Legislators, Librarians and H.B. Bear Join to Celebrate National Library Week

April 1, 2003
State Legislators, librarians from the New York State Library and the New York Library Association (NYLA,) and the Albany Public Library’s H.B. Bear will come together to celebrate National Library Week at the Empire State Plaza in Albany.

“Libraries are one of the most important institutions in the state and have become the centers of knowledge and activities within our communities. With a 20% increase in library usage during the past 2 years, we all know how critical it is to continue to adequately fund libraries in New York State as we celebrate libraries this week,” said Assemblywoman Sandy Galef (D - Ossining), Chair of the Assembly Committee on Libraries and Education Technology.

On Monday, April 7th, at 1:30 p.m., the Albany Public Library’s mascot – H.B. Bear – will lead a ribbon-cutting ceremony for exhibits and demonstrations of New York’s outstanding library services. The event will be held at the Concourse level entrance to the Legislative Office Building, where State Library experts will be demonstrating some of the newest library technology.

“Libraries have been called ‘The People’s University,” said State Senator Hugh T. Farley (R, C - Schenectady,) Chairman of the Senate Subcommittees on Libraries, “because they are open to everybody and offer free access to a world of information and culture. I am honored to help sponsor this showcase of some of the best of New York’s internationally recognized library resources.”

The program at the Empire State Plaza will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. from Monday, April 7th through Thursday, April 10th. Featured will be live online demonstrations of NOVEL – New York’s Virtual Electronic Library – and of the State Library’s comprehensive genealogy resources. NOVEL enables library patrons to access sophisticated electronic databases from computers in their local library, or from their own home or office. Legislation has been introduced to expand and enhance NOVEL as a backbone of information resources from the twenty-first century.

“Information means opportunity. It is the currency of our economy and provides the path to a better life,” said State Librarian Janet M. Welch. “Unlike the chaos of the Internet, NOVEL provides access to otherwise hard-to-get information that is organized, reliable, up-to-date, and evaluated by expert librarians. It is free-of-charge to the user and accessible by New Yorkers in any community – regardless of geographic, economic, or physical barriers. This is a level playing field of quality information.”

A Library Week display on the Concourse of the Empire State Plaza will include photographs of almost every public library in New York State. There are over 7,000 libraries in New York, including public libraries, school libraries, academic libraries, and specialized research libraries. New York’s interlibrary loan program enables patrons at any library to borrow books from virtually any other library in the State.

“Librarians are everyone’s best information friend,” said Susan Keitel, Director of the New York Library Association. “They stand ready to help anyone, anytime, find the information they need, whether in print or electronic format. There’s so much out there, and our librarians are our guides.”

The New York State Senate and Assembly have adopted Resolutions calling for recognition of recognition of April 6th through April 12th as National Library Week in New York. There will be events and activities in libraries across the State during this week.