Year in Review
Seventy-one Nebraska public libraries and the Nebraska Library Commission received e-rate discounts for the second year of the program. The total discounts of $144,883 helped public libraries provide more effective services to customers by improving technology access available in libraries. Most libraries received discounts for Internet access or telecommunications access. Libraries used the support for improving internal connections and telephone service.
Discount levels for e-rate are based on the percentage of students in each local school district eligible for subsidized lunch programs. In Nebraska, the public library discounts range from twenty-five to eighty percent. Libraries across Nebraska received discounts that ranged from $122 to $20,550. The following representative examples illustrate the range:
Ceresco Public Library: $614 for Internet and telecommunications access, based on a 40% discount rate.
Ponca Public Library: $659 for telecommunications access, based on a 50% discount rate.
Gibbon Township Library: $3,600 to improve internal connections, based on a 60% discount rate.
Omaha Public Library: $20,549 for telecommunications access, based on a 63% discount rate.
Gordon Public Library: $1,412 for Internet and telecommunications access, based on a 70% discount rate.
Beatrice Public Library: $5,018 for telecommunications access, based on a 58% discount rate.
Nebraska Library Commission: $4,871, based on a 51% discount rate.
Grand Island Public Library: $8,649 for telecommunications access, based on a 68% discount rate.
Axtell Public Library: $554, based on a 60% discount rate.
See the Library Commission home page at nlc.nebraska.gov, search on E-Rate, for a complete list of all Nebraska Public Libraries receiving 1999 discounts. For information about the application process for the next round of funding contact Pam Scott, Library Development Consultant, 402-471-2694, 800-307-2665, Fax: 402-471-2083, e-mail: Pam Scott or see the Library Commission home page, search on E-Rate Universal Service.
Libraries for the 21st Century Initiative:
What difference does it make?
The 1999 Libraries for the 21st Century initiative resulted in an increase in state funds for library services in Nebraska. An additional $150,000 in state aid funding was appropriated by the legislature for this fiscal year. Of this amount, the six Regional Library Systems received an additional $22,500 ($3,750 for each system). Of the remaining $127,500, the Commissioners directed that $75,000 be added to existing aid funds for direct state aid to public libraries.
As a result of this additional funding, the distribution formula for direct state aid was adjusted. The new formula provides for an increase in the base grant amount from $600 to $750 for libraries serving populations of less than 5,000 and a per capita payment of eighteen cents ($.18).
For libraries serving populations of 5,000 and above, the state aid payment was increased to twenty-four cents ($.24) per capita. Nearly every eligible public library received a funding increase. Also, all public libraries that received funding from a public entity other than their main funding source received an incentive payment of 1% of that additional funding. The average state aid per capita rose from $.25 to $.34 per capita.
One hundred sixty-four eligible public libraries received state aid applications in November 1999 and state aid payments were made to those applicants. For many of these libraries, the increased aid amount had a significant impact on the programs and services they were able to offer. Library directors will be surveyed about the impact of the increased state aid.
This year the additional state aid funding was also used to support Training and Continuing Education Grants to increase the skills of Nebraska library personnel, ensuring that every public library in Nebraska has skilled and knowledgeable information specialists to serve the citizens' information needs.