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Meeting Minutes

State Advisory Council on Libraries
Lincoln, Nebraska
December 2,1994

Present: B. Baker, V. Bialac, J. Birnie, D. Crews, E. Epp, J. Leader, S. Mason, G. Mier, P. Sheridan, C. Speicher, S. Wiegert, S. Wise.

Staff: J. Budler, N. Busch, B. Davis, D. Greenlee, D. Oertli, M. J. Ryan, S. Snyder, E. Van Waart, R. Wagner.

The meeting of the State Advisory Council on Libraries was convened at 10:05 a.m. by Council Chair, Jeanne Leader.

Sharon Wiegert announced the success of one fundraising activity for the Papillion Public Library building project. Penny marches were held four times this week with children from the library. The children marched through city hall collecting pennies for the building fund, gathering a total of 1,152 pennies. The activity received good attention from the Omaha television stations. Brochures about the proposal for a new building were distributed to Council members.

It was suggested to amend the agenda by adding one item, this afternoon discussion will be held on the Network News Server and policies concerning its use. Dena Crews moved, and Joan Birnie seconded, the agenda be approved as amended. The motion carried. Carol Speicher moved, and Ella Epp seconded, the minutes of September 9, 1994, be approved as received. The motion carried.


Telecommunications and Information Infrastructure Assistance Program (TIIAP) Grant

Rod Wagner stated later today we will explore Council members' ideas and contributions in discussing our roles and services using information technology in Nebraska. The following updates are to set the stage for the later discussion.

Federal grant projects include the Telecommunications and Information Infrastructure Assistance Program (TIIAP) Grant, awarded by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The Library Commission is working with several other government entities to carry out a statewide planning project. The team is working with representatives of Nebraska libraries, state government, and clients of the Talking Book and Braille Service to develop a plan for information technology in Nebraska. The plan will address: What are the components of a network and how will librarians and the public relate to and connect with it? There is a tight timeline for this project. The next step is a second grant application to implement our plan developed by the first grant. The next round of grant applications will be due in March of 1995. The current project must be completed by the end of January 1995.

The second component is the National Science Foundation grant to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the Library Commission. The various campuses and departments of the University of Nebraska and the Library Commission, as an advisory body, will identify content and training issues concerning information technology that need to be addressed in Nebraska. The two grants go hand in hand. There is a longer timeline for this grant.

National Science Foundation "Electronic Library" Grant

Nancy Busch provided a one-page handout to the Council about the National Science Foundation (NSF) planning grant. Two key barrier areas will be addressed by the grant 1) compatibility of network systems, and 2) training for end users. The first step is a survey of librarians and others to identify what is being offered and where there are gaps and needs. Maryland conducted a similar survey of training needs. They have identified people in the state to attend training and then provide training in their own community and two days of training to another community.

A retreat is planned for late spring 1995 for key stakeholders in Nebraska's electronic library. Participants will develop recommendations on the content for the statewide electronic library, training to be made available throughout the state, and possible hardware/software solutions for accessing data. Results of the planning retreat will be used in developing additional grant proposals for implementing the electronic library in Nebraska.

Rod Wagner noted focus group sessions will be held around the state as part of the grant process. We will hold one focus group session with the Council this morning. Other focus groups will be conducted in January. Today we would like to get the Council members thoughts and ideas on information infrastructure issues.

Telecommunications and Information Infrastructure Assistance Program (TIIAP) Grant--Nebraska Libraries

Rod Wagner noted that the Nebraska Educational Telecommunications (NET) and the Library Commission led the effort to get funds from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. NET was awarded a grant to create a Community-Wide Education and Information Service (CWEIS), which has since changed its name to Nebraska Net. Nebraska Net is intended to build on work already started by other entities (e.g. Nebraska Online). Randy Bretz is the project director. An advisory committee has been formed, and met recently. Library Commission staff have advocated using the grant to enhance or utilize production capabilities at NETV. Some people feel the project should be broader than that. There is a community based component of the grant involving Chadron, Cambridge and Lincoln. The focus of the community based component is not yet clear. It does relate to the above initiatives.

Diane Greenlee was introduced as the focus group facilitator. Notecards were handed out before the meeting with the question "What does the "Information Highway mean to you?" Council members took the question card and quickly wrote down their thoughts on the chart paper around the room.

Diane introduced Dave Oertli, Talking Book and Braille Service director, as the note taker for the focus group. Ellen Van Waart was introduced as the observer.

"What does the "Information Highway mean to you?"

  • easy, free access for the public to the Internet or any type of telecommunications
  • library needs to be an integral part of access for everyone
  • overwhelming, unorganized and bumpy
  • the great unknown!
  • anticipating a great thing to happen and it is not happening soon enough (like a kid anticipating Christmas)
  • when it does happen, watch out
  • means a whole new set of demands from general public (and a lot of demands)
  • will it be a freeway or a toll road?
  • do you mean: to get on it and travel should be free, or that all available from it should be free?
  • to get on and travel it should be free
  • Internet is spoken of with great euphoria; in actuality people will be overwhelmed with information, how to sort and find what they want, people already have to wait in line to use the machine at the library

"How will you use the "Information Highway" in your personal life?"

  • will have son find the information for her, not use it herself
  • listserves provide people information not document information--for librarians is very beneficial, we can talk with many other librarians at the same time. Also helps in dealing with vendors. Librarians hold a global discussion about a policy or proposal from vendors--librarians talk and vendors "listen in."
  • An article in the paper this week stated a county law library is no longer buying books. No one told the lawyers--they are not ready for it. Are our patrons ready for it?
  • Law schools are struggling with how to train law students to use online services as well as books to find the information they need
  • One staff member bought a computer for home, she had no experience, no manuals came with the computer, the manuals were on CD-ROM. The company told her she could print it off. The general public also has limited knowledge.
  • Compare it to the coming of the automobile, now most people drive. Things will come with time, people adapt quickly
  • question: When do I show them how to use the system, and when do I just find the information myself (quicker). When am I an information provider, and when am I a teacher? What is the librarian's role?
  • Some scientists are on the Internet. They go out and fish have no idea what they are collecting. They don't understand exactly what they are accessing. They don't have information science knowledge to search through the database.
  • When I access something, I want to know where it came from, and when it was last updated-is it accurate and current?
  • We want to deal with reputable reference providers (like we do with books). It will be harder to verify the information found on the Internet
  • I don't work on a home computer because I spend my work day with one. My brother has one, he was eager to access databases but didn't know how. Now he and others are frustrated at work because they know they can access rules and regulations from the Internet, but work has not even addressed the issue of computer access for information.
  • We need to sort out how computers will fit in life efficiently (just because we CAN do it doesn't mean we SHOULD do it). It also affects clerical work.
  • People are at many different levels of experience, knowledge and expertise
  • Scientists develop a list of books the want from the Library of Congress online catalog. They don't know about the interlibrary loan system in place and that they could search the UNL library catalog--their books are much more accessible
  • If the library is not responsive, patrons will find another way to get what they want
"How will the role of your organization change?"
  • I expect to move from the norm of serving first the customer in the building (we now answer the person present first and then the person on the telephone), to serving the remote accessor, soon we will be treating them the same.
  • Some information will move from books to online--e.g. reference books. Popular reading and magazines will still be in paper, but delivery of them may change.
  • Community Bulletin Board allows citizens to access the library catalog from home. They call and the library holds the item until the patron comes in and picks it up.
  • There will be less dependence on the U.S. mail, more immediate delivery of materials will be needed.
  • "Buy on demand" via online access will be available, but also will still need print items.
  • Libraries will lose customers, as in the example of subways or buses--use declined after most people bought cars. A lot of people won't need the library for information. We will have taught them how to get it themselves.
  • We should let people know about the skills librarians have and the value of their skills to people in the community. An information broker role.
  • The "buses" are not running in rural Nebraska, and libraries will close.
  • Public access available at the public library will be important for those without their own computer equipment. The staff expertise will also be valuable.
  • Several communities in the Northeast Library System are now considering closing the public library or combining it with school library.
  • The economic development thrust has assisted communities, often the library is an important part of the process (sometimes the libraries are left out).
  • There needs to be a sorting out of Internet educational items from the general volume of information there, eventually there will be so much information it will have to be sorted.
  • Someone has to pay for the highway (don't want it to be us).
  • Contact people for questions and assistance will be larger and more global.
  • Will people go to other librarians rather than their own? It will depend on the service they receive. It will keep us on our toes.
  • Looking for information and using libraries will become a more solitary activity. Local clubs of cooking group or whatever, now have an interest group on the Internet.
  • "Lone eagles," can live in a small town and conduct their business. Don't have to leave your small town to build a successful business.
  • "Flaming" occurs, have to learn social interaction via Internet.


  • Copyright issues
  • Economics: funds to build superhighway, and the information there
  • Changing technology, have to buy new hardware, etc.
  • Phone lines won't be the answer, satellites will be used in the future. We must keep our minds open, planners may have too narrow of a focus.
  • Defining what "our" role is. Will we use electronic resources like we use print resources? Will we have people come in the building, or serve them from their home in some way?
  • Nebraska Online is organized, people can use it from home with little assistance or training, that is not the norm on the Internet.
  • Will library need to be prepared to offer "manuals" and training rather than the information itself people are seeking? How can libraries serve those people?
  • Libraries will need to work together to provide a gofer or whatever is needed to serve patrons.
  • How will the Library Commission help all the many different libraries in different situations?
  • There are many terrified librarians. The entire role and identity is changing dramatically. Some are hiding their heads in the sand and their libraries are doomed.
  • We don't know how will deal with these changes.
  • The staff must be trained well enough to train patrons when they come in library. All staff will need to be able to assist.
  • Smaller libraries will have to go to bigger libraries for assistance, not all larger libraries will be responsive to this need.
  • Small communities won't be able to afford to hire a librarian with electronic information expertise.
  • The Commission could download valuable information from the Internet and put it on Nebraska Online for access by librarians who have no Internet access or expertise.
  • The State Advisory Council on Libraries looks at the state, who are the groups that have abilities or access and find a way for other libraries to benefit.
  • The work day of a public library is NOT 8-5, librarians with expertise will need to be scheduled to work during all open hours.
  • What kind of access will the library provide to children? E-mail? Access to pornography files? How will librarians handle these issues?
Future applications for electronic access: (how would you like it to be?)
  • It is a fantastic opportunity for libraries to shine as never before and be a focal point for their community. It also means sink or swim.
  • Libraries involved in planning are ahead of the game because people in their community learn that librarians are knowledgeable about electronic information and access, etc.
  • It will be a survival issue for rural Nebraska, if successful, people will be able to stay in that community and compete globally.
  • A network that is statewide, no local libraries, but access via the state network.

The Council recessed for lunch at 12:02 p.m. The meeting reconvened at 1:43 p.m.

SACL 1994 Mission and Goals, Challenge to Libraries

Dena Crews suggested public libraries put copy of it in with their annual report and send it to the city council. Sharon Mason has submitted an article to NLAQ about the State Advisory Council including the background and history of the Council.

The Council reviewed the goals:

  Goal 1: Publicize the purpose of the State Advisory Council on Libraries and seek input from Nebraska libraries.

We need to gather feedback from librarians, place an item in the NLCommunicator requesting issues/needs that should be discussed by the Council.

  Goal 2: Monitor state and federal legislation that pertains to libraries.

The Council is receiving updates on state and federal legislation. Position statements have been written when appropriate.

  Goal 3: Improve communication with the Nebraska Library Commission.

The September minutes were received in a timely manner. The Council feels there has been good communication with the Commission.

  Goal 4: Communicate and promote the importance of information technologies to the Nebraska library community.

The challenge to Nebraska libraries and librarians distributed at the NLA/NEMA conference conveyed the importance of technology. This issue has been discussed at each Council meeting, including the one today.

  Goal 5: Provide new State Advisory Council members with the information they need to be effective participants in the Council.

Orientation for new members at the first meeting. Suggestions include: send the notebook to the new Council member prior to the first meeting. Have dinner and a speaker the night before the first Council/Commissioners meeting to assist in orientation and provide an opportunity for the new members to meet and talk with other Council members. A mentor approach could be helpful. Assign an experienced member to call a new member the night before the first meeting to discuss general information about the Council and answer any questions. Let new members know lunch is not always catered, and suggest some nearby restaurants.

Explain how the Council fits into the scheme of things, it is a working body. Recap what the Council did during the past year. Include a copy of Sharon Mason's NLAQ article with the packet of information sent prior to the first meeting. Let new members know the length of service on the Council, including when their term begins and ends. Send material out to new members soon after the appointments are made. Assign pairs, experienced member with a new member, soon after the appointments made by the Commissioners in January.

  Goal 6: Increase involvement of the Council members in quarterly meetings.

Council members stated this is also occurring this year. Members feel they are more active participants in the meetings.

What should the Council do now with the challenge statement?

We are missing getting a response besides "that's nice". The Council suggested the Library Commission offer a small grant program relating to the challenge. For example, "How has your library responded to this challenge?" It could be a Title III grant project. Becky Baker moved: "The State Advisory Council on Libraries recommends the Nebraska Library Commission offer a small grant program for libraries to respond to the Council challenge. The grant program should be announced in January to allow time for matching funds and get it in libraries' budget request processes." It was also recommended the Commission list some suggestions of types of projects that would qualify. Sharon Wiegert seconded the motion. The motion carried.

Council Roundtable on Library Service Issues

Joan Birnie, Broken Bow Public Library, stated their satellite receiver is up and going strong. This encourages the community to use the library as a location for meetings of different types. Joan is a member of the local technology group and they are giving out information to the community about the satellite being available. The November elections resulted in two new city council members who are library supporters. The new mayor is also supportive.

Carol Speicher, Northeast Library System, said a city administrator called this week to ask her to attend a town hall meeting regarding future plans for the library. Under consideration is combining the public library with the school library or building a new library building. The city administrator was told by someone that the town won't need a larger library building because everything will be on computers.

Sharon Mason, University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK), stated Kearney Public Library is getting ready to barcode the collection. UNK volunteered their lib staff to assist. In the next week or so the University librarians will meet and discuss the NSF grant.

Ella Epp, Henderson Community School, said their local bank offers low interest loans to any teaching staff for purchase of computers for home. Henderson applied for a lottery grant but did not receive one.

Lupe Mier, Bellevue Public Library, stated he is trying to better understand the Dynix system. They do not yet have all the manuals they need.

Dena Crews, Chadron Public Library, noted their Follet system is now running fairly smoothly. They are in the process of purchasing carpet to be laid, then they will install more workstations for the card catalog.

Sharon Wiegert, Papillion Public Library, said they have upgraded their Follet system. Internet access for the public is almost ready, they are working on a fee schedule. Magazine summaries are now available on the Bulletin Board. The Eastern Library System is sponsoring a continuing education event for Young Adult library services in February.

Becky Baker, Seward Public Library, noted they also have upgraded their Follett system. Jointly with Concordia College library, they started providing interlibrary loan for the Southeast Library System in August and have received about 650 requests so far. Some members of the public have suggested joining the public library with the college library. This is not under consideration by the town or the college.

Verda Bialac, Omaha Public Library, stated they now receive funds from Douglas County for library service to unincorporated areas of county. Other libraries in the county are also receiving funds. Omaha Public Library has upgraded their Dynix system. It will now allow them to put CD-ROM reference items on the system. They will also be installing a LAN (local area network). The library is also working on Internet access. Fax reference service will start soon, procedures and policies are being finalized. They are in the middle of numerous ADA modifications to buildings, with many projects underway.

Jeanne Leader, Western Nebraska Community College, said Alliance Public Library has taxpayer approval for a new library building. Sidney Public Library has a new librarian, Janet Kent. Lots of Internet activity, getting libraries connected through the Community College. The business community has discovered the value of library holdings and services so the technology committee includes librarians from Gering, Scottsbluff and the Community College. They are planning a technology day. Also, there is a move for an information technology course at the college.

Sally Wise, UNL Law Library, noted staff are working with the Library Commission on the National Science Foundation (NFS) grant. The Law school is trying to deal with issues concerning email, the Internet, etc.

Pat Sheridan, Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, stated they now have a CD-ROM. Hastings Public Library has finished bar coding and now has started holding meetings regarding the need for a new library building. The National Agriculture Library has announced it will be electronic by January of 1995. Pat now has Internet connection but hasn't had a chance to work with it much yet.

Long Range Plan Comments and Discussion

There were no comments regarding the Long Range Plan.

Legislative Update

Rod Wagner updated the Council on plans for the new federal library program to follow LSCA. Planning has been going well, the framework has held. The new Congress may convene hearings to begin shaping legislation, but may not do so until January. Supporters of library programs are part of the new leadership in Congress.

A new proposal endorsed by ALA & others (including the National Education Association) proposes the federal communications division require telephone companies to apply a certain percentage of funding back to schools and libraries to help them wire for the electronic information network. If this does come about, it will provide about $200 million annually to schools and public libraries.

Rod Wagner also updated the Council on state legislative matters. Bills on public library legislation will be ready for the Legislature when they convene in January. The revised bills include public library districts, public library federations, and also allow citizens to petition local governments to place items regarding libraries on election ballots. NLA & NEMA both support a bill to be introduced to establish a library media position in the Nebraska Department of Education. The new Commissioner of Education also supports it if funds are available.

A Legislative Day, sponsored by NLA, will be held in mid February 1995, to contact State Senators about library issues.

The budget issues in this next legislature will be major item. The revenue prospect better than predicted, but the Governor is still expected to ask for some cuts. The priority for his new term is to streamline state government, to consolidate and downsized. Sonny Foster is once again head of the state Department of Personnel, now part of the Department of Administrative Services. Sonny will handle the streamlining project. The Library Commission is not a code agency (directly under control of Governor), and so will not be involved in the talks.

Network News Server

Rod Wagner noted that the Library Commission agreed to operate the hardware and software previously handled by the Department of Education. It provides access to Internet for news groups. The equipment will be installed at the Commission within a very short time. Information on the thousands of news groups will be made available.

Jeanne Leader raised some issues concerning the network server. She noted the Division of Communications has provided access to about 6,000 groups. Last year the Division of Communications took some news groups off of the access point. Does the Library Commission need a policy regarding access to the news groups and adding or deleting groups from system access. She asked the Council for discussion of Usenet News. It could be considered a collection development/management issue, which groups will provide access to and which not. The Denver Freenet has a disclaimer that warns the user they are leaving the Denver Freenet and any of a number of interesting things may appear on the screen. The Council would like a demonstration of it at the next meeting, if possible.

Thanks were given to Sharon Mason, Pat Sheridan, and Carol Speicher for completing their second terms on the Council.

Thanks were also given to Jeanne Leader for chairing the Council for the past year. Ken Hughes has resigned from the Council due to new duties in North Platte. A new Chair will be elected at the next meeting.

The next meeting will be March 10, a joint meeting with the Commissioners. Everyone is invited to the half day meeting, dinner, and speaker. A schedule will be distributed to Council members. Current members will choose who they wish to mentor after appointments to the Council are made in January.

There being no further business, the Council adjourned at 3:05 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Sally Snyder

For more information, contact Sue Biltoft.