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Nebraska Library Commission - Minutes

Nebraska Library Commission

July 14, 2006


The Nebraska Library Commission held its regular meeting Friday, July 14, 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. site.

Chair Velma Sims-Shipley called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m. Members present: Jean Ahrens, John Dale, Pat Gross, Velma Sims-Shipley, and Carol Spencer. Staff present: Rod Wagner, Maria Medrano-Nehls, Dave Oertli, 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; Velma Sims-Shipley - aye; and Carol Spencer - aye. Motion approved.

Approval of the Minutes

(May 19, 2006): A motion was made and seconded to approve the May 2006 meeting minutes. Motion carried on roll call vote: John Dale - aye; Pat Gross-aye; Velma Sims-Shipley - aye; Carol Spencer - aye; and Jean Ahrens - aye. Motion approved.


There was no public participation.

Correspondence and Communication

Rod Wagner stated that the Commission continues to receive notes from students in library science education expressing appreciation for the scholarships.

Chair's Report and Commissioners' Comments

Chair Velma Sims-Shipley reported the John C. Fremont Days will take place this weekend. The Fremont public library will host an event called Lemonade on the Lawn with Bill Kloefkorn reading a poem he wrote for Fremont's sesquicentennial celebration.

Jean Ahrens reported that the Scottsbluff public library is preparing for its big fundraiser in September. They are also celebrating Oregon Trail Days. Alliance hosted the Chautauqua and the library was involved with the event. The Panhandle Library System will be hosting author Judy Schachner.

Pat Gross reported that the summer reading program in Wayne has been very active. The library friends group has grown and been helpful. The Ponca library has completed renovation and the new addition.

Carol Spencer reported that Broken Bow's summer reading program is going well. They have had several different animals visit the library to go with this year's theme - Paws, Claws, Scales and Tales. In June, the city sent out a survey regarding city services. The library rated at the top. Author Alex Kava will be visiting the library in September for the One Book - One Nebraska program.

John has been appointed to the Public Service Commission's Universal Service Fund Advisory Board. Mary Johns, Lincoln City Libraries Assistant Director, is leaving her position. Lincoln City Libraries' budget is very tight; staff cuts have been listed in the new budget which will go into effect in September. Lincoln City Libraries has had very good summer reading program attendance. John will be traveling with Lincoln City Libraries staff and board members to Des Moines, Iowa, to visit the new main library.

Director's Report

Rod Wagner reported there have been recent library grand opening events in Lyons and Wahoo. The new library in Waterloo is completed but there have been some negotiations going on for the village to accept the library. The library was built with funds from the Robinson family foundation. The foundation will also provide an endowment for a portion of the library's on-going operating funds. A stipulation states that the village commits to support the library. They hope to reach agreement soon so that the new library can be opened.


Rod Wagner reported that Devra Dragos was chosen as the Nebraska Library Commission's Employee of the Year. Devra is a great asset to the Commission. Her principal duty is Cataloger but she has many other duties including consulting, training, the NLC's online catalog, and assisting libraries throughout the state with cataloging, metadata and digitization related issues.

Scott Sholz was selected as the Commission's Supervisor of the Year. Scott works in the Talking Book and Braille Service. Scott has been with the Commission about a year and brought some background, talents and capabilities that weren't called for in the job. His job is largely related to managing the circulation activities in the Talking Book and Braille Service. This involves the daily routines of locating, preparing and sending cassette books and the in-coming return of books, their handling and shelving. Scott is also a musician and has brought his extensive recording expertise to the Commission. In this respect, he lends assistance to the TBBS recording activities. Scott's recognition for this award is also due to his contributions and effectiveness in assisting in other areas and his great rapport with co-workers and staff he supervises.

Recruitment is underway to fill the three vacation positions in the Library Development unit. The continuing education coordinator position that was recently vacated by Pam Scott has been advertised with the closing date for applications set for July 24th. Interviews are being scheduled for filling the staff assistant position recently held by Jacque Crocker. The third position was previously advertised without success and so the position requirements have been re-worked and the job title has been changed to Technology Innovation Librarian. Applications have been sought for review beginning July 31.

State Advisory Council on Libraries

Rod Wagner reported that the last State Advisory Council on Libraries met on Monday, July 10, at North Platte High School. Patty Birch, NPHS librarian / media specialist and SACL member, hosted the meeting. The meeting was well attended. Cecelia Lawrence, North Platte Public Library Director, spoke about library service related activities in North Platte including the need for a new public library facility. The Council agreed to send letters to members of the Legislature's Appropriations Committee to thank them for their support of the Library Commission's mid-biennium budget request (2006 legislative session). The Council also approved a resolution to promote competitive and affordable broadband internet services for rural areas and libraries. The resolution addresses LB 645, enacted by the Legislature, which prevents local governments and other public entities (public power districts) from becoming internet service providers. The council appointed a committee to work with Commission staff to devise a process to evaluate Nebraska's LSTA program. The intention is to review the past five years. The five-year evaluation report is due in March 2007. The five-year evaluation also relates to Nebraska's LSTA Long Range Plan. The Advisory Council will meet next on November 3 at Love Library, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Trustee Projects

The Ad Hoc Committee that Maggie Harding, Nebraska Library Association, formed to improve relations between public library boards and their village/city elected officials, is planning several regional meetings that will be called Dinner & Dialogue sessions. This is to encourage library trustees and town council member attendance. Tentative plans are holding these the third week of September with locations of Fort Robinson or Chadron, North Platte, Norfolk and Brownville. Martha Gadberry will be facilitating these sessions.

21st Century Librarians' Project

Ten scholarships for students involved in master's degree in library science programs have been approved. The mentoring part of the project is moving forward with a group recruited to work with students involved in library science education programs. Cynthia Taylor, who is working on this project, has shown the library career video to high school and college students and at regional library system annual meetings to get feedback for the program. The final version is expected to be ready to show at the NLA-NEMA conference in October.

ALA Conference

Rod Wagner and a few other NLC staff attended the June conference in New Orleans. Former U.S. Secretary of State Madaline Albright spoke at the opening session. First Lady Laura Bush was at the conference and spoke at a program about school libraries. There were many author sessions, including a panel discussion of the effects of the hurricane on the people, culture and future of New Orleans. Conference attendance was good and the facilities and services were more than adequate.

Gates Foundation Grants

Funds were recently distributed to libraries that were identified in high poverty level communities for hardware upgrades and replacements.

Richard Miller is working on the Internet Activity grants to identify and offer help to about 60 libraries that either currently do not have an internet connection or are using a dial-up connection. The grants will help them pay for high speed internet connections. The new Technology Innovation Librarian position will initially be funded from Gates Foundation grant funds. There is hope that the Gates Foundation will continue its support for libraries. The state library agencies across the country intend to approach the Foundation to propose goals and strategies for continuation of the foundation's support for library services.

Outside the Borders Project

The Outside the Borders project is administered by the Illinois State Library through an Institute of Museum and Library Services national leadership grant. The Illinois State Library asked Nebraska and Arizona to participate in this project. The project will bring librarians from outside the United States to visit, study and learn about U.S. libraries. The expected date for the institute to come to Nebraska is fall 2007 with perhaps about 20 international librarians participating. The Illinois program has had librarians from Columbia, Chile, other South American countries, Japan, Russia, and other European countries. For the Nebraska visit, the international librarians will be matched with an equal number of Nebraska librarians according to their patron base (i.e. urban communities, rural communities, public and academic). The Mortenson Center at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is the primary group leading this project. The Mortenson Center specializes in working with librarians from other countries. The Nebraska Library Commission will receive funding from the grant to support project activities in Nebraska.


The fiscal year ended June 30 without any financial difficulties. The May and June financial reports were included in the meeting packet.


There was no unfinished business to report.


2007-2009 Biennium Budget Planning Process - Rod Wagner presented an outline of factors and issues for consideration in the preparation of the Library Commission's biennium budget request. There are three major parts to the budget request. One part requires cost estimates for continuing agency services at their current level. A second component includes description of a new service initiative or expansion of a current service, the basis or need, and a justification for the requested funds. A third part is the modification requirement. Agencies must specify and describe services that would be reduced or eliminated if state funds are reduced to 95% of the current year appropriation level. The Commission's LSTA funds have increased over the past few years and there is the possibility for additional funds in the coming year. That's far from certain, though, and won't be known prior to submission of the budget request in September.

Dave Oertli reported that the Talking Book & Braille Service will be converting to digital media from cassettes and there will be some expense for equipment needs. The National Talking Book Program will still be distributing new books on cassettes with flash memory formatted books being introduced in 2008. By the year 2011, all new books will be flash memory only. The studios and tape duplication areas currently have digital equipment and can convert recordings to cassette for circulation. Equipment needs for the FY2007-2009 biennium include $3,000 for the studios and $4,000 for updates to the cassette duplicators. Another cost will be the flash memory cartridges which currently cost $10.00 each, and the estimation needed for the first phase of conversion is 4,000 cartridges for this biennium and several thousand per year after that for the sizeable collection of magazines and books recorded at the Commission.

Rod Wagner reported that a request will be proposed for the biennium budget request to increase funding for NebraskAccess similar to a request two years ago for added electronic resources that will be available to all types of libraries, home use, public and private schools, colleges and universities. An increase in state aid to public libraries will also be proposed that will be used as incentives for libraries to achieve the enhanced and excellent levels in the Guidelines for Public Library Accreditation. Another request is included to supplement scholarship funding for library science students.

Election of Chair

A motion was made and seconded for the election of John Dale to the position of Chair. Motion carried on a roll call vote: Patrick Gross - aye; Velma Sims-Shipley - aye; Carol Spencer - aye; Jean Ahrens - aye; John Dale - abstain.

Election of Vice-Chair

A motion was made and seconded for the election of Mary Nelson to the position of Vice-Chair. Motion carried on a roll call vote: Velma Sims-Shipley-aye; Carol Spencer - aye; Jean Ahrens - aye; John Dale - aye; Patrick Gross - aye.

Out-of-State Travel Request

Rod Wagner requested approval to attend the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies meeting in Little Rock, Arkansas, October 1-3, 2006 and the Western Council of State Libraries meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii, October 15-17, 2006. A motion was made and seconded to approve these travel requests. Motion carried on a roll call vote: Carol Spencer - aye; Jean Ahrens - aye; John Dale - aye; Patrick Gross - aye, Velma Sims-Shipley - aye.

September and November Commission Meetings

The next Commission meeting will be held Thursday, September 7, 2006 at the Nebraska Library Commission office. The November meeting will be a joint meeting with the State Advisory Council and will be held Friday, November 3rd at the UNL Love Library.


Chair Sims-Shipley adjourned the meeting at 11:40 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.