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Nebraska Library Commission - Minutes

Nebraska Library Commission

January 23, 2004


The Nebraska Library Commission held its regular meeting Friday, January 23, 2004 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 9:25 a.m. Members present: Patrick Gross, Mary Nelson, Kristen Rogge, Wally Seiler, and Velma Sims-Shipley. Staff present: Rod Wagner, Maria Medrano-Nehls, Shannon Behrhorst, and Pam Scott.

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; Kristen Rogge - aye and Wally Seiler - aye. Motion approved.

Approval of the Minutes (November 7, 2003):

A motion was made to approve the November 2003 meeting minutes. Mary Nelson requested a correction to state that Holdrege public library received $30,000 not $3,000. 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 stated that meeting packets included sample letters expressing appreciation for Library Commission grants - state aid to public libraries and MLS scholarships.

Chairs Report and Commissioners' Comments

Kristen Rogge stated that she attended her first CASTL meeting (Southeast Library System). She found the meeting very interesting and enjoyed hearing the issues discussed.

Wally Seiler stated that he gave a reprise of his October NLA - NEMA conference presentation on library building projects to the Scottsbluff library board. Scottsbluff is enthusiastic about remodeling or building a new library. Alliance has raised the money needed for a statue to be placed in front of the library; the money was raised in a month from a number of individual contributors.

Velma Sims-Shipley reported that the Omaha public library digitized 750 items for the Western Trails project. The Fremont public library is gearing up for its annual book sale. The book sale raises a significant amount of money. Last year, $10,000 was raised.

Patrick Gross reported that he attended the Northeast Library System board meeting in Winside. The group stated they would like to see more technology workshops for school media specialists at the annual NLA - NEMA conference, and college credit hours for workshop attendance. Pat stated that it was mentioned they would like to see staff from large libraries assist librarians from small libraries so that they could attend training. Kristen Rogge responded that this issue has been discussed before but it is difficult due to employment issues. Pat stated that the new South Sioux City public library is under construction.

Mary Nelson stated that she attended the RVLS board meeting. The board had two concerns that they asked her to bring to the Commissioners. One was that when the revised accreditation guidelines are approved, they would like someone from the Commission office to attend a meeting and discuss compliance. They would also like more computer training, and library skills for a more efficient library. The board also discussed no longer providing scholarships for librarians in their system to attend training and using the money as an incentive to libraries to increase their level of accreditation.

Director's Report

Personnel - Rod Wagner reported that personnel vacancies have not been filled due to anticipated budget cuts. The likelihood of further budget cuts was confirmed with the Governor's mid-biennium budget recommendations.

Gates Foundation Library Program - Pam Scott reported that technical support from the Gates Foundation ends on March 30. Pam is encouraging libraries to upgrade their computers now before tech support is no longer available. The upgrades are part of the package from Gates so there is no additional cost. The XP upgrade can be used on any other library public access computers. Libraries received information about software similar to XP that can be purchased for their staff computers. Registration for the transition workshop includes an average of 40 per workshop site.

Pam reported that she and Richard Miller continue to work on plans for the $66,000 grant that the Nebraska Library Commission received from the Gates Foundation to be used for continuing education. Plans include a temporary position or contract for a technology specialist to provide training on various software and simple tech support issues.

Rod Wagner recently received an e-mail message from the Gates Foundation announcing a sustainability workshop in Seattle prior to the Public Library Association Conference. The Gates Foundation will pay travel expenses and PLA Conference registration fees for three librarians from Nebraska to attend and discuss public access computing sustainability in rural communities. The Nebraska librarians who will attend the Gates Foundation workshop are: Gail Irwin, Ainsworth public library; Bev Russell, Scottsbluff public library; and Pam Scott.

Pam Scott stated that for the first time, the Commission offered $1,000 scholarships to librarians from small towns to attend the PLA Conference. Four librarians received the scholarships: Laurie Long, Gretna; Stephen Hunt, Plattsmouth; Nadine DiBacco, Gering; and Mary Ann (MeMe) Smith, Schuyler.

Public Librarian Certification Database - Pam Scott reported that the certification database has been upgraded. The database was no longer serving its purpose. Vern Buis, NLC computer services director, created the new database. It has many features useful to managing certification records and generating reports.

Master of Library Science Scholarships - Pam Scott reported that the Commission began awarding MLS scholarships in 2001. In that year, 5 scholarships were given. In 2002, 2 scholarships were given. In 2003, 12 were given. The increase in scholarships is due to more awareness and the growing number of MLS students. Becky Pasco, head of the library science program at UNO, and Jodene Glaesemann, NLC staff member and a liaison to the Missouri MLS program, have informed MLS students of the NLC scholarships and other sources of financial aid. Four additional scholarships will be given this year. Mary Nelson stated that she is a member of a group that offers $1,000 grants to women who are in the rural part of the state and would like to return to school to improve their work skills or a single mother wishing to get an education.

Library Technical Assistant Courses - Pam Scott distributed a document that describes the eight courses developed by Commission staff, system administrators, and community college librarians. Metro community college will be offering the introductory course this fall with Becky Pasco as instructor.

Nebraska Virtual Library Project - Shannon Behrhorst stated that the virtual library project (NebraskAccess) will be unveiled to the public on January 31. E-mail messages will be sent to promote the new project. Nebraska Online will place an icon for NebraskAccess on the NOL homepage and place links from all the NOL portals. The Nebraska virtual library task force will continue to work on ideas to provide needed services to libraries and the public. Shannon will attend meetings across the state to introduce NebraskAccess.

Libraries for the 21st Century Grant Application - Rod Wagner stated that the Commission submitted an application for an Institute of Museum and Library Services "Librarians for the 21st Century Grant." The IMLS has an additional $10 million for grants this year (a total of $20 million).

Nebraska Library Legislative Day - Nebraska Library Legislative Day will be held February 19. Rod stated that he hoped some of the Commissioners would be able to attend. Mike Nolan, Norfolk City Administrator, will speak at the afternoon program.

National Library Legislative Day - Rod Wagner stated that National Library Legislative Day will be held May 4, 2004 in Washington, D.C. Rod asked Commission members to consider participating in National Library Legislative Day. The Commission also supports a representative from the Nebraska Library Association and from the Nebraska Educational Media Association.

Chief Officers of State Library Agencies Meeting: A COSLA meeting was held prior to the ALA Midwinter meeting in San Diego. Rod Wagner stated that he chairs the COSLA network committee. The committee has met regularly with Marilyn Mason, Project Director for WebJunction. WebJunction is an OCLC service and was developed to provide information, education and technology support as an extension of the Gates Foundation Library Program.

The COSLA network committee is planning a continuing education event for state library representatives at the 2004 COSLA annual meeting on the topic of State Libraries and Digital Government. Rod stated that the IMLS is working with the Wallace Foundation to fund training for state library agency staff on strategic planning based on new approaches to public service and public values.

Rod stated that this year and next year he is chairing the Association of State and Cooperative Library Agencies Standards Review Committee. One current project is the revision of standards for libraries that serve the blind and physically handicapped. Rod was part of a meeting in San Diego with other state library representatives and representatives of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicap to discuss NLS plans for replacing cassette books with digital talking books beginning in 2008.

American Library Association Midwinter Meeting - Rod Wagner stated that he attended several sessions at the ALA Midwinter meeting. In one session OCLC staff gave an update on OCLC products and services. In another OCLC presentation, staff gave a presentation on an environmental scan research project. The project was recently completed and their findings published.

Financial Report

Rod Wagner noted the January financial report included in the meeting packet. Rod stated that the Library Commission has accrued personnel cost savings from vacancies. The agency is within its budget in all major expense areas. Rod said that the U.S. Senate acted on federal appropriations yesterday. Details on LSTA appropriations should be available soon.

The Governor presented his current biennium budget recommendations during his January 15th State-of-the-State message. Governor Johanns included the Library Commission in the group of agencies that would be subject to an additional 2.5% state funds reduction. This applies to the Commission's operating budget. The state aid program is subject to a further 1% reduction. On February 12, 21 agencies, including the Library Commission, will have an opportunity to make their case on biennium budget changes to the Appropriations Committee.

A motion was made and seconded to send a letter to the Appropriations Committee regarding the Library Commission's budget. Motion carried on roll call vote: Mary Nelson, aye; Kristen Rogge, aye; Wally Seiler, aye; and Velma Sims-Shipley, aye. Motion approved.

Unfinished Business

Public Library Accreditation Review Process - Rod Wagner stated that Kit Keller has offered to meet with the Public Library Resource group, attend System meetings, library board meetings, and NLA Spring meetings for further discussion of the public library guidelines revision project. There will be an update at the March meeting and guidelines revision recommendations should be ready to take action at the July Commission meeting.

New Business

State Advisory Council on Libraries Appointments - Rod Wagner presented the following recommendations for appointment or reappointments to the State Advisory Council on Libraries: Pat Gross, Gering High School media specialist; Maggie Harding, NLA Executive Director, reappointment; Gretchen Healy, library director, Little Priest Tribal College; John Seyfarth, Information Systems Manager, Sump Memorial Library, reappointment; Nancy Cantin, director, Medical and Patient Library, Hastings Regional Center; Mary Ann (MeMe) Smith, director, Schuyler Public Library; and Jeff Yost, President, Nebraska Community Foundation, reappointment. A motion was made and seconded to accept the recommendations for appointment and reappointment to the State Advisory Council on Libraries. Motion carried on roll call vote: Kristen Rogge, aye; Wally Seiler, aye; Velma Sims-Shipley, aye; and Mary Nelson, aye. Motion approved.

Major Projects and Issues for 2004 - Rod Wagner stated major projects and issues include the state virtual project, additional services from OCLC, planning the 2005 - 2007 biennium budget request, public library accreditation guidelines, implementation of community college library science courses, and many training sessions on a variety of topics.

Out-of-State Travel Request - Rod Wagner requested approval to attend the Web-Wise Conference on "Libraries and Museums in the Digital World" to held March 3-5 in Chicago. A motion was made and seconded to approve the Director's travel request. Motion carried on roll call vote: Wally Seiler, aye; Velma Sims-Shipley, aye; Mary Nelson, aye; and Kristen Rogge, aye. Motion approved.

Director's Performance Review - Commission members conducted and completed the Director's annual performance review. Current biennium state employee pay policies do not provide for a mid-year salary change.

Next Meeting

A joint Commission and State Advisory Council on Libraries meeting will be held on March 12, 2004 in Omaha. The meeting time and location will be determined and announced.


The meeting was adjourned at 11:50 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.