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Nebraska Library Commission - Minutes

Nebraska Library Commission

September 10, 2008


The Nebraska Library Commission held its regular meeting Wednesday, September 10, 2008, at the Nebraska Library Commission, Lincoln, Nebraska. NNotice of the meeting was submitted to local newspapers (Lincoln Journal Star, Omaha World Herald), and posted on the Nebraska Library Commission Web site.

Chair Mary Nelson called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m. This meeting is in compliance with the Open Meeting Law.

Members present: Jean Ahrens, John Dale, Charles Gordon, Mary Nelson, and Carol Spencer. Staff present: Rod Wagner, Maria Medrano-Nehls, Richard Miller, Doreen Kuhlmann, and Dave Oertli. Guests: Kathy Tooker and Becky Baker.

Approval of Agenda:

A motion was made and seconded to approve the revised agenda which includes the FY 08-09 Deficiency Appropriation Request. Motion carried on roll call vote: Jean Ahrens - aye: John Dale - aye; Charles Gordon - aye; Mary Nelson - aye; and Carol Spencer - aye. Motion approved

Approval of the Minutes

(July 11, 2008): A motion was made and seconded to approve the July 11, 2008 meeting minutes. Motion carried on roll call vote: John Dale - aye; Charles Gordon - aye; Mary Nelson - aye; Carol Spencer -aye and Jean Ahrens - aye. Motion approved.


Kathy Tooker stated that the Eastern Library System and Southeast Library System received a grant from the Library Commission to host a colloquium event on October 30. Veronda Pitchford will speak about making the library a welcoming place. Veronda is Vice President, Membership and Communications, for the Urban Libraries Council. Ms. Pitchford will visit Lincoln City Libraries and the Omaha Public Library, and will meet with UNO library science students. Dr. Becky Pasco will host a luncheon at UNO for Ms. Pitchford and the UNO MLS students.

Kathy Tooker reported that the Eastern and Southeast Library Systems will host their 15th annual Youth Services Retreat tomorrow, September 11. Over 50 people are registered.

Kathy Tooker stated that the regional library systems received a grant from the Library Commission to bring Teresa Dickson to Nebraska to lead two workshops. Ms. Dickson is associate director for planning and operations with the Pioneer Library System in Oklahoma. Ms. Dickson will be presenting two workshops.

Becky Baker stated that July was the Seward Public Library's second busiest month for circulation and in August the library migrated to an automation system which is a vendor hosted system eliminating the need for staff to manage a server.

Chair's Report and Commissioners' Comments

Mary Nelson reported that she attended by phone the Future Search Task Force meeting. Steve Fosselman is the Chair and Audrey DeFrank is Vice-Chair. The group is planning a panel discussion at the NLA/NEMA conference. Mary will be talking to the RVLS board members about the discussion held by the task force. Mary attended the Return on Investment (ROI) workshop in Grand Island. Holdrege Public Library is updating its strategic plan because they have accomplished all the goals they set in the strategic plan from five years ago. Mary stated she read the OCLC report From Awareness to Funding and found it an excellent report. On a personal note, Mary reported that her niece found a mummy in South America while working on an archeological dig.

Carol Spencer reported that the Broken Bow Public Library had good representation at the ROI meeting in Grand Island. Suzanne Bloomfield, University of Nebraska at Kearney, presented a program on Tales of the West.

John Dale reported that he met with Rod Wagner and Doreen Kuhlmann regarding the budget. Carol Connor has retired from Lincoln City Libraries after 37 years of service. John distributed pamphlets on disaster preparedness.

Charles Gordon reported that the Fremont Public Library budget was approved at the last city council meeting. Kathy Tooker and Ann Stephens visited Dodge County public libraries to present information about library services across the county. Fremont has been in the news recently due to a group of citizens who sought passage of an ordinance to make illegal employing or renting to so-called illegal immigrants. The mayor broke a council tie vote with the result that the ordinance failed to pass.

Jean Ahrens reported that Bill Kloefkorn, author of Restoring the Burnt Child (this year's One Book/One Nebraska selection) visited Scottsbluff for a book discussion and presentation. The Scottsbluff summer reading program was very well attended. The teen summer program included a "battle of the bands" with groups from as far away as South Dakota. The event received great coverage from local media. Unfortunately, fundraising for the library is not going well and the city will not provide more money. The library director has begun to apply for grants. Jean discovered that the Alliance public library doesn't subscribe to children's magazines due to budget. A local teaching sorority group has started providing new born babies with a book bag, bookmark, book, and a coupon for a cup. In July, 84 babies were born at the local hospital. Due to cost of the books the group is concerned about continuing this project. Jean asked for suggestions to keep the program going. Mary Nelson stated that the Chamber of Commerce pays for the books given to babies in Holdrege. It was mentioned that Dolly Parton has a foundation that provides literacy grants. Businesses such as Wal-Mart, Target, and Runza were also mentioned as possible sources for financial assistance. It was also mentioned that if the group joins the First Book organization books can be purchased for twenty-five cents.

Director's Report

Personnel - Rod Wagner reported that with Kit Keller's and Shannon White's departures from the staff earlier this year their positions were filled internally by John Felton and Devra Dragos. Recruitment is underway to fill the vacancies resulting from the resulting cataloging and research analyst positions.

Nebraska Center for the Book -Wagner reported that the current Nebraska Center for the Book newsletter has been mailed. The Nebraska Book Festival schedule is included. The Nebraska Book Awards will be presented during the festival. There were many books submitted this year for the awards competition. The Mildred Bennett and Jane Geske awards will also be presented during the festival.

Gates Foundation Online Opportunity Grants - Rod Wagner reported that Nebraska is one of several states that will participate in the next round of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Online Opportunity grants. Richard Miller and Rod Wagner will participate in a briefing on the grant program to be held at the Foundation's headquarters in Seattle. The Online Opportunity grant program has significant differences in comparison to the earlier program that provided public access computers for many Nebraska public libraries. Poverty data will again be used as one step in determining a library's eligibility. Eligible libraries that choose to participate will receive a grant. Libraries must also participate in an advocacy training program and must acquire grant matching funds. Information received thus far indicates that the advocacy training is effective and is especially important because it prepares library representatives to present their funding needs and make their requests.

Richard Miller stated that the Gates Foundation wants to promote sustainability. The grant is for a two year project; the first year the Foundation will determine the adequate number of up-to-date computers based on the size of the community population, poverty level, and other factors to be determined later. After the Foundation determines which communities qualify for the grant they will offer funding for the number of computers calculated for each eligible library. Half of the computers will be provided the first year with libraries matching 25% of the cost. In the second year of the program the remainder of the grant will be available for purchase of computers with the library matching 50% of the cost.

Gates Foundation Connectivity and Wi-Fi Grants - Richard Miller reported that ten libraries are eligible for the connectivity grants. Fifty-one public libraries were identified that had either no internet access or dial-up access. Of these only ten libraries were interested in the grants. These libraries have received a computer, monitor, and speakers. The grant will cover expenses for wiring the library and for internet service for two years. Libraries are expected to sustain internet service after the grant period ends.

Rod Wagner stated that forty-seven libraries have applied for Wi-Fi grants. These libraries have a choice between a laptop computer or a Samsung Q-1, a small thumb operated computer. The purpose of this grant is to get wireless internet access installed in as many libraries as possible. Michael Sauers developed the program, is promoting the grants and has set a November 2 deadline for grant applications. Mary Nelson said she would like to know how many libraries already have Wi-Fi. Rod stated that the next major Gates Foundation program is acquiring and upgrading broadband services in libraries. The Gates Foundation has not provided details yet on this program. A presentation is scheduled for the October Chief Officers of State Library Agencies meeting.

Open Source Software Integrated Library System Pilot Project - Rod Wagner stated that this item will be discussed as part of the budget discussion.

Recent Workshops - Rod Wagner reported that Allana Novotny and Susan Knisely have been traveling across the state and giving presentations about NebraskAccess online databases (Database Roadshow). The Return on Investment (ROI) workshops (sponsored and arranged by the Commission and presented by Keith Lance) were held in several locations. Christa Burns and Richard Miller will be presenting workshops on WebJunction at six locations.

Inventory Project - Rod Wagner stated that staff has completed an inventory or the Library Commission's classified collection.


Rod Wagner commented that the financial report included encumbrances from the prior fiscal year.



Public Library Trustees' Projects - Richard Miller reported that at the last meeting a document was distributed highlighting projects and activities related to library trustees. There is a good intention that after the fall conference, Nancy Chmiel, Chair of the NLA Public Library and Trustee Section, will be sending out two different letters. One will go to library directors to be directed to their library friends group and the other to the Chair of each library board and foundation.

2009-2011 State Biennium Budget Request - Rod Wagner commented that the Commission's budget request includes state, federal and cash funds. Appropriations are made in two programs: library operations and state aid to libraries. The federal funds (LSTA) are estimated based on the current year state allotment from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Operating Costs - Personnel costs were calculated based on our current staffing level. This year budget instructions specified that state agencies calculate personnel expenses using a 2.5% pay increase for each year of the biennium and a 10% increase in employee health insurance benefits.

The budget request staff recommendation is to base request most operating expenses at current fiscal year budget amounts. Exceptions include an increase of $1,400 for postage, a $5,000 increase for travel expenses, and a 7% increase in state funds for the publications (books, periodicals and other information resources for the Commission's classified collection - largely library science). In addition, the budget request includes Department of Administrative Serices and Information Management Services fees as specified in budget documents: a DAS Building Division assessment of 1% of the Commission's office space lease fee; communications and accounting fees, etc. A new item included in the budget request is an Information Management Services fee for e-mail. A new state policy directs state agencies to centralize e-mail operations through the state's Information Management Services. The Library Commission has operated its own e-mail system and now must migrate to the IMS managed e-mail system. The change will result in new and additional expenses for the Commission. The charge for this service will be approximately $8,000. If the e-mail change occurs this fiscal year the Commission will be billed a start-up charge along with fees for each e-mail account. A change this fiscal year would be a basis for a deficiency appropriations request.

In order for the Commission's Talking Book and Braille Service to transition to the digital talking book $66,000 is requested for the first-year of the biennium budget. This amount includes 8,000 flash memory cartridges, mailers and a USB duplication tower. If a duplication tower is not purchased, a Braille embosser might be purchased. An amount of $34,000 is requested for the second-year of the biennium for 4,000 flash memory cartridges plus mailers, and $2,000 for equipment. Beyond providing Nebraska books and magazines on flash memory cartridges, the TBBS needs to select and download titles from the NLS retrospective download site where 10,000 retrospective titles can be downloaded by network libraries. Next year there will be 8,000 more titles available to be downloaded. The fixed price for cartridges should be around $6.00 a piece.

Dave Oertli, Talking Book and Braille Service Director, stated that it was reported that the NLS budget for digital conversion was signed into law at $12.5 million over six years. As of yesterday the budget had not yet passed the Senate and is now subject to a continuing resolution. There is lots of support to increase the annual allocation and move the time line up to three years. It is expected that nothing will be approved until after the presidential election. The TBBS Nebraska Collection consists mostly of books recorded in our own studios and emphasizes Nebraska authors or books about the Great Plains. Over 300 Nebraska books have been archived and await mark-up and encryption before being duplicated onto digital cartridges. In addition, the TBBS records twenty magazines and newsletters of regional interest (143 issues annually). Oertli said that Nebraska's Talking Book and Braille Service is one of the largest network producers of volunteer-narrated magazines. The Commission will need new equipment to be able to record to the new cartridges.

The new talking books will arrive on flash memory cartridges. Veterans have been assigned first priority for the new players. Eventually anyone who wants a player can have one. The transition will take anywhere from 4-6 years depending on funding and distribution schedules.

State Aid- Rod Wagner stated that NebraskAcess online database licensing is included in the state aid to libraries appropriation. Currently NebraskAccess online database subscription licensing fees are just under $500,000 annually. The budget request for licensing fees is based on an estimated 4% rate increase. An additional $225,000 is requested to add a subscription or subscriptions for elementary and middle school age groups.

The budget request includes a 5% increase for regional library systems, public library aid grants and interlibrary loan compensation. Wagner stated that the open source software integrated library system project has been underway for awhile and has a task force that originated with the larger public libraries. It is still not clear how this will unfold but initially there is an effort to indentify libraries willing to commit to being part of a pilot group. Wagner said that there is a lot of interest in and excitement about the potential for the open source ILS project. Nebraska has been approached to participate with some other Midwestern states to collaborate on open source initiatives. A Institute of Museum and Library Services grant application is anticipated to seek funding for a multi-state project. This project is still in the early stages. This project has the opportunity to get some federal funds outside of our own federal funds. Wagner recommended including $75,000 for FY10 and $50,000 for FY11 to support the Nebraska open source ILS pilot project. Wagner said that it is difficult to arrive at a budget amount for the request because the project is in the early stages. The budget request for the open source pilot project is an estimate of a sufficient amount needed at the outset to aid in moving the project forward for a small number of libraries with expectation that participating libraries contribute local funds to match state, federal, and private funds.

Carol Spencer asked if the conversion from monthly to bi-weekly payroll would have an expense. Doreen Kuhlmann, Business Manager, stated that when a monthly payroll is done it is based on 173.32 work hours a month so it comes out to 2080 hours a year but with a bi-weekly payroll it comes out to 2088 hours a year, an extra 8 hours. It is said that when an employee is paid monthly the employee is not paid for one full eight hour work day per year. The extra 8 hours for 44 employees will result in a cost increase. All state agencies are required to change to the bi-weekly payroll based on state personnel policies.

A motion was made and seconded to change the budget request to show NebraskAccess as the fifth priority and regional library system aid as the fourth priority. Motion carried on roll call vote: Charles Gordon - aye; Mary Nelson - aye; Carol Spencer - aye: Jean Ahrens - aye: and John Dale - aye. Motion approved.

A motion was made and seconded to approve the 2009-2011 State Biennium Budget Request with approved changes. Motion carried on roll call vote: Mary Nelson - aye; Carol Spencer - aye: Jean Ahrens - aye: John Dale - aye; Charles Gordon - aye. Motion approved.


FY 2008-2009 Deficiency Appropriation Request - Rod Wagner referred to the earlier discussion concerning the e-mail system change. The IMS fees and start-up expenses for the conversion will be approximately $8,000. If the IMS requires the change to take place during the current fiscal year the Commission will need a deficiency appropriation to cover this additional cost.

A motion was made and seconded to approve a FY 2008-2009 deficiency appropriation request to cover the cost of IMS charges for e-mail conversion. Motion carried on roll call vote: John Dale - aye; Charles Gordon - aye; Mary Nelson - aye; Carol Spencer - aye: and Jean Ahrens - aye. Motion approved.

November Meeting Date - Rod Wagner explained that the State Advisory Council on Libraries meeting date was moved to an earlier date due to schedule conflicts that Marty Magee, Council Chair, and he had. Wagner asked if the Commission would be agreeable to holding its meeting the same date (November 14) with a brief business meeting preceding a joint meeting with the Council. Another option would be a change in the Commission meeting date.

A motion was made and seconded to change the Commission meeting date from November 14 to November 6. Motion carried on roll call vote: Jean Ahrens, John Dale, Charles Gordon - aye; Mary Nelson - aye; and Carol Spencer - aye. Motion approved.


- Chair Mary Nelson 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.