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Nebraska Library Commission - Minutes

Nebraska Library Commission

January 10, 1997


The Nebraska Library Commission held its regular meeting Friday, January 10, 1997, at 9:30 a.m. at the Nebraska Library Commission, The Atrium, 1200 "N" Street, Suite 120, 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.


Chairman Ron Norman called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m. Members present: Ron Norman, Karen Warner, Jean Sanders, Frances Lovell. Staff present: Rod Wagner, Nancy Busch and Elaine Miller. Guests present: Richard Miller.

Approval of Agenda: It was moved by Jean Sanders and seconded by Karen Warner to approve the agenda. Motion carried on roll call vote: McPherson-absent; Sanders-aye; Norman-aye; Warner-aye; Lovell-aye.

Approval of the Minutes of the November 8, 1996 meeting: It was moved by Frances Lovell and seconded by Jean Sanders to approve the minutes of the November 8, 1996 meeting. Motion carried on roll call vote: McPherson-absent; Sanders-aye; Norman-aye; Warner-aye; Lovell-aye.


Burns Davis was selected as the Library Commission's Manager of the Year by the staff of the Library Commission, and was also recognized by the Nebraska State Government Chapter of the National Management Association as Manager of the Year. Burns is also President-elect of the Nebraska State Government Chapter of the National Management Association.

Nebraska Library Commission staff member Sally Snyder has the responsibility of preparing and submitting the annual report of finances and activities under the federal Library Services and Construction Act (LSCA) to the United States Department of Education. The Program Officer in Washington who receives and reviews the report sent a note back to the Library Commission stating that "it was a pleasure to review and accept a report that is concise yet thorough with excellent evaluations. A report that accounts for the use of funds by specific activities, that paints a rich and diverse program under inadequate services. That is laced with human interest anecdotes and that highlights issues and trends."

Richard Miller, Director of the Southeast Library System was introduced to the Commissioners.


Rod Wagner sent a letter to Bob Reeves, a reporter for the Lincoln Journal Star, thanking him for his series of articles in early December on Nebraska public libraries. Mr. Reeves' articles concerned public library trends and issues. Mr. Reeves featured newer libraries. The Beatrice Public Library was mentioned along with a color photograph of the library. Mr. Reeves also mentioned the "Libraries for the 21st Century Initiative" in his articles.

Mr. Norman noted that the Meridian Library System held its board meeting yesterday. Board members asked about the Microsoft grant and if there are matching funds that are required, and where are those matching funds going to come from? Rod Wagner reported the Library Commission is supplying most of the matching funds for the grant, and "in kind" costs incurred by the library may also be used for matching purposes. Costs will vary from library to library but each library will likely incur some expense. Up to 15 libraries will be funded through this grant. The Library Commission will distribute grants with consideration given to level of need and geographic location. The project calls for assistance to rural libraries and according to the Rural Development Commission definition that communities under 5,000 in population are rural. The majority of Nebraska libraries are rural libraries. (Attachment I.)


The Chairman had no report.


1997 Federal and State Legislative Issues: It is too early in the federal fiscal year for federal budget information. The Nebraska Legislature convened a few days ago and will be in session until the middle of June. The Library Commission and Nebraska libraries have special interest in what happens in the Appropriations Committee and the Revenue Committee. The Revenue Committee has the same members as last year. The Revenue Committee will be looking at the implications of the tax and budget limit laws that were enacted. Nebraska Public Libraries and schools will feel the effects of the taxation and spending limits. The Appropriations Committee has two new members, Shelley Kiel from Omaha and Don Pederson from North Platte. Senator Kermit Brashear left the committee to become Chair of the Judiciary Committee. A Senator that serves on the Appropriations Committee does not serve on another committee.

Libraries for the 21st Century Campaign: The Libraries for the 21st Century campaign is going well. Advocacy workshops were held in early December. Approximately 150 people attended the workshops across the state. Rod Wagner, along with NLA representatives, has been meeting with members of the Appropriations Committee. Senator LaVon Crosby has agreed to sponsor introduction of the appropriations bill for the Libraries for the 21st Century program.

State Senators were sent invitations to Nebraska Library Association Legislative Day luncheon on February 20, 1997, at the Library Commission. Displays are being planned for the Capitol and at the Library Commission. A 9:30 a.m. briefing is being planned at the Capitol.

A tentative date for the Library Commission budget hearing is March 4, 1997.

Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA): With the new LSTA, Library Commission staff will be taking a thorough review of what is currently being done with LSCA money. Input from the public and the State Advisory Council will be needed. Tentatively, hearings on LSTA plans and uses of funds will be held in April. (Attachment II.)

Nebraska Universal Service Fund Task Force: The Legislature's Transportation Committee held a hearing regarding universal service fund issues in December. (Attachment III.) This was a chance for the committee that oversees telecommunications policies to hear about the work of the task force. A number of telephone industry representatives attended to offer their ideas and recommendations on telecommunications issues.

The Task Force was to have submitted its report to the Public Service Commission in early December. But it was found that the Task Force will have to continue to work due to so many unresolved issues. The Task Force will continue to work through at least August, 1997. The next meeting of the Task Force will be on February 19, 1997 (at the Nebraska Library Commission office). The Task Force will then continue to meet monthly until it has completed its job.

In terms of libraries, the Library Commission is looking at the recommendation that were submitted to the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) that would provide discounts for telecommunication services for schools and libraries ranging from 20% to 90%. It has not been decided yet. The Library Commission is recommending that the minimum discount would be at least 50%. Many schools already have negotiated agreements with companies for 50% discounts. Some libraries have also been able to secure discounted or even free connections. Nebraska and other states can go beyond what the FCC decides but has to be consistent with FCC policies. The FCC will be meeting and making their decisions on universal service issues on May 8, 1997.

Personnel Reclassification and Pay Grade Status: The Library Commission has not yet received notification from the State Personnel Division on the status of the personnel reclassification and pay grade for librarians. There is money in the Library Commission's budget to support the changes.

The position of Library Development Director will be filled in the next few months. Karen Ingish has resigned from her position as Public Library Services Coordinator. Plans are to fill the Library Development Director's position first and then determine the duties and responsibilities most needed for the position vacated by Karen Ingish.

Nebrask@ Online & LB 1375 Task Force Recommendations: Commissioners received and reviewed the Report to the Nebraska Legislature on Electronic Access to Public Information as required by LB 1375 (Attachment IV). A bill is being drafted. The draft bill places oversight authority with the State Records Board. The Secretary of State's Office is the statutorily designated administrator of public records. The State Records Board would be modified with some additional representation including a Governor's appointee for libraries and the general public. Commissioners received the November and December General Manager's Report from Nebrask@ Online. (Attachments V & VI.)

Volunteers: A Certificate Of Appreciation has been developed for volunteers of the Library Commission.


November and December Expenditure and Financial Reports: The November and December 1996 Expenditure and Financial Reports were received and reviewed by the Commissioners. (Attachments VII and VIII.)


State Advisory Council on Libraries, 1996 Activities, Council Roles and Functions: The first State Advisory Council was created in the early 1970's. When the Library Services and Construction Act was amended in the early 1970's, there was a requirement that all states have a State Advisory Council. With the new Library Services and Technology Act the State Advisory Council is no longer required. The consensus of the Commissioners was to continue to have a State Advisory Council, but to reevaluate the roles, functions and representation of the Council. (Attachments IX & X.)

State Advisory Council Nominations: It was moved by Karen Warner and seconded by Jean Sanders to approve the reappointment to a three year term (second term): Michael LaCroix, Director, Reinert - Alumni Memorial Library, Creighton University; Sharon Wiegert, Children's Librarian, Sump Memorial Library, Papillion; and for appointment to a three year (first term): John Dale, Assistant Director, Lincoln City Libraries; Susan Ewing, Public Services Librarian, Gering Public Library and also President of the Panhandle Library System Board; Stan Gardner, Director, U.S. Conn Library, Wayne State College; Ken Oyer, Librarian, Bergan Mercy Medical Center (Omaha); Sandra Riley, Former Library Commission Member and Chair. Motion carried on roll call vote: McPherson-absent; Sanders-aye; Norman-aye; Warner-aye; Lovell-aye.


Director's Performance Review: It was moved by Jean Sanders and seconded by Frances Lovell to go into executive session at 10:45 a.m. for the purpose of the Director's performance review. Motion carried.

The Commissioners came out of executive session at 10:55 a.m. It was moved by Karen Warner and seconded by Frances Lovell that Rod Wagner receive a salary increase for the 1997-1998 year starting July 1, 1997 that is in line with the 2.75% increase for state employees. If the governor's guidelines for administrative salary increases are more than that received by state employees than the governor's guideline will be followed. Motion carried on roll call vote: McPherson-absent; Sanders-aye; Norman-aye; Warner-aye; Lovell-aye.


It was moved by Jean Sanders and seconded by Frances Lovell to adjourn the meeting at 11:00 a.m. Motion carried on roll call vote: McPherson-absent; Sanders-aye; Norman-aye; Warner-aye; Lovell-aye.

Elaine Miller, Secretary

All attachments are available upon request. If you would like a copy, please contact Elaine Miller at the Nebraska Library Commission, 800-307-2665 or 402-471-2045.

Attachment I - Governor's News Release on Microsoft Library Partnership

Attachment II - 1995 & 1996 LSCA Title I and Title II Grants

Attachment III - Testimony for Universal Service Fund

Attachment IV - Report to the Nebraska Legislature on Electronic Access to Public Information

Attachment V - General Manager's Report for Nebrask@ Online, November 1996

Attachment VI - General Manager's Report for Nebrask@ Online, December 1996

Attachment VII - November Expenditure Report

Attachment VIII - December Expenditure Report

Attachment IX - 1996 Activities of the State Advisory Council on Libraries

Attachment X - State Advisory Council on Libraries Roles and Functions

For more information, contact Sue Biltoft.