Volume 26, Number 4, Winter 2004

Volunteer Librarians + Illinois State Library Funds = Quality Information at a 'Click'

by Rebecca Tull and Frances Roehm

Thanks to the work of more than seventy volunteer librarians, this spring Illinois CLICKS!, the online information portal customized for Illinois citizens, will launch phase two in its effort to provide high quality, timely information. Additional funding from the Illinois State Library will provide the foundation for the continuing grassroots endeavor, helping to expand the site’s capabilities and services and to assist in the recruitment of additional volunteers.

Illinois CLICKS! provides 24/7 online access to librarian-selected and reviewed Web sites on an array of subjects. Well organized and user-friendly, the site makes special collections and collections that have previously been difficult to access available as never before. Illinois CLICKS! simplifies the search for government information through links to the Illinois State Library and its complementary resources. Phase two of the project will expand subject options, links, and search capabilities; introduce subject-related news feeds; enable the creation of personalized homepages; improve database capabilities; and raise awareness of these sites.

“More and more citizens are turning to the Internet to supplement their informational needs, and they want that information to be dependable, well organized and easily accessible. Illinois CLICKS! is one of the best Web site portals available to Internet users seeking quality informational resources,” says Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White. “Illinois librarians, who are experts in resource gathering and distribution, designed Illinois CLICKS! to be reliable, timely, helpful and easy to use. It's a tremendous asset for addressing the educational, informational and entertainment needs of Illinois citizens.”

Illinois CLICKS! Administrator and SkokieNet Librarian Frances Roehm, concurs.

“The fact that we’re embarking on Phase two of this important project testifies to Illinois librarians’ ability to partner, penchant for technological innovation, and understanding of citizens’ information needs,” says Roehm. “With additional funding from the Illinois State Library, we hope to recruit more volunteer librarians to help with the expansion and continue the effort to save libraries needed dollars, and librarians and citizens valuable time, without sacrificing quality.”

New subjects slated for addition to the site are Academics; Aging and Care-giving; Arts and Entertainment (including Film/Movies); Genealogy and Local History; Home and Leisure (including Cooking, Pets and Gardening); Readers Advisory: Fiction and Nonfiction; Science, Technology and the Environment (including Engineering); and Theology. Currently, Illinois CLICKS! covers Consumer and Business, Health, Homework Help, Immigration, Jobs and Career, Law and Government, and Travel and Tourism.

Launched in 2003, Illinois CLICKS! (short for Citizens Library of Illinois – Comprehensive Knowledge Service) is a grassroots, cooperative effort by school, public, academic and special librarians statewide to address the online information needs and challenges of Illinois citizens and residents. Funding for the Illinois CLICKS! grant was awarded by the Illinois State Library, a Division of the Office of Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White, using funds provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, under the federal Library Services and Technology Act.

To learn more about Illinois CLICKS!, or to become a volunteer, email contactus@illinoisclicks.org or call Frances Roehm at 847-324-3173.