|April 26, 2001
Volume 31 Number 15
|A publication for the faculty, staff, administrators, and friends of California State University, Chico|
Librarian at Large
Online Equity for All Californians
California libraries run the gamut from well-financed organizations with substantial print collections and online resources to those that can barely keep their doors open. The Library of California (www.library.ca.gov/loc/) would like to change that. Its goal is to "eventually make it possible for any Californian to use any library anywhere in the state" through electronic networking, interlibrary loan, access to online catalogs and information databases, 24-hour telephone and online reference service, and digitization of collections.
Seven regional networks administer and deliver these services. CSU, Chico is part of the Cascade Pacific Library Network (cascadepacific.org) which serves academic, public, school, medical, and legal libraries in the state's 11 northernmost counties. Many of these libraries are small, with only a few staff members and little money for travel, training, or specialization. CPLN helps provide the training and technical support required to extend library services to "underserved" rural populations. This sort of networking makes it possible for small libraries to obtain access to catalogs, online databases, and the hardware and software support to use them at little or no cost.
Larger libraries also benefit. Here at Chico State we now have free access to NoveList, an excellent fiction advisory service, and Health Reference Center-Academic. Use the latter to find articles on fitness, pregnancy, medicine, nutrition, diseases, public health, alcohol and drug abuse, HMOs, and related topics. These databases can be found on the Library ReSEARCH Station (www.csuchico.edu/library). Select "Resources A-Z" and then either NoveList or Health Reference Center. You can also search other catalogs throughout the region via the North State Cooperative Library Catalog (nscls.library.net/#Search).
Although this initiative is electronically based, it is important to note that it is intended to help local libraries improve their services and collections, not supercede them. Thus the special, localized knowledge of librarians throughout the state can be combined with 24-hour access to online resources to better serve all existing California library users and reach out to new ones.
Jim Dwyer, Library Collection Management
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