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Nebraska Library Commission - Minutes

Nebraska Library Commission

September 9, 2006


The Nebraska Library Commission held its regular meeting Friday, September 9, 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 John Dale called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m. Members present: Jean Ahrens, John Dale, Mary Nelson, Velma Sims-Shipley and Carol Spencer. Staff present: Rod Wagner, Sue Biltoft, Doreen Kuhlmann 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; Mary Nelson - aye; Velma Sims-Shipley - aye; Carol Spencer - aye. Motion approved.

Approval of the Minutes (July 14, 2006):

A motion was made and seconded to approve the July 2006 meeting minutes. Motion carried on roll call vote: Jean Ahrens - aye; John Dale - aye; Mary Nelson - aye; Velma Sims-Shipley - aye; Carol Spencer - aye. Motion approved.


There was no public participation.

Correspondence and Communication

Rod Wagner presented correspondence that was sent to Legislature's Appropriations Committee and Education Committee by Bill Garrison, Nebraska District Manager, Midwest Regional Manager, Britannica Online. This correspondence was sent without the knowledge of the Nebraska Library Commission and was in regard to the appropriation request made earlier this year by the Commission that was not funded. Shannon Behrhorst has spoken with Mr. Garrison and requested that he contact the Committee members and inform them that the Library Commission did not authorize or endorse this communication.

Chair's Report and Commissioners' Comments

John Dale reported that the Lincoln City Libraries budget is tight. One staff position will be eliminated.

Carol Spencer reported that author Alex Kava is coming to the Broken Bow Public Library. Carol also said that the Broken Bow public library's budget has been increased and will allow the library to purchase more books.

Velma Sims-Shipley reported that the Fremont Public Library's budget was approved with no cuts. The Fremont Public Library has hired a new children's librarian.

Jean Ahrens reported that the Scottsbluff Public Library is working on a library expansion project. The first expansion will be in the children's area and teen center. A 40th anniversary birthday bash is scheduled for September 22nd and will have a 60's celebration theme and book sale. In October, author Judy Schachner will visit every second and third grade class in the panhandle area.

Mary Nelson reported that Brady's new library has opened. Deanne Burkow, a native of Brady and a Princeton University professor, was a major contributor to the building fund. Brady also received $24,000 from the USDA Rural Development and $3,000 from the Peter Kiewit Foundation. Hildreth and Arapahoe are discussing remodeling their libraries. The Republican Valley Library System is holding workshops for media specialists in connection with the ESU. Pam Soreide, Director of the Holdrege public library, has decided to do an extreme library makeover. This will entail sprucing up, making changes, placing large-print books where the elderly can see them, different signing, and improving the book drop. Library circulation has increased and the wireless internet service is being used a lot.

Director's Report

Rod Wagner reported that the Wahoo public library held its grand opening earlier this summer. Waterloo will hold a grand opening for its new library on September 17. Governor Heineman will attend the ceremony. Rod reported that Paul Hammel, an Omaha World Herald reporter, recently inquired about the new Lyons public library and whether building new libraries leads to increased library usage. Nebraska is poised to be the first state to have a statewide membership for all libraries, library friends groups and library foundations in Friends of Libraries USA (FOLUSA).


Rod Wagner reported that Linda Jensen recently joined the Commission staff as a staff assistant in the library development department. Recruitment is continuing for the new Technology Innovation Librarian position. This position will initially be supported with Gates Foundation grant funds. Recruitment also continues to fill the Continuing Education Coordinator position. Initial interviews for this position have been completed.

Public Library Trustee Projects

Ad Hoc Public Library Trustee Committee - Rod Wagner reported that the committee is planning a "dinner and dialogue" event to be held in several locations. The committee met with Lynn Rex and Gary Krumland from the League of Municipalities concerning the committee's activities. Questions were raised about the dinner and dialogue sessions and open meeting law requirements. Advice from the Attorney General's office was sought and has been followed.

21st Century Librarian Project

Rod Wagner reported that the website for this project is not ready for viewing. Rod will provide information on recruitment and retention, employment and educational opportunities at the next meeting.

Continuing Education and Training Grant Awards

Rod Wagner noted that a list of grants awards was distributed before the meeting. The awards were given for various education and training projects to libraries and regional library systems.

Library Service Improvement Grants (LSTA)

Rod Wagner reported that application information for LSTA grants will be available in October. Nebraska's LSTA funds allocation has increased allowing funding for more projects.

Nebraska Center for the Book

Nebraska Book Awards - Rod Wagner reported that this has been a good year for the competition. About $2,000 has been received in entry fees. Each category has judges who select the winner for their assigned category. Awards will be presented on October 7th during the Nebraska Book Festival.

Nebraska Book Festival - The Festival will begin on October 6 at Nebraska Wesleyan University with programs for high school students. On October 7th the festival will include sessions varying from storytelling for children, readings, book signings, book sales, music, food and presentation of awards.

Annual Meeting - The Nebraska Center for the Book annual meeting will be held November 5 at the Great Plains Museum in Lincoln. The meeting will begin at 2:00 following a noon luncheon. The Jane Geske award will be presented to the University of Nebraska at Kearney English Department. The University of Nebraska at Kearney has hosted the Nebraska Book Festival three times and has held a number of writing institutes and special programs.


The July financial report was included in the meeting packet. John Dale asked about investment of NEBASE cash funds. Doreen Kuhlmann stated that numbers were transposed and the error would be corrected. John also asked if the general fund included carry over from the first half biennium. Since this was the end of the first year of the biennium, general fund balances do carry over to the fiscal year that began July 1..


2007-2009 Biennium Budget Request - Rod Wagner reported that the summary portion of the biennium budget request was included in the meeting packet. There are three major parts to the budget request. One part includes budget requests for continuing agency services at their current level. A second part includes funding requests for new services 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 personnel section of the budget is based on current authorized staff levels and expenditures. Personnel costs are determined based on labor contract negotiations and policies adopted for state personnel pay and benefits by the governor and legislature.

Velma Sims-Shipley asked about the requested increase of funds for electronic access. Shannon Behrhorst stated that the $350,000 increase will be tied to a combination of online resources and not just the online encyclopedia subscription.

Rod Wagner stated that the Talking Book and Braille service has an item for the next fiscal year for digital recording equipment. This item relates to the transition to digital talking books. Lisa Kelly, NLC Information Services Director, recommended a 7-9% increase in the budget request for the Commission's purchase of library resources (books, periodicals, videos, etc.) based on industry cost trends. This line item was requested based on a 7% increase. The budget request for travel expenses was based on a 5% increase largely due to increases in fuel costs, fees and lodging expenses. A 5% increase in database subscription fees is requested to cover the cost of licensing fees for current subscriptions. A funding increase of 4% is requested for regional library systems and state aid to public libraries. An additional $10,000 is requested for the Librarians for 21st Century scholarships in FY 2008-09.

A motion was made and seconded to approve the 2007-2009 biennium budget request as it was presented. Motion carried on roll call vote: Jean Ahrens - aye; John Dale - aye; Mary Nelson - aye; Velma Sims-Shipley - aye; Carol Spencer - aye. Motion approved.


NLA-NEMA Conference (October 25-27) - Rod Wagner reported that conference registration forms need to be submitted to Sue Biltoft very soon. Sue will also make room reservations if needed.

November Commission Meeting

The November meeting will be a joint meeting with the State Advisory Council on Libraries and will begin at 9:30 a.m., Friday, November 3rd at the UNL Love Library. The Commission meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. prior to the State Advisory Council on Libraries meeting.


Chair John Dale 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.