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Meeting Minutes

Grand Island Public Library, Grand Island, Nebraska
March 12, 2010

State Advisory Council members present: Patty Birch, Pam Bohmfalk, Kate Borchman Hassebrook, Deb Carlson, Ceri Daniels, Steve Fosselman, Pat Leach, Trine McBride, Todd Schlechte, Susan Warneke, Ellen Weed, Glenda Willnerd, Merrillene Wood, Frank Zimmerman

Commission Staff: Maria Medrano-Nehls, Richard Miller, and Rod Wagner.

Welcome and Introductions

Chair Steve Fosselman opened the meeting with a welcome and introductions of those present.

Approval of the Agenda: A motion was made by Ceri Daniels and seconded by Merrillene Wood to approve the agenda. Motion approved.

Approval of Minutes (November 20, 2009): A motion was made by Trine McBride and seconded by Deb Carlson to approve the minutes. Motion approved.

Nebraska Library Commission - Rod Wagner

State Advisory Council on Libraries -Rod Wagner extended a welcome to the new State Advisory Council on Libraries member. The Advisory Council is now into its thirty 's. It was originated in the early 1970 's as result of a federal library program that the Library Commission administers which was previously named Library Services and Construction Act (LCA). LCA had some legislative changes that required states to form advisory councils to advise state library agencies on its federal programs for the state. The legislative was later removed but the Library Commission has always valued have a council to bring together people who are representatives of different types of libraries, people with connection to libraries. We very much appreciate the contributions we get from the council members.

Federal Library Programs Update - The Nebraska Library Commission is the state library agency and has responsibilities for administrating the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) program. Each state and U.S. territory receives under a particular part of the LSTA a funding determined on a formula basis and each state has a state plan in which they use the federal funds for. We always include on our council agenda a report on programs. We have always said the LSTA is in reauthorization year.

There has never been a problem reauthorizing funds each year. There always seems to be some way for the funds to be available. Most importantly is the annual appropriations and there are recommendations before the congress for the LSTA appropriations for the coming fiscal year. Due to the government current financial problems there is a proposal by the administration to freeze funding for a number of federal programs but Congress will make the final decision about the appropriation levels. We are expecting the LSTA funds to continue for the coming year to be close to or the same as the current year. We have never restricted the council to focus only on the federal program. We have looked to the council as an advisor for our whole program and we have a number of state budget activities as well.

State Budget Actions and Outlook - On the state level the Library Commissions operating budget, state aid and grant budget were cut this year by 2.5% during the state legislator 's special session and 5% will be cut starting on July 1. In recent discussion in the legislation regarding the continued revenue shortfall and the current information is the appropriations committee expects to introduce an additional 2% budget cut for a number of state agencies which will likely include the Library Commission. This has yet to be approved but we will need to watch this topic. Rod Wagner was asked how these cuts would affect the Commission and he responded that he is not sure yet because they are still struggling to go over their budget base on a 5% reduction. We as well as other state agencies will have to look at employee furloughs, vacant positions will most likely not be filled and several other areas will be cut.

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act - Library Broadband Project - The Library Commission is submitting an application for a major federal grant to provide or upgrade broadband services too many Nebraska libraries. This is a result of the economic stimulus money. One of the federal programs offered through the Department of Commerce is a program that will offer funding to improve telecommunications to libraries. The Library Commission was approached by the Gates Foundation to offer support for state libraries that were preparing to complete application for the broadband program. The Library Commission responded to the offer and was fortune to be included among 14 states to take advantage of this assistance. 

The assistance includes providing a cash match with federal application. The federal program requires 20% of the funds to come from local sources so we found issues providing that match. The federal government stated that those filing in the second round which we were applying for would receive additional points if our match was higher than 20%. Fortunately the Gates Foundation agreed to provide the 30% match. Our application is expected to be around 3.1 million dollars of which the foundation is providing 1 million dollars contingent on the grant being awarded to us. The majority of the funds will go to the 140 Nebraska public libraries that are going to participate in the project.

There are 270 public libraries in Nebraska but there are requirement to the federal program that preclude some Nebraska libraries to not be eligible to participate in the grant. Those excluded are due to exceeding the economic factors of the grant, availability of broadband services in their communities such as already having broadband or sufficient number of computers to accommodate their community.

Participating libraries had a very short amount of time to submit information not readily available to them and letters of support. We very much appreciate the quick work you did to enable you library to participate.

It will be several months before we know the status of grant application and the competition was great with many state libraries applying for grant funds. If our grant is approved the Commission will have lots of work to do in assisting the participating libraries.

Richard Miller stated that the Gates Foundation also provided consultants to assist the state libraries with completing the federal application. The company from Boston with consultants that are very knowledgeable about these grants assisted the Nebraska Library Commission with their grant. Several staff members worked numerous hours on this project and their help as well as the consultants help was much appreciated.

Patty Birch stated that North Platte public schools must cut 4.1 million dollars from their budget. There will be reduction in force due to the budget cut. Community colleges have been told they must develop three budgets for the next fiscal year with different and lower percentages then they currently have in place.

Nebraska Library Association (NLA) -  

Pam Bohmfalk reported that NLA will again be partnering with the Library Commission to offer student Internship funds that were provided by private organization/foundations. Last year ten internship scholarships were awarded to public libraries. NLA and NLC will be doing fund raising to help raise money for the intern scholarships and are talking about expanding it from public libraries to make it available to academic, community college, and maybe public schools. It is hoped that ongoing funds will be available. The group hopes that they can receive monies from another 21st Century Librarian grant.

The libraries who received scholarships for student internships had to complete an ending report. The reports were compiled into one large report made from answers reported by the library staff and the student intern. Many great responses were received about the program from the student interns. It is felt that this program is a worthwhile program that will allow us to show students what working in a public library is really about and hopefully expand the project to include other types of libraries. 

Pam stated that NLA spring meetings are just around the corner. Pam stated that spring meetings are wonderful opportunities for continuing education on a variety of topics. The Public Library section will hold three spring meetings the first is May 4 in Gering, May 5 in North Platte, and May 7 in Nebraska City. NLA is struggling to get library trustees involved in the organization; this is nothing new but very frustrating. One of the things that make libraries so special is that they are a part of our communities, and we need community input into our profession organization just as we need input from the professionals. The Public Library section spring meetings are free to any trustee who attends with a librarian. Please encourage library trustees to get involved in the organization or attend a spring meeting.

Richard Miller stated that the Public Library spring meetings will have informative information and discussion on the accreditation process. There will also be information about continuing education grants offered for libraries to hold Jim Connor workshops.

Pam stated that the Paraprofessional Section spring meeting will be holding sessions on technology and 2.0 issues, leadership, and wiki 's for libraries. These meetings are online or gathering sites across the state.

Pam stated that the 2010 annual conference will be held in Grand Island.

Nebraska Educational Media Association -

Glenda Willnerd reported that members of the NEMA Living for Life (L4L) Committee continues provide professional development workshops on AASL 's Standard for the 21st Century Learner at ESU 's and professional association conferences across the state. Presentations have been given at the NAG conference in LaVista, ESU 13 Mid-Winter Conference in Scottsbluff, and the Nebraska State Reading Association conference in Kearney. A proposal was also submitted to present at the NETA conference in LaVista for April and to present at the Nebraska Council of School Administrators annual conference in Kearney for July.

Members of NEMA met with the Nebraska Department of Education seeking endorsement for the revised Nebraska Guide. Dr. Breed wrote a letter of support for the first page of the Nebraska Guide.

The book Unwind was chosen as the 2010 One Book For Nebraska Teens.

NLA and NEMA are looking at the option of offering affiliate membership with NLA and NEMA.

Judy Henning of Kearney is running for AASL Region 9 Director and Deb Levitov of Lincoln is running for Chair of the AASL Affiliate Assembly.

NEMA members are encouraged to attend the 2010 Heartland Conference in Omaha at UNO on June 14 & 15, 2010.

NEMA will be holding their election of new officers and board members in March-April.

Program Prioritization Process 

Steve Fosselman stated that the City of Grand Island is currently asking city departments to prioritize their programs and gave a presentation on how to achieve fiscal health and wellness. Which actually means more for less; although this is not a new concept the ways to achieve the goal with input from discussion is a new concept.

The presentation highlighted the following items.

            New Normal for Government

  • More than 80% of the 2,200 local governments report that they have been "moderately" to "severely" affected by the financial crisis and experienced an average budget shortfall of more than 8 percent for 2010.
  • Across the country, the financial crisis is redefining local government as officials face the reality of having much less money to deliver services, from public safety and libraries to rubbish collection.
  • Unlike the situation for private business, demand for public services often rises as revenues fall.
  • A new level of government spending needs to be established.
  • Local governments are rethinking what services they provide, how much they pay for them and what taxpayers expect for their tax dollar.
  • At least 48 states have had to address shortfalls in their budgets for 2010 (totalizing $168 billion).
  • Budget difficulties have led at least 43 states to reduce services to their residents.
  • Initial indications are that states will face shortfalls as big or bigger in 2011 than they faced in 2010.
  • 7 in 10 consumers say they are cutting back on how much money they spend each week, and 22% of those say they worried yesterday that they spent too much money.
  •             Key Objectives of Prioritization

  • Evaluate the services we provide, one versus another.
  • Better understand our services in the context of the cause-and-effect relationship they have on the organization 's priorities.
  • Provide a higher degree of understanding among decision-makers as they engage in a process to rank services based on priorities.
  • Articulate to people in the organization and to the public how we value our services, how we invest in our priorities, and how we divest ourselves of lower-priority services.
  •             Steps to Successful Prioritization

    1.) Determine Results

    • a) Accurate prioritization of programs, reflecting the City 's stated objectives,  depends on the comprehensive identification of the Results we are in business to achieve

    2.) Clarify Result Definitions

    • a) Precision in prioritization results from the articulation of the cause and effect relationship between a program and a result

    • b) With clearly defined Result Maps, detailing the factors that influence the results we are in business to achieve, we can seek to minimize           subjectivity in he process of linking programs with results

    3.) Identify Programs and Services

    • a) Differentiating programs and services we offer, as opposed to comparing the  departments who provide those services allows for better prioritization

    4.) Value Programs Based on Results

    • a) With the right results, and with clear definitions of those results, we can more  accurately place a value on a program relative to its influence on achieving  results

      5.) Allocate Resources Based on Priorities

    UpNext: The Future of Museums and Libraries 

    Rod Wagner stated that IMLS introduced the Future of Museum 's and Libraries Discussion Guide. The guide encourages broad base discussion and input and provides us with the means to have a discussion of our own in Nebraska. The responses and input of discussions will provide information for us here in the state and also to provide input to IMLS. You can interact by going to the wiki provided by IMLS. The wiki has periodic breakouts of different themes. Rod felt that this topic fit well with the topic Steve Fosselman provided. Rod encouraged everyone to read the guide and look at participating on the wiki and holding discussions with your fellow librarians, or those interested in libraries. Rod stated that they provided examples to their themes.

    New Business

    Election of Council Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect:

    Kate Borchman Hassebrook made a motion and Deb Carlson a second to cease nominations. Motion was voted on and approved. Todd Schlechte made a motion to elect Merrillene Wood as the new Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect, second by Frank Zimmerman. Motion to approve Merrillene Wood as new Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect was voted on and approved.

    Recommendation and Resolutions 

    There were no recommendations or resolutions.

    2010 Council Meetings - July and November

    A decision will be made by Rod Wagner and Steve Fosselman will choose a site for the July 16 meeting. The November 12 meeting will most likely be a teleconference meeting.


    Patty Birch reported for Marty Magee. Information was distributed containing information for upcoming events which are free and online resources sponsored by the National Network of Libraries of Medicine.

    Patty Birch reported that Central Community College has taken over the LIS program. This change has been successful. Patty said her challenge at North Platte High School is the budget cuts and the direction the administration is taking.  Patty is speaking to the school administers about the new 21st Century Library, the school library and how things are changing and trying to incorporated the new things into her library.

    Deb Carlson reported on the ground breaking of the new library addition. Deb passed around news articles and pictures. The addition to the library should be completed by the end of the year.

    Steve Fosselman reported on things happening in his libraries and challenges the library is facing.

    Susan Warneke stated that her grade school is looking at incorporating more technology into the school library. The school system is applying for a grant to provide AR which is a new technology tool.

    Trini McBride stated that Ord is gearing up for summer reading. Trini reported that they received a monetary gift from a deceased member of the community who visited the library frequently.

    Ellen Weed stated that all the institutional libraries downsizing in some facilities, struggle with budgets, space, staff, training of staff who move on to another job and they have to hire and train over again.

    Todd Schlechte stated that one of their big successes last year was that one of their interns decided to change her college major from nursing to library science. She is currently taking library science classes right now. Todd said they have been working on reorganization and space issues. The library will be expanding to use part of the city hall basement which also acts as the senior center. They will do all their children programs in the city hall basement and use the meeting room as the adult nonfiction area with tables and chairs. Todd stated their circulation has been up 35% since last October 1. Todd said this might be due to the city of Gretna 's population growth, increased collection, and the economy.  

    Merrillene Wood stated that she 's the first librarian WNCC had had for a number of years and the collection is not what it should be. She is currently weeding and updating the collection. The library will stop purchasing magazines because they are on the databases. Sidney public library has also suffered a budget cut but was fortune in that they did not have to let go on an employee. The library will order less books for their collection and the renovation project has been scrapped.

    Deb Carlson reported that Scottsbluff public library had their ground breaking after 6-years of fund raising. There were close to 300 people at the ground breaking. The selected construction company said they will be completed by October 30, 2010. The staff has had to store some items, move other items and move the front entrance to allow the construction to continue while the library is open. Panhandle Library System continues to hold their Job-a-Like program because it is very helpful for all librarians in the system.

    Pat Leach reported that Bethany branch library will be celebrating their 50th anniversary. The library received a donation to refurbish the library so it will look very nice for their celebration. Lincoln City Libraries is in the midst of their strategic planning process. One of the components of the strategic planning is called Competency, things that the library staff does very well or should be shared. LPS is working with the literacy program to develop a program for children making sure their child is going to school or daycare. Pat is very happy to work with other organizations in the city. Pat said the library is hiring again after several years of a hiring freeze.  

    Kate Borchman Hassebrook reported that four-years ago Lyons opened a beautiful new library. The library had a new director, Michael Heavrin, and the library hours have increased. The library board had $100,000 endowment goat which didn 't get reached but they do have a $60,000 endowment. They also wanted a display area in the library but didn 't have the funds but a family lost a daughter who donated money to the library who used the funds to purchase two beautiful glass display cases. Community people bring in collector items to display in the cases. 

    Pam Bohmfalk stated that NLA is in the midst of their strategic planning process. They started with a survey to members, and will introduce a new mission statement to the board at the next meeting. Pam said that the City of Hastings wants the public library to place their state aid money into the general funds rather than a grant fund. Rod Wagner stated that the Commission would be glad to write a letter stating the exact function of the state aid funds.

    Future Meeting Dates

    July 16 - site to be determined

    November 12 - site or teleconference to be determined.


    Chair Fosselman thanked everyone for attending and adjourned meeting at 1:00 p.m. Tour of the Grand Island public library started immediately following the meeting.

    For more information, contact Sue Biltoft.