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Meeting Minutes

State Advisory Council on Libraries
December 5, 1997

Nebraska Library Commission Staff Present: Nancy Busch, Richard Miller and Sally Snyder.

Welcome and Introductions

The meeting was called to order by Chair Jeanne Saathoff at 10:00 a.m. Introduction were given around the table.

Approval of Agenda

Michael LaCroix moved and Ken Oyer seconded the approval that the agenda be approved. Motion was approved by acclamation.

Approval of Minutes of September 19, 1997

 Several corrections were noted on the minutes of September 19, 1997. Staff and Partnership Development for Health and Human Services System (the corrected name of the group Devra Dragos is working with; also note the misspelling of her name)(p.3) Under Scenarios for Future State . . . (p. 3, fourth paragraph: Delete: "People ask," and substitute: "It's the perception of the people who want to know, "Why are a school library and public library both needed?"

Richard Voeltz moved approval, seconded by Michael LaCroix. Approved


 Lunch plans were discussed.

NLC Report

Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Update

Nancy Busch reported on LSTA was funded at $146 million for FY 98, a $10 million increase. We don't yet know how much of this will come to Nebraska, but we estimate a 7% increase. Later we will discuss how much of this funding will be discretionary for expenditure in Nebraska. The Institute of Library and Museum Services has now hired a person to handle the library part -- Elizabeth Sywecz (deputy directory to handle the library section; she is from NY state).

Sally Snyder noted that Evalu Neff has been moved over to the library division. Jane Heiser also moved over from the Department of Education. Trish Skaptason also.

ESEA Title VI has been funded at $350 million by the House rather than the $310 passed by the Senate. Some child literacy funding is also working its way through the system. On the Reading Excellence Act we don't yet have all the information on who may apply, but it appears to be aimed at schools initially. With the emphasis on partnerships at the federal level, however, others may be involved.

Rod Wagner participated in a September 97 meeting in Arlington, VA on evaluation of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), sponsored by the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA). COSLA has begun talking about goal areas under LSTA -- what is important for states to begin thinking about. Nothing will be prescribed. There was quite a lot of discussion on the term, "underserved." Some feeling there should be a national definition. A consulting group is also working on a document related to the roles of state libraries, a replacement for state library standards written years ago. We may want to talk about this in SACL at some point.

If you wish to look at the full text of LSTA, it is on the Internet.

Long Range Plan Implementation: "Libraries for the 21st Century: Nebraska Library Commission Library Services and Technology Act Five Year Plan" was sent to federal government in August. We were asked to send more detail on needs assessment and later received word on approval of the plan. The current full text is on the NLC homepage. We are not producing another print edition because the intent is to keep it a "living" document, up-to-date on the homepage, rather than printing new versions. If anyone does not have access by this means, NLC can print it off the homepage for those who need it.

The NLC has formed goal teams lead by three team leaders -- Jo Budler, Dave Oertli, and Richard Miller -- to determine which activities should be continued, ended, and which partners should be involved . Richard spoke about what "New and innovative library service arrangements" means in Goal 2 (page 8),and goal 4 (page 10), and goal 5c (page 13), for which NEMA should be listed as a partner. Nancy noted that as the work progresses, the actual partners will be listed. On the NLC homepage, Phyllis Brunken suggests we add, "Last revised . . . ." so people know what is the latest version.

Jeanne Saathoff complemented the NLC and staff on undertaking this necessary process.

Library System Retreat Follow-up:

Jeanne Saathoff indicated that the retreat offered a good sharing of ideas with many levels of experience by participants including trustees. Those who came just for the afternoon session said they wished they had come for the morning session as well. Richard Miller noted that the morning session aimed at new system board members resulted from last year's retreat which asked for a separate session.

Phyllis Brunken recommended use of two publications, " Educators' Standards for Technological Competency"; and "Information Literacy Student Standards" because they relate to a number of the long-range goals. Jeanne Saathoff noted that public libraries are encountering many users who don't have these skills either. Nancy had said that it would be useful to get these two publications to our public libraries. Phyllis Brunken noted that there are new standards related to reading competencies for students -- from the state level.

Nancy Busch and Richard Miller answered questions about the facilitated retreat we will be holding with the Systems in February.

NLC Publications:

Sally Snyder mentioned that there is another database trial about to begin with some starting January 15, some February 1, and some March 1. These include the African American database, Informe!, and the International Index to Music Periodicals with a total of eleven different databases. This information can be downloaded from the NLC homepage. The NEBASE advisory Council has recommended that e-mail messages be sent out reminding people to send success stories to Kathy Tooker, chair of the NLA Legislation Committee for use during the upcoming legislative session.

Universal Service Fund -- School and Library Discounts:

Richard Miller handed out four documents and discussed this topic. John Dale questioned how to break out library charges from a Centrex phone bills. Phyllis Brunken noted that no one should get too comfortable about the 75 day window; the vendors need at least 4 weeks to respond to the requests. Jeanne Saathoff wanted to know what to do when the technology plan needs to change. The answer is that the plans can be changed. We need to check on the Scottsbluff figure for school lunch discounts -- 2% is too low. [N.B. The percentage for this school district should have been listed as XXXXX.] Ken Oyer asked how health care consortiums would be involved in the USF; in response, Ellen Van Waart faxed appropriate information from the Commission for Oyer to carry to his upcoming meeting of health care institutions.

LSTA Grants Program -- Discussion/Recommendations

Funds Available for Grants: Nancy Busch distributed the document, "Nebraska Library Commission: Federal Funds FY 97-98" and discussed the information. Of the total federal monies ($988,564), there is a breakout according to Personnel, Operating, etc. for in-house expenditures ($502,003), as well as an Aid category ($486,561) Slightly under half of the federal aid goes out in aid to libraries, systems, etc. in the state. The various titles of LSCA are broken out also, for Titles I, II and III. On the verso of the sheet, the column "General" shows how much state funding is distributed for the various categories (public libraries, regional library systems, urban library systems, etc.). Monies are only distributed to accredited libraries.(This is true for institutional libraries as well.). Total aid available is $1,348,815, both state and federal. The Systems are the largest single recipient of this aid and received approximately $30,000 additional last year; the amount will be slightly higher next year. The best estimate at this time is that $210,000 to $220,000 (of LSTA funds) will be available for using, other than committed funds. If LB 95 is successful and provides additional state monies, this would be a part of the discretionary funding available.

Ken Oyer asked about the "Total Cash" budget line. Nancy Busch explained that some of this is NEBASE fees, Nebraska OnLine monies (which will be going away), and some trust fund monies for the Talking Book and Braille Service at the Commission.

Stan Gardner asked if NLC has a "rollover" fund. Nancy Busch said that the Commission has to ask for permission to spend monies which roll over from the first to the second year of the biennial budget, but the money is not reallocated, per se. Concerning Nebraska On Line, the Secretary of State's office took responsibility for this last year; we are still using some of these monies to fund a position at NLC; this funding will run out next year.

Principles, Criteria, and Evaluation: Nancy Busch asked for input from the Advisory Council on what these should be. She sited the three basic eligibility criteria for libraries applying for LSTA or other grants: from the long-range program (page 15).

Stan Gardner suggested giving priority to those libraries which have shown they have a partnership, or partnerships. This would exclude other libraries, but would give an advantage to the former.

Nancy Busch noted that we need to clarify whether the term "Other Grants" in part of the title for these eligibility criteria includes state aid as well. For example, would that mean that libraries must have a "strategic plan for library services approved by the NLC" in order to qualify even for state aid? There ensued much discussion about strategic planning. The discussion emphasized the importance of the need for this group and the Commission to decide on criteria and that we need to recognize that we are "all on the same team."

Several Council members noted a counterpart with what happened to schools -- with consolidation. Some libraries, however, still cannot accept the reality of what is going to happen next year when the tax lids really hit. Stan Gardner asked if the Commission might have in place some plan when this really hits, perhaps offering information about what is basically needed in order to be a library. Perhaps we should switch to "minimum" and "recommended" standards, rather than "basic" and "advanced" accreditation guidelines for public libraries.

The meeting recessed at 11:45 a.m. for lunch.

The meeting reconvened at 1:00 p.m.

Legislative Goals and Strategies -- Discussion/Recommendations

Legislature's Interim Study on Public Library Finance and Governance: Richard Miller reported on the Interim Committee hearing of the General Affairs committee, and passed out two sheets related to this.

LB 95 -- Appropriations: Concerning LB 95, Sen. LaVon Crosby will again try for funding for this legislation, which, although it was vetoed, is in the mainline budget bill -- so no new legislation needs to be introduced. NLC does have a deficit request for about $35,000 to cover a position currently funded under Nebraska On Line funds which will run out. Nancy Busch suggested that all should watch for information from the Legislative Committee of NLA.

Information Technology Commission: Nancy Busch reported on the creation on October 19, 1997 by the Governor to make sure the state is spending money wisely on technology. He appointed Lt. Gov. Kim Robak, Sen. Bob Kerry, and others to this group. Three subgroups: Education, Government, Community have been identified for the work of the group. Nancy Busch says that she and others have served on a similar group (the Education Technology Consortium) for nine years, trying to get control of technology. There is some question about what this group is really going to do. The focus may very well be on the "bigger players." Rod Davidson (head of NETV) explained that this group will concentrate on hardware decisions so that we are not all doing satellite, etc. The best thing we can do is to try to keep acquiring additional state funding, without becoming too involved in these various attempts to "control technology." These things always play out at the local level, no matter what is said on the state level, noted Nancy Busch.


1997 Activities: Nancy Busch asked the group to suggest what it sees as important activities of the Advisory Council during 1997 for reporting to the Commission. Members identified the following:

* Increased awareness of the presence and importance of all types of libraries in Nebraska in the Unicameral, even though it didn't ultimately succeed last session.

* The advocacy workshops which preceded the effort were important.

* Examining the mission of this group, and adjusting the bylaws. * Having a lot of good issues brought to the Council this year, with much good discussion.

* Being made aware of and thinking about the movement from LSCA to LSTA during this year.

* Good discussion about communication in and from the group.

* People becoming more aware of the SACL, and of the issues addressed in "Access to Electronic Information."

* Addressing the issue of promoting PR campaigns for libraries, at the recommendation of Stan Gardner.

* Attendance and participation of the SACL chair at the System Retreat.

Agenda for 1998 (Schedule and Topics):

At its November 14, 1997 meeting, the Commission made some appointments to the SACL, several of whom are second term members. Devra Dragos, Sylvia Person, Troy Strom, Kathy Tooker, Richard Voeltz, and Jeanne Saathoff were each appointed to a second three-year term. (Note: Devra Dragos will not be able to serve because she has joined the staff of the Commission.) Two new appointments, also for three year terms are: Jane Wall (Media Specialist at Grand Island High School), and Wally Seiler (Alliance Public Library board member). There are still several vacancies on the Council. Phyllis Brunken recommended Jayne Palmer, of ESU 2 since several Council members noted have useful it had been to have Phyllis' ESU expertise on the Council.

The next meeting is scheduled for March 1998 and is usually a two-day meeting held jointly with the Commission, last year in Kearney. Kearney was again favored, but members want to avoid the 10th through the 14, because of the Public Library Association national conference in Kansas City. Recommended agenda items included: a report from Randy Moody and Kathy Tooker on what is happening at the session, an update by Allan Wibbels at the ESU in Kearney, a session on the impact of property tax lids by Bill Locke, and potential changes in state aid to libraries. The distance learning system in Kearney may be a good tour for the group, and the possibility of meeting at the ESU was discussed. Dates we are looking at: Thursday and Friday, March 19 and 20, 1998. Michael LeCroix volunteered Creighton University for the June meeting. March will be the last meeting as chair for Jeanne Saathoff; Sandra Riley will be new chair at that time.

Recognition --

Thanks and Farewells: People leaving the Advisory Council are Phyllis Brunken, Laura Cundiff, and Devra Dragos. They received applause from the group for their contributions. Jeanne Saathoff says she really has enjoyed coming to Advisory Council meetings because of the camaraderie, building advocacy and going out and advocating for libraries.

The Council adjourned.

Respectively submitted,
Richard Miller, Scribe

For more information, contact Sue Biltoft.