VOL. XXVI No. 3
In This Issue
Chair's Column LRL Home Page
LRL Professional Development Seminar
Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee
September 11: A Personal Vicw from New York
Chair's Column by Nan Bowers, Nevada
Welcome to the fall edition of the 2001 newsletter - news and commentary.
I've always liked October. The weather is sunny and comfortable in most areas of the country, landscapes take on new colors, grass needs less mowing, the kids are settled back into school routines. Early November is fine, too, but now we're sliding into the hectic holiday season. In November the weather turns seriously towards winter, and we turn seriously towards preparing for another legislative session.
October is a great time for the PDS. The Professional Development Seminar was in Richmond, Virginia, this year and held as a joint meeting with the Research and Committee staff section. The weather was splendid, meetings thought provoking, tours fun and informative, and the company of fellow librarians and research staff was top notch, as usual. Our Virginia hosts Cheryl Jackson and Alice Winn, along with NCSL staff, organized a fine seminar for the 80 plus attendees. Be sure to read the meeting descriptions in this issue, and I will cover the tours in my column.
We toured the Virginia State Capitol, the Library of Virginia, and Monticello. A tour and presentation at the Lexis/Nexis facility is covered elsewhere in this issue. The Virginia State Capitol, built in the Classical Revival style of architecture and designed by Thomas Jefferson, was the site of our opening reception. Tour guides were on hand to show details of the historic building and provide information on the famous art pieces, like the magnificent, life-sized statute of George Washington in the Rotunda, dating from the late 1790s. Key House and Senate staff showed the chambers and explained the current workings of the legislative bodies. See http://www.tfaoi.com/aa/1aa/1aa333.htm.
The Library of Virginia includes unique collections covering the nearly 400 years of Virginia's history. Housed a few blocks from the Capitol, the library is a beautiful new building with lots of windows and an exceptionally user friendly interior design. The LRL group toured the archives stacks, reading rooms, and public areas. The building also houses a large lecture hall, exhibit area and gift shop. Check out their website at http://www.lva.lib.va.us/sb/visiting/index.htm.
Thomas Jefferson's Monticello provided a step back into another century, when the land and craftsmen provided most of life's necessities, and the pace of life allowed thoughtful deliberations. Guided tours highlighted the history of the house, the furnishings, the gardens, and plantation life. We visited on a beautiful early autumn day and had time to stroll through the expansive grounds and visit the cemetery and gift shop. I came away from Monticello with increased appreciation not only for the genius of Thomas Jefferson, but also for our country's commitment to preserving places of historic significance. Information and photos: http://www.monticello.org/
LRL Fall Professional Development Seminar
Thursday, October 11
Joint Plenary with RACSS
Work Styles: Insight into Self and Others
by Tracey Kimball, New Mexico
Are you direct or indirect in your personal style? Is your work pace steady or urgent? Are you precise or unstructured in dealing with details? Outgoing or reserved in responding to people? These are the questions Susan Wilkes invited us to explore at our first joint plenary.
Wilkes is a doctor of psychology and director of the Workplace Initiatives Program at the Virginia Commonwealth University. Her presentation on "Work Styles: Insight into Self and Others" got the conference going as we worked through her "Insight Inventory," a self-reporting survey developed to assess and help people improve communications and cooperative work skills. As we went through Wilkes' exercises, it became apparent that our LRL/RACSS membership has a high proportion of people who tend toward indirect and precise styles. As one participant noted, "If we were more direct, we would run for office ourselves, not be working for politicians."
Wilkes emphasized that these could be natural traits or adaptations to the workplace, and that results from the test may not predict performance. Like the Myers-Briggs tests, her instruments can be used to learn about our own strengths and those of the people around us and to factor those in to work assignments and interactions. For more information on the "Insight Inventory," contact Dr. Wilkes at 804-828-1191; copies of the inventory are available from the Insight Institute of Kansas City, MO, at 1-800-861-4769.
Tour of LexisNexis
by Susan L. Blixt, Arizona
The LexisNexis personnel graciously conducted an interesting and informative tour for the LRL and RACSS seminar participants through their Michie facility, and presented an overview of www.lexis.com at their headquarters in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The LexisNexis Goup provides products via the World Wide Web, dial-up online, CD-ROM and hardcopy print. The Group is comprised of five legal information companies: Matthew Bender & Company, Michie Company, Shepard's, LexisNexis and Martindale-Hubbell.
The facility at Charlottesville is one of the Group's manufacturing locations for product printing where the composition, printing, binding and shipping functions for annotated state codes, court reports, treatises and law school books is conducted. State-of-the-art equipment produces camera or digital images from hard copy or electronic data. Then, a photocomposition system processes the data to create the typographical information necessary for legal publishing. Converted electronic data or hard copy is placed into image setters producing negatives etched onto aluminum printing plates. The bindery produces many different legal publications in various formats, such as side-stitched, bound and loose-leaf, as well as publications with hard or soft covers. All publications go through a thorough inspection by quality control.
The LexisNexis Company specializes in providing online legal and business information directly to the professionals. The www.lexis.com demonstration conveyed to us how easy it was to research case law, statutes, law journals and news sources. You may search by source (e.g., Federal Register, Arizona State Law Journal, etc.), areas of law or legal topics, citations and docket numbers. The case documents retrieved contain summaries that describe the procedural history, provide a brief review of the court's holding on the case's legal issues and address the disposition of the case. Also, core concepts link the key points of law of a case within the document to other documents with similar key points. Citations may be checked by Shepard's for current status and validation online. By using www.lexis.com, the retrieval of legal information is made easy, fast and accurate.
Further information about LexisNexis may be obtained at www.lexisnexis.com.
Friday, October 12
Joint Plenary Session
When Leadership Counts
by Clare Cholik, South Dakota
The first session on Friday morning featured Dr. Ronald Carrier, the Chancellor of Virginia's James Madison University. Having served in leadership positions throughout his adult life, Dr. Carrier brought to us some valuable insights and the lessons he has learned along the way.
According to Dr. Carrier, the vision of a true leader is limited only by the imagination. A leader needs to see not only what is, but also what could be. A leader is not a manager. While the roles are sometimes confused or intertwined, they are separate and distinct.
To be a good leader, you must lead yourself. This involves the following steps. Planning Develop a plan and implement it in small increments. Outline goals in a way that they can reasonably be accomplished.
Performing Always try to perform beyond your expectations. This involves practice. Breakdowns occur when you are not prepared.
Observing Always know where you are and be aware of your surroundings. Gather as much information as possible so you can respond to situations quickly.
Being self-aware Do not beat yourself down. Feel good about yourself. Maintain a positive attitude. Convey enthusiasm for what you do. Be grateful for the help you get from other people. Send thank you letters. Dr. Carrier also stressed several other attributes of a good leader. Leaders need to respect people. They need to accept the emotional differences in people and help and support others who may fall behind. They must avoid personal conflicts. At the same time, they need to be willing to make the hard decisions and know that they cannot accommodate everyone. Lastly, leaders must be true visionaries. They must realize that what they do has great impact and carries great consequences.
Leadership: What Lies Within?
by Marian Rogers, Wisconsin
Leadership and what kind of a leader we can be are personal questions we can ask ourselves. Gail Warren, State Law Librarian of the Supreme Court of Virginia, presented a thought-provoking seminar that challenged and inspired us to take a closer look at our personal leadership and our roles in our libraries.
There are some basic truths about each of us and the services we perform as librarians and information professionals. We make a contribution in both our personal and professional lives. We have the capacity to significantly impact other people and how they view themselves and their jobs. We determine the quality of that impact and whether the impact is positive or negative.
How do we improve our personal leadership skills? Determine how you see yourself and your goals. Know what needs to be done to accomplish your personal vision and do it! Share your vision and communicate it regularly. Do something; act with purpose and conviction. Listen to others and develop flexibility and tolerance.
"What would your library be like if you had NEVER worked there?" is a question that challenged us. In answering this question, we asked ourselves:
Several groups were formed to discuss the questions and to offer solutions to the obstacles. In our daily worklife we have no control over obstacles, but we do have control over how we respond. We were reminded about the importance of networking with our colleagues when faced with obstacles.
- What library services might not exist or run as smoothly?
- Which staff members wouldn't perform as well or would have left for another job?
- What would your library be like if your boss had never worked there?
- What are three obstacles that prevent you from doing your job or achieving your goals?
- What is the one thing you might do that would have a significant impact on your library?
Leaders are the people who get things done, and-leadership has to come from within. The concepts Gail Warren presented in this seminar will encourage us as librarians and information professionals to think differently about leadership and how we can impact our daily worklife.
Joint Luncheon with RACSS
Discussion of NCSL Bill Status System
by Eddie Weeks, Tennessee
Over a wonderful luncheon of salad, stuffed chicken breasts, and cake, we heard an update on NCSL's Bill Status System. This system is a work in progress, and at this point NCSL is asking us "What else do you need the system to do?"
Our speaker was Sharon Crouch. Ms. Crouch is the Systems Director for the Virginia House of Delegates, and currently serves on NCSL's Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee.
The NCSL Bill Tracking System provides keyword searching (Boolean logic) as well as topic filters to locate relevant bills from all 50 states. Results are displayed alphabetically by state, then numerically by bill number. The search results screen shows the current status of each bill, and provides links to the full bill status and bill text on each state's website.
Some of the suggestions for improvement included (1) better explanations of search options; (2) the ability to download documents in different formats; (3) the option of listing bills by relevancy instead of alphabetically by state; and (4) providing a regional topic filter (only western states, for example).
The target date for full implementation of the system is July 2002. Ms. Crouch ended her presentation with a request for us to tell our decision-makers about these services, and request that they provide bill status information to NCSL so that the service may be as complete and accurate as possible.
Knowledge Management in a Legislative Research Environment
by Alice Winn, Virginia
Donna Scheeder, Deputy Assistant Director of the Information Research Division at Congressional Research Service, gave an informative talk on the concepts and practices of knowledge management within a government research organization. She began her presentation by articulating the difference between information and knowledge. Information is the data, materials, and other print or on-line sources that are provided to inform the requester; while knowledge is what the requester gains through analysis and processing of the provided resources.
One focus of KM is to capture the knowledge that people carry in their heads. While technology has made it easier for people to connect, communicate, and collaborate, this "knowledge sharing" can be lost if no steps are taken to preserve it. Another focus of knowledge management is to preserve institutional memory. KM can be a mechanism to capture and retain the unique organizational knowledge of a retiring workforce, as well as the on-line activities associated with e-government.
As Donna explained, the first step is to build a culture of knowledge sharing. This involves creating opportunities for staff to work together on projects, so that they may share the "know what" and "know how" of each contributing member. This approach recognizes that knowledge resides in people, and emphasizes the process of relationship building. One recent project of the Congressional Research Service involved the creation of an electronic "briefing book" on terrorism. The collaboration of numerous legal and foreign policy analysts, plus economic and military experts, was necessary to create this product; and it was their combined knowledge of what information was valuable, and how best to present it, that makes this product so valuable to the end user.
Effective knowledge management seeks to link intellectual assets to the strategic direction of the organization. CRS staff prioritize their research topics according to the legislative agenda, so that their product offerings are always up to date. Aware of the issues that are likely to be discussed by Congress, the CRS staff can quickly identify "holes" in their research offerings, and then hire outside contractors to provide the necessary subject matter expertise. This proactive approach also allows them to bring documents, analysis, and other critical materials together in one electronic format that is easy to use. In this way, the accumulated knowledge of many individuals, compiled in one seamless environment, supports the Congress as it moves forward with its work.
Another component of knowledge management involves building a collaborative environment and providing tools to engage individuals and communities. "The goal is to facilitate the knowledge of one to become the knowledge of many," said Donna. As she explained it, groups tend to form into three main types of environments. There are networks of people who are connected in some recognizable way, such as the alumni of a particular college. Then there are people who have similar skills, or "practices" in common--doctors practice medicine, lawyers practice law, etc. The third environment describes a community. A community suggests a feeling of sharing: members help one another, but may not be connected by anything other than a desire to be of assistance. In the electronic world, communities of interest tend to sprout up according to one of these three models. Knowledge management seeks to tap into the knowledge of the individuals that form these communities to facilitate the thinking process of the entire group. Also, the accumulated knowledge of the group can be dispersed to others outside the group through accessible databases.
Donna closed her remarks by offering suggestions on how to create a knowledge management program. The first step involves an audit to determine knowledge content. Next, create a strategic plan to capture that knowledge. Lastly, institute success measurements to gauge how well the organization is performing. Most importantly, provide leadership to support your organization's human capital investment.
Saturday, October 13
Legislative Response to Terrorism
by Connie Yankus, Ohio
Will Seyse of the New York Assembly Information Center spoke about the legislative response to terrorism. He told a somber audience that it is necessary to respond and plan for the future. Early assessments of the economic damage were posted on the New York Assembly's website in October (assembly.state.ny.us).
After 9/11, some subscription sites became free to government agencies. One still available at no cost as of November 8 is the Dow-Jones Newswires weekly newsletter Rebuilding Wall Street www.djnewswires.com/rebuilding.
Some of the government sites providing information about the disaster include www.nylovesbiz.com and www.FEMA.gov. Will said that the program was a complicated one to present, but he demonstrated that the providers of information perform an important service required by many in a time of chaos and tragedy.
LRL Business Meeting
by Arthur McEnany, Louisiana
The meeting was called to order by by Nan Bowers, LRL chair for 2001-2002. Nan thanked our hosts, Cheryl Jackson and Alice Winn of the Virginia Division of Legislative Services for all their work in putting together a well-rounded professional development seminar.
New LRL officers for the coming year include Nan; chair-elect Robbie LaFleur, Minnesota; and secretary Arthur McEnany, Louisiana. Johanne Greer, Maryland, was recognized as past-chair.
Nan announced that the next NCSL Annual Meeting will be in Denver, Colorado and encouraged everyone to try to attend. Marilyn Johnson, North Dakota, extended an invitation to LRL for hosting the next Professional Development Seminar in Bismarck, North Dakota in fall 2002. There was discussion of possible future sites for the PDS, possibly in Portland, Oregon in 2003.
LRL's core reference collection list was last updated in 1999, and there was discussion about updating it again, possibly by the time of PDS in North Dakota.
The regional coordinators in attendance were recognized: Clark Cholik, South Dakota; Penelope Dukes-Williams, Texas; David Harrell, Oregon; and Marian Rogers, Wisconsin. Coordinators will be asking their state contacts for information on capitol and legislative security in response to September 11th.
In a discussion of the LRL listserv, NCSL staff contact Rita Thaemert said she would ask other legislstive research librarians if they would like to sign up for the the listserv to better inform all of us about the topics we discuss. It is possible to set up an archives section in connection with the listserv in order to retrieve the research responses on a subject from the past.
There were brief comments on the use of NCSLnet states' Internet links and whether or not legislative library links should be on the page.
Future meeting topics were discussed including: what other states are doing with regard to archiving e-mail, home pages as they change or other electronic documents. Other suggested topics were records retention and strategic planning.
On a closing note, Rita briefly discussed NCSL's move to a new building in fall 2002. Rita also discussed her upcoming trip to Japan through NCSL's International Program.
LSCC Task Forces for 2001-2002
- Review, comment on and assess the NCSL website and changes made to it in response to the focus groups
- Actively help NCSL get access to databases in state legislatures that contain information on bills and directories of members and staff
- Work in conjunction with the new Special Committee on Information Management that replaces the Multistate Document Management task force and expands its role.
2. Strategic Planning
- Monitor the executive committee's review of the ASI/AFI committee structure and develop ideas to ensure that staff play an appropriate role within the NCSL committee structure
- Monitor the executive committee's strategic planning process for NCSL and ensure that the needs of legislative staff are communicated during this process and addressed by the plan when it is developed.
- Assess the needs of district office and members' staff and develop strategies for getting them more actively involved in NCSL activities.
3. Legislative Staff Management
- Complete work on the project to identify issues in the recruitment and retention of legislative staff.
- Develop a model personnel manual/guidelines for legislative staff.
- Work with NCSL staff to coordinate a survey of legislative staff salaries.
4. Professional Development
- Assess the training needs of legislative staff at all levels, oversee and assess current training offered by NCSL and identify additional training activities or changes in current activities to meet the needs of legislative staff.
- Review the time available for staff at the NCSL annual meeting, coordinate the staff section activities at the annual meeting, oversee the staff welcome booth and encourage staff sections to sponsor concurrent sessions.
- Communicate with the leaders of each staff section and report on staff section activities at each LSCC meeting.
- Assess the services provided by NCSL to the legislative staff through the 10 staff sections.
5. Special Committee on Information Management
- This special committee replaces the Multistate Document Management Task Force and expands its role.
- Work in conjunction with the technology task force to have the states grant NCSL access to their data bases that contain information on bills including status, title, sponsor, summary, keyword index and other data that will be helpful for researchers and other legislative users.
6. Legislative Chambers Book Committee
- This is a special committee created to raise money for completing a publication that contains information on legislative chambers at the turn of the century.
- Determine how to gather the necessary information and pictures and the best method for publishing this information.
Coordinators Corner The questions for this Newsline column--Have the events of September 11 and the continued threats of terrorism and bioterrorism prompted your library to evaluate or reevaluate security procedures in the library? How have the above events affected your library's disaster recovery plans?
Coordinator Clare Cholik, South Dakota
In an effort to enhance security in and around the capitol complex, Governor Janklow has ordered the SD Highway Patrol to move its headquarters to the State Capitol. It is currently housed in another office building a few blocks away. All state employees who handle mail have been trained to look for and deal with any suspicious parcels coming into state offices. All law enforcement personnel in the state remain on high alert. Jonetta Douglas, Iowa
Because we are located within the general working area of the Legislative Service Bureau, we have not looked at separate security measures. We have been asked to be watchful of people or items that are in the area that would not normally be here.
Robbie LaFleur, Minnesota
A first phase of tightened security has been implemented in state buildings. Public access is restricted to only one entrance in each building. Legislative staff is now required to wear badges. Looking forward to the session in 2002, there is a general sense of apprehension regarding the economy. Sideline conversations at meetings around the Capitol always include comments like, "But we don't know what the budget forecast will look like after session starts..."
At the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library, some initial security procedures have been implemented. Staff now wears identification. The staff who open mail wear disposable gloves, and have plastic bags easily at hand, in which to place suspicious items. We have long planned to draft a good disaster recovery plan, but to date we don't have one to modify. We would be very interested in seeing models from other legislative libraries!
Lisa Mecklenberg Jackson, Montana
The Governor, Judy Martz, issued an Executive Order, effective Sept. 11, 2001, proclaiming an emergency in the State of Montana. Basically, this allows the Governor the authority to mobilize state resources to protect life, health, and property of residents, and take money from the general fund to meet contingencies arising from the emergency.
Logistically, the Capitol building has seen some changes since September 11. Visitors must now check in upon entering the Capitol building; there are extra guards within the building; concrete barriers have been erected in the parking lots closest to the building; and the Governor has anarmed bodyguard who travels with her everywhere. The Montana Legislative Library has not taken any special precautions beyond those instituted on a building-wide basis.
Peg Jones, Nebraska
The Legislature's Executive Board and the Governor have discussed whether there is a need for additional security around the State Capitol Building, although no decisions have been made.
The State Patrol and Capitol Security staff have made the following recommendations to the Governor: upgrade security guards to certified law enforcement officers; convert a centrally located information desk to a security desk staffed by a uniformed police officer; upgrade video equipment and install monitoring equipment at building entrances; enhance restrictions to the building's basement; close entrances to the second floor and use only first floor entrances; install hydraulic gates at the north horseshoe drive and at the south loading dock area; and build a low wall around the capitol, which was part of the original plan for the building. The total cost to implement the recommendations would be $6.5 million, $5 million of which is designated for the wall. The governor endorsed all the recommendations with the exception of the wall.
The Chairman of the Legislature's Executive Board stated in a recent newspaper article about capitol security shortly after September 11 that senators "seemed to be universally opposed to turning the peoples' building into a fortress for people to hide in." Other senators quoted in the article cautioned against overreacting. Some maintained that they would have to be convinced that security should be increased and if so, measures should be phased in.
Staff in our office is heeding the advice to heighten our awareness of our surroundings and to continue with our daily routines. We are not taking specific action to change or implement new security measures and will await any decisions made by the Legislature and the Governor.
Marilyn Johnson, North Dakota
Visitors to the North Dakota Capitol now have access through only the south and north doors. Upon entry they see uniformed state patrol officers. Security captures all visitors on film. State employees coming and going in the side doors are required to use their coded identification keys or key cards. The drive-through tunnel directly in front of the Capitol is closed to vehicle traffic. Employees handling mail, particularly in the building's central mailroom and in the Governor's office, wear gloves. The Central Mailing Bureau provided all agencies with instructions on how to identify and react to suspicious mail. What a world.
Coordinator Marian Rogers, Wisconsin
The events of September 11 have not caused us to formally evaluate our library security procedures. We, as everyone else in Wisconsin state office buildings and in the capitol, are more aware of the activities going on around us. Capitol police do not hesitate to lock down our building. In a recent Stage 2 alert, only one entrance into our building was available. The same is true for the capitol and other state office buildings. Capitol police screen purses, bags, briefcases, etc. being brought into the capitol. Concrete barricades prevent motor vehicle access in the driveways--and on the sidewalks--leading into the capitol. Linda Hess, Michigan
Recent events have not affected our library's disaster recovery plans. Our agency and library has always been open to the public, but on the days of heightened security, only one entrance is open. These days, public access includes more than physically walking into the library.
Arden Rice recently participated in a discussion among government documents librarians at the Government Information Round Table (GIRT) meeting during the Wisconsin Library Association's annual conference. The discussion was about how librarians should respond to requests by government agencies (mainly federal) that want certain government documents removed from their library collections. (The State Department was already trying to recall one of its publications distributed to Federal Depository Libraries prior to Sept. 11.) As we understand it, so far the Government Printing Office has not agreed to instruct Federal Depository Libraries to remove depository publications, but it has stated that it will consider formally submitted requests by agencies to have publications removed.
Another civil liberties issue raised by librarians at the meeting was the extent to which librarians should monitor "suspicious use" of the collection, or "suspicious patrons." Some libraries at the University of Wisconsin are trying to establish staff policies for how they plan to cooperate with law enforcement
officials if they are asked to report on patrons in their libraries. GIRT is hoping to sponsor a program at the spring conference of Wisconsin academic libraries on the issue of intellectual freedom in libraries and national security.
The Research & Reference Collection has never been open to the general public, so we have not felt the need for major new security measures. In light of recent events and as a precautionary measure, the staff attended a mail processing and handling seminar presented by the Michigan Department of Management and Budget. The state has established a special section on their website www.michigan.gov that answers frequently asked questions about heightened security measures throughout the state and offers information on protective steps against bioterrorism.
Anne Rottmann, Missouri
There are no new security procedures for the library and our public access policy remains the same--if you are in the building, you may enter the library.
Our capitol/state office building security has been tightened. All regular employees are required to wear a badge identifying them as state employees, and they are checked at all entrances by capitol police or park rangers. Visitors to the capitol building are required to enter through the carriage and go through a metal detector.
Linda Harris, Missouri
The Missouri State Library is a division of the Secretary of State's office. We now have building security for the first time. Different portions of the Department of Public Safety are at our front door and control all entrance to the building. All other doors of our building are now emergency only exits. Even the loading dock is included in this rule. Shipment and deliveries have to be coordinated with building staff and capitol police are notified that a door will be opened.
Each staff member of state government now has an ID badge (including the Governor) and must produce it to enter state buildings. Visitors go through a procedure similar to airport security. Purses, briefcases and bags are physically examined by the security staff, and they use a handheld metal detector on all visitors. Hours of access to our building have been reduced, and staff have security code numbers assigned to them to enter during off hours.
The public still has the same access as before, once they clear security. It is our understanding that all buildings will have turnstiles and the magnetic strips will give us access to the building without security having to check our IDs. While our agency does not require us to wear our ID tags all the time, Reference Services staff mostly does. We would prefer that everyone did. There are about 200 people who work in our building and a large number of visitors, because the State Library, Archives and Corporations and Commissions are all housed in this building. Each of these divisions have a large number of visitors daily.
Debbie Tavenner, Ohio
Building security has increased: state highway patrol troopers are posted in state buildings; staff are required to wear identification badges; and bags are inspected when entering the buildings. Eventually visitor badges will be required for non-tenants. Mail and packages are x-rayed with low-dose x-ray machines.
The events have not caused us to reevaluate our security procedures. Not exactly disaster recovery, but our microfilming program may have to change. We are currently testing to make certain the low-dose x-ray machines will not harm the microfilm that travels in the mail between this building and the developer. Supposedly the machines will not harm the unprocessed film.
Kodak wants us to test the mail because even though this building is using low-dose x-ray machines, other places may be using powerful machines. If mail becomes routinely irradiated, no one seems to know what effect that will have on the film. The Kodak web site indicates they are working with industry and government officials to determine what to do. Our public access policy has not changed; we have very little public access anyway.
Coordinator Penelope Dukes-Williams, Texas
The folks from Utah reported that their office security procedures had not been altered since the terrorist attacks. However, the Dignitary Protection Bureau has increased security on the state capitol grounds. As Utah will be hosting the 2002 Winter Olympics, extra precautionary security measures will be in place.
The Arizona Library reported that security has been increased in the State Research Library and the State Law Library. State ID badges must be worn at all times, all incoming mail is now processed at a single location, all employees were sent information on how to handle mail, employees who deliver the mail were sent to a class on procedures for handling mail, all deliveries to the Capitol and the Courts Building are opened and inspected, information about handling bomb threats was updated, security personnel make unannounced rounds through the stacks and public areas of the library, streets in front of the Capitol and drives into the Capitol have been blocked off, dumpsters were moved away from the Capitol, security personnel at the Capitol are more visible and more inquisitive.
In Texas, the underground tunnels between the Capitol and various state office buildings in the Capitol complex can only be accessed with a security badge. Prior to the terrorist attacks, they were open during business hours and a security badge was not needed. The folks in the mail-room were issued masks and rubber gloves for processing mail and all of our employees received instructions on handling mail. DPS officers at the Capitol inspect everyone's bags before entry to the Capitol is allowed. State employees can show their ID badge for admittance. The drives around the Capitol were blocked off and are now manned by DPS personnel. An evacuation drill of the Capitol was held in early November.
Coordinator Suzie Johnston, Louisiana
In Louisiana we have certainly seen an increase of security measures at the state capitol. We are in close proximity to vital industries and transportation hubs for the region, which added to our staff's vulnerability.
Additional security officers were hired, new I.D. badges were generated, and we passed through metal detectors upon entering the building when we were not recognized. Meetings and drills followed, with the House Sgt. at Arms office making every attempt to answer our questions about a plan of evacuation.
Coordintor Ellen Breslin, New York
All respondents said that there had NOT been any restrictions for the library space in particular. Several however, mentioned increased security for access to the capitol building / state house / government offices where their library or research office is physically located. Some states have already implemented new security measures, others will have them in place by the beginning of the next legislative session.
Without exception, the librarians reported that their states had conducted sessions on proper handling of the mail. Memoes and videos have been circulated explaining how to spot suspicious correspondence and packages, and gloves have been made available to mail handlers.
In my state, New York, and in Connecticut, building evacuation procedures have been reviewed and updated.
Coordinator David Harrell, Oregon
In Oregon, public access to the Capitol has been reduced from eight to three entrances. Access to the underground parking structure is now limited to members and staff and is granted by 24/7 armed security guards. On the other hand, the three remaining entrances have no security and the public is allowed access to the building as it was prior to the sad events of September 11.
Kristin Ford, Idaho
Well, I can't say that Sept. 11th has caused any internal changes in the Idaho legislative library, other than that we are a little more cautious of mail we receive, and it is more difficult to receive deliveries now! But most of the changes that have happened are external to the library.
The governor has closed off two of the four streets around the Statehouse, where we are located, and there is no longer parking available around the Statehouse. Concrete barriers have been erected all around the building (modern-day moat). In addition, two of the four entrances to the Statehouse have been closed, and there are now state troopers and security guards at the two remaining doors, who ask visitors their destination in the Statehouse and sometimes search bags. So far no visitor badges are required, but there is talk of that in the future, as well as metal detectors and state employee photo i.d.'s. A sad far cry from the wide open public access we enjoyed even for a time after Sept. 11th.
from Ellen Breslin
Connecticut has hired a third full time librarian. Lisa Bologna Forman, who has a law firm background, will begin working at the Legislative Library in mid-December. from Robbie LaFleur, Minnesota:
Library staff are involved in several projects this fall. We are creating an "All-time Legislators Database" that will allow Web access to information on all Minnesota legislators back to territorial days. It is still in the construction phase; plans are to enter data for the most recent twenty years first. Randi from Lisa Mecklenberg Jackson, Montana
Madisen, our Web Services Manager, led a legislative-wide group in revamping the Youth Pages on the Legislative Web Site. Library staff are planning how to organize and provide long-term archives of the video coverage of the House and Senate.
I am the new legislative librarian for Montana. I've been in the position for about two months now, and I am--slowly--figuring things out. My assistant, Bentley Utgaard, has been great in showing me the ropes, and my predecessor, Beth Furbush, left excellent files and detailed notes. She also left some pretty big shoes to fill. We miss her in Montana, as I'm sure all of you do as well.
I first met Beth three years ago when I came to Montana as a new librarian. Although I was a law librarian, and Beth was the legislative librarian, we still had occasion to interact at state agency librarian meetings and various Montana Library Association retreats. I remember one retreat in particular, held at a state hot springs resort (we're very lucky here!). I must have sat in the hot pools for two hours, chatting with Beth, who talked with me about many things, including her "ex-hippie" past and what it means to be a librarian in Montana. She was so kind and friendly that I never forgot it. In later interactions with Beth, she was always the same, very helpful and very nice. She was one of my favorite people. It is with Beth in mind and heart that I will try to be the best legislative librarian I can be.
Currently, one of the big things happening in the Montana Legislature is the recent addition of 2001 committee minutes to our Webpage at http://leg.state.mt.us/reference/index.htm#COMMITTEE%20MINUTES%20--%202001%20SESSION. These seem to be very sought-after documents in Montana, so people have been anxiously waiting for the minutes to get online. There is a plan in the near future to link 2001 committee exhibits to these minutes, which will be excellent. Patrons will be able to click on a link in the minutes and be taken directly to the exhibit mentioned. Slick!
The Montana Legislative Council met September 20 and 21. As part of the Council's strategic planning, the Council and Legislative Division Managers generated a list of possible methods for addressing the following major concerns:
Public Image--how can we improve the public image and perception of the Montana Legislature and build public confidence in the institution? Human Resource Needs--is the Legislative Services Division appropriately staffed, and how will we address issues such as the eventual turnover of permanent and session staff, compensation, and other human resource matters? Legislator Training--how can we continue to provide effective training for legislators and legislative leadership? Infrastructure Needs--how do we address infrastructure needs such as adequate office space for permanent staff, sufficient parking during session, etc.? Interstate Participation and Cooperation--how can we improve legislator participation in interstate organizations? Branch Structure--How can we improve the structure of the legislative branch and address structural deficiencies?
September 11 - A Personal View from New York by Deb Priest, Assembly Information Center
It was Primary Day in New York, one of the quietest days in the legislative year. Nearly everybody was down in the City, the demographic center of New York's voting universe. By the time we had arrived at work, the attack on the World Trade Center had already happened. We sat by the TV and watched it all unfold. We felt the horror as the towers collapsed in succession. It seemed that every twenty minutes something would happen--reality and rumor mixed together. And we began to wonder how big this would be--where was that right hand bracket? Everyone waited patiently, as we knew our leaders, in New York and Washington, were scrambling for information before responding. By the time the last airplane crashed in Pennsylvania, we were frazzled, needing some sense of response or sense that it would all end, all be OK. British Prime Minister Tony Blair's simple address came first, offering the assurance we needed. Then we heard they were flying fighters over DC, the airspace had been cleared, and (mistakenly) the borders were closed. Something was being done. And we began to feel it would have an end, for now. My colleague Will started to call around, then went around the Capitol to find out who was in charge. Finally, two hours after events began, the Capitol was closed and we all went home and joined you all in listening to the news in stunned comprehension of what had happened and was about to happen.
New York State lost employees in the World Trade Center disaster. Our Port Authority of New York and New Jersey ran the World Trade Center and was housed there. Our Department of Taxation and Finance lost many employees, several of whom commuted from Albany. Our Governor and a great number of our Assembly Members were in New York City that day. Our Speaker lives just blocks away. But all turned out to be safe. Those first days were spent in shock, trying to comprehend the immensity of the loss. But we soon began to mobilize. Information became the most sought after and illusive commodity. The City of New York is dealing with the terrible human loss. Besides facilitating that, our role was to begin the assessment of economic loss, a process we continue to do today.
As you know, politics are usually feisty and contentious in New York. We are not known for playing well together. One sees this in our annual state budget battle. By September this year (and remember, our budget is due April 1st), we had just finally passed a "bare bones" budget to continue basic spending at previous levels. In the wake of September 11th, this was all put aside for an unprecedented sharing of efforts that includes direct sharing of information across political lines. In New York, Democrats have the majority in the Assembly, and the Senate, our Governor, and his agencies are Republican. The lead agency in managing this disaster is Empire State Development, our economic development entity. Both the Assembly and Empire State Development have teams of economists working on making the economic loss assessment. The agreed upon gateway for sharing was librarian to librarian. And we shared resources, contacts, data, strategies, reports, and teleconferences.
Information--that commodity referred to above--has been and remains volatile. As a profession, we trust authoritative, replicable fact. This disaster blew all that away. One of the first questions, for example, was: Who was in the World Trade Center? Who would know this? The Port Authority. Where were they and their database? In the World Trade Center. Then came the lists we hoped for from Crain's, Albany's Times Union, the Washington Post, the New York Times. But when you analyzed them, they did not agree. We knew there would be a "winning horse" that would emerge, but we did not have time to wait. So we began an in-house effort to reconcile all the lists until the winner emerged (as happened weeks later, and was the Wall Street Journal). In the interim--in that void--we needed to respond with some basic information on the companies involved in order to begin to assess their likely needs for relocation. We rounded up a number of volunteers from the legislative commissions to help us in internet searching. Once we had a workable list, we went to each of 450 company websites, where the number of employees and their status was reported. This gave us a measure of what size companies and what industry segments were involved. The very largest already had backup sites to move to and be up and running. The very smallest were simply broad-sided. The large number involves the medium size companies, and they were targeted as the most distressed and immediately needing aid.
A second type of information need was basic: how do we locate people, city or state agencies down there? The disruption was enormous south of 14th Street. Phones were out, the City Municipal Building still closed for days. Office of Management and Budget a week later was working out of 15 locations with cell phones, held together by a personnel locator. One company had to be reached via its London office. Even as phones came back up, numbers were changed with the rewiring. We did a lot of website searching and calling local contacts for help reaching people.
The third information need we call the 'quest for the impossible': How fast can one build a skyscraper? What will be the cost per square foot? How fast and how often will that money go out the door? Where will companies relocate? A lot of this is a matter of finding an expert. So far, all numbers we have are suspect and likely to change. They are the best guesstimations we can get right now. All numbers are volatile, and only hindsight will bring accuracy. Moody's Investor Service, reviewing all the insurers' estimations, reported recently that all numbers were too low, and it would take six months to get to 90% of the actual number.
The amount of expertise being given New York from the private sector has been overwhelming. A few examples: InfoUSA loaded its CoStar database free on the internet so businesses could quickly locate temporary or new office space. Major economic forecasting firms such as Economy.com have given the State free analysis and access to national teleconferences. Organizations like the New York City Partnership brought together expertise from various industries to become think tanks working on specific problems.
Working closely with the economists, my staff spent the last six weeks moving huge amounts of data and information. The product of this work is our Mid-Year forecast, produced over a month early, which separates out economic impact of the attack from pre-attack recession. This forecast will be used to brief our Members. The media has termed the attack on the World Trade Center a "symbolic economic attack." What emerges from our process is the recognition that for New York, this was a true economic attack. The amount lost in personal wages and corporate income from Manhattan represents a huge chunk of the State's revenues. This attack will affect our State's legislative direction for some time to come.
I now have a new file in my office. It has 25 subject headings, and stood on end, it is three feet tall. And how do I even measure all the related electronic files? Last Friday, I finally saw the wood on the top of my desk again for the first time in six weeks. This autumn was golden and warm, and all the red and orange leaves now carpet the ground. I have a grand-nephew who is determined to join us in the world a tad early. People seem kinder now, and actually stop to talk to each other. My "hey" guy on the elevator - whose name and workplace I haven't a clue of - touched my shoulder to ask if I was OK. We've come to cherish the normalcy we had taken for granted. The tough are getting going. November's silver light has come with its sharp clarity. And I perceive around me a beautiful resilience and vibrancy.
New NCSL Publications
All NCSL publications listed here are available from the Marketing Department at 303/364-7700.
- State Management and Allocation of Tobacco Settlement Revenue, 1999-2000
State Legislative Reports
- Safe Havens for Abandoned Infants, Vol.26, No.8
- Clean Air Policy: A Primer on State Implementation Plans, Vol.26, No.9
- Investing in Better Care for Infants and Toddlers: The Next Frontier for School Readiness, Vol.26, No.10
- Natural Disaster Mitigation, Vol.26, No.11
- Understanding State Business Climate, Vol.9, No.37
- Paternity, Marriage and DNA, Vol.9, No.38
- Dental Care for Children in Medicaid, Vol.9, No.39
- Driver History Records: Diversion and Deferral Programs, Vol.9, No.40
- Revolving Door Laws, Vol.9, No.41
- The Promise of Genetic Discovery, Vol.9, No.42
- State Income Taxes: Conforming to the Federal Code, Vol.9, No.43
- Pipeline Safety, Vol.9, No.44
- Flavored Cigarettes (Bidis) Popular Among Youth, Vol.9, No.45
- Earned Income Tax Credits, Vol.9, No.46
- To Hire (or Not to Hire) A Relative, Vol.9.No.47
- The Problem with Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether, Vol.9, No.48
Thanks to all of the staff section members and others who submitted columns and information for this issue. We welcome your ideas and submissions. Newsline is published four times annually by NCSL's Legislative Research Librarians Staff Section and is edited and formatted by Rita Thaemert.
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