Friday, June 17, 2005

Great lines from Alaska's Governors

My job at the State Library sometimes requires delving into old legislative materials and speeches. Recently, I had to locate some of the "State of the State" speeches by prior governors. I found comments from two speeches I had to share; one is stirring, the other gave me a good laugh.

Gov. Egan's 1965 remarks on January 26, 1965 had some coverage of the 1964 Good Friday including this bit:

"To many outside Alaska, it appeared for a horrible moment that the State had ceased to exist.

But then the world learned the pioneering spirit of Alaska was undimmed. Totally deprived of the utilities and services which modern cities must have, Alaskans in those first terrible hours after the disaster fired up camp stoves and lanterns, melted snow for water, and sheltered and fed one another.

Familar with living close to nature, Alaskans quickly adapted to critical circumstances--and won the admiration of the nation and world. In terrible adversity, they showed the stuff they are made of-- and the federal administration and congress were moved to provide assistance on an unprecedented scale to help us help ourselves. Contributions from public and private groups, organizations, and individuals poured in.

Had Alaskans voiced despair instead of hope--fear instead of confidence in the future--reluctance instead of resoluteness--we would not now be on the threshold of a great new era of progress--we would not now be in consort with our sister states in formulating our endeavors towards the realization of the great society which lies ahead."

May we act with such courage and optimism when faced with that kind of adversity!

Governor Sheffield had a great one liner in 1983:

"In the past, it seem's Alaska's systems of checks and balances has worked this way: the Legislature writes the checks, and the Governor checks the balance."

So spoke Governor Bill Sheffield in his 1983 State of the State address to a joint session of the Alaska State Legislature on Tuesday, January 18, 1983, as printed in 1983, v.1 of the Alaska Senate Journal.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Case Study of using AOL IM for chat reference

I ran across this article from Morrisville State College Library librarian Wilfred Drew describing their experience in using AOL Instant Messenger for providing virtual reference.

They report getting between 1-20 questions a day using IM. This blog entry actually started out life as a chapter in:

Ronan, Jana, ed. Chat reference : a guide to live virtual reference services . Westport, Conn. : Libraries Unlimited, 2003.

The blogger who posted this chapter is the author and he says he's retained copyright to the chapter.

Friday, June 10, 2005

New technology allows stripsearching of patrons

Bruce Schneier, a respected computer security expert, has a blog entry on new airport screening technology that will allow airport screeners to view people's nude forms. TSA officials say this new technology will pick up weapons that conventional screenings missed. Others, including me, are appalled.

Ok, so no one's thinking about using this in libraries, but if this gets accepted in airports, I predict we'll see it in a lot of other public places.

Schneier often posts thoughtful articles on the value of various security measures at his blog, Schneier on Security.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Discussion call for State Publications pages

As I hope most of you know, the Alaska State Library runs the Alaska State Publications program, which collects, catalogs and preserves publications produced or funded by Alaska State Agencies. We have a web page at primarily for agencies. We also have a page at that tries to explain our program to the public.

As part of our continuing efforts to review and improve our web content, I was hoping that some of this visitors to this blog could answer a few questions about each page.

1) About the main state publications program page at

  • Have you ever visited this page?
  • Do you find the page useful? Why or Why Not?
  • Is there one thing that would make the page more helpful to you or your users?

2) About the "State Publications page for the public" at

  • Have you ever visited this page?
  • Would you recommend this page to a patron interested in state government information. Why or why not?
  • Is there one thing that would make the page more helpful to you or your users?

Thanks in advance for any feedback you can provide.