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Nebraska Library Commission - Minutes

Nebraska Library Commission

March 11, 2005


The Nebraska Library Commission held its regular meeting Friday, March 11, 2005, at the Central Community College, Kearney. Notice of the meeting was submitted to local newspapers (Lincoln Journal-Star, Omaha World Herald), and posted on the Nebraska Library Commission Homepage.

Vice-Chair Velma Sims-Shipley called the meeting to order at 8:30 a.m. Members present: Jean Ahrens, Patrick Gross, Mary Nelson, Velma Sims-Shipley, and Carol Spencer. Staff present: Rod Wagner and Maria Medrano-Nehls. Guests: Kathy Tooker, Sharon Osenga, John Seyfarth and Nancy Escamilla.

Approval of Agenda:

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

Approval of the Minutes (January 7, 2005):

A motion was made to approve the January 2005 meeting minutes. Motion carried on roll call vote: Pat Gross - aye; Mary Nelson - aye; Velma Sims-Shipley - aye; Carol Spencer - aye; and Jean Ahrens - aye. Motion approved.


Nothing to report.

Correspondence and Communication

Rod Wagner reported that the Tekamah public library recently sent Sally Snyder, NLC children and young adult services coordinator, an e-mail message to report that a Tekamah resident was so impressed with the library's teen space project that they donated $500 to the project. Tekamah was one of several libraries that received a Library Commission grant for a teen space project.

Chair's Report and Commissioners' Comments

Vice-Chair Velma Sims-Shipley reported that the Fremont public library was among the libraries that received a grant for a teen space project. The Fremont public library will hold its annual book sale in April. Last year, the book sale resulted in over $10,000 in receipts.

Mary Nelson reported the Holdrege public library is also working on a teen space project funded by a Commission grant. Local youth are working on the project and it seems to be going well. The Holdrege public library board will be interviewing candidates for the library director's position.

Mary shared an article about the McCook Community College library. The article concerned wireless laptop computers that are used at the college library with great success.

Carol Spencer reported that the Broken Bow public library is working on its teen space project. Carol attended Nebraska Library Legislative Day and found it very interesting and worthwhile. The Broken Bow public library has had a budget problem and was concerned that the library would lose eligibility for state aid funds. A community member donated $2,500 to the city with a stipulation that it go to the library. There has been good community support for the library and residents have been attending City Council meetings. There has been a public uproar over the library being closed on Saturdays due to budget reductions. The library will soon resume Saturday hours.

Patrick Gross reported that he recently visited the Pierce public library. The Wayne public library foundation group met recently and decided to form a library friends group.

Jean Ahrens reported that the Scottsbluff public library has chosen an architectural firm to conduct a building feasibility study. The library is planning several activities for the One Book - One State project, including a brown bag lunch book discussion series and some evening book discussions. The Library Friends annual meeting was held in February with a presentation on women mystery writers. A local poet will read from her work this spring.

Director's Report

Personnel - Rod Wagner reported that the Commission is moving forward to recruit for two positions. A project assistant position has been advertised for assistance with the recruitment and retention LSTA grant project. This will be a three-year position funded by the grant. A library technology consultant position has been posted for applications. This position will be initially funded from the Gates Foundation grant. Permanent funding will be sought to continue the position after grant funds are no longer available. Scott Sholz was recently hired to fill the vacant Talking Book and Braille Service circulation coordinator position; this position has been vacant since Cherie Longmuir left to become the Panhandle Library System Coordinator. The position was held open due to budget cuts and uncertainty over future funding. Scott holds a B.S. degree in music and has experience in audio recording. Part of Scott's job will be to assist with the TBBS recording studio.

League of Municipalities Midwinter Conference / Library Boards - Rod Wagner reported that he, Brenda Ealey, Kathy Tooker, and Kristen Rogge attended the conference and hosted the NLC / Regional Library Systems exhibit. It was a great opportunity to meet with mayors, city council members, and city employees from across the state. The conference was held the same day as the hearing on LB 599 (concerning public library boards). Rod reported that following the hearing, the General Affairs Committee voted to not advance the bill. The library trustee survey that Lynn Bradman conducted has some interesting results and should provide good information for work with library trustees.

The survey results may also help to address some of the issues raised by the LB 599 proponents. Joan Birnie (Broken Bow library director), Gary Wright (Broken Bow library board president), Penny Jeffery (Oconto library director) and Rod Wagner testified in opposition to LB599 at the legislative hearing.

One Book - One State - Rod Wagner reported that many activities are planned for the One Book - One State project. The Cather Foundation is due recognition and thanks for initiating the project. The Nebraska Library Commission has had involvement in the project by way of the Nebraska Center for the Book. One of the NLC's activities was a drawing for book discussion kits. The winning libraries will receive a package with My Antonia books and reader guides. Also, the Library Commission will host a book discussion on April 13 which will be open to the public. The Commission has also had extensive involvement publicizing and promoting the project.

2005 Nebraska Book Festival - The festival will be held October 7-8 at Nebraska Wesleyan University. Ted Kooser has agreed to participate and will be the keynote speaker.

Brownville Book Festival - Rod Wagner reported that Brownville (Nebraska's Oldest Little River Town) will hold a book festival (Wine, Writers and Song Festival) on April 23-24. Brownville was designated an International Booktown in 2002 by Richard Booth, founder of the International Booktown movement.

Rod Wagner thanked Kathy Tooker for her great organization skills in arranging the Nebraska Library Legislative Day event. Legislative Day participation has grown each year. This year, because of the growth in participation, the luncheon was held at The Cornhusker Hotel. The youth recognition activity has become a successful component of Legislative Day.

Financial Report

The January and February reports were included in meeting packets. Rod stated that, overall, expenses are within budget. Personnel expenditures will increase with re-filling of some vacant positions, but these expenses will be within budgeted amounts.

Budget Hearing - The state revenue forecasting board recently met and increased state tax revenue projections for the next two years. Both the Governor and Appropriations Committee have recommended a small state funds increase for the Library Commission's operating budget for the next biennium. The Commission's budget hearing was held earlier this week. The hearing was devoted to addressing the Commission's request for additional state funds for public library aid, regional library systems, and database licenses. After all the budget hearings are completed, the committee will make decisions on budget recommendations to present to the legislature. It will probably be late April before the committee's budget recommendations for the Library Commission are known. Rivkah Sass (Omaha Public Library), Sally Payne (Papillion Public Library) and Patty Birch (North Platte High School) also testified at the budget hearing.

Unfinished Business

There was no unfinished business.

New Business

Out-of-State Travel - Rod Wagner requested approval to attend the Western Council of State Libraries meeting in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, from April 17-19. He also requested approval to attend the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies meeting and National Library Legislative Day in Washington D.C., May 2, 3 and 4. Motion carried on roll call vote: Mary Nelson - aye; Velma Sims-Shipley - aye; Carol Spencer - aye; Jean Ahrens - aye; and Pat Gross - aye. Motion approved.


Vice-Chair Velma Sims-Shipley adjourned the meeting at 9:15 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.