Skip To Talking Book & Braille Service Content Skip Navigation

Meeting Minutes

Grand Island Public Library, Grand Island, Nebraska
March 7 & 8, 2002

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

Commission members present:  Robert King, Richard Jussel, Karen Warner, Wally Seiler, and Kristen Rogge.   Commission staff members present:  Rod Wagner, Sally Snyder, and Richard Miller. 

Guests: Steve Fosselman and Kathy Tooker.

Welcome and Introductions

Chair Karen Drevo called the meeting to order at 1:32 p.m. on March 7, 2002.   Introductions were made and Steve Fosselman, Director of the Grand Island Public Library, welcomed everyone to the Grand Island Public Library.


A motion to approve the agenda was made by Ken Oyer, seconded by Ruth Seward. Motion approved.


Minutes: a corrected set was distributed, with approval deferred until tomorrow.

Nancy Escamilla was welcomed as the newest member of the State Advisory Council. Nancy has worked at the Scottsbluff Public Library for 16 years, currently as an Interlibrary Loan Assistant; she serves on the Panhandle Library System board, and is a School Board member for the Gering School District.


Biennium Budget Update - Rod Wagner reported that the Governor released his budget recommendations last week.  The Governor's recommendations are based on the trend of tax revenues falling short of projections.  The Library Commission would receive a 3% state funds budget reduction as part of the Governor's proposed across-the-board state fund reductions for most state agencies.  This is in addition to the 5% reduction enacted last fall.  The Governor's budget includes a number of recommendations to close the revenue gap and the Legislature's Appropriations Committee will forward their recommendations to the full Legislature soon.  A budget hearing is scheduled for tomorrow for all state agencies to have an opportunity to comment on budget reduction proposals.  Nancy Busch will testify on behalf of the Nebraska Library Commission. 

Commissioner Rogge stated that Senator Landis made the remark that what we're seeing now is the result of a sluggish economy, and will not see relief anytime soon. 

Library Legislation (Nebraska Legislature) - Rod Wagner reported on two library specific bills.  1) Senator Tyson's bill to allow cities & counties to finance major library technology purchases using bonds (same legislative bill as last year); 2) allow municipal utilities' excess funds to be used for library expenses.  The revenue committee killed both bills. A bill, introduced last year, will allow employees of the regional library systems to participate in the state employees' health insurance program. This bill was advanced by the banking, commerce and insurance committee and is up for first round debate.  Since it is not a priority bill it may not be acted on this year, or it could be attached as an amendment to another insurance bill.

Making a Difference @ Your Libraryâ„¢ Project - The library visits have been a good experience for Library Commission staff.  The presence and involvement of community leadership is a significant library service success factor, and that is true regardless of the size of a community.  The State Advisory Council will be asked to provide input on the new long range plan due at the end of July. 

Library Services and Technology Act Reauthorization Status - Rod Wagner reported that the ALA Washington Office has been issuing updates on the status of LSTA reauthorization.  LSTA legislation is on a fast track in the House where it received unanimous approval by the authorizing sub-committee.   Nebraska Congressional Representatives have been contacted and asked to sign on as co-sponsors of the LSTA legislation.  Representatives Osborne and Terry have signed on. 

The Senate committee that has LSTA oversight has scheduled a hearing on LSTA for April 10.  The bill has stayed close to what was requested by the library coalition, with some fine-tuning.  The appropriation request was to go from the current level of $168 million up to $500 million.  The other significant change is an increase in the base allotment for each state from $200,000 to $500,000.  This latter change is especially important for Nebraska and other smaller states because the larger portion of LSTA state allocations is based on population.

Gates Foundation Library Program Status - Richard Miller reported on the status of the program. The Gates Foundation Web site is now included as a link on the Nebraska Library Commission Web site. Pre-application workshops are scheduled in each of the regional system areas. 

 The Gates Foundation will mail application documents the week of March 26 and applications must be postmarked by April 22 or before.  The Foundation said it was a simplified application form, but it is still challenging for some.  A "heads-up" letter was mailed to all public libraries this week to let them know what is coming.

Libraries can appeal the data determined by the Gates formula (they are using 1990 census data) if library representatives believe there have been significant changes since 1990.  Libraries should participate in the application process and the appeal process at the same time.  Libraries may participate in the program through a purchase option if a library does not qualify for a cash grant.  This will allow them to purchase a computer with their own funds and still participate in training and receive technical support.  They would get the computer (no peripherals), training, technical support for a year, and upgrades of all software loaded on the computer.

 The Commission will prepare a tip sheet to help with the application process, which will be available at the application training sessions.  The list of eligible libraries will be posted on the Commission's Web site following receipt of the final list from the Gates Foundation. Based on the initial list, 158 libraries are eligible for the one-computer grant, 20 for two-computer grants and 13 libraries for a four-computer grant.  Currently 61 libraries are eligible for the purchase option only.  The Library Commission is considering an offer to cover half the cost of the computer package for public libraries not eligible for a grant.  The estimated value will approach $1.6 million for Nebraska. 

Western Trails Multi-State Digitization Project - Rod Wagner reported that Nebraska is part of a four-state Institute of Museum and Library Services National Leadership Grant project.  The project involves digitization of "western trails" related source documents, a subject common to the four states.  Colorado, Wyoming and Kansas are the other participants.  The initial training sessions have been successful.  The expertise and training obtained through this project are significant benefits.  The Nebraska Library Commission is working with UNL Love Library to create a web site for Nebraska's contribution to the project.  This two-year project is just now getting underway.


 Recruitment and Retention - The question was raised as to why the ALA took so long to form a taskforce on recruitment and retention. There is also a great concern that ALA is doing something only for professional positions; and yet the great majority of library directors and staff do not hold MLS degrees. 

It was suggested that Nebraska establish a taskforce of its own to translate what ALA says into something that makes sense for Nebraska. Between NLA and NLC such a group could be developed with representation of all types of libraries.  It was also suggested that a survey on salaries be conducted. It will be important that follow-up be completed after the survey.

 Suggestions were made to work with the League of Municipalities, train board members about local financing, and development of an effective marketing strategy.

 Steve Fosselman and Staff - Presentation and Tour of the Edith Abbott Memorial Library

Steve Fosselman and his staff provided a tour of the library.  Mr. Fosselman reported on the needs-based, phased-in core serves which is the approach used by the Grand Island public library to address community needs. This program has resulted in budget increases of 13 to 14% per year.

The Grand Island Public Library's activities are consistent with goals and objectives of the Nebraska Library Commission.  The Abbott Sisters Research Center is the latest library project. Next week staff and board members will be traveling to Lincoln to attend the signing by Governor Johanns of a proclamation recognizing March 20 of each year as Abbott Sisters' Day. The "Family Place" project, which includes a grant from the Nebraska Library Commission, is a $100,000 renovation project to build a new computer lab in their reference section. A new building is slotted for 2006-2007.

MLS scholarship program -

The Library Commission has awarded four scholarships - two to University of Missouri - Columbia students, and two to University of Illinois - Urbana students.  These scholarships are open to any Nebraska resident pursuing a master's degree in library science. 

NebrasKard Project -

Rod Wagner reported there are 45 Nebraska libraries that have signed on to participate in the project.  A brief survey asking the librarians about their experiences with the NebrasKard is being developed.

LSTA Grants -

The due date for grant applications was changed from February 25 to March 11.  As of today, 26 applications have been received, 9 from libraries that have never applied for LSTA grant before. 

Book Reviews -

An agreement was signed with Nebraska Educational Television on February 25, 2002. The agreement is for a Beta test of 50 book reviews, 25 in QuickTime and 25 in MP3.  The Commission is also contacting nine major publishers asking about copyright issues related to this project. 

2002 Council Agenda -

Topics previously suggested are Making a Difference @ Your â„¢, library project evaluation, LSTA long range plan, biennium budget proposal (September), library personnel and related issues, NebrasKard, and progress & tracking of Gates Foundation library project.

Recess was called, meeting to resume March 8, 2002

Meeting was resumed on March 8, 2002 at 9:15 a.m. by Chair Karen Drevo.

John Seyfarth moved to approve the minutes from the previous meeting.  Ken Oyer seconded the motion. Stan Gardner stated a correction was needed to change Ford Center to Ford Motor Company. Susie Baird noted a correction on page 9.  The minutes were approved with the noted corrections. 

Council Roundtable 

Kathy Lute - reported that Paxton has torn down the old library building and is ready to begin construction of a new library building.  Paxton will be using a room in the high school during construction.  Ogallala is also planning a new library building. 

Jane Wall - reported that she is the NEMA Scholarship & Award chair.  NEMA is planning a summer institute. They will invite 20 people for a 3 day institute to bring new people into the organization.  NEMA received many applications for their scholarships. 

Maggie Harding - reported that current NLA membership is 666; this is the highest membership level this early in the year.  The all time high was 925 in 1997.  The 2001 NLA membership was over 700.  A new corporate membership section was introduced, and will be offered to prospective exhibitors for the convention.  The membership committee is now looking into offering discounts at bookstores, motels and restaurants for NLA members. 

John Dale - reported that Lincoln's two new branch libraries opened on February 2. Turn out was excellent at each opening.  February circulation statistics showed that each branch is very close to similar numbers of over 37,000.  If this activity continues, it could put Lincoln City Libraries at over 3 million circulations for the year. Lincoln City Libraries also has budget issues.  The library budget is $6 million+ for the year.  The city has a tax revenue shortfall of around $5 million.  John is not sure what the impact will be for the library.  Omaha is looking at remodeling several branches.  They took major cuts and reduced service hours due to budget cuts.   

John Seyfarth - The spring children's program in Papillion is going strong.  A Spring meeting presented by three NLA Roundtables will be held in Aurora. 

Kathy Tooker - reported that Lyons, Bellevue and Wahoo are planning to build new libraries.  Lyons library representatives are currently meeting with architects; Bellevue is planning a new building.  Wahoo has land secured for a new library and has begun fundraising.  The regional library systems are providing training at the LAMA Institute on Friday March 22. This program is funded by a Continuing Education grant from the Nebraska Library Commission. 

Ken Oyer - reported that they lost about 100 square feet of library space.  The former work/storage room had to be emptied. 

Jim Bothmer - reported that admissions are down at Creighton University.  Creighton has implemented a hiring freeze.  There will be no staff salary increases for the coming year.   

Steve Davis - reported that Kearney has hired a library building consultant for a year and held public hearings for adults and one for young people.  The public library board sees a need for expansion of the library.  NEMA and NLA/SCYP provided a workshop on "Technology Rich Learning." 

Nancy Escamilla - reported that Diana Gross (Gilbert the Opossum) did a workshop in the Panhandle. Every 4th through 6th grade in Scottsbluff will be meeting, so that by the time the kids graduate from high school. they will have met an author.  

A Summer Reading Program workshop has been scheduled. Scottsbluff received a "millennium grant" from the Humanities Council. Deb Carlson was chosen as employee of the year from City of Scottsbluff; she is the first person from the library since 1989.  

Five new book clubs have started up in the Panhandle area in the last several months. The average age of book club members is 50; these are voters and advocates for the Library.  

A librarian from Mongolia recently visited the library in Scottsbluff; She will return to Mongolia and open up a Japanese library. Libraries there are not free.  

The Gering school district was a big winner in school aid this year; with a $700,000 increase, but the school district had an increase of 100 students. They are currently looking for modular units for each elementary school. Lobbying for more money for the media centers is very difficult; Nancy is winning over the school board members by setting very old books in front of board members. There will be a 3 - 5 % cut in the Gering School District budget next year.  

Susan Baird - reported that she had staff from the Nebraska Community Foundation visit Alliance to talk about the "legacy challenge." She is trying to get all the local foundations to move toward this approach.  Governor Johanns is reviewing the LB775 program.  This is a step forward because many cities lose tax revenues under this program but are never told by the Department of Revenue why these changes happen.  Susie indicated agreement with Senator Wickersham on his concerns about how this legislation is being applied.   

Ruth Seward - reported that Lexington got four new Spanish-language computers using state aid funds and as part of an earlier grant. She has contracted with a new mentor who used to do computer training for President Fox of Mexico. They are offering a 12-hour computer course and had 60 people sign up in one week. Ruth was scheduled to testify for the National Science Foundation, but the technology was not available on the Washington, D.C. end.

A new site has been brought up for the building project; they hope to have a site chosen by fall. The city foundation has a gala planned with proceeds to go to the library building project.  

Stan Gardner - reported that Wayne State College is waiting for the Wayne Public Library to sign-up people for NebrasKard before they start advertising it at the college. He is requesting in next year's biennium budget an upgrade of the library's automated system; there are numerous steps in this process because of the fact that all three state college campuses are involved in the process. There has been good success this year in faculty and students taking workshops in using on-line resources.  Stan hopes that faculty will modify computer literacy courses to include information literacy.  

Wayne State College has created a professional Senate to try to ensure representation for library staff because they are not considered faculty, nor are they unionized. The library is going through a modified version of the North Central accreditation that requires annual assessments, rather than the old method of looking back a number of years.  

Mo Khamouna - reported that salaries are being cut at the college, but the library's budget is being doubled next year, mostly for collection development. This is probably due to the upcoming accreditation process.  The Milwaukee Brewers turf manager is working with the school's program. The library has signed up to participate in the NebrasKard program; the public library has also agreed to participate.  Two card members have signed up so far. Mo found a source to get an MLS degree tuition free; the catch - you have to speak Swedish. He is still shopping around. The Ninghoff grant through the ALA - has to go to Europe as a scholar. 

Tom Schmitz - reported the Lincoln Regional Center library is getting ready for the JCAH accreditation process. The library has heavily weeded the fiction collection; and updated the non-fiction collection. They were impressed with the HHSS consortium process to update all the libraries.  All HHSS libraries are on their new automated library system except the Lincoln Regional Center, where software is being checked out for compatibility. A NAIL meeting to discuss institutional librarian's job descriptions has been delayed twice due to weather. 

Karen Drevo - reported that the Norfolk Public Library building has reached the 25-year mark. Dr. Stearns, a Lewis & Clark scholar, will speak at the library.  The Library Foundation received $500,000 from Johnnie Carson. The library will use some of the money for new furniture and new carpeting.  The library has been asked to participate in the Annual Children's Day in Norfolk.  The library recently held a very successful Book Bingo event.  The library will provide storytelling at the new Art Center in Norfolk which is holding its annual special arts festival.

Election of State Advisory Council Vice-Chair 

Ken Oyer moved the nomination of John Seyfarth for vice-chair.  Maggie Harding seconded the motion.  The motion was approved.   

Adoption of Resolutions, Action Items 

Stan Gardner moved to create a library personnel task force to examine issues discussed earlier and return to SACL for discussion.  Ken Oyer seconded the motion.  Recommendations were made to include representation of the Nebraska Library Association, Nebraska Educational Media Association, and representation from various types of libraries.  

Stan Gardner withdrew his original motion and introduced a new motion to develop a task force to examine library personnel issues and return to SACL for discussion, with representation to be comprised of members of NLA, NEMA, and librarians of different types of libraries. 

Steve Davis stated that the Council may want to give more definite direction to the task force. The motion carried. A list of task force members will be presented to SACL members at the next meeting for approval. 

Thanks and appreciation were expressed to Steve Fosselman for hosting the Council and Commission meetings at the Grand Island Public Library.   

2002 Meeting Schedule 

The 2002 meeting schedule was set for June 21 meeting:  in Curtis (invited) or Lincoln; September 13 or 20 meeting in Tilden; and December 13 meeting in Lexington.


The meeting was adjourned at 11:40 a.m.

For more information, contact Sue Biltoft.