Nebraska Library Commission - Minutes
Nebraska Library Commission
January 29, 2010
The Nebraska Library Commission met Friday, January 29, 2010, at the Nebraska Library Commission offices, Lincoln, Nebraska. The
meeting notice was submitted to local newspapers (Lincoln Journal Star,
Omaha World Herald) and posted on the Nebraska Library Commission Web
Jean Ahrens, Steve Batty, Diane Boyd,
John Dale, and Carol Spencer. Member absent: Charles Gordon. Staff present:
Maria Medrano-Nehls, Dave Oertli, Mary Jo Ryan and Rod Wagner.
Chair Jean Ahrens called the meeting to
order at 9:27 a.m. This meeting is in compliance with the Nebraska Open
of Agenda: A motion was made
and seconded to approve the agenda. Motion carried on roll call vote:
-aye; Steve Batty - aye; Diane Boyd - aye; John
- aye; Carol Spencer - aye. Motion approved.
of the Minutes (November 13, 2009): A motion was made and seconded to
approve the July 2009 meeting minutes. Motion carried on roll call vote:
Steve Batty - aye; Diane Boyd - aye; John Dale - aye; Carol Spencer - aye;
and Jean Ahrens - aye. Motion approved.
public attended the meeting.
Report and Commissioners' Comments
reported that the Kimball public library has a library director opening.
Carol Spencer reported that Broken Bow's
book donation project for children was a great success with 360 books
donated. The books are added with food and toys for families in need at
Christmas time. There were twice as many people requesting assistance this
year compared to last year. The Broken Bow library received a $1,000 Youth
Services grant which will be used for Family Night. The program features a
family reading night held once a month at the library. Approximately 14-15
families (40 people) attend the program. Carol stated that there are many
home schooled children in the community who use the library and they attend
many of the library programs.
Diane Boyd reported that the large amount
of snow in the area this winter has resulted in meetings and programs being
canceled. Diane said that the South Sioux City area also has many home
John Dale stated that he was interviewed as
part of the Library Commission's Broadband Technologies Opportunity Program
grant application. John met with the project consultants (from Cambridge
Strategic Management Consulting Group) in his role as a Commission member
and as the library representative on the Nebraska Universal Service Fund
Steve Batty stated that the McCook public library
director retired in November and recruitment is underway to fill the
position. As of yesterday there were 9 applicants. Steve stated that the
last Republican Valley Library System board meeting was held via phone
conference in an attempt to reduce expenses.
Steve said that Holdrege public library had problems
with health insurance coverage for library staff. The city was covering
library employee insurance but decided to discontinue coverage. The Holdrege
library board, the library director, Mary Nelson, and other concerned
community members met with the city council and the payment for staff
insurance was reinstated. Mary Nelson continues to attend both the city
council and county commissioners' meetings to educate them on different
aspects of the library, usage reports and children issues.
Steve stated that Bertrand is attempting to develop a
combination school/public library since the community does not have a public
library. Steve said that Deb Polacek, media specialist at Harvard Public
Schools, has stated the importance of interlibrary loan to her and her
students. She says she doesn't know if the librarians in bigger places
realize how important the Library Commission and library systems are to
small libraries. Steve stated that he is interested in seeing how public
librarians and school media specialists can work together to encourage
students to use the public library more often.
Online Broadband Grant Program
Rod Wagner stated that the Nebraska Library Commission
is one of fourteen state libraries that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
chose to support in preparing federal economic stimulus broadband grant
applications. The Gates foundation approached state library agencies to
offer its assistance to those interested in applying for broadband service
project grants. State libraries were asked to send a letter of interest to
the foundation to describe their project proposal. Not all were selected for
support. Part of the Gates foundation's assistance for state library
applications is providing consulting organization support. The Library
Commission is receiving application development support from Cambridge
Strategic Management Consulting Group (CSMG). The Gates foundation is
providing the cash match portion for the Library Commission's application.
Project grant applications are due March 15. The task
that has been consuming a lot of time is determining the eligibility of
libraries that can participate in the project. The eligibility criteria are
being completed and eligible libraries will be contacted next week to inform
them about the project application and request their participation. Rod
Wagner stated that approximately 170 or more out of 279 libraries are
expected to be eligible to participate in the project. A revised project
plan is due at the Gates foundation by mid-February. The revised plan will
be reviewed by the foundation for determining whether the foundation will
commit matching funds for the application.
Along with recruiting libraries for inclusion in the
project, the project team is reaching out to other state agencies,
organizations, colleges and schools to request their support. In addition to
upgrading library internet connections and acquiring additional technology,
the grant will emphasize use of public library computers for accessing
government information and services, training and course work, job
information, and health information.
Talking Book &
David Oertli, Talking Book and Braille Services (TBBS)
Director, provided an update on TBBS service activities. A video was shown
that describes the TBBS. The video was produced by Bill Ansley, Scott
Scholz, and Gabe Kramer, in collaboration with Michael Sauers. The video
provides information about the TBBS, from how to apply for services, the
types of titles offered, how recordings are produced in the Library
Commission's recording studio, the skills needed by the narrator, and the
new digital book machines. Dave stated that an average magazine read and
recorded takes two recording sessions which would be two weeks and another
week or two to clean it up and place it on a tape before the magazine is
available for checkout. The staff's goal is to get a magazine into people's
hands before the next print issue is available. Dave said approximately 500
to 600 books and several hundred magazines are mailed out in a typical week.
Oertli stated that a counterpart in Wisconsin worked
with Colorado and Washington State to put together all of the NLS
retrospective e-books unbarred which numbers 17, 334 titles. They placed the
titles on a 2-teratybe USB drive which we can borrow as long as we provided
the software. Dave stated that the new recorder will hold two 2-teratybe
drives to hold the NLS collection found on Braille and Audio Reading
Download (BARD). The site now contains 17,334 audio books. Dave stated that
using an extension, such as Down Them All (for Firefox) patrons could update
the computer drives once a week so they contain newly added digital books.
The digital books can be stored unzipped. This will allow some time-saving
efficiency, though the full outcome is not known. For the staff, this
project is an experiment.
The TBS obtained software and license for the Telex
Low Complexity Mastering System to drop markers for navigation points within
audio files. Opening announcements, preface, introduction, chapters,
subsections, and so on. The mark-up language enables borrowers to move
around more easily within a book. It is mostly nonfiction books where a
person may need to access material by chapters or headings.
Oertli reported that the TBBS received encryption
software from the Library of Congress several weeks ago. The software was
created exclusively for the Talking Book and Braille Service. The software
is important due to the fact that it allows TBBS staff to duplicate talking
books onto cartridges in a way that protects the copyright holder.
Dave stated that the TBBS received two shipments from
the multi-state center in Utah that will provide staff with enough labels to
start labeling cartridges. The shipment included approximately 1,500 labels
and paper labels for large print characters and Braille overlay. Dave stated
that the TBBS is waiting for the revised software that will allow production
of the labels. Delivery is expected within a few weeks.
Commission members thanked Dave and other TBBS staff
for their great work and for the great service they provide.
Rod Wagner thanked Mary Jo Ryan for her leadership and
work on a very successful Nebraska Book Festival.
Mary Jo Ryan stated that the Book Festival is a great
opportunity to bring people together and talk about books, about authors and
other related topics. There were approximately 375 people in attendance plus
30 presenters and 32 vendors. Mary Jo passed around a notebook with
materials used for advertising, newspaper articles about the festival, and
budget information. Mary Jo noted free advertisement from the Prairie Fire
Mary Jo acknowledged Kathryn Brockmeier, NLC Research
Analyst, for her many contributions and success in obtaining grant funding
for the festival. Mary Jo stated that without the grants there would have
been a very small festival or no festival this year. Contributors to the
project included the Nebraska Center for the Book, Nebraska Humanities
Council, Nebraska Library Commission, Nebraska State Historical Society,
Nebraska Arts Council, Duncan Family Trust, Lee Booksellers, University of
Nebraska Press, and Woods Charitable Fund.
Mary Jo stated that Peter Worth, who has worked for the
Commission as a part-time graphics design intern, did all the graphic design
work for the festival. Peter did a wonderful job on all the graphic design
which is striking, modern, but still portrayed the message we wanted to
send. Kathryn and Peter also worked on a Facebook page and website for the
festival and both were very successful. Mary Jo stated that the festival was
a huge success and helped to build a relationship with the public who will
spread their experience with others and make further book festivals a
Mary Jo stated a video recording was made of some of
the programs featured at the festival and is available to cable access. The
recordings will also be available in the Commissions collection and
available for loan.
Book One Nebraska 2010
Wagner state that the 2010 One Book One Nebraska selection was announced
during the November Nebraska Book Festival. The 2010 book is Wright Morris's
The Home Place. A proclamation
ceremony was held on January 20 at the Capitol. Partner organizations were
represented at the ceremony. The Lone Tree Literary Society is the host
organization is offering events in 2010 in recognition of the 100th
anniversary year of Wright Morris's birth year. Plans include a Wright
Morris conference to be held on October 9.
Rod Wagner stated that the Commission was fortunate to
have had some funds left from a Nebraska Humanities Council grant. The
Humanities Council allowed the Commission to use the remaining funds to buy
books for the Nebraska One Book One Teen program, featuring
Unwind by Neal Shusterman, and books for the One Book One Nebraska
program. The teen and adult books will be used for book kits that libraries
can borrow for book discussion groups. The book kits will be available from
the Commission and from regional library systems. If grant funding can be
secured, the Commission will bring Neal Shusterman to Nebraska for visits
and presentations at libraries and schools. A similar statewide author tour
last year, with Ellen Klages, was a great success.
Century Librarian Grant Program Application
Rod Wagner stated that applications for 21st
Century Librarian grant program are due in mid-December. Mary Jo Ryan is the
team leader for planning and preparing the Library Commission's grant
Mary Jo Ryan stated that the project is called "21st
Century Librarian Skills." The project will help people who either
want to work in a library or who work in a library and want to improve their
skills. Mary Jo stated that much was learned from the Commission's pervious
IMLS project grant. Funds will be requested for scholarships, internships,
and stipends to support students with their education and to do community
development projects as added learning skills. Many of the community
development projects will involve technology.
Commission staff will develop marketing strategies and
resources and design a campaign to reach young people to promote library
jobs. One of the more successful activities from the Commission's previous
grant was a student internship project. The internship project provided
grants to libraries to pay for student interns. Participating libraries
hired student interns to work in the library and experience library
purposes, services and the different types of work involved in library jobs.
Participating libraries and student interns reported great experiences from
the intern project. When grant funds were no longer available other sources
of funds were sought. A grant was secured for $10,000. While far less than
the amount available from the original project grant, this privately funded
grant allowed for 10 interns. Only half of the library applications could be
funded due to the reduced amount of funds available.
If funded, the 21st Century Librarian Skills
project will be administered over a three year period.
Wagner stated that are no library specific bills currently before the
legislature. The League of Nebraska Municipalities had presented a draft
bill proposal that would require public library administrative and employee
policies to be in line with those of their municipal governments. The
Library Commission sent the draft proposal to public library directors to
seek comments. Responses were mixed. Some didn't believe the proposed change
would have much effect. Others had concerns that the change would not be
helpful to library employees. The League chose not to request introduction
of a bill. Wagner commented that he had recommended not having a bill
introduced and, instead, bringing together library representatives along
with municipal government and League representatives to address issues and
concerns. Discovering and addressing the concerns of each could lead to
solutions, with or without legislative changes. Given the League's many
other legislative interests during the session it isn't expected that
anything will happen on the library employee policy proposal until after the
Wagner stated that Nebraska Library Legislative Day will be held on February
9. The day will begin at the Capitol with a meet and greet with senators. A
briefing and presentations will follow at the Lincoln Women's Club and a
luncheon for participants and senators at the Cornhusker Hotel. Beth Goble
and Devra Dragos will give a presentation on Nebraska Memories following the
Wagner referred to the November and December financial reports. The December
report reflects budget changes enacted as a result of the legislature's
November special session. Rod stated that overall the Commission's
expenditures are in line with the revised budget. Wagner stated that some of
the Commission's operating expenses are paid early in the fiscal year such
as dues and subscriptions.
Wagner stated that no changes in personnel are required
at this time but that may change next fiscal year. The Governor has
expressed his request that state employee salaries be frozen for the coming
fiscal year but it will be up to the union to decide if they will go along
with the request. It is expected that salaries for non-union personnel will
be frozen. Rod stated he would prefer a salary freeze to furloughs or
Rod Wagner stated that Congress has approved an appropriation bill that includes funding for the Library
Services and Technology Act (LSTA) for the current federal fiscal year
(October 1, 2009 through September 30, 2010). The President signed the
appropriations bill. Nebraska's LSTA allotment is nearly the same as last
year. The President proposed a three-year funding freeze for many federal
domestic programs. This would include funding for the LSTA.
was no unfinished business presented.
Council on Libraries Appointments
Rod Wagner asked for approval of new appointments to
the State Advisory Council on Libraries. Individuals recommended for
appointment to three-year terms are: Kate Borchman Hassebrook, Jayne Hlavac,
Todd Schlechte, Susan Warneke, and Merrillene Wood. Recommended for
re-appointment to a three-year term are Steve Fosselman and Frank Zimmerman.
A motion was made and seconded to approve the State
Advisory Council on Libraries appointments. Motion carried on roll call
vote: Diane Boyd - aye; John Dale - aye; Carol Spencer - aye; Jean Ahrens
-aye; and Steve Batty - aye. Motion approved.
Wagner asked for approval to attend the Western Council of State Libraries
meeting March 21-23, in Portland Oregon. Travel expenses will be paid by the
Western Council of State Libraries.
A motion was made and seconded to approve
the travel request. Motion carried on roll call vote John Dale - aye; Carol
Spencer - aye; Jean Ahrens -aye; Steve Batty - aye; and Diane Boyd- aye.
2010 meeting schedules:
- March 12 in rand Island (joint meeting with
the State Advisory Council on Libraries)
- May 14 in Lincoln (there may be a date change
due to Jean Ahrens's schedule)
- July 9 in Lincoln
- September 10 in Lincoln, (biennium budget
- November 5 in Lincoln (to be in proximity to
the Nebraska Book Festival)
The Commission met in a closed session for the
Director's annual performance review.
- Chair Jean Ahrens adjourned the meeting at 11:33 a.m.
Maria Medrano-Nehls, Secretary
All attachments are available upon request. If you would like a copy,
please contact Sue Biltoft at the Nebraska Library Commission,
800-307-2665 or 402-471-2045.