Several genealogists in New York state have banded together and are asking other genealogists to sign a petition. Once the signatures are collected online, the petition will be sent to Janet Welch, New York State Librarian & Assistant Commissioner for Libraries.
The petition requests that the New York State Library subscribe to HeritageQuest Online, a service of ProQuest, and specifically to offer in-home remote access to all New York state residents. ProQuest offers the option for in-home remote access for library patrons by to all public libraries.
If you are a resident of New York state and would like to access HeritageQuest Online from your home computer, you might want to sign the petition at:
Here is the full text of the petition:
Whereas ProQuest has recently announced they will be eliminating remote, in-home access to the members of genealogical and historical societies, and
Whereas ProQuest is the company that provides HeritageQuest Online, a collection of online databases that contain images of original U.S. census records, Revolutionary War pension applications, more than 20,000 local and family history books, Freedman's Bank records, and on-line REMOTE access to Historical Newspapers, including but not limited to, the New York Times Historical Newspapers 1851-2003, and
Whereas many smaller local Libraries have found it cost-prohibitive to offer access to ProQuest New York Times Historical Newspapers 1851-2003 either in the Library or by REMOTE internet access, and
Whereas, numerous other United States STATE libraries offer REMOTE in home access to HeritageQuest Online, a collection of online databases that contain images of original U.S. census records, Revolutionary War pension applications, more than 20,000 local and family history books, Freedman's Bank records, and Historical Newspapers, including but not limited to, the New York Times Historical Newspapers 1851-2003, and
Whereas, we the undersigned, members of the New York Historical and Genealogical community are now denied REMOTE in-home access to the aforementioned databases via our membership to various genealogical & historical societies, and
Whereas, we the undersigned are further denied this access because many of our smaller local libraries which we also support with our local tax dollars, find it cost prohibitive to offer some or all of these services in the Library and/or REMOTELY to their patrons, and
Whereas we are citizens of the State of New York seeking to preserve New York State History, Local History and Family History in our local communities, and
Whereas, we the undersigned, often find it nearly impossible and cost prohibitive to travel to Albany or New York City from far distant points within the State of New York to conduct in-library research, and
Whereas, the State of New York is very adept at passing down unfunded mandates to municipalities which is one of the reasons our local taxes are unbearable to a point of nearly forcing many out of their homes and the state, and
Whereas, often local funding to local libraries is cut, or is not nearly as generous as it should be, as a result of state mandates which then puts more of a tax burden on the local taxpayer via library district taxes, and
Whereas, If we want our libraries to keep running and offering up-to-date services we have to pass the budgets they present in our already overburdened state of tax liability, and
Whereas, it would seem that it would be more cost effective for all NY local libraries to refer their patrons to the STATE Library by obtaining a State Library Borrower Card to obtain access to these databases either in-library or remotely, and
Whereas, it would also seem that the STATE Library would be able to obtain a more cost effective contract with ProQuest/HeritageQuest than the smaller local libraries.
Now therefore be it resolved by the undersigned that they believe if the State of New York were to provide in-library and REMOTE Access to HeritageQuest and ProQuest Historical NY Times 1851-2003 through the STATE Library - it would be a way for the State to support the Historical and Genealogical Community as well as taxpayers Statewide, and
Be it further resolved, by the undersigned that we respectfully request and would greatly appreciate your investigating all means by which STATE FUNDING can be utilized to provide holders of valid New York State Public Library Cards with REMOTE on-line internet access to HeritageQuest Online, a collection of online databases including original U.S. census records, Revolutionary War pension applications, more than 20,000 local and family history books, Freedman's Bank records, AND ProQuest Historical Newspapers, including the New York Times Historical Newspapers 1851-2003.