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Nebraska Library Commission - Minutes

Nebraska Library Commission

January 7, 2000


The Nebraska Library Commission held its regular meeting Friday, January 7, 2000, 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 Wally Seiler called the meeting to order at 9:33 a.m. Members present: Robert King, Richard Jussel, Kristen Rogge, Wally Seiler, Velma Sims, and Karen Warner. Staff present: Rod Wagner, Nancy Busch and Maria Medrano-Nehls. Guests present: Carol Speicher and 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; Jussel, aye; and Sims, aye.

Approval of the Minutes (November 12, 1999): A motion was made to approve the minutes. Motion carried on roll call vote: Rogge, aye; King, aye; Seiler, aye; Jussel, aye; Sims, aye; and Warner.


Chair Wally Seiler welcomed all present and asked guests to introduce themselves.


Rod Wagner reported that he received a letter from Congressman Bill Barrett in reply to a letter regarding Internet access filtering software legislation. Rod also noted a letter from Mary Nash on behalf of the Nebraska Library Association.


Karen Warner reported that Norfolk and Columbus libraries are pursuing a joint library automation project. This project would allow library users to look for resources in one or all the libraries connected to the system.

Robert King reported that Sara Lee, a Holdrege native and Director of the Central City library, was named Librarian of the Year.

Kristen Rogge reported that the Auburn public library announced the opening of their website on the Internet. This project was done in conjunction with the Educational Service Unit.

Richard Jussel reported that the Kearney libraries continue to flourish. The UNK University library is active with satellite communications. The Gibbon Public library recently opened its new building.

Velma Sims reported that Pam Scott was at the Fremont public library recently and provided training on the E-Rate application process. The Fremont public library will be holding its annual book sale in April.

Wally Seiler reported that he attended the 90th anniversary celebration of the Alliance library, which was sponsored by the Women's Club of Alliance. The Women's Club was instrumental in starting the library. Alliance entered their library as an entry for the Nebraska Community Improvement program and it is currently in the running for the project of the century. Alliance has new city banners and the library is displayed on one of the banners. Wally brought one of the banners to show the other Commissioners.


Rod Wagner reported that Lisa Brawner was going to present a report, but unfortunately she is ill and her report will be re-scheduled for a future meeting.


Rod Wagner reported that a draft of the Libraries for the 21st Century funding request bill was distributed prior to the meeting. This is a copy of the bill that was introduced by Senator Crosby. Rod also noted the flyers regarding Shirley Flacks retirement. Rod also noted that the Gibbon Public Library has offered their new library for future training sessions and meetings.

Gates Library Initiative - Special Grant to Tilden - Tilden recently held their library groundbreaking ceremony. Dixie Kucera, Tilden Library Director, submitted a grant to the Gates Foundation Library Initiative and was successful in receiving a special grant for a library training lab. This grant is separate from the Nebraska state program and will not bar them from participating in the state program next year through the Gates Library Initiative.

E-Rate - Nebraska libraries are busy filing applications for the 3rd year of the e-rate program. Pam Scott has been very helpful in offering assistance in completing e-rate applications. The libraries have gratefully appreciated Pam's assistance.

Nebraska Information Technology Commission-Government Council - Rod Wagner stated that he had recently been appointed to serve on the NITC Government Council. Libraries are well represented on the Community Council with four library representatives. In early December, Nebraska Library Commission staff hosted a meeting attended by the state's Chief Information Officer, Steve Schafer; Rod Armstrong, Manager of Nebraska Online; Dick Brown, Deputy Clerk of the Nebraska Legislature; two people from the State Historical Society; Bill Ptacek, State Records Administrator, and Kay Walter, UNL Libraries. The topic was access to Nebraska's state government information. The growing concern in this area is public information that is available only in electronic form through an agency website. The information is not readily identifiable due to a lack of common indexing processes, and may be removed from the website and no longer available. There is a need to develop standards for information that is web accessible and needs to preserve the information for future accessibility.

National Library Advocacy Honor Roll - Recently an ad hoc committee made selections from nominations for the ALA sponsored National Library Advocacy Honor Roll and forwarded the selections on to American Library Association. Among our Nebraskans to be recognized are Maggie Harding, Laureen Riedesel from Beatrice Public Library, Senator LaVon Crosby, South Sioux City library advocacy group, and the Libraries for the 21st Century Coalition. Jane Geske is the lone nominee for the posthumous recognition category.

A motion was made to endorse the nominations for the National Advocacy Honor Roll and to encourage the Commission staff to recognize these people appropriately. Roll call vote: Robert King, aye; Wally Seiler, aye; Richard Jussel, aye; Velma Sims, aye; Karen Warner, aye; and Kristen Rogee, aye. Motion approved.

Status of 1999-2000 Major Priorities and Objectives - Rod Wagner mentioned that he had included in the packets a copy of major priorities and objectives presented for this year.


Budget Status - Handouts were included in the packets. There were no questions or comments

Audit - Rod Wagner stated that a copy of a response letter in regard to the Library Commission audit was included in the meeting packet. Two things were mentioned in the audit report, one was the Library Commission's own policy about site visits for Library Services and Technology Act grants. The other audit comment related to development of a financial value for the Library Commission's library holdings. This is based on a new audit standard.

The Commission's policy states that there will be a site visit for every project where the grant is $5,000 or more. During the grant period the Commission did not conduct a site visit for all projects receiving $5,000 or more. Commission staff members are reviewing the policy to determine whether the $5,000 is too low for an on site visit. This does not imply that on-site visits are not important, but that not all projects require an on-site visit.

Chair Seiler mentioned that he received a copy of the audit and signed off so that the Auditor's office could issue the final report in the same manner as the draft. A motion was made stating that the Commissioners would like to state their appreciation to the staff and especially Doreen, Sue and Sally for their work on the audit. Motion carried on roll call vote: Wally Seiler, aye; Richard Jussel, aye; Velma Sims, aye; Karen Warner, aye; Kristen Rogge, aye; and Robert King, aye.

Rod Wagner mentioned that every year we submit a report on our use of the federal funds under the LSTA. Sally Snyder has done this report for a number of years and always gets it done on time and we certainly appreciate her work.


Public Librarian Certification and Basic Skills Evaluation Report - Rod Wagner reported that all parts of the report have been received. It is a good report and has appropriate recommendations. A copy of the report will mailed to each Commissioner and there will be a document available on the Commission website. There are over 300 librarians who participate in the certification program. The certification program was first thought of as a program for providing training for public library directors without library science education. There was a good response to the certification survey, 74% were returned from library directors, 72% from library staff and the highest return came from library board chairs. Overall, the program is valued and supported. Nine out of ten people participating in the program plan to be recertified. Certification for the Library Director is a requirement for public library accreditation. The report does state that the certification program is workable but there are things that need to be improved. Specific recommendations were presented for changes in the program.

Karen Warner asked if we were to increase the amount of the base grant for state aid, what would we have left? Rod stated that if the base grant amount was increased by an amount of $150-$200, an amount of $20,000-$25,000 would be needed leaving any remainder for per capita payments. That would leave approximately $100,000. Karen asked if we would increase the per capita. Rod responded that funds would be sufficient to increase the per capita amounts.


State Advisory Council on Libraries Annual Report (1999) - One of the meeting handouts was a summary report for the State Advisory Council on Libraries. No meetings were held in Lincoln in 1999. Meetings this past year were held in Gering, Kearney, Alliance and Ralston. The Council covered or explored all of the areas they had on their priority list. Commissioners Warner, Sims and Rogge attended the December meeting in Ralston. The March joint State Advisory and Commission meeting will be held March 9 and 10 in Kearney. Rod Wagner asked Commissioners for ideas and suggestions for the joint meeting agenda.

2000 Federal and State Legislature and Budget Issues - The LSTA appropriation has been made for this current fiscal year. The amount is about the same as last year. The Legislature has begun its 60-day session; staff will monitor legislative bills for library related issues. There is one bill introduced by Senator Tyson pertaining to long term debt financing for major technology projects for public libraries. Senator Crosby's bill provides an appropriation increase for state aid to libraries. If the committee does approve additional state aid funds it will likely not be through a bill, but will be added to the Library Commissions fiscal year 2001 appropriation. The purpose of Senator Crosby's bill is to get the funding issue on the table for a legislative decision. Rod Wagner will attend the hearing and make a presentation and would invite and encourage others to attend the hearing. Legislative Day is scheduled for February 25.

Resolution for Shirley Flack - Rod Wagner mentioned that a copy of a proposed resolution was distributed for the Commissioners consideration. A motion was made to approve a resolution to honor and recognize Shirley Flack for her career and contributions to Nebraska library service. Motion carried on roll call vote: Jussel, aye; Sims, aye; Warner, aye; Rogge, aye; King, aye; and Seiler, aye.

March Commission Meeting with State Advisory Council - The meeting will be held in Kearney, March 9 and 10, 2000. A possible tour of the I-80 arch east of Kearney is on the Thursday late afternoon schedule.

Director's Annual Performance Review - Chair Seiler stated that the Commissioners had finished the Director's evaluation and accomplished this task by going down the list of job description responsibilities. The consensus is that Rod Wagner is doing an outstanding job.

A motion was made to increase Rod Wagner's salary by 2.75%. Motion carried on roll call vote: Sims, aye; Warner, aye; Rogge, aye; King, aye; Seiler, aye; and Jussel, aye.


The meeting was adjourned at 11:32 a.m.

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.