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Nebraska Library Commission - Minutes

Nebraska Library Commission
September 6, 2002

The Nebraska Library Commission held its regular meeting Friday, September 6, 2002 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: Richard Jussel, Kristen Rogge, Robert King, Wally Seiler, Velma Sims-Shipley, and Karen Warner. Staff present: Rod Wagner, Nancy Busch, 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; Rogge - aye; King - aye; Seiler - aye; Sims-Shipley - aye; and Jussel - aye. Motion approved.

Approval of the Minutes (July 12, 2002):  A motion was made to approve the July 2002 meeting minutes. Motion carried on roll call vote: Rogge - aye; King - aye, Seiler - aye, Jussel - aye, Sims-Shipley; and Warner - aye. Motion approved.


No public participation


Rod Wagner reported that he received a letter from Robert Martin, Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, regarding Nebraska's LSTA five-year evaluation report.  Rod mentioned that Dr. Martin will be a keynote speaker at the NLA/NEMA conference in October.


Richard Jussel stated that Kearney and other central Nebraska libraries seem to be doing well.  Richard also noted an Omaha World Herald article concerning the use of Carnegie library buildings.   

Robert King stated that the Holdrege Public Library is building a new front desk funded by the Friends of the Library.  

Karen Warner recently visited the Kearney public library.  Karen asked Jeanne Saathoff, Kearney public library director, if circulation was down because of Internet use.  The response was "NO" and circulation is as high as it's ever been.   Karen said that she will be attending the Wyoming library convention next week, one of the three conventions she will be attending in October.  

Wally Seiler stated that he is no longer on the Alliance Public Library Board but he serves on the Library Foundation.  Alliance is involved in a Kinder visit program which is designed for kindergarten children.  The Alliance Public Library is using graphic books which are geared for teens.  

Velma Sims-Shipley stated that Seattle public libraries were recently closed for a week due to budget reductions.  Velma asked Kathy Tooker to report on recent activities concerning the Valley Public Library.  Kathy Tooker reviewed recent actions concerning the resignation of the library director and issues related to planning for a new library facility in Valley.   

Kristen Rogge stated that Auburn has a new public library director.  Kris noted that the Southeast Library System Board met in Johnson recently. The board expressed concern about the hiring of a new administrator for the Panhandle Library System.


Personnel - Rod Wagner reported that Sally Snyder is recovering from her and has returned to work on a part time basis.  However, another aneurism was discovered and Sally will have another procedure done on September 17.  Kathy Dukes from the Talking Book and Braille Service department has returned to work and continues to make progress following her injuries.   

Gates Foundation Library Initiative - Rod Wagner reported that several Commission staff and regional library system administrators traveled to Seattle for training provided by the Gates Foundation. The Gates Foundation will conduct workshops later this month for all Nebraska public libraries receiving public access computers.  Libraries must have a representative in attendance as a requirement to participate in the grant program.  The workshop will focus on the things libraries need to do in preparation for the installation of computer equipment. The Commission is putting together a promotional packet of information to help publicize the project.  

Library Personnel Recruitment and Retention - Rod Wagner reported that a meeting was recently held with representatives from the Nebraska Library Association, State Advisory Council on Libraries, and Nebraska Educational Media Association to discuss library workforce recruitment and retention.  As recommended by the State Advisory Council on Libraries, a taskforce will be formed consisting of 7-9 people who will develop recommendations concerning library workforce recruitment and retention strategies and activities.   

September State Advisory Council meeting - The meeting will be held September 20 at the Tilden Public Library.   

Nebraska Book Festival - Rod Wagner reported that the Nebraska Book Festival will be held September 13-14 in Grand Island.  Bob Green will be the Friday evening banquet speaker. Mr. Green has recently received lots of attention for his book Once Upon a Town.    

Panhandle Library System - Rod Wagner reported that there has been a lot of interest and questions about the Panhandle Library System administrator position.  Nancy Busch has met with the system board several times. Rod stated that an offer was made that the Administrator position be a Commission employee, which was the case some years ago.  An advantage of this arrangement for the Commission is having a representative in the Western Nebraska area.  Having a staff member in Western Nebraska would allow the Commission increased representation in that part of the state.  While the position would be part of the Library Commission staff, the System would have full participation in recruitment, selection, and evaluation.  This would be a joint effort of the Commission and System board.  While this option has been presented to the System board, it is the board's decision to make.    

Nancy Busch stated that she has discussed options with the Panhandle board and their decision will be respected.  The question was asked what impact the decision of being a state employee would have on the board. Nancy stated that the System would continue to have the same 501(c)(3) designation as a non-profit organization, and the Commission would contract with the System for expenses to operate their board and support regional system projects as we do now. The board would also have an equal say on the hiring of an Administrator.


July and August Budget Reports - Financial reports were included in the meeting packets. 

Special Session Budget Actions - Rod Wagner reported that during the July - August special legislative session, the Library Commission's state funds budget reduction was equal to half of the state general funds that were carried over from the 2002 fiscal year, which amounted to $32,050. 

Federal Library Program Appropriations - Rod Wagner reported that the U.S. Senate has included a larger appropriation amount for the LSTA than the House.  However, the appropriation level is still not high enough to place into effect the higher base state allocations.  Most likely, there will be a Congressional resolution to continue the program and appropriation until after the November elections.  


Master of Library Science (MLS) Degree Scholarships - At the July meeting, the discussion regarding the MLS scholarships was tabled due to the pending special legislative session and uncertainty of state appropriations.   

Rod Wagner suggested that the current scholarship program be left as it is and to continue efforts to publicize the scholarship program. 


LSTA Five Year Plan - A copy of the plan was mailed to Commission members prior to the meeting.  There is increased emphasis on library personnel needs.  Nancy Busch reported that the steering committee is currently identifying lead staff and trying to develop a tracking system so that we can determine how well we are following the strategic plan.  

2003-205 Biennium Budget Request - A budget document was mailed prior to the meeting. The budget document outlined budget issues and strategies.  It also identified items and/or services to be eliminated if the Commission's state funds are by 10%.   

Nancy Busch stated that the cuts the Commission received during the October 2001 special session and the 2002 legislative session reduced the Library Commission's state funds base appropriation by about 8%. Those cuts were taken from agency operations and aid to libraries programs.   

In previous budget requests, agencies were instructed to submit a 5% modification plan; this year it is a 10% modification plan. In the modification plan agencies must list what services would be eliminated if funds were reduced.  In the biennium budget request, the Library Commission's modifications are distributed throughout agency programs.  The only request for additional funding is to cover pay raises for staff positions covered by the union contract.  

A motion was made to accept the proposed 2003-2005 biennium budget request. Motion carried on roll call vote: Seiler - aye, Jussel - aye, Sims-Shipley; Warner - aye, Rogge - aye; and King - aye. Motion approved. 

October NLA-NEMA Conference - Rod Wagner encouraged Commissioners to attend the NLA-NEMA conference to be held October 24 & 25 in Lincoln.  

Out-of-State Travel Request - Rod Wagner requested approval to attend the Fall COSLA meeting in Boston, October 5-7. A motion was made to accept Rod Wagner's travel request. Motion carried on roll call vote: Jussel - aye; Sims-Shipley - aye; Rogge - aye; King - aye; and Seiler - aye. Motion approved. 

The next Commission meeting will be held November 8, 2002.


Chair Richard Jussel adjourned the meeting at 11:15 .m.


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.