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Nebraska Library Commission - Minutes

Nebraska Library Commission
July 9, 1999

The Nebraska Library Commission held its regular meeting Friday, July 9, 1999, at 9:30 a.m. at the Nebraska Library Commission, 1200 N Street, Lincoln, NE. 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 9:35 a.m. Members present: Karen Warner, Richard Jussel, Kristen Rogge, Wally Seiler and Velma Sims. Staff present: Rod Wagner, Nancy Busch, Mary Jo Ryan, Jo Budler and Maria Medrano-Nehls. Guest: Kathy Tooker.

Approval of Agenda: A motion was made to approve the agenda. Motion carried on roll call vote: Warner - aye; Jussel - aye; Rogge - aye; Seiler - aye; and Sims - aye.

Approval of the Minutes (May 14, 1999): A motion was made to approve the May minutes. Motion carried on roll call votes: Jussel - aye; Rogge - aye; Seiler - aye; Sims -aye; and Warner - aye.


Chair Karen Warner welcomed all present. Introductions were made.


There were no correspondence or communication items to report.


Karen Warner thanked the Library Commission for supporting her attendance at the American Library Association annual conference in New Orleans. Karen distributed a report highlighting program sessions she attended. There were 2000 sessions available to attend. Karen compared the conference shuttle bus drivers she encountered at the conference and stated that the lesson she learned from them was that attitude is important in your job.

Velma Sims reported that the Johnson/Fremont Days are currently underway. The library has activities planned for this event

Kristen Rogge introduced herself as a new Commissioner. Professionally, her field is mental retardation and developmental disabilities. Kristen has worked in this area for more than 20 years. She has lived and worked in Missouri, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Washington D.C. She worked for the Federal government's Office of Developmental Disabilities. She returned to Johnson to help her mother manage the family farm operation.

Richard Jussel reported that the Kearney Library is doing very well. Richard noted that in a recent visit to Scottsbluff he was reading the newspaper and came upon a picture of Wally Seiler as Mark Twain

Wally Seiler reported that he would be performing Mark Twain at the Johnson/Fremont Days. Alliance recently held the dedication ceremony for their new library, and Nancy Busch was the keynote speaker for the event. Wally stated that he recently attended a portion of the Panhandle Library System's annual meeting held in Alliance.

Karen Warner mentioned an article about libraries featured in the July 12 issue of US News and World Report


Rod Wagner stated that Karen Warner alerted him to a video that was distributed at the OCLC President's luncheon at the ALA annual conference. Jo Budler was able to obtain a copy of the video. The video is based on the winning essay of a OCLC highlighting the 20th anniversary of OCLC's interlibrary loan sub-system. The contest was named "What Does Inter-Library Loan Mean To Me". The video was filmed on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. Barb Lehn is the library director and the author of the essay. Ms. Lehn is a former staff member of the Omaha Public Library. The video was shown for those present.

Bruce Oorlog was selected as the Library Commission's 1999 Employee of the Year, and Jo Budler was selected as the Manager/Supervisor of the Year. Selections were made based upon nominations from staff. Burns Davis has left the Commission after 10 years to pursue personal business interests. Steps have not been taken yet to fill the position vacancy. Staff will be evaluating work priorities and needs before determining how the position will be re-designed for recruitment. Maggie Harding is one of our temporary workers and works part-time organizing the Library Commission's historical materials and archives. She is helping the Commission prepare for the upcoming Centennial year

State Advisory Council on Libraries - The State Advisory Council met on June 18th in Gering. There was a good turnout from Council members. Some chose to take advantage of being in Western Nebraska by bringing family along and having some vacation time in western Nebraska before or after the meeting. The evening before the meeting a number of the group attended a cookout at Gordon Howard's ranch located on the Platte River by Bayard. The September meeting will be held in Alliance at the new library. The day following the September meeting is the Nebraska Literature Festival in Chadron. Rod commented that we have an especially good State Advisory Council membership and have recently had some individuals volunteer to serve on the Council (we have usually had to seek nominations and recruit).

Chief Officers of State Library Agencies Meeting - While in New Orleans, prior to the ALA conference, Rod Wagner attended the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies meeting. Representatives from the Library of Congress were on hand to report on their bi-centennial plans. The year 2000 is LC's bicentennial year. There was also a representative from the Institute of Museum and Library Services who gave an update on IMLS activities.

A report was given from the American Library Association Washington Office which heads the lobbying efforts in Washington, D.C. for the Association. This was a special occasion because Carol Henderson, the Director of ALA Washington Office, is retiring in August after 27 years. There were also comments from the Ann Symons, ALA President, and Sarah Long, the in-coming President. Sarah Long's focus for her presidential year will be "Building Community."

American Library Association Annual Conference - John Day presided at the ASCLA President's program which included a panel of individuals who spoke, from an international perspective, about library services to persons with disabilities.

Rod reported on several other sessions he attended: the ALA President's Program on Intellectual Freedom, a reception hosted by the Library of Congress at the home of Ambassador Boggs, and an advocacy program session held by the Libraries for the Future organization. (Rod reported on Nebraska activities, as one of the 8 states receiving grant assistance through LFF.) Rod reported that ASCLA, LAMA, and PLA divisions are working together on a Public Library Administrator's Certification Program. It is intended for individuals with a Masters degree. However, there is an effort to tailor the program for those who do not have a degree.

Nebraska Public Librarian Certification Program Evaluation - Rod reported that Deb Johnson, a consultant who has been working on the evaluation, was here a few weeks ago to meet with some Commission staff and several System Administrators to talk about the results of her survey and focus groups. This project will be on the September Commission agenda for a report and discussion.

Library Advocacy Program - Rod mentioned that a one page report was included in the meeting packet regarding the program. The second advocacy program session will be in August 16 in Lincoln.

Library Friends Workshop - The regional library system administrators and Richard Miller have been working on plans and arrangements for a library friends workshop. The workshop will be held at several locations across the state. Dates have not been set.

Public Library Finance Task Force - The task force has met four times and will meet again next Tuesday morning. The meeting will include a discussion with Lyn Ziegenbien, the Executive Director of the Kiewit Foundation. The Kiewit Foundation is Nebraska's largest private foundation and has distributed over 4.5 million dollars to library projects over the last 10 years. Lyn Ziegenbien will be discussing private funding sources, as that is one of the areas of interest for the Library Finance Task Force. Another person on the agenda is Bill Locke. Bill is a staff member of the Legislature's Revenue Committee. Bill is an expert on tax policy and has a long time interest in libraries. The task force plans to complete its work by September.

Library Legislation (State) - Longtime library champion of the Legislature, Senator LaVon Crosby has announced that she will not run for re-election. She indicated this past session that she wants to make library funding one of her priorities before she leaves.

At the initiative of Mike Nolan, Norfolk City Administrator and Tim Smith, Norfolk Library Director, a legislative proposal is being discussed that would seek statutory authority for municipalities to issue bonds for the purchase of library technology. This type of legislation is currently in place for public safety, but not for other purposes. Senator Gene Tyson has drafted a bill for discussion and possible introduction in the 2000 legislative session. A related legislative bill will attempt to extend joint financing capabilities for local governments for public facilities.

E-Rate Legislation - Congress recently enacted separate bills from the House and the Senate that will require schools and libraries to install software filters to block access to certain websites on the Internet

Rod Wagner mentioned the article concerning SydneyPLUS that was included in the meeting packet. The Library Commission has purchased this software and will have people from the company on-site beginning July 16th for a week to provide training.

Rod also noted the article on the "Newsline" service. Newsline is a service to the blind that allows them access to newspapers. It is hoped that the service will grow to include local newspapers. The article notes that the Lincoln Journal Star is not yet participating, but hopes to be in the future. The Nebraska Library Commission contributed $10,000 toward the cost of the service for the first year. Nebraska Services for the Visually Impaired has provided the major funding to make this service available.


Rod Wagner mentioned that the end of June report was distributed this morning. This report does not include encumbrances, which will cover any remaining fund balances from state funds.


There was no unfinished business.


Priority Goals for 1999/2000 - A handout was distributed with a few changes from the original document that was sent as part of the meeting packet. The purpose of the document is to highlight major activities for the current fiscal year.

Regional Library System 1999/2000 Biennium Fund Allocation - Nancy Busch reported on the proposed fund allocations for the 1999 - 2001 biennium. Nancy distributed a handout which listed funding amounts over the past decade.

Of the recent $150,000 in state aid funding, a portion will be used to increase System funding. An amount of $27,500 was divided evenly among the Systems to provide additional funding. Some adjustments were made on video licensing and resource sharing agreements. With these adjustments some Systems will receive more money and some less funding based on the decrease of resource sharing costs overall. Each System saw a net gain of almost $11,000. We also removed any line item restrictions, so the Systems are free within the salary and benefit limit to determine how much funding will go to salary and benefits and how much goes to operations.

A motion was made to approve the System contracts. Motion carried on roll call vote. Seiler - aye; Warner - aye; Sims - aye; Rogge - aye; and Jussel - aye.

Election of Chair - A motion was made to accept the nomination of Wally Seiler as Chair. Motion carried on roll call vote. Jussel - aye; Sims -aye; Warner -aye; Rogge - aye; and Seiler - aye.

Election of Vice-Chair - A motion was made to accept the nomination of Richard Jussel as Vice-Chair. Motion carried on roll call vote. Sims - aye; Warner - aye; Rogge - aye; Seiler - aye; and Jussel - aye

1999-2000 Commission Meeting Schedule - The following dates were chosen for the 1999-2000 Commission meetings: September 24, 1999, November 12, 1999, January 14, 2000, March 9-10, 2000 (Joint meeting with State Advisory Council, location to be determined), May 12, 2000 and July 14, 2000.


Chair Warner adjourned the meeting at 11:05

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.