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Nebraska Library Commission - Minutes

Nebraska Library Commission
July 9, 2004

The Nebraska Library Commission held its regular meeting Friday, July 9, 2004, beginning at 9:30 a.m., at the Nebraska Library Commission. Notice of the meeting was submitted to local newspapers (Lincoln Journal Star, Omaha World Herald), and posted on the Nebraska Library Commission Web site. 

Chair Kristen Rogge called the meeting to order at 9:50 a.m. Members present: Jean Ahrens, Patrick Gross, Mary Nelson, Kristen Rogge, Velma Sims-Shipley and Carol Spencer. Staff present: Rod Wagner, Maria Medrano-Nehls, Mary Jo Ryan and Pam Scott. Guest: Kathy Tooker. 

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

Approval of the Minutes (May 14, 2004): A motion was made to approve the March 2004 meeting minutes. Motion carried on roll call vote: Patrick Gross - aye; Kristen Rogge - aye; Velma Sims-Shipley - aye; Mary Nelson - aye; Carol Spencer - aye and Jean Ahrens - aye. Motion approved. 


Kathy Tooker reported that the regional library system administrators are hosting a Library Leadership Institute reunion on August 6 for the first two leadership groups. The topic will be Ethics and Enlightenment. A training day will also be held on September 9 for regional library system board members. Systems are working with the Commission on a public library trustee survey. The survey will be sent to every trustee in the state. Those completing the survey will receive two continuing education credits. The surveys will be reviewed by Library Commission staff and system administrators to assist in developing new continuing education for library trustees.  

Correspondence and Communication

Rod Wagner stated that he received a letter from Frank Cylke, Director of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physical Handicapped. Kurt Cylke and Jean Moss recently visited the Commission to meet with Commission staff about National Library Service plans to convert to digital talking books. The letter is a follow-up to their visit. Rod stated the Commission's Talking Book and Braille Service was among the first libraries to convert to digital recording.   

Chair's Report and Commissioners' Comments 

Kristen Rogge reported that she made a phone call regarding the "Right to Read" legislation (U.S. House of Representatives) to no avail. The legislation failed by one vote. Congressman Bereuter did not vote for the legislation.  

Mary Nelson reported that she participated in two recent library related activities. She attended the Republican Valley Library System annual meeting in Red Cloud. Mary stated that she, Richard Miller and Pam Scott attended the 2004 Municipal Accounting and Finance Conference in Kearney. Mary said that the conference was very informative. She said that it was important that the Library Commission was represented; many people stopped by and picked up books that the Commission was distributing. Some of the smaller towns were interested in what it would take to get a library in their community. Richard, Pam and Mary spoke about the importance of the library. Mary attended a session which reviewed legislation. Two items were mentioned that would be of value to libraries, one was LB 939 which requires filing of local interagency agreements and LB936 which changes the date that libraries report to their cities.   

Pat Gross reported that he recently retired and is enjoying his retirement.  

Velma Sims-Shipley reported that Ann Stephens, Director of the Keene Memorial Library in Fremont, writes a monthly news article for the local paper. Ann does a lot to entice the community to use the library through her articles. John C. Fremont days will be held July 17 & 18. The FRIENDS of the library will hold a "Lemonade on the Lawn" event during John C. Fremont days. Velma shared a newsletter published by the library FRIENDS.  This year Fremont is called the "Big Fish of the Platte." The town commissioned an artist to paint fish on plaster and give them clever names. The city developed a fishing guide of places where you can see the fish on display. The fish located in front of the library is named Huck Fin.  

Carol Spencer introduced herself and stated that her home is in Broken Bow. She has served on both the library board and library foundation. The summer reading program is currently being held at the library. The library has a book review club that meets every other month.   

Jean Ahrens introduced herself and said that she lives in Scottsbluff and has taught for 36 years at Western Nebraska Community College. Jean is president of the library FRIENDS group. The Scottsbluff Public Library is currently holding its summer reading program. Scottsbluff hopes to expand its public library in the future. Every other year the Panhandle Library System has an author who visits libraries within the region. The authors vary among those who write for children, young adult and adult audiences. This year's author is Carole Nelson Douglas, a best selling author of 37 novels including the Irene Adler series and the hard-boiled Midnight Louie. 

Director's Report 

Rod Wagner welcomed new Commission members Carol Spencer and Jean Ahrens.  

Consumer Health Information Award - State Library Agencies were asked to work with the U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS) to seek nominations for recognition of libraries providing consumer health information. Each state will have a library selected for the award. The Library Commission sought nominations. As a result, the University of Nebraska Medical Center, McGoogan Library of Medicine, was selected as the Nebraska nominee. The award will be presented later in the summer or fall. The Library of Medicine has provided consumer health information services for many years. The Library Commission helped start the program with Library Services and Construction Act Title I funds, and continued support for several years.  

Smartest Card Initiative - Mary Jo Ryan distributed materials regarding the "Smartest Card" campaign. Mary Jo stated that plans are to launch this campaign in September. Postcards have been mailed to library directors, branch managers and regional library system administrators. This is a national campaign sponsored by the Public Library Association (a division of the American Library Association) and dove-tails with the American Library Association's @ your libraryâ„¢ marketing campaign. The slogan for the campaign is "The Smartest Card Get It, Use It @ your libraryâ„¢. The PLA has asked state libraries to work with public library directors to determine how to use the campaign information. The PLA encouraged states to ask their Governor to help promote the campaign in September, which is public library card month. One suggestion was to present the Governor with a large cardboard library card. If he doesn't have a library card, present him with one. Public libraries may want to do something similar with their elected officials.  

Key audiences for the Smartest Card campaign are: external audiences of family and influentials and the internal audience of librarians. Librarians and library staff should be sales persons for the library and, hopefully, will say "get a card, use it, tell your friends".  There are also ads produced by the ABC television network that can be played on local ABC affiliate stations free of charge.  

Personnel - Rod Wagner stated that Dave Eckmann, a member of the TBBS staff, was selected as the Library Commission's 2004 Employee of the Year.  Shannon Behrhorst, Network Services/NEBASE Director, was selected as the Library Commission's 2004 Manager of the Year.    

Public Library Guidelines - Rod Wagner stated that Kit Keller has made the final edits to the public library accreditation guidelines document following Library Commission action at the May Commission meeting. Kit is preparing a letter to be mailed to public libraries that are due for accreditation this year. Ann Stephens, Director of the Keene Memorial Library (Fremont), sent a letter expressing her appreciation for the good work that Kit did in handling the process, being available, attending meetings and working closely with librarians in revising the public library guidelines. Kristen Rogge stated that she felt Kit did a great job revising the guidelines.  

Rod stated that re-licensing the Bibliostat Connect database is under consideration. BiblioStat Connect is a companion product to Collect, the program that is used to collect and compile Nebraska public library statistics, and that is part of a national library data collection program. Connect is useful for a variety of data comparisons, planning, and analysis purposes. Under the license, Nebraska public libraries, regional library systems, and Commission staff will have access to Collect.  

Chief Officers of State Library Agencies Meeting (COSLA) - Rod Wagner stated that he recently attended the COSLA meeting that preceded the ALA conference in Orlando. Most of the meeting was devoted to planning for COSLA's annual meeting to be held in Rapid City; SD, in October. Rod stated that Representative Oberstar (MN) is interested in federal legislation and funding for library construction. All state libraries have been asked to provide estimates of library construction needs and costs.  

The Institute of Museum and Library Services will be awarding a grant for a national study on libraries and the workforce. IMLS has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the study and has received six applications. State libraries will assist by providing data for their state. 

Rod said we are still waiting for announcement of the IMLS "Librarians for the 21st Century" grants. An announcement is expected before the end of July. The Library Commission's application submitted last year received positive comments from grant application reviewers and was recommended for funding. Funding was increased to $20 million this year, compared to $10 million last year, allowing more applications to be funded.     

American Library Association Annual Conference - Rod stated that the ALA conference was held in Orlando, FL, this year.  The 2005 annual conference will be held in Chicago. Rod stated that he chairs the ALA/ASCLA Standards Review Committee. This committee oversees the standards that are being developed or revised by ASCLA sections. One of the standards revision projects is for services to the blind and physical handicapped.  

Summer Events - Rod Wagner stated that the Regional Library Systems and the Library Commission will be presenting workshops across the state policies later this month on personnel laws. Richard Miller is the leader for this project. 

The first course for the Library Technical Assistant program will be offered this fall by Metropolitan Community College. A number of people have expressed interest in the course. Becky Pasco will teach this introductory course.  

The Nebraska Book Festival will be held September 17 & 18 at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. The Festival is hosted by the University of Nebraska at Kearney and sponsored by the Nebraska Humanities Council, the Nebraska Center for the Book, UNK, Kearney Public Library, and the Nebraska Library Commission. 

The Nebraska Library Association/Nebraska Educational Media Association (NLA/NEMA) conference will be held October 6-8 in Grand Island.  

Gates Foundation Library Program - Rod Wagner stated that even though the Gates Foundation has ended its program that provided software and computers to public libraries, the Foundation plans to continue its support and service to libraries. The Foundation is partnering with state library agencies through its "Staying Connected" grants.  

Meeting with Representatives of the Nebraska Deaf Community - Staff of the Nebraska Library Commission recently met with representatives of the Nebraska deaf community. 

Alice Hagemeyer, a former Nebraskan, librarian, and advocate for the deaf community, initiated the meeting. Tanya Wendel, Director of the Nebraska Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, two of Tanya's staff, and representatives of the Nebraska Association for the Deaf attended the meeting. The meeting included discussion of current and potential projects (a museum/library, displays, and publications). The Nebraska Library Commission may be able to assist with some of the projects, especially those providing information on the information needs of the deaf community. The group would like to preserve historical information especially information from the former Nebraska School for the Deaf. There will be some work in digitizing the information. Digitization work may be coordinated with the Omaha Public Library. The Nebraska Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing agreed to convene a task force to explore ideas discussed at the meeting.  

NLC Omnibase/Library Information - Rod Wagner stated that Vern Buis, the Commission's computer services director, has been working with Pam Scott to re-program the public librarian certification database.  Programming will result in many new features and capabilities for managing and reporting data. Vern has made good progress. Vern has also organized data gathered from public libraries to import to the Commission's internal database (Omnibase) that provides library information with everything from directory information, information on staff, hours, contact information and statistical data about each Nebraska library. Vern has done an excellent job on this project. Pam Scott stated that regional library system staff will have access to the database in the near future once remote access and security procedures have been worked out. A feature will also be added to record library board member continuing education activities for board certification.   

Financial Report

Rod Wagner stated that the May report was included in the packet and the June report was distributed before the meeting. June is the pertinent report since it is the last report for the end of the fiscal year. Rod stated that the Commission came out reasonably well considering budget cuts. Although the financial report shows funds that haven't been spent, there are bills yet to be paid that count as part of FY 2004 expenditures. Funds not spent or encumbered carry over to the new fiscal year since this is the first year of the current biennium.   

Rod explained that approximately 75% of the Commission's funding comes from state funds appropriated by the Legislature and about 25% comes from the federal Library Services and Technology Act. The Commission also receives funds from fees charged for online computer services (OCLC).   

Unfinished Business

There was no unfinished business to discuss. 

New Business

2005-2007 Biennium Budget Report - Rod Wagner stated that the budget is due on or before September 15. There are three major parts to the budget; the first is the agency's continuation request; the second is the new/expanded request for any services that are new or provided at an increased activity level; and the third part is the modification budget that requires agencies to indicate services to be reduced in the event state fund appropriations are reduced to 95% of the current fiscal year appropriation level.. Staff members have started working on the budget.  

FY 2005 Budget Outlook - Rod Wagner stated that a Commission budget strategy has been to include budget requests for new initiatives or increased state aid to libraries. This strategy resulted in increased state aid funds in the late 1990s through the "Libraries for the 21st Century campaign." This campaign proposed monies for licensing online databases, increased public library aid, and expansions of other state aid areas (children and youth services, financial aid for library science education). The Commission was fortunate in receiving funding increases to support statewide database licensing and expansion of other state aid programs.   

A focus this year will be on the expansion of public library aid. The public library guidelines revision includes three categories (essential, enhanced, and excellent). Additional public library aid funds will offer incentives for libraries to reach the essential level, or to move beyond the essential category to enhanced or excellent. The result is better library services.  Also under consideration is an additional and major online database package of value to public, school, academic and special libraries.  

Election of Chair

A motion was made to accept the nomination of Kristen Rogge as Chair for the 2004-2005 year. Motion carried on roll call vote: Nelson - aye; Rogge - abstain; Sims-Shipley - aye; Spencer - aye; Ahrens - aye; and Gross - aye. Motion approved. 

Election of Vice-Chair

A motion was made to accept the nomination of Velma Sims-Shipley as Vice-Chair for the 2004-2005 year. Motion carried on roll call vote: Rogge - aye; Sims-Shipley - abstain; Spencer - aye; Ahrens - aye; Gross - aye; and Nelson - aye. Motion approved. 

Directors Salary

A motion was made to approve a 2% salary increase effective July 1, 2004, for Rod Wagner.  Motion carried on roll call vote: Sims-Shipley - aye; Spencer - aye; Ahrens - aye; Gross - aye; Nelson - aye; and Rogge - aye. Motion approved. 


Chair Rogge adjourned the meeting at 11:45 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.