STATE ADVISORY COUNCIL ON LIBRARIES
Grand Island Public Library, Grand Island, NE
March 13, 2009
Advisory Council members present: Patty Birch, Pam
Bohmfalk, Deb Carlson, Ceri Daniels, Kathy Ellerton, Steve Fosselman, Pat Gross,
Gretchen Healy, Karen Hein, Pat Leach, Trine McBride, MeMe Smith, Ellen Weed,
and Glenda Willnerd.
staff: Maria Medrano-Nehls, Richard Miller, Mary Jo Ryan, and Rod Wagner. Guest:
Matt Williams, Kearney Public Library.
Welcome and Introductions
Pat Gross welcomed new members to the meeting. Pat stated
that this is her last term and she hopes that new members enjoy their time on
the council as much as she has. Introductions were made around the table. Pat
thanked Steve Fosselman, Council member and Grand Island Public Library
Director, for hosting the Council.
Steve Fosselman welcomed everyone to the G.I. Public
Library. Steve stated that he was pleased to provide meeting space for the
Commission and Council, noting that the library is far better able to host
meetings and other events due to the doubling of the library 's space with the
expansion and renovation.
Mary Nelson stated that the Commission was delighted to
have so many at its meeting (held prior to the Council meeting). Mary stated
that the Commission is proud of the librarians in the state. Mary expressed
appreciation and thanks for all that libraries and library workers do for our
state and our towns.
Pat Gross stated that the State Advisory Council on
Libraries was glad to support the Commission and that they are only as good as
Approval of the Agenda: A motion was made by Deb
Carlson and seconded by Gretchen Healy to approve the agenda. Motion approved.
Approval of Minutes (November 14, 2008): MeMe Smith
stated that page 5 should read "Schuyler Public Library is completing a
feasibility study and the library did not have a focus group but they did have a
random survey. " Pat Gross stated that page 5 should read "Gering had a bond
issue for the elementary and middle school which did not pass " and "The PLS
workshop that is in conjunction with NEMA was very successful. "
A motion was made by Ceri Daniels and
seconded by MeMe Smith to approve the minutes with corrections. Motion approved.
Matt Williams, Kearney Public Library director, stated that
he attended the meeting today to show his support and to learn about what is
going on throughout the state. Williams expressed special interest in the
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and opportunities for libraries.
Federal Library Programs - Rod Wagner stated that Congress
enacted an appropriations bill covering many federal programs for the current
federal fiscal year which started last October. Appropriations have been
distributed under a continuing resolution with amounts based on prior year
appropriations. The appropriations bill that was finally passed this week
included an increase in LSTA funds. The significant outcome was that the
appropriation level for LSTA state program allotments reached the amount
required to fully implement the base amount for each state. States receive LSTA
funds according to a formula that includes a base amount and a per capita
The most recent LSTA reauthorization took place five years
ago and included an increase in the base amount that had not been changed for
many years. A goal for the past five years has been to reach the appropriation
level needed to fully implement the minimum state base allotment. The recent
action of the Congress has finally succeeded in achieving this intent. Wagner
said that last year was a setback in that LSTA funds were reduced. Because the
appropriation was just approved Nebraska 's LSTA funding allotment isn 't yet
The federal appropriations bill includes a number of other
library related programs including the U.S. Department of Education and other
Institute of Museum and Library Services national programs such as leadership
grants, and funding for the Librarians for the 21st Century program.
Library Improvement Grants - Richard Miller reported that
the Library Commission had $181,500 available for library improvement grants.
Thirty libraries applied and twenty-two libraries were awarded grants.
2009-2011 Biennium Budget Outlook - Rod Wagner stated that
the Library Commission 's budget hearing will be held March 17. The Governor 's
biennium budget recommendation for the Library Commission is based on the
Commission 's current fiscal year state appropriation. This is in line with the
Governor 's budget recommendations for most other state agencies. The
appropriations committee 's preliminary budget recommendation for the Commission
is, in total, equal to the Governor 's recommendation. One problem with no
increase in funding is that the state and state employee 's labor union worked
out agreements on state employee salary increases plus expected increases in
health insurance premiums that will have to be funded without a funding
increase. Wagner stated that the budget hearing will be an opportunity to make a
case for additional funds to address specific cost increases that the Commission
does not have control over such as the scheduled office space lease costs,
Department of Administrative Services ' fee increases (including conversion to
the state 's e-mail system), and transition to the digital talking book.
Wagner stated that the Commission 's request for the digital
talking book transition includes funding exceeding $50,000 for purchase of flash
memory cartridges, equipment and other supplies needed for the transition for
those items not provided by the Library of Congress. The Commission 's Talking
Book and Braille Service needs special mailers, recording and duplication
equipment to be used with the new digital talking book media.
IMLS - 21st Century Librarian Program - Mary Jo
Ryan stated that she, Kathryn Brockmeier, and John Felton have completed the
final report for the IMLS-21st Century Librarians ' grant. Mary Jo
stated that they were specific in reporting what the Commission accomplished
with grant funds, what wasn 't accomplished, and what remains to be accomplished.
The report also emphasized that there remains a need to recruit librarians to
replace those who will be retiring in the future.
Mary Jo stated that the Commission has submitted another
grant application to the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The new grant
application is titled Cultivating Nebraska
Librarians 2.0: Building 21st Century Skills. Mary Jo said the
purpose of the grant is to provide scholarships and internships, encourage the
use of 21st century learning skills to scholarships and internship
recipients, and cover the cost of scholarship recipients and interns to attend
the NLA/NEMA conference. Mary Jo stated that she would like to see the
internship project expand.
Pat Leach stated that the Lincoln City Libraries started
out with a Spanish-speaking intern for their Prime Time program and had a very
successful experience with internships. The interns not only assisted with Prime
Time but worked in the library generally. The interns were asked to complete a
survey after they completed their internship assignment. Interns stated that
they learned a lot about how "hip and cool " librarians were and that libraries
were a fun place to work. Pat said she also found the internship program a good
way to promote diversity to the staff and to people who visit the library. Pat
stated that last summer the Lincoln City Libraries had quite a few high-school
interns to help with the summer reading program. Pat said that one of the LCL 's
teen advisory members became an intern and now works at the library as a shelver.
The internship allows young adults to see what librarianship is about and
encourages them into the field.
MeMe Smith stated that she received scholarships which have
allowed her to work on her MLS degree. MeMe said a young woman is doing her
practicum at the Schuyler public library and is a student in the LTA program.
MeMe said she has observed that the young woman has learned a lot from the
Mary Jo Ryan said one of the challenges this year is that
the grant guidelines have changed. The guidelines are rigid in defining whether
the scholarship is for master 's level, undergraduate level, or for another
educational purpose. The Commission 's application expressed the need to address
all three levels. Mary Jo stated that she is excited about the scholarship
program and believes it is an important component of library education. Gretchen
Healy stated that The Winnebago tribal library had received a scholarship for an
intern. The internship was a valuable experience for the intern and for the
Deb Carlson stated that the Scottsbluff public library also
had a Spanish-speaking intern who assisted with the library 's Prime Time Family
Reading program. The intern was assigned extra hours to assist at the library.
Carlson said that the Scottsbluff public library had an exhibit at the
Scottsbluff mall and the intern was present to help promote library programs and
services offered during the summer. Deb said that the intern was interested in
the library and what it offers, brought her sister to the library for a
kindergarten program and got her a library card. While she may not pursue a
library career she will be a library supporter and believer of what libraries
Mary Jo Ryan stated a concern that the intern program has
lost momentum since there are currently no funds to support internships. Kathryn
Brockmeier, the Commission 's research assistant, is seeking funds from
foundations and other private sources to support internships for this summer.
Patty Birch stated that she is a volunteer for the mentor
program and has a good relationship with the mentee she was assigned. Patty said
that the mentee has a lot to offer her school.
Chair Pat Gross stated that librarians are known for their
acronyms and now there is a new one called ARRA (American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act). Governor Heineman has initiated creation of a Nebraska
website which details the distribution of the federal funds from the ARRA. The
site address is
Mary Jo Ryan stated that the American Library Association
distributed information about education funding from the American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act. The education block grant for Nebraska will be about $234
million. The funds will be distributed based on existing funding formulas and
can be used for preventing budget cutbacks, preventing layoffs, and for school
Pat Gross thanked Mary Jo for her work on the grants and
for distributing valuable information to libraries. Pat stated the people who
work for libraries or who support libraries should pat themselves on the back
because they have placed Nebraska in the forefront in what is good about
libraries. Pat expressed the importance of recruiting people to library careers
so they can continue for those who have laid the foundation.
Nebraska Library Association (NLA) - Pam Bohmfalk reported
that the NLA is focusing on sectional spring meetings and the fall conference.
Pam distributed information concerning spring meeting plans, dates and
locations. Pam said she has had the opportunity to visit NLA section spring
meetings and it has been a joy to meet and visit with the leaders and members of
the sections. Bohmfalk said that the NLA is in the process of recruiting a new
executive director. Kathy Thomsen, who held the position, resigned effective the
end of February. The person chosen for the executive director position will also
be the annual conference secretary. The conference will be held October 28-30 at
the new conference center in La Vista.
Nebraska Educational Media Association (NEMA) - Glenda
Willnerd stated that she wished to congratulate the NLA on their fantastic
Legislative Day and for recognizing and honoring student volunteers. NEMA is
making plans for the fall conference. Glenda also reported that NEMA
collaborates with the regional library systems to hold workshops during the
spring and summer.
Future Search Conference - Steve Fosselman stated that the
placemats that were distributed at the beginning of the meeting is a format for
his report. Steve stated that the drawing on the placemat was created by Paul
Hoffman at the Future Search conference held in June, 2008. The placemat
portrays topics that were discussed and visions of things that can be
accomplished by libraries. The visions discussed at the conference require
grassroots participation and initiative on the part of individuals and
institutions. A Future Search task force was formed and the task force plans to
develop some avenues for individuals and groups to see the future together. One
of the visions came to life at a very impressive Nebraska Library Legislative
Steve stated that if libraries face the future alone, are
despondent about it, or are relying on others to solve their problems, that they
will experience an unsuccessful result. If libraries work together there is an
opportunity to have a better future. Future Search is a process, a learning
Steve stated that a wiki has been developed (Nebraska
Libraries Future Search) and hopes that eventually there will be a toolbox
with helpful ideas and information. Steve hopes that librarians will take the
time to visit the wiki and read the Future Search conference report. Steve
stated that when he refers to "toolbox " he means a developed structure where all
pertinent information will be easily found to provide libraries with the energy
to move forward on their goals and plans for a better library.
Mary Nelson stated that the "toolbox " concept is an
interesting spin-off from the Future Search conference. The wiki is available to
everyone and the Commission has included many articles on the wiki.
Nebraska Libraries 2009 - In introducing the discussion
topic, Patricia Gross related her own experience. Pat said that she had been
informed by her school principal that she would be assigned responsibility for
another school library in addition to her current library. Her principal said
that there will be no additional paraprofessional staff to assist with the extra
workload. He implied there is questionable need for media specialists and
librarians due to the information available via the internet. Pat expressed that
the principal is obligated to a substantial reduction in the school 's budget and
staff positions are the means to meet that requirement. Pat hopes to make the
two libraries project a success and looks forward to the challenge.
Commissioner Carol Spencer asked Pat Leach if Lincoln 's
potential budget cuts will result in closing of branch libraries. Pat responded
that the Lincoln City Libraries was asked to come up with a budget at 91 percent
of its current funding level. Given a sizable budget reduction, the library
board and staff have decided to not only close the two branch libraries but also
reduce public service hours of remaining libraries by 4 hours a week to meet the
91% funding level the mayor requested. Pat stated that once the two branch
libraries are closed they will not be opened again.
Pat Leach stated that the Lincoln public library system has
experienced reduced funding each year for the past several years. The Lincoln
library system has nothing left to cut back on except to close the two branch
libraries. The Anderson branch library is due to move into the new school
facility this fall. The library will only be open when the school is closed due
to security issues at the school. Pat stated that budget reductions may result
in the loss of staff. This is in addition to people lost last year due to budget
reductions. Pat said her staff is getting
older in experience and the intern program brings new people and energy into the
library. That is a positive atmosphere for older staff because it renews the
excitement they have for the library.
Pat Gross stated that she has noticed that as the economy
gets worse the more people visit the library. Pat passed around a copy of
Woman 's Day magazine (March 3, 2009) which includes an article "Beyond Books:
How Libraries Can Help " about the answers readers gave when asked "how have
libraries impacted you in any way with health issues. " The magazine selected
four responses by women. One person said that the library assisted her when her
husband was hospitalized in an intensive care unit. She went to a library close
by and checked out a book of poems and a special poem in the book helped her get
through the waiting for her husband. Richard Miller remarked that the article is
based on collaboration between Woman 's Day magazine and the American Library
Association. Woman 's Day is publishing a four part series about how libraries
Glenda Willnerd stated that she recently heard at a
conference details of a study that compared children 's exposure to vocabulary.
The study found that a child living in a home with professional parents is
exposed to eleven million words; in contrast, a child in a welfare home is
exposed to about three million words. Unfortunately, the child with the lower
vocabulary will never bridge the gap. This is one of the reasons why families
and the public know how important it is that children get exposed to vocabulary
and how libraries can help.
Rod Wagner stated that Marty Magee was unable to attend
today but she sent cards that highlight some programs that are coming up and she
would like to encourage you to be aware of and take advantage of the programs.
Mary Jo Ryan stated that Marty was recently a guest on the
NCompass Live. You can view Marty 's program by visiting the Commission 's web
site. Next week, her colleagues, Siobhan
Champ-Blackwell, will present on the CHIRS program and Go Local.
Pat Gross reported that the Gering public library is
working with its teen advisory group, and preparing for its summer reading
program. Scottsbluff continues to focus on fund-raising for its library building
project. The Gering high school library is doing well, as is the high school 's
noon book club. Pat received a grant from a utility company which will allow her
to purchase some new books. Pat said her book group has read
The Book Thief, Marley and Me,
and is currently reading A
Tale of Two Cities.
Ellen Weed reported that she is the Norfolk Regional Center
librarian. Ellen said that the library has been very busy and seems to be using
interlibrary loan almost every day. Her library needs new material and she
continues to do programming with her patrons. It is important for her patrons to
have reading materials, programs and games because they have mental problems and
the programs and games help them learn how to interact with others.
Trine McBride reported that that the Ord public library has
not had a reduction in funds but has received small funding increases `each
year. The city has not had to raise taxes to cover any projects or expenses.
Trine said that Ord 's population has declined by 500 people from a town of 2500.
Trine stated that many people are coming
in to use the library 's computers to prepare resumes, learn interview skills or
look at job listings.
Mary Jo Ryan reported on the 2009 One Book One Nebraska
program featuring Bess Streeter Aldrich 's book
A Lantern in her Hand. The Library Commission has added book kits to
support requests. Mary Jo stated that she started work at the Library Commission
in 1986 under a project grant to promote the Education and Job Career
Information Center. The project involved working with libraries to create job
and career information centers. The project was a success and very unique at the
time when we were experiencing a similar economic downturn. Mary Jo said that we
are again promoting the skills librarians have in assisting people that are in
job or career change situations.
Patty Birch reported that her challenge is to teach the
staff how to read the Omaha World Herald online since paper copies are no longer
available to purchase in North Platte. Patty stated that since the North Platte
Telegraph is owned by the Omaha World Herald they have made the paper smaller to
reduce costs. Patty stated that Central Community College will be the main
register college for the LTA classes starting the fall of 2009.
Karen Hein reported that the UNO library science program is
booming and it 's exciting to see all the new faces coming into the program.
Karen said their challenge is how to bring these people in that are facing their
own economic hardships. Karen stated that she and Becky Pasco continue to tell
the students and future students that an IMLS grant is coming which might be
able to assist them with a scholarship. Karen stated that the UNO library
science program has a good working relationship with the Nebraska Library
Commission as well as various community colleges because they all serve many
people and touch many lives.
Pam Bohmfalk reported that Amy Greenland is the new
director at the Hastings public library. Amy is a Kearney native but came to
Hastings from Colorado. The Hastings public library has just completed a year
long process with consultants to obtain recommendations for the library. The
Hastings library foundation continues to raise money for a new building. The
budget is an area of concern as it is in every library. The library has had some
budget reductions during the past ten years. When the library has had an
increase it has been 1% or 1.5%. If the library is expected to reduce its budget
this year, they will have to reduce funds for library materials and/or staff.
Pam Bohmfalk expressed the importance of recruiting library
trustees into the Nebraska Library Association. Pam stated the importance of
library trustee involvement in the NLA and their participation on committees.
Ceri Daniels - Ceri reported that she is the librarian for
the Cline Williams ' law firm (Lincoln). Her job is much different in comparison
to other library jobs. Her clientele is the attorneys and their staff. The firm
is invested in the law library and they choose the materials to be purchased.
Ceri purchased software to place the library 's collection online.
Pat Leach reported that Lincoln City Libraries Foundation
will host some fundraising events in the near future including the annual adult
spelling bee which raises money for the Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors. The
other is a Wine and Wii event. Pat stated that the Lincoln public library system
works with the federal programs department at Lincoln public schools in a couple
of ways. They have an Even Start Family Literacy program with twenty women that
attend class four-times a week and a parenting class on the other days of the
week. Their children are in school or daycare. The library has helped them to
get a library card and encourages them to visit the library which they do in
between classes. A similar program is provided with two schools that have
Spanish, English, and bilingual preschools. Once a month the branch library
program will include storytelling, singing and food. Both programs allow
students to get together out of a school setting and encourage them to return to
Pat Leach stated that Facebook has been a presence in the
library closing and budget situation. Facebook has two groups on it right now;
one is named Save South Branch Library and the other is called Save Bethany
Branch Library. The Facebook group for the South branch library is a younger,
upscale neighborhood which has 1200 registered members; the Facebook group for
Bethany branch library has 120 members. Pat stated that these two branches were
chosen to be closed because their closing would affect fewer people. Combined,
the two branches provide about 7% of the library 's circulation.
Glenda Willnerd reported that the Lincoln public school
district has a staffing challenge. Lincoln has two new schools opening and is
moving two schools while they are being renovated. The new school standards were
recently released and everyone is waiting for more information on the
implementation of the standards and guidelines. Glenda stated that the school
district 's enrollment has increased past 24,000 students. Glenda stated that
part of her job is to bring in authors and storytellers. Last week Jack
Gladstone, storyteller, visited schools and did a wonderful job of intertwining
storytelling and music. Jack Gladstone is a Native American from the Blackfeet
Tribe in Montana. Glenda said that Rosemary Wells will visit the schools on May
7 to speak with students, teachers, media specialists and parents to reinforce
the importance of reading. She will also give a public presentation at Lincoln 's
North Star high school.
Deb Carlson reported that the Scottsbluff City Council
approved a contract with Leo A. Daly for architectural services. The architect
will begin work with library staff soon even though the Scottsbluff public
library is $1.2 million short of the total needed for the building project.
Deb stated that all but 5 of 30 libraries in the Panhandle
region attended the recent Summer Reading Program workshop. Deb stated that two
years ago the Delta Kappa Gamma Society approached the library concerning a
project so with the help of the Delta Kappa Gamma, the library, and the Birth
and Infant Center at the hospital the program has grown and now allows parents
to take their free coupon to any of the libraries in the panhandle system. The
goal of the project is not only to get the parent to read to the infant, but to
begin using the library and making it a lifelong habit. They also received Youth
Grants for Excellence funding to allow this project to grow.
Deb stated her library 's challenge is the budget. In
October the library was required to submit a 4% budget reduction. To reduce the
budget the library changed its schedule to close one hour earlier and close on
Sunday afternoons. The budget reduction included a reduction of twenty hours of
staff time per week. Further cuts may be made in the city budget.
Gretchen Healy reported that when she retired the Winnebago
library was working on a grant and providing video gaming. Gretchen said that
library space was preempted for a remodeling project taking place in the main
college building. As a result some faculty members were assigned office space in
some of the library rooms and the student lounge took over the only other
available space. This made it difficult to hold library programs so programming
was put on hold. Since retirement Gretchen has observed the library 's staff grow
in professionalism and sophistication.
Kathy Ellerton reported that she has been visiting
libraries this past month. There is uncertainty about local economies. Kathy
said that there are businesses that are laying off employees but it 's uncertain
whether this trend will continue and the affects. On a positive note, Kathy
stated that she had two libraries in her region that hadn 't submitted library
statistical reports for many years but submitted a report this year.
Kathy stated that the Lincoln Township library in Wausa is
building a new library. People in the community did not want to see the Carnegie
building torn down so they are going to build around the old building and use it
for meeting rooms. Shelby will be breaking ground soon for their new combined
school and library facility although they will be in two separate buildings.
Plainview is also considering a new library.
MeMe Smith reported that the Schuyler public library held a
program for Teen Week. MeMe stated that the library has a practicum student
working for them. MeMe stated that LTA course instructors are doing a good job
because their practicum student came with good library knowledge and a good
The Schuyler public library will participate in a community
expo next week. MeMe stated that their challenge is the library building project
and fund-raising. A feasibility study was completed and a result was failure to
identify major donors. Library representatives are now considering how to revamp
building plans. MeMe expressed concern that a smaller facility will not meet the
community 's future needs.
MeMe stated that Schuyler has not felt the economic decline
as severely as other places. MeMe said one of the factors that will affect
Schuyler in the future is an expected population decrease. A decrease in
population will affect Schuyler 's state aid funding (for the city as a whole).
This will make things tough to qualify for economic and state funding which are
based on city size. MeMe said that it was just a few years ago that Schuyler 's
population growth resulted in its reclassification to a class one city (over
5,000 population). Future projections place Schuyler at under 5,000 population.
Carol Spencer stated that Broken Bow will host Chautauqua.
The program will be held June 17-21 and will include five historical
presentations from the 1930s. The Broken Bow public library will host film and
book discussions relating to the Chautauqua program.
Jean Ahrens said that she has enjoyed her appointment on
the Library Commission and is a "lover of librarians. " Jean said she remembers
the first time she attended a joint meeting of the Commission and Council. At
that meeting the group was divided into smaller groups for discussion on
assigned topics. Jean said that she was impressed with the initiative taken by
council members in taking responsibility within the group for their assignment.
She said that in her experience in teaching that kind of initiative isn 't the
usual case. She complimented librarians for their dedication and their
Maria Medrano-Nehls stated that she completed her LTA
program and is currently studying for the Graduate Record Exam and hopes to move
on to the MLS program within a year. Maria said that this is the first year
since 1999 when she begin working at the Commission that she has not been
involved in the Nebraska Library Association in one form or another.
John Dale commented that during Nebraska Library
Legislative Day it has become a tradition to recognize volunteers. This year 's
recognition may have been the first time a volunteer group was recognized. This
year an award was given to Lincoln 's Gere branch library teen advisory board.
John said that it was exciting to see all the kids in attendance. The teen
advisory board represents a success for Lincoln in terms of young adult
programming and attracting young adults into the library.
Steve Fosselman reported that Patsy Arnold received her MLS
degree and was promoted to assistant director (Grand Island Public Library).
Steve stated that with Patsy 's help they organized a program called "Moving
Forward in our Learning Organization Adventure " which will incorporate
objectives the library staff has been working toward in doubling the size of the
facility. Their strategy is to effectively manage the larger facility and at the
same time have more staff participation in ideas and decisions. Steve said the
library has been organized into zones and staff are assigned to work and monitor
their assigned area. Steve mentioned an article he had read about senior spaces
becoming more common in libraries. Steve said that Patsy Arnold adapted the
senior space idea to use as a project in her MLS program. Patsy rearranged an
area in the library for a comfortable and inviting space for older adults. Steve
said almost all the ideas and implementation for the library came from the staff
and don 't require a lot of money.
Election of Vice-Chair - Patty Birch nominated Steve
Fosselman to serve as the Council vice-chair / chair-elect. The motion was
seconded by Deb Carlson. The council voted unanimously to approve the motion.
Recommendations and Resolutions - A motion was made by
Gretchen Healy that the State Advisory Council on Libraries send a resolution to
the Legislature 's appropriations committee supporting the Nebraska Library
Commission 's work with libraries. The motion was seconded by MeMe Smith. Motion
July and November Meeting and Dates - It was decided that
the July meeting will be moved to June 26 due to a conflict with other meetings
and events in July. The June 26th Council meeting will be held in
Elmwood if facility arrangements can be made.
The November meeting will be held November 20. The
Commission will check to see if the meeting can be held at the Lexington public
A motion to adjourn was made by Steve Fosselman and
seconded by Kathy Ellerton. The motion was approved. The meeting adjourned at