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Meeting Minutes

North Platte High School, Media Center, North Platte, Nebraska
July 10, 2006


State Advisory Council members present: Patty Birch, Janice Boyer, Nancy Escamilla, Joan Giesecke, Cindy Gitt, Patricia Gross, Maggie Harding, Gretchen Healy, Theresa Jehlik, Diana Johnson, Marty Magee, Kristen Rogge, John Seyfarth, and MeMe Smith.

Commissioners: Mary Nelson. Commission Staff: Maria Medrano-Nehls, Richard Miller, and Rod Wagner.

Welcome and Introductions

Chair Jan Boyer opened the meeting with a welcome and introductions of those present.

Patty Birch, NPHS Media Specialist, welcomed everyone to North Platte. Patty stated that the high school was built three years ago and that she had the opportunity to provide input on the design of the media center.

Approval of the Agenda

: A motion was made and seconded to approve the agenda. Motion approved.

Approval of Minutes (March 10, 2006):

A motion was made with a correction and seconded to approve the minutes. Motion approved.

Nebraska Library Commission - Rod Wagner

Biennium Budget Request - Rod Wagner stated that this is the year that state government agencies prepare budget requests for the coming biennium which begins July, 2007. The budget process is on-going. When the State Advisory Committee met in March, the Nebraska Library Commission had submitted a mid-biennium budget request for $325,000 to license an online encyclopedia and some additional subscriptions for statewide access. The appropriations committee supported the request and included it in its budget recommendations to the legislature. The legislature included this expenditure in the appropriations bill that was approved and sent to the governor. The governor vetoed the Library Commission's appropriation, along with a number of other items in the appropriations bill. It is likely that the Commission will request additional funds for online database subscriptions in the next biennium budget request. Rod asked the Council to consider sending thanks to members of the appropriations committee for supporting the request.

State budget requests are due the middle of September, and the Library Commissioners will discuss the Commission's budget request at their meeting this Friday. John Seyfarth asked that the Commission again request approval to include the regional system administrators in the state employee health insurance plan.

LSTA - Rod Wagner stated that Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) authorization expires in 2008. There is a chance that Congress will increase the funding for LSTA in the coming federal fiscal year to the level necessary to fund the full base allotment for each state. This could add another $100,000 to $140,000 to Nebraska's allocation this year beginning October 1. The increase in the LSTA base allotment is a concession from the larger states. The base allotments had not been increased in 20 years and any increases in federal library program funds go largely to the larger states. State program allocations include a base funding amount and per capita amount.

A proposal to close the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS) is moving forward. The intent is to re-assign some NCLIS functions to the Institute of Museum and Library Services. One of these functions is the collection and publishing of library statistics.

The Nebraska Library Commission's five year LSTA program evaluation report is due in March 2007. The Commission's Long Range Plan for LSTA is also due in March 2007. Biennium budget planning coincides with these activities.

Gates Foundation Grant Projects
Richard Miller distributed information regarding the Gates Foundation grant projects. Richard stated that the Staying Connected project was awarded $4,800 to provide hardware and replacement upgrades to a few libraries in designated high poverty areas. Lynch and Walthill public libraries received one Gateway computer and updated software, and House Memorial Library (Pender) received two Gateway computers with updated software.

The Internet Connectivity project was awarded approximately $120,000 to provide internet access or upgraded internet access to 59 public libraries. This project includes libraries that either do not have internet connections or have dial-up access.

The Training Support program was awarded approximately $60,000 to allow the state to explore a technical support program for public libraries. Nebraska's approach will include hiring a Technology Innovation Librarian that will assist libraries with technical support.

The Rural Library Sustainability program was awarded $69,450 to cover costs of meeting places, meals, and mileage for many participants. Pam Scott, NLC continuing education coordinator, has held several day-long workshops to present information on forming partnerships within the community, computer trouble shooting, resources available for staying up-to date on the topic and inexpensive or free sources of information, computer software, and renovated computer hardware.

Next year the Nebraska Library Commission will be participating in a Gates Foundation Spanish language outreach grant project. This is of special interest because of Nebraska's growing Hispanic population and because of the increasing number of public libraries designing and presenting programming aimed at this service group.

Nebraska Library Association

Maggie Harding reported that the NLA board recently met at the newly renovated Washington branch library in Omaha and toured the Qwest Center where the NLA/NEMA conference will be held October 25-27. Maggie announced her resignation as Executive Director effective December 31.

Nebraska Educational Media Association

Patty Birch reported for Becky Pasco that NEMA is upgrading its scholarships. Details regarding the scholarships will be featured on the NEMA website and an announcement will be distributed. Mary Reiman represented NEMA at the National Library Legislative Day in Washington D.C. NEMA is working with the regional library system administrators to provide professional development opportunities for school librarians across.

North Platte Library Scene

Cecelia Lawrence, North Platte public library director, reported that the North Platte public library serves both city and county residents. The county has a population of about 35,000 with 6 small communities surrounding North Platte, each community housing a reading room to serve their community. The library budget for 2006-2007 is $1,046,000. This is a decrease from last year. The library needs roof repairs, replacement of flooring and replacement of computers in the technology learning center. Cecelia is currently running for a position on the community college board.

The library recently had a problem with petition circulators placing their table close to the library front door entrance. They were asked to move and refused. Police were called and they left. The next set of circulators asked where they could set up and things went well. The library was recently featured in the local newspaper with an article stating that unpaid library fines were staggering. The article stated that the library doesn't do debt collection; they don't take people to small claims court to recover library fees. The library's policy is to send a letter. If unsuccessful after the third letter, library privileges are suspended. Many people paid their fines after the article was published.

Cecelia stated that she is focusing on fundraising for a new facility. Last year a bond issue was on the ballot to renovate part of the old high school to be used as a library. The bond issue failed. Although the bond failed, Cecelia learned a lot from the experience. The goal of the library foundation is to raise one million dollars. The foundation recently received a $50,000 revocable living trust. The foundation conducts three major events a year. This year's events include a jigsaw puzzle tournament, selling fudge for Mother's Day, and a Garden and Gable tour.

The library is experiencing a problem with lost items from persons staying at the local group homes. They are getting no help from the group home staff with the return of the library items. The library is struggling to put together a policy for group home residents. The library has also experienced identity theft with someone stealing mail from another person and using it to get a library card and borrowing the maximum number of library items and not returning them. The library now requests a photo ID to receive a library card. Patty Birch stated that she also experiences the loss of items from the school library.

Patty Birch stated that the North Platte school district is experiencing a big transition year because it has not hired a new media specialist for many years and now will have three new library staff hired to work in the elementary schools, and two new media specialists for the middle school.

Unfinished Business

Resolutions from the March Meeting - Jan Boyer stated that the resolution to support the Commission's budget request for the online database subscriptions was sent to the governor and the appropriations committee. A resolution was also sent to support the joint Federal Documents Depository Collection. Progress is being made on this project.

Nebraska LSTA Five-Year Evaluation - Rod Wagner stated that it would be helpful if the Library Commission had a sub-committee of the State Advisory Council to work with Commission staff to develop ideas on how to approach the five-year evaluation and long-range plan. Jan Boyer asked for volunteers. The sub-committee will be consist of Theresa Jehlik, Diana Johnson, Joan Giesecke, Jan Boyer and Becky Pasco.


Maggie Harding reported that the NLA Trustees, Users and Friends section held spring meetings with the Public Library section. One of the topics was the revised trustee manual. The trustee manual is being revised based on suggestions and outcomes from a survey completed last year. There is an ad hoc committee working diligently to have the manual completed in time to be distributed at the fall conference. Maggie has spoken to several members of the Legislature about the concealed weapon law and whether libraries could be exempt from allowing weapons into the library. Maggie states that there is an ad hoc committee working on improving communication among library boards and municipal government officials. In the past the League of Nebraska Municipalities has introduced bills that would permit city governments to appoint library advisory boards instead of governing boards; the bills never passed. The ad hoc committee seeks to develop a good relationship with the League and work with the League to improve communications between the libraries and city government.

MeMe Smith reported that the Schuyler library is currently fully staffed. The library has one Spanish speaking staff person. MeMe has submitted articles to the Spanish newspaper, Hispano Unidos, which have been published. The library had record attendance for the first day of the summer reading program. They have received books from the "We the People" grant about becoming Americans. The library held some cultural programs to promote the books. Schuyler had some teachers who were participating in a bi-national exchange program visit the library while in town.

Marty Magee reported that the National Network of Medicine has just renewed their Mid-Continental Regional Medical Library Program contract for five years. The region covers six states and is different from other regions; the MCRMLP has library liaisons in each state. The Mid-Continental Region is also known as the distance technology region. The region is currently addressing membership; one level is full membership (for hospital libraries with 25 journals or more and that are willing to share resources). The other membership level is for affiliates. Public libraries can be members if they share resources. Marty encouraged council members to visit Medline Plus and view the streaming videos.

Nancy Escamilla reported that the Scottsbluff public library has broken all its past records with this year's summer reading program. Over 1,400 children are participating. Nancy has 179 teens participating in the teen group. On August 12 the Scottsbluff and Gering public libraries will co-host a teen battle of the bands at the Gering amphitheater. The library has formed a fundraising foundation. The foundation will host a "Back to the 60's" event featuring a car show and a sock-hop dance.

Pat Gross reported that the last Job-A-Like was held in Scottsbluff. The Panhandle Library System will hold its annual meeting on July 21 in Bridgeport. NEMA will hold its Institute on August 2. There are six sessions with two workshops per session. Pat will hold a session on marketing and present a "make-and-take" on business cards.

Theresa Jehlik reported the Omaha public libraries were overwhelmed with petition circulators and are now being sued by one of the groups. There was an article in the Omaha World Herald about the situation. Omaha has begun debt collection which has helped collect monies from fines. The library has also started to accept credit cards. The main library, Swanson and Millard branches have wireless service. The library budget for 2007-2009 will be the same as in 2005. The library will begin a strategic planning project in August.

Kristen Rogge reported that she serves on the Center for Rural Affairs board. The CRA is headquartered in Lyons. The Center is considering a project that would bring more rural women into the dialogue and decided to initiate a statewide public arts project featuring windmills. The Center for Rural Affairs is hoping that public libraries will host local competitions of small art, such as readings, paintings, quilts, photos, etc. An auction will be held at the end of the event. Proceeds from the windmill art pieces will be distributed with one-third going back to the sponsoring organization.

Patty Birch reported that the Nebraska community college library technical assistant course instructors met in North Platte on Mary 20. Becky Pasco led the session. Patty distributed the new class schedule for the 2006-2007 year. Marty Magee taught the last Introduction to Library Service class and said a lot of work goes into instructing the online courses. Patty said the students are appreciative of all the feedback they receive and are excited to learn.

Cindy Gitt reported that the Holdrege public library is finishing its first year with its new Director - Pam Soreide. Cindy said the library has had a 13% increase in use. The library now provides wireless internet service. The summer reading program is in full swing. The library has expanded services to include videos. Cindy stated that she developed a "reading buddy" program with the help of a couple of volunteer readers. The library is holding 7-10 programs a week. Cindy stated that the Holdrege, Kearney and Hastings public libraries share a lot of program information and can get better prices on programs by working together. The Holdrege library has had a 58% increase in use of the teen area. Graphic novels and music CD's have helped increase circulation.

Maria Medrano-Nehls expressed appreciation to Patty Birch and Marty Magee for their work on the Library Technical Assistant program. Maria noted the time and effort devoted to the program and encouraged council members to review the LTA course syllabuses.

Rod Wagner stated that there was a reception in May at Northeast Community College for the first group of students completing the Library Technical Assistant courses.

Jan Boyer stated that the addition to the University of Nebraska at Omaha library should be completed and ready by the time the fall semester starts.

Mary Nelson said that Jeff Gilderson-Duwe, former director of the Holdrege public library, was back in the Holdrege area for a visit and asked to be remembered.

John Seyfarth reported that Papillion's summer reading program has been well attended. The library allows some audio-books to be downloaded. Unfortunately some iPods and older MP3 players don't work with these audio-books.

Joan Giesecke reported that the UNL Libraries is bringing collections from other places and cataloging them so they are available for faculty, staff and students. The library is preparing for national accreditation. The UNL Libraries received no budget increase for materials next year and haven't for the past four years.

Gretchen Healey reported that the Winnebago library is holding its summer reading program without a children's librarian. Gretchen is preparing a grant for funds to hire a children's librarian and purchase an Xbox and games. The library was recently designated a government documents depository, the only tribal college with this designation. The library is in need of microform reader/printer. Gretchen noted that to be a viable college, the Winnebago tribal college needs to have 225 students which is100 more then they currently have enrolled. The college is actively recruiting additional students. There are 750 people living in the community and the library has 1,300 patrons with an increase in library use.

Diana Johnson reported that Stromsburg held its Swedish festival. The library held a cultural program including a presentation about Swedish heritage and Christmas traditions. The library had a good turn-out for the summer reading program.

Nebraska Telecommunication Legislation and Policies (LB 645) - John Seyfarth stated that he would like the Council to send a letter to the Lieutenant Governor (Chair of the Nebraska Information Technology Commission) expressing that the Council does not support LB 645. John also said that a letter should be sent to state senators. LB645 prohibits municipalities and other government subdivisions from providing telecommunications services. John also suggested the Council send a resolution to the Governor and his opponent concerning this issue.

Petition Drive for Limiting State Spending - Rod Wagner stated that it has not been determined yet whether the petition drive was successful in getting enough signatures to be placed on the November election ballot.

Recommendations and Resolutions

Jan Boyer stated that there is a recommendation to send a resolution to support the repeal of LB 645 to the Governor. A recommendation has also been made to send a thank you letter to members of the legislature's appropriations committee thanking them for their support of the Library Commission's funding request for online database subscriptions.

Next Meeting Date

The next State Advisory Council meeting will be held on November 3 at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Love Library, Instruction room (located on the 1st floor off the computer center), at 9:30 am.

Adjournment -

A motion and second were made to adjourn the meeting. Chari Jan Boyer adjourned the meeting at 2:45 p.m.

For more information, contact Sue Biltoft.