College & Research Libraries News

From Inside the DLSEF

By Dr. Katharine M. Stokes

College and University Library Specialist, Library Planning and Development Branch, Division of Library Services and Educational Facilities, U.S. Office of Education, Washington, D.C. 20202.

A few weeks ago some sixty or seventy libraries which had received supplemental or special purpose grants under Title II-A of the Higher Education Act of 1965 were called from this office or by the newly appointed Library Services Program officers in the regions. It must have been a surprise to the librarians of those institutions suddenly to be asked what they had done with their award funds, for they had already reported statistically in September.

The callers were really searching for human interest or success stories. DLSEF staff often needs information, other than statistics, for a Congressman who wants to know what’s happening in the area he represents; or for a government official who wants to be brought up to date on a program under his administration. For a busy man, a brief and uncomplicated story is more helpful than several pages of figures.

Some of the librarians, in answering the query, said, “Oh, we threw our grant funds into the general pot.” Further questioning brought out that a grant awarded to one library equaled one-fourth of its “pot” for the current academic year. In other words, this library would show a 25 per cent increase in books funds for the year in addition to the 5 to 10 per cent increase to which its administration is committed. Now the call to that library didn’t produce a human interest story. But what was discovered will please a Congressman from the western state that is trying to provide higher education opportunities comparable to those offered in wealthier and more densely populated States.

Another librarian reported a grant expended for materials for double use in the teachereducation curriculum and in supporting the Youth Corps and Upward Bound programs on the campus. This story may catch the interest of a high-level official in the Office of Education, especially when he has to allocate scarce federal dollars for administering many more appealing programs than taken-for-granted academic libraries.

Distant visits are expensive in time and money, but telephone conversations can be “a window on the world,” as one DLSEF official suggested. The Library Services Program officers considered the telephone conversations an opportunity to become better acquainted with the activities of their regions. Hopefully, library program officers will soon be appointed to all nine Office of Education regions, and you will find them good people to know.

Your Annual Reports are read with great interest as they come into this office. Many of you mention the amount of your federal grants, but we’re especially pleased to find an occasional paragraph telling what the grants have enabled you to accomplish. ¦ ¦

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