Governor Carney Signs Legislation to Boost Library Technology, Scholarship Opportunities
New measures will help libraries coordinate technology resources and offer additional educational opportunities
NEWARK, Del. – Governor John Carney on Wednesday signed into law House Bill 94 and House Bill 34, legislation that will allow Delaware libraries to further their efforts to coordinate technology resources statewide and offer more educational opportunities to library and archives professionals.
“Delaware libraries have become centers for exploration and innovation – places where people from all walks of life can ignite their passions and unleash their potential. Technology is the lynchpin of the modern library, and I’m proud that libraries across our state are working in such close collaboration to bring those resources to the public,” said Governor Carney. “I’m also proud to continue to honor the legacy of a true champion for our libraries, Ada Leigh Soles, by extending the scholarship that bears her name to more eligible professionals in the library and archives fields.”
The two measures signed into law Wednesday at the Newark Free Library include House Bill 94, which codifies the state Division of Libraries’ responsibility to administer the Delaware Library Consortium. Launched in 2010, this statewide network of libraries has partnered together to improve the quality and accessibility of technological resources available at libraries. The consortium’s efforts include the development of a statewide digital library catalog and the expansion of high-speed broadband internet access to all public libraries, as well as coordinated purchasing of computer hardware and a centralized tech help desk.
House Bill 34, also signed Wednesday, expands the availability of the Ada Leigh Soles Memorial Professional Librarian and Archivist Incentive Scholarship Program to include employees of non-public libraries in Delaware that join the consortium. Established in 2010 as a tribute to the late Newark legislator and tireless advocate for libraries, the Ada Leigh Soles award provides financial assistance to students who work for Delaware libraries and the Delaware Public Archives.
Both measures were approved earlier this year by the General Assembly with unanimous support. Newark-area legislators Representative Paul Baumbach and Senator David Sokola led the effort to pass the bills.
“It is my honor to have sponsored House Bill 34, which enhances the Ada Leigh Soles scholarship, given that Ada Leigh was my state representative when I moved back to Newark in 1990,” said Representative Baumbach. “Just as Ada Leigh was a cornerstone of our community during her tenure, libraries are cornerstones of our communities throughout our state and nation.”
“My mother was passionate about education, libraries and serving her community. A scholarship that helps educate librarians and archivists so that they can serve their communities is the perfect tribute to her,” said Catherine Soles Pomeroy, daughter of Ada Leigh Soles. “Of course, she always said that this type of recognition was just the whipped cream on top of what was a very fulfilling career. But who doesn’t enjoy some whipped cream every now and then?”
New Castle County administers the largest network of public libraries in the state and serves as a key partner in the Delaware Library Consortium. The Division of Libraries, which oversees the consortium, is an agency of the Delaware Department of State.
“Our library system enables countless residents to study, learn, and find work. We are extremely appreciative of the Department of State’s support for technology in libraries across Delaware, including the many libraries in New Castle County,” said County Executive Matt Meyer. “The statewide library consortium formalized through this legislation will provide residents with equal access to the information they need to conduct their daily lives.”
“The Delaware Library Consortium now enables libraries to ‘crowdsource’ community services through a growing network of partner agencies and nonprofits,” said Dr. Annie Norman, State Librarian and Director of the Division of Libraries. “Under the leadership of Gov. Carney, we look forward to maximizing these services on behalf of library patrons across the state.”