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Meeting Minutes

Lincoln, Nebraska

June 30, 1995

Present: B. Baker, M. Battistella, V. Bialac, J. Birnie, P. Brunken, D. Crews, L. Cundiff, S. Davis, D. Dragos, K. Marek, G. Mier, S. Person, J. Saathoff, T. Strom, R. Voeltz, S. Wiegert, S. Wise.

Commissioners: F. Lovell, Dr. R. McPherson, R. Norman, J. Sanders, M. Vollbrecht.

Staff: N. Busch, E. Miller, J. Minges, D. Oertli, M. J. Ryan, S. Snyder, A. Sternburg, R. Wagner.

Welcome and Introductions

The joint meeting of the State Advisory Council on Libraries and the Commissioners was convened at 9:38 a.m. Welcome was given by Rod Wagner. Introductions of all present were given.

Council Chair Sally Wise suggested the agenda be amended to include a report on the changes that will occur with Nebrask@ Online. The agenda was approved as amended by acclamation. Richard Voeltz moved and Verda Bialac seconded the minutes be approved as received. The motion carried.

Home Page(s) Presentation

Annie Sternburg gave a demonstration of two home pages on the Internet that Library Commission staff have created. Annie Sternburg, Joanne Corson, Vern Buis and Cindi Hickey have worked on these projects. Annie first demonstrated the Nebraska Library Commission home page. The address is for anyone who is interested in accessing it. Annie noted the home page is always under construction and to please let her know if you are aware of something that is missing. The home page contains the following sections: Our Mission and Goals, Our Services, Our Staff, Our Library Commissioners, How to Reach Us, News (under construction), Upcoming Events (under construction), Library Commission publications, Nebraska Regional Library Systems, Nebraska Libraries on the Internet, Nebraska State Agencies, Other State Library Agencies.

The address for the state home page is and it contains easy access to basic state information. The state home page contains the following sections: Welcome from Governor Benjamin E. Nelson, Office of the Governor, State Agencies, State Funded Colleges and Universities, State Agency Information Products, Other Nebraska Resources, Other State Information Servers, and Nebraska State Government Directory. The Nebraska state government directory has search capability to locate a state employee phone number.

Vern is developing a Nebraska library directory that will allow the user to search for the city and learn the librarian's name and phone number, or search for the librarian's name. It may be available by this fall.

Phyllis Brunken noted the challenge grant received by ESU #7 (Educational Service Unit). Ten students will be trained to create home pages for their schools and public libraries. The home pages should be up and available this fall. A U.S. West sponsored grant for teachers will allow them to design Nebraska educational resources to be available on the Internet. ESU #7 has a home page, it contains the copyright laws for educators, software copyright guidelines for educators. The Department of Education points to other home pages, the ESU #7 page should be available through it.

NLC Report

Biennium Budget

Nancy Busch updated the Council and Commissioners on the state budget. A summary handout was distributed. All state agencies had to identify 10% of the budget to be cut if the the state experienced a revenue shortage. These were called modifications. At our budget hearing in February we had to justify putting the 10% back. The Library Commission identified Reference and Information services, Federal documents, interlibrary loan service, and Current Awareness Service as those to be affected if the budget were cut. The Library Commission did have all of the 10% added back into the budget. Salary increases were also included in the budget as well as a small increase for inflationary cost of travel and operating expenses. The Library Commission received approval to spend the projected Nebrask@ Online revenues from the fee-based services, an estimated $50,000 for the first year and $75,000 for the second. The Commission did not receive any increase in state aid for public libraries or for system services. We are anticipating slightly fewer federal funds as well. The Governor had recommended funding for toll-free access to Nebrask@ Online, but the Legislature did not. No new items the Commission requested were funded. Salary increases for Commission staff were fully funded.

Federal Programs Status

Rod Wagner reported on the status of the federal library programs. He noted there has been good progress toward establishing a new federal library program to replace the Library Services and Construction Act (LSCA). It is not all good news but people are optimistic. There had been concern that the federal library program would end due to the changes in Congress. A coalition has been working for several years on developing a proposal for new federal programs to replace LSCA. It emerged from the 1990 Library and Information Services. The participants felt it was time to rewrite the federal library program. There have been good results working with various members of Congress. Bills were introduced in both the House and Senate to continue a federal library program. The two bills are not quite the same, but contain similar concepts. The House Bill is HR 1617 and the Senate Bill is S856.

Both bills contain some reduction in funding compared to current amounts received through LSCA. A major difference in the two bills: the Senate bill would establish a new Institute of Museum and Library Services. The House bill keeps administration of the program with the Department of Education (DOE). The bill provides for continuation of administration of the federal library program if the DOE is discontinued.

The House initiatives have eliminated the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) program enacted a year ago for school library resources, and the Higher Education Act programs for libraries. The new Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), if it is passed, was not intended to address those areas. Some members of Congress think LSTA is the only federal library program needed.

The new approach is to enact block grant programs which give states more control over the use of funds, with less federal controls. Safeguards have been written into the program. The funds go to each designated state library agency, in both versions of the bill. It appears likely that both bills will pass. If they do, a joint Senate and House committee will work together to reconcile differences and develop a bill both can pass.

The coalition of various library organizations has held together and worked to find compromise for all groups. The ALA Washington office has worked hard and been very helpful. ALA put more funds and efforts in lobbying and results have been seen.

There is one remaining year of LSCA. Funds are expected to be appropriated later this summer. The Title II funding for construction and technology may be under threat again. There is a strong opinion LSCA will be appropriated for FY 1995-1996, and that the new bills will be enacted and future appropriations will be continued at some reduced but still significant level. There is support from both Democrats and Republicans for library programs.

Long Range Plan

Sally Snyder noted the draft copy of the Long Range Plan was due in Washington by July 1, 1995. An update was sent to Washington with the Annual Program for 1996. Changes included in the update were primarily for clarification. The children's services section was changed somewhat as requested by Mary Jackson and the new Children's Advisory Committee. A copy of the update will be mailed with the minutes of the meeting.

Nancy Busch noted that suggestions of the State Advisory Council were incorporated into the document. Thank-you for giving us input. We did not do a major revision of the plan since a different federal program is in the future. A copy of the Long Range Plan will be on the Library Commission home page. An executive summary is planned for the next issue of N-Compass. A full copy of the document will be available upon request.

Public Library Guidelines Revision

Jim Minges reported on the ongoing update of the Public Library Guidelines. The committee has met twice to date. Members of the Public Library Guidelines Committee are: Rhonda Manning, Hyannis (Grant County Library); Ruth Strassler (Chair), Neligh; Julie Senden, West Point; Becky Baker, Seward; Phyllis Extrom, Holdrege; Carol Reed, Kearney; Ted Smith, Norfolk; John Dale, Lincoln; Harold Goff, Lyons (Trustee); Sharon Osenga, Meridian Library System; and Jim Minges, Barbara Johnson, and Ellen Van Waart of the Library Commission. A one-page handout was distributed which lists the committee members and some of the goals and criteria for the revision.

A revision is needed because the current guidelines are several years old, and the current ones are not all easily verified or easy to understand. The earlier guidelines were as much an educational document as a set of standards. The current set does not contain much about technology. The preliminary thoughts of the committee are listed on the distributed sheet.

The committee is looking at each guideline and asking: can it be understood? can it be monitored? Some current guidelines will probably be removed and addressed in some other way.

The committee is considering two levels of accreditation. One would require meeting all of the "required" guidelines, the second level would be based on meeting some other guidelines. The Library Commission would allocate aid according to the level of accreditation the library has attained. A new section will be written to deal with technology issues.

The committee will be asking for input from the library community. Their goal is to bring a draft document to the Spring meetings in 1996 for discussion. After input from the Spring meetings, a final document will be developed to present to the Public Library Section at the NLA convention in the fall of 1996.

Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse Evaluation

Nancy Busch

The Library Commission in early May decided to conduct an evaluation and review of the Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse program and services. It was established in state statute in 1972. The Clearinghouse covers all of our federal and state document depository activities.

With many new developments occurring in electronic information it is a good time to review the program. An internal staff team is directing the process. A letter was sent to directors of depository libraries in Nebraska and their staff to inform them that the process is underway and that we will request input from depository libraries. We will also gather input from the library community and state government agencies. Information will be gathered from other state library agencies on their programs, including recent statutes of other states that address electronic information. The process is just underway. The September meeting of the Council may want to include a discussion of the Clearinghouse to provide input from the Council.

National Science Foundation "Electronic Library Project"

Nancy Busch distributed a summary of the retreat held at the Library Commission in April as part of the National Science Foundation Electronic Library Project planning grant. The grant was received by the University of Nebraska and the Library Commission to look at issues around developing a statewide electronic library. Activities that were a part of this planning process included forming a steering committee. A survey was sent to over 1,200 libraries in Nebraska to gather information on the types of information people want to access electronically. A survey also requested information on training offered in the state for Internet use.

The planning retreat held in April at the Library Commission was a major activity of the grant. Over 50 people from various libraries and agencies attended. Speakers at the retreat included Susan Fayad, director of Colorado's network, speaking on issues they are encountering in Colorado. Robert Denicola, spoke on copyright issues in the electronic age. There was a lively discussion on that issue. Janet Poley summarized the discussions on different topics held in small groups throughout the two day retreat. Her comments are included in the planning retreat summary distributed to Council members earlier.

The steering committee met in early June to discuss the result of the planning retreat and the survey and to consider what happens next in terms of the statewide electronic library. One possibility is to develop a Nebraska electronic libraries' home page. It would provide a place for any Nebraska library to have a presence. Plans are to develop a prototype of it for the fall NLA/NEMA conference. The summary and a copy of the survey results were sent to over 1,200 Nebraska libraries.

An implementation grant application was submitted in April to the National Science Foundation. The application proposes to build a prototype electronic library in Nebraska that is only related to math and science. Grants will not be awarded until late this summer. More that 100 grants were submitted, they will fund 24 or less, so it is quite competitive. A final report on the planning grant will be written in September and will include recommendations from the steering committee about how the concept will be furthered in the state. Overall, the grant has had a good impact in bringing people in the state together to look at issues.

Update on NE Online

Rod Wagner gave an update on Nebrask@ Online. The target date for discontinuing the current Nebrask@ Online system is August 1, 1995. The enhanced Nebrask@ Online is being readied to be put into place at that time. Access to Nebrask@ Online through the Internet will be provided. Libraries currently without access to the Internet may sign up for access via Nebrask@ Online. The grant funds for providing toll-free access to Nebrask@ Online are nearly depleted. Grants received from the Nebraska Telephone Association, the Nebraska Energy Office, and Small Business Administration funds allowed the Library Commission to pay the cost of toll-free access to Nebrask@ Online. The fees libraries and other users will pay beginning August first will go toward the actual expense of providing the telecommunications system. The ultimate goal is to equalize cost among everyone in Nebraska.

Electronic access to driver's license records was the first system on the new Nebrask@ Online. Many databases and records from the Secretary of State's office are close to being available through Nebrask@ Online. Nebraska attorneys and others would like to see the state's Rules and Regulations available online. A high priority for Nebrask@ Online is working with the Legislature to provide online access to statutes, legislative bills, hearings, agendas, and other information.

Discussion is still underway concerning objections by insurance companies to paying the higher fee for driver's license records. Farmers Mutual Insurance Company has initiated a protest with the State Attorney General Office challenging whether the state can legally charge the additional $1.00 per record for electronic access to driver's license records. The controversy concerning the other bidder for Nebrask@ Online network manager services has been resolved.

Talking Book and Braille Service Tour

Council members were given a tour of the Talking Book and Braille Service by Dave Oertli and Diane Greenlee.

The meeting reconvened at 1:20 p.m.

Sally Wise, Council Chair, noted the next meetings of the Council are scheduled for September 15 and December 8. Plans are to hold the December 8 meeting as a teleconference, if the video conferencing system is available for booking on that date. The Commissioners March 1996 meeting is set for March 14 & 15 in Kearney. Council members can mark their calendars for that meeting. It will probably convene in the early afternoon on the 14th.

Council Round Table Discussion

Dena Crews, Chadron Public Library, reported NebraskaNet (CWEIS) and ChadronNet have filed papers for incorporation and are searching for a vendor. Cambridge, Chadron and Lincoln are involved with NebraskaNet. Access to Internet will be provided through the project.

Becky Baker, Seward Public Library, reported that Connect Seward is moving along. Their plans include 20 phone lines into the server at Concordia. LT&T prefers to have all calls go to Lincoln first and then bounce them to Concordia for local Seward information. That means all the revenue would go to LT&T. Negotiations continue with this project. Seward received a challenge grant for the project, the rest is being funded by donations at this point. Seward Public Library also received LSCA Title II automation funds from the Commission through the system grant project. They are using the funds to purchase a CD stacker.

Kate Marek, Southeast Library System, noted the library systems are giving grants for technology, and also wrote cooperative grant applications to the Library Commission for LSCA technology funds. At first the applications were for automated circulation and catalogs. The past two years they have also requested funds for CD-ROM workstations. The library systems are also supporting the CD-ROM union catalog project from their budgets. A CD-ROM version of the catalog is limited if librarians want to expand the number of MARC records listed. Several library systems have given Internet grants in the past year and would like to continue, but funding for systems has been flat for the last five years and so the amount available is limited. Library systems are also working to offer Internet training for librarians and library staff.

Jeanne Saathoff, Kearney Public Library, reported their automation is up and operating very well. They are using the last of the Kiewit grant funds for a self-checkout system. An LSCA Technology grant from the Library Commission is for two KidsCat stations in the children's department. The library also received a Kearney Keno grant. They would like to network the popular Mackintosh computers in the children's department. Kearney FreeNet is up and running. It is a local network, with information pages and local e-mail service. There will be Internet e-mail available on a limited basis. It will be paid for with federal funds and some city funds. The hardware and server is in the Technology Center at the public library. The library trained many members of the public on the use of the system. They are still trying to get Internet in place.

Troy Strom, City Administrator of Fullerton, reported they are looking into the feasibility of connecting into the high school's Internet connection. The public library received a grant from the Kiewit Foundation for computer purchase. It will be compatible with the high school computer so students can use it for school work. Fullerton and Genoa will be going to the county board together to request a county budget amount for libraries.

Verda Bialac reported the Omaha Public Library is in the process of getting onto the Internet. They have not yet chosen a provider. Currently they are loading information access into the Dynix system so all the branches can access full text articles. Fax machines are now located in every branch and each subject department of the main library. They are planning to install 4-6 computer centers. Each will be a stand alone computer connected to the Internet for public use. The guidelines for use have not yet been developed. In addition, five locations will be getting self-checkout units.

Laura Cundiff, Clay Center Public Library, noted their library has two computers and a CD-ROM reader purchased with LSCA funds and matching local funds. They are in the process of getting a fax machine for the library and plan to purchase a scanner. They will use one phone line for the computer and the fax machine. The library board feels there are not that many people wanting to use an Internet connection. They are only open 3 or 4 hours in the afternoon. They will stay on Nebrask@ Online, and are waiting to see what is next.

Sylvia Person, Holdrege Middle School, reported Holdrege has formed a community group which has conducted a survey and compiled information. The public library has a new computer. The school has fiber optic laid and it should be operational by the fall. Training will be an important issue. She has been working with 104 students this summer and they are very excited about the Internet access.

Steve Davis, Kearney school system, noted Kearney is working with the local cable company for fiber optic capability. The high school and middle school should have direct connections by the fall. The local school district funds are paying for it so far, they continue to apply for grants.

Sharon Wiegert, Papillion Public Library, reported the town's bulletin board is very successful. Internet is extremely successful. The charge for city residents is $50 per year for the Internet connection and an extra $10 a month for SLIP (graphics) connection. Non-residents pay $10 month per household or $50 for six months. There are three stations at the public library for Internet access. The Summer Reading Program included an Internet class for children at no charge. They had 40 children attend classes, with ten to a class. The library received a $200,000 Kiewit challenge grant for a new library building. They applied for Junior Women's Club community improvement grants and used the funds to buy an ellison dye cut machine for signs.

Devra Dragos, Beatrice State Developmental Center, reported they received their LSCA grant for the client collection. There is no computer in the library yet. They do have a computer for online searching with FirstSearch. The library is going to get a CD-ROM reader for the professional collection. They are working on access to the Internet. They can get there through PROFs but not to WWW. The LT&T offer is also available in Beatrice. Beatrice Public Library has received grants to put in technology.

Richard Voeltz, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, reported the University is working on getting the capability for web access. Training is currently underway for staff to use the web.

Lupe Mier, Bellevue Public Library, noted their automation system is up and running. They are looking to expand services: would like access through Dynix for gateways to catalogs of other libraries. They will also establish Internet connections and are considering whether to connect through the college or direct from the public library. A computer center for children will be set up in the future. Computer software is now a line in the budget, $9,000 this year. The city is looking at grant possibilities for archiving meeting minutes, in particular the city minutes from approximately 1836 to the present.

Maureen Battistella, Wayne State College, reported that beginning July 1 they will have Netscape access to the Internet. This is a tremendous training responsibility for the library. Dial access for the public, the 4 current lines will expand to 16 ports for access to the Internet. GPO and Geographic information systems will soon be available. They have received funding for 6-8 multi-media workstations for the library. Wayne is in the process of building a new public library building.

Phyllis Brunken, ESU #7, noted they have received an assistive technology grant to be used for students with special needs. The Legislature passed LB 860 which allows schools access to weatherization funds, the funds can be used for Internet costs. Platte Campus Community College has a channel on the local cable system for education.

Joan Birnie, Broken Bow Public Library , reported the library in the past has received grants from the Commission for automating circulation, CD-ROM public access computer, fax machine, and a one-way satellite video. Broken Bow has had a community technology committee for about one year. The committee plans to develop an electronic bulletin board, the county is also interested. There are eight different prefixes in Custer county and four different telephone companies. That makes it difficult to have countywide access to the bulletin board. A volunteer high school student is developing a Web page for Custer County.

Sally Wise, Schmid Law Library, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, noted they are putting up a CD-ROM network within the law school for the use of professors, students, and anyone who comes into the library. The Law Library also received a grant to provide part-time hours for a staff person to work with the bar association in the use of technology in the process of law, and to give information to the law school so students know how technology is being used in the field.

Rod Wagner distributed a handout listing the Title II grant recipients in Nebraska for 1993, 1994, and 1995. It is a public library program. Nebraska is one of only a few states using Title II funds for construction and technology, most state use Title II funds only for construction projects.

Nancy Busch suggested that the next time we request state funds, the Library Commission may want to consider requesting an on-going fund for library technology, such as was done with the Public Resource Library Group automation fund in the past. A compilation like this handout could be used to show what has been happening in this area.

Kate Marek, Southeast Library System, noted that public access to libraries' catalogs would be very useful. Jeanne Saathoff asked how we could initiate this type of project. Nancy Busch stated maybe we could work with a group of volunteers from the Council to think it through for next years' budget request. Volunteers for this group: Jeanne Saathoff and Sally Wise. Anyone else interested should contact Nancy Busch. Other suggestions for this project included:

The Kiewit Foundation supported the original public resource library automation project and was helpful in getting state funds. They may be interested in participating again.

A gateway program for Nebraska would probably have Internet connections as well.

The Commission may want to look at using Title II funds for this type of statewide project in the future, and seek Kiewit or other matching funds.

A delivery system will also be a factor. If patrons have access to catalogs, they will also want the material(s) as soon as possible.

This group can be the leadership to encourage libraries to move into technology, acknowledge many libraries will be at different places at different times, and will access different things in different ways.

Form a committee to brainstorm ideas and bring them to the September Council meeting. Council members need to challenge themselves to think about how each may participate, and also any ideas for discussion at the September meeting.

Phyllis Brunken moved, and Dena Crews seconded, that the major task for the State Advisory Council on Libraries for 1995 will be to investigate the possibility of establishing a statewide technology fund to be applied to individual projects or a state project, and include it in the next biennium budget request. It should be an action plan for the State of Nebraska. The motion carried.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 3:15 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Sally Snyder

For more information, contact Sue Biltoft.