Year in Review
Special Report...Ninety-nine Attend Spring 2000 Classes
The Spring 2000 Basic Skills course, Organization of Library Materials, was held in six sites across the state during April and May. Ninety-nine people registered for the course including forty-five library directors, thirty-three public library staff, and eleven others from institutional libraries, schools, hospitals, and a monastery. Participants registered via online, fax, telephone, and direct mail. Information announcing the classes was placed in the NLCommunicator, Nebraska Library Commission Web announcements and calendar, and regional system newsletters. The online registration included a pre-course questionnaire designed to explore current library practices involving technology, cataloging, merchandising, and public relations experience. Applicants completed pre-course activities including a community and library assessment, library photography project, and subscribing to the BSKILLS electronic mailing list.
The class was developed and delivered by Kit Keller, Marilyn Liedorff, Mary Jo Ryan, Kimberly Shelley, and Ellen Van Waart. Content included discussion of the tools that catalogers use in preparing records, the importance of standard procedures and policies, library automation, review of actual records created by catalogers, the overall organization of libraries, and organization of electronic information (including databases and Internet Web sites). By analyzing photographs of how bookstores make information and materials readily accessible to customers, participants explored merchandising principles that librarians can use to enhance access to information. The course featured an information technology lab, using the Commission's mobile computer
network and onsite computer labs. The lab assignment provided an opportunity for participants to join the BSKILLS mailing list, find cataloging records online, and explore ways that electronic information can be organized.
Participants registered by March 1 were sent a camera with an explanation of the goals of the Library Photography project and how to take photographs from the point of view of what the customer sees in the library. The photographs were placed in albums and used in the merchandising section of the course. Several people requested a loan of the albums to share with boards and others in the library to explore what other libraries are doing in remodeling or renovation projects. The evaluation results showed that participants perceived the organization of their libraries differently as a result of taking photographs and discussing their observations.
The BSKILLS list had ninety-nine participants. Discussions addressed many issues surrounding the organization of library materials, as well as other pertinent topics. The list proved to be an effective communication tool for a number of topics related to the course. The course evaluation was primarily handled via the list. A section of the class can be found on the Library Commission home page at nlc.nebraska.gov/libdev/basic/organizationoflibrarymaterials/liborg.html. The Basic Skills course, Organization of Library Materials, fulfills one of the four course requirements of the Public Librarian Certification program. For more information contact Richard Miller, 402-471-3175, 800-307-2665, e-mail: Richard Miller.
2000 Legislative Report
The Nebraska Legislature's 2000 session concluded without any changes of special consequence for Nebraska libraries. Library representatives sought increased state aid funding and legislation permitting changes in debt financing provisions for library technology purchases.
Senator LaVon Crosby's legislative bill 1224 sought additional state aid funding for libraries as outlined in the Libraries for the 21st Century initiative. The Appropriations Committee added $150,000 to the Nebraska Library Commission's budget for state aid purposes, and that amount was approved by the Legislature. However, Governor Johanns vetoed the additional aid appropriation.
Senator Gene Tyson, with several cosponsors, introduced legislative bill 1134. Senator Tyson's bill proposed provisions allowing municipalities to arrange debt financing for library technology purchases and allowing purchase payments over several years. The Government committee did not advance the bill to the floor. This legislative proposal is expected to be re-introduced in the 2001 legislative session.
Commission Compiles Children's Resources
The Library Commission recently created a special section of the Commission Web site with electronic resources for children, children's librarians, and parents. Caregivers and others who work with children can find advice on discipline and self-esteem, along with information on hobbies and other activities to challenge and engage children. Librarians serving children and young adults can find ideas to improve professional skills, information about special events, summer reading help, and the best in children's literature. Children have direct access to discover games, puzzles, homework help, and science projects. Local and Nebraska-specific materials and sites will be added as they are developed. See the Nebraska Library Commission home page at nlc.nebraska.gov, search on Children's Resource Page.