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Nebraska Library Commission - Minutes

Nebraska Library Commission
July 13, 2007

DRAFT -Minutes subject to change at the September 21, 2007 meeting

The Nebraska Library Commission held its regular meeting Friday, July 13, 2007, at the Saint Benedict Center, Schuyler, NE. 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 John Dale called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m. Members present: Jean Ahrens, John Dale, Patrick Gross, Mary Nelson, Velma Sims-Shipley, and Carol Spencer. Staff present: Rod Wagner. Guests: Sharon Osenga, Kathy Ellerton, Sherry Houston. 

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

Approval of the Minutes (May 11, 2007): A motion was made and seconded to approve the May, 11 2007 meeting minutes. Motion carried on roll call vote: John Dale - aye; Pat Gross - aye; Mary Nelson - aye; Velma Sims-Shipley - aye; Carol Spencer -aye; and Jean Ahrens - aye. Motion approved. 


Sharon Osenga, Meridian Library System Administrator, stated that the Nebraska Library Leadership Institute began in 2001 and has 125 graduates. This is the fourth leadership institute. Sharon expressed appreciation to the Library Commission for its support of the institute. The Nebraska Library Commission provides the majority of the funding for the institute.  

Kathy Ellerton, Northeast Library System Administrator, stated that one of the results of the leadership institute is a sense of community that has developed with the growing number of participants.  

Sherry Houston, Republican Valley Library System Administrator, stated that the week long institute has been productive and enjoyable.  

Carol Spencer asked how participants are chosen for the program. Sharon Osenga replied that an application process is used which includes a written statement addressing why the applicant would be a good candidate.  

Sharon Osenga thanked Commissioners for holding their meeting at the Saint Benedict Center and for attending the final institute session.  

Correspondence and Communication

Rod Wagner stated that he received a letter from the NLA Paraprofessional section thanking the Commission for providing funds to support the section's spring meeting. Wagner said the letter included a detailed report of the section's program. He said the section has planned and arranged successful programs that have been beneficial to both section and non-section participants. Wagner said the Paraprofessional section deserves credit for their efforts. They do a lot with the small amount of money given in support of their programs.  

Chair's Report and Commissioners' Comments 

Chair John Dale reported that he gave a presentation to the Fremont Rotary Club. On May 31, John attended the first of his Nebraska Universal Service Fund Advisory Board meetings. The board's purpose is to advise the Nebraska Public Service Commission on Nebraska universal service fund administration and policies. Traditionally, universal service funds are used to subsidize telephone companies serving rural areas, balancing rates among urban and rural areas. Some funds will now also be used to assist with broadband services.  

John Dale stated that he recently met Greg Mickells, the new Lincoln City Libraries Assistant Director. In the proposed City of Lincoln budget, the public library will sustain a 1.2% or 1.3% budget reduction. John stated he was unable to attend the Library Commission's long range plan meeting in Beatrice.  

Carol Spencer reported that the Broken Bow public library has Teen Night once a month. The library is closed for the evening to everyone except the teens. The Broken Bow library recently hosted poet Matt Mason for a presentation to teens. The library is sponsoring four Saving Nebraska's Treasures workshops.  

Jean Ahrens commented on Cherie Longmuir's retirement as Panhandle Library System Coordinator and the hiring of Marjorie Harrison to replace her. The number of children in Scottsbluff's summer reading program is flat; but the number of books being read has increased dramatically. The Scottsbluff library friends group will hold a book sale in October. The library friends have expanded the event to include a mini fair.  

Velma Sims-Shipley reported that Fremont's summer reading program is going strong. The Fremont public library has a new children's librarian and she has started new and interesting activities. Velma said that one of the new activities is a program for boys. This weekend is the John C. Fremont celebration. The library friends group will provide "Lemonade on the Lawn."  

Patrick Gross reported that the Wayne public library summer reading program is growing each year. The city wants to review the library friends and library foundation budgets because the city council believes those funds should supplement and replace the tax levy requirement. The council also believes there should be some accountability involved since these funds are being used in place of city funding. Pat observed that the city council sees private funds supplementing the tax levy and lowering the amount provided by the city. Pat said that the two groups, friends and foundation, keep track of their own funds and contend that city provided funds are a separate appropriation. Pat remarked that although it is important to keep good relations with the city it is also important to maintain their ability to support in addition to rather then instead of the city funds.   

Mary Nelson reported that she was interested in the regional meeting in North Platte because she had attended the State Advisory Council on Libraries meeting and had reflected on the differences between the day-to-day management of the small libraries and larger libraries. Mary Nelson reported that she attended the Republican Valley Library System annual meeting in Holdrege and said that the meeting was well attended. Mary said that Michael Sauers was among the meeting speakers. Mary stated that the Holdrege library receives an average from ten to twelve interlibrary loan requests a day from other libraries and fills one-half to one-third of them from the Holdrege library collection.  

Director's Report

Personnel - Rod Wagner reported that Sally Snyder was selected as the Nebraska Library Commission's Employee of the Year. Marjorie Harrison, recently appointed Panhandle System Coordinator, will start her new position on July 24. Belinda Fanning has left the Commission staff after many years. Belinda is starting a new master's degree program in family counseling. David Eckmann has been appointed to replace Belinda. This is an internal appointment. Mr. Eckmann worked in the Talking Book and Braille Service unit. His former position will be posted for recruitment.  

American Library Association Conference - Rod Wagner stated that the ALA annual conference was held in Washington, D.C. in late June. The conference set a record with 28,000 people in attendance. Rod attended a full day program on advocacy sponsored by the ALA's Washington Office. Rod also attended a program sponsored by the Americans for Libraries Council which focused on serving older adults. Rod had the opportunity to speak to David Kipen, Director of Literature for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The NEA sponsors the national Big Read book discussion program. The NEA supplies funds, art work, materials, book discussion guides and other support. The NEA is eager to have book discussion participants in all states. At the time of the conference, the NEA did not have an application from a Nebraska library. Since Nebraska now has the One Book One Nebraska program, there is not as much interest in the Big Read program.  

Rod mentioned that Bill Bradley was the conference opening session keynote speaker. The closing session keynote speaker was Garrison Keillor. Rod reported that he attended a Friends of Libraries USA board meeting during the ALA conference and attended two of FOLUSA's author programs. Rod is the state library liaison to FOLUSA. Rod stated he completed his term as chair of the ASCL Standards Review Committee at the close of the conference.  

Funding for National Library Services for the Blind and Physically Handicapped and the Digital Talking Book - Rod Wagner reported that funding for conversion to the digital talking book program is in some jeopardy. Appropriation levels under consideration in Congress are less than the amount requested by the Library of Congress. Less funding would result in possible delays in supplying digital talking books and players and fewer players for distribution to borrowers.  

Wagner reported that one of the conference opening session activities was recognition of a few people honored with lifetime American Library Association memberships. These are given in recognition of high achievement. Among those honored this year was Alice Hagemeyer. Mrs. Hagemeyer is a Nebraska native, born in Scottsbluff. Alice is deaf and after graduating from Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. she went on to receive a library science degree from the University of Maryland. She joined the D.C. Public Library staff and worked as a librarian there throughout her professional career. She was and remains an active leader in promoting library services to the deaf community. Alice is founder of Friends of Libraries for Deaf Action (FOLDA). 

Rod Wagner reported he attended a brief COSLA board meeting that was held during the ALA conference. In October, COSLA and the Western Council of State Libraries will meet in Omaha. The meetings will be held at the Embassy Suites in downtown Omaha.  

One Book One Nebraska - Rod Wagner reported that the Nebraska Center for the Book Program and Projects committee has collected recommendations for selection of a book for the 2008 statewide book discussion program. The committee is narrowing the list to a few books for the NCB board to make the book choice. The NCB board will meet in Scottsbluff on August 11.  

State Advisory Council on Libraries Meeting - Rod Wagner reported that the State Advisory Council on Libraries meeting will be held July 27 at the University of Nebraska at Omaha Alumni Center. The agenda will include a panel presentation on library science education. The meeting will also include a tour of the UNO library. The library was recently expanded and the original building is under renovation.  


The May and June financial reports were included in the meeting packet.  

Jean Ahrens asked if funds not spent by the end of the fiscal year will carry over to the next biennium. Rod Wagner stated that state funds not used by the end of the biennium, unless encumbered, revert back to the state general fund. Wagner said that taking encumbrances into account, the Library Commission's state funds appropriation will be nearly all spent for the current biennium.  


Storm Damage and Libraries Grants- Rod Wagner reported that special grants have been provided to Holdrege, Axtell, Loomis and Neligh for expenses incurred due to storm damages.  


Library Services and Technology Act Long Range Plan - Rod Wagner reported on public meetings held in Alliance, North Platte, Grand Island, Fremont, Tilden, and Beatrice. He said that although the meetings did not have large attendance, there was good discussion among those who did attend.  

Rod Wagner noted that the long range plan includes three major goals. The first goal addresses support and education for the library workforce, library boards, library supporters, and educational activities. The second goal addresses development and support for library services. The third goal addresses the technology purposes of the Library Services and Technology Act.  

John Dale stated that the Talking Book and Braille Service (TBBS) should be promoted more. Rod Wagner stated that the TBBS receives help from public libraries in promoting the service in their communities. Promotional materials have been distributed through various outlets and radio and television public service announcements have been broadcast. Rod stated that Dave Oertli and his staff do presentations at conferences for organizations that have an interest in this service. It was suggested that Dave Oertli attend a Commission meeting in the future and report on how TBBS is promoted. 

Mary Nelson referred to the long range plan section (page18) that lists responsibilities for the Library Commission. The responsibilities include "approval of eligibility requirements and criteria for libraries applying for LSTA grants." Mary stated she doesn't remember commissioners ever doing this while she has served.  

A motion was made and seconded to approve the Library Services and Technology Act Long Range Plan (with further editing). Motion carried on roll call vote: Pat Gross - aye; Mary Nelson - aye; Velma Sims-Shipley - aye; Carol Spencer - aye; Jean Ahrens - aye; and John Dale - aye. Motion approved.  

Election of Chair - Jean Ahrens nominated John Dale for the Chair position, Carol Spencer seconded the nomination. A motion was made to approve John Dale as the Commission Chair. Motion carried on roll call vote: Mary Nelson - aye; Velma Sims-Shipley - aye; Carol Spencer - aye; Jean Ahrens - aye; John Dale - aye; and Pat Gross - aye. Motion approved.  

Election of Vice-Chair - Carol Spencer nominated Mary Nelson for the Vice-Chair position, Jean Ahrens seconded the motion. A motion was made to approve Mary Nelson as the Commission Vice-Chair. Motion carried on roll call vote: John Dale - aye; Pat Gross - aye; Mary Nelson - aye; Velma Sims-Shipley - aye; Carol Spencer - aye; and Jean Ahrens - aye. Motion approved.  

September Meeting Date - A motion was made to move the September meeting date from September 14 to September 21. Motion carried on roll call vote: Carol Spencer - aye; Jean Ahrens - aye; John Dale - aye; Pat Gross - aye; Mary Nelson - aye; and Velma Sims-Shipley - aye. Motion approved.  

FY 2008 State Employee Salary Policies and Director's Salary - A motion was made to approve a 3% salary increase effective July 1, 2007 for Director, Rod Wagner. Motion carried on roll call vote: Jean Ahrens - aye; John Dale - aye; Pat Gross - aye; Mary Nelson - aye; Velma Sims-Shipley - aye; and Carol Spencer - aye. Motion approved.

Adjournment - Chair John Dale adjourned the meeting


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.