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Meeting Minutes

Lincoln, Nebraska
March 14 and 15, 1996

Present: B. Baker, V. Bialac, J. Birnie, P. Brunken, L. Cundiff, D. Dragos, B. Hansen, M. LaCroix, J. Leader, S. Mason, G. Mier, J. Saathoff, K. Tooker, R. Voeltz, S. Wiegert, S. Wise.

Commissioners: T. Harvey, F. Lovell, R. Norman, J. Sanders, M. Vollbrecht.

Staff: N. Busch, E. Miller, J. Minges, S. Snyder, R. Wagner.

Welcome, Introductions, Agenda Overview

The meeting was called to order by Sally Wise at 1:40 p.m. Sally turned the meeting over to the incoming Chair, Lupe Mier. Introductions of all present were given.

The agenda was amended to include election of a Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect and to set Council meeting dates. The amended agenda was approved by acclamation.

Perspectives on Nebraska Library Services

Federal Programs

Rod Wagner updated the Council and Commissioners on federal library program issues. Most issues have been resolved between the House and Senate on the proposed legislation for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), which will replace the Library Services and Construction Act (LSCA). Some key points are: 1) $150 million authorization level ceiling for LSTA appropriations; 2) with consolidation and the move toward block programs, LSTA is likely to end some of the other federal level library programs.

The Library Commission is continuing to receive some LSCA funds under the continuing resolutions. It looks like the House and Senate are close to passing an appropriations bill that will fully fund LSCA for this year. It also appears that Title II, construction and technology, funds will be appropriated for this year. Currently, no funds are included for Title VI, literacy programs. There is an attempt to attach an amendment that will include funds for literacy.

There is an ESEA Title 6A for innovative education programs, which schools use for school library resources. It may be funded at $275 million.

The recently passed Telecommunications Act includes a provision for discounted rates for schools, libraries and rural hospitals The discount would be for data communications through companies like U.S. West.

State Legislation

LB 590 amends Nebraska public library statutes to allow a more consistent arrangement for governance of county public library services. Current statutes have two separate sections that deal with it. The most recent version states that the county which organizes for public library services and establishes a county library that the county commissioners or county supervisors will serve as the library board. LB 590 will repeal that section and retain the other section which states the library board would be appointed or elected. The legislation will also allow public library service issues to be put on the county election ballot. Communities could then work together to initiate county-wide service. It is Senator Eric Will's priority bill.

LB 1375 was introduced by Senator Bromm of Wahoo. A hearing on the bill was held on February 1, 1996. A number of people are involved in developing a compromise on the bill. Approximately half the senators have attended a demonstration of the services of Nebrask@ Online. Senator Joyce Hillman is one who is supportive of the service. Governor Nelson is knowledgeable of the bill and is supportive of Nebrask@ Online. Speaker Ron Withem has selected LB 1375 as one of his 5 super-priority bills. He will determine when it is on the agenda, and the amendments to be considered.

Nebraska Library Development Issues

Jim Minges, Library Development Director, is leaving the agency at the end of the month. He looked back over the past 12 years and gave his view of changes, progress, and stumbling blocks.

Jim noted in 1984, when he began working at the Library Commission, the following were library service issues.

1984 issues:

about 20% of Nebraskans did not live within a political subdivision that was supporting public library service

there were no standards for public library service

there were no criteria for state aid that reflected the level of library service provided

the library systems were just beginning to receive funding, they had no personnel yet, the system boards were trying to get things going on a volunteer basis

few libraries had local automation systems

the state database was on microfiche (Neucat)

a small number of libraries had access to OCLC, they primarily were academic libraries

1996 issues:

there has been very little progress in the fact that about 20% of Nebraskans live in areas that do not have tax supported library service - Jim notes this is the single greatest library development issue in the state

there has been quite a bit of progress in training library personnel

guidelines for library service has been relatively successful and provides for a certain level of service - many libraries have made significant improvements in their service

the librarian certification program has been extremely successful

there also has been great improvement in the number and variety of continuing education opportunities available, as well as in participation by librarians

NEMA has made good progress in developing guidelines and standards for media service

the Emporia MLS program was very positive, with good results

continuing education for professional personnel needs to be provided, very little has been offered

the system administrators have done a very good job, Jim is concerned about the level of funding for the systems

state aid for public libraries is far too low, needs a significant increase, it is difficult to use the current level of funding for any broad-based project that would have a significant impact

good progress has been made with library automation

good progress also with access to the Internet and other online services

the number of libraries participating in NEBASE is a significant change, there are currently more users than cataloging users - this is great progress. The next challenge is to get the users holdings into the database

an area of concern is library funding at the local level, current tax initiatives raise a major issue - Nebraska is one of the states most dependent on property tax for public library funding

the Nebraska library community has been very successful in promoting initiatives all could support

Council Roundtable Discussion

Phyllis Brunken, ESU #7, noted a major concern is LB 1114. LB 860 passed, it provides additional funding for schools to direct connect to the Internet. Rule 88, Phase one, school staff will write a direct grant application to fund direct connect to the school building; Phase 2 - schools that are already direct connected receive payment for the direct connect line; Phase 3 - staff development and training. The school must have an approved technology plan in place before receive any funding. In other news, the Virtual Schoolhouse, a site on the web, may be of interest to librarians interested in children's services.

Barbara Hansen, Norfolk Junior High School, noted Norfolk received a state lottery grant last year and it has kept her very busy. The NEMA home page under construction. The Chamber of Commerce in Norfolk has a home page now. Issue in schools is the budget. No one has heard anything yet about the school's upcoming budget. The staff doesn't know who will be on staff next year. Many schools and staff members are facing this issue.

Michael La Croix, Reinert/Alumni Memorial Library, Creighton University, noted the 10 private university/colleges in Nebraska received grant funds for all to purchase Ariel hardware and software for document transmittal. The group is called PICKLE (Private Independent Colleges Key Library Executives). In other news, Bob Runyon, UNO, and Lon Dickerson, Omaha Public Library, started discussing the concept of a metropolitan library with the purpose of enhancing access to each other's collections. Now involved in the discussion are representatives from Creighton University, community colleges, the public schools, ESU #3. Not everyone has their OPAC available to others over the Internet, this would be a first step in sharing access. Next Tuesday a meeting of the computer/technical people involved in this issue will be held.

Sally Wise, UNL Law Library, stated a listserv has been started for academic librarians with the purpose of examining possibilities for efficient use of resources, such as resource sharing, and cooperate to improve buying power for electronic services, for CD-ROMs and in other areas. The Law Library staff are developing a program statement regarding possible renovation or addition to the library building.

Joan Birnie, Broken Bow Public Library, reported the library currently has Internet access via Nebrask@ Online. A local server is coming in to provide Internet access for the citizens of Broken Bow. There is lots of interest in the FirstSearch trial currently underway. The local school board is holding a personnel committee meeting for the public. It was suggested a full-time technology coordinator be hired. To pay for that position it was suggested eliminating the part-time elementary media specialist position and the part-time position for dealing with students at risk. The meeting will be held the evening of March 14.

Dick Voeltz, UNL Chemistry Library, noted the reorganization into the Information Services department is completed and is successful. The new chancellor is now on duty. The new Dean of Libraries is Joan Gieseke. The automated system is running into 2nd generation problems that need to be dealt with. They are busy installing Netscape on the computers.

Becky Baker, Seward Public Library, noted Milford Public Library is looking at some automation programs. Last month, for the first time, Seward Public Library broke 100,000 circulation level for the previous 12 months. The First Search trial is going well. Passport was recently installed. Connect Seward is the local service for electronic access. The server is in place and all the schools are connected, all the students have an email address. The parents and child sign an agreement regarding inappropriate items on the Internet. Also, they are currently collecting information from local businesses and others in preparation for the home page that is being planned.

Lupe Mier, Bellevue Public Library, reported the library's computer system makes it easier to keep track of people who have not returned materials. The city attorney agreed to file suit against individuals not returning materials. Two weeks ago 58 letters were mailed to people who have $50 or more of materials overdue for 60 days or more. March 14 a second letter is being mailed from the city attorney giving the person 30 days to respond or be taken to court. To date, six people have responded to the first letter.

Jeanne Leader, Western Nebraska Community College, noted the community college has consolidated computer networks. During the consolidation, access to some Internet sites was blocked. After some discussion, that has been reversed and all sites are accessible. Recently the Internet server ceased functioning, they have been without Internet access for two weeks. In other news, Alliance Public Library is planning to build a new library building and are looking into combining with the community college library. In addition, the community college, public library and the hospital library are planning on working together for resource sharing, primarily of CD-ROMs at this point.

Verda Bialac, Omaha Public Library, reported there is still a discussion between the library board and the mayor (city hall) regarding who is responsible for what. The libraries continue to be funded by Douglas County. This is the second year Omaha Public Library has received over $1 million to serve those living in unincorporated areas. The funds are divided among the communities providing library service. The county commissioners want to see progress toward county wide service. The Omaha Public Library's materials budget has doubled, but the number of staff remains about the same. They now have Internet, self-check station is coming, computer learning centers are coming to three or four branches, and Tele-Circ will soon be in place. Tele-Circ allows patrons to renew books over the telephone. Once it is in place, the library will stop sending overdue notices. City hall is totally networked. The library has dial-up access to the library's budget (read only). They are planning to add onto two branches. Construction will double the size of the Benson branch and the Millard branch will triple in size. About eight other branches need expansion as well. They also need three new branches in west Omaha. A suit is underway and may soon be acted upon, the librarians have filed for equity pay.

Kathy Tooker, Eastern Library System, noted on May 4 a Mystery Dinner Night will be held at the College of St. Mary hosted by Omaha Public Library and the Eastern Library System. Proceeds will go to the Louise Nixon Scholarship fund. Kathy also noted approximately 60% of the public librarians in her system are using the Internet and email. In addition, the Trustees Users and Friends group of NLA, the Northeast Library System, the Southeast Library System, the Eastern Library System, with some help from the Library Commission, are co-sponsoring a workshop for library trustees on budgeting.

Sharon Wiegert, Papillion Public Library, noted there was an article in the Tuesday Omaha World-Herald regarding the communities of Papillion, Ralston and La Vista are all building or planning to build new library buildings. The article suggested one library be built for the three communities to share. While this sounds good on the surface, it actually would not meet the needs of the community members. There was also an editorial in Wednesday's paper. Sharon invites the Council to hold their meeting in Papillion at the new library next year. Internet news, they have added four more lines on their community bulletin board, for a total of 14. Most of the bulletin board users live in Papillion. They are hoping for 20 computers and 20 lines when they move to the new building. Sharon has been holding a "Mom's Internet Training" session during story time. The computer technician trains mothers on using the Internet while their children attend story time. It has been very popular. Also, Elkhorn's new library is scheduled to be completed in May.

Laura Cundiff, Clay Center Public Library, noted 800 people live in the town but a number of county people also use the library. The library is now on the Internet. Several companies are now offering Internet access, the library will be considering which would be the best access for the cost. The Jaycees have pickle and other funds, and want to use it to offer free Internet service to the public. Approximately $700 a year is needed to provide the access. The school has access to the Internet via the ESU, but it is a long distance call and they only have one line. Students are clamoring to use the public library's one computer. The board has been working on the library policies and they are now all up to date. The library has hired part-time person to work with the children, and Laura is doing the janitorial work. They are getting ready for the summer reading program "Peer-Amid Books." The program runs basically all summer so they have quite a bit of work preparing for it.

Devra Dragos, Beatrice State Developmental Center (BSDC), noted there has been some combining of certain state agency departments. At BSDC media services were taken out of the staff development department and placed in quality improvement. The library has Internet access, and now has a CD-ROM work station and medical CD-ROM products. Devra is on the community technology committee for Beatrice which is working on getting Internet access for the public. The school district recently received $200,000 grant for implementing an Internet service to the community. The equipment is in place and they are now training people to be trainers for the service. Six computers will be available at the public library as well. The Beatrice home page is on the world wide web. The community college is planning to offer a class on how to create a web page.

Jeanne Saathoff, Kearney Public Library, invited everyone to browse and tour the building. Kid's Cat is now up and running in the children's department. It was more work than it was supposed to be to get it running, primarily because of the Dynix link, they had to customize each record. The map component is not functioning yet. The self-check out station is installed and running. The technology center had its busiest month yet last month. The technology center coordinator has resigned the position. There are three new CD-ROM products. A local foundation gave a grant for networking of the CD-ROMs. Abigail Wagner is the new children's librarian. She is a recent graduate from the University of Nebraska - Kearney with a media endorsement. The library staff have been involved in cross-training. They switch duties on a regular basis. It has been a lot of work but will be valuable in the long run. The library foundation provided funds for re-wiring for additional PACs for Internet access. The library web page is under construction. The Kearney Information Technology Committee was inactive for a while but is now going again and is working on resource sharing, access, and training issues. The local Friends group is sponsoring TRACE, To Reach a Child Early, a program for distributing books to families with new babies born in Kearney.

The meeting recessed at 4:17 p.m.

The meeting reconvened on March 15 at 9:15 a.m.

State Aid Campaign for Nebraska Library Service Development (discussion)

The Council divided into two groups to discuss the issues involved in the State Aid Campaign for Nebraska library service development.


Verda Bialac reported for the first group. Ideas included:

a suggestion to make information clearer and stand out more by using maps, charts and other similar illustrations

advocacy training session at the NLA/NEMA conference

partnering with the League of Municipalities

learn more about the county officials organization

be specific about how the funds will be distributed

look at communities' strategic and/or CLIP plans to see what issues they are focusing on

look at bookstore demographics for community profiles

how school media centers fit in and how the media personnel may react:

they will be very sensitive because the school media budget is often cut

will find it positive if more of the campaign is advocacy for libraries

"communication & cooperation" use those two words often

Jeanne Saathoff reported for the second group. Possible problems are 1) service fees, and 2) connectivity. The group talked about possible problems in getting people to buy in or commit to the campaign. Discussed concerns and "selling points" or "what's in it for me?" for different types of libraries:

Small libraries:

importance of systems services

important to understand that this funding would allow current services to continue - must know that matching funds will play a role in this-leveraging-this funding will help

Large libraries:

possibility of cooperative and county libraries

lending compensation funds

Special/Institutional libraries:




continuing education

Academic libraries:

electronic resources, for example MedLine

specialty training & dissemination of the training

School libraries:

staff (technical support)

networking of classrooms

provide funding for a Media Consultant position at the Nebraska Department of Education

Library Systems:

technology support

continuing education and training - from basic to more professional or specialized, there are varying levels of need

possible delivery of services to multi-type libraries

technical expertise (staffing)

training, consulting (system sharing opportunities)

also consider Boards, Friends, Foundations, Organizations, Faculty groups, Senators, Power Groups - how to build support from them after library community is on board.

Property Tax Lid:

not talk in negatives, but go straight to the positives (this funding is NOT property tax based)

talk about the important service to the state that will come from these funds

City Councils, Mayors, City Managers:

contact Senator

work with the League of Municipalities

issue of competition for endangered funds

must focus on service for citizens of community and state

The group discussed comparison of level of state support for libraries to level of state support for: 1) Nebraska parks, 2) NRD, and 3) Department of Economic Development. Also discussed not focusing on comparisons, but emphasizing "positive library slogans: such as ALA promotional pieces. "Public libraries receive less than 1% of all tax dollars and are used by more that 50% of the adults."

Other Council Business

The agenda was amended to include approval of the Council minutes of the last meeting. Dick Voeltz moved and Jeanne Leader seconded the minutes be approved as received. The motion carried.

Thanks were given to Jeanne Saathoff and staff of the Kearney Public Library and Information Center for generously hosting the combined meeting of the Council and the Commissioners.

The schedule of meetings for 1996 is:

Thursday, June 13 at the Library Commission

Thursday, September 19, place to be set

The December meeting has not been scheduled.

Verda Bialac nominated and Joan Birnie seconded Jeanne Saathoff for Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect of the Council. Dick Voeltz moved and Phyllis Brunken seconded the nominations close and Jeanne Saathoff be elected by acclamation. The motion carried.

Becky Baker moved and Phyllis Brunken seconded the Council officially thank Jim Minges for his years of service to the Library Commission and the libraries of Nebraska. The motion carried.

Phyllis Brunken moved and Sally Wise seconded, there being no further business the meeting be adjourned. The motion carried.

The meeting adjourned at 11:22 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Sally Snyder

For more information, contact Sue Biltoft.