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Nebraska Library Commission - Minutes

Nebraska Library Commission

November 7, 2003


Minutes are subject to change at the January 23, 2004 meeting.

The Nebraska Library Commission held its regular meeting Friday, November 7, 2003 at 9:30 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 Kristen Rogge called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m. Members present: Patrick Gross, Richard Jussel, Mary Nelson, Kristen Rogge, Wally Seiler, and Velma Sims-Shipley. Staff present: Rod Wagner, Maria Medrano-Nehls, Beth Goble, Shannon Behrhorst, Kit Keller and Richard Miller.

Approval of Agenda:

A motion was made to approve the agenda. Motion carried on roll call vote: Velma Sims-Shipley - aye; Mary Nelson - aye; Patrick Gross - aye; Richard Jussel - aye; Kristen Rogge - aye and Wally Seiler - aye. Motion approved.

Approval of the Minutes (September 12, 2003):

A motion was made to approve the September 2003 meeting minutes. Motion carried on roll call vote: Pat Gross - aye; Richard Jussel - aye; Kristen Rogge - aye; Wally Seiler - aye; Velma Sims-Shipley - aye; and Mary Nelson - aye. Motion approved.

Correspondence and Communication

Rod Wagner reported that he had received letters or phone calls from Nebraska's congressional delegation, except Rep. Terry, regarding the Library Services Technology Act reauthorization.

Chair's Report and Commissioners' Comments

Kris Rogge reported that she attended the October NLA - NEMA conference and commended the two associations for the variety and quality of programs.

Mary Nelson reported that Jeff Gilderson-Duwe, Holdrege public library director, published a list of ten reasons why libraries are still needed in the Internet age. The Holdrege library received a $3,000 bequest for books. Mary reported that she attended the recent Republican Valley Library System board meeting and the NLA - NEMA conference.

Pat Gross reported that Wayne Public Library recently completed activities in celebration and recognition of its centennial year. The public library held a program each month as part of its centennial year celebration. Pat spoke to the Ponca public library board of trustees and encouraged them to move ahead with their plans to expand the Ponca public library building.

Richard Jussel said that he has been following the state budget woes.

Wally Seiler reported that he spoke to the Chadron public library board of trustees and encouraged them to proceed with their plans to remodel their library. Wally is working on a fund raising project for a sculpture to be placed on the Alliance library grounds. Wally attended the NLA - NEMA conference and presented a program on library building projects.

Velma Sims-Shipley reported that the Fremont public library received a $4,300 grant from the Library Commission to provide Spanish language classes for library staff. The Fremont public library will host Dessert in the Stacks on November 14 and will also have an author who was born and raised in Fremont attend the event and display, sell and autograph his books. There will also be a picture display of sites from around the world taken by a Fremont resident.

Director's Report

Rod Wagner reported that an individual has designated one million dollars in her will to be used for grants to public libraries with populations under 3,000. The fund is to be administered by the Nebraska Community Foundation.

Rod stated that David Wishart, Professor of Geography and Chair of the Department of Anthropology and Geography, University of Nebraska - Lincoln, gave a presentation on the Encyclopedia of the Great Plains at the Nebraska Center for the Book annual meeting on November 2. Dr. Wishart is the editor. The encyclopedia is scheduled for publication by the University of Nebraska Press in 2004. The NCB annual meeting included the presentation of the Jane Geske award to the Grand Island public library and library foundation.

Rod reported that he attended the grand opening of the Seward Memorial Library on October 5. Richard Miller also attended the grand opening.

Rod introduced Amy Barr, an intern from the Emporia State University School of Library and Information Management. Amy is completing a practicum at the Library Commission as part of her MLS degree requirements.

Western Trails Project Presentation

Beth Goble stated that the Western Trails project is a four state collaborative project funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services with a half a million dollar National Leadership Grant. Each state contributed at least 2,500 original documentation images. Nebraska contributed 3,200 images. The theme has a broad interpretation and Nebraska chose to include documentation from the overland trails to modern day recreation trails, railroads, and the Lincoln Highway. The project is almost completed. Beth distributed project information and web site addresses related to the project.

State Virtual Library Project

Shannon Behrhorst stated that NebraskAccess is the name for the state virtual library. The virtual library is in the planning and design stage. The online library will allow Nebraska residents access to many of the databases provided by the Nebraska Library Commission and the ability to access Nebraska library holdings. It can be accessed from home, work or a library. A driver's license number will validate a NebraskAccess connection from a person's home or work location. The authentication arrangement will assure limitation to Nebraska residents and compliance with licensing requirements. Nebrask@Online will assist in spreading the word about NebraskAccess.

State Budget and Legislative Outlook

Rod Wagner reported that the Nebraska Economic Forecasting Board updated state tax revenue projections at the board's October meeting. As a result, the board lowered tax collection estimates for the current biennium. The reduced tax projections will require the Governor and Legislature to re-consider the biennium budget, but budget action will likely not take place until the Legislature re-convenes in January 2004. The forecasting board will meet again in February 2004.

A library related bill was held over from the 2003 legislative session. The bill was initiated by the City of Norfolk and permits bond financing for technology purchases that involve two or more local government entities. This bill includes support from the Nebraska Library Association, League of Nebraska Municipalities, along with other organizations and individuals.

Library Services and Technology Act Reauthorization - FY 2004 appropriations

Rod Wagner reported that Congress has not yet completed action on FY 2004 appropriations for many federal programs, including the LSTA. Funding is currently provided under a Congressional continuing resolution.

IMLS Outcome Based Evaluation Training

Rod Wagner reported on the Outcome Based Evaluation training held at the Nebraska Library Commission office on September 29 and October 1. Several Library Commission staff, regional library system administrators, and some public librarians participated in the two day training program. Each participant was asked to select a project for development as part of the training. Rod stated that outcome based evaluation is an expectation of the Institute of Museum and Library Services for state program administration. The IMLS provides training for state library staff. Richard Miller stated that Library Commission Library Development staff recently provided training on the grants available from the Library Commission and incorporated outcome based evaluation information in the training. The regional library systems have been asked to use outcome based evaluation in their long range plans.

Gates Foundation Library Program Application

Richard Miller reported that the Library Commission received a $67,200 grant from the Gates Foundation for public library personnel technology training. Some of the training will be provided through contract. Grant funds will also be used to pay for OCLC Mind Leaders courses.

Library Science courses at Nebraska Community Colleges

Deb Robinson (Northeast Community College), Kay Hershey (Metropolitan Community College), Pam Scott and Richard Miller (Nebraska Library Commission) gave a presentation at the October NLA - NEMA conference on the proposed library technical assistant program to be offered by Nebraska community colleges. The first course is anticipated to be offered in the fall of 2004.

Representatives from Nebraska community colleges, regional library system administrators, and Nebraska Library Commission staff developed eight courses with the outline of content and learning objectives. Among the next actions is presentation of the program to community college instructional officers to seek participation of the individual colleges. Approval of the Nebraska Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education is needed for a degree program.

Richard Miller stated that the community colleges are being asked to offer the library technical assistant courses and in a way that people from across the state can participate. It is intended that courses lead to a certificate or a two year degree. These programs will offer formal library science education not currently or readily available to many Nebraskans. The courses are expected to improve library service quality as a result of the additional level of education offered beyond workshops and basic skills classes.

NLA-NEMA conference (October 30-31)

Rod Wagner stated that the 2003 annual NLA - NEMA conference was one of the best he has attended. There were many excellent sessions covering a range of topics. There seemed a good number of participants and exhibitors. Several Commission staff members and one Commissioner (Wally Seiler) presented programs. Kris Rogge stated that it was good that Cory Doctorow gave multiple sessions on different aspects of copyright issues. Rod stated the pre-conference sponsored by the regional library systems was very good. Cate McNealy presented the pre-conference program Customer Service and Merchandising.

Library Workforce Recruitment and Retention Task Force

Rod Wagner reported that the Library Workforce Recruitment and Retention Task Force met yesterday afternoon. The Library Commission's application to the IMLS for a recruitment and education grant was not approved. Rod stated that the comments returned with the application were very positive. The grant review panel recommended the Library Commission's application for funding. However, there were many applications and far more dollars requested than available. A significant factor was that the Library Commission's proposal gave primary attention to support for community college courses and less to master's degree level education. The latter was a higher priority. The Library Commission can apply again for the next round of grants. Due date for applications is January 15, 2004. Wally Seiler stated that he felt the Library Commission's grant application was very creative. He stated that grants that were funded were things that have been tried for many years and obviously those things haven't worked because we are still talking about them.

At the meeting, the task force members discussed mentoring activities. Representatives of the NLA New Members Roundtable discussed an NMRT project to match mentors with library science students.

The task force discussed actions that can be taken without grant funding support. Media for promoting library science education and careers was indicated as a priority.

Nebraska Book Festival

Rod Wagner reported that the Nebraska Book Festival was held at Creighton University on October 25. The Festival included excellent programs on a variety of book related topics. The 2004 Nebraska Book Festival will be held at the University of Nebraska - Kearney on September 17 and 18. Sponsors will be UNK, the Kearney Public Library, and the Kearney Hub newspaper.

State Advisory Council on Libraries

Rod Wagner stated that the State Advisory Council on Libraries will meet on November 14 at the Sunrise Middle School in Kearney and will be hosted by Steve Davis. The meeting will include a presentation on the Nebraska Telecommunications project by representatives from the Nebraska Information Technology Commission.

Financial Report

September Budget Reports - The financial report was included in the meeting packets. Rod Wagner stated that expenditures are within the reduced appropriation levels. Savings have resulted from staff vacancies. Staff vacancy savings will be used, in part, for temporary and contract workers.

Unfinished Business

FY 2004 State Aid to Public Libraries Grants Formula

Rod Wagner stated that the state aid distribution formula was adjusted to reflect the reduced FY 2004 appropriation. The formula is set forth in the meeting memo. Grants will be paid to eligible libraries serving populations less than 5,000: $655 plus $0.10 (previous was $750 and $0.15). Libraries serving populations greater than 5,000 will receive: $0.185 (previous was $0.205).

A motion was made to approve the FY 2004 adjusted state aid formula. Motion carried on roll call vote: Richard Jussel- aye; Kristen Rogge - aye; Wally Seiler - aye; Velma Sims-Shipley - aye; Mary Nelson - aye; and Pat Gross - aye. Motion approved.

Public Library Accreditation Review Project

Rod Wagner stated that Kit Keller did a great job presenting the accreditation review project during her session late on the last day of the NLA - NEMA conference. There was good input (questions and comments) from those who attended the session.

Kris Rogge stated that she was surprised that some objected to inclusion of the mission statement written and adopted by the 2003 Nebraska Library Leadership participants. Kit Keller stated she thought that the concern was that the statement was not developed as a statewide consensus in terms of broad based input.

Kit stated that people feel very strongly about the guidelines and she tried to make them flexible without being vague. She selected some of the language for the guidelines by looking at the guidelines from other states. Kit stated that people seem to like the tier approach which she based on programs and services rather then size. The accreditation guidelines are used as a growth tool that library directors and boards can use to work for a better library. It is required that a library be accredited in order to receive state aid and to apply for NLC grants.

There are many libraries that don't meet any accreditation levels. As a result, these libraries do not submit any data to the Commission. Obtaining information about their finances, circulation, etc. would give a different picture of library services statewide. An idea has been discussed to provide a stipend to libraries who submit data for federal statistical requirements.

Internet Safety Policy

An Internet Safety Policy was presented to address requirements for the federal e-rate program, first discussed at the September Commission meeting.

A motion was made to approve the Internet Safety Policy. Motion carried on roll call vote: Rogge - aye; Seiler - aye; Sims-Shipley - aye; Nelson - aye; Gross - aye; and Jussel - aye. Motion approved.

New Business

Out-of-State Travel Request

Rod Wagner requested permission to attend a COSLA meeting and ALA Midwinter Meeting, January 8-13, in San Diego. Rod also requested permission to attend the Western Council of State Libraries meeting and a conference held by the Urban Libraries Council in Seattle, February 23 - 26, 2004.

A motion was made to approve the Director's out-of-state travel request. Motion carried on roll call vote: Seiler - aye; Sims-Shipley - aye; Nelson - aye; Gross - aye; Jussel - aye; and Rogge - aye. Motion approved.


The meeting was adjourned at 12:05 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.