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Meeting Minutes

Elmwood Christian Church, Elmwood, NE
June 26, 2009


DRAFT : Minutes subject to change at the November 20, 2009 meeting

Advisory Council members present: Patty Birch, Pam ohmfalk, Ceri Daniels, Kathy Ellerton, Steve Fosselman, Joan Giesecke, Cindy Gitt, Pat Gross, Gretchen Healy, Pat Leach, Marty Magee, Trine McBride, MeMe Smith, Ellen Weed and Glenda Willnerd. Commission Staff: Maria Medrano-Nehls, Richard Miller, Mary Jo Ryan, and Rod Wagner.

Welcome and Introductions

Pat Gross welcomed members to the meeting. Pat also thanked Pastor Mike for the use of the church facilities and thanked the women's church group for providing lunch. Introductions were made around the table.

Approval of the Agenda: A motion was made by MeMe Smith and seconded by Marty Magee to approve the agenda. Motion approved.

Approval of Minutes (March 13, 2009): Pat Leach stated that page 5 should read "Arnold Heights branch library is due to move into the new school facility this fall." Glenda Willnerd stated that page 8 should read "the school district's enrollment has increased past 34,000 students."  Pat Gross stated that page 5 should read "she had been informed by her superintendent that she would be assigned responsibilities for another school library in addition to her current library." A motion was made by Ceri Daniels and seconded by Patty Birch to approve the minutes with corrections. Motion approved.


Nebraska Library Commission Reports

Federal Library Programs Update

LSTA Reauthorization and Priorities - Rod Wagner stated that the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) is up for reauthorization this year and legislation is expected later in the year. Senator Jack Reed from Rhode Island is expected to introduce the reauthorization legislation in the Senate. At the upcoming ALA conference, the ALA Legislative Committee will lead discussion about the legislation process. The LSTA appropriation for the upcoming federal fiscal year starting October 1 is not close to being worked out. The Obama administration has recommended a slight increase in LSTA appropriations.

National Library Legislative Day - Rod Wagner stated that National Library Legislative Day was held in May in Washington D.C. Nebraska library representatives included Library Commission members Jean Ahrens and Carol Spencer. There were also representatives from the Nebraska Library Association - Jenni Puchalla, NLA legislative committee chair, and from the Nebraska Educational Media Association - Robin Schrack, NEMA president. Brenda Ealey, Southeast Library System Administrator and Kathy Tooker, Eastern Library System Director also participated in National Library Legislative Day. Wagner said that legislative day is a good opportunity to meet and talk with Nebraska's congressional delegation - usually the senator's or representative's staff person who covers education and library issues. Legislative day participants discuss current library related legislation and policies. Briefings held prior to legislative day provide updates on the status of current legislation. Next year, June 24-30, 2010, ALA's annual conference will be held in Washington D.C. Legislative Day will be held as part of the annual conference allowing more people to participate.

2009-2011 State Biennium Budget - Rod Wagner reported that the Library Commission's biennium state fund's appropriation is equal to its appropriation level for the current fiscal year, which is in-line with appropriations for most state agencies.

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act - Library Components - Rod Wagner reported that libraries are as eligible entities in several federal economic stimulus programs, but are not specifically targeted for funds. Programs that libraries can participate in are available on a competitive application basis. Early this year, the American Library Association asked state library agencies to identify projects in their states that could be helped with stimulus funds. Nebraska's response included 39 public libraries and one community college library that were at some stage in planning for a future facility project, though some were not "shovel ready" as intended by legislation. Library projects included new library buildings, major renovations, remodeling, and energy conservation. The Nebraska Energy department will have over a two-year span around $40 million dollars in additional funds for energy related projects. Some of these funds will be available for public facilities. Public libraries may also benefit from economic stimulus funding for expanding and upgrading broadband services with priority for rural areas. Broadband grant funds will be awarded through the Department of Commerce and Department of Agriculture. Successful broadband projects will need to include benefits for schools, libraries, and health care. Library Commission staff have participated in conference calls and meetings to obtain information about broadband grant funding and other economic stimulus programs. Commission staff has also met with Tom Rolfes from the Nebraska Information Technology Commission to discuss library broadband service needs and options.

Rod Wagner stated that a portion of the economic stimulus funds are for use at the discretion of the Governor. Governor Heineman chose to use Nebraska's allocation for K-12 education funding. Because the stimulus funds will replace state funds that would otherwise be budgeted for aid to schools, the stimulus funds will help address the state's tax revenue shortfall. Pat Gross stated that the stimulus money for K-12 schools has made the state aid to schools unfair and unbalanced. Three schools in the panhandle will receive increases and the rest of the schools will lose money in the state aid formula. Millard public schools will receive $18 million while Scottsbluff schools will have $810,000 reduced from their state aid and Gering will lose $19,000. Lincoln and Omaha public schools will receive an increase in the millions from state aid funding.

Librarians for the 21st Century Grant Application Status - Mary Jo Ryan stated that the Library Commission's application for a Librarians for the 21st Century grant. Mary Jo stated that there were many more applications submitted than approved for grant funding. The IMLS awarded about 30 grants and all went to universities, except two regional library systems and three public libraries. There were a couple of grants that went to education associations and one state library which was part of a consortium of five state libraries.

Mary Jo stated that not receiving a grant was disappointing. Two of the grant reviewers gave Nebraska's application the highest possible scores and others rated the Commission's application in the mid range. Some of the comments mentioned that the application didn't have a strong enough diversity component, and that the application lacked specific details about how to assure the program was utilized. Mary Jo said information about grants and the recipients could be found at Mary Jo said we need to re-consider our needs and ask what we can do to make our project more fundable. Maria Medrano-Nehls asked if they gave any recommendations as to what they were looking for when they stated we didn't focus enough on diversity. Mary Jo stated that the one comment on diversity was that we were not specific enough about how we would contact the Hispanic groups. Mary Jo said that she was surprised by the comment because she thought the application was very specific. Mary Jo stated the next grant application due date is December 15, 2009.

Steve Fosselman asked if completion of the community college library services program courses translates into anything for the next step in library science education. Does the program lead to certification? Marty Magee stated that the program is now called Library Information Services program. There are six classes and four of the classes are transferable for an undergraduate degree.

Pam Bohmfalk asked it behooves a public library to encourage staff that are non-MLS and are always going to be in a non-MLS position to take these classes and is there going to be some kind of certification designation for the library staff or library. Pam asked why staff should go through the LIS program instead of the certification process. Does this program diminish the basic skills class? Does the program make the student become a more professional staff person? What is the staff's incentive to enroll and complete the program?

Marty Magee stated that if a person applies for a library job and has a certificate showing the completion of the program and the other person doesn't, who would the library hire? Most likely the library is going to choose the person with the better education and although it's not an MLS it is an asset and benefit for libraries. Maria Medrano-Nehls stated that she has completed the courses and can say that a lot of the comments made during discussion by people working in small libraries were that they were thankful to be taking the classes. They learned things they didn't know before because it wasn't in their regular job duties to know. The courses also gave them confidence to talk with library board members and foundation members because they now possessed knowledge and information that supported their responsibilities and work in the library. They could say "I learned this and we shouldn't be doing this or our policy doesn't look right." Maria said that when she read those comments she thought it was great because these are people who probably never stood up and said a thing because they didn't feel confident enough with their knowledge, but now that they have gained knowledge they are pushing to use what they learned.

Mary Jo Ryan said that currently all the basic skills courses must be completed to be certified but the LIS classes can be taken and substituted for the basic skills courses. Mary Jo stated that a session will be held during the NLA/NEMA conference to discuss public library accreditation. The session will provide information about the accreditation review process and serve as a chance for suggestions for accreditation guidelines changes. If you think that having your staff receive an LIS certificate should increase your level of accreditation you should speak about that too. Maria stated that persons who have completed the program up to now have never received a certificate or anything verifying that they completed the program. Rod Wagner stated that he talked with Eric Jones at Central Community College about this and Dr. Jones is aware of the issue. It should be possible to produce a document that gives recognition to those who have completed the library courses.

Rod Wagner responded to Steve Fosselman's question by saying that an LIS designation in the certification program has been discussed but not acted on. Rod said that how completion of LIS courses could be recognized in public library accreditation hasn't been addressed. Pam Bohmfalk asked if it was possible given that there is such a slant toward granting money to higher education that there might be a possibility for the Library Commission to partner with some institution of higher learning. Maybe it would be wise to work with Central Community College to collaborate on a grant. Pat Gross stated that these education opportunities were not in place twenty years ago so it was good that the Library Commission offered the four basic skills courses for certification. Pat stated that the LIS program should be strongly supported and promoted to keep librarians in the field. It is important to have money for scholarships because most library staff or libraries can't afford to pay for their staff to take the LIS or MLS classes.

Mary Jo stated that because the Commission did not receive a federal grant the Commission's doesn't have funding for scholarships for library science education scholarships. Mary Jo said that the Commission hears from many people on a weekly basis who are looking for scholarships. Some are students half way through a program but can't afford to pay for classes or books. Pam Bohmfalk stated that the Nebraska Library Association has two scholarships that they offer each year. At last weeks' board meeting they were told only one application was received for one of the scholarships and no applications for the other. The scholarships are not huge amounts but can be used to pay for library science classes. One of the scholarships is for $1,000 and the other is for $250. MeMe Smith said that one year she applied for the $1,000 scholarship and received it as well as the $250 scholarship because no one applied for it. The applications for these scholarships can be found on Marty Magee recommended that all available scholarships for further education or to attend a conference, and memberships, be posted on the Library Commissions web site.

Nebraska Library Association - Mary Jo Ryan stated that the Nebraska Library Commission partnered with the Nebraska Library Association and received a grant from an anonymous foundation. The foundation provided $10,000 to be used for student internships. Twenty libraries applied for the internships and ten received a $1,000 grant. Libraries awarded a grant can be seen at /news/content/2460.html. Libraries described great ideas on how to use their intern. Pam Bohmfalk said it was a great experience to make these internship grants available. Pam said it is very important to offer scholarships and internships so it makes it more imperative that we seek funds to make these happen. Mary Jo Ryan stated that Kathryn Brockmeier is the Commission staff member who wrote the grant which will allow the ten internships to be possible.

Pam Bohmfalk reported that the Nebraska Library Association had very successful spring meetings. The NLA board held a planning session prior to last week's board meeting. In early June the NLA issued a web survey to members asking for their input. Many responded to the survey. The board reviewed survey responses and brought in vice-chairs of sections and roundtables and got input from them. The NLA is planning and preparing for the annual conference in LaVista at the new conference center. NLA is trying to keep conference costs to a minimum. Many people say they don't attend conference because it's too expensive but Pam believes this is one of the least expensive conferences she has ever attended. The conference will include sessions covering many topics. Pam said librarians tend to sell themselves short in what their combined energy and education is really worth. If you look at the conference that lawyers, city officials and utility people attend ours is very cheap. MeMe Smith stated that library directors should encourage their city council to include money in library budgets for library staff to attend conference and not just for the director.

Pam stated that no one has been nominated for the awards given by NLA. These awards are an opportunity to recognize people who have made contributions to our profession and/or the body of literature of Nebraska or writing about Nebraska. Rod Wagner asked if the citations committee takes initiative in identifying people for the awards. Pam said the citations committee can initiate nomination of a suggested person. MeMe Smith asked who awards information is sent to. The response was that this information goes out on e-mail listservs. Pam stated it is very important that library boards, trustees, and foundations receive this information. Pam stated that the editorial committee was charged with changing the NLAQ from a paper journal to electronic journal and they are on track to making the change with the first issue of 2010. There will continue to be an avenue for people who would like a print copy.

Nebraska Educational Media Association: Glenda Willnerd stated that NEMA president Robin Schrack attended the National Library Legislative Day in Washington, D.C. NEMA recently held elections and the new officers are: Betty Meyer - President-Elect; Lynn Wragge - Treasurer; Laura Pietsche & Stacy Lickting - Board members-at-large.

This spring NEMA awarded scholarships to: Jackie Davis - workshop scholarship to attend NETA; Courtney Pentland - continuing education scholarship; and Theresa Fosnell - presenter scholarship for AASL

NEMA appointed Judy Henning and Lori Umstead to attend the Learning4Life training seminar. The training summit is part of the implementation plan for the Standards for the 21st Century Learner.

NEMA will celebrate its 40th Anniversary on December 1, 2009, activities are being planned to celebrate the occasion. NEMA will be co-sponsoring the Mid-West 21st Century School Librarians Conference on June 14 & 15, 2010, in Omaha. Keynote speakers will be Cassandra Barnett, AASL President-Elect and Pam Berger, editor of Information Searcher.

Serving Nebraska: using social networking technology and strategies -

Pat Gross stated that public librarians have a different need to learn about technology in comparison to school librarians. Pat said media specialists attempt to stay current with all the new technology and forms of networking. Many schools will not hire media specialists who do not have technology knowledge and skills. Pat noted articles in the meeting packets on technologies for marketing and social networking tools. Pat said that many of the new networking programs and new technologies are resources both public and school libraries could use to keep up with patrons needs. Pat said that technology provides many ways to communicate. New forms of networking, like Facebook and Twitter, are things children and teens know and use to communicate with each other. Unfortunately, many librarians have no knowledge of or do not use these new technologies. Pat Gross said that it is imperative that we learn about these new technologies so that we can teach young people the correct way to use these networking programs.

Mary Jo Ryan said library staff could use these network programs to share information, get advice, give advice, or just to meet other librarians. Joan Giesecke said that UNL offers students and staff the ability to rate books and add subject tags to the actual reference to the library catalog. Pat Leach said that Lincoln City Libraries allows patrons to add reviews to books they have read. Pat also stated that she has a blog on the library's homepage which allows the public to leave her messages. Pat said she is concerned that people don't understand the difference between personal and public when using blogs, MySpace and Facebook. Pat said some people don't understand that everything going on those network sites becomes available to the public.

Mary Jo Ryan presented a slide show on the "Geek the Library" program developed by OCLC and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Geek the Library is an advocacy marketing initiative. Rod Wagner stated that two libraries were chosen to pilot the program and test marketing ideas. The two pilot communities are Savannah, Georgia, and Des Moines, Iowa. OCLC is promoting social networking as an effective approach to market library services.

Pam Bohmfalk stated that social networks provide an opportunity to collect information from patrons. People can respond to surveys or questions online and are more likely to post comments on a blog or Facebook page than on a piece of paper that is handed to them at the library.

Council Roundtable

Pat Gross stated that Deb Carlson was unable to attend the council meeting due to a meeting with the Scottsbluff public library's architect. Pat said that the library held a community meeting on Tuesday to present plans for the library building project. Pat stated that Gering public library completed its children's summer reading program. The Panhandle Library System will hold its annual meeting in July. The Panhandle Library System and NEMA will hold a joint training program on August 4. Pat stated that she has been assigned an additional media center to oversee.

MeMe Smith reported that the Schuyler public library recently installed computer reservation and print management software with grant money the library received. During June the library is declaring an amnesty on fines to encourage people with outstanding fines to renew their library card and return to using the library. MeMe said the library has a local youth working for them who is paid with economic stimulus funds from Nebraska Workforce Development. The library also has a community service worker. The library is still struggling to get its building project off the ground. Patty Birch congratulated MeMe on her recent graduation from the University of Missouri-Columbia, master's degree in library science program.

Patty Birch reported that Mid-Plains Community College is advertising for a librarian for the McCook Community College which is under the umbrella of Mid-Plains Community College. Patty spoke to the Dean at McCook Community College and he said they do not want to replace the librarian with someone who has a MLS degree or a person with that much education because they feel they could handle it with their tech person. What they want to do is hire a person from the North Platte, Mid-Plains College to be the MLS Librarian to supervise the tech person at the McCook College. Patty believes that the tech person should take the LIS program so that they would have some understanding of library services.

Patty stated that Skype is a valuable tool. She used Skype to work with Marty Magee and Carrie Turner in collaborating on library and information service courses. The instructors have met as a group to discuss the program but instructors develop their own class materials.

Patty stated that in her school media specialists are encouraging school staff to be thinking about standards and 21st century learning. Patty stated that she has been taking classes on different forms of social networking to get up to speed because teachers will come to the media specialist to ask how to use social networking technologies.

Marty Magee passed out some pamphlets and reported that she recently attended the Medical Library Association conference in Hawaii. The National Library of Medicine has developed a web site with short tutorials with various medical topics including Medicare & Medical Resources for the Consumer Health Librarian, MedlinePlus and GoLocal updates, and MyMedicationList. These tutorials can be accessed at

Marty stated that there are also webinars available for free. Webinars are offered once a month on different National Library of Medicine databases. Next month's topic will be toxicology. Marty stated that grants are available from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine. The grants focus on health information literacy, hospital library advocacy, and emergency preparation. NetLibrary recently ordered 90 eBooks with topics on library management and technical topics.

Pat Leach reported that Lincoln City Libraries recently received a grant to update its strategic plan. Pat stated that she recently received a link to the Columbus, Ohio, Metropolitan Library annual report. The Columbus library placed its annual report online. The report has a clever design. Lincoln City Libraries may do something similar. She thinks this will be a good way to get elected officials to read the annual report.

Pat stated that on August 18, when the school year begins, there will be a new public library branch located in the new Arnold elementary school. The new library is located in an area separated from the city by the airport and interstate and though there was a library in the location it was located in an old building. The new library will be open during after school hours and evenings and is separate from the school media room.

Pat noted the national volunteerism initiative and said that Lincoln City Libraries is looking for volunteers who would like to put together a promotional package. Pat said she started a blog on the library's web page. Pat stated she welcomes volunteers, interns or people from Nebraska Workforce Development because they bring in fresh ideas and positive attitudes. The challenge for Lincoln City Libraries is that during economically hard times people question adding a new service, or buying new materials. Pat said that she tries to come up with ways to convey that during difficult times you can't stand still.

Pam Bohmfalk reported that Hastings has a group conducting a feasibility study on renovating the Hastings public library. Pam said the library has issued many new library cards this summer. Pam said she is not sure where the new library card holders are coming from but she thinks some of the people are probably employees of the company building a new power plant and their families. Pam stated that the summer reading program was well attended. Pam recently had the opportunity to teach a computer class for the 55 Plus program sponsored by the local hospital. Each class was well attended. Pam said they are having fun with their adult summer reading program. This week the library held its first annual pie contest. People brought pies which were judged. Pie and ice cream were sold with money going to the library to purchase prizes for the adult summer reading group.

Joan Giesecke reported that the UNL libraries will lose five positions. The UNK library will either lose a few positions or attempt to reduce costs in other ways. The UNO library may eliminate some staff positions in response to budget cuts. Joan recently attended an Association of Research Libraries meeting. She said there are 123 research libraries in the country and 36 have lost staff due to budget cuts. Joan reported that the UNL libraries have some carry over funding that will be used to renovate part of the periodical reading room. Half of the room will be turned into mobile computing furniture and equipment. Steve Shorb, Library Dean at UNO, has taken a one-year leave of absence to take a position at New York University.

Ellen Weed reported that Norfolk Regional Center recently installed a new elevator and will be replacing windows. The library was repainted and new boarder was added. The library received a donation from a past employee to pay for the improvements. The facility has 90 residents but there are many prison inmates who are awaiting a spot at the Norfolk regional center. Ellen said the library has been funded at the same level for the past ten years. The library lost about one-third of their materials in order to make the library appropriate for residents. The library is also available to staff. Ellen encourages the residents to continue to utilize the library upon their release.

Richard Miller stated that the United We Stand and Serve volunteer program is being promoted by President Obama. President Obama is trying to get people to volunteer in the hopes that people will volunteer as a way of life.

Richard said there is a program held by the U.S. Department of Education called Summer Learning which has a history of innovation and a proven track record of developing, evaluating, and promoting summer learning programs designed to improve student achievement and support positive youth development. Sally Snyder was asked to present at a broadcast for parents called Education News that Parents Can Use on June 16 which is part of the summer learning program. The idea of the broadcast was to give parents ideas to do with and for their kids during the summer so they wouldn't go back to school having forgot all that they had learned.

Trine McBride reported that the Ord public library received a Library Improvement Grant from the Library Commission to purchase a new automation system ( Apollo Biblionix) . The staff has had training on the new system and now that the staff has had experience using it they like it. The library is a testing center for the local college for courses such as the CNA and other medical programs. Once the new hospital is built the testing will be held there. Trine said she is a little torn about the testing site being moved but she hopes this will free the library up for more families to use.

Kathy Ellerton reported that there are several new library buildings in the Northeast library system region and more libraries are planning to build or remodel their libraries.

Steve Fosselman reported that the City of Grand Island had to use financial reserves due to a shortage of revenues. The city administrator decided to reduce the city budget and restore the financial reserve. Steve expects budget increases will be lower than the last few years. He is not sure what future budgets will be like. Steve said he and his staff know the value of their services. Steve will be preparing a detailed library budget to show the needs for library services and justify the library's budget request.

Steve recently had a complaint from a person about the homeless man in the ladies restroom, homeless people eating in the lobby. Steve said the few homeless men that frequent the library come in the mornings grab a book or two and hold their own reading club. Steve said he assured he would handle the restroom problem but her other complaints were not viable so he would not take action on them. She felt the homeless men where someone she didn't want her children around. Steve said there are many people who don't look homeless but are and we hire them, they volunteer for us and other organizations. Steve attempts to treat everyone who visits his library the same. Steve believes the public and staffs perception defines the role of the library.

Glenda Willnerd reported that Lincoln public schools media department is ordering a new software program. In August, media specialist will have training on the new program. Glenda stated that they have one media specialist who retired and another one who took a classroom position. There are about 50 media specialists in the Lincoln public school system. Lincoln public schools are partnering with the family literacy program to hold a program where 10 students with learning problems are invited along with their parents to a session where kids are in one room learning reading skills and parents are in another being taught literacy skills and other things that can help their child. These classes are being held at cultural centers and funded by Lincoln Public Schools federal program.

Gretchen Healy reported that she hasn't heard much information from the Little Priest Tribal library. Gretchen stated the college is still looking for a Dean and have been for the last six months. It usually takes up to a year to hire a Dean so she's not sure where they are in the process. The library received an $11,000 budget cut which was smaller than Gretchen thought it would be. The library did receive $25,000 appropriation from the tribe which will allow them to hire another person. The bad part is that they took away some of the college support staff from the library so that leaves 3 people to run the library. Gretchen said they will probably have to cut hours of operation due to the small staff. Gretchen stated that she is currently editing the joint dissertation by the Omaha Tribal Historian and a friend of hers. They are doing the dissertation for a college in California. This will be the first time the story of the Omaha tribe will be told about the people by the people. The title of the book is Grandfather Remembers and should be out in a couple of years. It will probably be on CD and be very visual and the appended audience will be the Omaha people. The Omaha tribe is the most studied tribe ever but the people have never been able to tell their story their way.

Cindy Gitt reported that Pam Soreide, Holdrege library director, initiated some library re-organization activities. The library's children's area has been re-arranged. This led to a decision to purchase newer copies of some of the books in the children's area. The library's adult area is now being re-organized. These changes will also result in space for teens closer to Cindy's work area. A new Playstation 2, television, games and other items have been purchased. The internet area has been expanded and additional computers have been installed. Cindy continues to have Gamers Saturdays with about two dozen teens in attendance. Space re-organization has allowed for a children's story and activity room. Cindy stated that the library had good attendance for the summer reading program.

Maria Medrano-Nehls expressed appreciation to Marty Magee for the information resources she shares at council meetings. Maria's husband is on a liver transplant list and Marty's health information resources are especially helpful. Maria said she uses the health information sites to monitor her husband's health so that when she takes him for medical appointments she has a list of questions to ask. Maria stated she recently took her husband to see his doctor and took her list of questions. The doctor asked her where she was getting all this information. She told him that she knew someone from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine who educates and publicizes sources for consumer health information. The doctor admitted that he knew nothing of the national network. Maria said that she asked for his e-mail address and sent him health information resource web sites.

Ceri Daniels reported that at the law office they have three new attorneys. The new attorneys are officed in Omaha. Ceri is working with the new attorneys to learn what they want and need. Ceri said in the ten years that she has worked at the law office she has watched phone calls decrease and e-mail increase. There is a significant change in work with this trend as e-mail increases expectation of timely response.

Recommendations and Resolutions: There were no recommendations or resolutions.

Adjournment: A Motion was made by Steve Fosselman and seconded by Joan Giesecke to adjourn the meeting at 1:45 p.m. Motion approved.

For more information, contact Sue Biltoft.