The NOVELNY Program : Meeting Minutes
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Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, September 19 2007,
10:30 A.M. to 2:30 P.M.
Librarians Room—Cultural Education Center
Albany, NY

Present:  Bardyn, Barrett,  Bartle, Bower, Burke, Cannell, Choltco-Devlin, Duncan, Ebert, Eggleston, Elliott, Fiske, Hogan, Janowsky, Katzin, Kendrick, Killian, Kramer, Krupczak, Mayo, McRae, Penniman, Pope, Seivert, Serlis-McPhillips, Storms, Todd, Tuliao, Weisman, Welch, Whelan, Woodward, Wyrwa

Absent:  Borges, Conroy, Desch, Gilloon (formerly Klose), Hatch, Howe, Roe, Walsh,

Guest:  Maria Holden, State Archives

Recorder:   Deitz

Welcome/Approval of Minutes—Sarah Conrad Weisman

Ms. Weisman welcomed everyone to the meeting, especially our newest members for whom this is their first “in-person” meeting:

  • Shirley Bower, Wallace Library, Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Tim Burke, Albany Public Library
  • Marcia Eggleston, Norwood-Norfolk Central Schools
  • Peg Elliott, Onondaga County Public Library
  • Matthew Hogan, Southeast Steuben County Library
  • Curtis Kendrick, The City University of New York
  • Jason Kramer, NYS Higher Education Initiative (Ex Officio))
  • Bob Mayo, Rensselaer Research Libraries, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Esther L. McRae, New York City School Library System
  • W. David Penniman, Nylink (Ex Officio)
  • Sophia Serlis-McPhillips, Middle Country Public Library
  • Shirley Whelan, Buffalo and Erie County Library

In addition, State Library staff who attended the meeting for the first time are: Stephanie Barrett, Research Library; Meagan Doyle (graduate student assistant) and Lisa Seivert, Library Development.

The minutes of the May 16 conference call were approved: Bartle moved; Tuliao seconded.

Introduction for the Steering Committee—Janet Welch

Ms. Welch provided a brief introduction of the history, roles and responsibilities of the NOVELNY Steering Committee, referring to “Libraries Expanding Information Access for New Yorkers in the New Century,” the “green book” that members receive upon their appointment to the Steering Committee.

NOVELNY funding, budget process, and role of the Regents

Ms. Welch gave an overview of the NYS budget process and timing. She commented on current economic and demographic factors affecting future funding for New York’s libraries. For example, LSTA funds continue to decrease as they are population driven and the State’s population continues to decline compared to other states.

The Board of Regents determines policy and planning for the State Education Department, which includes the New York State Library. 

Regents Legislative Proposal

The 2008-09 Regents proposal for funding priorities will be voted on at their October meeting. Further information will be provided via a NYLINE message after the Regents meet. The Office of Cultural Education has proposed the Statewide Internet Library as the vision of what a state-funded expansion of the NOVELNY pilot program could become.

Statewide Internet Library—PowerPoint demo

Valerie Chevrette of the State Library’s Communications Office gave a presentation on the Statewide Internet Library geared toward a general (read: non-librarian audience).  Comments on the PowerPoint presentation can be directed to Ms. Chevrette at

Related Legislative Proposals—NYSHEI/ARIA—Jason Kramer

NYSHEI’s top priority is ARIA (Academic Research Information Access), with NOVEL funding as a corollary priority. As part of a concept of New York’s “Information Infrastructure,” the NYSHEI is asking the Legislature for high-end database content that would be used at a doctoral/research level.  ARIA could be used to build a modern economy, which would help prevent the “brain drain” of young educated professionals from New York State.  Further information on ARIA is available on the NYSHEI advocacy page: . ARIA content would be delivered through the NOVELNY (or Statewide Internet Library) platform.

Related Legislative Proposals—NYLA—Janet Welch

NYLA’s 2008 State Budget Priorities:

  • Make permanent:  $8 million in supplemental system aid and $14 million in public library construction.
  • $7.6 million increase in aid for public libraries to purchase books and materials;
  • $2 million increase in aid (coordinated collection development) for academic libraries;
  • Increase in Library Materials Aid from $6.25 to $10 per pupil for school libraries.
  • $7.4 million in additional operating aid to bring every library system up to $20 increase needed to close the gap created by inflation and years without an increase.
  • $5 million annually for expanding NOVELNY.

Further information is available on the NYLA website: .

Digitization Project—Maria Holden

Maria Holden, State Archives, spoke with the group about a preliminary proposal to work with to digitize some of the State Library’s collections.  More details to follow as the proposal moves forward.

“What could be part of a Statewide Internet Library?”—Loretta Ebert

New York State has a long history of collaboration. The NOVELNY pilot project has been successful in many measures. Now is the time to raise the level and extend the benefits of the project through the attainment of permanent state funding for a Statewide Internet Library.

Ms. Ebert posed three questions for consideration during small discussion.

  1. Is statewide licensing of content still a priority for your constituent group? (Y/N)
  2. If yes, what are the compelling arguments?
    Is state funding still a requirement for achieving it?
    Could a cost-share model be included, at least for some portion?
    Is the draft, “Why Invest in a Permanent Statewide Internet Library for New York” persuasive?  If not, what could make it better?

  3. If the pilot project, NOVELNY, is discontinued, what impact (if any) would it have on your constituent group?  (Include financial, administrative, programmatic, etc.)

  4. What components should be included in a statewide internet library (i.e., databases, full-text, government documents, archives, images, other digitized content of statewide interest)?  What subject areas?  What levels:  K-12, college, research, general adult audience, etc.?  Are there items that should not be included in a statewide internet library?

Small Discussion Groups—New York’s Statewide Internet Library

Public Library Group

The group was in favor of statewide licensing—provides budget relief.  Would like to see state funding as a part of it—enables universal access.  Cost share was not as well received—too vague on details; deep concern over stretching what are perceived as limited resources.  Some comments follow:

  • Preserve equity of access. What high end databases would we buy and how would users gain access—cost sharing?
  • Cost sharing could possibly work at a system level.
  • When children grow up using databases throughout K-12, they become adult users of electronic resources offered at their public library.
  • If NOVELNY were to be discontinued, there would be a complete lack of electronic resources for some.  Public libraries have the broadest range of users. Distance education and home schooling have impact on services. The public library group considered how many libraries are able to buy electronic resources on their own.
  • We need other kinds of databases.  People are looking for help:  cars, preparing for tests.  Some of the databases do not get used as much as others.  Would like to see Learning Express, Homework Help,, an encyclopedia, Reference USA;  rebuild the  traditional ready-reference shelf online.
  • Digital Collections:  It would be nice to find a way to centralize digital collections—to have the portal become a “one key” access to information, but not at the price of databases.
  • Suggest you make the PowerPoint presentation less wordy and use more bullets with even plainer language to replace jargon.

School Library Group—Sue Bartle

The group agreed that there would be an equity of access issue if there were no databases.  There is a need for state funding—limited infrastructure and budget affect materials available.  Cost share:  very difficult.  Suggest software aid—technical amendment that you could use software aid to include online databases.  Consider aligning it more with P-16 initiative:  a big focus of the Commissioner and in the K-12 community.  If the pilot went away, it would be disastrous for the schools.  For schools, most would only get what the system provides, contingent upon school library system funding.  Other components important to developing the Statewide Internet Library:  core collection concept, newspaper collections with imaging, periodicals, an online encyclopedia.

Academic/Special Group—Loretta Ebert

Academics view NOVELNY resources as supplements at best; core collections come from those independently licensed.  The impact of having NOVELNY disappear would not have an impact in the larger academic area—may experience slightly higher pricing for databases currently licensed by the NOVELNY program.  Some comments follow:

  • Alumni would like to have access to resources—feel entitled.  Licenses do not generally allow for alums to have access, but offering NYS resident alumni the NOVELNY databases is a positive step.  We need future promotion in the alumni arena. 
  • Disappearance of NOVEL—Impact on Hospitals
  • Eighty percent of the electronic resources in public hospitals are supplied through NOVELNY.  The impact of NOVELNY cessation would be that hospitals would be less safe.  The Governor wants the State’s hospitals to be the safest in the country by 2010. NOVELNY directly supports this initiative. Commercial products available through NOVEL meet the needs of the hospital administrators/clerical staff and are a great resource for serving constituents.
  • Rural and remote populations:  A large percentage of reference questions are health related.  Consumer health information is sometimes difficult to provide in those locations. 
  • Digitization:  Desirable to provide for a coordinated platform—would be a real asset.


Please contact Maribeth Krupczak with any suggestions that would make the case for a Statewide Internet Library.

Beverly Choltco-Devlin referred to the Himmel and Wilson Evaluation focus group information on what is important about NOVEL.  Both the report and the Appendices are available on Library Development’s website: and .

Beverly Choltco-Devlin suggested that we look into the regulations regarding CCDA funding—what can and cannot be purchased—as this could be another revenue source in terms of cost sharing.

Report Items

  • NOVELNY Ready Level Tables—Linda Todd/David Fiske

Linda referred to the two charts that were sent prior to the meeting, which were prepared by Dave Fiske and former Steering Committee member, Jerry Kuntz.  A toolkit is available to prepare Basic, Advanced, and Leader level certificates.  Library systems keep their own stats and check with their member libraries as to their progress toward the Advanced and Leader certificate.  The State Library compiles information on this program from the system reports for reports to the Federal government.

Comments about the NOVELNY Ready Level Tables should be sent to Dave Fiske at

  • Statewide Education and Information Program—Linda Todd

(Tabled until next meeting.)

  • Portal—Liza Duncan

(This information will be relayed vai e-mail.)

  • NYLA Conference—Maribeth Krupczak

(This information will be relayed via e-mail.)

*****Action Items*****

Comments on the Statewide Internet Library PowerPoint presentation can be directed to Valerie Chevrette at

Contact Maribeth Krupczak with any suggestions that would make the case for a Statewide Internet Library.

Comments about the NOVELNY Ready Level Tables should be sent to Dave Fiske at

 The meeting adjourned abruptly at 2:35 PM due to a fire drill.

NEXT MEETING: Wednesday, February 6, 2008, 2-3 PM Conference Call