HSLI Newsletter

Serving Illinois Health Information Professionals

Archive for 2014

Library Referenda in Illinois During 2014

During the 2014 election cycle, a number of referenda affecting Illinois libraries were placed on the ballot. The purpose of most referenda impacting libraries in Illinois and elsewhere is to increase the number of people who have access to library services. Library access is an especially critical issue in Illinois, since approximately one million of the state’s residents do not receive library services. This is largely due to that Illinois does not have county libraries-just city, township, and district ones. Illinois residents who do not live within a district’s boundaries must pay for a library card in order to borrow materials.

One library district that chose to address this issue via a referendum is the Gail Borden Public Library District, in Elgin. The district serves 144,597 residents of Elgin, South Elgin, and sections of several other communities (Campton Hills, Streamwood, Hoffman Estates, and Bartlett). Within the geographic region covered by the district, however, are 870 residents who live areas that do not receive library services. Additionally, over half (53 percent) of children in the district’s geographic area do not have access to a public library. In the case of children, belonging to a public library is especially crucial, since libraries play a key role in academic success.

Unfortunately, the referendum for the Gail Borden Public Library District did not pass. Even though 70 percent of the overall vote was in favor of the referendum, the referendum did not receive a majority in any of the five precincts that would have been added to the library district. The opposition was due to that residents of those precincts would have had to pay a library tax, amounting to approximately $240 per year on homes valued at $150,000 or more. If the referendum had passed, the library district would have received about $350,000 in additional funding each year. Even though the referendum failed, the campaign for it was at least a partial success, in that it gave librarians the opportunity to raise awareness of unserved populations in the district. Librarians also found that there was strong support for access to library services; indeed, some residents of the unserved areas said that they would not have bought their current homes, had they known that the properties did not fall within the district’s service area.

There were, however, a number of successful library referenda in Illinois during the past election season. One of these was a referendum (passed with approximately 55 percent of the vote) that will enable the Lemont Public Library to buy bonds that will go toward a $2.8 million renovation project. The project will include upgrading equipment, building a new meeting room, and renovating existing space to create quiet reading areas and a teen section. Another referendum (in the Rockford area), which passed with 52 percent of the vote, will allow continued funding of the North Suburban Library District. Keeping funding at current levels will allow the district to conduct repairs and maintenance at the libraries in Love Park and Roscoe. Additionally, in Park Ridge, 57 percent of voters supported a referendum that will raise $680,000 for the Park Ridge Public Library by increasing taxes on some homeowners (those with properties worth $421,000 or more). The funds will allow the library to return to full hours of operation, undergo a major renovation project, and return the materials budget to its previous level.

During the upcoming legislative session, library referenda will no doubt continue to play a key part in sustaining current levels of funding for existing services and, when possible, extending services to more people. The success or failure of referenda at the local level will merit special attention because of the possibility of substantial funding cuts at the state level, particularly if the income-tax increase is not sustained. Also, as 2015 is an “off year” in the election cycle, it is likely that fewer voters will take note of library referenda and the broader issues associated with library funding. That is why promoting awareness of referenda and other legislation affecting libraries will be particularly critical in the coming year.

For more information on library referenda in Illinois and across the country, click here.

Posted in Legislation | No Comments »

Federal Budget Passes–Government Shutdown Averted

The United States Senate just passed this year’s $1.1 trillion budget, by a vote of 56 to 40. (The budget still has to be signed into law by the President.) While it is not entirely clear what impact the budget, as a whole, will have on libraries, one thing is certain: there will be an avoidance of the government shutdown that paralyzed many federal library and research services in the fall of 2013.

As a result of the budget’s passing, the following will happen.

-The Library of Congress will remain open. Its entire website (not just THOMAS, Congress.gov, and Cataloger’s Desktop) will remain accessible.

-Websites for the National Institutes of Health and the National Library of Medicine will be kept up-to-date.

-Databases provided by the National Library of Medicine, such as PubMed and MedlinePlus, will be fully accessible and up-to-date.

-Federally-funded presidential libraries and all National Archives facilities will stay open.

-The Smithsonian, in addition to other federal galleries and museums, will remain open.

-Federally-funded search engines, such as eric.ed.gov (and not just the version accessible through EBSCOhost), will remain accessible.

-Research into life-threatening diseases will continue, and new patients will keep being accepted into clinical trials at the National Institutes of Health.

-Consumer-protection services, from child-product safety to securing of hazardous-waste facilities, will continue. All inspections (not just “essential” ones) of chemical facilities and drinking-water systems will continue.

-Federal employees, including librarians, will still be able to read their e-mail.

Posted in Legislation | No Comments »

Funding Increase for Providing Internet Access

On December 11, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) voted to raise fees on phone users, by about $2.00 per year, in order to increase funding for the E-Rate program. The program provides Internet access to schools in impoverished areas. Currently, annual funding for E-rate is about $2.4 billion; the fee increase will raise funding levels to $3.9 billion. The fee increase was sought because of the continuing need to close the gap between schools that have access to the latest online technologies and those that lack access to reliable Internet, period. In recent years, almost three times as many schools have applied for funding as there has been money to distribute.

“E-Rate” is the general name for the Schools and Libraries Program. The program was originally authorized in 1996, as part of the Telecommunications Act. Since then, the program has continually upgraded the kinds of technology it makes available to schools. The most recent initiative, launched this past summer, seeks to install Wi-Fi in as many school as possible. Even with these efforts, a significant gap still exists. According to the FCC, 39% of schools in affluent areas have the latest in high-speed Internet access, whereas only 14% of schools in less-affluent areas do. More troublingly, 68% of all school districts, including 73% of all rural districts, believe that not a single school in their district can currently meet the long-term goals for high-speed Internet access.

For more information on the E-Rate program and its impact, please click here.

Posted in Legislation | No Comments »

Proposed Changes to Library Systems Rules

Members of a library system may comment on proposed rule changes for library systems. This is in the Dec 5 Illinois Register, page 22526.

Your library system has been forwarded this information.

My main concern is membership to a library system when the library is totally virtual.

If you have any comments, you may attend a public hearing. You may also send comments to Joseph Natale (jnatale@ilsos.net) at the State Library.

Eric (on behalf of Michael)

Posted in Legislation | No Comments »

2015 Legislative Meet-Ups Announced

The Illinois Library Association has announced its first round of legislative meet-ups for the upcoming Illinois General Assembly session. The meet-ups will be held in mid-February, with three of them in the Chicago area and one in the St. Louis area.

  • South Suburban Breakfast-will be held in Tinley Park on Friday, February 13
  • West Suburban Lunch-will be held in Oak Brook on Friday, February 13
  • North Suburban Breakfast-will be held in Buffalo Grove on Monday, February 16
  • Metro East Breakfast-will be held in Edwardsville on Friday, February 20

This is an excellent opportunity to strengthen existing connections with legislators and to build new ones. Also, you will have an opportunity to meet and work with librarians and other library advocates (such as trustees) on issues of common interest. While it is hard to predict specific legislation and issues, one issue that will undoubtedly arise is renewal of the income tax increase, which is set to expire on January 1. To see what other issues the ILA predicts will receive substantial attention from legislators during the upcoming session, click here.

To register for one of the legislative meet-ups, click here. Also, if you are not sure who your elected representatives are, you can check here.

Posted in Conferences and Meetings (non-HSLI), Illinois Library Association (ILA), Legislation, Library Organizations | No Comments »

William ShakespeareThe Galter Health Sciences Library will be hosting “‘And There’s the Humor of It’: Shakespeare and the Four Humors, an exhibition developed and produced by the Exhibition Program at the National Library of Medicine and the Folger Shakespeare Library. An opening event will be held Thursday, December 11th, 2014, 4:00 to 5:00 pm at Galter Health Sciences Library, 303 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL.

Catherine F. Belling, PhD, Associate Professor in Medical Education Medical Humanities and Bioethics, Northwestern University, will deliver a talk entitled:

“Bleeding is Good for You! Humoral Physiology and Therapeutic Violence in Shakespeare”. A question and answer session will follow Dr. Belling’s presentation.

Posted in Member News | No Comments »

December 3 Update on Illinois HB3796

I am glad to report that the Illinois Senate voted earlier today to override Governor Quinn’s veto of Illinois House Bill 3796. (The vote was by a margin of 39 to 13; a three-fifths majority, or 36 out of a possible 59 votes, was needed.)

House Bill 3796 amends the Freedom of Information Act, to give public bodies more leeway in responding to what could be considered “voluminous” requests for information. The purpose of the amendment is not to limit access to information itself, but to reduce the number of possible “nuisance” requests, as they place a burden on the already-limited resources of government bodies. Certain groups that need access to information quickly, particularly the news media, are exempted. HB3796 also modifies the FOIA by allowing government agencies to refer an individual to the online link for a document, rather than having to provide a print copy for every request. Advocacy organizations, including the Illinois Library Association, agree that the legislation improves efficiency in providing information, while still maintaining transparency by making information as broadly available as possible.

Thank you to everyone who contacted her or his elected representatives regarding this legislation. With the current legislative session coming to a close, it is heartening to know that library advocates have made an impact on at least some legislative outcomes.

Posted in Legislation | No Comments »

Articles from Bates Continuing-Education Session

For anyone who’s interested, here are the three articles that Mary Ellen Bates highlighted in her continuing-education session.

“What Are They Doing and What Do They Want: The Library Spaces Customer Survey at Edmonton Public Library”https://journal.lib.uoguelph.ca/index.php/perj/article/view/1967/2633#.VHysVcmKLZg

This article discusses a survey, of patrons at the Edmonton Public Library, designed to determine how they use library spaces and what changes, if any, they would like to see. The consensus among respondents was that the library’s physical spaces were already integrated with the services and collection materials the library provides, and that any changes that are made to library spaces should be planned with patron feedback.

“Library Space Assessment: User Learning Behaviors in the Library” http://owl.li/Faq5N

This study evaluates the evolving role of academic libraries in helping students succeed academically. With an increasing number of library resources available online, libraries are finding it necessary to redefine how space in the library is used, with one alternative being to shift the focus of library space from collection storage to student interaction and learning.

“Looking and Listening: A Mixed-Methods Study of Space Use and User Satisfaction”http://ejournals.library.ualberta.ca/index.php/EBLIP/article/view/21810/17133

The focal point of this study is measuring patron reactions to two redesigned library spaces, one having been turned into a study area, and the other having been transformed into a social-meeting place. The survey found that, even though most users preferred to use each space for its designated purpose, there were instances in which users would be willing to use the social area as a study space, and vice-versa.

Posted in 2014 Conference | No Comments »

rhona_kellyRhona Kelley, Head, Reference & Education at SIU plans to retire at the end of 2014 after 30 years of service. Rhona served on 9 MLA committees and chaired 3 of them. She is an active member of Midwest Chapter MLA. She authored “Teaching Technologies in Libraries” in the Bulletin of the Medical Library Association.

In 2000, Rhona was awarded the President’s Award in acknowledgment of her service as President, the first Marketing Chair, and the Membership Chair. Until 2014, Rhona served as an Illinois representative to the Regional Advisory Council.

Pres Photo - KovachFran Kovach, Reference & Instruction, retired in June of 2014 after 22 years of service. She, along with Careyana Brenham, Rhona S. Kelley, Carol P. Gordon and Connie Poole, is a co-author of the article “Family Physicians Inquiries Network (FPIN)” in the Journal of Hospital Librarianship. Fran is a co-author on 6 article in theJournal of Family Practice and two in American Family Physician.

Fran served as HSLI President from 2010-2012. She served as the HSLI webmaster for several years. Fran received the first Starfish Thrower Award in 2000.

Posted in Member News | 1 Comment »

Proposed HSLI Bylaws Amendment

For two years there has been an ad hoc Helen Knoll Jira Scholarship Committee reporting to the HSLI board on the Jira Scholarship fund. As this committee has a permanent role, the proposed bylaws amendment adds the Helen Knoll Jira Scholarship Committee to the list of standing committee and lists the proposed committee’s charges. Please consider the amendment below and send any comments to the HSLI Bylaws Committee Chair, Jeanne Sadlik jsadlik@luc.edu, by 12/31/2014.


Proposed addendum:

Actile V Committees

Section 1: Standing Committees

HSLI Standing Committees shall include a Nomination and Elections Committee, a Bylaws Committee, a Membership Committee, and a Legislative Committee, an Archives Committee, a Website Committee, a Newsletter Committee, a Conference Committee, and a Helen Knoll Jira Scholarship Committee.


  1. The HSLI Helen Knoll Jira Scholarship Committee shall:
    1. Select the investment firm to manage the funds
    2. Develop policies and procedures for the committee
    3. Decide selection criteria for awards to support graduate education in library science or a closely related field of benefit to the profession of librarianship
    4. Submit articles/announcements to the Newsletter Committee regarding scholarship deadlines and qualifications
    5. Monitor the application procedure for candidates and brief the Board on candidates
Posted in HSLI Board | No Comments »