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Meeting Minutes

Reta E. King Library, Chadron State College, Chadron, NE
July 11, 2008

Advisory Council members present: Patty Birch, Janice Boyer, Deb Carlson, Kathy Ellerton, Steve Fosselman, Joan Giesecke, Patricia Gross, Gretchen Healy, Theresa Jehlik, Diana Johnson, Marty Magee, and MeMe Smith. Commission staff: Marjorie Harrison, Richard Miller, and Rod Wagner.

Welcome and Introductions

Milton Wolf, Library Director, welcomed the Council to Chadron State College. Marty Magee welcomed everyone to the State Advisory Council on Libraries meeting. Introductions were made around the room.

Approval of the Agenda: A motion was made by Theresa Jehlik and seconded by Joan Giesecke to approve the agenda. Motion approved.

Approval of Minutes (March 14, 2008): It was noted that Marjorie Harrison was in attendance at the March meeting but not listed as present (guest). A motion was made by Gretchen Healy and seconded by Steve Fosselman to approve the minutes with the correction. Motion approved.


Nebraska Library Commission Reports

Rod Wagner reported that at the March meeting there was a recommendation that a wiki be created to place Council information. Maria Medrano-Nehls has set up the wiki by working with Marty Magee. State Advisory Council on Libraries members can place suggestions or information on the site.

At the March meeting a recommendation was made to extend statewide the Commission's Library 2.0 project that was offered to NLC staff, regional library systems' staff, commissioners and SACL members. Staff is currently working on setting this up with a few changes and it will be offered to our colleagues across the state. We may look to see if some prizes can be provided for a drawing to those who complete the project.

Federal Library Program Update

Rod Wagner reported that LSTA appropriations will most likely be held off until after the presidential election or in January when the new Congress convenes. It might also be funded as it has for a number of years under a continuing resolution. If this happens, Nebraska will likely receive near the same amount of funding as this fiscal year (ending September 30). This would be unfortunate because Nebraska's state allotment was reduced $60,000 this year. LSTA reauthorization comes up in 2009 and there are national groups (American Library Association, Chief Officers of State Library Agencies) that are looking at possible changes to the LSTA. Under consideration is language that addresses the recent restrictions placed by the Institute of Museum and Library Services on use of funds allotted through the State Programs portion of LSTA.

Funding for the digital talking book program looks promising. The House appropriations committee that deals with funding for the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped has increased the amount of money that will be available to continue the transition to the digital talking book. The digital talking book players would be distributed in larger numbers and money to purchase flash memory cartridges for the new players would be more plentiful.  The Senate has not acted on this appropriation but there is encouraging activity underway to fund this program.

On the state side, the Library Commission will be including in its budget request for the next biennium state funds to purchase cartridges for its own recording (magazines and books of local and regional interest not supplied by the Library of Congress). Funds for the cartridges were requested two years ago but were not appropriated.

Library Science Education Scholarships

Rod Wagner reported that in the three years of this program the Commission has awarded 150 scholarships totaling over $300,000. The Commission will need support letters for a new grant application to be submitted in December. Even if new funds are approved there will be a gap from the current grant to a new grant resulting in a disruption in scholarship awards. The newest initiative is use of some scholarship/financial aid funds for internships for young people working in public libraries. 

2009-2011 Biennium Budget

Rod Wagner reported that the 2009-2011 biennium budget request is due on September 15. The state collection of tax dollars has been above projections. The Nebraska Economic Forecasting Advisory Board Revenue Forecasting Committee meets again in October and hopefully we will continue to be in good shape. The state general fund balance is nearing 600 million dollars. Rod stated there will likely be proposals for property tax relief and more money for state aid to schools because this would also help to decrease the property tax burden. The legislature will also likely keep a significant amount in the state general fund to offset revenue declines.

The Library Commission is working on its budget request. Issues include such items as rising fuel costs and transportation expenses. A budget option will likely include funds for additional database licenses, downloadable audio books and collaborative library automation projects. There are some people working on an open source software integrated library system pilot project. Steve Fosselman stated that his library is interested in using open source software.

Rod Wagner stated that the Library Commission's reference staff is using Twitter to log questions they get through phone, e-mail, chat and other methods. They post information about inquiries to show the kind of questions received get daily. Occasionally they will post answers to some questions on the Commission blog. Recently they passed the 1,000 mark for questions.         

Rod stated that the Commission has had some recommendations to help libraries develop and install their own web site. Devra Dragos is working with people from other Midwest library networks and they are looking at collaborative programs. One is a service that originated with Oregon State Library named Plinkit which stands for Public Library Interface Kit. Nebraska can join the Plinkit Collaborative with some other groups lead by INCOLSA (Indiana Cooperative Library Services Authority) for a reasonable cost and make it available to libraries in Nebraska. It makes it easier and cheaper to develop a web site. Rod said although it will be offered to public libraries it might also be available for school libraries.

Nebraska Library Association (NLA) - Diana Johnson reported that NLA members are working on plans and arrangements for the NLA/NEMA conference. There will be three preconferences: Serving Library Customers with Disabilities, What is a Book Worth, and The Four R's: Robots, Romance, Revolvers and Recipes. The two keynote speakers at the conference will be Kent Haruf and Annette Lamb. The last session will include some state senators on a panel. NLA is going to offer online voting and will place the conference presenters' handouts online. NLA is also considering placing the NLAQ online to save publishing and postage expenses. There is a survey on the NLA website about the NLAQ online access. Scott Kinney has resigned as the NLA web site coordinator. The number of NLA members is down.

Nebraska Educational Media Association (NEMA) - Patty Birch stated that assessment is a major issue. The state language arts standards recently changed so she will be revising the directives of what she needs to teach. NEMA wants media specialists to consider how they are assessing students. There are tools online that students complete as freshmen and again as seniors to compare their progress.

Pat Gross stated that NEMA is waiting for the American Association of School Librarians to complete guidelines for use with standards. The standards (AASL Standards for the 21st-Century Learner) have been revised but not the guidelines that tell school librarians what to teach the students. Pat stated she will be presenting a session at the NLA/NEMA conference on e-books.

Panhandle Region Panel: Assessment-Marketing-Customer Service (Marjorie Harrison, Pat Gross, Deb Carlson)

Margie Harrison, Panhandle Library System Coordinator, stated that the panhandle libraries do a lot of collaboration, coordination, good customer service. They work closely with the educational service unit, NEMA, special libraries, and colleges.

The System recently held a program on statistical analysis with inventory using the Follett database. Every other year an author tour is planned in which the author visits schools and public libraries. Networking is very important in the panhandle system.  The system office purchased an inventory scanner and six libraries have used it.  The system office has also purchased a Wii game unit and Marjorie will be traveling around the region showing libraries how to use it. They have held several focus group sessions for the Future Search project.

Pat Gross - stated that the libraries in the Panhandle System participate in job-a-like meetings. These meetings started in 1988 by the ESU. The school librarians began to invite public librarians, special and academic librarians as well as board members and friends of the libraries to the meetings to see how all can help each other.  Each meeting has a special program to feature new databases, skills and programs useful to librarians. These get-togethers are fun as well as beneficial to librarians. The job-a-like meetings are held four times a year.

Pat stated that they use the Nebraska Library Commission for some of their workshops such as Nebraska Memories and reference.

Deb Carlson reported that a few years ago she noticed fewer teachers were coming to the library for materials and book circulation was down. Deb learned that with the teachers' busy schedules they found it difficult to visit the library and find the material they would like to use. Deb and her library co-workers developed "Teacher Totes". Deb sent letters to all the schools regarding the totes. The libraries "Adopt a School" partner was very excited about the totes. This last school year 92 totes were checked out. This was a great way for her library to get materials to teachers and students.

Deb stated that several years ago the Nebraska Library Commission had supported a juvenile resource center in each of the regional library systems to assist libraries with continuing education, programming and resources. Due to finances and changed directions juvenile resource center services were no longer funded. However, Deb has informally kept the juvenile resource center at the Scottsbluff Public Library.

Deb stated the author tour is the best program in the way of advocacy. An author is brought in for three days and visits several sites within the panhandle region. A project goal is that by the time a child has completed high-school she or he would have heard, seen or met one author. Natasha Friend will be the author visiting in October and will be geared for seventh and eighth graders.

Deb stated that Scottsbluff Public Library has been attempting for more than two and a half years to obtain support and funding to expand the library. Three public meetings have been held to determine community views on the library building project. Response indicates that 93% of the community residents want the library to stay in the current location. The library has hired an architect and a professional fund raising group. $4.1 million will be needed to complete phase one of the building project. The community has donated $791,000 and the city has committed to providing $1.5 million. The city could have provided more but decided to spend $1.5 in city funds to remodel city hall. The community has responded loudly that the city hall did not need to be remodeled as badly as the library needs to expand. The library averages about 430 people a day and during summer reading the library has easily 1,500 children in attendance. The Peter Kiewit Foundation has awarded the library a grant for $500,000 but the library must match that amount. The library has also received $75,000 from a local bank. The total amount donated for the library project is $2,791,000. They must raise another $1.3 million to match the Kiewit grant. Deb believes with the devotion of the community they will raise that money and get the building expanded.

The Scottsbluff Public Library has joined the One Library Consortium. The city has decided to implement a 4% budget cut. As a result, the library will lose some staff. Summer reading had 1,476 children and 51 teens participated in the teen summer reading program. Due to the lack of space in the library the children's summer reading program must be held outside. Scottsbluff Public Library is very lucky in that they get wonderful media coverage.

Patricia Gross stated that the Panhandle Library System is a lifesaver for the libraries and asked that the Nebraska Library Commission continue its support for the System. Deb Carlson said it is important to give importance and time to the smaller public libraries.  

   Nebraska Libraries Future Search Conference - Rod Wagner distributed a copy of the vision statements that came from the conference. A copy of the future search conference notes taken from the conference was included in council member meeting packets. Marty Magee stated that the second day of the conference included discussion on actionable plans and a project list was developed. She also stated that having people with different perspectives was valuable. Steve Fosselman stated that having the teens involved was a wake-up call. The youth implied that if the library didn't have the information they were looking for they would go elsewhere at the drop of a hat for their information.

A Nebraska Libraries Future Search task force has been formed. Paul Hoffman has produced a drawing illustrating information from the conference. It will be a great visual resource. There will be a program at the NLA/NEMA conference to discuss conference outcomes. The project ideas from the conference are for anyone to pursue, either individually or otherwise. There is a Future Search Conference wiki for information and pictures.

Council Roundtable

Joan Giesecke reported that the Lewis and Clark and the Indian Country exhibit is currently displayed at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries. During the months of October 17 through December 4 the university will hold programs such as a discussion on Native American issues with Native Americans on the panel. They will be working with the schools and public libraries on this project.

Due to budget cuts, the UNL Libraries has lost $925,000 of its materials budget for 2009.  The City of Lincoln is six million dollars short this fiscal year. This has forced Lincoln City Libraries to cut hours of operation and staff. The city is still advertising for a director for the library.

UNL has been attempting to develop a joint regional federal documents library with Kansas. It is still on hold because there are people on the national level who feel that documents should not cross state lines.

Joan stated that the American Library Association (ALA) has a task force on education that is attempting to get the ALA council to approve a set of core competencies for librarians. This information would provide a foundation for anyone who graduates from library school or works in a library and assist them in future work and programs.

Jan Boyer reported that the library budget at UNO is not good either and they had to lay-off staff. The library is looking at cancelling all subscriptions and will interlibrary loan them when needed. The library is still under renovation and should be completed by the end of 2009.

Steve Fosselman reported that he has been seeking additional staff. He received one additional staff person last year and was told to come back next year and tell the city how the library is doing and the methodology in the new facility. Steve went back to the city council with his methodology and technology, innovation and other changes the library is experiencing and he may be getting two new staff positions in August. Steve stated that the library's Discovery Center relates to early literary skills. The third or fourth time the child comes to the center, they begin using the center in learning literacy skills. The Discovery Center focuses on children birth to 5 years of age.

Gretchen Healy reported that her library is going through the appropriations process and it doesn't appear they will get a cut in funding this year. Most of the grants are coming to an end on September 30. Unless they receive some of the grants applied for, their budget will be very bleak. Last year they lost $45,000 which made it difficult to do programs or order materials. This year, Gretchen asked for an additional $65,000. Gretchen stated there is continuous administrative turnover. The library has received numerous boxes of books donated to them. Gretchen stated she will be retiring in two months.

Kathy Ellerton said all the public libraries in Northeast Library System are busy with summer reading programs. The library director positions at South Sioux City and Columbus have been filled. The library in Carroll is moving from the store front building to a module that the city bought. The module will be divided to house both the library and the senior center. They have a new director and she is turning things around for the library.

Diana Johnson reported that her assistant attended the National Genealogical Society conference in Kansas City. Upon her return she presented a workshop on genealogy and the people in attendance asked that the project be continued. Diana is developing an advisory board with youth from grades 5-7. They have lots of ideas for programs and so this summer the library hosted a movie night, game night, and a Wii night. The programs are held after the library closes and thirty kids attended. One of the youth advisory board members is interested in the history of Stromsburg and will be giving a presentation on the history of Stromsburg.

Pat Gross reported that her challenge is that the high school is changing hours to 8:30 to 3:30. The principal decided on this change due to research that says teenagers do better if they don't have to start school real early. Four new young teachers have been hired; two of them are past students and library users.

Margie Harrison reported that the Farm and Ranch museum has a library and they have added a new building in which the library will be placed. They will also be automating their archives.  Minatare has a new librarian after volunteers ran the library for nearly six months. Margie stated that some of the libraries in her system have received money to automate. Panhandle Library System will have its annual meeting next week and then the NEMA workshop the following week.

Deb Carlson reported that it is hard to keep kids coming to the library after they reach the fifth and six-grade. The Scottsbluff public library decided to develop a program for the fifth and sixth graders and tied it with the summer reading program. Each year they name it something that ties into the theme. Kids who earn 100 points doing a variety of things get to attend a lock-in at the local YMCA.

Richard Miller reported that 91 libraries have received public library accreditation letters. These libraries are either due to be reaccredited or they submitted a statistical report indicating their eligibility to apply for accreditation. August 4 is the deadline for the continuing education and training grants. Information will be mailed out to seventy-five public libraries inviting them to receive Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grants for Wi-Fi in their library. This will consist of a Wi-Fi unit and a free micro computer to make sure the Wi-Fi is working. There are also ten libraries that NLC will be working with to improve library telecommunication connections. These ten libraries have either dial-up access or no internet access.

Patty Birch reported that North Platte public school district has a new superintendent as of July 1. All ten elementary schools have remodeled their libraries to be Discovery Centers. Patty stated that she is currently ordering document readers for all the math teachers and other technology materials for new teachers. North Platte Public Library is hosting a "tour of the gardens" fundraiser.

MeMe Smith reported that Schuyler wishes to build a new library. The library board has held two planning meetings on what they want to do. They will hire a professional fundraiser. The library is still a bit challenged with their conversion into the One Library Consortium. They are still having difficulty coming up with statistics and data. About 85% of their collection has been re-bar-coded.

Marty Magee distributed a packet of information used at recent presentations. Marty said that the regional medical library program has started a new contract year. They are in the third of a five year program and will be evaluated in the fall by the National Library of Medicine. Marty and Beth Goble will be giving a presentation at the NLA/NEMA conference to show what resources are available on public health. The regional medical library program has three major initiatives this year: Health Information Literacy, Advocacy and Emergency Continuity Planning. Information literacy continues to be an important issue. Marty said they have developed a website on the continuity planning. Marty will send Richard Miller the website address.

Rod Wagner reported that Shannon White, NLC Network Services/Nebase Director, has left the Commission staff and Devra Dragos has filled that position. Devra was the Commission's cataloging librarian and so the Commission is now recruiting for that position. Kit Keller, Planning and Data Services Coordinator, also recently left the staff. John Felton has filled that position. John's prior position at the Commission was research analyst. That position is also open for recruitment. Sherry Houston has left her position with Republican Valley Library System and will be taking a position at one of the Bellevue elementary schools. The RVLS board is now recruiting for a new administrator.

Theresa Jehlik reported that Omaha public library (OPL) has finally completed its longest running construction project and opened the South Branch library. This was a joint project with Metropolitan Community College. The OPL is going to attempt another joint project with the Omaha Public Schools and the city's Parks and Recreation department. Theresa stated that like everyone else the Omaha Public Library has a budget challenge. 

New Business

Recommendations and Resolutions - No recommendations or resolutions were addressed.

November Meeting - Marty Magee and Rod Wagner stated they each have a conflict with the original meeting date and asked if the date could be changed to November 14. If changed, the meeting could be a joint meeting with the Library Commission, unless the Commission chooses to change its meeting date.

Adjournment - a motion and second was made to adjourn the meeting.

For more information, contact Sue Biltoft.