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Nebraska Library Commission - Minutes

Nebraska Library Commission
July 15, 2005

The Nebraska Library Commission held its regular meeting Friday, July 15, 2005, at Western Nebraska Community College, Scottsbluff. Notice of the meeting was submitted to local newspapers (Lincoln Journal Star, Omaha World Herald), and posted on the Nebraska Library Commission Web site. 

Vice-Chair Velma Sims-Shipley called the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m. Members present: Jean Ahrens, John Dale, Velma Sims-Shipley, and Carol Spencer. Staff present: Rod Wagner, Maria Medrano-Nehls. Guests present: Nancy Escamilla, Patricia Gross, Cherie Longmuir. 

Approval of Agenda:  A motion was made to approve the agenda. Motion carried on roll call vote: Jean Ahrens - aye; John Dale - aye; Velma Sims-Shipley - aye; and Carol Spencer. Motion approved. 

Approval of the Minutes (May 13, 2005): A motion was made to approve the May 2005 meeting minutes. Motion carried on roll call vote: John Dale - abstain; Velma Sims-Shipley - aye; Carol Spencer - aye; and Jean Ahrens - aye. Motion approved.  


Commissioner Ahrens welcomed everyone to Western Nebraska.  

Dr. John N. Harms, President of Western Nebraska Community College, welcomed everyone to Scottsbluff and to WNCC.  Dr. Harms stated that he believes that the library is the center and the heartbeat of the community. Dr. Harms said that he participates in a program where he reads to kindergartners to encourage them to read. He also stated that the work that is done by this group is very important and they should not give up their vision. 

Correspondence and Communication

Rod Wagner stated that he had no correspondence to present.  

Chair's Report and Commissioners' Comments 

Vice-Chair Velma Sims-Shipley reported that the Fremont public library received an LSTA grant from the Library Commission for a digitization project. The library is collaborating with the Dodge County Historical Society on this project. Fremont has been without an Assistant Library Director for several months but this week they will offer a contract to a person.  

Carol Spencer reported that the Broken Bow/Custer County Historical Society hosted "Key Ingredients" - a traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian Institution. The exhibit drew a wonderful attendance and the library hosted some of the activities.  

John Dale reported that he is very happy to serve on the Commission. Lincoln City Libraries had an extremely successful summer reading program.  Mary Johns was named the new Assistant Director for Lincoln City Libraries and she will begin the position on August 1.   

Jean Ahrens - The Scottsbluff public library had a great summer reading program. The college will offer their first Library Technical Assistant course this fall. There are seven or eight people registered for the course. Dr. Ricardo Garcia will give a presentation on Hispano Storytelling on August 1 at the Scottsbluff public library.     

Director's Report

Personnel - Rod Wagner reported that Cynthia Taylor has joined the Commission staff as the Project Assistant for the IMLS Libraries for the 21st Century grant. The application date for the Library Technology Consultant position has been extended to August 12.  

Gates Foundation Grants to State Library Agencies - Rod Wagner reported that the Gates Foundation continues to provide funding to support their efforts to place computers in public libraries. The newest venture is through WebJunction - the Gates Foundation funded service provided by OCLC. WebJunction is an on-line community providing a broad based set of applications and services to support libraries and technology activities.  

The new activity, Rural Library Sustainability, will provide another round of training for rural Nebraska librarians. Nebraska was invited to be among the first ten states to participate in the new training project. The Library Commission will receive over $60,000 to support participation with a goal of 80% participation of Nebraska rural libraries. Several sites will be arranged for the training targeted for the first half of 2006.  

This fall, a couple of Nebraska Library Commission staff members will attend a "Train the Trainers" session in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It will be the responsibility of the state library agencies to identify additional trainers, make arrangements, invite, and encourage participation. Most of the funding will be used to pay travel related expenses for participants.  The Commission will also be involved later in another Gates project which will focus on Spanish language outreach. Nebraska will participate in this project in 2007.  

Chief Officers of State Library Agencies Meeting - The COSLA meeting was held prior to the American Library Association annual conference in Chicago. Dr. Robert Martin recently completed his term as IMLS Director and was recognized by COSLA for his contributions. He did a great job while in this position. He raised the visibility of federal library programs. He started the new Librarians for the 21st Century program, and he worked to foster new partnerships between IMLS and other organizations. He has been praised by both the library and museum communities for his leadership and efforts. Based on federal law, the new IMLS Director will come from the museum area.  

American Library Association Annual Conference - The conference was held in Chicago and was very well attended. The conference included the usual mix of programs, presentations, exhibits, networking and association business activities. The next summer conference will be in New Orleans. One of the special events at the conference was the Advocacy Honor Roll banquet. All of the Nebraskans honored this year were present - Kathy Tooker, Wally Seiler and Doug Roesemann.  

Library Commission Grant Programs Schedule - Rod Wagner reported that a handout with grant dates and information was included in the meeting packets. Rod also stated that an announcement was sent out stating that grants will be made available to public librarians to attend the 2006 PLA. The limited grants will be awarded to public librarians who have not previously attended. We have had the experience recently of not having all funds available requested. We want to encourage people to consider applying for a grant.   

Nebraska Rural Institute (program on libraries and economic development) - Rod Wagner reported that this program is held each year. The program brings people together to address a variety of Nebraska rural issues and needs. This year the Nebraska Library Commission has been offered a slot to provide a presentation on libraries and economic development.   

The Library Commission's Talking Book and Braille Service recently had a visit from David Whittall from the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. Mr. Whittall spent a day and a half meeting with TBBS and other Commission staff. Mr. Whittall will prepare and send a report regarding his observations.  

Financial Report

June 2005 Financial Report - The end of the fiscal year report was included in the meeting packets. All state funds were expended or encumbered.  

Unfinished Business

There was no unfinished business. 

New Business

Election of Commission Chair - A motion was made nominating Velma Sims-Shipley as Commission Chair. Motion carried on a roll call vote: Sims-Shipley - abstain; Spencer - aye; Ahrens - aye; and Dale - aye. Motion approved. 

Election of Vice-Chair - A motion was made to nominate Mary Nelson as Vice-Chair. Motion carried on a roll call vote: Spencer - aye; Ahrens - aye; Dale - aye; and Sims-Shipley - aye. Motion approved. 

Out-of-State Travel - Rod Wagner requested approval to attend the COSLA annual meeting on September 11-13, in Salem, Oregon. Rod also requested approval to attend the Western Council of State Libraries meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming on October 11-12, followed by the MPLA conference.  

A motion was made to approve the out-of-state travel request. Motion carried on a roll call vote: Ahrens - aye; Dale - aye; Sims-Shipley - aye; and Spencer - aye. Motion approved.  


Chair Sims-Shipley adjourned the meeting at 9:45 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.