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Nebraska Library Commission - Minutes

Nebraska Library Commission

July 11, 2008


The Nebraska Library Commission held its regular meeting Friday, July 11, 2008, at the Nebraska Library Commission, Lincoln, Nebraska. 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 John Dale called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m. Members present: John Dale, Charles Gordon, Mary Nelson, and Carol Spencer. Staff present: Rod Wagner, Maria Medrano-Nehls. Guest: Jenni Puchalla, Southeast Library System.

Approval of Agenda:

A motion was made and seconded to approve the agenda. Motion carried on roll call vote: John Dale - aye; Charles Gordon - aye; Mary Nelson - aye; and Carol Spencer - aye. Motion approved.

Approval of the Minutes

(March 14, 2008): A motion was made and seconded to approve the March 14, 2008 meeting minutes. Motion carried on roll call vote: John Dale - aye; Charles Gordon - aye; Mary Nelson - aye; and Carol Spencer -aye. Motion approved.


Jenni Puchalla said she was interested in several agenda topics and would share the information with the Southeast Library System board.

Chair's Report and Commissioners' Comments

John Dale reported that he attended a Nebraska Universal Service Fund Advisory Board meeting on April 29. John attended the Nebraska Libraries Future Search conference on June 9 & 10, 2008, at Saint Benedicts Center. John said that Lincoln City Libraries Foundation held a fund-raiser luncheon. Harley Jane Kozak was the guest speaker. Ms. Kozak was in Lincoln attending the Nebraska Summer Writers Conference at UNL. John shared post cards of the Vancouver public library from his recent trip to Canada.

Mary Nelson reported that she attended and enjoyed the Future Search Conference. Mary will be serving on the Future Search task force. The Phelps County READS program has been completed and was very successful. During Swedish Days there were 80 people for coffee at the Holdrege public library. The Holdrege library hosted a discussion about the "dust bowl" and the depression. A Humanities Council speaker brought pictures and told stories of the depression; there were 70 people in attendance for this program. The Holdrege library is now focusing on Restoring the Burnt Child, the current One Book One Nebraska selection. Mary expressed the sense of loss with Sherry Houston's departure from the Republican Valley Library System.

Carol Spencer reported a Wii game system has been purchased and is in use at the Broken Bow public library. The Broken Bow library's summer reading program is going well and includes activities for children, teens and adults. Carol commented on a recent article published in USA Today stating that Nebraska ranked second nationally with the largest percentage of checkout of library materials to children.

Charles Gordon reported that the annual John C. Fremont Days event is currently going on and that this event is listed among the top 100 crowd drawers. Charles stated that the effort to develop a county-wide library program is facing obstacles. Many people attended a county board meeting and supported the idea but the county board decided to place the issue on the November election ballot. Charles stated that the Fremont city council is considering an ordinance that would deny jobs, housing or medical care to any illegal immigrant.

Director's Report

Rod Wagner distributed a document concerning the NLC reference team's Twitter account showing questions that have been received. The example reflects unusual and challenging questions that the reference team responds to on a daily basis. Rod stated that meeting packets included a letter from Senator Nelson responding to a request to support LSTA funding.

Meeting packets also included a news release concerning action by the U.S. House of Representatives in increasing funding for the Library of Congress National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped digital talking book program. If the Senate takes similar action and funding is provided at the higher level, the new players and flash memory cartridges will be supplied in higher numbers. More borrowers will be served sooner. While the House action is encouraging, it is only one step in the appropriations process.

Personnel - Rod Wagner stated that Devra Dragos has been appointed to the Network Services Director position. John Felton has been appointed to the Planning and Data Services Coordinator position. The cataloger position remains open and is under recruitment due to Devra Dragos' position change. The research analyst position will be open for recruitment following John Felton's new appointment.

Statewide Open Source ILS Symposium - Rod Wagner stated that the symposium was informative and well attended. The program is an outgrowth of a very successful venture in the state of Georgia. Georgia has had a statewide automated library system in place for a number of years with most libraries participating. However, Georgia librarians grew dissatisfied with vendor supplied systems and support. They sought to create and support their own state developed integrated library system. Developers pursued an open source approach which permits others to use the software and participate in its development and use. Interest has grown and libraries and consortia in other states and countries have been exploring and acquiring the software. Mary Nelson asked for a short explanation of the program. Rod stated the program is available for libraries to use and modify free of charge for operating an integrated library system (library catalog, circulation, and other automated functions). Nebraska libraries are being recruited for a possible pilot project. The Nebraska Library Commission is participating in discussions with other state and multi-state regional networks for possible collaboration on open source initiatives.

Nebraska Library Future Search Conference - Rod Wagner reported that the Future Search conference attendance was good with over 80 participants. There was a good mix of people representing libraries, trustees, local government, school administrators, teachers, major nonprofit organizations, Humanities Council, Historical Society, high school students, library science students and others. Rod Wagner referred to a document in the meeting packet listing project suggestions and ideas from Future Search conference participants.

American Library Association Conference - Rod Wagner reported on the recent ALA conference held in Anaheim, California. There were approximately 22,000 people in attendance. Among the many programs was a symposium hosted by OCLC "Mixing it Up: The Mashed Up Library." Mary Beth Sancomb-Moran, a former Nebraska librarian, was on the symposium panel. Mary Beth now works as librarian for the University of Minnesota in Rochester, Minnesota.

Wagner stated that he attended several Friends of Libraries USA (FOLUSA) sessions including the board meeting and a meeting for discussion of the FOLUSA and Association for Library Trustees and Advocates (ALTA) proposed merger. He was recently elected to the FOLUSA board. In regard to the merger, the membership arrangements will remain the same for both organizations and members will receive the same information, publications and resources. A major goal for the merger is a significant membership expansion with potential for reaching and involving thousands of library trustees and friends. Sally Reed will be the organization's executive director. The office will remain in Philadelphia, the location of the current FOLUSA office. This is a good opportunity to make the best out of two organizations that have a lot of significance to public libraries. FOLUSA is also reaching out to colleges and universities and is looking toward promoting organization of friends groups for school libraries. Among FOLUSA's services is a literary landmark program. Several years ago the Nebraska Center for the Book and the Cather Foundation arranged designation of Willa Cather's home in Red Cloud as a literary landmark.

One Book One Nebraska Program - Rod Wagner reported that a few weeks ago an e-mail was sent out inviting people to recommend books for the One Book One Nebraska program. Within minutes Maria began receiving recommendations. In addition, some author groups have expressed interest in sponsoring the program in coming years.

Scholarships - Rod Wagner reported that the IMLS Librarians for the 21st Century grant is coming to an end this fall. During the last three years the Library Commission has awarded over 150 scholarships with most going to students in library science master's degree programs (MLS and Masters of Education). Included are 28 in the Library Technical Assistant program and 45 internships to high school and college age students working in libraries. Over $300,000 in scholarships has been distributed. A new grant application is due mid-December. If successful, funds will not be available until fall 2009.


May and June Financial Reports - Rod Wagner stated that expenditures for May and June are in line with the budget. The end of June report (end of fiscal year) state general fund amount does not show as 100% spent but encumbrances will account for most of any remaining fund state fund balances. Federal LSTA funds are an estimate due to the difference in the federal fiscal year (October 1 through September 30). The federal LSTA appropriation will not likely be determined until after the November election.


Public Library Trustees' Projects - Rod Wagner referred to two documents prepared by Richard Miller reporting on recent and on-going public library trustee activities, including the recent spring Nebraska Library Association section meetings.


2009-2011 Budget - Rod Wagner stated that state agency budget requests are due on September 15. Among the budget options is funding for support of the open source integrated library system project. Doreen Kuhlmann, Business Manager, prepared a list of Department of Administrative Services fees that will increase Commission costs in the 2009-11 biennium. The DAS fees will be included in the budget request. Mary Nelson suggested that a breakdown be provided to state senators listing state funds distributed to libraries in their district. Commission members expressed interest in receiving updates on budget preparation to be informed and better prepared for budget discussions at the September meeting.

Wagner stated that the next Commission meeting is scheduled for Friday, September 12, which places it very close to the budget submission date on Monday, September 15.It was agreed by consensus that the September meeting be held on Wednesday, September 10.

Election of Commission Chair - Charles Gordon nominated Mary Nelson for the position of Commission Chair. The nomination was seconded by Carol Spencer. Motion carried on roll call vote: Mary Nelson - aye; Carol Spencer - aye; John Dale - aye; and Charles Gordon - aye. Motion approved.

Election of Commission Vice-Chair - Carol Spencer nominated John Dale to serve as Commission Vice-Chair. The nomination was seconded by Mary Nelson. Motion carried on roll call vote: Carol Spencer-aye; John Dale - aye; Charles Gordon - aye; and Mary Nelson - aye. Motion approved.

Out-of-State-Travel Request - Rod Wagner requested approval to attend COSLA and Western Council of State Libraries meetings in Jackson, Mississippi October 5-9, 2008. A motion was made and seconded to approve the Directors travel request. Motion carried on roll call vote: John Dale - aye; Charles Gordon - aye; Mary Nelson; and Carol Spencer - aye. Motion approved.

Director's Salary - Rod Wagner reported that non-contract state employees received a 2% pay increase beginning July 1, 2008. Rod requested the Commission increase his salary by 2% in accord with current pay policies for non-contract state employees. A motion was made and seconded to approve the Director's 2% salary increase effective July 1, 2008. Motion carried on roll call vote: Charles Gordon - aye; Mary Nelson - aye; Carol Spencer - aye; and John Dale - aye. Motion approved.


Chair John Dale adjourned the meeting at 11:28 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.