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Meeting Minutes

Nebraska Library Commission, Lincoln, NE
November 18, 2005

State Advisory Council members present: Patty Birch, Jim Bothmer, Janice Boyer, Steve Davis, Karen Drevo, Nancy Escamilla, Joan Giesecke, Patricia Gross, Maggie Harding, Gretchen Healy, Theresa Jehlik, Marty Magee, Becky Pasco, John Seyfarth, and MeMe Smith.

Commissioners: Mary Nelson and Velma Sims-Shipley. Commission Staff: Kit Keller, Maria Medrano-Nehls, Mary Jo Ryan and Rod Wagner.

Welcome and Introductions

Chair Nancy Escamilla welcomed everyone and introductions were made around the table.

Approval of the Agenda: Rod Wagner asked that the USA PATRIOT Act be added to the agenda. A motion was made with the addition and seconded to approve the agenda. Motion approved.

Approval of Minutes (July 15, 2005): A motion was made and seconded to approve the minutes. Motion approved.


USA PATRIOT Act - Rod Wagner noted information sent from the ALA Washington Office regarding Congressional action on renewal of the USA PATRIOT Act. The ALA is urging contacts with Senators and Representatives concerning the vote on the conference report regarding USA PATRIOT Act re-authorization. There are particular concerns such as minimal provisions for obtaining library records and other similar privacy protection issues. If the Council wants to send a message to Nebraska's Congressional delegation it should be done soon.  

Library Services and Technology Act FY2006 Appropriation - Rod Wagner reported that the U.S. House of Representatives voted against the appropriations bill conference report.  As a result, funding will be allocated through a continuing resolution based on last year's appropriations levels.

LSTA Grants - Kit Keller reported that the LSTA grant application went live on October 1 with a due date of December 30. Digital projects continue to be a priority but the Library Commission will accept applications for a variety of library technology and service projects.

LSTA Five-Year Evaluation & LSTA Long Range Plan - Kit Keller reported that the state's five-year LSTA program evaluation and long range plan will be due in March 2007. 

Libraries and the Gamer Generation - Julie Pinnell gave a presentation on library services and the "gamer generation." Gamers are under thirty years of age and have grown up in the world of technology. Gamers spend many hours playing games on the internet as well as using devices such as Game Boy and Nintendo.  The gamers' culture promotes various types of information literacy, develops information seeking habits and production practices (like writing), and requires good, old-fashioned research skills, albeit using a wide spectrum of content.

In short, librarians can't afford to ignore gamers. How can librarians respond to this gamer world? One option is to develop a deeper understanding of emergent digital literacies and find ways to put library cultures into conversation with gaming cultures.

There are some relatively simple ways that librarians can get started. First would be to provide games in libraries. Second, libraries might set up workstations with games or host game nights. Providing these services will encourage teens to use the library, allow librarians insights into youth culture, and brand the library as a technically advanced place where people can come for informal social bonding. Not surprisingly, this has raised interest in the library and is establishing valuable new relationships across the two communities. Librarians must find creative ways to support people in forming sites of collective intelligence, searching information, working within social networks, and producing knowledge. If not, they run the risk of rendering themselves, for much of the public at least, largely obsolete.

Recruiting the Next Generation of Librarians -Mary Jo Ryan reported on the Commission's Librarians for the 21st Century grant. Mary Jo presented information about educational activities, scholarships and producing marketing tools to aid in recruitment of library workers. Mary Jo distributed a recruitment and retention brochure developed by the University of Nebraska at Omaha. The brochure was funded by the Commission's IMLS grant. The Commission is working with Ann Siedl to produce a movie trailer and other media for the project. The movie trailer will be produced in DVD format and will be part of a complete marketing project. The Commission and other partners will host Ann Siedl at a 2006 NLA - NEMA Pre-Conference program. The Commission is also working on the mentoring component of the project. This will match library science students with librarians. The mentors' role will be to assist, encourage and support the student.

21st Century Librarians Scholarships - Mary Jo Ryan reported that MLS scholarships are available in the amount of $2,500 per year. The IMLS grant allows the Commission sufficient funding to offer a higher level of scholarship aid. The Commission plans to award ten MLS scholarships this round.  Work is also underway to provide scholarships for bachelor's degrees in library science and scholarships for students in the Library Technical Assistant program with the expectation that these will be offered beginning in 2006.  

Planning and Data Services - Kit Keller reported that public library accreditation program participation has been good and has increased since the guidelines were changed two years ago. There are currently more accredited libraries than in the last 10 years with 174 of the 275 public libraries accredited.

Kit stated that the state aid to public libraries payment formula had an awkward effect due to past budget cuts. As a result, the formula has been revised this year. The Commission changed the population base from 5,000 to 8,000 for the base payment.

Kit stated that a large part of her job is data collection and use. There are several data collection tools which have been available for several years such as BiblioStat Connect. Most data collection tools have been improved and are easier to use. Kit distributed documents showing data comparisons using a few of the tools and the Web sites for these tools.

Nebraska Library Association - Maggie Harding reported that she has received 157 membership renewals for next year. Reminder letters were sent to the people who pledged contributions to the NLA's Planned Giving fund. The Nixon Scholarship is doing very well. Scholarships were awarded to two students in the amount of $2,000 per student. Maggie reported that the NLA is in good financial shape.

Nebraska Educational Media Association - Steve Davis reported that this is a slow time for NEMA. NEMA is planning to do sessions in all of the regional library system areas again this year.

Consumer Health Information - Marty Magee distributed information from the health symposium held in North Platte on November 10. The Nebraska Library Commission provided funding for people to attend. There were 34 participants representing 7 communities. Participants included people from public libraries, hospitals, public health related organizations and area health education centers.

One of the symposium's purposes was to seed some community projects for community health information. The symposium included three morning presentations - Marty gave a presentation on assessment and evaluation, Roxanne Cox's presentation covered consumer health collection development, and Cindy Schmidt's presentation covered reference interviews. Information from the presentations will be posted on the Nebraska Library Commission Web site. The afternoon session included a Café to Go format which arranged people into smaller groups to discuss topics such as potential projects and partners. At the end of the day, ideas from the table discussions were shared with the larger group. The symposium planners hope that some of the community projects discussed at the symposium will be implemented. The Nebraska Library Commission has grant funding to assist with some of the projects.


MeMe Smith - During National Library Card sign-up month, the Schuyler Public Library signed up quite a few new patrons, replaced cards and forgave fines in an attempt to encourage people back into the library. In September, MeMe and one of the Schuyler library foundation members attended building design training in Illinois to get information on getting their building project off the ground. MeMe will have her first article printed in Hispan�s Unidos, a Spanish newspaper which publishes two different versions, one for the Lincoln area and the other for the Norfolk and Schuyler area. MeMe is currently taking an MLS class.

Steve Davis - Kearney Public Library is recruiting for a Library Director.

Patricia Gross - Nadine DiBacco is leaving the Gering public library. A farewell party will be held December 9. Applications for the Director position are due December 9. John Harms, President of Western Nebraska Community College, is resigning his position and will be running for the State Legislature to replace Adrian Smith who will be leaving the legislature due to term limits. Job-a-Like will be held next week. Gering public library is a Prime Time Family Reading Program participant. The western part of the state welcomes all of the training opportunities brought to them. Sherry Housman will be doing her MLS practicum with Pat next week.

Maggie Harding - The NLA Trustees, Users and Friends Section has a new Secretary/Treasurer, Emily Dunbar of Hastings. TUFS is working on actions suggested in the trustee evaluation. A committee was formed to plan four programs from each of the selected topics over the next four years. The committee will put together a checklist with tips and topics that trustees can use at orientation. The trustee manual was last revised in 1997. A revised manual is in the works. The manual will be printed for distribution and will be available online.

Jim Bothmer - Creighton University is kicking off its big capital campaign in December. The campaign has already raised $150 million. The Creighton University Health Sciences library is working with an upper level communications, organization and communications class on a satisfaction survey project.

Gretchen Healey - NCA will be visiting the campus in December. They will focus on financial stability and assessment. Gretchen stated that she attended a session on college assessment during the NLA - NEMA conference and the information learned at the session has been very helpful. Gretchen has introduced gamers to the library and surprisingly the resistance came from the staff not the public. The Winnebago library has signed up to be a government depository and is the first tribal college to do so. The library has also signed up as an associate of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine. Siobhan Champ-Blackwell nominated the Winnebago library to the ALA Public Library Association as the best small library in America.

John Seyfarth - The Sump Memorial Library had 155 children and parents at the Halloween party. They recently held a program where patrons donated food to pay their library fines.

Velma Sims-Shipley - The Fremont Public Library will be hosting its "Dessert in the Hay Stacks" event.

Mary Nelson - The Holdrege Public Library held a free will booksale and had their most successful year ever. Mary visited the new Lexington Public Library and will be helping move books. Pam Soreide, Holdrege Public Library Director, attended the Consumer Health Information Symposium held in North Platte. The Holdrege library looks forward to collaborating on projects with area health care organizations.

Becky Pasco - The MLS program is going very well. Some of Becky's students are working on a Nebraska Memories project. Becky expressed her appreciation to all the librarians who allow her students to visit with them and do their practicums with them.

Patty Birch - Patty has had several people come to visit the North Platte High School media center. Since the school can't afford NetLibrary, Patty has encouraged her seniors doing dual credits with the college to use the college library to access NetLibrary. The North Platte public library is very excited about the increase in circulation. Since January, 30,000 users have logged on to the library's twelve computers. The young adult librarian is doing a lot of outreach at the middle schools and the children's librarian is visiting the elementary schools. The Lexington school students will be doing human chains to help move books to the new library. Patty distributed a handout with information with the new LTA class dates.   

Marty Magee - Marty is working with Nebraska Educational Telecommunications on a series titled Remaking American Medicine. It is a national segment to be followed by filming of a local component. She is trying to get a segment on health information included in the series. The National Library of Medicine is considering placing more of its courses online. They have purchased Breeze, a software product to share documents and have online conference calls with groups of people. This technology will be shared within the six state regions. Last year, Marty produced a CD that she sent to nursing schools showing how to search various components of National Library of Medicine resources. This year she will put the information on a CD formatted for public library use. Marty mentioned "Go Local," a program offered by the National Library of Medicine. Go Local provides access to the Medline Plus Web site and allows people to type in a medical condition and receive a display of listing asthma related resources including Nebraska entries. Clicking on a state and county will result in a display of all the medical resources in your state and county for asthma. Marty will be asking for input from communities to place resource information into the program. Medline Plus will be adding herbal supplements and vitamins to it's website in the next month. You can also watch surgery online from Medline Plus.

Janice Boyer - Jan reported that the UNO Library is currently involved in a 31,000 sq. ft. expansion project. Jim Shaw, UNO Library Documents Librarian, gave a presentation at the Federal Depository Library Conference on How to be a Depository without being a Depository. Jim will be placing an article in the next NLAQ issue.

Joan Giesecke - Joan stated that during the NLA - NEMA conference the UNL Libraries provided a tour of its new depository storage facility. Tours are available upon request. The library receives ten to twelve requests per day for materials housed in the depository. The turnaround time for the requested item is four hours. UNL is one of the libraries that will host the American Library Association's and Newberry Library's Elizabeth I: Ruler and Legend exhibit, from March 3 through April 21. UNL Libraries will be working with Marty Magee to conduct a program at the 2006 NLA/NEMA conference.

Nancy Escamilla - Nancy reported that Scottsbluff will begin fundraising for a new library building. They need to raise four million dollars for the building fund. The Scottsbluff Public Library recently held is 2nd annual battle of the bands and had 6 bands and 500 teens in attendance. Next year they will hold the event at the amphitheater in Gering and the event will be called the Twin Cities Battle of the Bands. A teen band from Lincoln has asked if they can perform next year. It appears that there will be 15 teen bands next year.

The Scottsbluff Public Library recently finished Teen Read week and held a program on censorship. The new media specialist from the middle school has asked if the school and public library could do programs together. Nancy worked with her during Teen Read and did a program on censorship with good input with the teens. Nancy also did a censorship program at the library and many of the same students attended. The media specialist became involved and promoted the library.

Nancy reported that she is the scholar for the Nebraska Humanities Council's Family Prime Time Reading Program to be held at the Gering public library. The program is targeted at the growing Hispanic community and not only benefits the library but it also benefits high-risk readers. It joins the library with the Nebraska Humanities Council on a common cause. This year the Library Commission provided grant funds to the Humanities Council to allow participating libraries to hire a student intern to assist with the program. The student intern will receive a $300 stipend to work on the project. Nancy chose a 15 year old bilingual Hispanic girl, who has been a member of the Scottsbluff public library teen advisory committee for three years and has assisted with summer reading programs. Ashley is extremely proud to be a student intern for the program and she has now asked if she could work at the library, and since she is a high school honor student (sophomore year) she has asked if she can start taking the Library Technical Assistant college classes now instead of waiting until graduation. Nancy currently has four members of the teen advisory council who would like to become librarians. These kids volunteer up to 55 hours a year at the library. Nancy thanked the Nebraska Library Commission for providing the funds for the student intern. Nancy stated that she believes having youth work on special library projects as well as work in the every day routine at the library will help to recruit the future librarians.   

 Nadine DiBacco, Director of the Gering Public Library, is retiring. The library will host a reception on December 9. The City of Gering and the library board will host a reception on December 15. Judy Schachner, author of Skippyjon Jones, will be doing a one week tour in the Panhandle System and visiting every third and fourth grade class in the Panhandle System.

Karen Drevo - Karen reported that the Norfolk Public Library's materials and programming budgets haven't been cut, but there is a hiring freeze and the library is short three library pages. All staff members are taking on the additional work. Norfolk recently received a Wal-Mart grant that enables them to purchase $2,000 of ESL materials for the library. The library is getting ready to celebrate its 125 year anniversary in April. Norfolk will target National Library Week for its anniversary celebration. Karen has been doing storytime for Head Start. They are working with the Read Aloud Norfolk group for the annual community children's day celebration and with the public schools multicultural day. The cataloger's have embarked on a huge project to start a new catalog system. Karen is the vendor chair for CLIP this year.

Theresa Jehlik - The Omaha Public Library has a new Assistant Director, Stacey Aldrich. The library board brought in Alexander McCall Smith, the author of The Number 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. The Mayor announced that the Omaha Reads book for 2006 is To Kill a Mockingbird. Bids are being taken for the new South Branch Library/Metro Community College building.  

Tom Rolfes, Nebraska Information Technology Commission

Tom Rolfes, Education Information Technology Coordinator at the Nebraska Information Technology Commission, distributed documents showing the statewide infrastructure of the Education Network Regional Network Operation Centers now and in the future. He discussed the possibilities of libraries and schools working closely together with the new infrastructure. This network will allow teachers to see up to three other schools or class rooms to teach classes. There is a taskforce that will make the following recommendations to the legislature on this project:

1.      development of a high capacity, scalable telecommunications infrastructure;

2.      development of an Internet protocol-based network to interconnect all existing and future distance education and videoconferencing facilities;

3.      upgrades of current telecommunications equipment;

4.      training and support programs for educators in the development and use of distance learning;

5.      the transfer of distance education coordination responsibilities from distance education consortia to educational service units on or before July 1, 2007;

6.      statewide coordination for distance education offerings;

7.      Potential funding sources;

8.      the establishment of an equitable and affordable financing system for both equipment and usage;

9.      the establishment of a system that allows school districts to purchase quality distance education offerings from other school districts either directly or with educational service units acting as fiscal agents;

10.  statewide provision of other technology-based services.

It is expected that a legislative bill will be introduced in the 2006 legislature related to the taskforce recommendations. The State Department of Education will request funds for the telecommunications network project. Other entities will be able to access the infrastructure and pay their own costs. There are currently two communities that serve as models for the use of the Network Nebraska infrastructure: Wayne, which currently runs their wireless internet using their tallest dorm on the Wayne State Campus to nine municipal buildings, the library, public school system, and one special non-profit organization that serves special needs students. The Lexington public school system is also a model and the school district will share its network with the City of Lexington and the Lexington Public Library. 

2006 Legislative Issues and Initiatives

Rod Wagner stated that a major issue for the 2006 legislature will be tax reductions. Term limits for state senators will result in many current senators completing their terms in 2006. The Library Commission submitted a mid-biennium budget request for $325,000. The appropriation would allow the Commission to subscribe to additional databases to make available statewide through NebraskAccess. The appropriation would provide funding for an online encyclopedia for use in Nebraska schools, libraries and homes. Rod asked the State Advisory Council on Libraries members for their support in requesting additional funding for online databases.

Rod mentioned that the League of Nebraska Municipalities is again expected to have a bill introduced that would limit the powers of library boards.

Marketing and Promotions

Mary Jo Ryan reported that the Commission is starting a new Talking Book & Braille Service campaign. Copies of a new brochure were distributed. Mary Jo referred to READ posters displayed to illustrate use of the posters for library promotion and use in libraries.  Mary Jo distributed information about Ted Kooser's Poetic World, a new NET television special. The Library Commission and Nebraska Center for the Book were involved in the production. A screening was held on November 17 and the premiere broadcast will be on December 5. Each library will receive a poster to advertise the event and a DVD of the program. Lesson plans are attached to the program so it can be used in a classroom or book group.

Recommendations, Resolutions and Recognition

A motion was made and seconded that the State Advisory Council on Libraries adopt a resolution opposing the USA PATRIOT Act conference report and ask that the Nebraska Library Commission fax the resolution to the Nebraska Congressional delegation relaying the resolution and urge them to vote no on the USA PATRIOT Act conference report. Motion approved.

A motion was made and seconded to send a letter from the State Advisory Council on Libraries to members of the Legislature's Appropriations Committee and other state senators concerning the Education Enhancement Plan at the appropriate time. Motion approved.

Rod Wagner presented Karen Drevo, Steve Davis and Jim Bothmer with a Certificate of Appreciation for their service and participation on the State Advisory Council on Libraries as their terms end. They also received Admiralships in the Great Navy of the State of Nebraska from Governor Heineman.

2006 Meeting Schedule

A joint meeting of the Nebraska Library Commission and the State Advisory Council on Libraries will be held March 10 with location to be announced.

For more information, contact Sue Biltoft.