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Meeting Minutes

Seward Public Library, Seward, Nebraska
March 9, 2007

State Advisory Council members present: Patty Birch, Janice Boyer, Nancy Cantin, Kathy Ellerton, Steve Fosselman, Joan Giesecke, Cindy Gitt, Patricia Gross, Gretchen Healy, Theresa Jehlik, Diana Johnson, Scott Kinney, Marty Magee, Becky Pasco, Kristen Rogge, and MeMe Smith. Guests: Becky Baker, Brenda Ealey, and Misty Prochaska.

Commissioners: Jean Ahrens, John Dale, Patrick Gross, and Mary Nelson. Commission Staff: Shannon Behrhorst, Maria Medrano-Nehls, Richard Miller, Michael Sauers, and Rod Wagner.

Welcome and Introductions

Chair Becky Pasco opened the meeting with a welcome to all. John Dale, Library Commission Chair, commented on the death of William (Bill) Beck. Mr. Beck, a long time Nebraska library media specialist, was a past State Advisory Council on Libraries member and had extensive involvement in regional library system activities.

Becky Pasco reviewed the Council's purposes so that members could address and meet these responsibilities. Becky stated her concern that the Commission might not be getting what it needs from the Council in terms of issues in which they could provide support. Becky said she would like to structure the roundtable discussion so that members will report on one thing going well in that member's library, community or organization and one issue or challenge to address. This approach will aid the Commission in addressing library development issues and needs.

Approval of the Agenda:

A motion was made by Jan Boyer and seconded by Joan Giesecke to approve the agenda. Motion approved.

Approval of Minutes (November 3, 2006):

A motion was made by Jan Boyer and seconded by Joan Giesecke to approve the minutes. Motion approved.

New Members:

Rod Wagner welcomed new members Scott Kinney, Director, Chadron Public Library; Steve Fosselman, Director, Grand Island Public Library; Kathy Ellerton, Administrator, Republican Valley Library System, and Frank Zimmerman, of Auburn who was unable to attend. Introductions were made around the table.

Nebraska Library Commission Updates

2007-2009 State Biennium Budget Status - Rod Wagner reported that the Legislature's Appropriations Committee's preliminary budget recommendations were recently issued. The Appropriations Committee's preliminary recommendation for the Library Commission reduces state funds for personnel expenses by 5%. This is based on the Library Commission's 5% budget modification that was included in the Commission's biennium budget request. State agencies are required to include in budget request documents a "modification" to identify what the agency would do if state funds are reduced by 5%. This is a budget requirement for both the operations and aid programs. The preliminary recommendations would result in an approximate $138,000 state funds reduction for the Commission.

The reduction in funds would be from the Commission's operating budget. Since 70% of the operations budget is personnel, the budget cut would force a reduction in staff. The operating budget also includes office space, equipment, postage, communications, travel, library publications and other expenses. There was no budget cut in state aid and the committee did not include the Commission's request for $44,000 to be used for flash memory cartridges for the new digital talking book machines to be introduced in 2008. The Commission's priorities are to maintain current staff levels, continue subscriptions for online databases (NebraskAccess), and purchase flash memory cartridges for the Talking Book and Braille Service digital talking book conversion. 

Rod Wagner stated that the Library Commission's budget hearing will be held on March 13. Rod has met with some of the Appropriations Committee members and has appointments with some others before the hearing. Following agency budget hearings, the Appropriations Committee will make budget recommendation decisions and present them to the Legislature around the beginning of May. It will be toward the end of May before the Legislature passes appropriation bills and sends them to the Governor.

LSTA Five-Year Evaluation Report - Rod Wagner reported that the Commission's LSTA Five-Year Evaluation Report is progressing toward completion. A lot of program information has been collected over the last four years for use in preparing the report. The report needs to be sent to the Institute of Museum and Library Services by the end of March.

Library Services and Technology Act - Rod Wagner reported that Congress did not finish many of the appropriation bills before adjournment last December. As a result, appropriations for many federal programs, including LSTA, are based on a Congressional continuing resolution which provides funding at last fiscal year's appropriations level. This was disappointing because there was a good chance that LSTA funds would increase to the level needed to fully fund the base allotments for individual states.

Nebraska LSTA Long Range Plan Discussion

Council members were assigned to discussion groups. Group discussion leaders were assigned and questions were predetermined to guide the discussion. The following are some of the key points mentioned during the discussion:

1.      libraries are connected to Nebraska communities and values

2.      connecting with economic development

3.      staff development

4.      optimizing library hours, reviewing hours to see if they fit the needs of the community

5.      know your community

6.      build partnerships in the community

7.      market the library, take library services out to the community (outreach)

8.      build off state-wide cooperatives

9.      focus on customer service, know diverse population, how different cultures work, learn what works for your community, know your key community members

10.  advocacy

11.  free internet access

12.  need to WOW people

13.  provide materials in different formats

14.  choose library resources that patrons want

15.  develop a relationship with library patrons

16.  importance of outreach

17.  term limits for board members

18.  shared resources

19.  continue to provide research materials

20.  databases

21.  technology

Council Roundtable

Steve Fosselman reported that the Grand Island public library is currently involved in a building expansion/renovation project to double the size of the facility to over 50,000 sq. ft. Construction started in the summer of 2004 and the library is still under construction. The library moved over to the expanded portion of the building on February 14, and renovation of the older side is underway. Completion of this project is expected mid-2007. The total cost of the project is expected to be $8.6 million with $7 million in 0.5% sales tax funds and $1.6 in private funding and grants including a $200,000 challenge grant from the Peter Kiewit Foundation

The Grand Island public library will be experimenting with outsourcing some of the cataloging and processing to free up staff to be out on the floor more to help the public. They asked the city for four additional full-time employees in the last budget cycle for the current fiscal year, but the City administration wanted to delay any increase until the next fiscal year.

Gretchen Healey reported that the Little Priest Tribal College library has hired a new children's librarian and was able to resume the Early Literature program. Every new mother receives a book bag, baby bib and information on the Read-to-Me program and Read-on-Request program. Gretchen said that she has concerns about stable funding because the library's budget fluctuates due to grants in some years and none in others.

Scott Kinney reported that the Chadron public library is now providing homebound services. The library also provides new mothers with Books for Babies, a program in which new mothers receive a book bag, a children's book, and library information. They are also developing cooperatives with the local schools and college.

MeMe Smith reported that she has been visiting Schuyler's local daycare facilities and Head Start program to read to the children. MeMe stated that the Schuyler public library facility is over 100 years old and no longer fits their needs. The library board has held discussions on how to use the current space and discussions on constructing a new building. The board hired Clark Enerson Partners to conduct a feasibility study to determine how to use the current facility or whether the board should consider other options. A decision was made to build a new facility. Arrangements are being made to start the project as soon as possible.

Theresa Jehlik reported that the Omaha Public Library currently has 21 adult book groups. Theresa also reported that the Elkhorn Public Library is now a branch of the Omaha library system. As always, funding is an issue.

Kathy Ellerton reported that the Northeast Library System is offering mini grants to unaccredited libraries and parochial schools. Kathy also reported that it is a challenge to get people to understand the importance of advocacy.

Diana Johnson reported that the Stromsburg Public Library is taking outreach programs to daycare facilities. The library also provides books to new mothers to encourage early reading to children.

Michael Sauers  (Commission staff) - Michael introduced himself stating that he received his MLS degree from the University at Albany, State University of New York. He worked nine years for BCR before coming to the Nebraska Library Commission.

Nancy Cantin - Nancy reported that the Beatrice State Development library was able to stay open. Nancy is concerned about being able to keep her library open at the Hastings Regional Center.

Mary Nelson (Commissioner) - Mary stated that she is pleased with the work of the Nebraska Library Commission. She stated it is a challenge in Holdrege to maintain an active Library Friends group.

Kristen Rogge - Kristen thanked the Commission for participating in the Center for Rural Affairs' Marketplace: Opening Doors to Success. The Southeast Library System is engaging unaccredited libraries by going out and delivering packets with information about the system.

Brenda Ealey (guest) - Brenda reported that she has been holding CASTL meetings for the regional system's smaller libraries and has good participation. Their challenge is getting support for library boards on personnel legal issues.

Becky Baker (guest and meeting host) - Becky reported that the Seward public library has been working on outreach by going to the Alzheimer's facility to read books to their patients. The library has been busy with their after-school program which runs Monday thru Friday, teen group, computer classes, and digital photo class. Their challenge is staying ahead and anticipating the needs of their patrons.

Misty Prochaska (guest) - Misty reported that she is the Hamilton College Director of Library Services. Misty's challenges are finishing school, work and finding students to work in the library.

Marty Magee - Marty reported that Medline Plus has partnered with Go Local. Go Local will provide information about local resources for a specific disease or illness.  Marty said a challenge is establishing a partnership with libraries and hospitals.

Patty Birch - Patty reported that she has been teaching teachers how to use Power Media Plus. Her challenge has been that every teacher is being evaluated on technology use so she has been assisting teachers with technology.

Jean Ahrens (Commissioner) - Jean reported that at the Scottsbluff Public Library all library staff members greet people when they visit the library. A challenge is losing the Panhandle Library System Coordinator and finding a replacement.

Cindy Gitt - Cindy reported that the for the past 14 years the Holdrege public library has  placed box's of books, at medical facilities, dental offices and even the funeral home. The purpose of the boxes of books is to provide quality children's materials to share as a family while waiting for appointments or visiting a patient in the hospital. The program is a partnership with two medical clinics, four dentist offices, the hospital, the optometrist's office, the hospital, and the funeral home. Each partner donated $25 to sustain the collection. The library provides the storage boxes and materials that are not covered by the partner donations. The library also collects donated books to use in this project. Cindy stated that their challenge is updating the building and getting a feasibility study to learn how to utilize their current space.

Richard Miller (Commission staff) - Richard reported that the Library Commission is following up on Dollars for Data to public libraries by encouraging them to move toward becoming an accredited library.

Patricia Gross - Pat reported that she has held a teacher's in-service on Power Media Plus. The school's challenge is funding. Pat also thanked the Nebraska Library Commission for providing virtual resources.

Jan Boyer - Jan reported that the UNO Library is renovating the original part of the library building. The challenge will be to provide service while the renovation is in progress.

Joan Giesecke - Joan reported that UNL Libraries agreed to add metadata for NET videos to UNL's online catalog so people will know what videos are available. Their challenge is funding.

Shannon Behrhorst (Commission staff) - Shannon reported that her staff is working on Second Life, a form of online 3-D virtual communication. Shannon stated that a challenge is the restraints on NebraskAccess because of funding.

Becky Pasco - Becky reported that UNO will host a graduate masters program for media specialists in Chadron beginning the fall of 2007.

NEMA Report

Becky Pasco reported that NEMA is looking for a new executive secretary. Instead of a preconference this year, NEMA has decided to do three assessment workshops around the state.

NLA Report

Jan Boyer reported that Kathy Thomsen is the new NLA Executive Director.  The Executive Board decided in January to purchase MemberClicks to handle the membership database and to provide other services. The NLA website was re-designed and updated. The NLA Board approved a petition to form the Young Adult Round Table. The Round Table will be authorized if it receives a majority vote of the membership at the annual meeting. The NLA - NEMA Joint Conference will be held October 24-26, 2007 in Kearney.

Gretchen Healey stated that the NLA Diversity Committee will be holding its spring meeting on April 25 in Lexington focusing on Dia de los ninos/Dia de los libros (day of the children/day of the books). Also, Dr. Naomi Caldwell Wood, University of Rhode Island, Graduate School of Library and Information Studies, will present three consecutive sessions at the conference titled "The Work of Reconciliation: Creating American Indian Library Collections, Services and Programs."

New Business

Election of Vice-Chair - Chair Becky Pasco asked for nominations for vice-chair. Patty Birch nominated Marty Magee and Marty Magee nominated Joan Giesecke. MeMe Smith made a motion to close the nominations, seconded by Nancy Cantin. Motion approved. Council members voted by ballot and Marty Magee was elected Council vice-chair.

Recommendations and Resolutions

Gretchen Healey asked the council to send a letter to the Governor in support of Adopt-a-Library Day which is April 23. Gretchen stated that the Governor will be signing a proclamation for Adopt-a-Library Day on April 18 at 10:30 a.m. Chair Becky Pasco will write and send a letter on behalf of the State Advisory Council on Libraries.

2007 Meeting Schedule and Location

The next meeting will be held July 27, 2007 at the UNO Alumni Center. The November 16, 2007 meeting will be held November 16, 2007 at the Grand Island Public Library.

The Council members expressed appreciation to Becky Baker, Seward Public Library Director, for hosting the State Advisory Council on Libraries meeting.


Chair Becky Pasco adjourned the meeting at 1:43 p.m.

For more information, contact Sue Biltoft.