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Nebraska Library Commission - Minutes

Nebraska Library Commission
May 12, 2000

The Nebraska Library Commission held its regular meeting Friday, May 12, 2000 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 Wally Seiler called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m. Members present: Robert King, Richard Jussel, Kristen Rogge, Wally Seiler, Velma Sims, and Karen Warner. Staff present: Rod Wagner, Nancy Busch, and Mary Geibel.

Approval of Agenda: A motion was made to approve the agenda. Motion carried on roll call vote: Warner, aye; Rogge, aye; King, aye; Seiler, aye; Jussel, aye; and Sims, aye.

Approval of the Minutes (March 10, 2000): ): A motion was made to approve the minutes. Motion carried on roll call vote: Rogge, aye; King, aye; Seiler, aye; Jussel, aye; Sims, aye; and Warner, aye.


Chair Wally Seiler welcomed all present.


Rod Wagner reported that he received a letter from Tom Meyers, U.S. Library Program Manager for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Nebraska is among sixteen states invited to participate in round four of the Gates Foundation State Partnership program. State applications are due November 30, 2000. Before the application date, a workshop will be held in September 2000. Attendance from the State Librarian is required in order to be eligible for the grant program.

The workshop will cover details of the entire program. The advantage of being in the fourth round is the benefit of improvements as the program has evolved, and the opportunity to learn from the experiences of other states. The workshop for round 4 states is scheduled for September 6 through 8 in Seattle. The September Commission meeting is scheduled for September 8.


Chair Seiler reported that he recently had a phone conversation with Susan Baird; Susan is the new Administrator for the Panhandle Library System. In result of the conversation, she mentioned that she was extremely appreciative of the workshops and training the Commission is providing in Western Nebraska. These workshops and training events are well attended.

Karen Warner reported that Northeast Community College and the Columbus and Norfolk public libraries are working on their cooperative automation project. They received $25,000 from the Nebraska Information Technology Commission Community Council and received a LSTA grant from the Nebraska Library Commission for $67,000. They still have two pending grant applications to finance the project. The Northeast Library System Institute will be held in early June. Karen reported that she is retiring June 22 from her position at Northeast Community College.

Kristen Rogge thanked the Commission for allowing her to attend the National Library Legislative Day in Washington D.C. The first day was spent reviewing policy issues and discussing options and strategies. This prepared them for their discussions with Congressional representatives and staff. Kristen mentioned that highway 136 just changed to a scenic designation from the Nebraska-Missouri border to Alma. There should be some interest from libraries along the route. They should inform travelers of sites of interest along the route.

Richard Jussel mentioned that the libraries in central Nebraska are doing well. Several libraries in the central Nebraska area have recently received grants from the Library Commission. The Lexington Public Library received a LSTA Grant to work on a project for the Spanish speaking community and the Kearney Public Library is working on upgrading its technology.

Robert King reported that Holdrege was the site of one of three Nebraska Library Association spring meetings. Lori Mekeon was the featured speaker. She is from North Platte. Lori's presentation was on the subject of customer service. Bob distributed copies of an article he wrote concerning the spring meeting event in Holdrege.

Velma Sims reported that the Friends of the Library in Fremont held a four-day book sale and earned close to $7,000. Wally Seiler asked what was done differently for this book sale to be more successful than past book sales. Velma replied that the scheduling was very good and more books were available.


Rod mentioned that earlier this week he was in Ogallala and attend meetings of the public library trustees, and the annual combined meeting of the library foundation and library friends group. Rod discussed several issues with the library representatives including planning for a new or renovated library facility, the roles and responsibilities of the library board, and Library Commission services. Ogallala's public library is experiencing a good problem - growing use. The Ogallala library representatives are interested in expanding, renovating there existing building or building a new library. They recognize the use of their library is increasing, especially the use of their public use computers. They have no room for a large meeting and no room to house more computers.

Ogallala is planning a book sale on June 20 and on the same day as the Great American Road race will be traveling through Ogallala. Last time the race went through; Ogallala was given a $5,000 check for being the most hospitable town on the national route. They are hoping for a repeat of the honor.

One of the recent Continuing Education grants awarded is a project the Republican Valley Library System and Hastings College Perkins Library will provide. The project will cover customer service. Linda Milliman will present the program from the Tattered Covered Book Store in Denver. Linda has presented customer service programs in Nebraska in the past. She does an outstanding job.

Personnel Updates

Rod reported on personnel updates. Maria is back but had some test today as a follow up to her surgery; Mary Geibel graciously offered to record the minutes.

Sue Biltoft was in an accident and she is taking time off to heal. She may have need surgery at a later date. As a result, Doreen Kuhlman has taken on extra work picking up responsibilities that Sue usually handles.

Evelyn Kubert recently joined our staff and is doing a very nice job.

National Library Legislative Day

The 2000 Legislative session resulted in no additional funding and no legislation of significant effect on libraries. The modest $150l,000 appropriation passed by the Legislature was vetoed by the Governor.

Another bill that would allow for debt financing of technology for libraries did not advance.

National Legislative Day

Rod expressed his thanks to Kristen Rogge for attending the National Legislative Day. The ALA Washington Office does an excellent job in providing information packets and briefings for the 500 or so people who participate in Legislative Day activities. Molly Fisher, Kay Walter, and Brenda Ealey joined Kris and Rod for Congressional office visits. The group met with staff in each of the five Nebraska Congressional offices and briefed staff on library related issues.

Rod mentioned that National Legislative Library Day is a good experience and it is good that the Commission can have at least one Commissioner attend.

Library Services and Technology

The Library Services and Technology Act's current authorization expires in 2002. Efforts are underway to secure re-authorization in 2001. The concern is not the act itself, but the amount of funding that is appropriated. The LSTA is a flexible program that allows states to direct funds toward identified state needs. The program has been flat funded for years even though the LSTA became an umbrella program following elimination of several other federal library programs.

A proposed LSTA funding target is one dollar per capita. That target would increase Nebraska's allocation by over a half million dollars annually. The next step is for library representatives from state libraries, the American Library Association, the Urban Libraries Council and the Association for Research Libraries to meet and seek agreement on goals and strategies.

Wally Seiler stated that in his recent phone conversation with Susan Baird, she expressed a concern that there is lots of money available from a variety of sources for technology but there is nothing for construction. Is there any attempt to provide sources of money for construction? Rod responded that there is interest nationally in renewing funding for library construction. That is a need that has been expressed by a number of states. Kristen asked if money from the U.S. Department of Agriculture was not as forthcoming as people keep saying. Rod said that he thought the Department of Agriculture money was made available in the form of low interest loans. Some research is needed to clarify what financial assistance is available from the Department of Agriculture.

June State Advisory Council on Libraries Meeting

The next State Advisory Council meeting will be held June 9 in Curtis. Chair Seiler reported that he would be attending that meeting and encouraged others to attend. On the agenda will be a review of LSTA grants and process, upcoming biennium budget, NebrasKard, and other issues the Council identified for attention this year.

Online Database Licenses for 2000 - 2001 Fiscal Year

Jo Budler and network services staff are working on online database license renewals for the coming fiscal year. It was noted that continued and added effort is needed to publicize the availability of these online information resources.

Telecommunications Infrastructure Needs Assessment

The State of Nebraska Division of Communications plans to issue an RFP for a prime contractor to supply telecommunications services to state and local governments. The hope and expectation is that this effort will lead to the availability of broadband telecommunication services throughout Nebraska. This probably will not be in place until the fourth quarter of 2001. Rod indicated his intent to arrange a meeting with Brenda Decker, DAS Communications Director, and Roger Hahn, Executive Director of the Nebraska Information Network, to discuss the status of telecommunications services and library needs.


Handouts were mailed prior to the meeting. Rod stated that we are in the first year of the biennium so any funds remaining at the end of June will carry over into the next fiscal year. Rod explained that there is a fixed ceiling for salary expenditures, other line items can be exceeded provided there are funds available within the total budget.


There was no unfinished business to discuss


NebrasKard (library reciprocal borrowing project)

Rod reported that the NebrasKard proposal has been under discussion for the last two years and has been part of the Libraries for the 21st Century funding proposal; the difference now is that we have said in the past that the NebrasKard was tied to the funding request. More recent discussion, including the March State Advisory Council meeting, has recommended that the project proceed regardless of any new funding at this time.

A meeting was at the Commission offices in which a number of people representing libraries attended and talked about the NebrasKard. Rod said he told the group that he was going to make the recommendation to the Commissioners that we pursue the NebrasKard for those who chose to participate on a voluntary basis. He would also recommend that it would not be done without an opportunity for library representatives to have input on proposed policies and procedures.

Rod mentioned that any two or more libraries can start a reciprocal borrowing program. The advantage of a state approach is a common set of policies and procedures, and promotional materials for participating libraries. The college and university libraries currently have a reciprocal borrowing program.

Rod stated that Colorado uses the program with success. They had some of the same concerns before they begin their program. Michigan and Connecticut have state programs.

Colorado has put together a procedure manual that we could adapt. In the meeting held earlier a few individuals volunteered to serve on a committee for developing policies and procedures.

Karen Warner asked what kind of motion was needed. Rod stated that there really did not need to be a motion at this time, just some advice or suggestions that Commissioners would like to see the staff address in pursuing this project. It would be best to wait until July to take any action on a NebrasKard project. Then it could be implemented in the fall. Wally stated he would like to obtain some information on the cost before the July meeting. It was suggested that the September Commission meeting be moved to September 1 or the last Friday in August due to the Gates Library Initiative workshop.

Wally suggested that as many Commissioners as possible should attend the State Advisory meeting in Curtis and hear the comments on the NebrasKard.

Libraries of Promise Project

Rod mentioned that the Florida Libraries of Promise Project is a project that the state libraries of Florida initiated. Mary Jackson has discussed this program with the Youth Advisory Board. It is a voluntary activity for libraries. It is a promotional opportunity for libraries. The staff recommendation is that we pursue this and put together the packet of information for libraries.

Robert King stated that his concern is that it is just duplicating what libraries already do, like teaching and serving. Rod replied that the project is intended to promote the role and value of libraries in serving youth. The only cost involved would be to reproduce promotional materials for library use.

LSTA Grant Awards

Rod mentioned that enclosed in the packets was a handout with a list of the recent LSTA grant awards, a list of recently awarded Continuing Education grants and a list of Children's Services grants. The Commission has helped a lot of libraries with these grants. Press releases will be sent and libraries will be encouraged to submit press releases to their local paper.

Continuing Education Grants

The Continuing Education grant program is new this year and is funded with state monies. One of this year's projects will be provided by the Regional Library Systems. The project will provide public library trustee training at six locations, one per system area. Pat Wagner will conduct the trustee training sessions.

Rod mentioned that we have not heard yet if we are one of the states to participate in Libraries for the Future, Phase Two. Even if we are not included we will continue to work on the library advocacy.

2001 - 2003 Biennium Budget Planning and Process

Nancy Busch provided information that outlines the steps for preparing and submitting the budget request. Nancy stated that at the July meeting there would be a more detailed sheet. She discussed issues and items for budget development.

Out-of-State Travel Request

Rod requested permission to attend the COSLA meeting and the American Library Association Annual Conference in Chicago from July 6 through July 11, 2000.

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


The meeting was adjourned at 11:32 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.