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Fifty Ways the Nebraska Library Commission Helps Nebraska Libraries and Nebraskans

Revised July 2002 from NCompass, Year In Review, FY 1997, Vol. 4 No. 4

1. Administers annual grants program to distribute approximately $364,000 (FY 2002) in state aid funds to accredited public libraries. See

2.Serves more than 4,600 individuals who can’t see to read or hold a book through the Talking Book and Braille Service, including circulation of 13,915 items per month in FY2001, recording 170 magazines and books, as well as duplication and distribution of special interest items. See

3. Serves as the state agency responsible for systematically collecting, cataloging, and providing access to state government-issued publications (including digitization of select information), by operating the Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse Service. (The collection totaled $122,847, with 1,498 circulated in FY 2001.) See

4.Administers federal grants program through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), providing $364,600 in federal and state funding (FY 2002) for public libraries, regional library systems, and other library organizations. See LSTA Grants became Library Improvement Grants in 2006.

5. Operates a World Wide Web site providing information for library staff and citizens, employing a variety of finding tools including a Search function, a Commission Services Index, and the Electronic Library (a list of selected resources). See

6. Provides a variety of Continuing Education and Training sessions to thousands of library personnel and others annually (2,618 in FY 2001) through training provided by Library Commission staff and contractors, training provided by the Regional Library Systems with Library Commission funding, and training provided through direct Continuing Education grants to libraries. (Grants totaled $43,608 in FY 2002.) See

7. Responds to numerous inquiries, providing reference and information services to state employees, library system staff, local library staff, and Nebraska citizens. (Reference transactions totaled 4,010 in FY 2001). See

8.Provides administrative, technical, and training support for staff of 136 Nebraska libraries that are NEBASE members using OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) products and services and 633 libraries using OCLC FirstSearch databases. See [obsolete link removed].

9. Negotiates and administers statewide contracts (including setting up free trials) for online electronic databases and uses state funds to purchase selected databases for Nebraskans to use in all types of libraries, as well as in their homes and offices. (Statewide database purchases totaled $348,182 in FY2002.) See

10. Provides training in the use of online database services, including eight Database Roadshow sessions with 86 participants in FY 2001. See [obsolete link removed].

11. Provides $610,000 in funding annually for Regional Library System programs, services, and staff. See

12. Promotes resource sharing between libraries by direct provision of Interlibrary Loan service and distribution of $131,000 in annual funding in the form of “lender compensation” payments to support Interlibrary Loan services among Nebraska libraries. See

13. Collects, compiles, and publishes public library statistics for local librarians to use to compare their hours, income, budget, and other information, with libraries of similar size. The Commission purchases Web-based data software, Bibliostat™ Collect and Bibliostat™ Connect, to facilitate this process. (Costs for Bibliostat™ software totaled $16,000 in FY2002.) See

14. Supports special publications, including: ©opyright Handbook; Guide to Nebraska State Agencies listing Nebraska State Agencies and their divisions, (see; Intellectual Freedom Handbook, developed in cooperation with Nebraska Library Association (NLA) Intellectual Freedom Committee, ([obsolete link removed]); Nebraska Library Board Manual, developed in cooperation with NLA Trustees, Users, and Friends Section, (see; Nebraska State Government Publications, a yearly listing of state government publications, (see for the 2001 list; and Nebraska Laws Pertaining to Libraries and Library Operations, ([obsolete link removed]).

15. Represents Nebraska libraries on the Nebraska Universal Service Advisory Board, as well as assists libraries in applying for e-rate funds through the Universal Service Fund (80 libraries received more than $200,000 in FY 2001). See

16.Coordinates Nebraska’s participation in the U.S. Library Program of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for Nebraska libraries to expand public access to computers, the Internet, and digital information in nearly 200 libraries. See

17. Administers the NebrasKard reciprocal borrowing arrangement, an extension of the cooperative efforts of Nebraska libraries encouraging Nebraska libraries to permit registered borrowers in good standing to borrow materials from multiple libraries, in addition to the borrower’s home library. (50 libraries participated in FY 2002.) See

18. Developed and administers Public Library Board Certification to encourage library board members to participate in continuing education (109 boards are currently certified). See

19. Developed and administers Public Library Accreditation program to encourage development of library services (168 public libraries accredited in FY 2002). See

20. Coordinates and funds the delivery of training for library personnel through the Basic Skills program, enabling librarians to participate in the Public Librarian Certification program and encouraging their growth and professional development (180 Basic Skills participants in FY 2001). See

21. Supports recruitment and retention efforts with ongoing Master of Library Science scholarships to help Nebraskans participating in a graduate level course of study leading to a Master of Library Science degree (five scholarships funded at $1,000 each in FY 2002). See

22. Coordinates Nebraska’s participation in Western Trails Project, a digitization collaborative between Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, and Wyoming (funded through a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services). Participants in the project will digitize and provide World Wide Web access to photographs, text, and maps about historic and modern trails in the western states. See

23. Participates in the Federal Documents Depository Library Program, providing access to information disseminated by the U.S. Government. (The collection totaled 169,988, with 169 circulated in FY 2001.) See

24. Developed the Libraries for the 21st Century initiative in collaboration with the Nebraska State Advisory Council on Libraries and the Nebraska Library Association, resulting in $651,000 in increased funding support for library service improvements (reduced by $121,056 in the 2001-2003 biennium). See

25. Awards Children’s Grants for Excellence for library services to children and youth to encourage innovative programs and partnerships. (Grants totaled $40,000 in FY 2002.) See [obsolete link removed]

26. Organized and provides staff support for the Youth Advisory Board, helping identify needs and library services for children and youth. See [obsolete link removed].

27. Led in the creation of Nebrask@ Online, the State of Nebraska’s computerized gateway to state government information, now operating under the State Records Board through the Secretary of State’s office as the official Web site for the State of Nebraska. See

28. Appoints members and provides staff support for the Nebraska State Advisory Council on Libraries. See

29. Supports library advocacy by providing training for library staff and supporters. For example, 120 people learned about expanding the base of support for local libraries at workshops held during FY 2001. See

30. Organized and provides staff support for the NEBASE Advisory Council. See [obsolete link removed].

31. Publishes NCompass (see and NLCommunicator (see to provide regular distribution of news and information concerning Library Commission and library-related information.

32. Tracks legislation of interest to library staff and supporters, providing ongoing updates on legislation via the Web site during the legislative session.

33. Purchases a statewide Motion Picture Video License, at no charge to public libraries, for all 271 public libraries in Nebraska so that videos may be shown in the library facility as part of library programming. (Funding totaled $16,810 in FY 2002.) See

34. Operates State Government Publications Online, digitizing and posting key agency publications on the Internet and providing a comprehensive directory to all online Nebraska state agency documents. See

35. Analyzes the impact of federal LSTA funding on Nebraska libraries and communities by conducting a comprehensive statewide evaluation project, Making a Difference @your library™ (with Library Commission staff visiting most of the 271 public libraries in Nebraska in FY 2002). See  for the Library Services and Technology Act Five-Year Plan Evaluation report.

36. Supports the cost of library staff attending workshops facilitated by presenters with national reputations. For example, in conjunction with “2001 Read Aloud to a Child Week,” registrations were paid for sixty Nebraska public library staff members for the Turning On the Turned-off Reader Workshop, facilitated by Jim Trelease, author of The Read-Aloud Handbook. See

37. Provides specialized library service information through regular communication via three electronic newsletters: Interchange, a bimonthly publication from the Talking Book and Braille Service (see; N3: Nebraska Library Commission Network Services News, a bimonthly publication from Network Services to promote and support libraries in their cooperative efforts to share resources and information (see; and What’s Up Doc?, a bimonthly publication of new State and Federal Documents from the Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse/Government Information Services (see

38. Provides a mobile computer network for training and demonstrations across Nebraska. ($25,000 to upgrade this network was awarded to the Library Commission in FY 2002 from the State Records Board.)
39. Provides leadership and support for programming and services for children and young adults including conferences, workshops, share fairs, book reviews, and cooperating with several states on the annual Summer Reading Program to purchase and distribute Summer Reading Program manuals to all public libraries and to school media centers, upon request. See

40. Supports the local library role in Community Economic Development by serving on the Nebraska Development Network Board of Directors, as well as training local library staff involved in local community development. See

41. Sponsored a variety of distance learning training sessions by purchasing multi-site licenses enabling participation at teleconference sites across Nebraska ([obsolete link removed].) and offering original programming for library children's service staff via the State of Nebraska video teleconference system.

42. Tracks information about copyright and provides Web access to the latest developments with ongoing updates.

43. Provides grant support ($5,000 in FY 2002) to support consumer health information through the Web site maintained by the ICON library consortia, enabling access to consumer information on support and self-help groups, participating public libraries, and regional and national consumer health Web sites for consumers in Nebraska and Pottawattamie County, IA. See

44. Supports the Nebraska Humanities Council by housing their video collection and circulating that collection for them. Search the Library Commission catalog at

45. Supports the Nebraska Center for the Book by serving on the Board of Directors and helping promote Nebraska’s book culture and literary heritage through staff support and grant funding (funding totaled $7,500 in FY 2002). See

46. Supports graduate level education in library science in Nebraska by partnering with The University of Nebraska at Omaha Library Science Program and University of Missouri School of Information Science & Learning Technologies to bring an off campus program to Nebraska. See

47. Provides general library development consulting and supports cooperative library development efforts by encouraging communities to examine new and innovative service arrangements and providing staff assistance for planning efforts that examine different approaches to library service. See

48. Supports the National Issues Forums by encouraging libraries to serve as local sites for bringing together a cross section of citizens for discussion and deliberation on major public policy issues. See

49. Supports Nebraska libraries in adding their holdings to the OCLC Online Union Catalog, WorldCat: the global database of library holdings, by encouraging libraries to use OCLC Cataloging Express Service (CatExpress) for copy cataloging. (Funding for new users totaled $6,478 in FY 2002.) [obsolete link removed].

50. Celebrated 100 years of service to Nebraska library staff, trustees, and customers with the Libraries for the Centuries Centennial Celebration. See

For more information, contact Tessa Terry.