Connecticut State Library

 

 

At a Glance

 

KENDALL F. WIGGIN, State Librarian

Established - 1854

Statutory authority - CGS Chapter 188

Central office - 231 Capitol Avenue,

             Hartford, CT 06106

Number of employees – 128

Recurring operating expenses – $12,973,6524

Organizational structure –

Administrative Services: Automation, Operations, Fiscal Services, Personnel/Affirmative Action;

Historical Services:  Public Records and State Archives, Museum of Connecticut History; Library Development: Consulting Services, Statewide Database, State Data Coordination; Information Services: Government Information Services, History and Genealogy, Law/Legislative Reference, Collection Management, Bibliographic Information Services, Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Preservation Office, Library Automation; Commission on the Arts, attached to the Library for Administrative Purposes.

 

Mission

The mission of the State Library is to provide high quality library and information services to state government and the citizens of Connecticut; to work cooperatively with related agencies and constituent organizations in providing those services; to preserve and make accessible the records of Connecticut’s history and heritage; to promote the development and growth of high quality information services on an equitable basis statewide; to provide leadership and cooperative opportunities to the library, educational and historical communities in order to enhance the value of their individual and collective service missions; and to develop and promote appropriate legislation and public policy in support of these efforts.

 

Statutory Responsibility

     Section 11-1 of the Connecticut General Statutes assigns to the State Library Board responsibility for:

     The State Library Board consists of the Chief Justice of the Supreme court or designee; the Chief Court Administrator or designee; the Commissioner of Education or designee; five members who are appointed by the Governor, one of whom shall be an experienced librarian, one of whom shall be an experienced archivist and one of whom shall be an experienced museum professional; and one member each appointed by the president pro tempore of the Senate, the minority leader of the Senate, the speaker of the House of Representatives and the minority leader of the House.

     Under the direction of the State Library Board, the State Librarian is responsible for administering, coordinating, and supervising the State Library; administering the Federal Library program; developing and directing a public records management program.

     The State Library Board approves rules and regulations for the state publications depository library system, the retention, destruction and transfer of documents; the Connecticard program; and statewide library programs.

 

Public Service

     The State Library provides a variety of library, information, archival, public records, museum, and administrative services to citizens of Connecticut, as well as the employees and officials of all three branches of State government. Students, researchers, public libraries and town governments throughout the state are also served by the State Library.  In addition, the State Library directs a program of statewide library development and administers the Library Services and Technology Act state grant.  The State Library, in conjunction with the Department of Higher Education, administers iCONN, the Connecticut Digital Library.

 

Improvements/Achievements 2002-03

Division of Administrative Services

 

 

 

 

Division of Information Services

         47,418    items were added to the general collections;

         12,247    items were added to the federal document depository collection;

         13,167    electronic serial titles were available to patrons;

           1,232    Interlibrary Loan requests were filled from the Division’s collections;

                93    Interlibrary Loans were received from other libraries for patrons;

           1,231    Items were loaned directly to patrons

 

 

 

Division of Library Development

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Public Records Administration

     The Public Records Administrator continued to work on the implementation of PA 00-146, “An Act Concerning Real Estate Filings and the Preservation of Historic Documents.”  PA-00-146 authorizes two granting cycles per fiscal year.  During this fiscal year the State Library awarded 164 grants to Connecticut towns and municipalities for a total of $1,026,825. Grants were awarded for paper conservation, preservation surveys, index-recreation, and preservation microfilming. The Public Records Administrator continued to offer educational programs to Connecticut towns.  On October 22, 2002, a workshop entitled “Keeping Your Town Hall Safe and Protecting Your Records” was held, and on June 11, 2003 a program entitled, “Establishing and Managing Successful Records Management Programs” was held.  These full day workshops were paid for out of the proceeds of the fund that was established by this Public Act.

     The Public Records Administrator remained active with state and local government agencies in monitoring statutory compliance to the numerous public records statutes and overseeing vault construction in city and town offices.

     The Office of the Public Records Administrator continues to oversee the legal destruction of state and municipal public records.  This office processed a total of 1,592 disposal requests, which amounted to 49,606 cu. ft. of state government records.

     The Office of the Public Records Administrator and State Archives developed a poster entitled, Preserving the Past, Protecting the Future.”  This poster was designed to represent the Historic Document Preservation Program.  It was distributed to all town clerks and public libraries in the State of Connecticut and can be found on display in many town halls around the state.

 

State Records Center

     The State Records Center handled 9,170 reference requests/returns from 30 State Agencies/Institutions.  The Records Center accessioned 6,338 boxes of Connecticut State Agency records and 12 backup tapes from the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.  The Records Center has space available for an additional 11,022 cubic feet of records.  The Records Center currently uses the services of Security Shredding and Recycling for the purpose of shredding confidential and outdated documents.  A total of 3,694 cubic feet of records were destroyed this fiscal year at a cost of $6,371.01.  The Records Center is up-to-date on records destruction

 

State Archives

     The State Archives published a newly revised edition of the Guide to the Archives in the Connecticut State Library Fourth Edition (Hartford, 2002.)  One thousand copies of the guide were printed. The guide was distributed to all public and academic libraries in the state.

     The State Archives arranged for the printing of Vol. XVII of the Public Records of the State of Connecticut and distributed them to all public and academic libraries in the state.  The State Library began a three-year project to edit, print and distribute Vol. XVIII and XIX and the State Constitutional Convention of 1818.  The printing cost for volume XVII and project costs for the next two volumes are being funded out of the Historical Documents Preservation Account.

     There were 40 accessions to the State Archives amounting to 698.5 cu. ft.  The most significant was from Long Lane School dating from its inception in the 1860s to the 1960s.  This accession was the most comprehensive acquisition of a state-run institution’s administrative and inmate records made by the State Archives.

     This year was the first time the State Archives participated as a partner in Connecticut History Online, an electronic archive of historical photographs from the Thomas Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut, the Connecticut Historical Society, and Mystic Seaport Museum, Inc. The archives selected and arranged the Mills Collection of Photographs and selected World War l Military Service Questionnaires accumulated by the State Library to be reformatted and added to the virtual archive.

     The Court records project continued for the first six months of the fiscal year until layoffs led to the termination of the federally-funded project staff.  During that period, project staff processed and preserved 195 boxes of county court records for Litchfield and New London counties.  An additional 100 cases involving African-Americans and Native Americans have been found.

     Another $960 was raised for the State Archives preservation fund from the sale of A Guide for Processing Manuscript Collections.

 

The Museum of Connecticut History

     Purchased more than 570 Connecticut historical objects, manuscripts and photographs that concentrate on the state’s political, industrial and military heritage.  The Connecticut Manufacturers Trade Catalog collection grew by more than 50 items. Direct descendants of Major General Thomas Guyer of the 1850s Connecticut State Militia donated his uniform coat, fine presentation sword and other memorabilia.  Similarly, direct descendents of Civil War Captain Gordon Whitmore Stewart, of the 29th Connecticut Volunteers, also gave Stewart’s Colt revolver, sword, diary, war-time photograph and a Springfield rifle-musket musket carried by an African-American enlisted-man in that regiment.

     Many of the museum’s machine tools and oversize artifacts, (trunks, sewing machines, stoves, etc.) were relocated to the museum’s 3,000 square feet of storage in the Connecticut State Library’s new Van Block Facility.

     The Connecticut Patent Project, a custom-built database of some 20,000 Connecticut patents spanning 1790-1890, went online.  Connecticut ranked first per capita in number of patents awarded most of these years, and the database is searchable by invention, inventor, town and date. 

     More than 13,000 students in 569 school groups visited the museum in this fiscal year.  The “walk-in” visitor count was approximating 10,000 for a total of 23,000 visitors.

 

Division of Information Services

     The Law and Legislative Reference Unit maintains and provides access to comprehensive collections of legal, legislative, and public policy resources.  The collection includes statutes and case reports for all 50 US states as well as for all federal jurisdictions, and a broad range of legal treatises, law periodicals, loose-leaf services, and electronic resources on topics relevant to state government interests. The Unit maintains the archives of Connecticut General Assembly documents, indexes legislative bills and House and Senate proceedings and public hearings, and compiles legislative histories for Connecticut Public and Special Acts.  The State Library Bill Room provides information on the status of current Connecticut state legislation, and supplies copies of pending and current legislation on request.

     The History and Genealogy Unit maintains and provides access to comprehensive collections of materials on the history of Connecticut and its people.  The Unit’s resources include an extensive collection of local histories and genealogies, with particular emphasis on Connecticut and New England; most Connecticut town vital records, land records, and probate records from the 1600s to the early 1900s on microfilm; church records from hundreds of Connecticut churches, most available on microfilm; transcriptions of family Bible records and cemetery inscriptions; abstracts of newspaper notices of marriages and deaths; and military records.  It holds Federal census records for Connecticut, 1790-1920 and for the other New England states, New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, 1790-1850 and the Index to New England Naturalization Petitions on microfilm; and indexes to, and collections of, published and microfilmed ships’ passenger lists and other immigration records, with emphasis on New England and New York.  Related materials include comprehensive and retrospective collections of Connecticut atlases and maps (including Sanborn Fire Insurance Atlases), city directories, and newspapers.

     The Government Information Services Unit maintains and provides access to comprehensive collections of Connecticut government publications, United States government publications, public policy resources, general reference resources and current Connecticut newspapers. The Unit maintains comprehensive collections of Connecticut and United States government publications dating from the late 1700’s to the present. These collections, numbering well over a million and a half pieces, support the Library’s roles as the Regional Federal Depository for Connecticut and Rhode Island, and as the Connecticut State Documents repository.  Special collections maintained by the Unit include: Civil Service Study Guides; and a Safety Library of publications and videos which is maintained jointly by the Department of Administrative Services and the State Library.

     The Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped is a network library of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress. The Library provides free mail loan of recorded and Braille books and magazines and necessary playback equipment to eligible state residents unable to read conventional print because of a visual or physical disability.

 

Division of Library Development

     This division provides leadership, funding, education, and statewide services that enhance a local library’s ability to deliver high-quality library service to their community. The Division’s Programs and Services include: iCONN, the Connecticut Digital Library; reQuest, the statewide catalog and interlibrary loan system; continuing education opportunities, professional development resources, technology training lab, training calendar; Connecticar, a statewide library delivery service; Connecticard, a statewide public library borrower's card and grant program; Consulting to children and youth services librarians; Consulting Services to Friends, and trustees; Library Service Centers (Middletown and Willimantic) – Training, consulting and collections to support libraries; Public Library Construction Grants; Consulting regarding library buildings, including the American with Disabilities Act, and library space planning; Public Library Statistics; Federal Grants to Libraries; Connecticut Awards for Excellence in Public Library Architecture and public library service.

 

Division of Historical Services

     The Office of the Public Records Administrator is responsible for the design and implementation of a Public Records Program for local governments and for state agencies within the executive department of government.  This includes administrative responsibility for the State Archives and the State Records Center.  The Office of the Public Records Administrator publishes records retention schedules and records management guidelines for state and local government agencies; publishes regulations regarding the construction of record storage vaults and the creation of permanent land maps that are filed in the towns; and conducts the annual examination of land record indexes; and administers a historic documents preservation grants program to help municipalities to enhance or improve the preservation and management of local historic documents.  By statute, the Public Records Administrator and State Archivist must approve the disposition of all public records.

     The State Archives program is part of the Office of the Public Records Administrator.  The State Archivist assists the Public Records Administrator in developing records management guidelines, regulations and records retention schedules for state agencies and local governments.  By statute, the State Archivist must review all records retention schedules issued by and records disposal authorizations submitted to the Public Records Administrator.  Since 1855, the Connecticut State Library has acquired historical records from the three branches of State government. In 1909, the General Assembly made the State Library the official State Archives.  Today, the Archives includes more than 32,000 cubic feet of records documenting the evolution of state public policy and its implementation, the rights and claims of citizens, and the history of Connecticut and its people.

     The Museum of Connecticut History is housed in the 1910 State Library and Supreme Court Building.  The Museum consists of Memorial Hall, a magnificently restored beaux-arts style gallery, and three adjoining exhibit areas. On permanent display are portraits of Connecticut Governors as well as historic documents, including the State's original 1662 Royal Charter, the 1639 Fundamental Orders, and the 1818 and 1964 State Constitutions.  The focus of the Museum and its collections is Connecticut’s government, military and industrial history.  Permanent and changing exhibits trace the growth of the State and its role in the development of the nation from the Colonial era to the present.

 

Reducing Waste

     The overall emphasis of the Library’s service program has been the provision of quality service through the most efficient deployment possible of greatly reduced staff and material resources.  This efficiency has been enhanced by the utilization of computers and telecommunications networks to increase access to electronic and networked information resources.  These capabilities were expanded to the Library’s outlying facilities.  The Library also continues to stress employee participation in the decision making process.  Both of these efforts focus on the wise allocation of limited resources by using time saving and work prioritization processes to most effectively utilize Library staff.

     Connecticar is a statewide delivery service for library materials serving all of Connecticut’s public and academic libraries.  Handling over one million items each year, it is the backbone of resource sharing among Connecticut's public and academic libraries. After an extensive study of the Connecticar operation by the Division of Library Development a decision was made to outsource the delivery service.  As the result of discussions with Union representatives for the Connecticar staff, a partial outsourcing of Connecticar was implemented.  This is resulting in more timely and frequent pickup and deliver of library materials to more libraries statewide at reduced costs. The State Library also worked with the Cooperative Library Service Units to effect a merger of the four offices into one new organization, the Connecticut Library Consortium.  The merger is expected to generate savings, particularly in the administration of programs, which will allow important statewide services to continue despite significant reductions in state support.

 

Strategic Planning

     The State Library’s Strategic Plan was last completed in 1990 and is in need of updating.  The Division of Library Development has revised its strategic plan and the Museum of Connecticut History is in the middle of an assessment plan funded in part by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

     Library’s major goals for FY 2004 are:

 

Information Reported as Required by State Statute

     For the twelfth consecutive year the Library’s Affirmative Action Plan was approved by the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities. The first report of the Historic Records Fund was submitted to the Legislature.