Building on a program begun in 1982, the State Library in collaboration with New Hampshire's 241 public libraries, 408 school libraries, 32 academic libraries and 64 special libraries will provide all residents with access to information using the latest technology. Developing online content and sharing technology resources will ensure that all New Hampshire residents have access to library information services and the Internet regardless of geographic location or economic circumstance. A heavy reliance on local funding to public libraries and the lack of direct financial state support has caused an imbalance in the level of public access computing throughout New Hampshire. Hence the public libraries in the more populated southern tier of the state may be in a better position to address technology needs than those located in the less affluent northern communities.
87% of public libraries in New Hampshire serve a population of less than 10,000. 93% serve a population of less than 25,000. 99% serve a population of 25,000 and under. Many of these public libraries have acquisitions budgets of less than $10,000. New Hampshire libraries have always shared their resources with their neighbors. Interlibrary loans between New Hampshire libraries in 2001 totaled 144,145, and 149,120 items were delivered using the State Library van service. Because the vast majority of public libraries in New Hampshire do not have the resources to manage a cooperative system, the State Library is the only institution capable of organizing and sustaining such an online system.
New Hampshire has a population of approximately 90,000 persons with disabilities. These range from severe to mild. Currently the Library Services to Persons with Disabilities Section of the New Hampshire State library serves approximately 2,000 patrons by providing "talking books" and large print books. The greatest numbers of handicapped persons are 65+ years. As the population ages, the number of people needing services from the State Library's Handicapped Section will increase. In its census brief CENBR 974 , the U.S. Commerce Department states that 20% of all Americans suffer from some form of disability and makes it clear that the percentage of the disabled population will increase as the population ages. The National Library Service of the Library of Congress predicts that it will have established a digital format for its "talking books" by the year 2004.
New Hampshire's statewide database licensing program called NHewLink provides access to a comprehensive array of online databases to New Hampshire residents through their public libraries. 165 public libraries currently take part in the program in addition to over 600 school libraries also accessing the full-text databases. We have also expanded the services to 12 health science libraries. New Hampshire citizens can access the databases from their public libraries or from home. Initially using LSTA funds as seed money, the program is now funded through a combination of federal and state money. The State Library's Electronic and Government Information Resources Section has negotiated favorable contracts to increase the offerings and increase the number of libraries eligible to take advantage of the program.
Besides the natural sprit of sharing in New Hampshire, the backbone of library cooperation is the State Library sustained New Hampshire Union Public Access Catalog (NHU-PAC). The catalog has its roots in the Union Card Catalog established in 1934 at the New Hampshire State Library. In 1982 the move to automate this process began with the Avatar system. In 2002 the New Hampshire State library signed a contract with epixtech Corporation to purchase a third generation online union catalog. Current holdings for the union catalog exceed 1,900,000 titles. The advances in library automation have made the significant improvements in resource sharing and interlibrary cooperation possible.
Objective 1: Provide access to digital collections for all New Hampshire libraries
1.1 Maintain a telecommunications network of sufficient capacity to provide connectivity to State Library resources
1.2 Upgrade, then sustain the statewide union catalog database (NHU-PAC)
1.3 Assist libraries in creating electronic bibliographic records for use in NHU-PAC as well as local library system(s)
1.4 Encourage all libraries to add their holding to the New Hampshire Union Catalog and to share resources with other libraries
1.5 Establish an original cataloging service for libraries within the Network Services Section
1.6 Develop a robust electronic document delivery system for libraries to share resources by meeting Interlibrary Loan ISO standards and subscribing to services such as Article Express and/or Ariel
1.7 Offer grants and technical assistance to enable libraries to acquire high bandwidth telecommunications networks
1.8 Provide advisory and consulting services to enable all types of libraries to plan for services that meet constituent needs
1.9 Purchase access to digital full-text products for all New Hampshire libraries with statewide licensing whenever possible at no direct cost to the partner libraries
1.10 Pursue a "Virtual Reference Demonstration Project" that encompasses quality content, management and planning
Objective 2: Provide access to New Hampshire state documents electronically
2.1 Enhance Webster, www.state.nh.us, the citizen portal to state government resources available on the Internet
2.1.1 Develop and maintain a government information locator service (GILS)
2.1.2 Establish a permanent retention and archival program for electronic state documents.
2.1.3 Implement an accessibility initiative to make Webster available to persons with disabilities
2.2 Develop finding tools to access electronic state government documents and information resources
2.3 Provide leadership to New Hampshire state government agencies relative to dissemination and retrieval tools for electronic resources
2.4 Establish free and open access to state government information to contribute to a strong democracy
Objective 3: Increase public access to unique community and historical collections through preservation of New Hampshire's paper-based collections using digitizing technology.
3.1 Encourage statewide and regional coordination of preservation and digitization activities
3.2 Initiate the transition in New Hampshire from a paper-based information to a digital public information infrastructure
3.3 Utilize OCLC's digital and preservation resources to digitize State Library newspaper, historical and legislative collections
3.4 Establish digitization policy, determine digitization standards and identify priority digitization activities
Objective 4: Ensure delivery of library services and resources to meet the needs of all people in New Hampshire
4.1 Provide greater access to library services to persons with disabilities by offering assistance and technical support for installation of assistive technologies
4.2 Improve patron satisfaction and interlibrary loan efficiency by supporting a statewide delivery service
4.3 Assist libraries who cannot afford technology and those who are slow to adopt technology
4.4 Implement an incentive program for libraries that participate in Interlibrary Loan that will be based on a lending formula
4.5 Investigate establishing a special services section within the State Library to address library services and resources to senior populations
4.6 Revise the statewide interlibrary loan network, which includes agreements and protocols for lending and borrowing