Alaska Plan Library Services and Technology Act, 2003-07
Prepared by the Alaska State Library and the Governor’s Advisory Council on Libraries
A State-Federal Program under the Library Services and Technology Act, P.L. 104-208.
- Part I - Introduction
- Part II - Population characteristics impacting library services in Alaska.
- Part lll - Mission Statement
- Part IV - Goals, Priorities and Activities
- Goal 1: Connectivity - Access to Telecommunications
- Goal 2: Information - Access to Worldwide Sources of Information, Educational Resources, Research Data, etc.
- Goal 3: Partnerships - Develop Regional and Multi-jurisdictional Service Strategies
- Goal 4: Service - Improve Library Services to the Underserved
- Goal 5: Accessibility - Services to Alaskans with Special Needs
- Part V: Public Input during revision of the Alaska State Plan 2003 - 2007
- Part VI: Evaluation of the Alaska State Plan during program years 2003-2007
- Governor's Advisory Council on Libraries
This plan is prepared in accordance with Public Law 104-208, the Library Services and Technology Act of 1996. Its purpose is to comply with Section 224 (b) and to show how funds under the Act will contribute to meeting library needs in Alaska.
The Governor’s Advisory Council on Libraries (GAC) reviewed and revised the goals, priorities, and activities set forth in this state plan. The Alaska State Library provided background text and analysis to support the ideas developed by the GAC.
This state plan includes goals and priorities aimed at enhancing statewide telecommunications connectivity and electronic access to information, sharing resources among libraries, and improving the delivery of library services to underserved populations. The plan details the activities and programs the State Library will implement to accomplish these goals and provides the policies and procedures for evaluation of these programs.
The overall goal of the State Library program is to assure access to library resources that meet the informational, educational, cultural, and recreational needs of all Alaskans.
II. Population Characteristics Impacting Library Services in Alaska
The population of Alaska, according to the 2000 U.S. Census, was 626,932, a gain of 14 percent over the 550,043 reported in 1990. Population growth from 1990 to 2000 averaged about 1.4 percent annually. Population growth during the early 1990s was almost 3 percent annually. During the middle years of the decade, growth rates slowed significantly due to the loss of over 11,200 military and dependents following base closures and realignments. In the later years of the decade, population growth averaged 1 percent annually. This slow rate of growth can be attributed to three factors: the booming economies found in those states from which most of Alaska’s traditional immigrants hail, the stagnation of Alaskans’ incomes, and the high cost of living in Alaska.
Three Southcentral boroughs accounted for 81 percent of the raw growth in population over the decade: Anchorage (33,945), Matanuska-Susitna (19,639), and Kenai Peninsula (8,889). Population change in other areas of Alaska was spotty. Southern Southeast boroughs lost population due to pulp mill closures, while Juneau, located in the Northern Panhandle, showed an increase of nearly 4,000 people (14.8 percent).
III. Mission Statement
The mission of the Alaska State Library is to:
- promote and coordinate library services to the community of Alaskan libraries,
- serve as the primary research library for state government, and
- collect, preserve, and make accessible Alaska-related materials.
The LSTA program assists the State Library in addressing the first and third goals of its mission statement.
IV. Goals, Priorities, and Activities
Ensure that all Alaskan residents have affordable access to the telecommunications infrastructure for the delivery of information.
- Identify and develop opportunities for libraries to participate in cost-effective telecommunications networks.
- Develop programs which assist libraries in the following areas:
- planning and identifying hardware and software needs;
- identifying and evaluating affordable access services;
- training library staff and parent agency personnel.
Background on Telecommunications Priorities
Bridging the digital divide is still a challenge in Alaska and will continue to be in the foreseeable future. The Telecommunications Inventory Report, published by the Denali Commission in 2001, identified the availability, provider, and price of major telecommunications services in all 267 communities in rural Alaska. The Commission found that 164 Alaskan communities (61 percent) still cannot reach the Internet through local dial-up Internet service. For access, these villages must use long distance accounts that can cost hundreds of dollars per month. One phone company, serving 58 villages, estimates that just 5 percent of its users are online.
The influence and impact of E-Rate in Alaska cannot be underestimated. Of the 50 states, Alaska has consistently received the highest per capita student support. E-Rate has pushed telecommunications infrastructure much farther and faster than would have occurred without it. All 52 of Alaska’s school districts participate in the E-Rate program. The certainty of funding from the program has allowed the telecommunications companies in Alaska to make investments in infrastructure that would not have happened for many years without E-Rate.
The program has not been as successful with Alaska’s libraries. Many of the rural libraries are open part-time, some only 10 to 15 hours a week. Of these libraries, a significant number are run by volunteers. Even with considerable support from State Library staff, the paperwork associated with the E-Rate program has presented a barrier to participation. Twenty-two of Alaska’s 103 public library facilities are combined school/public facilities. All of the combined libraries have Internet access. Of the remaining 81 public libraries, only 17 do not have Internet access. Of the 81 public libraries not connected to schools, only 35 receive E-Rate support for Internet access.
In the fall of 2001, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted the State of Alaska’s petition for a waiver under the E-Rate. The State had petitioned the FCC to allow residents to make a local call to access the Internet after school and library hours. The waiver allows Alaskans in remote communities without dial-up service to piggyback on the Internet access that is already available in schools or libraries. It is hoped that the waiver will bring access to many of the 164 communities identified in the Denali report. The State Library is working with schools, libraries, and Internet providers to implement the waiver program. In those communities without public libraries, users will be able to access the growing number of full-text resources, made available by libraries, online. Access is currently provided to EBSCO, Big Chalk, and Gale Health Resources to all residents of the state. Over the next few years, statewide library committees will work to expand access opportunities.
In the past year the State Library undertook a demonstration project for satellite-delivered Internet in the rural communities of Hollis in southeast Alaska and Ruby in interior Alaska. Libraries in both communities received a StarBand satellite dish, two computers, software, and printer. In each case, the Internet access cost of $70 per month, for a three-year period, has also been guaranteed by a federal grant. StarBand was first to market two-way satellite delivery of the Internet. If the demonstration project is successful, the State Library will work with the 17 libraries in the state without Internet access to install StarBand (now EchoStar) systems. In Alaska, it is important to test the systems through an Alaskan winter before committing multiple institutions. This technology also has the potential to upgrade to high-speed service libraries with communities connected with minimal service.
A statewide consortium of libraries that includes all of the University of Alaska sites, the Fairbanks North Star Borough Public and School District libraries, the North Slope Borough Libraries, the Sheldon Jackson College Library, the Anchorage Municipal Libraries, and the Alaska Library Catalog, is moving toward a shared automation system. A goal for the next several years is to expand membership in this "Alliance" to smaller libraries statewide as the telecommunications infrastructure becomes more stable.
Activities 2003 - 2007
Activity 1.1 Explore current and alternative communications links to remote areas of Alaska. (FY2003-FY2007)
Activity 1.2 Encourage telecommunications providers to expand low-cost, high-speed access to additional communities in rural Alaska. (FY2003-FY2007)
Activity 1.3 Participate in FCC, RCA, and other entities’ processes which affect communications access for libraries. (FY2003-FY2007)
Activity 1.4 Collaborate with statewide groups and consortiums to build and expand access to Alaska’s online library catalogs and electronic resources. (FY2003-FY2007)
Activity 1.5 Assist libraries in at least three communities annually to acquire hardware and software to connect to SLED (Statewide Library Electronic Doorway) and the Internet. (FY2003-FY2007)
Activity 1.6 Provide training to libraries in identifying, assessing, and evaluating automation/electronic access needs. (FY2003-FY2007)
Activity 1.7 Support and encourage school libraries to integrate technology into school curricula. (FY2003-FY2007)
Activity 1.8 Monitor information collection by other entities regarding telecommunications connectivity in Alaska. (FY2003-FY2007)
Activity 1.9 Work with libraries to establish and expand network connections. (FY2003-FY2007)
Goal 2: Information - Access to Worldwide Sources of Information, Educational Resources, Research Data, etc.
Ensure that all Alaskan residents have access to the wealth of information available in print, recorded, electronic, multimedia, and emerging formats.
- Support regional and statewide cooperative collection development activities and networks.
- Coordinate statewide resource sharing activities and improve linkages with systems outside Alaska.
- Promote and support the creation of Alaska-related digital resources.
Background on Information Priorities
In FY2000, the total number of volumes held by Alaska’s public libraries was over 2.2 million. While Alaska’s 3.55 volumes per capita compares favorably with the FY1998 national figure of 2.90 volumes per capita, some of the reasons for this apparent wealth of resources are disturbing. Small libraries do not have active collection maintenance programs in place. Their collections have much dated and useless material. Many small libraries are open only 10 hours per week, so staff members do not have time to weed their collections regularly. Many of these libraries are staffed with people who have little training in library management, so they are unaware that weeding is performed to maintain current and attractive collections.
The combination of little training and few hours impacts the ability of libraries to offer the full-range of library services, such as interlibrary loan and reference service. Alaskan libraries borrowed fewer resources from other libraries, 45.5 items per 1,000 population, as compared to the FY1998 national average of 52.1 items per 1,000 population and answered 52 percent fewer reference questions per capita. In FY2000, 45 out of 87 Alaskan libraries had collections under 10,000 volumes. The ability of small local libraries to afford and acquire current resources is hampered by the lack of local economic bases. This situation is further complicated when one considers the amount of information available electronically and the high cost of those resources.
In contrast, the three largest public libraries (Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau), with a combined population that represents 59.6 percent of the state, answered 72.5 percent of the reference questions and filled 76.7 percent of the interlibrary loan requests in the public library community. These three libraries employ 75.3 percent of the degreed librarians in Alaska’s public libraries.
Since Alaska is a library-material poor state, it is necessary to use interlibrary loan services to guarantee access to needed materials. Generally, this resource sharing falls into two groupings, the enhancement of bibliographic access and the sharing of materials. Alaska’s seven largest library collections are located at the Anchorage Municipal Libraries, the Fairbanks North Star Borough Library, Juneau Public Libraries, UAF Rasmuson Library, UAA Consortium Library, UAS Egan Library, and the Alaska State Library. These seven libraries are central to the provision of services statewide and will continue to fill this role.
Online bibliographic access remains a problem for Alaska’s public libraries. In 1999, as WLN merged into OCLC, the WLN database with its holdings for 30 public libraries in Alaska was added to the OCLC database. Since 1999, few public libraries have elected to join OCLC as fully participating members. Currently, a total of 30 public libraries have cataloging records on OCLC, representing both those libraries whose records were simply transferred from the WLN database and those libraries that have continued to add records to OCLC. Only 8 of these public libraries use OCLC online for interlibrary loan. Another 64 academic, school, and special libraries in Alaska are listed as OCLC members with varying degrees of participation.
To enhance online bibliographic access, the State Library funded a statewide grant for one license to WLN Easy Access during FY1998-1999. Since FY2000, the State Library has used operating funds for up to two licenses for statewide use of OCLC WorldCat. In FY2001, a total of 38 public libraries reported that they use these statewide licenses to access WorldCat, while 45 libraries do not use this service. Promotion and training on this online resource remains a priority, as well as assisting the last few public libraries in Alaska to gain access to the Internet.
Since FY1998, the State Library has used funds from its operating budget for SLED, the Statewide Library Electronic Doorway. As more libraries in Alaska have made their online catalogs available on the World Wide Web, many libraries without online catalogs have used SLED as a directory and link to these catalogs. Access to these Alaskan catalogs via SLED helps libraries identify library materials of regional interest for their patrons.
Since FY1998, the State Library has awarded an annual grant to the Anchorage Municipal Libraries to provide backup 800# telephone ILL and reference services to public libraries without LaserCat and to school district media specialists. This service covers the smallest libraries that may not have the expertise and/or the equipment to use LaserCat or OCLC WorldCat. Reference services are provided in the same manner for libraries without basic reference tools and are used as backup reference for libraries with limited collections.
The State Library continues to award grants to libraries of all types to complete retrospective conversions of their collections on the OCLC database. Large retrospective conversion and library catalog enhancement projects have been funded in Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Valdez. Special collections with statewide importance are targeted for conversion. During FY2001-2002, the UAF Rasmuson Library received a grant to index and arrange the collection of Ernest Gruening, Territorial Governor (1939-1953) and U.S. Senator (1959-1968). The State Library and UAF’s Rasmuson Library cooperated on a multi-year grant-funded comprehensive project to identify, gather, catalog, and microfilm Alaska’s newspapers.
Collectively, these programs insure that almost all monographic, serial, and document titles held in Alaska are available to every citizen. Most in-state resource sharing among libraries is a result of these projects and is facilitated through training activities offered and publications developed by the State Library.
Alaska’s libraries benefit from access to electronic resources on the Internet. As more libraries gain access to the Internet, increasing numbers of grants are awarded to enhance the range of electronic resources available to libraries and patrons. One major project underway since FY1998 is Databases for Alaskans: Magazines, Newspapers, and More. These statewide licenses to full-text periodical databases from EBSCO, Gale, and BigChalk were initially purchased with grant funds and have been funded in subsequent years through the University of Alaska budget. Statewide access to the Databases, perhaps more than any other library project, has helped bridge the digital divide between library "haves and have-nots" and Alaska’s peculiar divide between rural and urban residents.
The State Library funds projects that encourage regional and statewide cooperative efforts. For example, in FY2000-FY2001, the Division of Libraries, Archives, and Museums partnered with contracted curriculum specialists to create Alaska’s Gold. The web-based curriculum is merged with digitized images of items from the Division’s collections to trace the history of the gold rushes in Alaska and the Yukon. Students across the state have used this interactive resource to learn about Alaskan history.
In FY2001-FY2002, the State Library partnered with the federal Denali Commission and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to fund 125 two-year licenses for libraries statewide to access GrantStation. This Web-based resource allows users to research grants by subject and type of support. The GrantStation database is enhanced for Alaskan users, since searchers can limit to funders that have historically awarded grants in Alaska. This project allows local libraries to showcase their services, while still meeting the goals of the Denali Commission and the Department of Agriculture, both agencies with an interest in fostering rural economic development.
SLED continues to maintain an active collection development committee that identifies and evaluates national and regional Web sites of interest to Alaskans. SLED remains a dynamic tool for Internet access and offers users the most current, relevant resources for information in an organized manner. In FY2001, directors from the major university and public libraries and the State Librarian met to develop goals, identify content, and plan funding activities for an Alaska Digital Library.
The line between bibliographic access and physical access is fading for libraries nationwide. This is demonstrated by a pilot project that attempts to develop best cataloging practices while addressing the problems posed by the increasing number of government publications that have been disseminated solely on the Web. ARLIS, a special library that serves state and federal agencies, the universities and the public, designed a two-year grant project to identify, catalog, and preserve electronic documents about Alaska’s natural resources. The staff enhanced cataloging records with Uniform Resource Locators. Patrons who search the shared DRA catalog for ARLIS and the public, university, and museum libraries in Anchorage are now able to use a hot link to jump from the URL in the library catalog record to a Web-browser, which retrieves the text of the document.
Activities 2003 - 2007
Activity 2.1 Continue coordination of the Collection Development Committee of the SLED (Statewide Library Electronic Doorway) Advisory Board, in identifying Web sites and other resources that meet the information needs of Alaskans. (FY2003-FY2007)
Activity 2.2 Provide consultation and training to libraries in assessing and evaluating unique local collections for inclusion in OCLC and other informational databases and services. (FY2003-FY2007)
Activity 2.3 Fund access to 800 number service for Reference and Interlibrary Loan. (FY2003-FY2007)
Activity 2.4 Identify and negotiate with database license holders to allow regional and statewide public access to resources through SLED. (FY2003-FY2007)
Activity 2.5 Develop and manage statewide use/licensing agreements for full-text journals and other informational databases and services. (FY2003-FY2007)
Activity 2.6 Provide consultation and assistance to libraries in accessing and evaluating electronic resources. (FY2003-FY2007)
Activity 2.7 Provide training opportunities designed to promote effective use of electronic tools for reference, bibliographic access, and research. (FY2003-FY2007)
Activity 2.8 Support the creation of the Alaska Digital Library. (FY2003-FY2007)
Continue to develop and explore the role of community partnerships and networks in the delivery of information services and encourage innovative and multi-jurisdictional approaches to meet the informational and educational needs of Alaskan residents.
- Encourage libraries and other agencies to extend and enhance local library services through the development of regional and multi-type service networks.
- Provide consultation, training, and technical assistance to libraries in the development, improvement, and operation of cooperative activities and networks.
Background on Partnerships Priorities
Over the past 10 years, Alaska’s public, university, school, and special libraries have experienced flat or shrinking budgets and increased demand for services, particularly in the area of electronic access to information. In this climate, informal cooperative efforts among libraries have coalesced into several formal agreements. Partnerships between libraries and other public agencies offer a cost-effective means of improving services.
In 1995, a group of special libraries in Anchorage began discussions to combine their libraries under one roof and improve services to their parent agencies and the public. These libraries are funded within federal, state, and university agencies. All focus primarily on natural resources and believed that major cost savings could occur within a coalition. In 1997, the 9 collections formally merged and became the Alaska Resources Library and Information Services (ARLIS), moving into one combined facility. In 2001, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) recognized ARLIS as one of six winners of the National Award for Museum and Library Services.
In another effort to plan cooperative programs, the University of Alaska Fairbanks library director met with the directors of the other six Resource and Research Libraries in May 1996 to discuss an RFP for a statewide university library catalog and circulation system. Representatives of these seven libraries (University of Alaska campus libraries in Fairbanks, Anchorage, and Juneau, Anchorage Municipal Libraries, Fairbanks North Star Borough Public Library, Juneau Public Libraries, and the Alaska State Library) and other interested libraries decided to develop a plan that would move Alaska in the direction of a distributed statewide online catalog and circulation system.
This group prepared an RFP that would meet the needs of the statewide university library system and also make it feasible for public libraries in the larger geographic centers to participate. The libraries chose the DRA Taos system and the Fairbanks North Star Borough Public Library began its installation in October 1999. Due to problems with the system, other libraries postponed their installations. Due to the recent sale of DRA by SIRSI and its decision to discontinue further development of Taos, the impacted libraries have begun to evaluate other cooperative automation options. The desire for a statewide, distributed system continues to be strong.
After several years of discussion, a number of Alaska’s academic and public libraries have initiated statewide direct borrowing privileges in 2000 for library patrons of any of the participating libraries. This reciprocal borrowing program is proving to be quite popular and more libraries have joined since its inception. A group of librarians continue to work toward having a statewide card.
Activities 2003 - 2007
Activity 3.1 Monitor network development around the state and continue work toward cooperative arrangements with regional, university, state, and municipal network providers. (FY2003-FY2007)
Activity 3.2 Maintain an active role in local, regional, and state networking activities and keep abreast of the policies and activities of other network and information providers, such as universities and state and federal government agencies. (FY2003-FY2007)
Activity 3.3 Participate in and support the establishment of a statewide online library system which can offer a selection of technological services to member libraries. (FY2003-FY2007)
Activity 3.4 Encourage the establishment of a statewide library card. (FY2003-FY2007)
Improve library services to Alaskan residents living in underserved urban and rural communities.
- Provide alternative services for people who live in areas lacking sufficient population or local revenue to support independent library units.
- Support and fund training opportunities for librarians and staff.
Background on Service Priorities
Alaska’s immense geographic area and sparse population make the delivery of public library services to rural Alaska a challenge. In FY2001, there were nearly 44,000 people living in areas not served by a public library. To serve these people, the State Library funds the Books-by-Mail program. The Fairbanks North Star Borough Library provides this service for patrons living in the Northern, Southcentral, and Western regions of the state. The Juneau Public Libraries serve Books-by-Mail patrons in Southeastern Alaska. The primary goal of both programs is basic public library service. Both libraries provide books by mail, and interlibrary loan and reference services. During FY2001, over 21,000 items and 400 ILLs were circulated to a total of 615 Books-by-Mail patrons.
The 2000 Census shows that the urban areas of the state experienced the greatest rate of population growth, while the Western regions experienced significant declines in population. Many communities are too small to have an economic base sufficient to provide public library services. In FY2001, 36 libraries out of 87 reported total operating income under $20,000. With budgets this small, it is difficult for libraries to meet the state’s minimum requirement of 10 open hours per week.
Libraries able to share costs with other agencies have fared better. In FY2001, of Alaska’s 87 public libraries, 4 are academic/public libraries, 22 are school/community libraries, and 6 libraries have a total of 17 branches. Of these, only 11 of the school/community libraries report income under $20,000. A closer look at this reporting reveals that the building and staff expenditures are under-reported, since the school does not charge for space, heat, light, and daytime staffing.
Since the mileage of roads in Alaska is the same as the road mileage in Vermont, opportunities for bookmobile service are limited. Another factor impacting bookmobile service is the severe weather the state experiences during the long winter months. In FY2000 and FY2002, the State Library awarded grants for the purchase and upgrade of a bookmobile to serve residents on Prince of Wales Island, located in southern Southeast Alaska. This service has proved popular with children and adults alike in these isolated towns, as evidenced by the 37 letters of support received with the second grant application.
The State Library provides a number of training opportunities each year for library directors and staff. Since FY1998, directors of Alaska’s 20 largest public libraries have been meeting to discuss common issues, develop peer relationships, and participate in management training. The success of this effort is evident in the amount of communication among these directors and their increased participation in statewide library activities. In FY2000 and FY2001, these library directors drafted and revised Culturally Responsive Guidelines for Alaska Public Libraries. These Guidelines were developed to help public librarians examine how they respond to the informational, educational, and cultural needs of their Alaska Native patrons and communities.
Other training opportunities sponsored by the State Library focus on the needs of librarians from the smallest public libraries. In FY2001, the State Library sponsored the Small Library Institute for Management (SLIM), a five-day basic library management training boot camp for librarians from 20 small towns. In FY2002, the Small Library Institute for Continuing Education (SLICE) will provide an intermediate library management seminar for 20 librarians who have been managing a public library for a few years and who attended SLIM in 1997 or 2001. Library development staff met in 2001 to draft a continuing education plan for librarians across Alaska, especially pertinent to public library directors who are required to attend at least one education event every two years to remain eligible for the public library assistance grant.
Conferences are another valuable venue for continuing education. In FY2001 and again in FY2002, travel grants from the State Library will finance a total of 10 public and 18 school librarians to attend the annual conferences presented by the Alaska Library Association (AkLA). Library development staff is deeply involved in planning for and presenting workshops at the AkLA annual conferences. During these two fiscal years, the State Library funded eight scholarships for students pursuing the MLS or school library certification at library schools.
Activity 4.1 Provide funding to the two Regional Resource libraries (Fairbanks and Juneau) to provide mail service to families and individuals who live in areas that cannot support development of a public library. (FY2003-FY2007)
Activity 4.2 Evaluate Regional Services program and explore alternate and innovative ways of providing library services to remote areas with no libraries. (FY2003-FY2007)
Activity 4.3 Develop a model for strategic planning for use by small and medium-sized libraries. (FY2003-FY2007)
Activity 4.4 Encourage development of borough-wide library service. (FY2003-FY2007)
Activity 4.5 Provide consultation and support for libraries in developing library programs which meet the needs of the local community. (FY2003-FY2007)
Activity 4.6 Provide training opportunities for library staff in the areas of basic skills, library management, and effective use of technology. (FY2003-FY2007)
Activity 4.7 Work with small rural communities lacking library services to develop public information centers. (FY2003-FY2007)
Improve the delivery of library services to Alaskans with special needs.
- Provide services and resources that allow libraries to expand and enhance their services to Alaskans with special needs.
- Assist libraries in their efforts to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Background on Accessibility Activities
According to the 2000 U.S. Census, Alaska has a population of 75,735 people, aged five and older, with various types of disabilities. This is 13.6 percent of the population group. The disabled unemployment rate of those in the employable age range of 16 to 65 years of age is 48.9 percent, significantly higher than the 25.3 percent unemployment rate found in the same age group of abled individuals. In a state with unusual physical conditions for even the abled, disabilities and unemployment pose significant challenges for Alaskans.
The 2000 U.S. Census indicates that 5.7 percent of Alaska’s population (35,824) is 65 years of age or older. This is a significant percentage increase from just five years earlier when the estimate was about 4.6 percent. Traditionally, many people in this age group moved south at retirement, but census figures over the last 10 years show this age group in a growth pattern and suggest that the number of seniors living in Alaska will continue to increase as the state offers enhanced amenities for older Alaskans.
Of Alaska’s population, 11.4 percent (71,489) is under five years of age. The 1990 Census figures indicated that 39 percent of Alaska’s children in this age group lived in poverty. Given the steady decline of Alaska’s relative average income (vis-à-vis the U.S. average) over the last 15 years, it is likely that the 2000 Census figures will show an increase in this percentage.
The Census Bureau has not yet released its 2000 report on literacy for Alaska. The National Institute for Literacy, based on 1990 Census data, estimates that 33 percent of adult Alaskans can function only at levels I or II on its five-level literacy scale. While this is better than the national average, it indicates that one-third of Alaska’s adults do not have the literacy skills necessary to adequately function in the work place.
Each of these population groups can be defined as Alaskans with special needs. Local libraries need encouragement to identify new users and expand their programs to include older persons, individuals with disabilities, children in poverty, and the functionally illiterate. Outreach programs, access to special format materials, and cooperative efforts with Head Start and Adult Basic Education agencies are a few of the possible solutions libraries need to consider in serving Alaskans with special needs.
Activity 5.1 Assist libraries in identifying and communicating with target populations regarding their library service needs. (FY2003-FY2007)
Activity 5.2 Improve access to materials in appropriate formats for Alaskans with special needs. (FY2003-FY2007)
Activity 5.3 Provide information and training to library staff on the availability of adaptive products and partnership opportunities which allow disabled individuals access to library materials and electronic information. (FY2003-FY2007)
Activity 5.4 Develop a research and demonstration project in a small community on the impact of school library services on reading scores. (FY2003-FY2007)
Activity 5.5 Provide resources to libraries to support GED programs, developmental reading, and other literacy needs. (FY2003-FY2007)
V. Public Input during Revision of the Alaska State Plan 2003 - 2007
Role of the Governor’s Advisory Council
The Governor’s Advisory Council on Libraries (GAC) will continue to be the primary mechanism used to involve library users throughout the state in policy decisions concerning the Library Services and Technology Act. During 2001, the Council reviewed the 1998 - 2002 State Plan and drafted goals, priorities, and activities for the 2003 - 2007 Plan. During 2002, the Council reviewed the results of the five-year evaluation done under contract with Alaska Technology Associates on the impact of LSTA-funded grants on libraries in Alaska. The Council incorporated recommendations from that evaluation into the final version of the 2003 - 2007 Alaska State Plan.
The Council’s ongoing primary duty is to advise the Alaska State Library on the federal plan and the development and evaluation of library services in Alaska. The Council also assists the State Library in evaluating the effectiveness of programs and services paid for with LSTA funds.
All meetings of the Council are open to the public and are advertised through timely public notices in regional newspapers. To assure coverage in ideas, scope, and needs, the Council utilizes consultants and may recommend and approve individuals as needed to serve on special committees.
Composition of the Governor’s Advisory Council
The Council is currently composed of 10 members: five members appointed by the Governor and five members proposed by the Alaska Library Association and confirmed by the Governor. The Council is representative of the library profession, library users, and special populations.
It is the Council’s policy to maintain membership that is broadly representative of the library profession and all library users, including disadvantaged persons within Alaska. The Council’s voting membership consists of: one public library representative, one special library representative, one academic library representative, one school library representative, and the immediate past president of the Alaska Library Association. Members are selected by their peers in the manner set forth in the Association’s Handbook of Procedures and Policies. In addition, the Council includes the following voting members chosen by the Governor: one handicapped user representative, one rural library user representative, one public library user representative, one public library trustee representative, and one library user representative.
Other Groups Consulted during Final Revision Process
The final draft of the Alaska State Plan 2003 - 2007 was widely disseminated in both print and PDF formats during a designated time for review during 2002. Comments were actively solicited from:
- The Executive Council and membership of the Alaska Library Association
- The Executive Board and membership of the Alaska Association of School Librarians
- The Alaska Library Network’s directors of research and resource libraries, including the library directors of the public libraries and the University of Alaska campus libraries in Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau
- DIRLEAD, the directors of the 20 largest public libraries in Alaska
- Library development staff of the Alaska State Library
The Council met and incorporated comments from these constituencies prior to submitting the Alaska State Plan 2003 - 2007 to the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Public Dissemination of the Alaska State Plan 2003–2007
The final Plan will be published in print form and sent to every academic, public, and special library and selected school libraries in Alaska. Announcements concerning the availability of the State Plan will be sent to newsletters and list serves serving the library and educational community. Additional copies will be made available upon request. The final Plan will be posted on the Alaska State Library’s Web page.
VI.Evaluation of the Alaska State Plan during Program Years 2003 - 2007
The following methods will be used to evaluate and report on the programs and projects supported by LSTA funds:
- All project or program proposals submitted by subgrantees and accepted for funding will include an evaluation plan utilizing input or output measures based on the objectives of the proposal.
- In addition, the State Library will require programs and projects of statewide scope and those requiring significant funds to design and apply outcome-based measures to demonstrate their impact on intended user groups.
- Library Development staff will review the effectiveness and impact of LSTA funded projects and programs in addressing the goals and priorities of the State Plan at the conclusion of every grant cycle.
- The State Library may initiate longitudinal evaluations to gauge progress in achieving major LSTA goals.
- The Governor’s Advisory Council on Libraries will review LSTA grant outcomes annually and may recommend amendments to the goals, priorities, and activities contained in the State Plan.
Information pertaining to the LSTA program and projects will be accomplished as follows:
- Major announcements pertaining to the LSTA program and process will be publicized on the Alaska Library Association’s listserv and in its newsletter, Newspoke.
- Current versions of the State Plan and key LSTA program documents will be posted on the State Library’s web site and printed copies will be available upon request.
- Documentation pertaining to the administration and evaluation of the LSTA program will be available upon request.
- Results of program evaluations presented in the Library Services and Technology Act Annual Reports and those conducted by the Library Development staff will be disseminated to and reviewed by the Governor’s Advisory Council; copies will be available upon request to other interested parties.