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Meeting Minutes

Sunrise Middle School, 4611 Avenue N, Kearney, Nebraska
November 14, 2003

State Advisory Council members present: Jim Bothmer, Janice Boyer, Steve Davis, Karen Drevo, Nancy Escamilla, Jeff Gilderson-Duwe, Maggie Harding, Theresa Jehlik, Mo Khamouna, Kathy Lute, Sharon Osenga, Rebecca Pasco, Tom Schmitz, Ruth Seward, John Seyfarth, and Jane Wall.  Commission members: Kristen Rogge, Velma Sims-Shipley.  Commission staff:  Shannon Behrhorst, Kit Keller, Maria Medrano-Nehls, Richard Miller, Rod Wagner. Guests: Anne Byers and Tom Rolfes, Office of the CIO/NITC; and Kathy Tooker, Eastern Library System.

Welcome and Introductions

Approval of the Agenda: A motion was made and seconded to approve the agenda. Motion approved.

Approval of Minutes (July 18, 2003): A motion was made and seconded to approve the minutes as corrected. Motion approved.

Steve Davis welcomed everyone to Sunrise Middle School.

Nebraska Telecommunications Project: Tom Rolfes, Education Information Technology Manager, stated that the Nebraska Information Technology Commission (NITC) was created in 1998. The Commission has nine members. The Lieutenant Governor serves as chair. The goal of the Commission is to provide efficient, affordable, and reliable telecommunications infrastructure.

The NITC represents a comprehensive scope related to information technology across Nebraska. The NITC includes the community sector, education sector, state government, and the technical panel. The goal is to guide the development and use of information technology infrastructure in Nebraska. The University of Nebraska and the State are working together to develop a statewide telecommunications network. Tom Rolfes presented graphics beginning with a flow chart that illustrated the initiatives and the groups they work under. Tom Rolfes and Anne Byers, Community Information Technology Manager, discussed the purpose of each sector.  

The Community Council is working with the Public Service Commission and the Nebraska Hospital Association to develop the Nebraska Telehealth Network. The Community Council has three sub-sectors including libraries, local government and business.  

The State Government Council has three sections, E-Government which provides a portal for business and citizens, Security that provides security policies/handbooks, security assessment and business continuity planning, and Technical Architecture which provides standards and guidelines (wireless, remote access), shared services (directory services, fax services), and e-mail standards.  

The Education Council ensures K-12 and higher education entities a voice in the network and application development process. The Council passed a resolution to encourage application for SEGP status by the University of Nebraska. The Education Council works with the University of Nebraska, Department of Education, and other educational entities on the Nebraska eLearning Initiative and technical architecture.  

The Technical Panel provides technical architecture, standards and guidelines, statewide synchronous video network, security architecture, network architecture, eGovernment architecture, and accessibility architecture. Customers for these services are entities that have the capacity to provide local technical support and service to other participants.   

The major initiative of the NITC is telecommunications aggregation and network collaboration. The components of this collaboration are multi-purpose transport backbone, Internet 1 and 2, statewide synchronous video network, statewide telehealth network, and other applications. 


Nebraska Virtual Library Project

Shannon Behrhorst stated that the Nebraska Library Commission licenses online databases that are purchased for statewide access.  After receiving recommendations from the State Advisory Council and the Public Resource Library Group concerning an online state Union Catalog, resource sharing, and different types of access to the databases, the Library Commission formed a state virtual library task force to assist in planning for a virtual library with an online union catalog, licensed databases, and simplified searching capabilities.  Shannon stated that the Commission's network services staff has been working on improving access to the licensed online databases.  The new portal, still in development, has been named NebraskAccess.  NebraskAccess will be available to Nebraska residents. It will be available from home, worksite or a library. Driver's license numbers will be used for home or worksite authentication.

LSTA Reauthorization and Federal Library Program Appropriations

Rod Wagner reported that the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) has been reauthorized. The provision to increase the state base payment probably won't be implemented because the appropriation level is not high enough. However, Congressional action on appropriations has not been completed.

Library Workforce Recruitment and Retention Task Force: IMLS Librarians for the 21st Century Grant.

Rod Wagner stated that the Recruitment and Retention Task Force recently met. The Commission did not receive the federal grant applied for to assist with recruitment and retention activities. Rod stated it was disappointing because the reviewer comments were very positive and the grant review panel recommended that the project be funded.  Unfortunately the Library Commission's application wasn't in the highest priority category. The Recruitment and Retention Task Force recommended that the Commission apply again in 2004.

Nebraska Public Library Guidelines Revision Project

Kit Keller reported that she has been working on revisions of the public library guidelines. One of the tasks included in the Library Commission's long-range plan is the review of the current public library accreditation requirements with a goal to have them updated by the 2004 accreditation process which begins in July of each year. Kit started the process by researching the current guidelines and analyzed the factors determining why libraries met the guidelines or why they didn't. Kit developed a base line document to determine current library placement in relation to the guidelines. Kit stated that each year the guidelines are harder to administer.  Some of the guidelines reached the point were they no longer do what was intended and were not resulting in library growth or development.

Kit stated that she has visited libraries, attended regional system board meetings, and PRLG meetings.  She has used the NLC web site to make available information about the guidelines revision project and to receive input.  She presented a program at the NLA/NEMA conference to gather input.  She has received some good input. Library representatives have commented that the guidelines have helped libraries increase service hours and receive more local funds. Kit researched and compared public library standards and guidelines in other states that have them.  Kit has proposed a tiered approach for accreditation after hearing from library representatives and reviewing guidelines in other states using that approach. Kit stated that people seem to like the tier approach which she based on personnel, programs and services rather than population categories.

The accreditation guidelines are used as a growth tool that library directors and boards can use to work for library improvements. A public library must be accredited to receive state aid and to apply for all NLC grants. The program is intended to provide financial incentives in recognition of achieving higher levels of accreditation. 

There are many libraries that don't meet the minimum requirements for accreditation. As a result these libraries do not submit any data to the Commission. If the Commission had information about their finances, circulation, etc. it would provide a different picture of library services statewide. An idea has been considered to provide a stipend to unaccredited libraries that will submit statistics for federal data collection requirements. 

LSTA Grants

Kit Keller stated that a new application form was developed and two areas have been designated for priority funding, although other items will also be considered. The two priority areas are projects that involve digitization and projects that address the needs of English language learners. Kit stated she tried to simplify the application process and included a scoring sheet. The application deadline is December 31, 2003; grants will be awarded on March 8, 2004.

State Legislative Issues

Ken Winston stated that a couple off legislative bills from last year will be revisited this year. The first one is LB 750 which will allow library system employees eligibility for state employee insurance benefits. The second bill is LB 784 which provides for library technology bond financing. Ken stated that budget cuts are expected for this next fiscal year. He encourages everyone to contact their senator regarding this issue and to be active in Legislative Day.

Council Roundtable

Becky Pasco reported that people are saying good things about the students in the University of Nebraska at Omaha - University of Missouri - Columbia library science program. Becky works with 184 library science students on a regular basis. Becky stated that these students would be great for 15 hour per week positions. If anyone is interested in a student filling a position please contact her. 

Jim Bothmer distributed documents with information on the open source/open access health sciences related portal. The Reinert-Alumni Memorial Library is sponsoring the SPARC initiative with Julie Blixned, who will hold a program titled "Regaining Control of Academic Publishing." Creighton University and the University of Nebraska Medical Center recently received a national service community award for significant contributions to local and statewide communities, particularly in areas servicing diverse populations. Creighton University recently hosted the Nebraska Book Festival. 

Janice Boyer reported that UNO just hired a reference librarian; 70 applications were received for the position.  

Kathy Tooker invited everyone to a workshop hosted by the Eastern Library System and the Southeast Library System on Time Management and Motivation. 

Maggie Harding reported that the Nebraska Library Association currently has 823 paid members and a new planned giving program is in place. Two board members from Crete received the TUFS award at the NLA - NEMA conference. 

Nancy Escamilla reported that the Scottsbluff public library has a new automation system in place. The library currently has 23,000 card holders and received all new signage.

The library has started a wonderful new Hispanic collection; a local artist has begun work on a mural with an Azteca (Mexican-American) motif. After the NLA - NEMA conference, Bev Russell, the Scottsbluff library director, wrote down ten things she was going to incorporate in the library.  She has already started working on items from her list. 

Scottsbluff has a new teen advisory club with 20 youth (6-12th grade). The teens advise on programs and helped hang signage in the library.  The first program was on poetry with Ms. Nebraska reading poetry; 30 teens attended.  

The Scottsbluff public school district is closing one of its elementary schools and Gering public schools just announced they will be sectionalizing their elementary schools into K-2, 3-4, and 5-6. Gering public library and public school recently sponsored a presentation by children's author John Randolph.  

Rod Wagner announced that Nancy Escamilla was recently named the Panhandle Business and Professional Woman of the Year. 

Jane Wall reported that she is a member of the Read Across Nebraska program which promotes the importance of reading aloud. The group is made up of members from various organizations across the state. NEMA is currently working on a Read Aloud school designation which would encourage school media specialists to promote reading aloud to their students. A representative of Dollywood, a foundation formed by country singer Dolly Parton, recently met with the group to ask if they were interested in participating in Dolly's reading program. The program would distribute 12 books a year to children two years of age and under for a cost of $2.00 per book. 

Steve Davis reported that Kearney Public schools has raised enough money to remodel the auditorium at Central elementary. The school is an original Carnegie junior high with a classic auditorium. The auditorium will be remodeled and used as a performing art center. Kearney public library is working on expansion plans.  

Ken Winston said he was glad to attend the meeting because then when he meets with senators he can tell them about the things going on in libraries. Ken also suggested that senators be invited to library events in their districts.

Karen Drevo reported that the Norfolk public library completed its strategic plan. Through focus groups, they found that people were satisfied and liked the programs offered but wanted even more programs. Karen stated that Target has a wonderful children's education grant program. Karen recently applied for and received a Target grant. Jim Trelease recently held a program in Norfolk. Ted Smith, Norfolk public library director, is involved in state technology initiatives.   He has met with Central Community College representatives about the One Library Consortium which includes Northeast Community College, Norfolk Public Library, Columbus Public Library and the Platte County bookmobile. During Teen Read Week, Karen and her assistant did twenty presentations to English classes at Norfolk middle school and Norfolk senior high. During the month, circulation of young adult fiction increased 34%.  Karen attended the Mountain Plains Library Association conference and stated that the pre-conference program focused on providing bilingual services for children. Karen plans to implement many of the ideas. She will begin by presenting a bilingual story hour with the hope that in nine months their weekly story hour will be in English and Spanish. The library recently completed a SIRSI upgrade. The library, in collaboration with several other city organizations, will host a multicultural festival in June.  

Ruth Seward reported that she changed positions this year and is now a media specialist in the Lexington school district. Lexington public library has plans for a new library building and has raised 60% of the needed funds.  

Mo Khamouna reported that a group of high school students chose a project for FFA.  Their project was to interview two people from the Nebraska School of Technical Agriculture.  Mo will be one of the people speaking to the students.  

Kristen Rogge stated that she was glad she could attend the SACL meetings because she learns so much from them. 

Kathy Lute reported that the Ogallala public library FRIENDS group recently held a book sale.  Charlotte Kumor, library director, has announced that she will be retiring.  The board is once again looking at plans to expand the current building. Wally Seiler will be talking with city representatives on the benefits of expanding the library.  

Velma Sims-Shipley thanked everyone for sharing information; she learns a lot attending the SACL meetings. The Fremont public library will host "Dessert in the Stacks" on November 14 and will also have an author who was born and raised in Fremont attend the event and display, sell and autograph his books. There will also be a picture display of sites from around the world taken by a local photographer.  

Tom Rolfes thanked everyone for allowing him time on the agenda. Tom stated that on December 2, the Lieutenant Governor will announce the second phase of the multi-purpose transport network which will connect Norfolk, North Platte and Alliance.   

Brenda Ealey stated that she recently attended the PLA convention and attended some of the REFORMA sessions. Brenda stated that the Southeast Library System has 15 libraries with 1or 2 people working in them. The Southeast Library System has organized CASTL which stands for Conversations Among Small-Town Librarians. This group meets informally at least 6 times per year. At each meeting, they share recent happenings and concerns in their libraries.  

Richard Miller stated that he and Pam Scott have conducted workshops across the state on the USA Patriot Act; they also held a program at the NLA - NEMA Conference on the topic. They have also held workshops on the e-rate and grants. 

Theresa Jehlik reported that the Omaha Public Library still does not have a budget for 2004. The Omaha Public Library received a continuing education grant to provide their staff with safety training. The library also received a private grant to send Linda Garcia and Linda Townsend to Guadalajara for a conference. Theresa stated the library also received $18,000 from the Laura Bush Foundation. 

Sharon Osenga reported that today is Carol Speicher's last day as Northeast Library System administrator. The regional library systems received a continuing education grant from the Library Commission to support training by Pat Wagner in each regional system area. 

Tom Schmitz reported that the Governor is planning to close the regional centers in Norfolk and Hastings. Tom also reported that the NLA Paraprofessional, S&I, and SCYP sections and NEMA are planning an NLA - NEMA  pre-conference for 2004 on services for Hispanics.    

Gates Foundation Library Program Grants 

Richard Miller stated that there are three different sets of grants NLC will be receiving from the Gates Library Foundation: 

The "Staying Connected" grants consist of the following four categories:  

Public Access Computer Upgrade or Replacement - for 2 or 3 communities "of persistent poverty." This will provide money to replace the Gates hardware given earlier when it becomes outdated.

  • Broadband Connectivity Upgrade - to move libraries toward faster connections.
  • Training Sustainability - to provide training that will enable libraries to sustain public access to their communities.
  • Technical Support Sustainability - to provide seed money to establish ongoing methods and means of technical support.

Training Grant - to be used during the March 2004 to November 2004 time period to deliver training in the following areas identified through a survey of needs.  Highest needs identified: HTML; LAN; Spreadsheet; database design and maintenance; image editing and multimedia. Tentative plans call for:

  • Contracting with BCR for training in western and southwestern Nebraska
  • Contracting with an individual for 156 days of training and logistical support
  • Purchase of OCLC MindLeader programs for: user desktop computing; technical general training; technical MCSE training; and technical web development training

Transition Training - To be provided during February 2004 in three sites in Nebraska approximately one month before technical support from the Gates Library Foundation ends (March 31, 2004).  Commission staff is working with the regional system administrators to determine the venues. This training will provide information, suggestions, etc. from the Foundation related to sustaining public access computing.  

Proposal for Library Skills Courses at Nebraska Community Colleges 

Becky Pasco stated that the library technical assistant program is now in the hands of the community colleges. The curriculum has been set but must be approved by the colleges in order to get it started by the fall session. A session was held on the program at the NLA - NEMA conference. A recommendation was made that the State Advisory Council on Libraries, send a letter to each of the community colleges to encourage the colleges to participate in offering courses.   

Adoption of Resolutions, Recommendations, Action Items 

A motion was made and approved to send a letter to each Nebraska community college to encourage their participation in a collaborative program to offer library science courses.   

Rod Wagner awarded certificates of appreciation to Tom Schmitz, Mo Khamouna and Jane Wall for completion of two terms on the State Advisory Council on Libraries. 

Next Meeting Date 

March 12, 2004 in Omaha, Nebraska  


The meeting adjourned at 2:10 p.m.

For more information, contact Sue Biltoft.