STATE ADVISORY COUNCIL ON LIBRARIES
Benson Branch Library, Omaha, NE
November 14, 2008
Advisory Council members present: Patty Birch, Janice
Boyer, Deb Carlson, Kathy Ellerton, Steve Fosselman, Patricia Gross, Theresa
Jehlik, Diana Johnson, Marty Magee, MeMe Smith, and Frank Zimmerman. Commission staff: John Felton, Maria Medrano-Nehls, Mary Jo Ryan, and Rod
Welcome and Introductions
Marty Magee welcomed everyone to the meeting. Introductions
were made around the table.
Approval of the Agenda: A motion was made by Jan
Boyer and seconded by Theresa Jehlik to approve the agenda. Motion approved.
Approval of Minutes (July 11, 2008): Jan Boyer
stated that page 5 should say all Elsevier subscriptions were canceled not all
subscriptions. Deb Carlson stated that page 4 should say teen summer reading
participation was 151. A motion was made by Steve Fosselman and seconded by MeMe
Smith to approve the minutes with corrections. Motion approved.
Welcome from Theresa
Jehlik, Manager, Benson Branch Library
Theresa welcomed everyone and stated that Benson branch
library has been a part of the Omaha Public Library System since 1923 when Omaha
annexed Benson. The new part of the library was renovated about ten years ago.
Theresa stated that the Benson branch library serves the most diverse community
in Omaha taking into account the range of household incomes and ethnicity.
Federal Library Programs Update - Rod Wagner reported that
there is intention early in the calendar year to introduce legislation to
reauthorize LSTA. It will be interesting to see how it proceeds with the new
administration and new congress. One of the elements of the legislative proposal
is intended to address the recent policy interpretations of IMLS which have
become more restrictive on the uses of LSTA state program monies. States used to
use LSTA monies for training, marketing, and library development purposes. Now
all expenditures must support the six priorities for the state programs portion
of the LSTA appropriation.
LSTA funds will continue to be distributed under the
congressional continuing resolution until congress acts on appropriations for
the full federal fiscal year. The continuing resolution allocates funds based on
last year ' s appropriation funding levels. There
is expectation that congress will finalize appropriations after the new calendar
Rod stated that this is the time of the year when the
Commission prepares the annual State Program Report for LSTA. The report is due
the end of December.
IMLS - 21st Century Librarian Program - Mary Jo
Ryan stated that the State Advisory Council on Libraries contributed to the
recently completed three-year LSTA funded recruitment project. The project
proposal and grant request followed Council meetings and discussion concerning
the Nebraska library workforce and future recruitment and retention needs. At
that time, the UNO/Missouri MLS program was just getting started. This brought a
concern of being able to fill the positions of retiring librarians and how to
recruit people into the MLS program.
The Commission received the grant and over the last four
years has sought to make a difference in the recruitment pitches for librarians
across the state and for both library service professionals and
paraprofessionals. The grant came together as a pre-professional program with
scholarships and internships at any library education level. The program
included the mentoring program for students. A web site was created that has
addressed public needs. Council members told the Commission that the job bank
the Commission maintained was difficult to use. After researching other job
banks and speaking with people who found jobs Commission staff re-designed and
organized the library jobs web site. A library careers public service
announcement was created which organizations in other states have adapted to fit
their needs. The project has been successful in reaching out to the intended
target audience - young people who hadn ' t made up their mind about career and
John Felton distributed a document with information about
scholarships. Scholarships were awarded to 176 students with a majority of them
for master ' s level education. There were fewer in the Library Technical
Assistant program. Student internships were popular. The purpose of the
internships was to introduce high school and college students to library
careers. Students were allowed to work in different areas of the library so they
could get a good idea of library jobs. Some MLS students worked on marketing
projects, some by designing summer reading program materials, and some working
on library websites. Forty-fine internship grants were given to libraries. John
stated the internship component of the project was especially popular and one
the Commission wants to repeat.
John stated that a lot of marketing was done with a public
service announcement being shown in movie theaters across the state. John and
Mary Jo distributed materials at nine career fairs. Mary Jo attended a high
school counselors ' conference and distributed marketing materials.
Mary Jo stated that the Commission worked sustainability
into the grant. Sustainability is based on the concept that if we are training
young people, whether they are getting advanced library degrees or undergraduate
degrees, they will all be looking for library jobs and library jobs often don ' t
pay enough to recruit them back to their home communities. The Commission began
considering ways to help libraries tell their story to the community in order to
obtain added support for library personnel.
Two different approaches were taken. Return on Investment
(ROI) training was provided by the Commission. The ROI training was provided
regionally and offered information and ideas on how libraries can develop a
compelling return on investment statement. The Commission contracted with Keith
Lance to conduct the training. In all, 38 teams made up of library directors,
staff, library board and foundation members, and some community members
participated in the training sessions.
The second project was conducted in partnership with the
Nebraska Community Foundation (NCF). The NCF held a rural philanthropy
conference in which teams from across the state came and worked on the
priorities in their communities for which they wanted to seek private funds.
Commission staff worked with the NCF staff to provide scholarships to
communities that would include a library team. Imperial, Plattsmouth, and
Nebraska City received grants to support attendance. Library participants were
part of their community development team. Mary Jo stated that Nebraska City ' s
library foundation would seek funds to be used for staff training and for
scholarship assistance for staff to pursue library science education.
Mary Jo said that what she hoped to see
was an endowment that allowed the library to hire a person such as a children ' s
librarian or technology librarian, or whatever is needed at the library.
Mary Jo stated that John Felton, Kathryn Brockmeier and she
have begun to work on an application for another LSTA grant. John Felton stated
that the Commission is intending to build on the success of the previous grant
and continue on a similar approach. The project would begin with recruitment
activities to get students into the paraprofessional programs and also target
those who want to pursue master ' s degree library science programs. The final
report for the completed grant project is due on January 29.
Mary Jo stated that since the first grant was completed on
October 30, 2008 the Commission does not currently have funding to support
scholarships or internships. Staff time to work on the website will continue to
go on. Federal funds received by the Commission through the LSTA State Programs
allocation cannot be spent on scholarships, internships or training. The state monies the Commission receives are all committed so there is
currently no money available for scholarships and internships. Mary Jo stated
that she hoped the State Advisory Council on Libraries would support the new
grant funding application and would continue the role as the advisory group for
Mary Jo stated that many libraries don ' t have someone with
technology skills to do what needs to be done to move the libraries into the
technology world. Mary Jo stated that she would like to see part of the grant
require library students to work on a project similar to what Becky Pasco has
her MLS students do.
Steve Fosselman stated that he believed it was important
that we recruit ambitious people into the library education programs. He would
also like to see students work with and on the Future Search project goals.
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Library Grant Program -
Rod Wagner reported that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is offering a
connectivity grant program which is just getting under way. This program will
allow libraries to upgrade their internet connectivity. The Foundation ' s
strategy for the next few years is to insure more libraries have and sustain
high quality technology services for patrons by investing in connectivity
hardware, training, advocacy and research. The Foundation ' s strategy is to help
states increase and sustain high quality broadband. Their goal is for 85% of all
public libraries to have broadband service at the minimum rate of 1.5 Mbps by
Wagner reported that Commission staff members Devra Dragos
and Christa Burns are working with public libraries that have been identified by
the Gates Foundation as potentially eligible for participation in the
Foundation ' s Hardware Opportunity Online Grants program. The Gates Foundation
identified libraries by using census, unemployment and free lunch data to
determine which libraries met their eligibility criteria.
Of Nebraska ' s more than 270 public
libraries 176 were sent a letter informing them that they were potentially
eligible for hardware grants and would need to complete computer inventories to
be considered further for eligibility. Libraries meeting the Foundation ' s grant
eligibility requirements will receive funds to upgrade library computers. A
significant program element is advocacy training for participants to improve
their skills in seeking matching funds for the grant and for sustaining
technology in the future. The Gates Foundation has expressed that this will be
their last library hardware grant.
Nebraska Library Association - Diana Johnson reported that
Pam Bohmfalk is the new NLA President and Scott Childers is the new
Vice-President. Emily Dust Nimsakont is the NLA ' s new Internet Coordinator.
Diana said that all membership voting will now be conducted online. The
Trustees, Users, and Friends Section has merged with the Public Library Section
to become the Public Library and Trustee Section. Ken Winston, NLA Lobbyist,
attended the Lawyers and Libraries conference.
NEMA - No Report
Steve Fosselman reported that the Future
Search ad hoc committee will be developing another website separate from the
current wiki hosted by the Library Commission. He would like people to list the
success and learning adventures had by library staff, boards, and friends
groups. Steve Fosselman stated that he has enjoyed being able to share
information on the wiki and hopes others will also contribute to the site. Mary
Jo Ryan stated that anyone can post on the Future Search wiki. She encourages
posting information about activities that meet the future search vision or
goals. Steve stated that this project is a version of a toolbox; it ' s all about
partnerships and working together.
Zing Training and Customer Service @ the Omaha Public
Theresa Jehlik reported on a staff training program funded with
assistance from a Library Commission grant. Theresa said that last spring the
Omaha Public Library conducted a Zingerman ' s Training and Customer Service
Workshop for Omaha Public Library staff. The workshop was conducted over two
days with the first day held for the leadership team. They begin by looking at
the " Big Picture " which consisted of: visions,
ethics/values, processes, and personality. If all are aligned you have a great
company. The questions asked were " How do you bridge the gap between what it
should be and how it really is? " The group also talked about the leaders '
responsibilities which are teach it, define it, live it, give great service to
customers, give great service to staff, measure it and reward it.
On day two, all of the OPL staff attended the training.
Discussed were three steps to great service which consist of figuring out what
the guest wants, get it for them (accurately, politely, and enthusiastically),
and go the extra mile. Also discussed were the five steps to effectively
handling customer complaints. The five steps are acknowledge the complaint,
sincerely apologize, take action to make things right, thank the guest for
giving you the opportunity to correct the complaint and document the complaint.
Theresa stated that staff divided into assigned groups for
discussions on what has worked and not worked to satisfy customers. Discussion
was held on empowering staff to resolve customer complaints and problems,
maintaining an open forum on staff concerns and work team meetings to determine
goals and actions. They also focused on the 10/4 rule, standard telephone
protocol, and action steps by branch. The 10/4 rule states that when a customer
gets within 10 feet you should acknowledge them, when they are within 4 feet the
customer should be greeted.
Rod Wagner stated that he believed the Omaha Public
Library ' s staff training event was a good and appropriate topic because the
Future Search project has brought out a lot of enthusiasm for the idea of the
library hospitality and front porch concept. Rod sat in on part of the training
and felt it was an excellent program. The customer service training program is
also a very good match for the ideas that came out of the Library Commission ' s
public meetings held for development of the LSTA Five-Year plan.
A discussion was held about computers being used more
during economic downturns. While increased use is good for the public and
libraries, increased use also poses problems for library workers spread too thin
to meet increased service needs and for libraries lacking sufficient computers
for those who need them.
MeMe Smith reported that the Schuyler Public Library is
completing a utility study. The library sent out a random survey and held a
focus group to gather information. The information will be used in an attempt to
receive more funding for a new library. The library did not have any budget cuts
this year. Her library has $4,000 set aside for technology upgrades but she will
still complete the Gates grant application.
Jan Boyer reported that the University of Nebraska at Omaha
library ' s renovation project continues. Jan said that the library ' s lower level
is now open. The project is expected to be completed by spring break.
Pat Gross reported that Gering had a bond issue for the
elementary and middle school which passed this time. The CLS workshop that is in
conjunction with NEMA was very successful. They want to thank the Commission
staff that attended the workshop. The group is already preparing for next year ' s
workshop. Marjorie Harrison, Panhandle Library System Coordinator, is contacting
vendors for libraries to meet with about library automation systems. Almost all
of the public and school libraries in the Panhandle area use Follett software
and the software is no longer affordable for many libraries. Pat said that one
of the challenges for media specialists is the testing responsibilities they
have with students.
Deb Carlson reported that during the month of October,
author Natasha Friend visited the Panhandle Library System. The schools and
libraries worked very hard to bring the kids by bus to a central location so
that all students, in all schools, in the Panhandle System got to meet the
author. Natasha visited six different locations in the panhandle and students
were bused in from different areas. Natasha did a fabulous job.
Deb Carlson said that the architect has been chosen for the
Scottsbluff public library building expansion. Although they are still about one
million dollars short of their goal for the building expansion they decided to
move ahead with the architect because they believe they will find the money
needed. Deb also stated that the city has enacted a 4% across-the-board budget
cut. The library decided to reduce public service hours instead of laying-off
Kathy Ellerton reported that Overdrive (downloadable
audio-books) seems to be very popular. The Northeast Library System will hold an
Arctic Blast workshop on February 20, 2009. As with most libraries, funding is always an issue for small libraries.
Frank Zimmerman reported that things are up and down in
Auburn. Every month he looks at the attendance numbers and has noticed that
attendance has shown a significant increase over last year. Frank stated that
he ' s not sure where all the people are coming from because the size of the
community has not grown. The library is having problems raising the funds for
the Auburn public library addition so the project is temporarily on hold.
Diana Johnson reported that Stromsburg is installing Wi-Fi
in the library. The Cross County Schools built a new school which was supposed
to be ready to move into at the beginning of the school year but that didn ' t
happen. The staff has all their property packed up ready for the move which put
a crunch in the books available at the school library. Since the public library
is close by they have supplied the school library with books. The plan is to
move into the new school building in the next few days.
Diana Johnson said her assistant, Kathy Nelson, has done a
lot of genealogical research on Dr. George Flippin and has provided programs to
the County Historical Society, Northeast Library System winter retreat, Norfolk,
State Historical Society, and at the NLA/NEMA conference. Diana said there is a
concern with funding because she had to cut $7,200 from the library budget. She
was afraid that her work hours might be reduced to part-time this year but she
and her board president worked on the library budget and decided to give up a
new server and froze salaries so that she could stay full-time.
Steve Fosselman reported that the Grand Island Public
Library was named " Multicultural Business of the Year " and received an award
from the Grand Island Multicultural Coalition. Steve said that the award is very
important to the library. It shows that they are serving their entire community.
Steve said he knows the library is not serving some of the people to the extent
the staff would like, but the community is very grateful for what is provided
and recognizes that the library staff tries very hard and that the library is a
very welcoming place. Steve said the challenge for the library is providing good
Maria Medrano-Nehls reported that she is taking the last
class required for completion of the Library Technical Assistant program. She
will complete the program on December 20 and then will begin studying for the
GRE so she can begin work on her MLS.
Patty Birch reported that the school library received two
donations from a past high school librarian. Patty said her challenge is making
time for the " 23 things " offered by the Commission. Patty stated that she is
working on updating the LTA class to incorporate more technology features. Her
challenge at school is technology because the school is all about technology.
Patty offers training using different technology features and programs to staff
Marty Magee reported that family health histories can be
mapped by visiting the following sites:
Marty distributed a document with information about upcoming consumer health
training. Medline Plus offers medical information in various languages on their
web site. Marty had a student doing a practicum during the summer and he
developed a program called Around the Network. It is a power-point that covers
Medline Plus, CHIRS, and Go Local Nebraska. The site can be accessed at:
stated that representatives of the National Library of Medicine will be coming
to Omaha to evaluate her department in midpoint of their five-year contract.
Marty said that messages can be posted about National Network of Libraries of
Medicine MidContinental Region (NN/LM) services at
Recommendations and Resolutions - It was moved by Pat Gross
and seconded by Jan Boyer that the State Advisory Council on Libraries supports
the Nebraska Library Commission ' s application for a Librarians for the 21st
Century grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and agrees to
serve in an advisory capacity for the project. Motion was approved.
Deb Carlson recommended that customer service training be
provided. Rod Wagner stated that Commission would be receptive to a program on
customer service. Mary Jo Ryan stated that the Commission is considering
offering a weekly hour long web broadcast and with two-way communication
capability. Customer service could be among the topics. The broadcast would be
archived so it could be viewed anytime after the live broadcast. Marty Magee offered to do a program in the future.
Rod Wagner stated that Jan Boyer,
Theresa Jehlik, Diana Johnson and Becky Pasco have completed their second term
on the State Advisory Council on Libraries. Rod presented certificates of
appreciation and Nebraska Admiralships signed by the Governor. Rod thanked them
for their service on the Council. Rod also thanked Marty Magee for doing an
excellent job as the 2008 Council Chair.
2009 Meeting Schedule
Rod Wagner stated that the next
meeting will be on March 13. The March meeting is usually held jointly with the
Nebraska Library Commission. No suggestions were made for the meeting site. Pat
Gross, the incoming chair, will work with Rod to arrange a meeting site. The
future meetings will be held in July and November.
A motion to adjourn was made by Jan Boyer and seconded by
Theresa Jehlik. The motion was approved. The meeting adjourned at 1:45 p.m.