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Nebraska Library Commission - Minutes

Nebraska Library Commission

November 4, 2005


The Nebraska Library Commission held its regular meeting Friday, November 4, 2005, 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 Homepage.

Chair Velma Sims-Shipley called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m. Members present: John Dale, Mary Nelson, Velma Sims-Shipley, and Carol Spencer. Staff present: Rod Wagner, and Maria Medrano-Nehls.

Approval of Agenda:

A motion was made to approve the agenda. Motion carried on roll call vote: John Dale - aye; Mary Nelson - aye; Velma Sims-Shipley - aye; and Carol Spencer - aye; Motion approved.

Approval of the Minutes (Sept. 9, 2005):

A motion was made to approve the September 2005 meeting minutes. Motion carried on roll call vote: Mary Nelson - aye; Velma Sims-Shipley - aye; Carol Spencer - aye; and John Dale - aye. Motion approved.


There was no public comment.

Correspondence and Communication

Rod Wagner noted a letter received from Lieutenant Governor Rick Sheehy regarding the Nebraska Information Technology Commission (NITC). The letter highlighted the August NITC meeting. Sheehy's letter mentions the results from the joint meeting of the State Government, Education, and Community Councils and the Technical Panel. The joint meeting resulted in a set of priority policy issues for further exploration. Those attending the meeting were invited to participate in work groups organized to address the priority policy issues. Rod expressed interest in having Library Commission representation in two of the policy issues work groups.

Chair's Report and Commissioners' Comments

Velma Sims-Shipley reported that the Fremont public library contracted with a printing company to publish a small newspaper called the Book Page. The paper costs $2,400 per year for 1000 copies per month and features articles about books, authors and library services. Laura England is the new Assistant Director at the Fremont public library. Fremont also had a new wireless network installed.

Carol Spencer reported that Broken Bow residents will be voting on a local sales tax increase.

John Dale reported that the Lincoln City Libraries board held a meeting on September 20th regarding a new main library. The board used the new Seattle public library as a model for discussion. The Seattle library is considered a destination library not just a place to get a book. Seattle's new library indicates that a downtown library can help keep a city's downtown area alive and have an economic effect. John attended both days of the NLA/NEMA conference and felt this was one of the finest conferences held by the two associations. John recently attended a Southeast Library System board meeting and found it most interesting. The Lincoln City Libraries is considering a wireless network and is studying the booking system for the computer labs.

Mary Nelson reported that she too enjoyed the NLA/NEMA conference. She attended the session on sales tax and learned that Holdrege's library has not been following the appropriate measures at their booksale. Because of what she learned the Friends group held its book sale and asked for free will donations instead of a set price. They made three times more than they ever had before. Mary recently visited the Lexington public library and will help move books to the new library. Holdrege public library is currently working on a long range plan.

Director's Report

Rod Wagner reported that he was in McCook recently for a meeting with the McCook public library foundation board. The McCook library foundation received a gift of one million dollars for a library expansion. At the meeting, one of the board members mentioned that the McCook city attorney told library representatives that they can't sell library books because the books are public property. John Dale said Lincoln has to make special arrangements with the city surplus office for its book sales.

NLA/NEMA Conference - Rod Wagner reported that several Commission staff members gave presentations at the conference. The Commission sponsored Martha Choe as one of the conference keynote speakers. Choe is Executive Director of the Foundation's Global Library Program. Choe visited the Greenwood public library while in Nebraska and also talked with several rural public librarians at a breakfast meeting that was arranged with the help of Richard Miller and Pam Scott. Beth Goble is the NLA president-elect. One of her duties is to co-chair the conference program committee. Beth has already arranged for one of next year's keynote speakers - Nancy Pearl. Ms. Pearl is well known and a popular speaker and author. She's a former Seattle public library librarian and is frequently heard on National Public Radio. Nancy is the person who initiated the city-wide book discussion program - "Seattle Reads."

Consumer Health Information Symposium - Rod Wagner reported that the Nebraska Library Commission, University of Nebraska Medical Center Library of Medicine, and Nebraska Health & Human Services System are partnering to host a consumer health information symposium in North Platte. Libraries were invited to organize teams composed of representatives from the public library, hospital, and other community organizations involved in health related activities with the idea that through the symposium they would initiate a local consumer health information project. It was noted that health topics are the most sought information on the internet and at libraries.

One Book - One Nebraska - Rod Wagner reported that the Nebraska Library Commission and the Nebraska Humanities Council co-hosted a lunch meeting on August 23 for people involved in the One Book - One Nebraska project during the past year. The meeting was held to thank the Cather Foundation for its initiative and leadership in starting the statewide book discussion project. The meeting was also intended to share ideas about a future One Book - One Nebraska project. As a result of the meeting, the Mari Sandoz Society has expressed interest in leading the project in 2007, possibly using Mari Sandoz's book Crazy Horse for reading and discussion. The Southeast Library System is interested in facilitating a 2006 statewide book discussion.

Nebraska Book Festival - Rod Wagner reported that the book festival was held in Lincoln last month (October 7 & 8). The festival was well attended. Many came to hear Ted Kooser's keynote presentation. Bill Kloefkorn was the luncheon speaker and was the recipient of the Mildred Bennett Award. Nebraska Wesleyan University representatives have expressed interest in continuing to have a role in the book festival. The Nebraska Center for the Book has decided to select a permanent location for the festival instead of moving it around to different locations. A recommendation has been made that the festival be held in Lincoln the next three years.

State Advisory Council on Libraries - Rod Wagner reported that the State Advisory Council on Libraries will meet at the Commission on November 18. The agenda includes a report and discussion of the recruitment and retention project, financial aid needs for library science education, topics and issues for 2006 and discussion of future Gates Foundation grant projects.

NETV/NLC Project - Rod Wagner reported that the Nebraska Library Commission has worked with Nebraska Educational Telecommunications and a few other organizations on a poetry program featuring Ted Kooser and other Nebraska poets. Nebraska Educational Telecommunications produced the program and it will be previewed at a screening at the Ross Theatre in Lincoln on November 17. The program will be aired on NET in early December. A DVD of the program and a poster will be sent to Nebraska schools and libraries. The DVD includes discussion guides for use in junior and senior high schools.

Public Library Accreditation - Rod Wagner reported that 174 of the 275 public libraries have met the accreditation guidelines. This number is up from the 165 libraries accredited last year.

COSLA and Western Council of State Libraries Meetings - Rod Wagner reported that COSLA met in Salem, Oregon in mid-September. The meeting was hosted by the Oregon State Library. Martha Choe from the Gates Foundation spoke about the Foundation's programs and plans. The meeting included a half day program on emergent literacy - library programs for children to encourage and support early childhood education. Children and young adult service librarians from the area spoke about different programs they are providing.

Thinking Outside the Borders - Rod Wagner reported that the Illinois State Library asked the Nebraska Library Commission and Arizona State Library to partner with them in an Institute of Museum and Library Services grant application for a project titled "Thinking Outside the Borders - Library Leadership in a World Community." The project intends to bring librarians from different countries and cultures together to promote greater understanding and appreciation of the world community in which librarians work. The Nebraska Library Commission is scheduled to host the Thinking Outside the Borders institute in 2007.

Library Boards - Town Councils/ Village Boards - Rod Wagner reported that the League of Nebraska Municipalities is considering introduction of legislation again to allow town councils and village boards the option of making their library board an advisory board or eliminating the library board and have the town council assume the library board's responsibilities.

Financial Report

The September financial report was included in meeting packets. The October report was provided at the meeting. Velma Sims-Shipley asked about expenditures for temporary staff and how often temporaries are used. Rod Wagner replied that temporary personnel are sometimes employed when a staff member is absent for an extended period of time, or in the event of a special project. The Commission also has a temporary who works a few hours a month helping with publications. Rod stated that travel expenses will be higher because vehicle mileage reimbursement expenses will continue due to an increase in reimbursement rates. Health insurance expenses will also increase 20% for both state employees and state agencies. The new federal fiscal year began October 1st, but the LSTA appropriation has not been determined for the fiscal year.

Unfinished Business

Library License Plate - Rod Wagner reported that a handout with information from other states that have library license plates was distributed before the meeting. Beverly Neth, Director of the Nebraska Dept. of Motor Vehicles, provided information about specialty license plates in Nebraska. In Nebraska, specialty plates must be authorized through state legislation. The DMV is willing to work with anyone who wishes to request that a specialty license plate be authorized. A portion of the revenue on the specialty plate is allocated back to the organization. It was asked that this topic be placed on the January agenda.

New Business

State Aid Formula - Rod Wagner reported that the state aid payment formula needs to be adjusted to correspond to the funds appropriated for the state aid to public libraries program. Information about the program and the proposed formula were included in the Commission meeting packets. Kit Keller's recommended that the break-off point be set at the 8,000 service population level. A factor is that in using the 5,000 service population (previous formula), there is a small number of libraries that would receive less than if the 8,000 population break-off point is used. A motion was made to change the state aid formula using the 8,000 service population as a break-off point for the base grant. Libraries serving populations less than 8,000 will receive a base payment plus a per capita payment. Motion carried on roll call vote: Velma Sims-Shipley - aye; Carol Spencer - aye; John Dale - aye; and Mary Nelson - aye. Motion approved.

Deficiency Appropriation Request - Rod Wagner reported on a meeting with Glenda Willnerd from the Lincoln Public Schools and Gail Formanack from the Omaha Public Schools. The meeting concerned a proposed change in the Nebraska Department of Education's rules that will require all public schools to have available for students an encyclopedia published within the past five years. The encyclopedia can be in either hard-copy form or electronic and accessible via network access. The rule change also requires schools to purchase a set minimum of new books each year. The Commission has wanted an encyclopedia offered for statewide use as part of the electronic resources available through NebraskAccess. A budget deficiency request was submitted to meet the DAS Budget Division's deadline for submitting requests. The request was submitted in the amount of $325,000. This amount would cover the estimated cost of the encyclopedia license and a few supplemental electronic resources appropriate for use in grades K-8. The license would provide for statewide coverage for use in schools, libraries and homes. A motion was made to approve the deficiency appropriation request. Motion carried on roll call vote: Carol Spencer - aye; John Dale - aye; Mary Nelson - aye; and Velma Sims-Shipley - aye. Motion approved.

2006 Meeting Schedule - Rod Wagner suggested that the Commission meetings continue to be held the 2nd Friday of the month except for January. Future meeting dates are: January 6, 2006, March 10, 2006 and May 12, 2006.


Chair Velma Sims-Shipley adjourned the meeting at 11:05 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.