The NOVELNY Program : Background Information
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NOVEL: New York Online Virtual Electronic Library

Background information on the
New York State Library's
NOVEL Initiative:

NOVEL Statewide Fourm
May 17, 2001

One of the most critical steps for the NOVEL Planning Team in carrying out its charge was to host the NOVEL Statewide Forum. The Planning Team prepared a draft implementation plan, including a timeline, but the team consisted of only 30 people. The forum provided an opportunity to discuss the Planning Team's thinking with representatives from a wide variety of organizations and to obtain their reactions before issuing a final implementation plan.

On May 17, 2001, 200 library, education, and community leaders from organizations across New York participated in the NOVEL Statewide Forum. State Librarian Janet M. Welch welcomed the attendees, and Regent James Dawson set the context for NOVEL by discussing the work of the Regents Commission on Library Services and the New Century Libraries legislative initiative.

George Needham, Vice President, Member Services, OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc., and former State Librarian of Michigan, gave the keynote address. Mr. Needham's comments focused on his experience in establishing AccessMichigan, and offered insights to New Yorkers for implementing NOVEL.

Louella Wetherbee, technical consultant for the NOVEL Planning Team, facilitated the forum program, which consisted of three table tasks. The purpose of the first table task was to discuss the NOVEL draft plan and generate suggestions for strengthening the initiatives outlined in the plan. The second table task elicited information about local collaborative efforts related to NOVEL, and how New York could build on these efforts. For the third table task, groups considered the best ways to generate and sustain momentum for NOVEL after the forum, and discussed how to take NOVEL into the field.

The Planning Team reviewed the wealth of information obtained at the NOVEL Statewide Forum, and revised the draft implementation plan accordingly.