New York Education Officials Seek $12 Million for Virtual Library

New Yorkers listed a statewide electronic library card as one of their top priorities in a recent survey by the Regents Commission on Library Services, and the state's education officials took steps last week to give Big Apple residents what they want.

Officials have asked the state for $12 million to launch a statewide virtual library that would be accessible through an e-library card.

New York's Education commissioner, Richard Mills, and the Board of Regents want to launch the New York Online Virtual Electronic Library (NOVEL), following the lead of California, Kentucky and Michigan, which already have statewide systems. The e-library card and NOVEL are the Regents' priorities for the 2000 legislative budget session.

"No matter where you are or who you are, the e-library card and NOVEL would allow access to catalogs, digitized collections of photographs, images, maps, manuscripts, encyclopedias, journals and other proprietary databases licensed on a statewide basis for free," Mills said.

NOVEL will offer a networked library organized by librarians that will lead users to useful, accurate sites. The state's local libraries will be linked to the virtual system, and people will also be able to connect from home or the office through a password-protected account.

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