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Nebraska Library Commission - Minutes


Nebraska Library Commission

July 9, 2010


The Nebraska Library Commission met on July 9, 2010, at the Library Commission office, 1200 N Street, Lincoln. Notice of the meeting was submitted to local newspapers (Lincoln Journal Star, Omaha World Herald), and posted on the Nebraska Library Commission Web site.

Members present: Steve Batty (via phone), Diane Boyd, John Dale, Charles Gordon, and Patricia (Pat) Gross. Staff present: Maria Medrano-Nehls, Rod Wagner, Mary Jo Ryan. Public: Brenda Ealey, Kathy Tooker.

Vice-Chair John Dale called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m. This meeting is in compliance with the Nebraska Open Meetings Act.

Patricia (Pat) Gross was welcomed and congratulated on her recent appointment to the Commission. Pat stated she is from Bayard, a recently retired media specialist from Gering public schools, and has been in education for 25 years.

Approval of Agenda:

A motion was made and seconded to approve the agenda. Motion carried on roll call vote: Diane Boyd - aye; John Dale - aye; Charles Gordon - aye; and Pat Gross - aye. Motion approved

Approval of the Minutes

(May 21, 2010): A motion was made to approve the May 21, 2010, meeting minutes. Motion carried on roll call vote: John Dale - aye; Charles Gordon - aye; Diane Boyd - aye; and Pat Gross - aye. Motion approved.


Brenda Ealey, Southeast Library System Administrator, distributed copies of the SELS current newsletter. Brenda stated that SELS held its annual Training Extravaganza in May.

Kathy Tooker, Eastern Library System Administrator, stated that she and several others met with a person from Omaha's Think Tank to discuss technology trends. Kathy stated that a reunion event was held for participants and mentors from past Nebraska Library Leadership Institutes. The guest speaker was Jamie LaRue. Kathy said that LaRue gave an excellent and thought provoking presentation. LaRue is director of Douglas County Libraries (Colorado).


Vice-Chair John Dale reported that he recently moved to Wayne for one year as his wife completes a one year administrative appointment with Wayne State College. John said that he visited the Wayne Public Library and introduced himself to the library director.

Pat Gross reported that the Panhandle Library System (PLS) will hold its annual meeting in Sidney on July 23. On August 3, the PLS and NEMA will host a workshop. Pat will present a program on online learning opportunities and will showcase databases provided by the Library Commission.

Diane Boyd reported that the South Sioux City library has started activities to encourage community residents to visit the library. The local newspaper published an article about the library's projects including concerts, Lego School, speakers, and family activities.

Charles Gordon reported that Midland College had stepped up and welcomed Dana College students into its fold. The Fremont public library is back in its repaired building and the Fremont immigration ordinance passed. The hiring of a new library director has slowed due to controversy over the immigration issue.

Steve Batty reported that Jody Crockett is the new McCook public library director. Steve said that he recorded one of McCook's summer reading sessions, which has 213 children registered this summer. Steve stated that he also recorded six different oral histories of different events. The library is recruiting for a new children's librarian. Steve stated that he has completed and printed his children's book titled Fishing with Uncle Harry in 1958.


Rod Wagner reported that considerable time has been spent the last several months working on the broadband technology grant project. In June, the Commission received news that its application for an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) 21st Century Librarian grant was approved. The team that prepared the application is now reassembling to implement the grant project.

Laura Bush 21stCentury Librarian Program Grant

Mary Jo Ryan stated that the grant is intended to promote and develop library technology skills. The IMLS has a priority focus on 21st century learning skills. The grant includes scholarships for students at all levels of library science education and internships. Grant funding also includes stipends for students to participate in training experiences outside their own community. Stipends will also be available to students in need of an updated computer for coursework.

Recruitment is a significant part of the project. Marketing and communication activities will be developed to recruit promising students into the field and to recruit people already working in libraries. Mary Jo said the $700,000 grant will be paid to the Commission over the three year grant period.

Rod Wagner stated that policies for administering scholarships, stipends and internships will be developed and presented for action at a future Commission meeting. Mary Jo stated that the grant project starts November 1, 2010 and scholarships, stipends, and internship funds will be distributed beginning in 2011.

Broadband Technology Opportunity Program Grant

Wagner reported that the Commission has completed the due diligence phase of the broadband technology application grant review. The first grant awards for the second round of grants were announced last week. The Commission's project was not among these grants but a grant is expected. The Dept. of Commerce has until the end of September to commit all of the available grant funds.

Wagner said that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is making available funds for a project launch event for state library agencies receiving BTOP grants (those state libraries assisted by the foundation). The event is contingent on a grant award. The foundation has contracted with Connected Nation to assist in planning and arranging the state events. With a grant award, Nebraska's project launch event will probably be held sometime late fall.

ALA Annual Conference and National Library Advocacy Day

Rod stated that he attended a Chief Officers of State Library Agencies meeting and the American Library Association annual conference in Washington, D.C. in June. Rod stated that he serves on the COSLA legislative committee and the committee discussed legislative initiatives of concern to state library agencies. Rod said he also serves on the ALA Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations (ALTAF) board. The ALTAFF board met twice during the conference and held numerous program sessions.

A dozen Nebraska library representatives participated in National Library Advocacy Day on June 29. This year Advocacy Day was held as part of the American Library Association Annual Conference. The Nebraska group visited Nebraska's three House offices and two Senate offices and met with four of Nebraska's congressional delegation: Rep. Lee Terry, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, Rep. Adrian Smith, and Senator Johanns. Senator Nelson was involved in hearings that day. Issues discussed included Library Services and Technology Act funding, funding for school libraries through the ESEA, e-rate discounts for schools and libraries, and telecommunication policies. The Nebraska group included representation of public, school and academic libraries.

The Nebraska librarians discussed with Rep. Fortenberry his legislative bill to exempt library books from consumer protection policies related to lead content. The consumer protection agency has waived the requirement and exempted library books. However, Rep. Fortenberry believes the change in law is still necessary to clarify Congressional intent. Wagner said that he has contacted the American Library Association Washington Office concerning the ALA's involvement in promoting Fortenberry's bill. Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations (ALTAFF

Wagner reported that ALTAFF is planning a Library Trustee Academy to be offered this fall. The academy will include five or six courses and will be available online. The courses will be available for a fee. However, the fee will be waived for Nebraska participants due to Nebraska's statewide ALTAFF membership.

State Advisory Council on Libraries

Wagner reported that the next State Advisory Council on Libraries meeting will be held July 16 via the state's videoconferencing system. The meeting will include discussion of program planning and prioritization, and the Library Commission's 21st Century Librarian grant project.

Nebraska Center for the Book

Rod Wagner reported that the Center for the Book received more book award entries this year than in the past. Books are entered in nonfiction, fiction, poetry, children and youth, anthology and book design categories. Book awards will be presented at the November 6 awards program and annual meeting of the Nebraska Center for the Book. The Center for the Book's award program will also include presentation of the Jane Geske Award and announcement of the 2011 One Book One Nebraska selection. A few weeks ago an announcement was issued to invite recommendations for the 2011 One Book program. To be considered books must have a Nebraska connection. Submissions will be accepted until July 26.


Rod Wagner reported that the end of June expenditures report does not include encumbrances. Those affect end of fiscal year fund balances and will be reflected in the July financial report.

State Employee 2010-2011 Pay Policies Update

Wagner stated that Governor Heineman extended the state employee pay freeze to non-union state employees that are within the personnel classification system and covered under state personnel rules & regulations. That had not been clarified as of the May Commission meeting.

Governor Heineman had asked that state employees covered under the labor union contract to accept a pay freeze. However, the union did not agree to the freeze. Employees covered by the labor agreement received a 2.5% pay increase effective July 1.

Kathy Dukes, a long time employee in the Commission's Talking Book and Braille Service, retired recently. This position will remain open as a result of reduced appropriations.


Mary Jo Ryan stated that the Library Commission and Nebraska Library Association received a $10,000 grant for funding student internships. The grant funds will be administered by the Library Association. Commission staff and Library Association representatives reviewed 18 applications and awarded internship grants to 12 libraries for use this summer. The Commission's 21st Century Librarian grant includes funds for internships and will allow more libraries to participate. The 21st Century Librarian grant funds will not be available until after November 1.


2011-2013 Biennium Budget Planning and Process

Rod Wagner stated that state agency budget requests are due on September 15. The projected $650 million plus biennium budget gap makes budget requests and decisions much more difficult.

Wagner stated that budget requests must include modifications to identify actions agencies will take if state funds are reduced. For this budget cycle agencies have been asked to submit modifications based on a 10% state funds reduction. The modification is based on current fiscal year state funds appropriations.

Budget information and recommendations will be presented for consideration, discussion and action at the September Commission meeting.

This year the legislature has asked state agencies to include agency efficiency review plans. The review plans are to address five items:

  • 1. Consolidation of existing programs within the agency
  • 2. Opportunities for streamlining existing services
  • 3. Reforms needed to reduce the number of employees and layers of management within the agency
  • 4. Review of all mandates and requirements imposed on the agency and the results of eliminating or changing the mandates and requirements
  • 5. Structural and operational changes needed for the agency to move from five-day (8 hours per work day) to four-day work week (10 hours per work day)

Wagner said that legislative committees will hold briefing sessions (not hearings) with state agency representatives. Committees have been assigned to review agencies under their area of responsibility. The Library Commission's briefing will be with the General Affairs Committee. The briefing is an opportunity to present information about the agency and specifically address the five topics. The briefings are closed meetings for the committees and agency representatives.

Election of Commission Chair

A motion was made and seconded to approve John Dale as Commission Chair. John Dale - abstain, Charles Gordon- aye, Patricia Gross - aye, and Diane Boyd - aye. Motion approved.

Election of Commission Vice-Chair

A motion was made and seconded to approve Charles Gordon as Commission Vice-Chair. Charles Gordon- abstain; Patricia Gross - aye; Diane Boyd - aye; and John Dale - aye. Motion approved.

Next Meeting Dates

The next Commission meeting will be held on September 10. The November meeting will be held on Friday, November 5.


The meeting was adjourned by Chair John Dale at 11:00 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.