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Nebraska Library Commission - Minutes


Nebraska Library Commission

May 19, 2008



The Nebraska Library Commission held its regular meeting Friday, May 19, 2006, at the Nebraska Library Commission. Notice of the meeting was submitted to local newspapers (Lincoln Journal Star, Omaha World Herald), and posted on the Nebraska Library Commission Web site. 

Chair Velma Sims-Shipley called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m. Members present: Jean Ahrens, John Dale, Pat Gross Mary Nelson, and Velma Sims-Shipley. Staff present: Rod Wagner, Maria Medrano-Nehls, and Shannon Behrhorst.  

Approval of Agenda:  A motion was made and seconded to approve the agenda. Motion carried on roll call vote: Jean Ahrens -aye; John Dale - aye; Pat Gross-aye; Mary Nelson - aye; and Velma Sims-Shipley - aye. Motion approved. 

Approval of the Minutes (March 10, 2006): A motion was made and seconded to approve the March 2006 meeting minutes. Motion carried on roll call vote: John Dale - aye; Pat Gross-aye; Mary Nelson - aye; Velma Sims-Shipley - aye; and Jean Ahrens - aye. Motion approved.  


There was no public participation. 

Correspondence and Communication

Rod Wagner stated that the Commission often receives thank you notes from grant and scholarship recipients. He said that it is especially gratifying to know that Commission efforts are beneficial and acknowledged.  

Chair's Report and Commissioners' Comments 

Chair Velma Sims-Shipley reported that she attended National Library Legislative Day in Washington, D.C. Velma reported that the eastern region includes three new library buildings that will open soon or have opened. The Lyons public library has a new building which is open to the public. Lyons has not had its grand opening and is waiting to schedule the event when the Governor can attend. Lyons received a $35,000 Kiewit Foundation grant that is dependent on raising $35,000 in matching funds.  

The Wahoo Public Library will close on May 24 for four weeks and move into the new library building. Velma said that Judy Coday, Wahoo public library director, encourages donations of unwanted items that the library can sell on eBay with funds going to support library needs. Waterloo will also open its new library this summer. Elkhorn is making plans to celebrate the library's ten year anniversary of its current facility. Velma also reported that Fremont held another successful book sale, raising a little over $11,000.  

Jean Ahrens reported that Scottsbluff is planning to start major fundraising efforts in September to assist with the cost of the library expansion project. A celebration is planned for the library's 40th year in its current facility. The Minatare public library received a grant. The library is managed by a staff of volunteers and is open 22 hours a week.   

Patrick Gross reported that Ponca has broken ground for a new library. The Wayne public library Friends group is very active. They held a book sale and some fundraising activities to assist the summer reading program. Stan Gardner, library director at Wayne State College, has resigned.  

Mary Nelson stated that she is wondering how people around the state feel about the @ your library™ brand. Mary shared an article from the McCook newspaper about Steve Batty and his railroad photographs digitization project. The photos were taken in and around McCook. The community is very interested in the project. 

John Dale reported that he attended the National Library Legislative Day events in Washington, D.C.  John assisted in evaluating the Hastings public library. John stated the outcome shows that the library is much appreciated and well used by the community. Also discussed were the need for a new library and a change in the interior arrangements of the current building. Summer reading is getting ready to start in the Lincoln City Libraries system. The Library Foundation recently held a fundraising event which featured the nationally known "Book Guys." 

Director's Report

Rod Wagner stated that Shannon Behrhorst and her team have several projects underway. One of those is the annual Database Roadshow which includes a number of sessions scattered throughout the state. Allana Novotny and Susan Knisely plan, arrange and conduct these update sessions. Shannon Behrhorst and Devra Dragos were recently in McCook to visit with McCook representatives about the digitization project. Rod stated that he left a copy of a McCook newspaper article about the project with Senator Nelson's office while he was visiting during National Library Legislative Day. Shannon and several other Commission staff will be presenting today during the Southeast Library System's "Extravaganza" event. Shannon will attend a future meeting and provide an update on projects the network services staff is working on.  

Appropriation Veto - Rod Wagner reported that it wasn't a surprise that the funding request was vetoed, but it was disappointing. The state appropriation would have saved school districts and other local entities far more than the state expenditure, and it would have provided a significant educational resource for the many schools and libraries, public and private, that are unable to license these kinds of resources. Rod commented that the request should be renewed for consideration in the next biennium budget. 

Public Library Trustee Projects - A Nebraska Library Association Trustee, Users and Friends Section committee is working with Commission staff on a multi-year training program. This project also includes updating and publishing the public library trustee manual. The committee expects to have the manual published and ready to distribute by the fall NLA - NEMA conference. The committee also plans to publish a condensed version.  

Maggie Harding, TUFS chair, formed an ad hoc committee to address concerns of the League of Nebraska Municipalities about tensions between library boards and local elected officials. The committee will focus on personnel, finances and property issues. The ad hoc committee proposes to invite elected officials and library trustees to regional meetings this fall to address issues of common concern. The ad hoc committee was formed and began meeting before it was learned that an interim study resolution was introduced in the legislature to address similar issues. The study was sought by the League of Municipalities. The study was assigned to the legislature's general affairs committee.  

ALA Office Intellectual Freedom Program - Rod Wagner reported that the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom convened a "Law for Librarians" training event. The OIF invited representatives of state library agencies and state library associations. All states were represented. Rod attended the event as the Commission's representative and Brenda Ealey attended as the Nebraska Library Association representative. The OIF wants participants to initiate intellectual freedom programs in their respective states. There was also encouragement for multi-state projects. Following the Chicago event, Brenda and Rod met with the Wally Seiler, Chair of NLA's Intellectual Freedom committee, Joan Birnie, NLA President, and Beth Goble, NLA Vice-President, to consider program ideas. It was decided that a two-hour program on intellectual freedom topics be planned for the October NLA/NEMA conference and that Candace Morgan be invited to speak. Candace is a retired library director from Portland, Oregon, and editor of the newly revised American Library Association Intellectual Freedom Manual.  

21st Century Librarians Project - Rod Wagner noted several project activities that are underway.  One activity addresses mentoring. This activity includes recruiting and arranging mentors for library science students. An initial group of mentors has been recruited and involved in conference calls to introduce them to the program and procedures. Rod distributed a list of scholarship recipients. Another activity is creation of a web site that will include information on library science careers, educational programs and other related resources.  Creation of a video is in the works to promote library service careers. The video is being produced by Ann Seidl. Seidl, producer of The Hollywood Librarian, will lead an NLA - - NEMA pre-conference marketing workshop in October.  

COSLA Meeting - Rod Wagner stated that he is now serving on the COSLA legislative committee. Rod attended a meeting in Washington concerning re-authorization of the LSTA. The meeting was held prior to National Library Legislative Day. The meeting brought together representatives from COSLA and the ALA Association of Special and Cooperative Library Service Agencies (ASCLA). These are the organizations with primary interest in the LSTA. The meeting included a review of proposed recommendations for re-authorization. One of the proposals addresses the close of the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS) and the transfer of its library data collection and policy recommendation responsibilities to the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Some legislative changes related to the NCLIS are expected this year. The LSTA's authorization ends in FY 2008.  

National Library Legislative Day - Rod Wagner reported that Nebraska had good representation for Legislative Day. Legislative Day was preceded by a full day briefing on library legislation and policy issues. Nebraska participants included Velma Sims-Shipley, John Dale, Rod Wagner, Joan Birnie, Brenda Ealey, Kathy Tooker, Mary Reiman, and Linda Trout. Linda Trout participated in a few of the office visits following her meetings at the Library of Congress Center for the Book. 

Velma Sims-Shipley stated that the meetings were informative and interesting. John Dale stated that the issues were pertinent. The group visited the offices of the Nebraska senators and representatives and spoke to their staff members about federal library related laws and policies. Net neutrality emerged as one of the prominent and new issues. The complexity of the issues surrounding telecommunications policies made this especially difficult. Most of the Nebraska library representatives attended the Nebraska Breakfast hosted by the Nebraska congressional delegation. The breakfast was held the day after Legislative Day. 

Gates Foundation Grants Update - Rod Wagner reported that the Pender, Lynch and Walthill public libraries were each awarded $3,000 grants for computer hardware upgrades. These three towns were identified as having high poverty rates. Gates Foundation funds are also being used for educational purposes, usually online classes. Another grant activity concerns telecommunication upgrades. Funds will be given to about 60 public libraries that currently use telephone dial-up connections for Internet access. The upgrades will provide for faster connections with DSL or wireless services.  

Rural Library Sustainability Grant - Pam Scott conducted eight workshops for library workers and library trustees. Funds for these workshops were provided through the Gates Foundation and were a further effort to support public access computing in public libraries. The Commission did not reach the 80% library participation goal, but attendance was still very good.   

Library Technical Assistant Program (LTA) - Rod Wagner reported that the new LTA program reached a major milestone with the first group of students completing all the offered courses. Three students received degrees, which included the LTA coursework. Two additional students completed all of the required LTA courses. The program is notable for the efforts made by several librarians, educators, and administrators working together to make the program a reality. It could not have been accomplished without the cooperation of Nebraska's community colleges. Rod attended an early May reception at Northeast Community College in Norfolk to recognize the students completing their coursework and to celebrate the early success of the program. Deb Robertson, library director at Northeast Community College arranged and hosted the reception. Deb is the person who initiated and encouraged creation of the community college LTA program and has been involved in program planning and promotion from the outset.  

Western Council of State Libraries Meeting - Rod Wagner reported on the May Western Council meeting in Cerritos, California. The meeting was held at the Cerritos Public Library, recognized by Library Journal as a "Library of the Year." The Cerritos library is housed in a beautifully designed building. The staff places a high value on customer service and they practice their values. The library's design was influenced by the Disney Company and its emphasis on customer experiences. Library staff gave presentations about staff training, service philosophy and library culture. There were also presentations given by representatives of other California library organizations - InfoPeople (library training and consulting organization) and LIBRIS Design (a unit of the California State Library that provides library facility planning training and facility planning software). A highlight was a dinner and conversation with Ray Bradbury and Marty Sklar, both friends of Waynn Pearson, Cerritos Library Director.  

A current and major initiative of the Western Council of State Libraries is the "Continuum of Library Education" project started with an Institute of Museum and Library Services LSTA grant. The project is in its final stages. One of the final pieces is a regional certification program. This will allow library workers to receive librarian certification in one of the participating western states and receive recognition of that certification in another state that has agreed to participate in reciprocity. This program has caught the attention of the American Library Association and is recognized in a new initiative of the ALA to create a certification program for library support staff through the ALA's new Allied Professional Association.      

Personnel Update - Rod Wagner reported that Pam Scott, Continuing Education Coordinator, has submitted her resignation and her last work day will be June 8. However, a contract with Pam is expected that will continue her work on some projects. Jacqueline Crocker, Library Development Staff Assistant, has also resigned to accept a research position at the Nebraska State Department of Labor. Jacque's last work day will be May 26. These positions will be advertised soon. Rod also reported that the unfilled Technology Coordinator position is being revised for re-advertisement.    

Financial Report

The April and May financial reports will be mailed.  

Unfinished Business

There was no unfinished business to report. 

New Business

2007-2009 Biennium Budget Planning Process - Rod Wagner reported that Commission's biennium budget request is due September 15. The Department of Administrative Services Budget Division has instructed agencies to submit the narrative section of their budget request by July 31. This section will list agency goals and objectives, descriptions of services, performance data, budget issues and identify any new initiatives the agency intends to request funding for. This portion of the budget request will be discussed at the July Commission meeting.   

FY2007 (July-June) State Employee Pay Policies and Director Salary - Rod Wagner reported that state employees will receive a pay increase of 3.25% effective July 1, 2006. The pay increase is automatic except for non-classified positions including state agency heads whose pay rates are determined by their appointing authorities.  

A motion was made and seconded to approve an increase in the Director's salary rate by 3.25% effective July 1, 2006. Motion carried on roll call vote: Pat Gross-aye; Mary Nelson - aye; Velma Sims-Shipley - aye; Jean Ahrens - aye; and John Dale - aye. Motion approved.  

Out-of-State Travel Request - Rod Wagner requested approval to attend the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans from June 22 through 27, 2006. Motion carried on roll call vote: Mary Nelson - aye; Velma Sims-Shipley - aye; Jean Ahrens - aye; John Dale - aye; and Pat Gross-aye. Motion approved. 

Future Commission Meetings - The next Commission meeting will be held Friday, July 14 at the Nebraska Library Commission offices. The September meeting was moved from Friday, September 8 to Thursday, September 7. The November meeting will be a joint meeting with the State Advisory Council on Libraries on November 3 at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus.


Chair Sims-Shipley adjourned the meeting at 11:27 a.m. 


Maria Medrano-Nehls, Secretary

All attachments are available upon request. If you would like a copy, please contact Sue Biltoft at the Nebraska Library Commission, 800-307-2665 or 402-471-2045.

For more information, contact Sue Biltoft.