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Meeting Minutes

March 19 and 20, 1998


State Advisory Council Members present: Susan Baird, Fauneil Bennett, Joan Birnie, John Dale, Stan Gardner, Mo Khamouna, Sylvia Person, Sandra Riley, Jeanne Saathoff, Tom Schmitz, Wally Seiler, Kathy Tooker, Richard Voeltz, Jane Wall, Sharon Wiegert, Sally Wise.

Commission Members present: Frances Lovell, Ron Norman, Karen Warner. Nebraska Library Commission Staff present: Rod Wagner, Richard Miller, Sally Snyder.

Welcome and Introductions - - Karen Warner, Chair, Nebraska Library Commission and Sandra Riley, Chair, Nebraska State Advisory Council on Libraries.

The meeting was called to order by Commission Chairperson Karen Warner at 1:05 p.m.

Introductions were given around the table.


Richard Miller will speak on the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Grants Program tomorrow morning instead of this afternoon.

New members of the State Advisory Council on Libraries were welcomed.

Review Joint Meeting Agenda

A brief history of the State Advisory Council on Libraries, created in early 1970s, was given for the new members.

Members were asked to be thinking about some specific goals or actions SACL would like to accomplish this year. A discussion of these goals and actions will be held on Friday.

A motion was made to approve the agenda as amended. The motion was approved by acclamation.

Reports and Discussion

Overview of Federal and State Legislative Issues - - Rod Wagner

Federal Issues: National Library Legislative Day will be held in Washington D.C. in early May. Librarians from across the country will travel to Washington to speak with Congressional representatives.

In the recent past the discussion was about the new legislation (LSTA) and how it would be designed and funded. Nebraska receives about $1 million per year in federal library program funds. In past years about $200,000 were Title II funds, earmarked for public library construction and technology projects. There is no longer any federal funding for library construction projects. LSTA funds now are more flexible in how they can be used and include other types of libraries. Richard Miller will discuss LSTA more Friday morning.

Legislative issues before Congress include: copyright and the telecommunication services discounts, issues concerning the government printing office, and the Library of Congress. Legislation could change the Telecommunications E-rate policies. The American Library Association's web page on the Internet has information concerning legislative activities in Washington.

State Legislative Issues: LB 95 is the bill to provide funding for Libraries for 21st Century and was introduced in 1997 by Senator LaVon Crosby. Any recommended funding for this project will be included in the Library Commission budget.

LB 1216 provides for the creation of library federations and was introduced by Senator Paul Hartnett. The General Affairs Committee advanced it to general file. It is not a priority bill, so it is remote that the bill will be discussed or acted on this session. It is worth noting that interlocal agreements can be used to set up a similar library service arrangement.

LB 1226 was introduced by Senator Robak. The bill provides that counties can levy up to 5 cents per $100 valuation. It does not provide for additional funding for counties already at the limit, and many are. This bill did bring an issue before the Revenue Committee, that of the number of libraries that receive funding through townships. The Legislature was not generally aware of that before. Townships will either have to get funding through the county or align themselves with a municipality. Ord Township Library could have their budget cut by 50% because of limits on county funding.

LB 924 establishes the Nebraska Information Technology Commission. The Technology Commission will develop strategic plans and review technology projects. It is a priority bill of Senator Hillman and strongly backed by Governor Nelson. The bill is likely to be passed. The Nebraska Library Commission advocated for a library representative to serve on the commission. The Nebraska Library Association advocated to have a library representative on one of the councils of the Commission. Jeanne Saathoff was appointed to that position.

Libraries for the 21st Century Budget Proposal Update/Plans and Strategies - - Kathy Tooker:

Kathy Tooker distributed two handouts on the Libraries for the 21st Century campaign.

Kathy then explained the NebrasKard concept. She noted that Colorado and Iowa each have a similar statewide card arrangement.

The Governorís office asked how we would use the $500,000 this year. Rod Wagner distributed a one-page handout indicating how the funds would be used. Lt. Governor Kim Robak supports the concept, but that does not guarantee funding. We plan to ask for more money next year, whether or not this year is funded.

Rod noted there is support within the Appropriations Committee for a request next year for a higher level of state support. In the 1999 session there will be some new senators and perhaps some changes in the Appropriations Committee.

Discussion was held on funding issues for 1999, 2000, 2001 and beyond considering the limits that are being imposed. It is beginning to hit communities and libraries that this is a serious issue with potential cuts for many communities.

The Council agreed to write a resolution to send to the Governor and the Legislature concerning the need for state funding for libraries in Nebraska.

John Dale reported that only 16 cents of every state tax dollar actually goes to state government. Approximately 60% goes back to the community in the form of state aid.

Reports and Discussion (continued)

USF Telecommunications Services Discount Program - - Rod Wagner

Rod Wagner reported that in the past several months several mailings on the E-rate status have gone out from the Library Commission to public libraries. Several workshops have also been held. A listserv is available for communication on the Universal Service Fund. Anyone can join the listserv if they wish to. Information on how to subscribe is on the Library Commissionís home page. There is also a web site for the Universal Service Fund and it has been very active. The Schools and Libraries Corporation hotline has been available and answered many questions. All the Governors urged Congress to continue the USF discounts. The Council agreed to write a letter or resolution to communicate the need to representatives in Congress.

The Nebraska Public Service Commission, which oversees telecommunications in Nebraska, created an advisory board for the Universal Service Fund. Rod Wagner and Alan Wibbels have served on the task force board of the Universal Service Fund. The Nebraska Universal Service Fund Advisory Board will replace the task force. Rod and Alan will also serve on this board. A meeting of the Advisory Board will be held in May. The Advisory Board relates to the whole purpose of the Universal Service fund, not just the school and libraries discount.

Nebraska Information Technology Commission - - Jeanne Saathoff

Jeanne Saathoff noted that three councils were created by executive order of the Governor: 1) Education Council 2) Government Council (state government only) and 3) Community Council. The Community Council is composed of many different entities with an interest in technology. The membership represents a wide range of fields. It is headed by Chris Hoy. Two meetings have been held so far. The lieutenant governor gave them their charge at the first meeting. The initial role of this Council is to build awareness across the state regarding the role of information technology now and in the future and its impact for the state. One issue everyone recognized is the need for telecommunications literacy or training. At the second meeting they discussed the fact that 60% of the economy in the U.S. is driven by information technology. Is our citizenry prepared for this? How can we help them? The Government Council has been working on local access to government information, leveraging state power to lay fiber along the Interstate.

The Community Council will probably have $250,000 to fund projects that work into the plan or vision of the Council. Possible ideas were:

A clearinghouse to provide information via a Web site, as one possibility. As a way to connect people with technical support.

Statewide telecommunications-literacy education project: identify a lab of computers for each area and have training provided to the public libraries, school labs, Educational Service Units, community colleges, etc. Maybe have pilot programs for this.

Economic development is the toughest issue.

Nebrask@Online has a page on the Community Council, access it for more information.

Nebraska State Records Board - - John Dale

John Dale is serving on the Nebraska State Records Board. The board was created by LB 590 last June and the board members were appointed in late July. Its role concerns making state government information available to the public, especially in electronic format. The Boardís responsibilities include: providing for dissemination of public records electronically, providing for fees, and reviewing reports.

The deadlines written into the legislation were nearly impossible. It required a re-bid for providing the electronic access to state government information. The RFP went out early September. Only one bid was submitted, by Nebraska Interactive, Inc. It was approved. It is an electronic window into state government. The Board responsibilities are to deal with the vendor, track expenses, and review reports. Most of the information does not provide any income. The Department of Motor Vehicles information, especially driversí license records, are a for-fee service which provides the income to support the entire system. Car insurance companies use it frequently. The Board will meet quarterly from now on. Next issues for the Board to address are approving contracts with state agencies, public hearings, dealing with vendor (monthly and quarterly reports).

Rod Wagner noted that the Library Commission is working with Nebrask@ Online to phase out the Library Commission sponsored state home page. It will be maintained by Nebrask@ Online. The Library Commission continue to maintain the "search" aspect of the page and will respond to requests for information on the state home page.

Council Roundtable Reports:

Jeanne Saathoff, Kearney Public Library: The library has new carpet and is presently recovering furniture. The library is working on getting a T-1 line into the building this year. Their Master Navigator program is a series of six sessions teaching use of the Internet for a $25 charge. The public signs up and then are expected to give 30 hours back to the community. Classes are full all the time in the technology center, usage of technology center is up 75% over last year.

Tom Schmitz: The Lincoln Regional Center is now under the Health & Human Services Department. The Regional Center is interested in getting Internet access in all seven institutions in order to interconnect with each other to cut duplication of materials. The institutions are: Beatrice State Developmental Center, Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center in Geneva, Nebraska Veteransí Home in Grand Island, Hastings Regional Center, Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center in Kearney, Lincoln Regional Center, and Norfolk Regional Center. They are working with Richard Miller to write a joint proposal for a grant from LSTA funds. Lincoln Regional Center has the Internet. Tom works with staff and clients to assist them in using the Internet. There are some sites with designs that work well for the clients. The Department of Corrections also has seven institutional libraries working together on a similar goal.

Wally Seiler, board member of Alliance Public Library: Alliance is constructing a new library. The total cost of the project is $5.1 million. Part of the building is a center for community college classes. Life-long learning was a strong concept used to promote construction of a new library building.

Susan Baird, Gering Public Library: The Chamber of Commerce is promoting Visions 2020: what citizens want the community to look like in 2020. Internet is very popular at the library. The Library recently had a hard drive crash and most information couldn't be recovered.

Stan Gardner, Wayne State College: The children's book examination center now has over 2,000 books. They are sending out about 200 titles a month. Government documents are being loaded into the database so people will know the materials are available. The automation system was upgraded to handle the load. Another project is adding the table of contents of the musical score collection to the database. About 2,000 titles are entered so far. They estimate it will take another two years to complete. The teleconference room in the library is up and running now. The computer lab in the library is in constant use. The average use rate is never below 90% capacity. September 18 & 19 the Nebraska Literature Festival will be held on campus.

Sandra Riley, Columbus: gave her observation of the Nebraska Library Association Legislative Day. The Senators are getting a very clear picture of what is happening in communities because of the lid. It would be good if we take a positive view and talk that the support of libraries can no longer be a local issue.

Sharon Wiegert, Sump Memorial Library, Papillion: The library continues to be very busy. The computer lab is always full. The library is teaching lots of classes, and has a new $5 fee per class. "Read for Joy" was held in April. The IRS Internet site also provides access to every state's forms. Recently 160 kindergartens visited the library. Mo Khamouna, College of Technological Agriculture, Curtis: Mo has been at the library for two years, and is building the collection. Plans are being made to move the library to a bigger building. Last year the focus was on updating the reference section. He is currently taking two classes: network and web design.

Richard Voeltz, UNL: The card catalog disappeared this year, 16,500 pounds of cards are gone. The Library is all electronic now. University libraries are undergoing a self-study, which is done every five years. All members of the staff are taking a conflict resolution workshop. There is also a supervisory course for the supervisors.

Sylvia Person, Holdrege Middle School: She met her goal this year: to teach research skills and the importance of knowing where the information came from. All students have been through the course now. In the computer lab they are teaching students to turn a report into a hyper studio presentation. She was asked how the public library cooperates with the school library. One answer was coordinated reference buying, but the public library has cut purchases. Online access to reference information is a terrific answer to this need. Concern about potential school mergers. At this time, Holdrege Schools has a $1 million shortfall for next year.

Jane Wall, Grand Island High School: There is a major building and remodeling phase going on throughout the school system. All media centers are either new or completely remodeled. All have Internet access. The school changed to a 9-12 grade Senior High.

John Dale, Lincoln City Libraries: The Urban Library System institute was held February 6, with 70 plus people looking at staffing issues for the year 2000 and beyond, as well as technology issues. It was a very useful session. Omaha Public Library is still without a director. The Library Board has hired a consultant for locating candidates. April 17 will be the 3rd annual staff in-service day for Lincoln City Libraries. This year it will emphasize excellence in public service. The training calendar will be set for the next year. Staff is encouraged to attend five sessions during the year. Northwest and Southwest branch sites are being investigated. A vote of people will be needed in order to build. The 1998-1999 budget will be exceedingly tight for the city due to the October snow storm and firefighters pay resolution.

Fauneil Bennett, Wayne Middle School: Each school has a full time librarian. Librarians have become the technology experts, too. The Wayne Superintendent has been enthusiastic regarding technology. Unfortunately, the Superintendent will be leaving. School staff want to keep his vision going.

Ron Norman, Kearney: Is now a library user, he has been retired for almost six years from library work.

Joan Birnie, Broken Bow Public Library: A parent resource center is being developed for parents helping their children with homework etc. Volunteers have been raising funds. Head Start is now involved, too. Planning and budget preparation for the upcoming year is also underway.

Karen Warner, Northeast Community College, Norfolk: The Lifelong Learning Center was dedicated in March. It was funded with donated money. The Center opened January 1st and has been heavily used. A full time web master/multi-media position is being developed. An addition is being designed, it will more than double size of library. They are waiting for the Dean of Business & Finance to hire a library building consultant. A timeline has been established.

The meeting recessed at 4:50 p.m. until Friday morning at 9:00 a.m.

The meeting reconvened March 20, 9:07 a.m. by Sandra Riley, Council Chair.

Council Business Meeting

Approval of December, 1997, Meeting Minutes*

Ken Oyer moved and Richard Voeltz seconded the motion to approve the minutes of December 5, 1998. Motion carried by acclamation.

Election of Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect*

Nominations: Jeanne Saathoff nominated Susan Baird and Joan Birnie seconded the nomination. It was moved by Richard Voeltz and seconded by Ken Oyer to approve the nomination of Susan Baird. Motion carried by acclamation.

Resolutions Discussed Yesterday

Discussion was held on the letter supporting the USF telecommunications services discount program. Richard Voeltz moved and Stan Gardner seconded the motion to approve the spirit of the resolution and leave final wording to Rod Wagner. Motion carried by acclamation.

Discussion was held on the letter supporting the additional state funding for public libraries. It is to be sent to every state senator and the governor. Richard Voeltz moved and Ken Oyer seconded the motion to approve the spirit of the resolution and leave final wording to Rod Wagner. Motion carried by acclamation.

1998 Council Goals and Priority Issues

Advisory role to Commissioners

Priority: all accredited libraries in state have Internet access

Advocacy: continue to support Libraries for the 21st Century initiative

Cooperation: especially between schools and public libraries: Council put together information about what cooperation exists and the issues involved in combining libraries

Explore the mechanics for a NebrasKard

Issue of education of librarians, after assessment of basic skills is complete (be informed of progress of evaluation, and discuss report, when prepared)

Preservation of electronic records and other archival material, (need for a "last copy" center in state) ­ education for council members approach to this.

Meeting Schedule for 1998

June 12: Reinert-Alumni Memorial Library, Creighton University, Omaha

Sept 11: Nebraska Library Commission, Lincoln

Dec 4 : (site to be determined)

LSTA Grants Program - - Richard Miller

Richard Miller gave a brief overview of the LSTA (Library Services and Technology Act) grant packet, distributed at the meeting. He noted the final copy will contain about 15 pages, including the application form. It is the first year for this type of program. Much of the information in the packet was borrowed from Utah.

LSTA funding can be used much more broadly than LSCA. Most of the LSCA funding was limited to use for public library services. The packet will be mailed to approximately 1,100 libraries in the state. At this point, we plan to have it in the mail by April 14. The general principles are fairly standard from past years.

There are two categories: mini grants of $1,000 to $4,999 and major grants of $5,000 to $50,000. About $100,000 is available for mini grants and about $150,000 for major grants. The information packet also includes information on the different types of grants available, eligibility by type of library, and a document giving guidance on making decisions for automation. All the grants require a 25% cash match. Public libraries applying for a grant must have a strategic plan.

Collaborative Local Government Activities in Nebraska - - Margy Ryan and Martha Gadbery

Presentation and Discussion

"Communities in Action: Best Practices in Local Government Innovation and Restructuring" was distributed to the group. It lists collaboration between and among local governments in Nebraska. The levy limits will kick in this next fiscal year and many communities are beginning to look for new ways to provide services to their citizens.

Margy Ryan and Martha Gadberry described their experiences over the last couple of years, working with communities in the state. In August of 1996 they started the project with the Commission on Local Government Innovation and Restructuring.

Information they shared:

1996: The St. Paul combination public/school library was already underway prior to introduction of the levy limits; The joint ownership/use of the mosquito sprayer also already underway

1997: other things began to happen after limits passed; also people waited to see if the Legislature would bail them out

Margy has experienced and learned that it is much easier for cities and counties to combine funding for a project that for either to combine with a school system.

Cities are currently looking at basic services, they see sewers and lights, libraries are in the next tier.

The largest number of articles in the clipping service is about cutting budgets, what to cut. Communities are also passing sales tax, taking over a utility as funding sources.

Stromsburg emphasized they started working on it prior to levy limits because it seemed the right thing to do.

Cities and counties that will be most severely impacted: usually one or the other in any county will be okay, which makes successful cooperation possible. It is not a case of pooling poverty.

A group of local leaders who can work together, will be successful: e.g. Scottsbluff and Gering. (Get past school team competitions, etc). Are almost 70 collaborative projects these two communities have completed over the past 20 years.

They helped the Commission on Local Government Innovation and Restructuring develop their four-year strategic plan.

Main barriers (they found) to cooperation are:

1. Turf protection
2. Personality
3. Legal limits

Stromsburg/Bennett (etc, 6 communities now) issue was how to run the governance group: who has how many votes, etc.

Rural News Bits had an article by them about the regional governance group and how it works.

Scottsbluff & Gering are continually discovering other things they can do together. Meet monthly and have established trust and familiarity.

Input from SACL to them ­ issues we have been seeing in our areas:

legal issues: minimum wage law (e.g.)

township libraries situation, a trust fund grant may be a short-term solution

school/public library combinations (listed issues involved w/ this)

Laurel has been open for 1 month. Previously, there was no real public library, only a couple of shelves in the city clerkís office.

St. Paul combination public/school library is still under construction

Wayne State College/NECC etc. Wanted to cooperate on fiber optic network, but a lawsuit from U.S. West prohibited it.

The Library Commission should get more proactive with showing communities how they can do things rather than waiting to be asked.

The cities of Madison, Norfolk and the Community College in Norfolk worked together to submit application for prison. Other things may come now that they have started working together.

Good things happening now:

Trial databases, statewide contracts reduce cost to participating libraries

Joint purchasing

Joint programming public & school libraries

LB 1216 would allow entities to get together for collaborative purpose

Saunders County - 6 public libraries working together, have Interlocal agreement

Institutional libraries working together: Health & Human Services libraries working on a joint grant application and the Department of Corrections libraries also working together to purchase the same hardware and software for libraries.

PICKLE (Private Independent College Key Library Executives) group has been working together for years, joint purchasing, and other projects.

The Public Library Resource Group also been working together for years.

ICON is a consortium of health science libraries is the region

Regional library systems

Educational Service Units have long history of joint purchasing for all types of materials (not just library materials)

We are welcome to research their clippings collection for information on any types of projects we are interested in.

Which libraries are being cut & what are the attitudes about it? (they can tell us which cities and counties are in trouble, we can surmise the libraries)

Any articles asking if levy limits are a good policy decision

To whom are legislators responding in imposing policy limits?

Library systems have newsletters, could be information in them that Martha and Margy can use. Also, the newsletters could be used to ask which libraries are being impacted in each system.

Evaluation of this session: (quick phrases)

It is great to have access to success stories.

Views of the human dynamics on the local level are very enlightening.

Spent a little more time on public policy issues (background of LB 1214).

Written material was excellent, very informative.

Good job working together.

Amount of time was just right.


It was moved by Stan Gardner and seconded by Ken Oyer to adjourn the meeting at 12:03 p.m. The motion was approved by acclamation.

For more information, contact Sue Biltoft.