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Meeting Minutes

Lincoln, Nebraska

September 15, 1995

Present: B. Baker, L. Cundiff, S. Davis, D. Dragos, K. Marek, G. Mier, S. Person, J. Saathoff, R. Voeltz, S. Wiegert, S. Wise.

Staff: N. Busch, B. Johnson, J. Minges, S. Snyder, R. Wagner.

Welcome and Introductions

The meeting of the State Advisory Council on Libraries was convened by Chair Sally Wise at 10:06. Introductions of all present were given.

The agenda was approved as presented by acclamation. Richard Voeltz moved and Laura Cundiff seconded the minutes be approved as received. The motion carried.

NLC Report

Federal Program Status

Rod Wagner updated the Council on the status of federal programs. The House and Senate have different bills to replace the current Library Services and Construction Act (LSCA). Congress has an overall goal to consolidate programs. The potential long term effect is to discontinue some funding for Higher Education Act (HEA) programs related to libraries, and the library program authorized under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

The House action on the federal budget for the federal fiscal year beginning October 1, 1995, includes funding for LSCA Title I at the current year level, reducing Title III funding nationally by $5.7 million, and no funding included for Title II, construction and technology programs.

The Senate subcommittee action leaves Title I funding at the current level, $16.4 million for Title II, and Title III funding at same level as House. The Senate also includes Title IV funding for literacy programs, and funding under the Higher Education Act Title IIB $4.5 million, and HEA IIC at $2 million. The full Appropriations Committee is meeting today. They will determine the overall spending levels that will go to the Senate for action.

The Senate and House will have to reconcile differences. It is likely there will be flat funding level for Title I, and a certain reduction of Title III, and a potential elimination or reduction of Title II. It is not likely all appropriations will be in place by October 1. The continuing resolution will allow the federal government to proceed until all appropriations are approved.

The biggest concern for Nebraska is loss of funding for Title II. It is likely there like will be funding for Titles I and III. Title II is construction and technology. In recent years, Nebraska has divided the funds between construction and technology grants. The 1995 funding was awarded to three public libraries for construction projects, and a total of 54 public libraries for technology projects. Flat funding means our purchasing power declines. A reduction in Title III is also a loss.

This will be the final year of any LSCA funding, the authorization expires in 1996. New legislation is pending, and likely to be enacted in some form, for LSTA, Library Services and Technology Act. The effort here will be to work toward legislation that is as close as possible to the proposal developed by a coalition of library organizations.

In a library related matter, the Department of Commerce funding for telecommunications appears to be in jeopardy. There were several applications from Nebraska this year for that funding. There is a strong chance the funding for the whole program will be reduced substantially, and it is possible it will be eliminated.

State Aid to Public Libraries

Jim Minges reported on the one-page information sheet from the mailing to Council members regarding state aid to public libraries. Recently there have been several discussions among Library Commission staff about state aid. The cause of the discussion was the promise to public libraries for a larger amount of state aid to libraries pursuing the CLIP program. The Library Commission did not receive the requested increase in appropriations. This would mean reducing the amount of state aid awarded to some public libraries in order to provide a larger amount for those involved in CLIP. The overall issue with the state aid program is there is not much money, slightly over $300,000, that is distributed among public libraries. It is not a significant amount for any library, under the current distribution program. Should state aid be a small ongoing guaranteed income for public libraries, or a significant program for improving library service as a grant program? Overall, state aid is about 1% of the total public library income. For smaller libraries it is more significant (4.5%).

How should funds be distributed so all sizes of libraries have an opportunity to receive funds? Lacking a significant increase in funds, the Library Commission is unable to fund any library development initiative in any significant manner. $50 or $60 to each public library for CLIP involvement is not significant. Statewide goals like the planning process, larger areas of service, are two possibilities Commission staff are discussing for use of funds. The Public Guidelines Committee has also discussed this issue. In general, smaller libraries are more interested in the guaranteed annual amount, the larger the library the more likely they are to want a pool of funds to be used to develop projects related to statewide initiatives. No decisions have been made on how the "grant" process would work. For any grant priority, there will be some libraries not prepared to work on that issue. Two examples for projects for these funds are: community library planning, and county or other extended library service units to serve larger area. How the funds are distributed is open to suggestions. It may be decided to allocate a certain amount of funds into library size categories. Or, pool it all together. The main question today is: do we want to maintain the status quo or look for a change?

Discussion issues from questions on the back of the handout were:

-- $600 is what the children's library exists on, we purchase golden sower and summer reading program books with the state aid funds.

-- State aid WAS an incentive for accreditation when it was first introduced.

-- Librarians know generally where they want to be down the road, but it is difficult to see the path to it right now.

-- Smaller libraries don't have time to write grants, so the library systems step in to help and work with several libraries together. This grant process could add to the system administrators' work load.

-- The process will have to be very simple and straight forward, local goals must be well articulated. The CLIP structure was well developed and the requirements are clear. Let's look at strengths and weaknesses of the current program, and of any possible new program. What are the goals and the vision for a new program? They should be very clear. Many libraries depend on state aid money for certain services that may be more appropriately funded on the local level (e.g. children's services). It may put that program at risk but the local source should fund them. Equitable distribution of the funds is a must. The program will need to have incentives to encourage strong local programs, different ones may be needed if take away state aid incentive for accreditation.

-- Our library has advanced in technology remarkably in the last four years. The library budget has been cut each year for the last three years and we are told it will be drastically cut next year. We are purchasing fewer new books, but that is what the community wants: new books, especially in the children's area. There are five libraries in Clay County and some people want to form another. Currently, the towns don't cooperate in requesting county library funding for each library in the county.

The Library Commission's original goal was to increase the amount of state aid for public libraries in order to fund the CLIP program and other incentives. The Commission did not receive any additional funds, so now we are looking at what is the best use of the funds we have. The thought is that some libraries will sacrifice the funds for one year in the hope of receiving the funds in the next year for a project.

-- We should take something off the top for the incentive funds, then divide the remainder among the accredited libraries. This means a reduction for everyone, but also the possibility of receiving a grant for a special project.

-- What is the goal? If it is to get libraries to work together for larger units of service, there needs to be an incentive for it. Work also needs to be done so it is not so difficult for libraries, and local government, to work together (as in the example on the previous page).

There are two other programs using state aid, funding for the library systems and funding for the lender compensation program.

-- For several years libraries were required to spend about half of the state aid funds on materials, that helped to promote the dependency. The Commission must be sure the next approach does not build in dependency in another way.

-- Financial incentives would be used to get a project started, for example, larger areas of service. The grant would be to start project, not to fund it year after year.

Nebrask@ Online


Rod Wagner updated the Council on Nebrask@ Online. A lawsuit was filed by Farmers Mutual Insurance. The actual cost of obtaining a record is a primary issue. Previously the insurance company could receive a computer tape of records. The issues were submitted to the Attorney General's office. The Attorney General's office stated that the Department of Motor Vehicles did not have to supply a copy of the records, tape or paper, but only were required to allow the insurance company to view the records. The insurance company took the matter to court. The process will be ongoing for several months. The Commission will be supplying requested information and attorneys will be preparing for a court case.

We are moving forward on a number of services. The Network Manager is following the plan to work with certain key agencies in state government and will be offering more services as available. Court records will probably become available through Nebrask@ Online. A key service we hope will be available is the Legislative databases. The goal is to provide user friendly search capability, graphics, and also a number of other legislative databases that have not been available in the past.

Access to Internet via Nebrask@ Online is being provided to several libraries in the state. Other libraries are using a local provider.

Previously, individual accounts with Nebrask@ Online were going to require a $15 minimum monthly fee. That restriction will be removed for libraries, there will be no minimum monthly charge. In addition, the rate will be 10 cents per minute rather than 12 cents per minute.

Televideo conference sessions are scheduled for next week, September 18, 20 and 22. These sessions are for librarians in the state to tell the Commission about concerns, issues, requests, and suggestions regarding public access to the Internet provided in the library setting.

The State Advisory Council on Libraries section is now on the Nebraska Library Commission home page. The first page lists the Council as one of the choices to view. The Council section includes, or will soon include: the Council Bylaws, minutes of the most recent meeting, roster of Council members, the Challenge to Nebraska Libraries, the agenda for upcoming meeting, and a list of meeting dates.

Also new on the Library Commission home page is full text of the recently produced document: Creating the Climate for the Information Age, the Nebraska Statewide Telecommunications Infrastructure Plan. It is listed under the Nebraska Library Resources section.

National Science Foundation Grant and Electronic Library Project

Nancy Busch updated the Council on the National Science Foundation Grant. A handout on the Nebraska Electronic Library was distributed to Council members. The home page is not up yet but will be soon. It is a prototype for the state. There will be a booth at NLA/NEMA conference to discuss with people what they see on it, if it is useful, what is needed, should it continue, etc. The address may be released prior to NLA/NEMA for people to use before conference.

Nebraska submitted a National Science Foundation grant application for a three-year project to build a math/science digital library in the state. A total of 300 pre-proposals submitted. Nebraska was one of the 100 projects encouraged to submit a complete application. The Foundation funded only two projects out of the 100. Nebraska was not one of them. We have been encouraged to re-submit the proposal to NSF at a later date. The current grant expires at end of October, 1995.

Library Information Technology Fund Initiative -- Discussion

Nancy Busch presented the proposal included in the mailing to the Council. The proposal is for state funding for public libraries for information technology. The goal is to secure state funds, similar to that received by medium sized libraries, for public libraries on a continued basis. It would include state, local, and, possibly, private funding. The discussion included:

-- The recommendations at the end of the document indicate the plan is to ask the state legislature for funding, and seek a private source for funds.

Purpose: is it clear?

-- Suggestion to include in the guidelines related to the project that upgrading and telecommunication costs are included as a possible use of the funds.

-- Insert in the purpose statement, "Nebraska Libraries of all sizes." Define who the Public Resource Library Group is, many people do not know. Also state, this particular group of libraries received state funding, we now would like to extend it to libraries of other sizes.

Background and Needs Assessment: are they persuasive?

-- How will the Commission provide some assurance that libraries of different sizes will benefit from this program?

-- May look at the application process and priorities for Title II technology funding. Once a library has received a grant for automation of the circulation system, they will not receive any additional Title II grants to upgrade the system, unless it is for a significant change, for example, adding an OPAC to the circulation system, or adding additional terminals.

-- A specific statement should be made that a certain percentage of funds will first go to libraries of a certain size, if there are some funds left over, those funds will be used for other size libraries.

-- Structure will be needed to provide capability for smaller libraries with limited staff to compete on an equal basis. If Title II is eliminated, the systems could devote time to this program as a cooperative approach. It would help to have more system staff.

-- Move the quote from Bob Kerrey to the beginning of the paragraph about schools.

-- The ESUs were successful in their program because they worked together to offer services, training, technical support, etc. The Library Systems may want to follow their model to be as successful as the ESUs have been. The ESUs have pooled their staff to provide service to schools, for example, one staff person is the technical expert for a larger area. Cooperative purchases were made by ESUs, and previously made by Library Systems.

- Include a broad statement that includes small public libraries in whatever approach is taken, or is something more specific needed?

The meeting recessed for lunch at 11:50 a.m. and reconvened at 1:15 p.m.

Sally Wise introduced Julie Pinnell, the new reference librarian at the Library Commission.

Proposal Discussion continued

Who else should give input on the draft? Public Resource Library Group, Library Systems (administrators and boards), Public Library section and Trustees section of NLA. Nancy Busch and Sally Wise will adapt this draft and send a second draft to SACL members. It may be possible to ask the different NLA sections to discuss it at their meetings at the NLA/NEMA convention.

Nancy Busch noted another campaign being promoted by the American Library Association (ALA). $1 per capita for libraries campaign. Would result in $1.6 million total for Nebraska. The current state aid budget in all three categories is approximately $800,000-900,000. This campaign would need a lot of support. Discussion:

-- There is potential competition with other state entities for funds. Nancy Busch noted the automation funding for public resource library group campaign stated they didn't want the funding at the expense of something else.

-- Libraries and the Commission would want to keep this funding, at that level, on an ongoing basis.

-- Government officials usually prefer to authorize funds for specific projects where they know exactly where the money is going. We will have to be clear how the funds would be allocated between programs, list the outcomes expected and how the funds will benefit people at the local level.

-- This is a possibility for raising all of the state aid for libraries. Technology is a hot issue right now. State aid for public libraries, systems, and lender compensation are hot issues to librarians. How can we include it all?

-- What is the best way to take the proposal to other groups for their input and support? How do we get it on the sections agendas at the NLA/NEMA conference?

-- The most we can do is present the general concept and have brief discussion at the business meetings during the fall conference. More in-depth discussion usually take place at Spring Meetings.

-- Becky Baker volunteered to go to the Public Library section meeting.

-- The $1 per capita is an appealing goal. Do we have to choose one approach or the other, the technology fund OR the $1 per capita? The $1 per capita gives us a broad opportunity to provide for better library service, not just technology.

-- They are not mutually exclusive. We can combine them and show the $1 per capita would provide the technology portion, the system funds, lender compensation, and aid to public libraries, in addition to other projects.

-- We need to go for $1 per capita, technology is only a part of the total proposal.

-- Nancy Busch stated that Library Commission staff can put together a draft document incorporating these four areas in a proposal approach.

-- Can this be ready by the NLA/NEMA convention in October? Is there time for Council members to look at a draft and make suggestions prior to introduction at the various section meetings at convention?

-- All types of libraries will need to support the proposal if it includes all four areas. The main goal is to further this idea. Rather than rush it, it will be better to have the proposal really ready when the document is presented to various library groups.

-- This is the off year in the state's biennium budget cycle, so there is time to consider and develop this idea. There is time to bring people together to discuss and give input and support to the proposal.

-- Budget cuts will probably continue in the next few years. Let's not set THIS goal TOO LOW, or we will be back asking for more funding too soon.

-- It will help to introduce the proposal at the Fall conference. Present the proposal as one of several approaches under consideration for the future. Ask for input on the proposal and for any other ideas as well.

-- It is best to look at all areas which need increases in funding and not just one.

-- It was suggested that we only mention that the State Advisory Council on Libraries and the Library Commission are looking at a significant funding proposal but details not yet available.

-- Rather than introduce the proposal at NLA/NEMA, it may be better to use something that goes to everyone, such as the NLCommunicator, the Library Commission Home Page, etc.

-- Mail a draft of the umbrella idea to Council members prior to December meeting and plan to discuss it again at that meeting. Could also develop strategies at that time for working with other groups.

Jim Minges suggested we mention the State Advisory Council on Libraries and the Commission are very seriously looking at some type of significant aid funding initiative. Something is being developed but is not formed yet.

Jean Saathoff moved that the Council and the Commission begin the umbrella process by getting the idea out to librarians via the NLCommunicator and the Library Commission Home Page. A draft proposal will be mailed prior to the December meeting for Council members to discuss. Dick Voeltz seconded. The motion carried.

December Meeting Plans and Arrangements

The above proposal will be a major agenda item for December. The meeting will be held via video conference. Site locations and addresses will be mailed to Council members prior to the meeting.

The Council Round Table was tabled until after the CHIRS discussion.

Consumer Health Information Resources - Discussion

The Consumer Health Information Resources (CHIRs) discussion was conducted by Amy Garwood of the Nebraska Library Commission.

Council Round Table

Sharon Wiegert, Papillion Public Library, noted the ground breaking ceremony for the new library will be held on September 23 at 10:00 a.m. They hope to be in the new building by November 1, 1996.

Devra Dragos, Beatrice State Developmental Center, reported they are experiencing a delay in receiving the CD-ROM workstation and products that were requested earlier this summer. Several institutional libraries have a change in staff underway. The librarian at the Norfolk Veterans Home retired and she was replaced with an occupational therapist. The librarian at the Lincoln Regional Center retired. They have rewritten the position somewhat and are in the process of hiring a staff person who will be in charge of the library as well as other duties. The Norfolk Regional Center is considering contracting with the community college or the local hospital for library service.

Steve Davis, Kearney Public Schools, reported they have a new fiber optic network that is almost up and running. There are a few technical difficulties to work out.

Sylvia Person, Holdrege Public Schools, noted their fiber optic network is not running yet. Holdrege Public Library has contracted with Lincoln Telephone for Internet service. They must have 50 subscribers at $19.95 a month to go forward.

Jean Saathoff, Kearney Public Library and Information Center, stated last Sunday was the first Sunday the library was open. They are hosting a Technology Center anniversary party on Tuesday and hope to showcase the new Windows 95. A new roof for the library is in the budget this year. The city manager is leaving. He has been very supportive of the library. The Library Foundation will begin to consider a growth and needs study for the library.

Lupe Meir, Bellevue Public Library, noted a number of public libraries had to change to a new fiscal year this year. The change involves a one time 14 month period for the adjustment. This will affect the budget and statistics for the library.

Dick Voeltz, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, noted the UNL library is being folded into another unit called Information Services. The unit will include the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources Computing Center, the Computing Resources Center from the city campus, Telecommunications, and University Libraries. There will be no cancellation project this year. The athletic department gave $350,000 to provide for this upcoming year. The library recently ordered purchase of $30,000 of electronic resources including CD-ROMS and related material. The purchase should be received in the next few months.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 3:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Sally Snyder

For more information, contact Sue Biltoft.