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Nebraska Library Commission - Minutes

Nebraska Library Commission
September 12, 2003


The Nebraska Library Commission held its regular meeting Friday, September 12, 2003 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 Kristen Rogge called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m. Members present: Richard Jussel, Kristen Rogge, Wally Seiler (via phone), and Velma Sims-Shipley. Staff present: Rod Wagner, Maria Medrano-Nehls, Pam Scott, Kit Keller and Richard Miller. Guest: Mary Nelson. 

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

Approval of the Minutes (August 1, 2003): Mary Nelson stated that George Lundean is misspelled.  The correct spelling is Lundeen. Velma Sims-Shipley stated that she voted "aye" on the Vision Statement, not "abstain" as the minutes report. A motion was made to approve the August 2003 meeting minutes with corrections. Motion carried on roll call vote: Rogge - aye; Seiler - aye; Sims-Shipley and Jussel - aye. Motion approved. 


There was no correspondence to report. 


Chair Rogge stated that the Auburn city council voted to deny a pay raise from $6.90 to $7.25 for one of the public library staff. Kristen will attend a League of Municipalities meeting with Kathy Tooker and Brenda Ealey.  Of particular interest will be library employee wages.  

Richard Jussel stated that the vision statement from the Nebraska Library Leadership Institute says "we facilitate lifelong learning so that curious minds will find fulfillment."  Richard observed that libraries become vital with the vast number of people entering the 60-80 year age bracket and whose minds are alive and want to learn.  

Velma Sims-Shipley stated that there will be a reception for Rivkah Sass, the new Omaha Public Library director, on September 17. Fremont is hosting a program on Sacagawea on September 18. Fremont will also host a Literacy Day on September 27. 

The organizers hope to recruit people who will work with persons wanting to learn to read or improve their reading skills. 

Mary Nelson stated that the Hastings Public Library Friends are having a Sunday brunch to celebrate the Library's centennial year.  The program will include a fashion show and a book show covering the past 100 years.  

Wally Seiler reported that he met with the woman who is chairing the effort to remodel the Chadron public library building.  


Personnel - Rod Wagner stated that Carolyn O'Leary has been hired to fill a vacancy in the Talking Book and Braille Service.  Rod also stated that he has not made a decision on what direction to take with the vacant Deputy Director position.  A few Commission staff positions have gone unfilled as a result of state budget reductions.  Vacancies have led to some job responsibility changes within the Commission staff. 

State Budget and Legislative Outlook - Rod Wagner stated that state tax revenues have continued to fall below projections.  The state revenue forecasting board meets in late October and will determine whether tax revenue projections will be changed.  The Legislature has a number of interim studies underway.  One interim study is assessing higher education organization and funding.  Another study is addressing state government organization.  The lawsuit initiated by the Omaha School District poses a major challenge for the Governor and Legislature.  Changes in K-12 state aid funding may be made to address the issues raised in the lawsuit. 

Rod stated that at a recent meeting he heard that some state legislatures are considering Internet filtering for schools and libraries that receive state funds. Similar legislation has not been introduced in Nebraska, but the potential is always there.  The 2004 legislative session is the short session.  Many legislative bills carry over from the 2003 session.  One of the pending legislative bills provides for joint financing arrangements for technology projects.  Public libraries are included as an eligible entity.  A requirement is that two or more government agencies partner in a common project.  

Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Reauthorization - Rod Wagner stated that approval of the LSTA reauthorization legislation is expected soon.  The Senate has approved the legislation.  The next step is final approval in the House of Representatives.   This bill has had solid support in both the House and Senate. 

Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Appropriation for FY2004 - An amendment was introduced that would appropriate funds sufficient to implement the higher level base allotment for state programs.  The amendment failed and it appears likely that appropriations will remain near the current appropriation level.   

IMLS Outcome Based Evaluation Training at NLC - The Commission will host outcome based evaluation training for 30 people on September 30 and October 1. This is a planning and evaluation approach that the Institute of Museum and Library Services has asked state library agencies to use for state level planning and evaluation and as a methodology for LSTA supported programs and projects.   

Gates Foundation Library Program Application - Richard Miller distributed copies of the grant application submitted to the Gates Foundation.  An amount of $67, 200 is available to the Library Commission from the Gates Foundation to support additional technology related training. The proposal includes working with BCR, a multi-state library services network based in Denver.  BCR provides training for a number of state library agencies in the western states. A trainer will also be contracted for 156 days of training and logistical support. Money will also be set aside for four Mind Leader training sessions available through OCLC and for the cost of supplies, workbooks and photocopies.  

Staff members are also working on the Gates Foundation Staying Connected grants.  There are four grant categories.  One grant is for public access or replacement computers for three low-income communities of consistent poverty; the second grant is for broadband connectivity upgrades, the third grant is for training sustainability, and the last is for technical support sustainability. If all four grant areas are approved, the Commission will receive $292,160. The Gates Foundation encourages partnerships.  A partnership venture with the University of Nebraska - Lincoln is being explored for an Informal Science Education grant. This grant focuses on science, engineering, mathematics, and other areas. This grant would serve as part of the Library Commission's match for the Gates grants.  

Pam Scott reported that the Gates Foundation will be distributing Microsoft XP upgrade software and materials to all the libraries that received a computer. Pam is encouraging libraries to install the new program as soon as possible because the free technical support from the Gates foundation ends March 30.  

Richard Miller stated that the Gates Foundation, in partnership with OCLC, has developed a web portal called Web Junction.  

Nebraska Virtual Library Project - Rod Wagner stated that development of a state digital library is a major project in the Commission's long range plan. A task force has been formed to assist the Commission in the digital library project.  

Library Science Education at Nebraska Community Colleges - Rod Wagner reported that work with community college representatives and regional library systems has resulted in progress toward library science course offerings.  Metro Community College plans to begin offering courses in the fall of 2004. It is hoped that the other community colleges will participate in a collaborative project to offer courses statewide.  It is expected that the proposed program will ultimately allow students to take courses leading to a certificate or associate degree. 

Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA) and Western Council of State Libraries meetings - Rod Wagner reported that he recently attended the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies meeting followed by the Western Council of State Libraries meeting in Tucson, Arizona. The COSLA meeting included discussions with representatives of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Library of Congress, and the American Library Association.  Topics included the Children's Internet Protection Act, LSTA reauthorization and appropriations, the OCLC - Gates Foundation Web Junction portal.  The Western Council of State Libraries meeting included discussion of the recently awarded IMLS three year project grant for a multi-state library science education program.  

NEBASE Annual Meeting - East (September 18) - Rod Wagner reported that the NEBASE annual meeting (East) will be held in Lincoln on September 18 and is devoted mainly to OCLC products and services. Marilyn Mason from OCLC will be the keynote speaker and will provide a presentation on the Web Junction portal. 

NLA-NEMA Conference - The NLA-NEMA conference will be held October 30-31 in Omaha. Commissioners are asked to send their registrations to Jodene Glaesemann by September 22 and Maria will take care of room reservations. A number of Commission staff will be involved program presentations.  The Commission will have a booth in the exhibit area.    

One Book - One State Program - Rod Wagner reported that Lincoln is conducting its second one book - one city program.  The success of the first program led to planning for a second.  Discussion with Lincoln City Libraries and other organizations is anticipated to consider a statewide book discussion program in 2005.   

Richard Miller stated that Banned Book Week which is September 20-27.  Richard will participate as a panelist for an Academic Freedom Coalition of Nebraska (AFCON) program marking Banned Book Week on September 25, at the College of Journalism on the UNL campus. 


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


FY 2004 State Aid to Public Libraries Grants Formula - Kit Keller reported that state budget reductions have required a change in the state aid to public libraries formula. The Commission staff is attempting to retain the incentive payments.  State aid payments to will be reduced by 10% in line with the state budget reduction.   

Kit stated that she is investigating an e-cash payment option.  During the "Making a Difference" library visits some staff heard that for some libraries the state aid payment goes into the city's general fund and is not credited to the library fund.  The e-cash account would be an option to a direct aid payment.  Another option is for the Commission to hold the money in an account that libraries use for their OCLC payments.  Rod Wagner stated that the changes to the state aid program will be voted on at the November meeting. 

Public Library Accreditation Review - Kit Keller reported that this topic ties in with the state aid program.  In the current guidelines there are many libraries that don't qualify for state aid because they don't meet the required guidelines. The new guidelines will have three levels: essential, enhanced and excellent service. Each level will contain the same major content areas of governance, service and facilities, personnel, collection, technology and public relations. Kit has researched size (population) categories, broke them down and then analyzed the data to determine the percentage of libraries that would meet the different guideline levels. The intent is that if a library can meet the essential level guidelines, it will be eligible for some amount of state aid.    


Internet Safety Policy (per CIPA requirements) - Rod Wagner stated that an Internet safety policy is required under the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA).  Information regarding the Library Commission's acceptable use policy was included in the meeting packets.  The policy must be amended to address the points required under CIPA. Following discussion at today's meeting, staff will develop additional policy statements needed for CIPA compliance.  The amended document will be distributed for further discussion and action at the November Commission meeting.   

Pam Scott stated that the current policy is too generic and needs to include specific provisions in reference to e-rate and CIPA. Pam said that, for instance, "users" needs to be defined and the legal age of a minor child defined.   

Pam is encouraging public libraries to ask their Internet service provider to provide free Internet service to the library.  In return, the library would acknowledge the company's contributed service.  This would allow the library to not participate in e-rate for Internet service and eliminate the need to address the CIPA requirements.  This would also eliminate paperwork for the Internet service provider.  Pam stated she provides step-by-step training for e-rate forms and provides guidance when libraries are reviewed for compliance.  She encourages libraries to apply for the e-rate for telephone service (voice).   

November State Advisory Council on Libraries Meeting - Rod Wagner stated that the next SACL meeting will be held November 14 in Kearney. 

November and January Meeting Dates - Rod Wagner recommended that the Commission schedule its November meeting for November 7th due to the scheduled State Advisory Council meeting on November 14.  Rod also requested that the January Commission meeting be held on January 16th due to the American Library Association's Midwinter Meeting scheduled for January 9 - 13. 


The meeting was adjourned at 11:55 a.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.