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Meeting Minutes

Lincoln, Nebraska

June 13, 1996

Present: B. Baker, V. Bialac, J. Birnie, D. Crews, L. Cundiff, D Dragos, B. Hansen, M. La Croix, J. Leader, S. Mason, G. Mier, J. Saathoff, T. Strom, K. Tooker, R. Voeltz, S. Wiegert, S. Wise.

Staff: D. Boone, J. Budler, N. Busch, K. Keller, S. Snyder, E. Van Waart, R. Wagner.

Welcome and Introductions

The meeting was called to order at 10:05 a.m. by Vice-Chair Jeanne Saathoff. Introductions were given around the table. Lupe Mier arrived and presided over the remainder of the meeting.

The agenda was amended to included recognition of Sharon Wiegert's birthday. The amended agenda was approved by acclamation.

Jeanne Saathoff noted the minutes should be amended to indicate the March meeting was held in Kearney, not Lincoln. Dick Voeltz moved the minutes be accepted as amended, Sharon Mason seconded the motion. The motion carried by acclamation.

NLC Report

Federal Programs Status

Rod Wagner updated the Council on the status of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). LSTA is a part of the Careers Act of 1996; which concerns employment & job training related federal programs. The overall act is progressing very slowly. There is concern the Act will not be passed prior to the adjournment of Congress this fall. LSTA section of the act is now, for the most part, agreed to by all interested parties. The only remaining significant issue is the minimum allotment for states. Some states want the minimum to be high enough to provide significant federal funds for lower populated states. The larger states would like to reduce the minimum in order to have more funds allocated on the basis of population.

If the LSTA legislation is not acted upon this year, other actions are being contemplated. The appropriations process allows for a one year continuation of LSCA. This is less desirable because if LSTA is not passed, the work will have to start all over with the new Congress, and the work of this year would not count.

The President and Congress came to agreement and funds for the current fiscal year have been appropriated. This allowed the Library Commission to recently announce information about Title

II construction and technology grant program. Title II and Title III funds were reduced from last year. Title I funds increased from last year.

The House and Senate are both working on budget resolutions for the next fiscal year. The assumption is the Careers Act will be passed and the funding approved, including LSTA. Unfortunately, some related programs, such as the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities, may be phased out.

The universal service provisions of the federal telecommunications law include provision for special telecommunication rates for schools, libraries and rural hospitals. The Nebraska Public Service Commission regulates, to some extent, the telecommunication policies in Nebraska. They will have some involvement in determining the regulations or policies regarding the special telecommunication rates that will go into effect during 1997. The American Library Association (ALA) has a web site dealing with all the universal service provisions. A copy of a list of sites was distributed.

A joint Federal Communications Commission and state board is receiving input on the universal service provisions. They will issue their recommendations in November 1996. The Federal Communications Commission will release their final order on universal service provisions in May of 1997. ALA been a leader in promoting favorable rates for libraries. The Nebraska Public Services Commission is well informed about this issue. One commissioner, Lowell Johnson, has special interest in the provisions and in libraries.

State Legislation:

Rod Wagner noted one big issue affecting the state aid campaign is property tax legislation enacted by the Legislature this past spring. Schools and public libraries will be affected significantly. The legislation imposes budget limits on local government subdivisions, school districts, municipalities, etc. The Legislature has issued some challenges to Nebraska state and local government to find ways government can be restructured or jointly administered to share services and reduce costs prior to 1998, when the limits on property taxes take effect. There will be a combination of budget limits and property tax limits. The legislation efforts and state aid campaign can relate to this challenge.

The Legislature did not act on LB 590 during the last session. The proposed legislation had evolved over the past few years, beginning as a fairly ambitious set of proposals that included the concept of multi-community or multi-county library district, a library federation concept, and rewriting of the public library laws. It evolved into a fairly straightforward and simple proposal to make it easier to organize county libraries. The Legislature ran out of time and chose not to deal with this issue. Now we have to take another look at what we want to do and put it into perspective considering the Legislature's action on property tax and budget limits.

The LB 1375 task force has been created to look at issues regarding electronic access to state government information. They are now conducting research to learn what agencies are doing. December 1, 1996 is the deadline for their recommendations to be submitted to Legislature. It is expected public meetings will be held, perhaps this summer or sometime in the fall, as an opportunity for public input. Expectations are this will result in better understanding of what is happening in Nebraska and other states.

Ellen Van Waart updated the Council on the public library guidelines revision. The committee has been working for one and a half years. A draft document was mailed to all public libraries and board presidents this spring. A session at the Spring Meetings asked for feedback from those attending. There was excellent discussion and good feedback. Feedback was also solicited in phone calls, letters and via email.

The guidelines committee will meet on July 22-23 to incorporate feedback. The final draft will be ready for the fall NLA/NEMA convention. The Public Library Section of NLA will vote on approval at that time. Anyone who has suggestions or ideas are encouraged to send them to Ellen Van Waart or other committee members before the end of July. A video conference is scheduled for June 28, 1-3 p.m. CDT as an additional opportunity to comment. All sites except Chadron are reserved for it.

State Aid Campaign

Nancy Busch updated the Council on the state aid campaign. The campaign has come a long way from the first proposal at the Council's meeting last December. The State Aid Steering Group met in April and a copy of those minutes were sent to all Council members.

Discussion of the campaign was held at the NLA Spring Meetings in May, including the $5 per capita idea (which would result in approximately $8 million total). Some input received indicted the need for more vision regarding the campaign and needs within the state. This resulted in scheduling a Visioning Retreat for July 26, which will be held in Lincoln. (Note: since this meeting of the Council, a second Visioning Retreat has been scheduled for August 16 in Alliance.) Invitations will be sent out soon to the library community. The purpose of the Retreat is to bring together people in the library community to discuss the future of library and information services in Nebraska. A smaller group of Public Resource Library Group and Regional Library System representatives will meet on July 17 in Kearney to discuss the property tax issue and the larger units of public library service as aspects of the overall campaign.

It is also hoped that shared leadership for the campaign will come out of these meetings. To be successful, the leadership needs to be broad based. All Council members are welcome to attend any State Aid Steering Group meeting.

A resource sharing retreat will be held August 22-23 in Lincoln. The Library Commission is issuing invitations to library community representatives and will pay their way to attend. This issue relates to the state aid campaign as well.

Our overall hope is that all these efforts result in a vision and theme that will excite and unite us all.

Introduction of new staff

Jo Budler introduced Diana Boone, OCLC Member Services Coordinator.

Biennial Budget Planning and Long Range Plan - Discussion

Nancy Busch asked the Council members to think about what are the important questions we should be asking about the future of library and information services, and to review the Council's Challenge to Nebraska libraries. The Council will divide into two groups. Each group will discuss the questions issue, and also look at the State Advisory Council on Libraries charge for 1994 to determine if it needs revision, promotion, or other action.

The Council broke into groups at 10:45 a.m.

The Council reconvened at 11:40 a.m.


Group 1:

Key Questions

Impact of electronic resources?

on materials

on physical facilities

How to guarantee quality of information

How do we interpret the information?

How do we train/educate ourselves to use information/technology?

How do we cope with the transitory nature of information?

How do we ensure equal access? universal access?

Are we going to be allowed to interpret information ?

Should we offer value judgments?

What do we have influence or control on?

How will change affect our boundaries? (-library - government units?)

How do we establish libraries, library service, as a priority

How do we identify what our publics want?

How do we involve public in making choices?

How do we market our choices?

What about the non-information providing roles at libraries?

How do we reveal existing partnerships?

Challenge to Libraries

Needs to be more reflective of broader roles

Needs to be more inclusive

Libraries are a priority in a functioning society

Service based on customers changing needs

Knowledge Center

Social/Fabric role of libraries

Communal role - community building

How do we pay for all this?

How do we prioritize service?

By what criteria?

How do we educate funders?

How do we educate users on need for more than Internet?

How do we customize information for users?

How can we educate our users as to our level of effort in finding information?

How can we cost out our services?

How can we involve users in testimonies to Legislature?

Group 2:

Key Questions

What formats do we need to consider?

What do our users want?

What do people have at home/school?

How can we effectively use available technology?

How can libraries be flexible enough to face challenges?

What local effort financing will share be in light of property tax restrictions?

Where will money come from?

How to decide what is most important?

Who do we need to work with for better service delivery?

How can we better access/share information on what others are doing?

Are we visible in our communities?

Why do fire and police departments get more money than libraries?

How can we better communicate with decision makers?

What needs do libraries satisfy?

What are the concerns in communities and how can libraries address these concerns?

What stories are there to relate the value of libraries?

Challenge to Libraries

Relevant but only a part of what we do


Expand 2nd sentence. It is too limited, define and broaden, give examples.

"Information access" - means what?

1st sentence addresses "Equity"

Second sentence addresses "Efficiencies"

last sentence addresses "Electronic Access"

Partner - Cooperate
Work with
Build partnerships
Build "partners"
Integrate in communities

Meeting Wrap-Up

Lupe Mier and Devra Dragos volunteered to work with Commission staff to revise the challenge statement.

The September Council meeting is scheduled for Thursday, September 19. The date has not yet been set for the December meeting.

Dick Voeltz moved and Verda Bialac seconded the meeting adjourn. The motion carried.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 11:51 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Sally Snyder


(3 handouts from Rod re: universal service provisions)

(handout copy of draft guidelines)

Nancy: lots of good questions to help us focus us educating ourselves, public and funders about the issues that impact...

focus on information providing roles and electronic info towards end

non-electronic roles: community building roles etc. how are perceived and the impact. improving libs includes improving lib service. future may be more about service, not libraries.

statement needs to be updated and reframed. we are in a different place now. much broader challenge now.


observations: strong focus on community and customer/user questioning. what do we know about our communities and customers, and unserved. what do people have in homes, kids have at school; take it into account when we plan. how better communicate w/ our communities and w/ people in decision-making capacities.

challenge is ok as far as goes, some things left out. matched up equity, efficiency, electronic access with 3 sentences in statement. need to update and expand the statement so matches better with campaign.

UPT concept (universal pipeline of truth)

Lupe Mier: Steve Ooton will chair the state aid campaign meeting this afternoon. All Council members are welcome to attend.

For more information, contact Sue Biltoft.