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Meeting Minutes

Via Video-Conferencing Facilities
Lincoln, Omaha, Scottsbluff, Norfolk, Grand Island, and Kearney
November 20, 2009

State Advisory Council members present: Ceri Daniels, Cindy Gitt, Deb Carlson, Ellen Weed, Frank Zimmerman, Glenda Willnerd, Gretchen Healy, Joan Giesecke, MeMe Smith, Pam Bohmfalk, Pat Gross, Pat Leach, Patty Birch, Robin Bernstein, Steve Fosselman, and Trini McBride

Commission Staff: Kathryn Brockmeier, John Felton, Maria Medrano-Nehls, Richard Miller, Mary Jo Ryan, and Rod Wagner.

Welcome and Introductions

Chair Pat Gross opened the meeting with a welcome and introductions of those present.

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

Approval of Minutes (July 10, 2009): A motion was made by MeMe Smith and seconded by Joan Giesecke to approve the minutes. Motion approved.

Nebraska Library Commission - Rod Wagner

Federal Library Programs Update - Rod Wagner reported that appropriations for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) have not been made. There is expectation that the Congress will approve an omnibus appropriation in December. This would provide funding for the current federal fiscal year (Oct. 1 - Sept. 30). It is expected that the LSTA funding will be about the same as last year. LSTA is up for reauthorization and legislation is expected in 2010 to renew the authorization period for five years.

2009-2011 State Biennium Budget - Rod Wagner reported that the Governor 's call for a special legislative session was prompted by state tax revenue shortfalls and affects many Nebraska libraries that are state supported. The Governor recommended across-the-board state fund budget reductions for most state agencies, including the Library Commission. The budget reductions include a 2.5% state general fund reduction for the current fiscal year and 5% for the next fiscal year beginning July 1, 2010. The Governor also recommended that funds which had been re-appropriated at the end of the 2009 fiscal year be reduced. The Library Commission had approximately $20,000 in re-appropriated funds. The state funds reduction applies to both the Commission 's operating budget and state aid budget.

Steve Fosselman asked what does state aid funds cover. Wagner stated that state aid funding includes regional library systems, continuing education grants, youth services grants, state aid to public libraries, interlibrary loan compensation, database licenses (NebraskAccess), the Nebraska Center for the Book, and NLA/NEMA conference. Rod stated that the Commission has not yet worked out which budget items will be reduced or eliminated.

Pat Gross asked how this will affect the databases. Rod stated that due to the upcoming budget cuts there could be some modification to the databases. For the current year the database licenses are all signed and in effect and won 't be changed. Rod stated that unless additional budget cuts are made most of the funding currently available for databases will be retained.

Wagner stated that the Commission also pays for a motion picture license agreement that covers public libraries and a statewide membership to Friends of Libraries USA (covering public libraries and a few college libraries that have friends groups). These will be considered for budget reductions.

Joan Giesecke stated that the University of Nebraska is facing the same issues and wondering where the cuts will come from within the university system. There is concern about jobs and salaries for university employees.

Pam Bohmfalk asked how the budget cuts will affect the motion picture license. Pam stated that it is hard to make plans for youth programming without knowing that the motion picture license will be available for all libraries.

Rod Wagner stated the motion picture licensing agreement was recently signed for renewal. Richard Miller stated that this year 's motion picture licensing is paid for the year which will end in September 2010. Rod stated that the Commission would seek input on the impact of the motion picture licensing agreement to determine which libraries make use of the license. If usage is broad based then the Commission will attempt to continue the license. Rod stated the annual cost for the motion picture licensing is $16,000 and covers all Nebraska public libraries. Schools have use of films without fee for educational purposes.

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

Rod Wagner stated that the Nebraska Library Commission has been involved in a number of meetings and conference calls the past several months concerning economic stimulus funding. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, U.S. Libraries Program, reached out to state library agencies offering the opportunity to request the Foundation 's assistance in preparing and submitting an application for federal broadband grant program funds. The Nebraska Library Commission submitted a proposal to the Gates Foundation in September and recently learned that the Gates foundation included Nebraska among 14 other state library agencies for the foundation 's support. Support includes the assistance of a consulting organization that has expertise in the federal broadband program. The Gates Foundation will also provide matching funds for project applications. The Gates Foundation will issue a news release about this project on December 1.

Deb Carlson stated that economic stimulus funds for public facilities were discussed at an earlier council meeting. Rod Wagner said that stimulus funds for public facilities are available through the Department of Agriculture community facilities program (for communities under 20,000 population) and for energy conservation projects through the Nebraska Energy Office. Most of the Department of Agriculture funds are in the form of long-term low-interest loans. This program has been in place for a number of years but the ARRA has added funds to the program. There are some Nebraska libraries that have received loans through this program to help finance library facility projects.

Nebraska Library Association Pam Bohmfalk

Pam reported that:

The 2009 NLA/NEMA Conference was held October 28-30 at the LaVista Convention Center.  A total of 689 people participated in the conference, 100 of these were first time attendees.  There were 53 commercial vendors and 25 non-profit exhibitors.  The general consensus was that LaVista was a lovely venue for the conference - many attendees suggested we just go back there every year. NLA is mourning the untimely death of long time NLA member and NLAQ editor John Bernardi.  John passed away October 31, 2009 from complications of H1N1 flu. New NLA officers took over at conference: Scott Childers, UNL, is President; Christine Walsh, Kearney Public Library, is President-Elect; Joanne Ferguson Cavanaugh, Omaha Public Library, will continue as Secretary and Marjorie Harrison, Panhandle System Consultant, will take over as Treasurer January 1, 2010. NLA will continue to work on a strategic plan during 2010.

Future dates to remember:
December 4, 2009 NLA Board
February 9, 2010 NLA Legislative Day,
March 18, 2010 Para Section Spring Meeting
October 13-15, 2010 NLA Conference Grand Island

Nebraska Educational Media Association - Glenda Willnerd

Glenda reported that the Nebraska Educational Media Association is 40 years old this year. To celebrate this occasion NEMA is conducting a logo contest to select a new logo.

The NLA/NEMA Conference, which was held at the LaVista Conference Center, was well attended. NEMA hosted a breakfast for past-presidents on Friday morning.  There were 17 past presidents in attendance.

NEMA members recognized at the annual NEMA luncheon were:

Distinguished Service Award: Gail Formanack Presidential Award: Stephanie Burdick Sound Off For Media Award: Carol Nish (St. Vincent de Paul) Meritorious Service Award: Rod Wagner Past President: Robin Schrack

NEMA hosted the following sessions at the conference:

Success Story Share Shop Selecting Literature to Teach About the Holocaust and Other Sensitive Topics Reading Strategies for Media Specialists Golden Sower, Golden Words Come to the Library! What Does It Mean to You? AASL Guideline and the Nebraska Guide Why Would I Want a SmartBoard in my Library? Exploratorium Technology Ties to Literature Technology Resources & Ideas

Members of the Nebraska Guide Committee met the Wednesday before the conference to work on revisions to the new guide.  The new guide is expected to be released at the conference in 2010.

21st Century Skills (Institute of Museum and Library Services project report on Museums, Libraries, and 21st Century Skills) Discussion

Rod Wagner stated that this topic was chosen for the meeting because the IMLS recently issued this report as a result of a project which has been in the works for some time. The final product is from a contracted company hired by the IMLS and will be used with some of IMLS 's other initiatives. The IMLS is emphasizing the importance of 21st Century skills and is encouraging libraries, museums, and other educational related organizations to address the 21st Century skills as a focus for these organizations. Rod stated that the report is appropriate for the council 's consideration and discussion. The report is timely for the Library Commission as Commission staff is preparing a grant application to the IMLS for the 21st Century Librarian grant program.

Rod encouraged discussion of the topic. Rod asked how this report relates to the work that schools are doing with 21st century skills on the school and educational side.

Pat Gross stated the skills documented in the report are very close to the skills listed by the AASL school standards. The skills being addressed by schools are creative thinking and problem solving. School media specialists are working to get students prepared for the skills needed for 21st century work, living and life-long learning. 

Glenda Willnerd stated that schools are looking for partners for the 21st Century project and see how that fits with the schools AASL standards. Glenda said that they seem to mesh together perfectly. Glenda said that what we want to do now is bring standards down to the local level and encourage media specialists to embed the standards into the lessons they are teaching. Glenda stated that Lincoln Public Schools is working toward placing the standards into benchmarks for teaching the skills. The benchmarks are established for all grade levels. Glenda stated that the benchmarks should be placed into class lessons. This will give credibility to what the school does and help teachers learn and understand what 21st century 's skills are and how they relate to their teaching.

Steve Fosselman stated that as we are looking at 21st century skills have any of the schools had success in ending programs, reprioritization and emphasis so that you are able to reach 21st century skills.

Joan Giesecke reported that UNL has made changes in what they are teaching and how they are teaching. They have cut back on some programming in order to find resources to focus more on critical thinking skills. With budget cuts more time is being spent on the most needed skills. Joan said that another challenge is for staff to keep their own skills up to meet the 21st century requirements. UNL is currently considering which mobile applications they will support. Currently the library is working to make the catalog searchable with a Blackberry, iPhone or other mobile device. Part of the university 's challenges is to not only help the university community improve skills but to also determine which technology skills the university can and cannot support.

Joan Giesecke stated that the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has an office that works with students who have disabilities. Staff of this office has provided workshops for library staff about the resources and services they can provide for students. There isn 't just one solution that is going to fit all of their population. Schools that choose to use a Kindle for textbooks are being sued because the Kindle is not accessible for people with vision impairments. Therefore, the UNL library staff is working to get people to understand that not everyone is going to have access to everything.

Pat Gross stated that she believes that we do a very good job in Nebraska with NebraskAcess. She appreciates the availability of NebraskAccess in the school setting because students are able to access it at home and teach other family members. Pat stated that NebraskAccess is one of the resources Nebraska has for all libraries and she hopes that it will continue to be available because it addresses many skills and is available in one place.

Patty Birch referred to Glenda Willnerd 's remarks about the AASL standards document that school media specialists use as their bible. The document gives instructors benchmarks and specifies grade levels for skills. Media specialists are working at integrating the standards into lesson plans. Patty said that North Platte schools are encouraging critical thinking skills. The new superintendent, Dr. David Engle, has everyone in the district reading Ron Ritchhart 's book, Intellectual Character.

Pam Bohmfalk stated that the Hastings public library has a new strategic plan. Activities are being reviewed with consideration toward changes to fit 21st century skills. The staff is encouraging and implementing critical thinking, problem solving, and information literacy with all their programs.

Steve Fosselman said the Grand Island city administrator is leading a multidepartment exercise that focuses on priorities, organization and services. So the 21st century skills onset comes at the right time for them. Steve stated that all agencies will have to make some core choices that speak to the institution of the mission and the primary user group.

Maria Medrano-Nehls said that as school media specialists are teaching 21st century skills students are experiencing a new way of learning that is different from how their parents learned. Maria asked if this new learning process causes problems when the kids begin to ask parents for help in the thought processes they are learning. Are schools addressing this problem, and if so how are they addressing the problem?

Joan Giesecke stated that some schools have an active parent outreach program and have programs that include the whole family. This brings the community into the elementary school library so they can experience the skills together. Other schools hold adult literacy night with the family coming to the school to learn current skills for math, reading and other class subjects.

Richard Miller stated that adults will start seeing a lot of 21st century skills in their workplaces and will begin to see parallels with their child 's learning program. Richard stated that the whole workforce, no matter what level the position, will have to be retrained.

Robin Bernstein stated that Bellevue University is pursuing the same training and refocusing. Bellevue University sees many adults returning to school that don 't have the learning skills that their children have. Bellevue University is designing blended courses to include both the online environment and face-to-face environment. The university has seen a significant difference in enrollment since making this change. It is appealing to all ages to have either the entire online format or blended format so the university is offering those learning options. They are also viewing from the student 's perspective rather than from past experiences and methods.

Glenda Willnerd responded to Maria 's question and said that Lincoln schools are working to get the teachers on board more than working with the parents right now. The schools have their traditional teachers who need to be challenged to consider instructional design and determine what they can do to improve. The teacher/librarians have a goal to help teachers get on board with this program. With good instructional design the teachers can see and think about the possibilities of new skills. 

Glenda Willnerd stated that Lincoln public schools and many other schools have organized as professional learning communities. This emphasis gives teachers time to plan and to meet student needs. This has been beneficial to teachers and allows them time to collaborate with other teachers on the best strategies to help their students.

Maria Medrano-Nehls stated that this might be a great opportunity for the schools, public libraries, and university libraries to work together to teach the rest of the community about this new way of learning and thinking.

Glenda Willnerd recommended 21st Century Skills: Learning for Life in Our Times by Bernie Trilling and Charles Fadel. The book is easy to read and has some great visuals.

Joan Giesecke stated that UNL had Don Tapscott who wrote the book Wikinomics visit and speak with extension educators. Tapscott spoke with people who are working directly with a variety of groups throughout Nebraska on what is needed for 21st century workers and the skills they need.  Some of the information on 21st century skills is coming from extension programs and extension educators.

Mary Jo Ryan stated that she has heard many at the table speak about about 21st century skills and problem solving. Mary Jo asked how communication, technology, literacy, civic literacy and global awareness applied in this new learning environment.

Trine McBride stated that when she started hearing about new approaches to critical thinking skills she wondered what was involved and then found that her children were using critical thinking skills in class projects.

Joan Giesecke stated that UNL recently revised its general education program and it now reflects issues addressed in the 21st century plan. The university system strategic plan, as well as those for the different campuses, reflects many of the issues from the 21st century plan. Giesecke said that students must volunteer for community projects and assist with developing plans for community improvements.

Robin Bernstein stated that Bellevue University offers a series of classes that students must complete before graduation. Courses include civic responsibility and involvement.

Joan Giesecke stated that Lincoln public schools include instruction involving global awareness in part due to student population diversity.

Glenda Willnerd stated that Lincoln schools are addressing cultural proficiency. The Lincoln public school district was recently recognized for its multicultural education program. The LPS media service department holds an exhibit each year called MOSIAC which is made up of the best multicultural literature available. This year the exhibit was held on October 7 with 525 titles on display. The focus is on the four major culture groups that recognized in the State Department of Education Rule 16 - African American, Asian American, Native American, and Hispanic American. The exhibit also displays books for Middle Eastern cultures and has a section called Global. The exhibit is open to students and community members to view. A bibliography is provided with the titles on display and the curriculum connection so teachers know where the book fits in the curriculum.

Maria Medrano-Nehls asked Glenda to explain the guidelines used to choose the books for the exhibit. Glenda stated that they have a committee which uses a collection of literary tools, list of different criteria. The committee considers illustrations, storyline, author, and how well things are documented. Information about MOSIAC can be found at

Rod Wagner stated that the Library Commission has provided grant funding to support libraries with part-time student interns. Wagner asked for comments about youth workers and how student internships contribute to 21st century skills.

Joan Giesecke stated that UNL Libraries employs 250 students each year. By the time these students graduate they have worked there for awhile and have improved their library skills. As a group, they have an appreciation and understanding of libraries and their value.

Pat Leach stated that Lincoln public libraries has used interns in the past and has had some great experiences. Pat stated that she 's not sure how well they have incorporated some of the thinking skills. Like other work places, the library staff is glad to get student workers on-board, get them trained and ready to work. By the end of their stay you wonder if you have talked with them about being a good employee and the directions that libraries take. By then you may realize staff hasn 't stepped back and reflected on what the intern has done. This is where improvements could be made. One helpful action has been a pre and post survey that evaluates attitudes about libraries. The survey responses provide staff with the intern 's perception of library work.

Gretchen Healy stated that she has had a concern about the intern program for some time. Gretchen stated that even 20th century skills are sometimes the unknown factor in teacher education and if teachers can be educated about what librarians can do then there might be better cooperation and collaboration with the education community. Is there any initiative to get into teacher education with the message about librarian skills?

Joan Giesecke stated that the UNL college of education attempts to make students understand the kinds of things libraries can do for them, both while they are students at the university and when they go out as teachers. Once the students leave and get into schools they are in a different culture and it 's hard to know how much carries over.

Glenda Willnerd stated that it was hoped that media specialists would take time to visit with new teachers right away because it is very important that teachers know what kind of services are available to the teacher. Glenda said it would be great if the state 's universities and colleges would bring in media specialists for in-service programs with students who are planning teaching careers.

Pat Gross stated that the council didn 't discuss technology literacy. This is a topic we all have a responsibility, no matter what institution we represent, to present some kind of programming technology literacy to all citizens in our communities. Pat said she would like to see public libraries help with this situation. The senior community is looking for training or assistance with computer skills. Many seniors are getting a GPS device, PDA, or just want to e-mail their grandchildren and could use training on various technology skills. Maybe the school media specialist could step in and help in the summer. It is important that librarians collaborate on this kind of program or any technology skill programs. It is also important to market programs. Pat stated that she found an article called Word of Mouth that talked about a new way of advertising with little cost. Pat said it is important to review all programs and re-market them if changes are made.

Pat stated that Nebraska libraries are doing a good job. Librarians should look at the positive things in their library and work to change the things that need improvement.

New Business

Recommendations and Resolutions

Pat Gross welcomed Steve Fosselman as the new State Advisory Council on Libraries chairperson. Pat thanked the Commission for the appointment to the council. Pat stated that she was first appointed in 2004 and that this is her last meeting. Pat stated that she thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the advisory council and is thankful for the things she learned and making her aware of things that go on in our state. Pat stated that the librarians and media specialists across the state have great appreciation for the Library Commission. She thanked the group for letting her serve as chairperson.

Rod Wagner thanked Pat Gross for chairing the council this year and for her two terms on the council. Rod also thanked MeMe Smith and Gretchen Healy for their two terms of service on the council. Gretchen said that serving on the council was a pleasure and she learned so much. She hopes the new members will take the opportunity to get in touch of the big picture of libraries in Nebraska because she had the opportunity to see the big picture and it gave her a new perspective of Nebraska libraries.

Meme Smith stated that she would like to thank the Commission for giving her the opportunity to serve in this position. MeMe said that she was being mentored by the whole group and that she was able to get much more from the Council than contributed and even down to the last session. MeMe said that the report on 21st century skills is a great resource to for learning. She will use the document with her board members. MeMe said that her library is working on its strategic plan. The 21st Century Skills document will help to address areas that MeMe believes are not covered well enough. MeMe said that it has been a joy to work with people from around the state and learn about their libraries and initiatives and she has enjoyed getting to know the librarians from other areas of the state. MeMe thanked council members for everything they do for libraries across the state.

2010 Meeting Schedule

The council 's first meeting of the year is typically held in March as a joint meeting with members of the Nebraska Library Commission. The joint meeting will be held March 12, 2010 with the site to be determined. The next council meeting will be held on July 16th, and the last meeting for the year will be held on November 19 meeting.

Rod Wagner asked Deb Carlson about the Scottsbluff public library building project. Deb stated that there was a snag with bids and it was decided to re-advertise. Bids are due next Tuesday. Everything else is ready to go. Deb stated that the last $600,000 needed was received in the form of a grant from the Lied Foundation. A ground-breaking ceremony will be held soon.

Pat Leach stated that she and MeMe Smith attended advocacy training that was provided through the Gates Foundation Opportunity Online Hardware grant program. Pat shared information about library stories and their use with Lincoln 's library board and foundation. MeMe said advocacy training participants received valuable materials. These will serve as useful reference tools.


Chair Pat Gross adjourned the meeting at 11:52 a.m.

For more information, contact Sue Biltoft.