13:05:18 -0700 (PDT)

From: Jon Jablonski
To: ichat@u.washington.edu

Subject: report from LITWG

Dear friends:

I attended a meeting this past week that I thought I'd share with you.

The Library and Information Technology Work Group (I think that's what our acronym stands for) is a sub-committe of the Washington Library Council. This Council is responsible for distributing grant funds from the LSTA--a federal program.

LITWG acts as an advisory group for these grants.

This week's meeting was held at the Tacoma Community College's library, and we received presentations from KCLS's virtual reference program (which was funded last year) and from two users of the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library, which will probably be receiving a new circulation system this year.

The reference service started as Live Homework Help, and was a 9 week pilot project directed toward students doing homework from 4-8 pm. The program was renewed as Ask A Librarian, and went again for 19 weeks. It was interesting to hear about setting up a system using a commercial Application Service Provider, attempting to train people from different branches to staff the service, and a management mandate to branch libraries to staff a central program. The presentation was followed by a presenter from the state library showing a free product that performs many of the same functions as the commercial product, and is currently being used by the library's systems support desk.

The two blind users gave an amazing presentation on how blind and low vision people use Windows. There's several different software packages that read menus and screens, but most of the functionality is straight windows keyboard commands. Web design issues and supporting users in branch libraries were also discussed.

This committee meets 4 times per year, and two of these meetings are held alongside morning-long presentations like the above. The next time one comes up I will make sure you all hear the call. LSTA funds are available to support projects for up to three years. Other projects have included a statewide database licensing consortium, a 'best practices' image collection development study, a SQL-server application provider service run by the state library, and a bulk-purchase training program for libraries in the state.

Feel free to ask me if you'd like to hear more about any of these programs.


Jon Jablonski
The Information School
University of Washington.


From jonjab@u.washington.edu
Date: Tue, 15 Jan 2002 18:04:52 -0800 (PST)

From: Jon Jablonski
To: imlis@u.washington.edu

Subject: LITWG report: e-rate, filtering, State Library, more...

Dear MLIS students:

Here is a report from a recent meeting of the Library and Information Technology Working Group (LITWG). I am the iSchool's representative to this group. LITWG is a sub-committee of the Washington Library Council, which advises the Washington Library Commission on how to distribute Library Services and Technologies Act funds, and other statewide library issues. Each business meeting follows a day-long seminar presenting topics of current interest. This meeting included:

eRate and k20:
Public libraries are eligible to connect to the statewide high-speed network known as k20 (which connects to internet2 and the NWPacific gigaPOP right here at UW) at a considerable discount thanks to eRate. Once an application is accepted, a State Library (see how useful it is?) engineer makes a site visit to help the library prepare for the connection.

Internet Filtering:
As part of the e-rate application process for this year, libraries need to confirm that they are either planning to comply, or already in compliance, with the Children's Internet Protection Act, which requires any library receiving e-rate or other LSTA funds to have a policy and a technology in place to filter Internet content.

Several commercial and open source filtering products were discussed. More information on filtering technologies is at:

Note that this year, libraries only have to state that they are PLANNING to comply--this has been widely interpreted to mean that the issue is simply under discussion. It has been reported that certain school/library districts are planning to refuse to filter.

Washington State Libraries Online:
A new site from the State Library at: http://wlo.statelib.wa.gov/ is designed to be a portal to information regarding libraries around the state. You can also search the websites (but the the catalogs) of all libraries in the system at once.

This system is also designed to host database driven applications for libraries that might not have the financial or technical resources to host them independently. (wow, now wouldn't that be missed if there wasn't a State Library?)

Gates Library Grants:
A round of State Partnership Program grants is getting under way in Washington. These are non-competitive grants: meaning that if you qualify, and fill out the form correctly, you'll get whatever aid you qualify for.

LITWG business:
A set of possible initiatives was proposed for LSTA funds. The way this works (as far as I can tell) is that LITWG proposes initiatives, which the Library Council either endorses or rejects. If endorsed, the State Library (wow, these folks do a lot.) develops a formal process for libraries to apply for grant funding based around the initiatives. Indidual and groups of libraries can also propose initiatives. Initiatives that involve cooperation between libraries, innovative delivery of services, and have a statewide impact are strongly preferred.

If you have any ideas for an initiative, go ahead and make a suggestion.

The LITWG meetings are funded (we get a box lunch and travel expenses) through LSTA. LSTA also funds the statewide database licensing program (http://www.statelib.wa.gov/sdl/), and greatly discounted technical training for library personnel. (such a bargain!)

State Library Closing:
On a personal note: certain people at the meeting expressed the opinion that state legislators are much less likely to pay attention to you if you protest the State Library closing as a librarian. If you simply self-identify as a voter (and I know that you are all registered to vote), and talk about a service that the State Library offers, you are much more likely to be heard.

It seems clear to me that the State Library delivers services greatly in excess of the funding it receives from the state. Moreover, there is a very good argument being made that without the State Library, federal funding from a variety of programs would not come through because there would be no state agency to deliver the funds.

And finally, as I am graduating this June, I have been charged with recruiting a new representative to this committee. If you are interested in this opportunity (which I must say, has been a pleasure), please contact me. This is real stuff--you can make a difference. And spend real money.


Jon Jablonski
Graduate Assistant:
Office of Educational Partnerships.
University of Washington.