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Nebraska Library Commission - Minutes

Nebraska Library Commission

November 9, 2001


The Nebraska Library Commission held its regular meeting Friday, November 9, 2001 at 8:00 a.m., 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 Homepage.


Chair Richard Jussel called the meeting to order at 8:00 a.m. Members present: Karen Warner, Richard Jussel, Kristen Rogge, Velma Sims, Wally Seiler, and Robert King. Staff present: Rod Wagner, Maria Medrano-Nehls, and Nancy Busch. Guests present: Brenda Ealey and Jim Bothmer.

Approval of Agenda: A motion was made to approve the agenda. Motion carried on roll call vote: Warner - aye; Rogge - aye; Seiler - aye; Jussel - aye; and Sims - aye. Motion approved.

Approval of the Minutes (September 14, 2001): A motion was made to approve the September 2001 minutes. Motion carried on roll call vote: Rogge - aye; Seiler -aye; Jussel -aye; Sims - aye; and Warner - aye. Motion approved.


Jim Bothmer thanked the Nebraska Library Commission for providing funding for the HealthHQ project. The funding will allow ICON to input data regarding Nebraska health related organizations and services.


Rod Wagner stated that the Governor was unable to attend the Commission's Centennial celebration open house but had sent a letter recognizing the event.

Karen Warner stated that she received a letter from Becky Pasco thanking the Commissioners for their contribution to the silent auction held at the NLA/NEMA conference. The auction raised over $1,500 to be used for the Nixon scholarship fund.


Richard Jussel stated that he attended the NLA-NEMA conference in Kearney. He found it to be very well organized and very informative.

Velma Sims stated that she also attended the NLA-NEMA conference in Kearney. She recently read in a newsletter that Fremont has a children's librarian group that meets to discuss issues, share ideas, and information. In Omaha, there is an effort to have local artists display their work in the libraries. Velma would like to find more information on the project. Fremont is getting ready for their library Friends annual event.

Kristen Rogge stated that she also attended the NLA-NEMA conference in Kearney and thought it was a huge success. Brownsville is attempting to organize a community library.

Robert King stated that the Holdrege public library raised enough money to purchase a color copier.

Wally Seiler stated that he and Brenda Ealey participated in a panel at the Nebraska League of Municipalities annual meeting in Gering. They felt it was successful. Wally also attended the NLA-NEMA conference and felt it was a great success.

Karen Warner stated that she had attended three library conventions in four weeks: Nebraska, Wyoming and South Dakota. Nebraska's conference was better attended and had better programs. Karen also attended the Tilden public library dedication. It was an incredible event and the library is very beautiful.



Rod Wagner reported that at the last meeting he reported on recruitment efforts for two positions, but with the announcement of a special legislative session to reduce the state budget it was decided to hold off on filling those positions. Now, as a result of the state budget reduction, these positions will continue to be held open to reduce Commission operating costs. The Commission will not have to lay off any people due to the budget cuts. Longer term, these positions are important to the Commission's work and other budget savings may be pursued to allow these positions to be filled.

The NLA Paraprofessional Section recognized Janet Greser and Jacqueline Crocker as Paraprofessionals of the Year.

Biennium Budget Status

Nancy Busch distributed a document showing the state budget reduction for this year and next year. Rod Wagner stated that there is still $50 million to be cut from the state budget during the 2002 legislative session unless tax revenues increase.

Library Science Education Programs

Emporia State University has decided not to bring it's Master Degree program to Nebraska because they fell short of the number of applicants needed to make the program viable. The University of Missouri-Columbia will offer courses in Nebraska beginning in January 2002. The Commission has received a few applications for scholarships.

Nebraska Information Technology Commission Grant

Richard Miller reported at the State Advisory Council on Libraries meeting that the Nebraska Library Commission was awarded a grant from the Nebraska Information Technology Commission to make children's book reviews accessible at the Commission's Web site.

COSLA and Western Council of State Libraries Meeting

Rod Wagner reported that he attended these meetings in Salt Lake City. During the COSLA meeting there was a session on state funding. It seems that most other states are experiencing budget reductions and many more severed than Nebraska.

The Western Council of State Libraries has initiated a project that will include a National Leadership Grant proposal to the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The project will involve development of an educational program for library practitioners. The intent is to address the library staffing needs of western states, particularly those of rural libraries. This project is a collaborative effort of the Western Council and library schools in the twenty-state Western Council area. A research project, undertaken by Emporia State University, identified training programs for library personnel that have been developed through state libraries and colleges and universities. The Nebraska Library Commission's Basic Skills and Public Librarian Certification programs are among those identified.


Information was included in meeting packets. Rod Wagner stated that personnel expenses are down in line with the reduced state appropriation for agency operating costs. Apart from personnel, the next largest expense is building rental costs. Those costs are set under the Commission's office space lease agreement. Lease and building costs will increase in 2003.


There was no unfinished business to report.


Biennium Budget Actions

Rod Wagner stated that a decision is needed to apply the budget reductions in the state aid category. Options are to apply the budget reduction equally among state aid categories or to apply the budget cuts selectively. The Commission's 2001-2003 biennium budget proposal called for across the board reductions if funds were reduced.

A motion was made to make budget cuts across the board. Motion carried on roll call: King - aye; Seiler - aye; Jussel - aye; Sims - aye; Warner - aye; and Rogge - aye. Motion approved.

Nancy Busch distributed a document showing different formula options for state aid to libraries. A motion was made to accept option 1 as the formula to use for FY 2002 state aid distribution. Motion carried on roll call: Seiler - aye; Jussel - aye; Sims - aye; Warner - aye; Rogge - aye; and King - aye. Motion approved.

State Advisory Council on Libraries Appointments

Rod Wagner reported that the Council has a few members who are completing their first terms and are eligible for re-appointment. All have been asked to determine whether they would be willing to serve a second term. One member, Michael LaCroix, is completing his second term and is not eligible for re-appointment.

Rod recommended that new appointments be made at the January Commission meeting, and recommend that those individuals who are eligible to serve another term be reappointed. A motion was made to approve second term appointments for Michael Herbison, Kathy Lute, and Ruth Seward. Motion carried on roll call vote: Jussel - aye; Sims - aye; Warner - aye; Rogge - aye; Kind - aye; and Seiler - aye. Motion approved.

Wally Seiler reported on his and Brenda Ealey's participation on the panel at the League of Municipalities meeting. He stated that the tenor of their presentation concerned why local government should support libraries. The panel expressed that local government officials are not alone in providing support to libraries. They have a tremendous amount of support from the Nebraska Library Commission.

Brenda and Wally will tell librarians that they have opened the doors of communication; they now need to start a dialogue with their local government representatives.

Brenda stated that she felt there is a real need for library board training. This would allow board members to be familiar with what the law says and what the parameters are, and how flexible the laws can be. Brenda stated that there was a lot of positive feedback on the NebrasKard by city officials.

Karen Warner asked for an update on the NebrasKard at the January meeting.


The meeting was adjourned at 9:10 a.m.

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.