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Nebraska Library Commission - Minutes

Nebraska Library Commission

January 7, 2005


The Nebraska Library Commission held its regular meeting Friday, January 7, 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 Web site.

Chair Kristen Rogge called the meeting to order at 10:18 a.m. Members present: Jean Ahrens, Mary Nelson, Kristen Rogge, and Velma Sims-Shipley. Staff present: Rod Wagner, Maria Medrano-Nehls, Shannon Behrhorst and Richard Miller.

Approval of Agenda:

A motion was made to approve the agenda. Motion carried on roll call vote: Jean Ahrens - aye; Kristen Rogge - aye; Mary Nelson - aye; and Velma Sims-Shipley - aye; Motion approved.

Approval of the Minutes (November 12, 2004):

A motion was made to approve the November 2004 meeting minutes. Motion carried on roll call vote: Mary Nelson - aye; Kristen Rogge - aye; Velma Sims-Shipley - aye; and Jean Ahrens - aye. Motion approved.


There was no public in attendance.

Correspondence and Communication

Rod Wagner stated that meeting packets included a letter from Senator Ben Nelson regarding appropriations for the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Rod stated that he received a phone call from one of Senator Hagel's staff regarding the same issue. Rod also noted receiving a copy of a letter from Kurt Cylke, Director of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, to GladysAnn Wells, COSLA President, regarding the digital talking book project.

Chair's Report and Commissioners' Comments

Chair Kristen Rogge stated that she read an article that said every third grader in Lincoln received a Box Car Kids book. This program is a collaborative project between the schools and public libraries.

Velma Sims-Shipley stated that the Omaha Public Library will have some of their service hours restored. The Fremont Public Library purchased books on other cultures and placed an article in the newspaper. Fremont is also preparing for the annual book sale. They made $10,000.

Jean Ahrens stated that the Scottsbluff Public Library will be interviewing architects for a library building project. Options under study and discussion include an addition to the current library building or construction of a new building. The Scottsbluff library held a "Prime Time Reading" program for 6 weeks and had 110 people (31 families) participate in the program. Jean requested that the July Commission meeting be held in Scottsbluff with the State Advisory Council on Libraries meeting.

Mary Nelson stated that Holdrege is seeking a new library director. The Republican Valley Library System is still recruiting a System Administrator.

Director's Report

Gates Foundation Grant - Richard Miller distributed handouts regarding the Gates Foundation grant. The Nebraska Library Commission received $250,960 to support public access computing sustainability efforts in public libraries. The Commission has three years to use these funds and there is flexibility in their use. There has been discussion concerning use of some of the money as leverage to get public libraries access to the statewide telecommunications network.

Library Technology Support Taskforce - Richard Miller stated that the task force will meet on February 4th. There is no one solution to address library technology problems or needs. A number of librarians are taking it upon themselves to learn more about computers so they can deal with their own computer problems.

Library Trustee Survey - Richard Miller stated that Lynn Bradman, a PhD student and ELS board member, asked to conduct a survey of public library trustees as part of her degree requirements. The survey was mailed and the Commission offered two hours of CE credits for every board member who completed the survey. 1255 surveys were mailed out and Ms. Bradman has received 550 responses (thus far) to her survey. Even though the cut off date has passed, Lynn is still receiving completed surveys. One of the next actions will be to design trustee training for library boards.

Nebraska Memories Digital Project - Shannon Behrhorst stated that Nebraska Memories is a cooperative project involving digital imaging of historical and cultural heritage materials. The project will eventually result in an online Web accessible database. People will be able to search digital images of Nebraska historical materials. In order to make this project possible, the Commission purchased a ContentDM license. The license permits Nebraska libraries to access ContentDM on library computers and create descriptive information. Lincoln City Libraries is the testing library for this project. The Commission has offered LSTA funding to libraries that wish to participate in Nebraska Memories.

Shannon previewed Nebraska Memories and answered questions. Shannon also mentioned that NebraskaAcess will celebrate its first anniversary on January 31.

Legislative Issues - Rod Wagner mentioned that Senator Kermit Brashear was elected speaker of the Legislature. Over 800 bills are expected to be introduced. Senator Don Pederson of North Platte will be the new chair of the appropriations committee. Governor Johanns may be leaving to become the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture; if he does, Lt. Governor Heineman will become the Governor and will appoint the next Lt. Governor. There are a few library related bills that will be re-introduced this year; one relates to bond financing of joint capital purchases - technology and facilities by local government entities. The other bill will be permit employees of regional library systems to participate in state employee benefit programs. A bill is anticipated that would authorize municipalities to choose whether they would have a library governing board or advisory board. On the federal side, Congress voted to pass legislation that will allow money to flow again for E-rate discounts.

A motion was made and seconded to keep the public library board as a separate entity in all communities so that the library board can be functional and responsible for the operation of the library. Motion was carried on roll count vote: Rogge - aye; Sims-Shipley - aye; Ahrens - aye; and Nelson - aye. Motion approved.

Grants for Children and Young Adult Library Services - Richard Miller stated that 47 applications were received and the committee chose to fund 33 projects from 32 libraries. The grants totaled $60,182, which is $10,000 more than planned. Teen Spaces and Every Child Ready to Read were the two areas of emphasis. Seven of the grants were for Every Child Ready to Read and nineteen grants were for Teen Spaces.

LSTA Grant Applications - Rod Wagner stated that December 31, 2004, was the deadline for LSTA grant applications. Sixteen grant applications were received requesting amounts of $15,000 to $65,000 for a total requested of $217,814. The Commission has $250,000 plus for grants. The grant awards will be announced in March.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services has a new program called "Partnership for a Nation of Learners." Mary Jo Ryan and Rod will meet with Nebraska Educational Telecommunications and Nebraska State Historical Society representatives to discuss a state library, state museum and public broadcasting project.

Library Technical Assistant Program (LTA) - Rod Wagner stated that the LTA program is going well. There are three courses at this time and each course has 30 or more students.

Richard Miller stated that Theresa Dickson will be traveling across the state presenting programs on communication skills and problem solving techniques. The Library Commission is sponsoring Ms. Dickson's program.

Financial Report

Rod Wagner stated that December and January reports were included in the meeting packets. The expenditures for educational services are higher than budgeted due to expenses for the Gates foundation training grant. The grant funds are not included in the budget at this time.

LSTA Funding for FY 2004-2005 - Rod Wagner stated that the LSTA funding is expected to be a bit higher but the actual Nebraska allotment has not been announced.

Unfinished Business

There was no unfinished business.

New Business

State Advisory Council on Libraries Appointments - Rod Wagner recommended the re-appointment of Nancy Escamilla. Rod also recommended the appointment of Marty Magee, Patty Birch and Joan Giesecke. A motion was made to approve the recommended appointments to the State Advisory Council. Motion was carried on roll call vote: Rogge - aye; Sims-Shipley - aye, Ahrens - aye; and Nelson - aye. Motion approved.

Library Commission Meeting Schedule and Locations - Rod Wagner stated that a meeting handout was included in packets. The March meeting is a joint meeting with the State Advisory Council. It was suggested that the March joint meeting be held on March 11 in Kearney. The May, September and November meetings will be held in Lincoln and the July meeting will be held July 15 as a joint meeting with the State Advisory Council in Scottsbluff or Gering.

Director Performance Review - Chair Rogge stated she would get back with Rod Wagner after contacting Commission members absent from today's meeting.


Chair Rogge adjourned the meeting at 12:50 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.