Skip To Talking Book & Braille Service Content Skip Navigation

Meeting Minutes

Loren Corey Eiseley Branch Library, Lincoln, Nebraska
June 21, 2002

State Advisory Council members present: Susan Baird; Becky Baker; Jim Bothmer, John Dale; Steve Davis; Karen Drevo; Nancy Escamilla; Stan Gardner; Jeff Gilderson-Duwe; Mo Khamouna; Kathy Lute; Kay Schmid; Tom Schmitz; Ruth Seward; John Seyfarth; Jane Wall; and Jeff Yost.  

Commission members present:  Richard Jussel, Wally Seiler, Velma Sims-Shipley and Kristen Rogge.   Commission staff members present:  Rod Wagner, Sally Snyder, Richard Miller, Shannon Behrhorst, and Pam Scott. 

Guests present: Brenda Ealey, Sandy Herzinger, Kevin Leapley, Jeanne Saathoff, and Ted Smith. 

Welcome and Introductions

Chair Karen Drevo called the meeting to order at 10:36 a.m. 

Julie Simpson, branch manager at Loren Corey Eiseley Branch Library, welcomed the group.  Introductions were made around the room.


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


John Seyfarth moved approval of the March 7&8, 2002, meeting minutes.  Stan Gardner stated a correction was needed on page 7, to say the Wayne State College library staff is unionized.  Motion seconded by Stan Gardner. Motion approved.


Library Services and Technology Act Reauthorization - Rod Wagner stated that the Senate has a version of the LSTA reauthorization legislation (S. 2611) first introduced in the House of Representatives.  This bill is very close to the House version. The main difference is that the Senate version will increase the state based allocation to $680,000 (from $200,000) and increase the funding authorization level to $380 million.  

There are two actions sought in regard to the LSTA.  Additional co-sponsors are sought for the legislation in the Senate. One action for the State Advisory Council and the Commission would be to encourage Senators Hagel and Nelson to give their support to the legislation.  The second item is to encourage our Congressional delegation to support passage of the LSTA legislation as soon as the House of Representatives schedules action on the LSTA legislation.  

In terms of appropriations, it appears the Congress is likely not to complete appropriations until after the November elections.  Most likely, there will be a continuing resolution to fund programs on an interim basis.  Funding will probably be at about the same level as this fiscal year. LSTA is in its final authorization period so Congress must take action on it in order to continue the program past September 30, 2002.    

For school libraries, the effort is to increase the amount of money appropriated for the program called "Literacy Through School Libraries." That legislation includes an authorized funding level of $250 million. There was only $12.5 million appropriated for the program this year. The effort is to increase the appropriation level to $100 million.  If that should happen, each state will receive an allocation.

A White House conference on school libraries was recently held.  Gary Hartsell from UNO was invited to attend and was a presenter at the conference.  The Institute of Museum and Library Services Web site contains information regarding the event, including the presentations that were made, and other documents.  A conference video is also available from IMLS. 

Rod Wagner gave an update on CIPA legal action. By Federal court action, a portion of the CIPA was ruled invalid in regard to public libraries.  However, it is still in full force for schools. This action has been appealed to the Supreme Court. 

Gates Library Initiative - Richard Miller reported that the Gates Foundation will be issuing a list of public libraries that will receive computers and what equipment will be provided to each library.  The Commission has been helping some libraries appeal their decision regarding free computers. Three of the libraries have received word that their appeal has been successful and they will receive free computers. Commission staff has developed guidelines for libraries that wish to participate in the Gates program through the purchase option.  These libraries can apply to the Commission for LSTA funds to cover half the cost of the computer. There are currently about 42 libraries that have appealed and have asked for a purchase option. 

Richard Miller reported that Continuing Education and Training Grants will be the next grants available in the Commission grant cycle.  The applications are due July 15 and announcement of the awards will be August 15.  The Commission has included a provision stating the grant awards will depend upon the results of the Legislature's special session.   

Nebraska Network Task Force - Rod Wagner reported that the state project to select a prime contractor to provide for uniformity, services and pricing for telecommunication services for various government entities was not successful. The Nebraska Information Technology Commission formed a task force to develop recommendations for addressing the telecommunication services needs for government, educational, and health care entities.  Ted Smith, Norfolk, is the library representative serving on the task force and Jeanne Saathoff, Kearney, is the library alternate. A draft report is available on the Nebraska Information Technology Commission Web site.  There is still time to make comments on the report.  The final report will be presented to the NITC in September.   

State Legislative Update - Rod Wagner reported that the Library Commission's state funds appropriations have been reduced by 8% as a result of the October 2001 special legislative session and the 2002 regular session.  These budget reductions were the result of across-the-board reductions that were made for most state agencies.  The Governor vetoed 50% of the Library Commission's state funds in the library aid program during the 2002 legislative session.  However, these funds were restored by the Legislature as part of a package in an override of the Governor's budget vetoes.   

A special session of the legislature will convene on July 30 for further budget cuts.  State tax revenue may be as much as $200 million below projections by the end of June.  The Governor has asked agencies to limit spending and to not implement any new services.  Funds are being released to agencies on a restricted basis at a rate of 8% per month.  

Jeff Yost asked if we are at risk of losing LSTA funds if we have another budget cut. Rod Wagner stated that we are currently in that situation.  There is a state maintenance of effort provision (MOE) and if a state falls below that level there is a provision that could lead to a reduction in federal funds.   The federal fund reduction is to be proportional to the state fund reduction.  There is also a waiver provision that allows the Institute of Museum and Library Services to not reduce a state allocation.  Many other states are experiencing the same budget problems as Nebraska. The Appropriations Committee is aware of this issue.  The state MOE will be based on state expenditures as of September 30, 2002, for the past (federal) fiscal year and will be compared to state library expenditures over a three year period. 

Rod Wagner stated that the Nebraska Library Commission is prepared to communicate very quickly when specific budget details are known.  The Library Commission is well past the point of being able to cut back purchases, keep positions open, etc., to make up budget deficits. A question was asked whether the Commission knows what will happen if certain cuts are made. Rod Wagner responded that no decisions have been made at this point.  Those decisions will be made depending on the actions of the Governor and Legislature.  Governor Johanns has said that he will not propose any more across-the-board cuts. The cuts will be for specific programs.  

A question was asked if there was anything that can be done that would help our position besides contacting senators. Rod stated the key people at this point are the Governor and his policy and budget staff, the Appropriation Committee members, and the other members of the legislature.  Nancy Busch stated that the University of Nebraska has done a good job in having local people come in and talk about how the University has helped agribusiness, etc. - not necessarily quantifiable, but anecdotal. It is important for the senators to hear this kind of information.

Library Personnel Issues and Project

Rod Wagner reported that he had contacted the Nebraska Library Association and Nebraska Educational Media Association presidents to ask for recommendations of persons to serve on a task force to address library workforce issues.  The specific areas for a task force to address include: 

*         Recruiting people into library service jobs;

*         Retaining library personnel;

*         Compensation for library personnel (Rod noted that incoming ALA President Mitch Friedman has made this his theme and priority). 

It was noted that it may be necessary to form more than one group to address these issues: one on recruitment and education, the other on retention and compensation which are closely related. 

Rod Wagner mentioned that there is a $10 million initiative proposed through the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences to address library personnel retention and recruitment. Funding for this purpose was included in President Bush's FY 2003 budget for the IMLS.  Information on this program proposal can be found on the IMLS Web site.  

Lunch & Discussions 

Five-Year Plan Evaluation: Making a Difference @ your LibraryTM 

Nancy Busch stated that the five-year evaluation report was sent to the IMLS.  The report contains information gathered during the Making a Difference public library visits.  Not all visits had been completed by the time of the report. Though, the great majority had and all of the libraries that received LSTA project grant funds were visited prior to completion of the report.  A copy of the report was sent to the Governor and to the Commission's budget and fiscal analysts (Department of Administrative Services and Legislative Fiscal Office).   

Public Forum (Long Range Plan) 

Rod Wagner thanked everyone present for attending the public forum and explained the discussion would be based on current and future Nebraska library service needs.  State library agencies must develop a five-year plan as a requirement for receipt of Federal LSTA funds.  The long range plan must be submitted to the IMLS by the end of July. 

The Nebraska Long Range Plan for Library Services 2003-2007 - Rod Wagner stated that the draft long range plan has 4 major goals.  Nancy Busch stated the long range plan is an extraction of what was learned from the communities and libraries that received LSTA grants the past 5 years. 

Jeff Gilderson-Duwe stated that staff of the Nebraska Information Technology Commission and the State's Chief Information Officer, at a meeting with library representatives, said they were trying to build infrastructure and that the library community needed to decide how it would use a telecommunications network.   Rod Wagner said that a need is an interface for access to online library information resources, and which will allow libraries to share information via technology.   

A suggestion was made to use a large portion of LSTA funds to develop and provide a portal that will provide a link to libraries and provide access to libraries' electronic catalogs.   

In order for people to get an idea of how this would work, Jeff Gilderson-Duwe said that he developed a model Web page that contains:  1) A feature to allow people to search library catalogs across the state; 2) a mechanism for delivery (how do I get the book?); 3) centralized access to the shared databases and promoted to the public; 4) a "best link" section; 5) centralized e-book access; 6) Ask a librarian 24/7 service; and 7) tie in to the NebrasKard program.   

Other suggestions to reaching these goals were:  

  • Need more equalized access to the above things;
  • A search engine that would search all of the library sites in the state;
  • Goals that mesh with what any school media person would look at;
  • Balance the above with why people love libraries,
  • Pool resources and find new ways to provide service.
  • Improved salaries would be a plus,
  • NLA and their efforts will be key to the situation,
  • Public officials and board members need to get better information to become more supportive,
  • Studies should be available that can be used to support this need,
  • Strengthen and enhance the library systems, they have the ability to be the grassroots approach for their areas,
  • Continued accreditation and certification process,
  • Appropriate salaries required for library accreditation,
  • Helpful to have tools available that can help people make their case to the local council members for better salary and benefits for library staff. 
  • Continue the LAMA programs,
  • Consider online education opportunities,
  • Do not repeat CE topics so often but offer additional topics,
  • Ongoing training for those currently in library field is also needed beyond certification requirements.
  • Increase amount of scholarship available per student, 
  • Better promotion of NLC and NLA scholarship
  • Provide support for those who are pursuing library education,
  • Appeal to people new to the field or interested in field,
  • Recruit by demonstrating the joys of the profession,
  • Contact high school counselors to promote library science as a career,
  • Develop summer employment program to hire high school students to work in library during summer and potential recruitment for the field.
  • Utilize the Workforce Development Summer Youth Employment Program and the Upward Bound program,
  • Work with the school to develop a high school program to offer a course in libraries as an elective for the students, or internships. 
  • There is also a need to provide services to customers who are non-English speaking. The minority population has grown in the last five years and will continue to grow. We should seriously look at this need as our minority population continues to grow.
  • Prioritize uses of LSTA funds.
  • It was suggested that it was not the best use of funds to give grants at 60% of requested amount to all applicants.  There is a need to accomplish a larger purpose.
  • Commit majority of LSTA monies to a portal to provide online access & for delivery of materials.
  • Piggyback on existing NDE network & increase bandwidth
  • Databases get more for our money when we have statewide contract
  • Cooperation with corporations and foundations to assist in funding the visions we have.  A five-year goal, describing what we want to accomplish in five years that will make a difference in people's lives and use the plan to present to organizations when we ask for assistance in accomplishing goals.
  • Broadband access in every Nebraska community. 
  • Submit one statewide E-rate application for state & use funds for access.
  • Encourage libraries over the next few years to purchase web accessible automation programs.
  • Provide invaluable continuing education opportunities that are especially helpful for smaller library staff and boards.
  • School libraries also rely on the databases, would like to see them expanded so schools have access to the E-library and Infotrack. If K-12 education gets a heavy cut in the special session the databases will be even more important.
  • The future clientele of libraries are in the schools right now.  They will become tax payers and we hope will have positive view of libraries.
  • Mentoring advocacy programs will be very important in the next five years. It is important to develop more sources of scholarships for MLS students.
  • In future, online applications for things will be more prevalent.  Different generations are going to want different formats (print and computer).
  • League of Municipalities as a possible partner
  • Certification standards should be investigated and upgraded.
  • A motion was made that the SACL Chair send letters encouraging Senators (Hagel and Nelson) to co-sponsor the LSTA reauthorization bill. Jeff Gilderson-Duwe moved, seconded by Stan Gardner.  Motion approved.  

    Chair Drevo asked everyone to e-mail a paragraph for roundtable items, post the message to the group and all can respond if interested. 

    Next meeting will be held September 20 in Tilden. 

    A motion was made to adjourn. Susan Baird moved, seconded by John Seyfarth.  Motion approved. Meeting adjourned at 3:05 p.m.   


    For more information, contact Sue Biltoft.