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January-March, 2001
Volume 47, Number 1

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2000 VLA Conference: Celebrate Virginia's Libraries

Session Reports

Opening General Session
Keynote speaker: Virginia Secretary of Education Wilbert Bryant

Virginia Secretary of Education Wilbert Bryant began by describing the critical role that books and libraries play in the learning process. He spoke about the importance of all children being able to read on grade level by third grade at least, noting that it is much more expensive and time consuming to teach adults to read than it is to teach five year olds. He encouraged parents to read to their children to stimulate an interest in reading, even suggesting that expectant mothers should read to their unborn children,citing evidence that fetuses in the sixth month of pregnancy are able to hear.

Libraries have an important role to play in encouraging parents and children to read. Last year's summer reading program sponsored by the Library of Virginia registered 146,000 children in local public libraries last year. The goal of this program was to help children maintain their reading level from one school year to the next by reading over the summer break. A special feature of the 2000 summer reading program was the Governor Statewide Family Summer Reading Challenge, in which Governor Gilmore challenged families to read aloud together,even if all the children could read on their own, to foster closer relationships between parents and children. Families whored aloud for at least fifteen minutes a day for four weeks were given a certificate signed by the governor.

Libraries also have an important role to play in ensuring that everyone has access to the latest technologies, including the Internet. While this issue of the technological haves versus the have nots is often referred to as the digital divide, Bryant noted that Governor Gilmore calls it the "digital opportunity." "Whenever Governor Gilmore speaks of technology," Bryant said, "he reminds his audience that Virginia is the Internet capital of the world: literally half of all the world's Internet traffic passes through Virginia." Public libraries can play a key role in providing universal access to the Information Highway. This universal access, which includes computers,servers, software, maintenance and service, work stations, printers,Internet browsers, user training, staff development, and help for users at the time of need, has been a major focus of the 2000/2002budget. Info powering the Commonwealth will help ensure that public libraries become electronic resource libraries, providing graphical access to the Internet. This will require high speed computers and well-trained staff who will be able to coach the public and help them navigate the plethora of resources that are available.

Secretary Bryant again stressed the importance of universal literacy. "I believe that no matter how technologically advanced our society becomes, nothing will ever replace a good book," he concluded. In appreciation for Governor Gilmore's support of the Info powering initiative, VLA President Carolyn Barkley presented the governor with an E-Bookman, which Secretary of Education Bryant accepted on his behalf.

-Reviewed by Andrea Kross, Christopher Newport University

Reference Services in the Electronic Age
Presented by Steven Hartung, Alyce Hackney, and Earlene Viano

Computers and technology have changed the way we react, and interact, with others. This is also true for reference services. The table talk discussions on this topic, over a two-hour period, covered the reference interview, there liability of information gathered on the Internet, reference service via e-mail or a web page, management of information, and the ups and downs of reference service today. Twelve to fifteen participants shared their thoughts, concerns, and ideas over an informal lunch.

The participants agreed that the reference interview is still very much needed, perhaps even more than ever, whether requests come through e-mail, a web site, or the telephone. It was noted that with libraries opening their databases to home access, it is important to educate patrons on search techniques that will yield the best results at home. Also, patrons, for better or worse, place faith in the reliability of information they find on the Internet.

Participants indicated that planning is important when integrating technology. The "Planning for Results" study seems to help define and set these technology objectives. A very interesting idea was the use of a "technology teacher." This individual works on the "how to" of using technology in school projects. Vendor accountability is also important. How will web sites archive information? How, and who, will be available to support libraries as technology changes?

The discussions also centered on two highlights of using computers and the Internet: the ability to find information quickly, and the opportunity to teach others, thus providing patrons with independence and capability. Downsides to technology seem to be our growing expectation that it will always work, and the realization that we must constantly relearn to effectively manage the huge amounts of information we disseminate to our patrons.

For those who joined us at the table talk, several of the formal programs continued the discussion of examining the way libraries and their staffs are influenced by technology. It is a conversation that promises to be ongoing.

-Reviewed by Alyce Hackney, Pamunkey Regional Library

The Future of the Librarian
Presented by Sam Clay and the Virginia Public Library Director's Association

This was a sparkling, stimulating pane land group discussion, moderated by VLPDA President, Sam Clay. It focused on the importance of forgetting job titles and looking instead at what needs to be done in our libraries and what we can use to do it. Dewey said, "The library of the future holds the longest lever with which man ever pried." He was excited about the use of labor-saving devices in the library, such as fountain pens and phones! Now, over a hundred years later, we are in the midst of a technological revolution, and the panel insisted that in our information-saturated society, the librarian must embrace and synthesize information, evaluate its quality, or, as one of the panelists put it, become "ombudsmen of the knowledge nexus."This same panelist, Mr. Dean Burgess (former director of Portsmouth Public Library), enumerated some other "eternal verities" of librarianship: the librarian will always defend the patron's right to be curious and the privacy which that requires; the librarian is never an editorialist of any acknowledged authority; the librarian is a collector of local information in the town in which he/she serves; and, finally, the librarian is an enthusiastic guide to the labyrinth of human knowledge.

Another panel member, Dr. William Turner of Catholic University of America, said that knowledge must be attended to and loved so that researchers can dive deeply into it. Now, as always, that is the librarian's calling. Dr. Turner listed six library-school trends: 1) a shift from traditional library settings to broad-based information environments (drop the "L" word, add the "I" word); 2) a focus on user-centered behavior;3)t an increased integration of electronic technology into the curriculum; 4) an increased flexibility for students to tailor programs to specific interests (e.g., one student is studying"Human-Computer Interaction"); 5) the offering of instruction in many different formats (e.g., Internet- based or involving inter-university partnerships), at many different times,and with courses of many different lengths; and 6) an expansion of program sat LIS schools, which now offer courses at the undergraduate, master's, and doctoral levels, together with combined-degree programs (e.g., "Bio-Medical Informatics").

The last panelist, Fran Millhauser (Director of Training at Fairfax County Public Library), talked about the "cognitive revolution" and a child's ability and desire to absorb everything he sees on a computer screen in a flash, rather than curling up slowly and meditatively with a book. Librarians, then, find themselves as high-tech knowledge brokers in a low-tech setting, and so are faced with the need to re-invent themselves. Ms. Millhauser paraphrased Mario Andretti:"When everything seems under control, you're not going fast enough." That's the future of the librarian in a nutshell.

-Reviewed by Earlene Viano, Hampton Public Library

Food for Fines: Getting Over dues, Patrons, and PR Back to the Library
Presented by Amy Ford, Jennifer Payne and Susan Kelley

Want to do something nice for your community, improve the library's public image, and improve circulation staff morale all at once? Offer a "Food for Fines" week. Williamsburg Regional Library staff members Jennifer Payne and Susan Kelley presented a succinct Power Point presentation on their experiences with Food for Fines drives. They recommended lots of publicity and being specific about what is and what is not an acceptable donation and what library fines and charges will and will not be waived. They also recommended choosing the time of year carefully to increase late and lost returns and said that the end of school and Thanksgiving were their most successful drives.Williamsburg Regional Library circulation staff will be glad to help you with ideas for your drive.

-Reviewed by Fran Freimarck, Pamunkey Regional Library

We Are All Teachers: Strategies and Techniques for Effective Teaching and Training
Presented by Laurie Preston

Yes, "We Are All Teachers," reiterated Laurie Preston, Reference and Instruction Librarian of the Mary Washington College Simpson Library. Laurie focused on learning theories and styles, and provided insights from her twelve years of teaching workshops and classes. Improving retention during the learning process was emphasized. For example, the average college class covers fifteen concepts per hour while the rule of three calls for no more than three major concepts.Typically five to six hours are needed to permanently retain a skill. By contrast, only 25 percent is retained from rote learning.Adults retain new knowledge if they are able to immediately apply what is learned. Using active learning opportunities allow the learner to apply the knowledge during the learning process.Laurie cautioned that adults do not respond well to questions as they fear failure and are wary of taking risks. Instead,inquire what they think. Howard Gardner's book, Multiple Intelligences, and Malcolm Knowles's The Adult Learner were highlighted as particularly helpful resources on Laurie's selected bibliography.This session was not only informative and professionally presented, but it reinforced the role of the librarian as an educator and a trainer. Laurie may be contacted at

-Reviewed by Karen Dillon, Carilion Health System

What is the Future of E-books in Libraries-Parts I and II
Presented by Barbara Hoffert, Linda Campbell, Nancy Gibbs, Julie Pringle, and moderated by Cathy Williamson

Two well-attended sessions on e-books were held back-to-back on Thursday afternoon. The first focused on the vendor and author view of the future, with the second providing librarian with the opportunity to present how e-book issues are being addressed.

A local e-book author joined representatives from Net Library and from Library Journal for the first session, providing three different views of the e-book landscape. Leaving the audience with almost as many questions as answers, the presenters attempted to forecast what would be happening in the near future with both e-book distribution and e-book reviewing while also addressing the issues being faced today. Linda Campbell, the e-book author, provided an animated insight into the issues she has faced as an author whose works are distributed only in an electronic format.

The second session allowed librarians from several different settings to discuss the challenges they've faced while instituting e-book services for their patrons. Views from both the academic and the public side were represented and both presentations were lively and informative. As with the first session, there were unanswered questions, reflecting the novelty of e-books in the library environment.

This pair of sessions brought together an interesting and diverse group of presenters who provided a variety of views of the evolving e-book environment. Attendees were thus offered an array of views that was beneficial to any librarian in any setting who is considering how to start playing the e-book game.

-Reviewed by Nan Seamans, Virginia Tech

Libraries 24 x 7: Really?
Presented by Betsy Keefe, Nancy Ryan, and Sharon Scott

On Thursday afternoon, three staff members from the Fairfax County Public Library presented a session about how the library is available "24/7" or twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. By creating over 1800 web pages, the library now provides limited circulation and reference services electronically. The library's catalog is also available via a link from the library's home page ( In addition to being able to search the catalog from home, library users can apply for a library card, renew books, see what books they have checked out, reserve books, and submit user-name and/or address changes. The web site includes hours and branch locations along with a calendar of events.

Reference services such as "Ask a Librarian" and a reader's advisory are available from the library's web pages. Online databases, including full text, are accessible to registered library users; these databases may also be available to others for a nominal annual fee. There are also guides to the Internet, with several subject indexes as well as suggestions for using Internet search tools and engines.

The latest changes to the web pages include refining the written instructions and guidelines, as well as modifying forms to be more user-friendly. The statistics prove that the services are being widely used, with 39 percent of all renewals being made online and the reference desk receiving fifteen to twenty questions per week. By providing access for busy people wherever they are, the library is able to meet information needs "24/7."

-Reviewed by Amy Boykin, Christopher Newport University

Helping Library Users Find Medical information
Presented by Karen Dillon

Healthcare information is one of the major areas of interest for library and Web users. "Helping Library Users Find Medical Information" was presented by Karen Dillon, Librarian with Carilion Health System in Roanoke. Jana Allcock, Consumer Education Specialist at the National Library of Medicine, was unable to speak due to illness. Karen focused on key web-based resources, with MEDLINE plus ( as the premier "one stop resource" for consumers. MEDLINE plus includes information most consumers want: diseases, procedures, drugs, dictionaries, directories of physicians and hospitals, and whether any clinical trials exist for their disease. Power Point slides were used to tour important government, academic, and commercial web sites. Evaluations of healthcare web sites, Spanish language content, and alternative therapies were highlighted. Suggestions for developing a consumer education collection, useful online databases, and the value of networking with local health sciences libraries were also covered. For more information, contact Karen Dillon at or Jana Allcock at Jana hopes to make an appearance at next year's VLA Conference to bring you the latest information on "Helping Library Users Find Medical Information - 2001."

-Reviewed by Karen Dillon, Carilion Health System

Building the Earth's Largest Library
Presented by Steven Garwood, Steve Coffman, and Karen Schneider

Steve Coffman's Amazon-like world library model seems so unarguably logical when he presents it that no reasonable person could possibly disagree. Since the Web is changing the way people live and work, he says, libraries must follow their successful commercial counterpart to compete. The evidence is in: Pay-Per-Reference-Question services are growing, as are book sales, because a better-educated population is reading more and the selection (between libraries and bookstores) is the best ever. American libraries alone hold 53 million titles.

To follow in Amazon's super-successful footsteps (its business is up an amazing 173 percent since last year), libraries should incorporate more graphics into their catalog listings, should offer more reader-advisory information ("if you like this author, you'll like this other one"), and should offer drop-in-the-cart convenience and door-to-door delivery. Mr. Coffman did admit that people still want personal helper "librarians of the Internet" to offer Web help. And he's sure people still want buildings (cf., the streams of people visiting Barnes & Noble bookstores).

Library buildings, then, should be modeled on the kind most acceptable to the book-purchasing public, with an enormous browsing collection, a searchable global catalog through which EVERYTHING can be found (the existing prototypes are the LSSI virtual library and the Enhanced Catalog Project, based on World Cat).In these library buildings, the public will find extensive programming for all ages and a comfortable environment (caffe latte, etc.). These libraries will, of course, be open long hours,especially on weekends, and that, in turn, calls for cost-effective staffing, to pay for which, bucks must be saved elsewhere or money made by charging library patrons an annual membership fee and by underwriting commercial ventures. Mr. Coffman ended by asserting that all the above is indubitably doable.

Then Karen Schneider of the Shenendehowa Public Library in Clifton Park, New York, insisted on some other library-survival techniques. Acknowledging that ten years from now computing will be everywhere (wireless, high-band, and essential for basic life activities), she offered a list of the things that will perdure in the library: e-books; e-ILL; networked,value-added databases; archives for paper-based books; programs(face-to-face activities); remote questioning; pedagogy(teaching people the appropriate use of information resources); and reader's advisory. She gave four other tricks to maintain the library as a viable institution by promoting it as 1) a curator of ancient technologies (e.g., typewriters, 16 mm film); 2) a point of access for the disenfranchised to scale the"digital divide"; 3) the seat of information policy advisors; and 4)the home of intellectual freedom proponents, whose first responsibility is to the values of the community, not, as in the commercial sector, to those of its stockholders. To keep from becoming OBT (Overcome By Technology), communities must create the World's Smallest Library, which would be high-touch, customized, local,and free. These and other insights of Ms. Schneider's are presented on her web site:

Mr. Steven Garwood of the Camden County (New Jersey) Library System concluded the presentation with his personal vision of the future library. In five to ten years, he foresees library buildings that are more like reading rooms, with the main point of access the Web (maybe[This is no longer a valid link]). Mr. Garwood would be delighted to see a national library card, more big-money contributors (like Bill Gates),advertising on library web sites, and a library lottery. His thoughts can be read at

Ms. Schneider and Mr. Garwood referred to another rebuttal of Mr. Coffman's ideas: the Library Journal article (Aug. 2000) by Jose-Marie Griffiths, entitled "Deconstructing Earth's Largest Library." In it the author states that "the core business of the library is to facilitate people's access to the record of validated human knowledge." She adds that any"content available via the Web needs structure and organization,"which only librarians can provide. That means they "should promote themselves as purveyors of trust," she affirms, together with all three of this session's speakers. After all, information services 'R' (written backwards) us.

-Reviewed by Earlene Viano, Hampton Public Library

Licensing Software and Electronic Resources
Presented by Julie Gammon

With a two-hour session, Julie Gammon was able to present a very informative mini-workshop on licensing electronic resources. Ms. Gammon provided each participant with a folder full of information on licensing electronic resources including sample contracts, articles, and helpful hints. She presented an overview of licenses, explaining what constitutes a license and the different types of licenses available, and suggested that libraries develop a team to oversee the licensing process.An explanation of the common terms and conditions of licenses was presented. She indicated that librarians need to pay close attention to sections dealing with the description of authorized users, the type of access allowed, and the rights of the library in areas such as archiving and interlibrary loan. She emphasized that we need to make sure that the license covers all of our users at all of our locations and that we know what rights,if any, we are giving up in the license agreement. Ms.Gammon presented a sample license and pointed out the problem areas within the license. For those of us who are new to this process it was extremely beneficial. Anyone who works with licensing agreements may find the following website helpful:

-Reviewed by Susan Gunter, Longwood College

If This Is a Library, Where Are the Books?
Presented by Cherie Carl

Cheri Carl is a librarian in a very unique and nontraditional library setting. She is head of the Information Resource Center at Old Dominion University's Virginia Beach Higher Education Center. This center is the result of a partnership between Old Dominion University, Norfolk State University, and the City of Virginia Beach. The Information Resource Center functions to provide students with information services, computing and communication services, and library services. The library services provided are reference and research assistance, consultations, bibliographic instruction, document delivery services, access to reserve materials, and referrals to community resources. Students do not have book stacks available for browsing, but they do have a myriad of databases available and they can access other library catalogs via the Internet. If a student needs a book or an article for which full text is not available online, the item is made available through the processes of interlibrary loan and document delivery. According to Ms. Carl, this is a very unique setting where technologies are used to support and enhance the learning experience. For those who wish to know more about this very unusual education center, information can be accessed via their web page:

-Reviewed by Lydia Williams, Longwood College

"Ask a Librarian"-E-Ref Service
Presented by Rita Mayer and Lydia Patrick

Fairfax County Public Library has provided E-Ref on its web site since 1997. During this session, LydiaPatrick (Coordinator of Internet Services) and Rita Mayer (Assistant BranchManager) explained in careful detail how it developed and described its future outlook. Their analysis was presentedin a no-nonsense, bulleted format, which was easy to understand and very much like a road map for the rest of us (the less intrepid) to follow.

First, the background of their E-Ref service in this 20-branch (none central) public library: Cap Access Q & A from 1993-1997, FCPL web site in 1996, and on to the"Ask-a-Librarian" icon addition in 1997._

Then the actual development, during which FCPL gathered a team of reference librarians, conducted theappropriate research, and defined their parameters of service. They draftedguidelines and procedures (eight branches worked on it Saturday through Friday, with a weekly rotation; questions were promised an answer in two to three business days) and devised an Internet form with required fields to obtain the necessaryinformation without a reference interview. Having receivedthe library director's approval, they established a liaison (someonewith good communications and technology skills) at each of the designatedbranches. Staff were trained and the service was implementedin March 1997.

When it was evaluated at the six month point in September 1997, this is what was discovered: there were anaverage of 11 questions per week, each requiring an average of 22 minutesto answer; 97 percent of the questions received were answered in 2-3 business days; the busiest day for questions was always Monday; 94 percent of the questions were answered completely, the remaining 6 percent were referred; and 95 percent of the queries couldhave been answered by any branch, not just the preselected eight.As to who was doing the asking, these were the statistics:70 percent local, 3 percent other Virginia, 26 percent other USA, and 1percent international.

At this six month evaluation, staff were most concerned about the lack of a reference interview, theamount of staff time it took to reply to the questions, undeliverablee-mail replies, inconsistent levels of service offered, users coming not just from the contiguous county but from the whole world, and uncertainty as to the handling of repeat questions and patrons.

Following a one year evaluation, the concerns changed only slightly. They included the timerequired per question (17 minutes on average); a volume increase (23questions/week) without a staff increase; the need to define "ready-reference" questions; continuing problems withundeliverable e-mail; the change of the county's e-mail system, which necessitated staff retraining; and, once again, the receipt of questionsfrom abroad.

Rather than surrender in the face of these difficulties, the FCPL staff came up with these solutions:requiring staff from 18 branches (up from 8) to answer questions;encouraging the staff to limit the time spent on each question; devising scripts for the referral of patrons; providing hyperlinks to the catalog; adding more required fields to the form (patron's fax and phone numbers) and simplifying itswording; having a clearly defined limit of service;providing detailed staff instructions; and evaluating the serviceperiodically, both in-library and among users with random surveys in orderto be open to change.

For the future, the presenters anticipate the use of chat and video technologies in responding to patronrequests, more staff or a shift of staff to accommodate the increasedpopularity of this service, continual annual feedback and training, and keeping abreast of computer developments to retain the technologically sophisticated (wireless) patron.

Ms. Patrick and Ms. Mayer invited librarians interested in taking a similar step to contact them and Oh, and maythe Library Force assist us all!

-Reviewed by Earlene Viano, Hampton Public Library

Jefferson Cup Winner
Presented by Katherine Paterson

I wasn't too excited about attending an 8:00 A.M. session on Fridaymorning, but it was easy to forget about the hour and easy to becomeexcited about being in this session. As I listened to Katherine Patersondiscuss her newest book, Preacher's Boy, the time of day became totally irrelevant. As she read excerpts from her 2000 Jefferson Cup Award winner, the reasons she was selected to receive this award became apparent. While listening to thepassages she read, I felt as if I had traveled back intosmall town life in America at the turn of the nineteenthcentury. It was easy to visualize the young boy, Robbie, andto sympathize with his problems and anxieties. Ms. Patersonsaid that it was her intention to provide a story that wouldmake people laugh, and the passages she read from the book had those in theaudience chuckling. She said that with the ushering in ofthe new millennium she felt it was a perfect time to write abook set in America on the brink of 1900.

Ms. Paterson was kind enough to discuss how she comes up with an idea for a story and her process forturning the story into a book that is worthy of publication. She statedthat the writing of each of her books has been a great adventure. She was asked which books she enjoyed writing the most. She said she enjoyed each one, but if she had to pick her favorites they would be Come Sing, Jimmy Jo; The Great Gilly Hopkins; and Preacher's Boy.

As well as being a wonderful writer, Ms. Paterson is an excellent speaker. She exudes the same warmthand humor that one feels when reading her books. Ms. Paterson not only wonthe Jefferson Cup Award, she also won the admiration and respect of those who were fortunate enough to attend this session.

-Reviewed by Lydia Williams, Longwood College

Licensing Electronic Resources: The Process at the University of Virginia
Paul Rittelmeyer, Digital Acquisitions Coordinator, University of Virginia Libraries

An extremely relevant and helpful session was presented by Paul Rittlemeyer, Digital Acquisitions Coordinator at the University of Virginia. Paul described the processes UVA uses in deciding whether or not to acquire an electronic product. He talked about the goals of a licensing agreement: to provide the widest possible access, to all users, without giving up current rights, while obeying the law. Paul did an excellent job of reviewing typical license agreement wording, identifying unacceptable terms and conditions, and clarifying some of the more confusing terms and phrases. He recommended reading licenses from back to front.Often objectionable content, such as indemnity clauses,improper (non-Virginia) governing law, or automatic renewal clauses will be nearer the end of the license. He indicated that there are a number of "deal breakers" for UVA. Indemnity clauses,in which the library agrees to help pay for the defense of the vendor incase of a suit, are very high on Paul's list of deal breakers. The vendor attempting to require the library to "take all possible steps" to ensure that users comply with the license is not likely to have a contract with Paul. Libraries can "take all reasonable steps" but they should not assume responsibility for their customers. Another deal breaker is vendor limitations on interlibrary loan use of the licensed information.UVA insists on ILL privileges in some form. Paul stressed that his major goal is to send a document to his procurement colleagues that can be signed without further negotiation.He typically expects to have a processed and signed license in four to six weeks. For more information on this topic, Paul recommends the following web sites: Licensing Electronic Resources (, Licensing Models (, Liblicense (, and NESLI license(UK) ( Paul maybe reached at

-Reviewed by Barbie Selby, University of Virginia, and Karen Dillon, Carilion Health System

Planning for Library Excellence
Presented by Nelson Worley, Libby Lewis, and Wayne Modlin

Nelson Worley received VLA's George Mason Award for the creation of Planning for Library excellence: Standards, Guidelines, and Planning Profiles for Virginia Public Libraries…2000. Nelson presented a brief introduction to PFLE 2000 on Friday morning at the conference. It is a complete reworking of the original Planning For Library Excellence, published in 1988. It defines the standards and guidelines for public library service in Virginia, and it creates planning profiles suggesting levels of library service for Virginia's public libraries. Used in conjunction with the Public Library Association planning models, PFLE offers a means for evaluating a public library's progress, setting targets for future development and providing benchmarks for evaluating the library's accomplishments. It will be an integral part of public library planning activities. The document is on the Library of Virginia Board agenda for approval at the November 2000 meeting.

-Reviewed by Fran Freimarck, Pamunkey Regional Library

Electronic Books and Libraries: What Does the Future Hold?
Susan Pastore, Andrea Williams, and Willow Gale

The Net Library company started up in August 1998, and since then it has contracted with 290 publisher partners to provide books electronically. Net library has over 28,800 titles, and its database is growing at the rate of 110 titles per day. More than 1200 libraries have contracted with Net Library, and are now able to access materials they might not have otherwise. E-books may be searched by keyword because they are full-text, and there is never a problem with overloaded bookshelves because the "book" is held on Net Library's server. E-books are available online from Net Library's web site or libraries can choose to download them into an e-book reader, a small hand-held device. Future trends include digitization by the publishers, seamless integration with online catalog systems, and people owning personal e-book readers.

Jefferson-Madison Regional Library is one of the first libraries to make e-books available to their patrons. Two librarians described the library's plan to use Rocket e-books which are downloaded to a reader, the Rocket eBook Pro. The reader can hold ten to twenty-five titles at one time, and these titles will be changed quarterly. Patrons must sign are lease form each time they borrow an eBook reader and are responsible for each component of the reader (case, instructions, cleaning cloth, stylus, and checklist). The release form also states that the patron is responsible for replacement costs (up to $300) in the event that the eBook is not returned or is not in working condition when it is returned. The library plans to survey patrons who use the eBook reader to determine satisfaction levels and reactions to this new type of library resource.

-Reviewed by Amy Boykin, Christopher Newport University

What Goes On Before the Access Comes On: E-Resources Workflow in Technical Services
Presented by Ladd Brown and Molly Brennan Cox

E-resources are now a hot topic in the library world so the presentation by Ladd Brown, Acquisitions Librarian,and Molly Brennan Cox, Serials Coordinator, from Virginia Tech was a timely and welcome addition to the conference agenda. These presenters combined their efforts in a highly informative and lively program in which they described their experiences with electronic resources.

The increase in electronic resources has led to the need for procedural changes in many technical services departments. At Virginia Tech, the staff have switched from a linear workflow model to a nonlinear model. In many libraries, new jobs have been created to deal with electronic resources and there seems to be an increasing blend between technical services and public services. Molly and Ladd presented some of the new challenges that librarians face when dealing with electronic resources such as licensing, access, archiving, and maintenance.Uncertainty regarding the future of electronic resources and the impact they will have on libraries has caused an increase in the level of stress for librarians who work in this area.

They were quick to point out that few guidelines exist for librarians concerning the acquisition of e-resources. However, the differences are obvious because there is simply more of everything: more communication with players involved at all levels, more money needed for funding, more users on campus and at remote sites, more paperwork to keep track of names and other background information, and more concerns about the use and length of availability of e-resources and electronic serials as detailed in licensing agreements. In fact, a major concern for librarians is the lack of standardized licensing contracts or procedures.

Ladd and Molly concluded by providing their list of the most important skills necessary for a technical services e-resource manager. This list included acquired skills in patience, mediation, problem-solving, trouble shooting, and communication with individuals at varied levels. A breakdown in communication can cause major problems when there are so many people involved in the process: patrons, vendors, administrators,and public and technical service librarians all need to be kept informed. The presenters offered advice on keeping communication lines open and maintaining good documentation. Both the presenters and the audience agreed that one of the most important skills needed when dealing with issues involving electronic resources is being comfortable with ambiguity.

-Reviewed by Susan Gunter, Longwood College, and Jeanne Klesch, Christopher Newport University

Writing a Biography: An Insider's View
Presented by James West

Dr. James West, Distinguished Professor of English at Pennsylvania State University, discussed his experiences associated with researching the life of William Styron and with writing Styron's biography. West shared some of his thoughts on what he believes helped shape Styron's personality and thus influenced his writings. He also discussed the process of researching and gathering information needed for this work. Over a period of twelve years West spent many hours visiting, interviewing,and observing Styron. Many of Styron's friends, family members, and associates were interviewed. West spent many hours reading through Styron's personal papers located at Duke University and the Library of Congress. West stated that writing the first interpretation of someone's life and work is a lonely feeling. He feels that the biographer has an advantage if someone has already written about the subject because the research process always brings new materials and information to light.It is obvious that the writing of this biography was a labor of love for Dr. West. His hard work and dedication to this project have resulted in a work that will help the reader understand the scope and achievements of Styron's life and work.

-Reviewed by Lydia Williams, Longwood College

Jefferson Cup Luncheon
Guest speaker: Katherine Paterson

Katherine Paterson, winner of the 2000 VLA Jefferson Cup Award for her novel Preacher's Boy, was honored at the Jefferson Cup Luncheon on Friday. Sherry Inabinet, Chair of the Jefferson Cup Committee, introduced the author, noting that the committee received 375 books from publishers, but Preacher's Boy was the only title that made the cut on every committee member's list as their lists became shorter and shorter.

Mrs. Paterson talked about the value of books in showing what she called the invisible child. "We adults often fail to really look at children," she said. Though she has been criticized by reviewers for having depressing story lines in her books, she uses them to reveal the invisible child in her characters and present moments that are true to childhood and human nature.These depressing scenes offer comfort to children who may be experiencing similar tragedies. One girl came up to her after a presentation to say that she had an autistic brother and she knew just how Robbie felt when he wondered why his parents didn't love him more than his damaged brother, since he was whole and healthy. "It is my hope, of course, that my readers will find these characters to be real children like themselves,that they will be able to see themselves in them and then, as they come to love and forgive these people on the page, they will be able to love and forgive their own deepest selves." She said that children want us "to look at them as they really are and assure them that it's okay for them to be who they are.One thing books can help us do is to see past labels to the person. I hope Preacher's Boy helped to see past that in the person of Elliott."

Writing about an invisible child is away to reach out to the invisible children who are her readers, and it is important to keep these readers in mind when writing. "According to some critics, the writer has failed to help the young reader if she does not spell out what the reader is supposed to see. But what the reader, even the young reader, will see is, I maintain, the reader's task and the reader's choice. To paraphrase the good book, he that has eyes to see, let him see. If the book is good enough, the reader will see more on every reading, more even than the writer knows is there." She cautioned writers against taking surveys of children's opinions, or pandering to their readers' short attention span. "And folks, forcing our children to decode isolated paragraphs with an end to making the grade on standardized multiple choice tests is not the same as helping them learn how to read!" The invisible reader maybe the ten to twelve year old boy who hated to read until the Harry Potter books were published, or she may be an abused child who becomes a bully at school. A radio program about abused children concluded with the comment, "If we cannot defeat despair, sometimes we can interrupt it." After a conversation with some Australian social workers who deal with sexually abused children, one remarked that the children loved Mrs. Paterson's character Gilly, from The Great Gilly Hopkins. "'Why should they like Gilly?'" Mrs. Paterson asked."'She's never even been physically abused. By their standards of experience, her life must seem totally unrealistic.''Yes,' the woman answered, 'her life is a lot easier than theirs,but they recognize the kinship. Isn't it,' she said thoughtfully,'something like the essence from which you make perfume? All you need is a drop or two to get the aroma. You wouldn't want to put in too much.'" Mrs. Paterson agreed with this assessment, adding, "If we want to interrupt the despair rather than add to it, we can't fake the essence, you need the real stuff, but we must use it sparingly, a drop or two goes a long way…. Above all it seems to me if we are to write for children, … we must become once more in our heart of hearts invisible children reaching out to the rest of the invisible people in the world."

-Reviewed by Andrea Kross, Christopher Newport University

Managing Your Diverse Workforce: Part II: Recruitment, Retention, Relief
Presented by Velma Jackson-Williams

In a follow-up to their spring program, the Multicultural Forum invited Ms. Velma Jackson-Williams to talk about the recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce. Ms. Jackson-Williams is Assistant to the Provost and Director of the Office of EEO/AA at Virginia Commonwealth University. In a lively and engaging presentation, Ms. Jackson-Williams began by stating that library staff should first do a self-assessment to determine if there is a need for diversity in relation to their overall goals. The self-assessment is the beginning of a planning period where goals, objectives, and timetables are determined. I would venture to say that everybody present felt that providing a diverse workforce is an important issue for libraries. In defining "diverse,"Ms. Jackson-Williams stated that institutions might need to diversify with more people of color, more people who speak English as a second language, more people with disabilities, or simply more males or females. After self-assessment, a committee can proceed with developing a job announcement and advertising the position.

The job announcement should include the basics such as an introduction to the organization and descriptions of tenure possibilities, job duties, and qualifications, but to attract that diverse group, Ms. Jackson-Williams recommended adding your campus or community's demographics and pledges to diversity. Adding information beyond the basics helps to give a more complete picture of the organization. Very often a candidate's first impression is the job announcement.Other types of useful information include special research opportunities with specific groups, the presence of other diverse faculty, and the infusion of diversity issues into the curriculum or event and educational programming.

With the job announcement completed, the next step is to advertise the position. Ms. Jackson-Williams recommended getting rid of the traditional means of advertising and recruiting. An employer could use the following alternatives: religious institutions; Greek, alumni, and social groups; colleges and universities which historically serve diverse populations; special interest periodicals; and special interest associations. As a final idea for recruitment, Ms.Jackson-Williams suggested growing your own pool of applicants. This can be accomplished by offering to pay for an advanced degree if a student or current employee gives service back to the organization.

In terms of retention, factors that determine whether candidates will remain with an organization include the organization's reputation, the benefits it offers to spouses and children, and how welcome candidates feel during the interview. Ms. Jackson-Williams mentioned that we should take a look at how we recruit top level administrators and apply some of those practices to general recruiting. These practices include nice accommodations, creating an inviting and friendly atmosphere, providing detailed information about the surrounding communities, and providing transportation.

Many of the ideas expressed in Ms. Jackson-Williams' presentation are not new ideas, but simply common sense. As she expressed, the big investment when recruiting a diverse workforce is time. There must be time to complete a self-assessment, time to rewrite job announcements, time to explore alternative means of advertisement and recruitment, and time for the interview process. When an organization commits to establishing a diverse workforce, support must come from the top levels of administration. This support has to be more than lip service. It should be something that everybody believes in and the bottom line is to treat all candidates with civility and respect.

-Reviewed by Deborah Dawson, Christopher Newport University

Public Service for Public Libraries Discussion Group
Led by Fran Freimarck

The public's use of Internet workstations was the hot topic at the Public Service for Public Libraries Discussion Group meeting. Eighteen public librarians talked about the challenges of managing the public's response to using Internet workstations. They shared ideas about how to manage "Road Rage" inspired by library rules and too few workstations for too many people. The other hot topic was library services for young adults. The group shared successful programs for young adults and talked about how to create a good young adult collection. The lively discussion could have gone on all afternoon and we plan to request a slot on next year's program for a similar discussion.

-Reviewed by Fran Freimarck, Pamunkey Regional Library

Genealogical Resources at the Library of Virginia
Presented by Virginia Dunn and Gail Tatum

Virginia Dunn and Gail Tatum of the Library of Virginia discussed the published and unpublished state, local,and private papers that can be accessed through the Library of Virginia.The basic groups of available genealogical resources include census records, vital records, county and city records, military records, Bible records, and genealogical notes and charts. Resources for African American genealogical research include vital statistics records, census records, county and city court records,newspapers, cemetery records, records of the Freedmen's Bureau, World War I veteran's records, and manuscript collections. Some of these materials have been digitized and are available online, but there a number of materials that are not on the web site at this time.

Some of the services related to the borrowing and photocopying of these materials were mentioned. These services are listed on the LVA web site ( under "Services for the public." Excellent handouts listing available resources and a bibliography of helpful guides were made available. The information provided will be invaluable in assisting those who come into our libraries researching their family histories.

-Reviewed by Lydia Williams, Longwood College

Legislative Program: General Assembly 2001
Moderated by Philip Abraham

VLA's legislative liaison moderated this lively look at the upcoming General Assembly session. Delegates William (Billy) Robinson, Democrat from the 90th District in Norfolk, and Robert Tata, Republican from the 85th District in Virginia Beach, graciously gave their time and insights to a very interested audience. Questions from Mr. Abraham covered such topics as budget worries, ways librarians can persuade legislators, Internet filtering, and UCITA.

Both Delegate Robinson and Delegate Tata expressed their views that money may be tighter in the next session and biennium than it was in the last. When asked what librarians could do to assure that their voices will be heard amid all the competition, both men had some good advice. Delegate Robinson stressed the need to contact your legislator early, prior to the beginning of the General Assembly session. Delegate Tata asks his local library to distribute free state information pamphlets from a table. Each pamphlet is stamped "Courtesy of Delegate Tata's Office." Not only does this raise the library's profile with the delegate, it also helps to educate citizens about the state's government and services.

When asked about the prospects for Internet filtering legislation, Delegate Tata expressed the opinion that there is likely to be "one size fits all" filtering legislation introduced in the (near) future. Delegate Robinson questioned the constitutionality of any such legislation. Responding to a question about how the library community should best proceed with UCITA, Delegate Tata recommended talking to Delegate Joe May.[Representatives of VLA had done this the week before the Annual Conference.] Delegate Robinson indicated that it could be a"significant" problem if the Joint Commission on Technology and Science (JCOTS) study recommends against a "fair use"library amendment to UCITA. Studies are used heavily by the General Assembly in the formulation of legislative proposals.

Finally, the two delegates agreed that the 2000 General Assembly session had been marked by a good deal of bipartisan spirit. Certainly Delegates Tata and Robinson demonstrated such spirit.

-Reviewed by Barbie Selby, University of Virginia

Closing Session
Video visit with William Styron, introduced by James West

The Closing Session of the VLA 2000 Annual Conference began with speeches by the outgoing and incoming presidents of VLA. Carolyn Barkley summarized the association's achievements in the past year before passing the gavel to Cy Dillon. Cy encouraged us to adopt Dale Henry's attitude of never saying "That's not in my job description" as we work to make universal access and Info powering realities in Virginia.

Following this, Jim West introduced a video of the speech that William Styron gave in the spring of 2000 at the Library of Virginia as part of the All Virginia Reads Sophie's Choice program. West read an article that he wrote for Virginia Calvacade in which he described Styron's background. Although he has lived outside of Virginia for most of his adult life, Styron has written steadily about Virginia, his childhood home. "Authors are able truly to see the regions of childhood only when they view them from a distance," West commented.

In the video, Styron talked about the All Virginia Reads program, which encouraged Virginians to read the novel Sophie's Choice, and described the factors that caused him to write it. Although there are similarities between the author and Stingo, the narrator of the book, Styron explained that the book was "only in the remotest fashion autobiographical." He described how as a young man he was passionate about being a Virginian, but he was also disturbed by the realization that "black people, overwhelmingly present in the Tidewater and an immutable part of its landscape, … [were] so mysterious, everywhere present, but invisible. After the war these people were still denied the radiant future that beckoned me." His book about Nat Turner was an attempt to try to understand"a living human being of great power and great potential who some where in his struggle for freedom and for immortality lost his way."He described how his search for an understanding of slavery in America, the "peculiarly inhuman" institution that prevented slaves from reading, writing, or marrying and that allowed family members to be sold at will, paralleled his inability to comprehend how the Nazi era could have existed in an enlightened society.Slavery, total domination, oppression, and atrocity rose again in the Nazi concentration camps. When Styron visited Poland in the 1970s he saw a connection between the beleaguered country and the American South, and this formed the basis of Sophie's Choice.

After the video presentation, Jim West made some closing comments. He relayed William Styron's thanks, saying that Styron is very appreciative of the central role that libraries have played in the All Virginia Reads project in making the book available, organizing discussion groups, and bringing people together.

-Reviewed by Andrea Kross, Christopher Newport University

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