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Nebraska Library Commission - Minutes

Nebraska Library Commission
September 14, 2001

The Nebraska Library Commission held its regular meeting Friday, September 14, 2001 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 9:32 a.m. Members present: Karen Warner, Richard Jussel, Kristen Rogge, Velma Sims, Wally Seiler, and Robert King. Staff present: Rod Wagner, Maria Medrano-Nehls, Pam Scott, Shannon White, and Nancy Busch. Guests present: Brenda Ealey and Kathy Tooker.

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

Approval of the Minutes (July 13, 2001): A motion was made to approve the July 2001 minutes. Velma Sims stated a correction was needed in her report, the minutes should read, "Fremont recently held its John C. Fremont days. " Motion carried on roll call vote: Rogge - aye; Seiler -aye; Jussel -aye; Sims - aye; and Warner - aye. Motion approved.


Kathy Tooker reported that the La Vista Public Library has a new director, Rose Schinker. She also reported that the regional library systems received a grant from the Nebraska Library Commission to purchase digital cameras and scanners. Kathy reminded everyone that the NLA-NEMA conference is next month in Kearney and hopes everyone will be able to attend. Kathy reported on the City of Omaha's actions on the Omaha Public Library's budget. Brenda Ealey reported that the Southeast Library System held a planning meeting in August and another is planned for October. She and the other System Administrators worked together on the Library Leadership Institute that was held in August.


A letter from Alan Curtis, Director of the Crime Commission, was included in the Commission meeting packet. Mr. Curtis thanked Bonnie Henzel for her prompt work in converting the Homicide Study into an electronic format.

The State Personnel Division sent a message stating today is a National Day of Prayer. The message was passed on to all employees.


Chair Richard Jussel stated that his thoughts have been on the senseless act that occurred on September 11 and it reminded him of the things he chose to dedicate his life to a long time ago, education, knowledge, the pursuit of truth, to serve on this board, and try to provide for others access to information. More important is that the only way we are going to stop this kind of insanity is to educate people. Richard Jussel referred to recent articles that have been written about the Library Commission and libraries. One was written by Commission member Robert King and published in his Holdrege newspaper.

Kristen Rogge reported that she attended the State Advisory Council on Libraries meeting in Norfolk. Kristen also reported that she had made a connection with Southeast Community College. The SCC recently received a grant to purchase a bank of 500 web based and CD based training programs. They have been offering them to small businesses and other organizations. She asked what it would take to have the capability to these resources at the local library and they said that the databases just needed to be installed. The library now has use of these items.

Velma Sims reported that the Fremont Public Library continues their Centennial celebration events and activities. The library friends fall event is scheduled for November. The Fremont Public Library is closed for a week while new carpeting is installed and painting is completed.

Wally Seiler reported that he attended Pat Wagner's Library Trustee Training program. He was pleased to see that the Nebraska Library Association is on the agenda for the League of Municipalities meeting in Gering. He will be attending and participating in that meeting.

Karen Warner reported that she attended the State Advisory Council on Libraries meeting and was very impressed with Ken Oyer's and Jim Bothmer's report on ICON's healthHQ web based information service. Karen reported that the Tilden Public Library is dedicating their new library building on October 21. Karen also attended a planning session for an NLA - NEMA preconference that will be held on October 17. All of the Commission members donated money to purchase an item for the silent auction at the NLA-NEMA conference. Karen purchased a lamp that has books on it. Signage will indicate that the Library Commissioners donated the lamp.

Network Services Report

Shannon White reported that the Commission's network services staff has several projects underway. One of the larger projects is a netLibrary e-book shared collection. This is the second netLibrary shared collection that the Library Commission has coordinated. The first collection consisted of 2000 e-books. There are 55 libraries participating. $55,000 is available to buy books for the second collection. The minimum cost for libraries to participate is $75, and the offer to participate is open to libraries until the end of November.

Shannon reported that database trials are currently underway. Trial databases allow libraries to try databases at no cost and then decide if they would like to purchase a subscription to the database. A program session will be held to provide information regarding databases at the NLA - NEMA conference. The Library Commission booth will have mini demonstrations of OCLC products.

The NEBASE annual meeting will be held September 20 at the Cornhusker Hotel. Over 100 people are registered. An offer is open for additional libraries to install OCLC's CatExpress service. The Library Commission will pay for the service at no cost to new participating libraries for one year. In return, the library is expected to continue to use the CatExpress service in the future. There are 43 libraries that currently use Cat Express. Many of these libraries began using CatExpress under a similar project arrangement. Network Services staff will be developing a web site to provide information on all the Library Commission sponsored online database service licensing agreements.



Rod Wagner reported that Susan Knisely recently had a baby boy. There are currently two position vacancies on the staff. Interviews for the Public Information Officer position will be next week. The deadline for the Library Technology Specialist position closed today and applications will be reviewed next week.

Library Visits

Three-fourths of the library visits have been scheduled and one-half have been completed. Staff members meet each Thursday morning to report on visits from the prior week and to note issues and other information for consideration.

State Advisory Council on Libraries

The meeting was held at the Norfolk Public Library. Ted Smith, Norfolk Public Library Director, gave a presentation on the new automated library system recently installed and shared by the Norfolk Public Library, Columbus Public Library, and Northeast Community College. Additional libraries may be added to the shared system. The Norfolk Public Library is the technology center for the city, and the city's information technology staff is located at the library. All the city government's fiber optic lines run through the library.

The Tilden Public Library will hold its grand opening October 21. Nancy Busch will be attending as well as Governor and Mrs. Johanns. There will also be a representative of the Gates Foundation. The Tilden Public Library submitted a request to the Gates Foundation for computers and software and received funds for both.

Ken Oyer and Jim Bothmer reported on healthHQ,, a web site that was originally funded by the Midcontinental Regional Medical Library Program through a grant to ICON. The project contract ended at the end of July. ICON sought additional funding from the Library Commission to allow them to continue their project. The Nebraska Library Commission awarded ICON a project grant of $5,000 for continuation and extension of the service statewide.

Library Science Education Program

Pam Scott reported that she and Rod Wagner recently attended a hearing before the Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education concerning the University of Missouri - Columbia masters degree in library science program. The hearing went well and it appears likely that the Coordinating Commission will approve the University of Missouri - Columbia program in the near future.

Pam discussed considerations to be used in awarding scholarship aid for Nebraska students enrolled in masters degree programs in library science.

1. Type of Applicants - Priority should be current librarians and staff without MLS degrees

2. Statement of purpose (goals and objectives)

3. Three letters of professional reference

4. Resident of Nebraska

5. Member of NLA, NEMA or other professional organization

6. Copy of acceptance letter to ALA accredited MLS program

7. Submit record of employment

8. Estimated cost of course work

Pam stated that she asked representatives of the University of Missouri - Columbia and Emporia State University what would happen to scholarship funds if a student who has been awarded scholarship funds does not complete coursework, and how unused scholarship funds would be handled. It appears that the Library Commission could work out arrangements with both schools that would minimize loss of scholarship funds due to student failure to complete course work.

There was consensus that the Commission should not ask students to repay any remaining amount of scholarship funds if they do not complete the program. There was consensus that requirements be kept to a minimum.

Nebraska Information Technology Grant

A grant application was submitted to the State Government Council of the Nebraska Information Technology Commission for $8,000 to create a web accessible database for children's book reviews. The Library Commission has provided book reviews for a number of years. This project would allow book- reviews to be placed on the Library Commission's web site. This a cooperative project with Nebraska Educational Telecommunications Commission. A similar grant application was submitted to the Nebraska State Records Board.

Federal Library Related Legislation and Policy Issues

There is nothing new to report at this time. LSTA appropriations have not been made for the coming federal fiscal year. A Congressional continuing resolution will probably be approved appropriating LSTA funds on an interim basis pending final approval and action on the federal budget

NLA-NEMA Conference

Information packets were distributed.


Over thirty libraries have signed up for the program thus far. The list of participating libraries is kept updated on the Commission's web site.


Information was included in meeting packets.


MLS Financial Aid Program

It was decided to leave the program at 25 scholarships in the amount of $1,000 each.


Budget Strategies and Priorities for Possible Special Legislative Session

Nancy Busch distributed a document that provided details on how the Commission would reduce expenditures by 5 percent, as requested by the Department of Administrative Services Budget Division. The Library Commission is reducing library materials purchases, deferring replacement of computer equipment and software. Accrued savings from two current position vacancies will also contribute toward a budget reduction. Re-filling position vacancies may be deferred depending on the extent of budget reductions. Rod Wagner stated that more would be known about the budget at the November Commission meeting.

NLC Centennial Activities and Events

Nancy Busch reported that Wayne Wiegand is one of the keynote speakers at the NLA-NEMA convention, and is sponsored by the Library Commission. His presentation is part of the Commission's centennial speaker series.

On November 9, the Library Commission will hold an open house in the afternoon preceded by a luncheon at the Embassy Suites. James Carmichael will be the luncheon speaker.

NLC Grant Programs

A document was included in meeting packets providing a schedule for Library Commission grants.

Out-of State Travel Request

Out-of-State Travel Request - A motion was made to approve Rod Wagner's travel request to attend Chief Officers of State Library Agencies and Western Council of State Libraries meetings in Salt Lake City, Utah. Motion carried on roll call vote: Jussel - aye; Sims - aye; Warner - aye; Rogge - aye; King - aye; and Seiler - aye. Motion approved.


The next Commission meeting will be held November 9, 2001.


The meeting was adjourned at 11:45 a.m. (CST).

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.