DOCUMENTS NEWS FROM AROUND THE STATE
SEPTEMBER 1996

Table of Contents

  1. 1996 Biennial Geographic Area Meeting, Southeastern Area, Highlights
  2. Census 2000 Roll Out Meeting Held in Detroit
  3. Michigan Information Pathways
  4. MGTV Debuts
  5. MLA Conference To Feature Documents Topic


(1) 1996 Biennial Geographic Area Meeting, Northern Area, Highlights

Ann Swaney from Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City graciously supplied the following minutes for the Michigan Council of Federal Depository Libraries held on May 21, 1996.

We assembled at the "Crow's Nest" in Cisler Center on the Lake State University Campus in Sault Ste. Marie. It was a beautiful day with a great view of the International Bridge and during lunch we watched freighters going through the locks!

Attending were librarians and other staff members from the five federal depository institutions in the 1st congressional district, along with Cass Hartnett and Ann Sanders. Cass and Ann reported on the Federal Depository Conference they attended in Washington, D.C. They explained that the conference brought up more questions than answers or conclusions and that the best news may be that the shift to an electronic is now projected to be extended over a 5 year time span.

We moved to a computer lab where Ann Sanders, using MEL as a gateway, facilitated a hands-on training session of GPO Access.

After lunch, we worked on creating action plans to facilitate our own library's inclusion in the Electronic Federal Depository Library program. Of the institutions represented, all but one of our libraries was at where we should be in terms of computer hardware. We each stated our personal technology objectives for October of 1996 and the biggest obstacle to obtaining that objective. We concluded that our greatest obstacle besides the usual lack of money and/or space is the human resources we need to learn about and teach others to use computer programs, and to maintain computer hardware. Other obstacles mentioned include dealing with "creative computer hackers" and establishing priorities for purchase and knowledge of all the available technology.

Attendees included Theresa Spence from Michigan Tech; Darlene Pierce and Kelly Eastwood from Northern Michigan University; Fred Michels, Ruth Neveu, and Mary Gray from LSSU; Eunice Teel from North Central Michigan College in Petoskey; and Ann Swaney from Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City.

Apparently our meeting was held too late to get the minutes included in the June "Red Tape"; however we are reporting the results so the Red Tape readers know we actually held one. It was a very productive meeting. Our institutions are so far apart that we don't have much of a chance to discuss our common problems face-to-face, thus these "required" meetings are very important to us.


(2) Census 2000 Roll Out Meeting

On Monday, July 15th the Detroit Regional Office of the Census Bureau hosted the Census 2000 Roll Out meeting in Detroit. More than 200 representatives of local governments, social service agencies, community organizations and libraries were briefed on the Census Bureau's plans to implement the next decennial census.

The overriding theme of the meeting was the Census Bureau's new mission to make the next census a collaborative effort involving all sectors of the community from private business to neighborhood organizations. Among the co-sponsers were Association of Public Data Users, Chamber of Commerce, MIC, MIMIC, Southeast MI Census Council, SEMCOG, and others.

The meeting was more promo than substance, more handshaking than rolling up the sleeves. Highlight of the meeting was Mayor Dennis Archer's no nonsense directive to the Census Bureau: get it right or we'll see you in court.

The Lowlight? Not one mention of libraries. Many people were noted, many organizations were named, stakeholders envisioned that could offer ideas, support, and delivery of services but no mention of the vital role public libraries can play in educating citizens, providing outreach services, etc.

The closest we came to recognition was during a questions and answer session when Grace York, Documents Librarian at the University of Michigan, asked a very vital question on access, archiving and cost of the data from Census 2000. Mr. Vince Koontz of the Detroit Regional Office agrees that the 1) mission of libraries -- education and outreach and 2) reach of libraries -- involvement with all sectors of community make them a major player in the success of Census 2000.

I'm sure MLA, GODORT of Michian, the Library of Michigan, and other Michigan organizations will be in contact shortly with the regional office, providing valuable advice and assistance in making Census 2000 a success for every community. The benefits to libraries from recognition and involvment are endless.

Notably, educators were well represented and their importance as a liasion to the community well noted by the speakers from D.C. and Detroit.

One of the most controversial aspects of the plan for Census 2000 is the replacement of some enumeration by sampling. While the D.C. officials and the researchers they consulted touted the many benefits of sampling, cost savings the biggest, followed by accuracy and timeliness, a very small side effect was mentioned and quickly dropped as unimportant.

The sampling method was considered to provide a more accurate count in large population/metro areas than all other previous methods combined. However, one speaker mentioned that this would be the opposite in "small areas". Rural and sparsely populated areas would actually be counted less accurately under the sampling system currently devised by the Census Bureau.

Combining this inaccuracy with the already too-little, too-infrequently updated data for out-state regions further undermines the ability of local governmentt officials, developers and citizens to make informed decisions about their communities. This "glitch" is not as minor as the Census would have us believe and should be immediately brought to the attention of the Congress by the affected stakeholders.

Although two U.S. Representatives have already introduced legislation to prohibit sampling, they cite different reasons and may not fare well against the cost-savings argument. Combining the concern of rural/small area communities with others may, however, cause the Census Bureau to revamp the sampling methodology or scrap it in small areas in favor of a more precise enumeration. Letting your local governmentt officials, chambers of commerce, planning commissions know of this sampling change now may prevent ten years of inaccurate data in your libraries.

Source : Debbie Gallagher, M-Link, MICHLIB-L, July 16, 1996.


(3) Michigan Information Pathways

Michigan Information Pathways, a new information kiosk with more than 29,000 job listings, began operating in Meridian Mall in Okemos in late May, less than a mile from the RED TAPE Editor's home.

Already, many shoppers are browsing the computer data bank -- looking at opportunities from mechanical engineering to waitressing. Accounting to zoology. Full-time and part-time positions. From minimum wage to $50,000-plus a year.

The job search system, provided by the Michigan Employment Security Commission, offers the same job listings -- in English and Spanish -- found in MESC offices statewide, the federal government, Michigan Civil Service, and America's Job Bank, which compiles openings available in other states too.

Updated twice weekly, the computer kiosk program also includes details about the openings and instructions on how to apply for them. Jobseekers can ask for instant printouts.

The Meridian Mall kiosk is the second of its kind to be located outside traditional MESC offices. The first was in a Battle Creek library.

The kiosk will remain at Meridian Mall until at least late June, as an experiment to evaluate whether to place kiosks in similar settings elsewhere.

According to George Mechem, MESC analyst, "This is a way to get services out to people who might not get it otherwise."

Source : A. J. Evenson, "Mall Kiosk is Font for Job Ideas", Lansing State Journal, May 31, 1996, p.5B.


(4) MGTV Debuts

Michigan's own version of C-SPAN started July 15 with 10 hours of state government programming.

MGTV--which took over three years to develop--will air Legislature floor debates, Supreme Court arguments, state meetings, speeches and other political events from 10 a.m. until noon on weekdays.

In August, MGTV will begin live programming to allow viewers to phone in with questions and comments.

And plans are under way to eventually expand MGTV's programming to 20 hours a week from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. each weekday.

Start-up costs and the first year's budget are paid for through a settlement between the Public Service Commission and Ameritech. Equipment and materials cost $1.5 million. The 1996 operating budget is projected at around $500,000.

Future funding will come from cable subscriptions. Continetal Cablevision, Horizon Cablevision, and TCI Cablevision will all carry MGTV in the Lansing area.

Source : Betsy J. Miner, Lansing State Journal, July 10, 1996, p.1A.


(5) MLA Conference to Feature Documents Topic

If you are planning to attend the Michigan Library Association Annual Conference at the Hyatt Regency Dearborn, November 5-8, 1996, here's a program you won't want to miss:

Thursday, November 7, 1996
2:00 - 3:15 p.m.
Finding Government Information on the Net
Reference Division

Are you aware that vital sources from the government may no longer be available in print form? Finding these sources on the Internet is a skill that will be necessary for survival at the reference desk. Cynthia Teague, Federal Documents Librarian at the MSU Libraries, will be the presenter.

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