Sunday, February 26, 2012

Alaska Library. Network

I attended two meetings of ALN: the general membership meeting and the Board of Directors, the second of which the State Librarian is an ex-officio member. ALN is a good, if somewhat young, organization. There are currently some 40-odd members statewide, from all kinds of libraries. Representation is greater for larger and more urban libraries, less for school and small rural. This is because of the reachability of its flagship service, ListenAlaska Plus. Libraries and patrons have to have certain infrastructure and bandwidth to be able to access it. That said, the members are doing other interesting things too. Sitka libraries are sponsoring Alaska Spirit of Reading, a statewide reading club, and they have plans to expand their reach through use of OWL videoconferencing capabilities (see earlier post). The Wasilla library has put out much information for librarians and patrons on the use, care and feeding of e-readers, and these handouts were in high demand. ALN has prOmise as a fiscal agent for longtime projects and grants for libraries. We considered ideas for additional services, such as Freegal downloadable music, sponsorship of Live Homework HIelp, and others. Longterm sustainability for ALN is always going to be a problem. It survives only as a grantee of LSTA funding. Nevertheless, as long as I am State Librarian, I will support it. I believe in its value to libraries and statewide library projects, manynofnwhich cannot be hosted easily elsewhere.

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