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Meeting Minutes

December 8, 1996

Present: Becky Baker, Verda Bialac, Joan Birnie, Laura Cundiff, Dreva Dragos, Michael LaCroix, Sharon Mason, Guadalupe Mier, Jeanne Saathoff, Kathy Tooker, Richard Voeltz, Sharon Wiegert and Sally Wise.

Staff: Rod Wagner, Nancy Busch, Sally Snyder, David Oertli and Ellen Van Waart.

Guests Present: Richard Miller and Maggie Harding.

Welcome and Introductions

The meeting was called to order by the chair, Guadalupe Mier at 10:08 a.m. Introductions were given around the table. The agenda was approved as received by acclamation. Richard Voeltz moved and Michael LaCroix seconded the minutes of the September 19, 1996, meeting be approved as received. The motion carried. Announcements: Sump Memorial Library, Papillion will hold an Open House on January 26, 1997.

NLC Report

Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA):

Rod Wagner reported on the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). Letters were sent to the Congressional delegation in September encouraging them to support enactment of the LSTA. The LSTA bill was enacted. For fiscal year 1997, the LSTA will be acting under the previous Library Services and Construction Act (LSCA) rules and regulations until the transition period of the LSTA has been completed.

The Administration of the LSTA program is in the process of moving from the U.S. Department of Education to the Institute of Museums and Library Services.

The Library Commission has received approximately the same total federal funding this year. Title I was increased and Title III was reduced. The new LSTA program will be simplified and consolidated into a state based block grant program. The amount of 1998 grant money for the LSTA is difficult to estimate due a new Congress developing the 1998 budget. One requirement of the new LSTA is to submit a Long Range Plan by April 1, 1997. Regulations for the new LSTA should be fairly simple since the language of the act is fairly simple. The elimination of multiple titles into a more flexible and simple form have been a theme of federal efforts over the last several years. The success also owes a great deal to the broad based coalition that came together to promote and support the LSTA. The LSCA over the years has been a successful federal program with support from many Congressional members, and was not perceived as a partisan issue.

State Advisory Councils on Libraries have been a requirement under the LSCA since the early 1970s. LSTA does not require State Advisory Councils, but Councils are permitted. LSTA does require a mechanism for input on programs and policies.

Universal Service Fund (Federal and State):

The Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 contains a whole new set of policies concerning competition in the Telecommunications industry. The issue the Nebraska Library Commission is interested in is the Universal Service policies that will affect high cost areas, low income areas, rural and urban areas. Specifically in this new legislation are provisions that relate to discounted telecommunication rates for schools, libraries and rural hospitals. Schools and libraries will be under the same policies at the federal and state level. Rural hospitals have some similarities but they are treated as a separate area. The extent of discounts and what will be included is under discussion.

In November the joint federal-state board (the board was created to make recommendations to the Federal Communications Commission) task force met and made decisions on recommendations to the FCC. The Task Force is recommending that schools and libraries receive discounts ranging from 20% to 90%, with a higher discount in rural, low income, and high cost areas. One method for identifying whether a school or library falls into that range of discounts is using statistics that are compiled to determine eligibility for school lunch programs. States must be consistent with, but can go beyond, the federal policies. The concern in Nebraska is that schools, in many cases, already have discounts negotiated with companies (approximately 50% of Nebraska Schools). A concern would be that a federal policy may not go as far as what has already been put into place in many areas of Nebraska for schools. With libraries outside of schools this would not be the case as many public libraries have not benefited from any discounts, a few have been successful in getting free connections. We need to make sure that schools and libraries do not lose what they have already gained in negotiated raises. The Nebraska Task Force has been meeting monthly. The Nebraska Task Force met earlier this week and is looking at a policy that would assure that schools and libraries receive at least a 50% (and as much as 90%) discount. How that discount is determined is the next item to be addressed, and part of that is establishing the prevailing tariffs. Another interesting item that is emerging is a collation organizing to advocate that schools and libraries receive free telecommunications services. This was a proposal the Clinton Administration introduced to the joint board shortly before the election. The joint board also stated that the discount will also apply to wiring and installation, as well as the actual modem phone calls. This recommendation must be approved by the FCC.

The Legislation has a hearing scheduled for next Friday at which time they have arranged testimony on the status of universal service policy development in Nebraska. There will be a status report from the Task Force. Rod is a member of panel for presentations, as well as Allen Wibbels, representative from the Educational area.

The Nebraska Library Association board adopted a policy advocating and supporting the concept of free services for schools and libraries.

For libraries, free access will come to about $1.5 million in savings annually. The universal service fund comes from assessments to everyone, the fund then pays for the service being discounted. The companies providing service will be paid for providing that service. The annual revenue in Nebraska for Telecommunication services is around $930 million annually, a 1% assessment on this would take care of funding the discounted services to libraries, schools and low income areas.

Kathy Tooker moved and Devra Dragos seconded to adopt the same policy as the Nebraska Library Association "That the State Advisory Council of Libraries supports and promotes an educational coalition initiative to obtain free telecommunication services for Nebraska schools and libraries "

Discussion held.

  • What will the free service cover? Would it include any library eligible to receive funds?
  • The discount would allow any public library, school library and any library that is eligible for receiving funds under Title III (which includes college libraries, special libraries, institutional libraries) to receive discounted Telecommunication services.
  • The discount will cover all installation, wiring, and ongoing monthly charges for line and telecommunication services for that service. It would not cover computer equipment
Motion carried

FCC decisions will be made in May. The Nebraska Legislature also must act on the policy. There may not be time for the Legislature to act on the policy in the 1997 session, since the FCC decision won 't be made until May. It may another year before Nebraska policies can be enacted, unless the Legislature adopts some legislation which gives the Public Service Commission authority to implement provisions anticipating the Federal policy.

Public Library Laws:

There has been legislation before the Legislature the last two years to amend the Public Library Statutes. At the end of the last session the bill that was considered was not acted upon, so the bill died. The General Affairs Committee is interested in this legislation. The Legislature adopted an interim study resolution and held a hearing on the issue last month in Omaha. It appears at this point that the General Affairs Committee now understands this legislation, supports it, and it is likely that the General Affairs Committee will sponsor a new bill will some revisions. Attention is being given to the issue of employee benefits because it will be probably a precedent or model for other consolidations and mergers. The concern is if a city library should ultimately join or become part of a county library system and thereby come under county government statutes, employee benefits could change from city policies to county policies. The one absolute is to assure and protect the employee benefits. There will probably be some extensive drafting of those provisions in this bill. Provisions for employee benefits will probably be a part of the Public Library Statutes bill. In the state 91 counties participate in one type of retirement program, there are different county benefit programs in Lancaster County and Douglas County. One possible issue that makes this bill important is any statutory language that may be adopted relates to funds for the Libraries for the 21st Century project. This bill could be a vehicle for an amendment that would include those provisions.

Electronic Access to State Government Records Task Force:

The state government electronic records issue has been addressed these past several months by a Task force consisting of some legislative representatives, Senators and people appointed by the Governor. The Task Force is putting together their report and their recommendations. The view point that seems to have emerged from the Task Force is that the significant majority do not wish to see the Electronic Services that are currently in place destructed or discontinued.

There is recognition that Nebrask@ Online is serving a significant group of customers across the state: banks, insurance agencies, insurance companies, attorneys, judicial representatives, etc., and they do not want any disruption of these services.

There is also a solid majority view that the fees from some of these services should be used to finance the development and continuation of the network. The support of user fees is largely derived at this point on access fees to drivers license records.

There is also a proposal that has not been settled on that would give a role to the State Records Board of having an oversight responsibility for decisions on fee issues. The State Records Board is an existing body that is chaired by the Secretary of State and has the State Records Administrator, State Auditor, State Treasurer and the Governor among it's members.

There is support to extend the current contract that the Nebraska Library Commission has with Nebraska Interactive for online services from January, 1998 to the original date of 2000. The Library Commission had signed an extension of the agreement to the year 2000, the reason being that the state secured the right to a continuing license for use of the software without having to pay for the software.

However the Legislature when they dealt with this issue set a termination date of January, 1998 for this contract and any others which involved contracts with private companies for electronic records. By doing that we have lost the assurance of the continuing license, so if the state vacates that contract and wishes to acquire the right to continuing use of the software there is a fee of $500,000 to do so. There is an advocacy for renegotiating and extending the contract, and legislation will be drafted by someone for introduction in the 1997 legislature. Senator Withem has been an active member of the Task Force Harding's email address is:

Kathy Tooker reported that the registration for the four Advocacy Meeting scheduled for across the state next week is over 150 people. Legislative links are citizens who agree to contact their Senator and discuss the Libraries for the 21st Century with them, as well as invite him/her to the NLA Legislative Day luncheon. Kathy Tooker requested that everyone on the State Advisory be a legislative link. It is necessary to have more than one legislative link per Senator in case of illness. Also needed are stories about what libraries have done for people. Give your stories to Kathy Tooker. All State Advisory Council members should attend the Advocacy Workshops next week.

February 20, 1997 is designated as Nebraska Library Association Legislative Day.

Rod Wagner reported on the processes for public input on fund allocation, if the campaign is successful. Proposal to date has not been specific about how the funds would be allocated. A process needs to be devised to address this issue.

Colorado last year enacted a new program that allocates $20 million for technology and learning grants, and also includes a loan fund. They did not break down that $20 million. Colorado has certain purposes that the money will be used for, part of their plan is to utilize a capital development committee that will develop the guide line requirements for distribution of the funds. An option for us is to devise some type of public process where we may involve, for example, the State Advisory Council or a specific task force appointed to work on developing policies for usage of those state aid funds. Individuals are concerned that there may not be fairness involved in determining how funds will be used. This would be one way of addressing those areas.

Ellen Van Waart updated the Council on LB 144. The Nebraska Partnerships for Economic Development Act is a program that was funded at about $250,000 last year. They are planning to request funding for this year. Senators seem favorable to it as it does promote economic development. Ellen distributed information on the Act to the State Advisory Council. The Nebraska Development Network should be joined by the librarians of the state, there is no cost to join. One of the benefits of the Network is that they would then be eligible for these grants. Most grants this past year were for around $25,000. Joann McManus, Department of Economic Development is the contact person. The criteria for these grants were not in the legislation, they are not regulation but are in a published booklet. The only criteria for these grants is that 2 or more entities form a partnership or some type of collaborative agreement that promotes community and economic growth. Libraries can go together or a library and another entity in the community could go together. Even though funds have not been allocated yet the message should go out to libraries to begin thinking about working with another group in their community or in another community to be eligible for possible future grants. Kathy Tooker and Ellen Van Waart are working with Saunders County in a cooperative venture, plans are to apply for some of the grant money. Libraries for the 21st Century could consider using these guidelines as a basis for fund allocation of the Libraries for the 21st Century campaign.

Title I and Title II grant sheets indicating which libraries have received grants for technology and construction were distributed to Council members.

The meeting recessed at 11:45 a.m.

The meeting reconvened at 1:23 p.m.

Council Roundtable (member reports):

Kathy Tooker reported on the Saunders County project. Ellen Van Waart and Kathy Tooker met with the Directors and some library board members from the six public libraries in Saunders county. Wahoo (the largest), Ashland, Ceresco, Mead, Yutan, and Valparaiso (the smallest) concerning development of some type of cooperative project. One possibility is electronic records so all libraries' collections are available to all 6 libraries. At the present time two of the libraries have electronic records. Also discussed were centralized ordering and processing for better discounts on materials, and sharing programming. The next meeting is in February. The librarians and board members from the six communities will talk about all the benefits for their community from this project, and possible problems that will need to be addressed. All participants recognize they must do something or their library will die. It is encouraging.

Michael LaCroix, Creighton University, wanted to let the Library Commission know that they appreciate the upcoming trials the Commission has set up for the spring: for looking at IAC's and UMI's product and Epco's product, etc. Usage at Creighton Library is up 20% this year over last year.

Jeanne Saathoff reported that the Kearney Public Library is continuing to see increases and are trying new products all the time. Internet connections in the community are still frustrating in that resources cannot be shared better than is being done presently. The library is excited about the coming possibility of wireless Internet from KN Energy. KN Energy was going to have everyone on line quickly but a problem was encountered when they neglected to involve the city in negotiations. Hopefully this will be resolved.

Guadalupe Mier, Bellevue Public Library, noted that non-residents of the city are complaining about the fee to use the library. The Kennedy Freeway is now open, and more housing is being developed. Four new SIDS are being planned and this will increase the non-resident issues over the next 2-3 years. Bellevue would like to meet with Papillion and La Vista in the near future to discuss county funding and service possibilities.

Joan Birnie, Broken Bow Public Library, reported on their KN for Kids project in the area. A certain amount of funds goes to the town per gas meter. The public library received $2,500 to be used for children's audio cassettes and for young adult materials.

Sharon Wiegert, Papillion Public Library, noted the library will be continue in the old building until December 7, 1996. The new library, Sump Memorial Library, will open on December 23, 1996. The library is expecting to see more of the non-resident fee issue when new library building is open. The library will be closed from December 7 to December 23, 1996 for moving into the new library. New people have been signing up at rate of 200 per month for the last few months.

Verda Bialac, Omaha Public Library, reported they are putting together a "what's new for you " item for paper. Included in this will be Telecirc, a Dynix program, that people can telephone and find out what they have checked out from the library, when their books are due, etc. The Omaha Public Library has purchased computers for younger children, two will be placed in every children's library in the system. They recently increased the video loan from 2 days to 7 days. The Library Foundation is in middle of big fund-raising project called "Kids Connection. " It will provide computers for youth in 5th grade and up. To date, four computers at South Branch and four at Washington Branch have been installed. The computers, and the cost of providing computer aides, have been funded by US West. Computer aides are high school students who know something about computers, can load programs for the kids, and trouble shoot if something goes wrong with a computer. The Friends of the Library are starting up a pilot program for the Benson Branch neighborhood (an at-risk community) of an Adopt-a-Branch program. The Friends go into the community and work with community organizations and business people, an individual connected with the school in the neighborhood and neighborhood people to get together and come up with ideas of things to do that the budgets don't cover (e.g. plants in the library). The idea is to bring people together for libraries and make the libraries a little nicer.

Two big projects for the Omaha Public Library is adding onto the Millard and the Benson Branches. Each will triple in size. Ground-breaking will be in the spring. The Omaha Public Library has also purchased land for a North-Northwest Library building, on 132nd between Maple and 4th.

Richard Voeltz, the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, noted its automation process continues. The University is just now offering electronic class reserves for the faculty to place their materials on reserve. They are encountering a little bit of an unexpected difficulty because a number of the faculty members have already devised their own electronic reserves and are afraid the Library is going to take their business. Another project this fall is the consolidation of all document delivery service within the University into one service called InfoQuest. Branches are getting used to sending materials directly to other branches rather than through inter-Library Loan. The University is trying to develop university libraries into learning organizations. Joan Giesecke and Marty Hale, Emporia State University, will be working on this process through the spring and summer. It is a less hierarchical approach to the development of library services where the entire staff is considered to be more or less equals in the process of developing and teaching each other the new services.

Richard Miller, Southeast Library System, stated he would like to see better defining of the respective roles of library systems in relation to library development in the state and how the Library Commission works in relation to the systems. He visited Peru State college earlier this week, that was very interesting to see the PAWS program. Just getting out and visiting some of the libraries gives a better understanding of the needs of the libraries.

Sharon Mason, University of Nebraska at Kearney, noted they are in the planning stages for bringing up a Web public access catalog (pac), and in doing that they are looking at links to other Internet resources and are in the process of deciding what to link and not link to. Twelve PCs were purchased and will be placed in the public area. Students will have access to Internet. They are also looking at the trial databases and how will to advertise and offer use of them. The concern is about instruction and how are to teach the users. There is a campus network and every student can have or should have a account to get into that network. An interlibrary loan form was recently installed on the network so students can electronically create their own Interlibrary Loan requests, and priority is given to those over the paper requests.

Laura Cundiff, Clay Center Public Library, noted they are receiving a KN grant which will be used to purchase non-fiction books for juveniles. They cooperate with the school's accelerating reading list. The Assistant Director of the Clay Center Public Library is very ill. The library is in the process of training four new people.

Devra Dragos, Beatrice State Developmental Center, stated they are one of the State agencies participating in the Nebraska Partnership Project. The library at Beatrice State Developmental Center will now be part of the Health & Human Services Agency. The state is taking five state agencies and making them into three. They are: Finance and Support, Regulations and Licensing, and Health & Human Services.

Becky Baker, Seward Public Library, is attending her last meeting of the State Advisory Council today. December is a big fund-raising time for their Friends group. A new book sale and festival of trees is scheduled for this weekend. The library has a new clerk starting this afternoon. They still have not found a site for a new building but are looking and negotiating with a couple different groups.

Sharon Wiegert, Sump Memorial Library in Papillion, noted they are having a cyber camp for kids in February. The camp will be ongoing, as they learn the basics they can then go into the intermediate and then advanced session. The camp is for youth ages 9-14.

1996 Council Review (what's been accomplished?):

  • Last 2 years has changed from listen and talk to more action council. Encourages all to continue in that vein
  • Earlier (a few years ago) people talked about computers, computers, computers. Now we are talking about other programs as well and how there was an impact with the computer revolution that affected all of us. But we are also seeing that people still read, study and also need librarians.
  • Computers are have been important, but other programs also need to be available.
  • Hopes to see every current and former Council member at Nebraska Library Association Legislative Day.
  • Have enjoyed the time served on the State Advisory Council on Libraries.
What would you like to see done better?
  • There are lots of little groups that are doing things that others don't know about. Council needs to take more responsibility in taking information from here to small groups and back to the council. Talk to each other more. Make this a more formal role for Council members.
  • The State Advisory Council will be or can be changing due to the new Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). As this council becomes more aware of what LSTA can do for this state. This council needs to be on top of that, and the commission will want your input on this.
  • As a group knowing where we are, where the Libraries of the 21st Century and the other things evolving, where you as the council, see us going next year, and what would you like to be our goal?
  • Could be useful for this group to be sounding board for policies etc. developed by Nebraska Library Commission. The council represents a wide range of libraries and regions of the state. It will be important for this group to keep the enthusiasm up, especially if libraries for the 21st Century doesn't happen to be successful this first year. Must keep at it.

1997 Council Agenda (roles, goals, plans, and strategies)

Libraries for the 21st Century. If passed: how administered? If the Libraries for the 21st Century is not passed, how to keep effort going find ways to bring the "fun " back into the profession. Ways we can all get rejuvenated. This group could help foster that. 1997 has the prospect of being an exciting and prosperous year. The Libraries for the 21st Century has an excellent chance of being successful.

Implementation of procedures and policies to administer the program, council can be very helpful.

Thanks to Council members completing their 2nd term: Guadalupe Mier, Becky Baker, and thanks to Council members completing their first terms: Sharon Wiegert and Dena Crews.

Meeting Wrap-Up and Adjournment

The next State Advisory Council on Libraries meeting will be on March 13 and 14, 1997 at the Kearney Public Library as a joint meeting with the Nebraska Library Commission at the. Richard Voeltz moved and Michael LaCroix seconded to adjourn the meeting. The motion carried. There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 2:20 p.m.

Respectfully submitted
Maria Medrano-Nehls

For more information, contact Sue Biltoft.