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Meeting Minutes

Grand Generation Center, Lexington, Nebraska
December 13, 2002

State Advisory Council members present: Susan Baird; Jim Bothmer, John Dale; Steve Davis; Karen Drevo; Nancy Escamilla; Stan Gardner; Jeff Gilderson-Duwe; Maggie Harding; Mo Khamouna; Ken Oyer; Tom Schmitz; Ruth Seward; John Seyfarth; and Jane Wall.

Commission members present:  Richard Jussel and Kristen Rogge. Commission staff members present:  Rod Wagner, Nancy Busch, Richard Miller, and Maria Medrano-Nehls.

Welcome and Introductions

 Chair Karen Drevo called the meeting to order at 9:03 a.m. Ruth Seward, Director of Lexington Public Library, welcomed the Advisory Council to Lexington and to the Grand Generation Center.


Approval of Agenda: Ken Oyer moved, John Seyfarth seconded, approval of the agenda.  Motion approved.


Approval of Minutes (September 20, 2002): Tom Schmitz stated that a correction was needed in the September minutes saying NLA and S&I co-sponsored a program not ICON. Steve Davis stated that page 3, paragraph 1, should be NETA newsletter not NITA newsletter. Richard Miller stated that page 2 under Gates Foundation should say Pam Scott and other NLC staff were involved, not just Pam Scott. Jim Bothmer moved and John Seyfarth seconded approval of the minutes as modified. Motion approved.


LSTA Re-authorization and Funding: Rod Wagner reported that the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) has not been reauthorized.  However, the program and funding continues under provisions of a Congressional continuing resolution.  There was a glimmer of hope that the base funding level would be increased, but that does not look very promising now.  

Karen Drevo stated that she had received responses to Advisory Council letters on LSTA from Senator Ben Nelson and Congressman Tom Osborne. Rod Wagner stated that one thing we could do is ask our Congressional delegation to co-sponsor the LSTA re-authorization bill.

Congressman Osborne is the only one of Nebraska's Congressional delegation who serves on a committee that will have some jurisdiction over LSTA funding.

Gates Foundation Library Project: Richard Miller reported that libraries are calling about their order form from the Gates Foundation. Richard said there is no need to worry, the order forms will arrive 8 weeks before their training. Gates is setting up training workshops in the northeast and then going counter clockwise around the state. Those libraries in the southeast will be the last of the group.

NLC Grant Programs and Schedules: Richard Miller distributed handouts for grants schedule, LSTA grant information and an agenda used for the Commission's grants training that was performed by Mary Jackson, Richard Miller and Pam Scott.

State Budget Outlook and State Legislative Issues: Rod Wagner reported that the state budget outlook continues to be negative, with the projected deficit for the next biennium approaching $600 million. State agencies have been instructed to submit budgets with 10% budget cuts. On January 15, the Governor plans to present his budget to the Legislature. State fund reductions are expected for the Library Commission, as for every state agency. It will touch on higher education, K-12 education to some extent, those in special libraries as part of state agencies, and local agencies in terms of their monies received from state government. We will need to be vocal in our support of these programs.

The Nebraska Library Association has scheduled Feb. 13 for Library Legislative Day. Rod Wagner stated he was not sure what new library related legislation will be introduced. Rod stated that Mike Nolan, Norfolk City Administrator, plans to have the library technology bond financing bill reintroduced in the 2003 legislative session.  The bill has been rejected each time it has been introduced in the past three sessions.  Nancy Busch noted the cumulative effect of state budget cuts over the last several legislative sessions. She stated that the Commission has focused on increasing the aid category over the last several years. The Commission has already given up three staff positions due to budget cuts, and possibly faces 6 or 8 more position losses with proposed cuts for the next biennium. An alternative would be to look at switching federal funds into operations instead of aid.

Jane Wall asked if school, academic and public libraries might be able to fund the databases themselves if we did not provide this "luxury."  Nancy stated she has heard that even some of the major libraries have come to depend on these databases. Jim Bothmer stated that Creighton University depends on the databases. In response to Jane's question about personnel, Rod noted that the Library Commission is in the situation of having to consider staff reductions because personnel is the largest expense category in the Commission's operating budget.  Nancy Busch noted discussion with the State Building Division to determine whether any cost reductions could be negotiated on facility costs. 

John Seyfarth asked about federal maintenance of effort and matching provisions for LSTA. Nancy stated that Nebraska currently meets LSTA maintenance of effort requirements, but there is a concern about future years. Jim Bothmer asked how much the Advisory Council meetings cost; Nancy stated that costs for the September meeting in Tilden were about $3,000.  Karen Drevo asked if we face the possibility of not being able to replace staff members who retire.  Nancy stated that we may have to face that, because typically we would try to keep on current staff rather than initiate lay-offs. 

Nebraska Long Range Plan for Library Services (2003-2007): Nancy Busch stated that a staff team is working on the 27 activity areas in the long range plan. The purpose of the staff team is to consider priorities and scheduling of the activities.  Stakeholders will be identified to be involved in those efforts. A challenge will be to evaluate everything that involves federal LSTA funds; these funds are scattered throughout many Commission activities. Karen Drevo stated the difficulty of long range planning when the long-range prognosis is so dismal. Nancy Busch stated a good example of this is the Library Commission biennium budget request presented to Commissioners in October prior to submitting the budget. With a 10% state funds reduction everything can be cut back.  A budget reduction above 10% would require elimination of major programs and services. 

Library Workforce Recruitment and Retention Task Force - Report and Discussion

Rod Wagner stated that copies of the minutes of the first meeting of the task force were included in the meeting documents.  Rod stated that some Council members are serving on this task force. The task force will generate ideas for consideration by the State Advisory Council, Library Commission, the Nebraska Library Association, the Nebraska Educational Media Association, and Nebraska libraries.  The motivation for the task force goes back a few years with recognition of the need to continue bringing people into the library workforce as library workers retire or leave library employment. 

The retirement issue is the most pressing now. Rod asked Council members for discussion. John Seyfarth stated that Omaha Public Schools pays tuition for people going into library education.  Karen Drevo stated that too many people think you don't have to do anything special to be a librarian. John Dale stated that many people who have come into the field have done so as a second professional choice; this needs to be kept in mind. There is a need to focus not only on how to contact high school students, but the 30+ year old also. Karen Drevo stated that Becky Pasco spoke quite a bit to the issue of people coming into library employment from other fields. Jane Wall stated that trying to get good teachers to move into the media field is a "tough sell" because of the technical aspects of the job.

Ruth Seward noted that there is going to be a trickle down effect; if we are talking to school kids about this and they speak to their parents it may lure the parents into the field. Ruth said that she spoke to her Friends group about the coming shortage, and that sparked an interest in their spreading the word to children or grandchildren.

Jeff Gilderson-Duwe stated that we need to develop a pitch. Develop something like - "Me? A Librarian?" campaign targeted at a somewhat older audience.

Karen Drevo asked about the possibility of an AA degree in conjunction with the community college programs. Jim Bothmer stated that the Medical Library Association is promoting the library service careers because of the technical requirements.

Stan Gardner raised the issue of low salary levels in general library positions and the disservice to individuals in those positions. A suggested salary level for librarian positions may be useful.

Richard Miller asked how the work of this group hooks up with what the national (American Library Association) task force is doing.  A response was that the ALA task force is being monitored and information about their activities is included for task force information and discussion.

John Dale stated that one idea might be to involve someone from the Nebraska League of Municipalities.

Mo Khamouna suggested following the example of Ohio, developing a 15 or 20 minute video to help with recruitment.  Nancy Escamilla suggested recruitment packets that could be distributed at career days and job fairs. Earlier Nancy Busch passed around a printout from the PLA Job Shadow Day, scheduled for January 31, 2003. (See

Rod Wagner stated these are things we can take back to the task force for their discussions. We need to narrow the ideas down and determine the best ideas that are likely to be most productive and that can be implemented within time and cost considerations.

Libraries and Public Value - Rod Wagner stated that when IMLS Director Bob Martin spoke at the NLA conference, he quoted from Mark Moore, author of Creating Public Value. Rod mentioned the article by Eleanor Rodger, Libraries and Public Value, was included in the meeting packet and asked for feedback on the article.

Maggie Harding said she felt the distinction between advocates and players near the end of the article is the most telling of the article. It is important to listen to what the community wants and needs rather than telling them that they should value libraries.  Susan Baird agreed and said libraries are publicly funded because they support society's need for "life-long learning." Jane Wall noted the comment on the article's first page about what is valuable to the community is not necessarily valuable to the library staff; again, listening to the community is the key. There is a difference between promotion and publicity and listening.

Rod Wagner asked what the thoughts where on the "strategic triangle of value." Stan Gardner stated there is a difference between measuring "profits" in business versus measurement in libraries. Richard Miller stated that outcome based evaluation may provide the tool needed to assist us. Nancy Busch stated that we need to look not just at doing something for individuals, but for society as a whole - like public education.

Richard Miller told the story of the woman whose foot was saved from amputation by the traveling medical librarian in Montana and stated we need to consciously decide what it is we need to do and tie it in with what it is we are already doing. Maggie Harding stated we need to take our offerings out to the community and not wait for them to come to the library. Tom Schmitz stated that HHS institutional libraries had to "reinvent" themselves; they did this by upgrading technology. Tom also said that they are planning sessions on MEDLINE, which their nursing staff does not know about.

USA PATRIOT Act - Rod Wagner asked for comments from people who attended the teleconference on December 11th.  Comments noted that the teleconference included good information and ideas.  Richard Miller stressed the importance of having library policy and procedures in place. John Dale said it was important to have a checklist for evening staff so they know how to handle issues that may come up. Jim Bothmer stated that there is potential for abuse by law enforcement. Rod Wagner stated that library staff needs to be concerned about privacy issues and what information libraries keep about their users.

Lunch & Discussions 

Council Roundtable 

Ken Oyer stated that this was his last meeting. He has appreciated working with this group especially since he has been a one-person library for so long.

Jim Bothmer - Jim is the head of a search committee for a Vice-President for Information Services at Creighton University.

John Seyfarth - Richard Miller attended a City Council meeting to speak on the issue of governing versus advisory status. The night that it came up for a vote, about 150 people attended the Council meeting.  The issue was tabled indefinitely.

John Dale - John stated that Bennett Martin Public Library is in the process of setting up its Gates Computer Lab. Lincoln City Libraries is conducting a feasibility study for the Bennett Martin Library; June Garcia is working with Clark Anderson & Partners to develop options for the library to use 10 to 12 years from now. On November 25, Lincoln City Libraries implemented a policy stating Internet access was available to persons under 17 year of age with parental signature only; there was no controversy about it but fewer teens using the computers. The library did receive editorial support from the local newspaper, putting the censorial activity in the hands of the parents, not the library. About 600 people came to hear Kent Haruff speak on Plain Song, the book selected for Lincoln's one city - one book discussion program. John stated this was also his last meeting and that he has thoroughly enjoyed the last six years.

Stan Gardner - Stan stated that Wayne State College Conn Library now has the antenna in place for 20 wireless laptops.  The library had over 1,500 checkouts in a two week period. Stan is working with several database vendors to allow Friends to use the databases; Ebsco has been most forthcoming with prices.  

The State Records Board approved their grant request for ultra- and microfiche scanner so they can scan and send information out via computer instead of mailing.  Stan is working on two other grants, Research Revolutions grant funded by the National Science Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation. This grant consists of a series of 6 videotapes to create public forums on various science topics. The second grant is an exhibit of "Yesterday's Tomorrows" through the Humanities Council Smithsonian exhibit. The exhibit will be open March 22 to April 18.  The Nebraska Library Commission awarded the WSC Library a CE & Training grant allowing 20 people across the state to take an online cataloging class starting in January.  Stan plans to offer this class annually. During the last month, much work has been directed to dealing with budget cuts, trying to save jobs. The college had to come up with about $1 million reduction; 9 people have been laid off. Next year, WSC may have to reduce its budget another $1 million. Since Peru does not have a librarian on staff, Stan is providing consulting to them and will be helping them in the hiring process.

Tom Schmitz - The HHS consortium is still working toward its integrated system. Tom and Sue Divan, YRTC-Kearney, are planning to submit a diversity grant for LSTA funds to address Hispanic and Vietnamese client needs. The consortium is planning on providing training on MEDLINE, Pubmed, etc. for medical/nursing staff in HHS institutions. He is participating in the on-line class Stan Gardner mentioned earlier.

Ruth Seward - Invited anyone who would like to tour the library to stop by after the meeting. The City of Lexington has decided to hold a bond election January 28, 2003. The bond issue is to give the library permission to spend $1.5 million on a library building project and to purchase the property for the library. The City has assured people that this will not raise taxes; how, we're not sure. Then the FRIENDS group will raise an additional $1.5 million for the project.  The new children's librarian wrote a Children's Grant for Excellence and was awarded the grant which will allow language arts students to attend 3 literature festivals and then put on a program next year.

Mo Khamouna - The library got LEXIS/NEXIS a few days ago, and added a distance learning computer in the library. Mo would like to add Webcollection and CatExpress to the library's computer. The Dean has said that he will have to cut all staff to 9 month contracts or cut some people from the staff due to budget cuts. There were some unhappy feelings with the deletion of the Mechanics program. Mo is writing letters to raise awareness and provide support to the school.

Steve Davis - NEMA is fairly quiet right now. Steve serves on the Kearney Public Library board. Kearney Public Library is accepting proposals from architectural firms for plans on an expansion of the library. There is not much space for expansion although the city did buy a gas station and put a new parking lot in to the west.

Karen Drevo - Norfolk held a special election on a ½ cent sales tax increase in November. It went through and the funds will be used to build a new fire station and hire additional fire and police staff. The library has finally hired a security guard for the evenings.

Karen stated that Norfolk has had an increase of Somalian's and Sudanese and the library has added services for them. During Teen Reading week surveys were sent to middle schools, Jr. High Schools, and one of the High Schools in town. About 600 of the surveys were returned and the results have not yet been compiled. Norfolk is getting ready to do a large collection development project for young adults.

Nancy Escamilla - Scottsbluff served over 147,755 people in one year, with circulation of over 246,874. Served 111, 444 reference questions, 26,290 people used the Internet computers and sponsored 196 programs with 12,967 people attending them. And they also had 21,290 cardholders; this is 45% greater than the population of Scottsbluff. They service a lot of the surrounding communities including a few communities in Wyoming. Nancy participated in a program for visiting Afghanistan teachers who ranged in age from 26 to 60, and were all women. They wanted to see a children's story hour so one was arranged with a group of second grade children. Their country has gone from 20% percent student enrollment to 80% in the last year, 50% of the student increase were females allowed to attend or return to school.

Scottsbluff Public Library children's book budget has been put on hold for a year. Thanks to Lincoln Public libraries, Scottsbluff Public Library is now getting new signage. Nancy took pictures of both the Lincoln and Tilden libraries and showed them to the Library Board and they have agreed to purchase new signs and shelves will get a new finish.

The White House Christmas tree came through Scottsbluff and over 5,000 people attended the parade; during the parade day they took story time downtown and had 200 children in attendance. Morrill Public Library held an "Apple Pie Evening" and had over 100 people who donated $550 to the library. The money will be used to purchase new furniture and carpeting. WNCC staff attended the "Brick and Click" sessions at Missouri University. All PLS activities are now taking place elsewhere rather than at the Panhandle Center because of price increases from the University of Nebraska system.

Jane Wall -Jane is teaching a course at the Southeast Community College in Lincoln. She discovered that her students were not familiar with the licensed online databases so she taught them how to use them.

Susie Baird -  Susie stated that this was her last meeting and she felt this is the one group where you can come to and you don't have to worry about politics, cliques, etc. Wally Seiler has accepted a position on the Alliance Public Library Board; he will be completing a term for a board member who resigned. Monthly brown bags at the Alliance public library are standing room only successes. They also have new display cases and regularly change these displays. WNCC classes held at the Alliance library have been so successful that they are expanding to four more classrooms downstairs.

Maggie Harding - NLA membership is really healthy right now. Crete nominated two of their Friends for the TUFS award, but Wally Seiler won. They did recognize these two women at a special ceremony.

Maggie's daughter is the new media person in Crete and the services are perking up. Maggie did Basic Skills training (Public Library Administration) in November.

Basic Spanish for Library Workers Training - Information and Discussion

 Rod Wagner asked Maria Medrano-Nehls and Richard Miller to speak about the program called, "Spanish that Works." Richard distributed information on the "Spanish that Works" program.

Maria stated that she had contacted Margaret Thompson, Latino Outreach Coordinator in Wyoming, who asked her sister to develop a program that would address the language needs of library workers to be able to offer good library services to Hispanic customers. The program began in Wyoming and has since extended to other states. It is a very simple program geared to answer basic library questions and describe services available.

Maria said that until there is a staff person who can communicate to the Hispanic community in Spanish, you will not get them to come to the library or if they do they can never ask for assistance to get full use of the library services. John Seyfarth says they are getting a lot of use of the Spanish language computer. Jim Bothmer stated there is a trainer with a library science degree in York (Dennis Hack) who speaks Spanish.

Maria stated that she spoke with Linda Garcia at the Omaha Public Library; they have been incorporating the Spanish community into their library programs. Omaha has translated every brochure they have into Spanish. Nancy Escamilla stated they have a person who has helped policemen with basic Spanish, but the person does not have time to help the library. Discussion was held on options and the possibility of using LSTA funds and working with the various resources already available in the state. Nancy Escamilla stated that more and more people are moving to Nebraska for a better life, and we need to be able to give them the services they need. Richard Miller stated that the Gates computers come with the ability to switch languages and have a tutorial on how to use the mouse in both English and Spanish. The Council stated that they would like to see LSTA and CE Training funds used for the program.

Recognition of Council Members Completing Terms 

Rod Wagner distributed Certificates of Appreciation for two completed terms to: Stan Gardner, John Dale, Ken Oyer, and Susie Baird.

Adoption of Resolutions, Action Items (if any)* 

A general thanks to Ruth Seward for hosting the meeting. Thanks to Karen Drevo for Chairing the Council this year.

2003 Council Meeting Schedule

 The next meeting will be a joint meeting with the NLC Commissioners, March 13 and 14th, 2003 in Kearney. Mo Khamouna invited the Council to meet in Curtis for the June meeting.


Ken Oyer moved to adjourn, seconded by Mo Khamouna. Motion approved.  The meeting adjourned at 2:03 p.m.

For more information, contact Sue Biltoft.