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Nebraska Library Commission - Minutes

Nebraska Library Commission

November 12, 1999


The Nebraska Library Commission held its regular meeting Friday, November 12, 1999, at 9:30 a.m. at the Nebraska Library Commission, 1200 N Street, Lincoln, NE. Notice of the meeting was submitted to local newspapers (Lincoln Journal-Star, Omaha World Herald), and posted on the Nebraska Library Commission Homepage.


Chair Wally Seiler called the meeting to order at 9:35 a.m. Members Present: Richard Jussel, Kristen Rogge, Wally Seiler, Velma Sims, Karen Warner, and Robert King (late arrival). Staff Present: Rod Wagner, Nancy Busch, Richard Miller and Mary Geibel.

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.

Approval of the Minutes (September 24, 1999): A motion was made to approve the minutes with corrections made in regard to remarks made by Karen Warner: corrected spelling of Karen Warner's name, Children's Librarian of the Norfolk Public Library and Northeast Library. Motion carried on roll call vote: Rogge, aye; Seiler, aye; Jussel, aye; Sims, aye; and Warner, aye.


Chair Wally Seiler welcomed all present.


Rod Wagner called attention to a copy of a letter (included in the meeting packet) from Susan Baird, Chair of the State Advisory Council on Libraries, to Governor Johanns and a similar letter that went to the Legislature's Appropriation Committee members thanking them for their support of additional state funding this past year.


Chair Wally Seiler mentioned that he gave a presentation at a brown bag luncheon series at the Alliance Public Library on blown Christmas ornaments. Wally also gave a presentation about the Alliance library to the Nebraska Community Improvement Program. The Alliance library was nominated as the Project of the Century.

Karen Warner reported that she attended the Nebraska Library Association - Nebraska Educational Media Association joint conference in October. Karen gave a presentation at the American Association for Women in Community Colleges state conference. The title of the presentation was "Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry; what flavor are you?".

Richard Jussel reported that the Kearney library was hosting a teleconference and that several libraries in central Nebraska have recently received noticeable funds.

Richard Jussel reported that the Kearney Library is doing very well. Richard noted that in a recent visit to Scottsbluff he was reading the newspaper and came upon a picture of Wally Seiler as Mark Twain

Velma Sims reported that Fremont is hosting an open house this evening (November 12) for the Friends of the Library. Neal Feser, a local author, has written a book titled "The Book of Yo." He will give a presentation for the open house. The author is a counselor at Bergan Junior - Senior High School. He used to write for the Smothers Brothers. The Fremont library is involved in fund raising activities. One purpose for fund raising is a new collection of audio books.

Kristen Rogge reported that she attended the follow-up events in Beatrice for the Nebraska Center for the Book. The NCB's annual meeting in Red Cloud featured a presentation by photographer/lecturer Terry Evans. There was a reception for Terry Evans at the Homestead National Monument. Terry Evans gave a presentation following the reception. The Auburn Public Library is doing a very good job increasing and promoting their knowledge and availability of information technology. There is always a waiting list to use the computers from the time school is dismissed until the library closes. Many community groups are arranging tours and tutorials of the libraries information technology.


Personnel -Rod Wagner reported that Pam Scott is our newest staff member. Joanne Crawford, the Commission's publications specialist, is leaving the Commission at the end of November

Rod attended the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies meeting in Indianapolis. At the COSLA meeting, the Nebraska Library Commission received a plaque from the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science. The award was in recognition of the Nebraska Library Commission's contributions to the national library statistics program that compiles data from state, public and academic libraries. The award is due to the work of Kit Keller, who compiles the statistics from libraries and submits them in a timely and accurate basis.

Special Report -Richard Miller reported on the Library Development program. Richard noted that Kit Keller, a member of the Library Development staff, has worked with the Federal, State, Cooperative Statistical Program for several years and is the Commission's designated State Data Coordinator for the federal library statistics program.

Richard reported that the E-Rate program is now in its third year and is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. The application time period started on November 10 for third year E-rate discounts beginning July 1, 2000. There is a 70-day period within which to complete the application process. This years LSTA grant applications will require that public libraries apply for e-rate funding as a condition for receiving an LSTA grant.

The Commission is working with the regional library systems on several continuing education programs. Recently, the systems and the Commission jointly sponsored and arranged a series of workshops concerning library friends groups and library fund-raising.

Nebraska Community Library Advocacy Project - Ellen VanWaart and Maggie Harding have worked with representatives of approximately 37 libraries. The project thus far has included two statewide workshops on library advocacy topics.

The Library Commission will be sponsoring the College of Dupage teleconferences for library staff education. Ellen VanWaart has managed the work on this program.

The lead staff for state aid to public libraries is Kit Keller. Richard, Doreen and Sue also assist on this project. State aid to public libraries is distributed on a formula basis to accredited public libraries. The current basis for state aid is that each eligible library receives a base grant amount of $600. In addition, there is a per capita amount added to the base. The per capita amount includes the population of the public library's primary service area and also a portion of the population of the surrounding area if the library also receives money from the county. Receiving money from the county can put some libraries at a disadvantage given the current payment policies. For instance, if the library receives money from the county, the population is counted for purposes of the library's accreditation requirements. This may cause a library to be open additional hours or may place their overall per capita support lower than the minimum amount to qualify for state aid. The higher population base may also be a factor for staffing requirements. For some libraries, accepting county funds may be a disincentive in meeting library accreditation requirements.

LSTA funding - Grants are made annually to libraries from the federal LSTA funds. The grant process used is pretty simple and straightforward. Included in the Commissioners meeting packets is a list of LSTA grants awarded last year. About $300,000 was distributed to 30 libraries or library consortia.

Children's Grants for Excellence - This funding provides approximately $10,000 per year. These grants are aimed at children's library services or young adult library services. Mary Jackson is the lead staff for this project and is assisted by Sally Snyder.

Public Library Accreditation - There are two companion processes. One is the accreditation process which accreditates libraries. The other is certification, which certifies public librarians and public library boards. The certification program provides basic skills training and continuing education requirements for public librarians. It provides for both library personnel who hold library degrees from professional library school programs and for library personnel who achieve certification at various levels through educational programs that are not part of a library science degree program.

Public Library Board certification is simpler; they only need 20 hours of continuing education activity within a 3-year period. The certification process is currently under evaluation.

Public libraries must be accredited to receive state aid and they must be accredited to apply for LSTA funds. Over the last few years eligibility for an LSTA grant has been extended to libraries that may not be accredited but are part of a consortia grant application. About 60% of the public libraries are currently accredited.

Richard stated that he believes that the Commission's relationship with the regional library systems needs further improvement. Contracts between the regional systems and the Commission have been re-written. The new contracts specify a few collaborative activities to be addressed during the current contract period. Ellen VanWaart is working with Sharon Osenga to address the continuing education program as specified in the contract. A meeting has been scheduled among Commission staff and library system administrators for December 6. The meeting will cover collaborative continuing education activities and activities which may be pursued independently.

Mary Jackson, Sally Snyder and Richard Miller are working on several Commission long-range goals. One of the goals is to promote library and information services to non-English speaking Americans or those with limited English speaking abilities. Mary and Sally have made an effort to find some non-English speaking materials to address that issue. Nebraska has a number of communities that have a growing population of Spanish speaking people as well as other minorities. The Steering Committee has been reviewing software that instantly translates web pages into different languages.

Services to Children and Young Adults - Mary Jackson is our lead staff for this area. Sally Snyder assists with this program. The Library Commission participates in a multi-state summer reading program for children. Mary Jackson was instrumental in organizing the program. It benefits each state in shared costs for program development and in providing better program materials. The program theme for 2000 is Cosmic Connections.

Commission staff members have been doing book reviews and videotapes every six months. This is a very labor-intensive process. Richard mentioned he had some concern about the benefit that is derived from the reviews in relation to the level of effort involved. The Commission receives free publisher book samples and books are continually sorted. About twelve volunteers assist in the book review program.

Richard was asked to speak about the NebrasKard. He mentioned that the concept has been around for several years. The concept of the NebrasKard is that any person with a valid Nebraska public library card, issued by a participating library, could go to any public library and borrow a book, again if that library has agreed to participate in the reciprocal borrowing arrangement. It is proposed as a voluntary program for libraries. It has been proposed for implementation only if a significant increase in state aid is appropriated by the Legislature. One of the concerns is that the Legislature might see this as a simple solution to a more complex problem.

Nebraska Library Association and Nebraska Educational Media Association

Rod Wagner stated that he felt the recent NLA/NEMA convention was one of the better state conferences. The convention seemed to be very well attended and had some very good programs. Many people stopped by the Commission booth. The convention had two excellent keynote speakers. Rod mentioned that planning is well under way for the October 2000 convention.

The 2000 convention will add the Mountain Plains Library Association making it a tri-conference. The White House Conference on Library and Information Services Task Force (WHCLIST) will also be holding their annual meeting in Omaha at the same time as the tri-conference.

Also, Rod noted that the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science might hold their Commission meeting at the same time given its relationship to WHCLIST.

Federal Library Programs and Policies (e.g., LSTA FY 2000 Funding)

Rod stated that we have not received detailed information on the appropriations for the LSTA for this fiscal year (federal year - October through September).

Gates Library Initiative - Urban Libraries (Omaha)

The Gates Library Initiative recently announced that they are going to start an offshoot of the program to address urban libraries. Their criteria for an urban library is a community population of over 300,000. The Omaha Public Library will be part of this initiative and should receive funding in January that will help to purchase computers for branch libraries. Funding may also allow for a technology lab. Other Nebraska libraries will be participating in the program in 2001 according to the GLI timetable.

E-Rate (Federal Universal Services Fund

Rod Wagner stated that many Nebraska libraries are doing a good job of filing applications and participating in the federal E-rate program, but that many more libraries could and should participate. Between Commission staff and regional library system administrators, we hope to raise the level of participation substantially for the third year of the program.


The audit is nearly finished. The auditors were here for a couple of weeks and an exit conference is scheduled for next week. No problems are anticipated

Rod said that the American Library Association conference will be held in Chicago in July 2000. On July 7, there will be a special event to honor and recognize outstanding library advocates identified by state organizations.

The American Library Association has asked each state to nominate five individuals for recognition on the advocacy honor roll.

Rod mentioned that he had recently attended an open house at the Oshkosh Public Library. The event was held to celebrate the OCLC workstation that was given to them by OCLC. The Valley Public Library also held an open house recently to introduce Nina Little as the new library director. Tilden recently held a groundbreaking ceremony for a new library.


Library Science Education

The next Nebraska masters in library science program through Emporia State University is expected to start in the spring of 2001.

State Advisory Council on Libraries

The State Advisory Council on Libraries meeting will be held December 3 at the Baright Public Library in Ralston.


Handouts were included in packets. There were no questions or comments.


State Aid to Public Libraries Allocations for FY 2000

Rod Wagner mentioned that he sent a document outlining some thoughts about choices to the System Administrators and executive board members of NLA. Several expressed that the money we currently spend for database licenses is enough for now. It takes library personnel time to become proficient in using the databases and adding more now might overwhelm them. There was no strong encouragement that a portion should go to interlibrary loan compensation at this time either. There is interest in addressing continuing education needs - such as arranging substitutes for library personnel to allow them time to attend training session, bringing in quality educational programs for library personnel, providing some assistance for those who have to travel across the state for training, and continuing emphasis on technology knowledge and skills. There was also support for using monies for direct aid to public libraries and for increasing the amounts to smaller libraries. There was also some interest in shared automation services.

Karen Warner asked if we were to increase the amount of the base grant for state aid, what would we have left? Rod stated that if the base grant amount was increased by an amount of $150-$200, an amount of $20,000-$25,000 would be needed leaving any remainder for per capita payments. That would leave approximately $100,000. Karen asked if we would increase the per capita. Rod responded that funds would be sufficient to increase the per capita amounts.

Karen Warner mentioned that she has always felt there needs to be a second set of Basic Skills courses. There also needs to be something for continuing education for professional librarians. It was asked if there would be seminars included in the continuing education. Rod responded that funds would permit seminars and a number of other educational programs.

A motion was made and seconded to designate $75,000 for the increase of state aid to public libraries and the remainder to be used for planning grants and professional development. Motion was carried on roll call vote: Seiler, aye; Jussel, aye; Sims, aye; Warner, aye; Rogge, aye; and King, aye.

Public Librarian Certification and Basic Skills Evaluation Report

Rod Wagner reported that the final report of the Public Librarian Certification study should be completed and sent to us by now. The report has not yet been completed, despite assurances by the consultant.


State Advisory Council on Libraries Appointments

Rod Wagner reported that there are some recommended new appointments and re-appointments to the State Advisory Council on Libraries. Recommended for re-appointment are Stan Gardner, Susan Baird, John Dale and Ken Oyer. Recommended new appointments are Jim Bothmer, Karen Drevo, and Jeff Gilderson-Duwe. Sharon Weigert will leave the Council having completed two terms. Sharon is not eligible for re-appointment. Sandra Riley is also completing her first term on the Council. Sandra does not wish to be re-appointed.

A motion was made to accept the recommended appointments and re-appointments to the State Advisory Council on Libraries. Motion was carried on roll call vote: Jussel, aye; Sims, aye; Warner, aye; Rogge, aye; King, aye and Seiler, aye.

Library Services and Technology Act Grants Program

Rod Wagner reported that Richard Miller had reported earlier in the meeting on the LSTA grants. It is recommended that to apply for a LSTA grant a public library must be accredited or associated with an accredited library.

A motion was made and seconded to add a provision stating that public and school libraries are required to apply for e-rate telecommunication services discounts to be eligible for a LSTA technology grant. Motion carried on a roll call vote: Sims, aye; Warner, aye; Rogge, aye; King, aye; Seiler, aye and Jussell, aye.

Biennium Budget Deficiency Appropriation Request

Rod Wagner stated that with negotiations in health packages for state employees the new rate would go up dramatically in January. It was determined that the new rate will require at least $20,000 in additional funding for the Library Commission. Nancy Busch spoke with the State Budget office to see if this would be addressed as part of the Governor's budget recommendations. Since it was not clear whether funding would be recommended to cover the additional insurance costs, a deficiency request was submitted to the DAS Budget Division. Nancy and Rod met with Gerry Oligmueller ,the State Budget Administrator, and Lynn Heaton, the budget analyst who works with the Library Commission.

Out-of-State-Travel Request

Rod requested approval for out-of-state travel to attend the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies meeting and American Library Association Midwinter meeting in San Antonio, Texas, in January 2000. Rod Wagner mentioned that the next Commission meeting is scheduled for January 14th, the day of the COSLA meeting in Texas. It was agreed by consensus that the Commission meeting date would be moved up one week to January 7.

A motion was made and seconded to approve Rod Wagner's travel request. Motion was carried on roll call vote: Warner, aye; Rogge, aye; King, aye; Seiler, aye; Jussel, aye; and Sims, aye.



The meeting was adjourned at 11:30 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.