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Alabama Virtual Library. Sue O. Medina Network of Alabama Academic Libraries for the Alabama State Department of Education 7 September 2007. Alabama Virtual Library. What is a Virtual Library ?.

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Alabama Virtual Library

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Alabama Virtual Library

Sue O. Medina

Network of Alabama Academic Libraries

for the

Alabama State Department of Education

7 September 2007

Alabama Virtual Library

What is a Virtual Library ?

  • Core information supporting instruction and research for Alabama’s students, teachers, and citizens

  • Online access via the Internet

  • Scholarly, essential, authoritative content

    everywhere but nowhere!

What is the vision for the Alabama Virtual Library?

  • Every Alabamian will have access to the information resources available in Alabama libraries and other repositories as well as to a rich array of electronic information.

What is the vision for the Alabama Virtual Library?

  • Each Alabama library will serve as a gateway to make information available to all Alabamians regardless of location or time and via traditional and non-traditional means.

Who created the Alabama Virtual Library?

  • Alabama’s virtual library is the result of years of advocacy

    • Sought formal endorsements

    • 1998 legislature appropriated “seed money” to develop the project

The Advocacy Campaign

  • Developed a grassroots strategy

  • Established a consistent message

  • Trained AVL Advocates to use a consistent message

  • Established a “legislative tree”

  • Contacted newspaper editors

Alabama Virtual Library Message

  • Equity - every citizen, student, and teacher will have access to core information needed for instruction, research, and lifelong learning

  • Economy - significant savings can be realized by negotiating state-wide licenses

  • Excellence - information content is appropriate, accurate, reliable, scholarly, and up-to-date

School library example(1998 State Dept. of Ed survey)

  • average number of print magazine subscriptions per school was 11

    8000+ magazines and journals available online

  • average age of science books in Alabama school libraries was 19 years

    AVL resources are current

Campaign Materials

  • Poster

  • Brochure

  • Postcards

  • Video

The Advocacy Campaign

  • 140,000 postcards

    • Distributed to librarians to obtain signatures in libraries/schools

    • Used with the brochure in presentations to PTA, Rotary, etc.

  • 80,000 postcards returned to the State House

How was the Alabama Virtual Library established?

  • Education Trust Fund; line item in APLS budget

  • No separate authorization bill

  • Funding

    • FY2000 Appropriations bill signed June, 1999

    • First databases accessible in August, 1999

    • Funding began on 1 October, 1999.

Who Governs the Alabama Virtual Library?

  • Alabama Commission on Higher Education

  • Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education

  • Alabama Public Library Service

  • Alabama State Department of Education

  • Alabama Supercomputer Authority

Governor Riley signing SB-393Alabama Virtual Library Bill

07/29/2004 Photo Credit: Governor Staff - Kevin Glackmeyer

How are Alabama Virtual Library funds used?

  • Information Content – licensed databases

  • AVL Help Desk

  • Training –very limited funds (printing)

  • Each state agency is responsible for supporting its constituents’ infrastructure needs


How do I use the Alabama Virtual Library?

  • IP authenticated access via

    • academic members of the Network of Alabama Academic Libraries

    • all public two-year college libraries

    • all public school systems

    • all public libraries

  • Remote access using AVL Cards issued by Alabama public libraries, public school libraries, and two-year community colleges

How are databases selected for the Alabama Virtual Library?

  • Database Review Committee reviews products continually.

  • Databases must:

    Support education purposes

    Meet needs of a broad spectrum of users

    Provide reliable, high-quality content

    Represent good value for cost

    Provide use data for management decisions

How are databases selected for the Alabama Virtual Library?

  • AVL Council receives Database Review Committee evaluations

  • For favorably reviewed products, may refer to Database Negotiating Team for price quote and license review

  • Database Negotiating Team submits its recommendation to the AVL Council

What’s next for the Alabama Virtual Library?

  • More content - always!

  • Federated search engine - has been suggested

  • Access to government and other high-quality advertising-free databases (e.g. PubMed)

  • Training – always an ongoing need

  • Alabama history resources: Alabama Mosaic

For More Details:

AVL Publications posted at

  • A Miracle for the Millenium: How the Alabama Virtual Library Governance Succeeds(reprinted with permission from The Alabama Librarian, a publication of the Alabama Library Association, Inc.)

  • Brochure

  • 2004-05 Annual Report

    • Annual Report

    • AVL Partners insert

    • AVL Resources insert

  • 2003-04 Annual Report

  • Postcard

  • Morgan, Josie. "Turning a Dream into a Virtual Reality of Statewide Information Sharing." Computers in Libraries. January 2001: 51-55. Academic Search Premier. EBSCOhost. Huntsville, AL. Alabama Virtual Library.19 July 2007 <>.

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