Council on Postsecondary Education
DIRECTOR OF KENTUCKY VIRTUAL LIBRARY NAMED SPECIAL LIBRARIAN OF THE YEAR
The Special Library Section of the Kentucky Library Association recently named Enid Wohlstein, director of the Kentucky Virtual Library, as 2008 Special Librarian of the Year. The annual award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated the highest standards of special librarianship.
Wohlstein received the award last month at the 2008 Joint Conference of the Kentucky Libraries Association, the Kentucky School Media Association, the Southeastern Library Association and the National Diversity in Libraries. As a recipient, Wohlstein was honored for significant contributions to the advancement of special librarianship, activity in professional organizations and demonstration of continued growth in her profession.
Wohlstein has been director of the Kentucky Virtual Library since December 2002. The Kentucky Virtual Library, launched in November 1999 as part of the Council on Postsecondary Education, provides users with the ability to search a number of scholarly research databases while also providing help on research methods and techniques.
When state budget cuts earlier this year resulted in a half million dollar cut to the funding for KYVL’s collection of research databases, Wohlstein worked with vendors to negotiate deep discounting and succeeded in persuading vendors to break up their resource packages – an act almost unheard of in the library profession. Because of her contributions, KYVL is able to continue offering valuable resources to all libraries in Kentucky.
“Enid not only exudes great passion for her profession, but she continually faces unique challenges in heading a special library that serves an entire state’s population,” said Richard Crofts, interim president of the Council on Postsecondary Education. “This year, in particular, she has gone above and beyond her duties in her service to both Kentucky’s libraries and its citizens.”
Wohlstein has also provided KYVL training free of charge, actively seeking out opportunities to offer training and support to librarians and educators across the state. In search of ways to engage new technologies, she instigated the purchase of an island in Second Life for the Kentucky Virtual Library and the Kentucky Virtual Campus so that Kentucky librarians and educators could have a place to explore and collaborate in this new digital world. She has since presented and provided training statewide on the use of Second Life. She has been active in investigating and experimenting with other Web 2.0 tools, such as social networking sites, blogs and wikis, to make them a part of the KYVL library experience.
The KYVL currently serves 1,468 institutions including eight public universities, all 16 colleges of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS), 20 independent colleges and universities, 1,271 public K-12 schools, 116 public libraries and almost 50 special and independent libraries and K-12 schools. Use of KYVL's online resources has grown steadily and exponentially, from a monthly average of 388,675 database searches in 1999 - 2000 to more than 1.5 million per month in 2007-08.
The KYVL also strives to enhance the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of resource sharing among Kentucky libraries through use of current and emerging technologies and cooperative statewide licensing. KYVL's ground courier service delivers materials to participating sites across the state and is offered to all public libraries and public postsecondary institutions at no cost. In addition, KYVL also offers many opportunities for training and tutorials for partner organizations. For more information, visit http://www.kyvl.org.
Kentucky is in the middle of the most dramatic economic and social transformation in its history. Double the Numbers: Kentucky’s Plan to Increase College Graduates explains that increasing bachelor’s degrees is the quickest, most direct way for Kentucky to increase its economic prosperity. College graduates earn more, are healthier, create a more robust economy, and enjoy a higher quality of life. The Double the Numbers plan outlines five statewide strategies for Kentucky to achieve this ambitious, but achievable goal. While this effort will not be easy, the benefits of Doubling the Numbers will be felt by all Kentuckians.