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Nebraska Library Commission - Minutes

Nebraska Library Commission
July 12, 2002

The Nebraska Library Commission held its regular meeting Friday, July 12, 2002 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 Richard Jussel called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m. Members present: Richard Jussel, Kristen Rogge, Robert King, Wally Seiler and Karen Warner. Staff present: Rod Wagner, Nancy Busch, Maria Medrano-Nehls, Shannon Berhrhorst, Beth Goble and Pam Scott.

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; and Jussel - aye. Motion approved.

Approval of the Minutes (May 10, 2002):  A motion was made to approve the March 2002 meeting minutes. Motion carried on roll call vote: Warner - aye; Rogge - aye; King - aye, Seiler - aye, and Jussel - aye. Motion approved.


No public participation


Rod Wagner referred to a letter received from James Billington, the Librarian of Congress.  Dr. Billington's letter was sent to invite participation in the second National Book Festival, hosted by the Library of Congress, scheduled for October 12. The Book Festival organizers are trying to make this a true national book festival and have asked states to participate.  States will be provided exhibit space at the festival.  The Institute of Museum and Library Sciences has offered up to $1,000 to each state to help defray expenses for states to exhibit at the festival.


Richard Jussel stated that he attended the June 21st State Advisory Council on Libraries meeting. The council discussed the need for more librarians, but they never mentioned how many they would need. How do we encourage them? Newspapers have been focusing on libraries and it is important to continue to hold their interest. 

Kristen Rogge stated that Brownville was approved to be a Book Town. They are now waiting for a visit from Mr. Book Town from Wales. The Brownville merchants will display books related to their businesses. This effort will make the town a combination library and bookstore. Brownville just started an informal library this year.  

Karen Warner stated that she was recently in Denver and learned that Colorado is also having budget problems. The Governor recently eliminated $2.5 million in state funds from the Denver Public Library's budget. The Denver Public Library recently opened a library named the Book Store and is fashioned similar to a Barnes & Noble bookstore, including the coffee shop. Norfolk is holding its Youth Literature Festival on July 26.  

Wally Seiler stated that he also attended the June 21st State Advisory Council on Libraries meeting and was invigorated by the group. 

Robert King noted recent news and events concerning some Nebraska public libraries.  He stated that the Hastings Public Library is holding a book sale this weekend. Holdrege public library recently held a lemonade and book sale.  Lincoln City Libraries is celebrating their 125th year of service.


Personnel - Rod Wagner stated that Sally Snyder has been released from the hospital.  She is reported to be making very good progress. 

Western Trails Digitization Project - Beth Goble reported that this project is a collaborative project in which people representing libraries and museums have items in their collections related to the western trails theme. The Nebraska Library Commission is the coordinator for Nebraska's participation in this multi-state project.  Nebraska participants, seven in all, will be scanning source materials that relate to historical trails, western trails, railroads and highways. There will be a searchable database, maintained by the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. Each of the four states involved will have their own website with a search engine that will allow them to search the other states' Web sites.  Participating states include Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, and Nebraska. 

Gates Foundation Initiative - Pam Scott reported that the Gates Foundation spokesperson said it would be another week before the final list of grant recipients will be available.  The Gates Foundation has been provided a list of staff members who will receive training on September 5 & 6 in Seattle.  The Foundation will cover travel expenses for these individuals to participate in the training sessions. 

The Nebraska group includes Vern Buis, Richard Miller, Pam Scott, Shannon Behrhorst, Allana Novotny, Kevin Leapley - Republican Valley Library System Administrator, Brenda Ealey, Southeast Library System Administrator, and Carol Speicher, Northeast Library System Administrator.  

LSTA Grants - Pam Scott reported that the Gates Foundation had two different applications, one provides libraries a free computer and software and the other is a purchase option that allows the library to purchase a computer and software at a reduced price.  The Library Commission will offer the libraries that are participating in the purchase option to apply for LSTA monies to help purchase their computer and software. The Commission will cover half of the cost and the other half must come from the library.   

State Advisory Council on Libraries - Rod Wagner reported that the suggestions, ideas and comments at the SACL meeting were helpful. Staff will take into account the suggestions in developing the long range plan. One of the recommendations was that the Commission develop an interface (front-end) for use with the Commission's electronic resources and for searching of library online catalogs.  The interface would simply  improve searching of the various databases and information resources that are available.  The Library Commission currently has a lot of the pieces in place.  The OCLC WorldCat is available to anyone in Nebraska through the Commission's OCLC FirstSearch license.   There was also a suggestion that the Commission provide for an inter-library delivery service.  Commission staff has looked at this before and are willing to research this again, but this kind of service is expensive and requires considerable volume to be cost effective.

The State Advisory Council has held discussions regarding the high turn-over of staff in Nebraska libraries and the numbers of library staff who will be retiring within the coming years.  Rod Wagner has contacted representatives from NLA, NEMA and the regional library system administrators regarding this issue and has asked for recommendations of people to participate on a state task force.


May and June Budget Reports - Richard Jussel stated that the May and June reports were included in the packets. Rod Wagner mentioned that the June report reflects the fiscal year end budget. Wagner noted some areas of expense increases - interlibrary loan costs due to the Commission's assuming ILL back-up service, and in-state travel expenses due to the Making a Difference library visits.  

State Budget Outlook - Rod Wagner commented that there was not a lot to report at this time.  The state's end of May tax receipts fell below projections.  June reversed that trend but not enough to offset shortfalls in the prior months.  By the end of June the state was $125 million short of its projected revenues for the year. Governor Johanns has said that the state will need to reduce the state base appropriation level by $300 million over the next three years.  

Federal Library Program Appropriations (LSTA & ESEA) - Rod Wagner reported that the final LSTA appropriation may not be known until after the November elections. The Congress will probably adopt a continuing resolution to appropriate funds for the new fiscal year that begins October 1, and finalize appropriations bills later in the year. 

The President's budget does not include an increase in LSTA except the $10 million for the librarian retention and recruitment initiative.  However, the Senate may increase the LSTA funding authorization level to $350 million. In light of state budget actions, Nebraska faces a loss or reduction of LSTA monies if the maintenance of effort is not met. 


There was no unfinished business to report.


LSTA Five Year Plan - The long range plan is to be submitted to the Institute of Museum and Library Services by July 31.  The long range plan is integral to the Commission's biennium budget plan. Discussions were held with the State Advisory Council and the regional system administrators to obtain their comments and suggestions regarding the plan.  

2003-2005 Biennium Budget Planning Process - Budget request instructions have been received from the State Budget Office.  For a number of years, there has been a requirement to include in the state budget request a section that addresses budget modifications. State agencies are instructed to address the question "based on your current state appropriations, what programs or services would you eliminate if your funding was reduced by 5%", this year instructions ask agencies to specify a reduction of up to 10%. The Commission will not be able to determine anything in regard to the budget request until the outcome of the special legislative session is known. 

Masters Degree in Library Science (MLS) Scholarships - A suggestion was made at the June State Advisory Council on Libraries meeting that the scholarship amount for MLS students be increased.  A staff recommendation is to increase the amount of the scholarship.  Six $1,000 scholarships have been awarded thus far.  It was decided that scholarships would be reviewed at the September Commission meeting.   

Election of Chair - A motion was made to elect Richard Jussel as Chair.  Motion carried on roll call vote: Seiler - aye; Jussel - abstain; Warner - aye; Rogge - aye; and King - aye. Motion approved. 

Election of Vice-Chair - A motion was made to elect Robert King as Vice-Chair. Motion carried on roll call vote: Jussel - aye; Warner - aye; Rogge - aye; King - abstain and Seiler - aye. Motion approved.  

2002-2003 Meeting Schedules - A document with future meeting dates was included in the meeting packet. The September meeting is scheduled for the first Friday of the month due to the budget submission deadline on September 16.  Future meeting dates are: September 6, 2002, November 8, 2002, January 10, 2003, March 13 & 14, 2003, May 9, 2003, July 11, 2003, September 12, 2003, and November 14, 2003. 

Director's Salary - A motion was made to increase the Director's salary by 1.5% effective July 1, 2002. Motion carried on roll call vote: Warner - aye; Rogge -aye; King - aye; Seiler - aye; and Jussel -aye. Motion approved.


The next Commission meeting will be held September 6, 2002, at the Nebraska Library Commission.

Chair Jussel adjourned the meeting at 11:25 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.