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Nebraska Library Commission - Minutes

Nebraska Library Commission
May 14, 1999

The Nebraska Library Commission held its regular meeting Friday, May 14, 1999, 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.


Chair Karen Warner called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m. Members present: Karen Warner, Jean Sanders, Velma Sims, Richard Jussel, and Robert King. Staff present: Rod Wagner, Nancy Busch,Maria Medrano-Nehls, Jo Budler, Richard Miller and Dave Oertli. Guests present: Kathy Tooker.

Approval of Agenda: It was moved by Richard Jussel and seconded by Jean Sanders to approve the agenda. Motion carried on roll call vote: Warner-aye; Jussel-aye; Sanders-aye; Sims-aye.

Approval of the Minutes of the March 12,1999 meeting: It was moved by Richard Jussel and seconded by Jean Sanders. Motion carried on roll call vote: Jussel-aye;Sanders -aye;Sims -abstain; Warner-aye.


Chair Karen Warner welcomed guest and staff. Introductions were made.


There were no correspondence or communications to report.


Karen Warner reported that she attended the Regional Library System Contract meeting held in Cozad. Robert King reported that in January, the Holdrege Library had the sister of author Mark Brown as a guest speaker. Velma Sims reported on herself as a new Commissioner. She and her husband are from Fremont; she is a retired principal, native Nebraskan, member of the Fremont Public Library Friends Group and very active in the community


Dave Oertli reported that the Talking book and Braille Service division has 12 full time staff and 45 volunteers. Their purpose is to provide all Nebraskans who are not able to read regular print material with access to library and information services. Services include: Free books and magazines on cassette, on record and in Braille; specially designed playback equipment; and a collection of home entertainment videos formatted for use by visually impaired individuals. For the 98-99 federal fiscal year they served 4195 persons, 191 of them were under the age of 12.

The Talking Book and Braille Service serves 157 public and private schools, 215 nursing homes, 37 hospitals and 370 facilities, so there is a marked increase.

Dave Oertli demonstrated a talking book machine and talking books and mentioned that most visually impaired persons do not use Braille. Dave introduced Spinosa the bear, who comes from the North Woods Nurture Center in Minnesota. Spinosa comes with a built in talking book machine.

The Talking Book and Braille division has converted to a new library automation system known as READS II, designed for Windows and Y2K compliance. Other changes are pending with the coming of digital technology in the tape duplication area. Dave will be going to a conference in Santa Fe next month where one of the topics is digital recording.

A generous gift of $29,500 was received from the estate of Ruth Wersta of Grand Island.


Biennium Budget(1999-2001)- Rod Wagner reported that the Legislature passed the mainline budget bill. We are hoping that the additional $300,000 that the appropriations committee included in the Library Commissions budget will stay there. The budget is now over at the Governor's office. Governor Johanns has until midnight Tuesday to veto the budget. Senator Crosby has been a great advocate for the Library Commission, and we appreciate the appropriations committee including the $300,000 in the budget. There is continuation of the $400,000 in funding (for the next biennium) added for the current year.

Randy Moody, the Nebraska Library Association lobbyist, has taken a position with the National Education Association in Washington D.C. It is hoped that the Library Association will be searching for a new lobbyist. Randy has been a good person to work with and has been very helpful to Nebraska libraries on legislation and state budget issues.

Chief Officers of State Library Agencies meeting (May 1-2) - Rod Wagner reported that he recently attended the Spring meeting of the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies in Washinton D.C. This preceded the annual National Library Legislative Day. Much of the conversation was directed toward political issues and getting updated on policy initiatives on the federal level. One that came to be a major issue was the appointment of a new Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Diane Frankel has been the head of that Federal agency for sometime, and recently left the Institute to take a position with private foundation in San Francisco.

Legislation that was passed in 1996 included a provision that the Director of the Institute would alternate between someone with a museum background and someone from the library profession; with Ms. Frankel's departure the next appointment should be someone from the library field. However, the President is pushing for an appointment of an individual from the National Literacy Institute and who has no background in working within the library field. The National Commission on Library and Information Science has chosen not to become involved in the issue and suggested that State Libraries not become involved in the issue either. However, there is an effort underway to raise the issue concerning the appointment. Senator Hagel is on the committee that would approve this appointment and Rod Wagner has been in touch with his office concerning this matter.

There is an initiative in Congress to provide some federal assistance for public library construction. some states do not wish to be involved in construction projects, apparently there is still approximately $22 million dollars that was appropriated back when LSCA was still in effect, that has never been committed by some states. Nebraska used all of its LSCA Title II funds.

The Chief of Officers of State Library Agencies will meet in October with the National Association of State Information Resource Executives (NASIRE). One of the programs that is being suggested is a review of information policy issues on the state level.

National Library Legislative Day (May 4)- This year there was representation from Nebraska that included Brenda Ealey, the Chair of the Nebraska Library Association Legislative Committee, Dee Yost, President of the Nebraska Center for the Book and who was also attending a meeting at the Library of Congress, and Kay Walker who is the Vice President for the Nebraska Center of Book. Tuesday of that week was Legislative Day and the Nebraska Library representatives started the day by attending the Nebraska Breakfast with the Nebraska Congressional delegation, later in the day there were meetings with staff of the Nebraska Congressional delegation.

Rod Wagner mentioned that one of the topics discussed was encouraging Congress to fund LSTA for this coming year at least at the current year level. Also discussed was continuation of E-Rate funding at the national authorized level of $2.25 billion. Schools receive about 96% and public libraries get about 4% of the E-Rate funding. This past year Nebraska libraries received over $200,000 in E-Rate funding.

Copyright Legislation - There is work underway in Congress for further legislation on copyright, particularly to address those issues related to electronic information resources and databases. Last year a great deal of work was done to update Title 44 of the United States Code which relates to the Federal Depository Library program. Congress did not complete action on this legislation before adjournment. One important issue is assuring that Federal agencies develop policies to assure continued access to government information. There are numerous examples of federal government information that can no longer be found because it was made available only in electronic format and has been discontinued.

Emporia State University/School of Library and Information Management Nebraska Program - There are over 30 graduate students who are in the Nebraska program. These individuals will be graduating on August 8 and they have selected Mahoney State Park as the graduation site. The Nebraska III program is planned to begin the fall of 2000. This is dependent upon there being over 30 people to participate in the program. Graduate library science programs are experiencing some radical changes. There is some controversy over library schools dropping libraries as part of their name. One reason for that is the attempt to market these programs and broaden interest in participations.

LSTA Grant Awards - A handout was distributed listing the libraries which were awarded grants. Richard Miller reported that 28 grants were awarded from a range of $1,500 to $27,000. A number of this year's grants are to upgrade equipment to Y2K compliance. There were 33 grant applications, submitted this year.

Database Licensing for Nebraska Libraries - A handout was distributed summarizing the licensing of databases for the upcoming year. The information was based on the assumption that the biennium budget will continue the funding received for this year. This will allow us to pay for a number of on-line databases that will benefit the public. Jo Budler explained that the OCLC FirstSearch Base package is slightly different because the H.W. Wilson product was separated from the FirstSearch package. New York Times was dropped because it only goes back 90 days and the cost per usage was very high.

FirstSearch has over 640 registered users, H.W. Wilson had 70 people registered in 24 hours. Electric Library is a database that we subscribe to on behalf of the public and academic libraries. There is no charge to the libraries. It may be accessed from home, your office or anywhere, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is a full text service. Health Source Plus has been paid in full by NLC for 64 public libraries, of this number 35 will be considered for inclusion in a renewal contract.

Replacement of the Library Commission Automation Software - Rod Wagner reported that a staff team has worked many months to determine our library automation needs and evaluate different software products to replace our current DataTrek system. The DataTrek system that we currently have will become obsolete in the near future. The company that maintains it for us is discontinuing maintenance of the project. The Sidney Plus system received a unanimous vote of the staff team to be purchased as the replacement system.

Public Library Finance Task Force - The task force has met on three occasions. The first product was a set of principles which were included in Commissioner meeting packets. The task force is reviewing library financial needs and conditions and will be making recommendations to the Library Commission about possible legislative proposals and future funding requests that the Commission may submit for the next biennium. They intend to complete their work by fall. A report of the recommendations should be ready for the September Commission meeting.

Nebraska Information Technology Commission - Statewide Technology Plan - The Information and Technology Commission was a creation of the Governor and Legislature that took place toward the end of Governor Nelson's term. Governor Johanns has appointed Lt. Governor Maurstad to serve as the Chair for the Information and Technology Commission. Under the Information Technology Commission there are three councils: the Community Council, the Education Council and the Government Council. Libraries have representation only on the Community Council and one representative -- Jeanne Saathoff. One of the activities underway is to develop charters for each of the Councils. Under the Community Council they are proposing that there be four library representative.

The Library Commission has an interest in working with each of the Councils as well as the Nebraska Information Technology commission. Several Commission staff recently met with Steve Schafer who has been recently appointed as the State's Chief Information Officer.

The Library Commission will soon be approached to begin preparation of an application for involvement in the Gates Library Initiative. Bill Gates and his wife set a side a few hundred million dollars to start the Gates Library Initiative. The sequence of states involved in the initiative is based on poverty data. Based on this approach, Nebraska will be among the final group of states to participate. Later this year members of the Library Commission staff will likely be asked to travel to Redmond, Washington to attend a week long orientation session related to their program. The program will explain what needs to go into the state application. Other state representatives have commented that the training is excellent and well worth the time.


Rod Wagner reported that the Commission continues to incur some saving in the personnel area. However, this is expected to change with full staffing.


There was no unfinished business to report


Current Library Commission Contracts in Effect - A handout was sent with the Commissioner packets that listed all contracts. Many of the contracts are on-going contracts.

1999 - 2001 Regional Library System Contracts - Rod Wagner reported that the Library Commission has met several times with representatives of the regional library systems. These meetings resulted in work toward the final contract agreement. However, at one point it was decided that there were still some major concerns and questions and a further meeting should include representatives of each of the systems. That meeting was held in Cozad. That meeting was productive in finding solutions to major issues. The final contract is not completed, but is well on the way to being completed. The final contract should be ready in time for the July Commission meeting. Kathy Tooker and Karen Warner thanked the Commission staff, committee members and System Administrators who have been working on the contract negotiations.The Library commission will provide backup reference services effective on July 1, 1999


Rod Wagner asked that approval be given to Karen Warner to attend the American Library Association Annual Conference in New Orleans, June, 1999, and a request for Rod to attend the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies meeting and the American Library Association Annual Conference in New Orleans from June 24 - June 30, 1999. A motion was made to approve the travel request. Motion carried on roll call vote: Sims -aye; Warner - abstain; Sanders - aye; Jussel - aye; and King - aye.


Rod Wagner presented Jean Sanders with an engraved letter opener with the state seal in recognition of her work with the Library Commission. Commission members joined in expressing appreciation to Jean. Jean stated that she has enjoyed her time with the Library Commission and will miss it.


A motion was made to adjourn the meeting at 11:15 a.m. Motion carried on roll call vote: Sims -aye; Warner - aye; Sanders - aye; Jussel - aye; and King - aye.

________________________ 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.