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Nebraska Library Commission - Minutes

Nebraska Library Commission

March 9, 2007


The Nebraska Library Commission held its regular meeting Friday, March 9, 2007, at the Seward Public Library. Notice of the meeting was submitted to local newspapers (Lincoln Journal-Star, Omaha World Herald), and posted on the Nebraska Library Commission Homepage.

Chair John Dale called the meeting to order at 8:34 a.m. Members present: Jean Ahrens, John Dale, and Mary Nelson. Staff present: Rod Wagner, Maria Medrano-Nehls, and Richard Miller. Others present: Brenda Ealey, Misty Prochaska, Scott Kinney, Becky Baker, Kris Rogge, and Kathy Ellerton.

Approval of Agenda:

No motion was made due to lack of a quorum.

Approval of the Minutes January 12, 2007):

No motion was made due to lack of a quorum.


Chair John Dale welcomed guests. Introductions were made around the room.



Rod Wagner reported that he did not have any correspondence to present.


John Dale reported that he attended a Southeast Library System board meeting in February. John mentioned the death of William (Bill) Beck. Bill retired recently and was a former school library media specialist. Bill was a past State Advisory Council on Libraries member and served on the Republican Valley Library System board among other organizations. He was also a volunteer for the Library Commission's Talking Book and Braille Service.

Jean Ahrens reported that Cherie Longmuir, Panhandle Library System Coordinator, will be retiring at the end of April. Jean said that the Scottsbluff public library has not officially started fundraising for the library addition.

Mary Nelson reported that she attended a Republican Valley Library System board meeting. One of the meeting topics was new books on tape formats. The RVLS board would like information from the Commission on how small libraries might be able to afford the new books on tape formats. Mary said that she checked out a Playaway Audio-Book from the Holdrege Public Library and was impressed with its design.


Personnel Updates - Rod Wagner reported that Michael Sauers began work in his new position (Technology Innovation Librarian) on March 1. Michael has a number of training sessions scheduled for the spring and more in the works. The Panhandle Library System Coordinator position has been posted for applications. The Commission's re-designed online job postings and career related information are getting national attention.

Nebraska Library Legislative Day - Rod Wagner reported that the Nebraska Library Legislative Day had good attendance and participation. One of the legislative day highlights is the youth recognition activity. Youth recognition during the luncheon with senators has attracted more interest since this was started a few years ago and now youth are selected from nominations. They include youth library workers who have demonstrated special contributions to their libraries. Karen Kilgarin, Nebraska State Education Association Communications Director and a registered lobbyist, was the afternoon guest speaker. Ms. Kilgarin's presentation focused on working with the media.

State Biennium Budget Status and Actions - Rod Wagner reported that the Legislature's Appropriations Committee has issued its preliminary budget recommendations. The committee's recommendations reduce the Library Commission's operating budget from state funds by 5%. This is based on the budget modification included in the Commission's biennium budget request (agencies are required to identify budget reductions that would result from a 5% reduction in state funds). The preliminary recommendations would result in an approximate $138,000 reduction in state funds. The committee did not include any additional funds for purchase of flash memory cartridges needed when the new digital talking books are introduced in 2008 and the committee did not include any additional funds for Department of Administrative Services' fee increases or increases in online database licensing fees for current subscriptions. State aid funds were kept at their current year appropriation level. The committee has taken a similar approach with many other state agencies. Agencies will have an opportunity to address the committee's preliminary budget recommendations during budget hearings.

Wagner stated that the Library Commission's budget hearing will be held on March 13. Wagner has met with a few Appropriations Committee members and has appointments with two more before the hearing.

State Legislative Issues and Actions - Rod Wagner reported that a public hearing was held on LB572 by the Government, Military, and Veterans Affairs Committee. The bill permits regional library system employees to participate in state employee insurance programs. No action has been taken by the committee.

Gates Foundation Library Program - Rod Wagner reported that the Gates Foundation is resuming its program to sustain public access computing in public libraries. The Foundation has found that libraries in lower income communities have not been able to upgrade or replace public access computers and, therefore, will provide funds to help these libraries purchase new equipment. Nebraska will be in the group of states in 2008 to receive funds for purchase and installation of computers. Matching funds will be required and not all libraries will be eligible.

Maximizing Friends Workshop - Rod Wagner reported that Sally Reed, Friends of Libraries USA Executive Director, will lead two workshops on "Maximizing Friends." The workshops will be held in North Platte and Fremont. The workshops are part of Nebraska's statewide FOLUSA membership. Reed will provide information and ideas useful to librarians, library trustees and library friends to improve their efforts to promote and advocate on behalf of library services. Wagner said that there is still space available in both workshop locations.

One Book - One Nebraska - Rod Wagner reported that the Mari Sandoz Heritage Society is the sponsor organization for the 2007 statewide book discussion program. The Sandoz Society selected Crazy Horse for this year's program. Wagner said that interest is growing in plans for a 2008 program.

Director's Evaluation - Chair John Dale reported that Rod Wagner's annual evaluation was completed and returned to Rod after the January meeting.


January and February financial reports were included in the meeting packet.


Storm Damage and Libraries - Chair John Dale reported that this was to be an action item but due to the lack of a quorum there would be no vote. Richard Miller referred to a document that was included in the meeting packet. The document provides details on damage to libraries from the January ice storm and the assistance they need. Miller reported that Shelton public library had an unfortunate incident during the storm in which a neighboring building started on fire and caused damage to the outside of the library building.

Rod Wagner stated that since there are few libraries with storm damage expenses and the expenses are relatively small he felt that the Commission could proceed to work out special grants for libraries with storm damage expenses. Chair John Dale stated that the discussion in January indicated a real desire from the Commission to provide assistance to these libraries as soon as possible. Mary Nelson stated that she felt it is important that the money go directly to the libraries and that the money should be used to purchase materials since that is probably the area the libraries will cut in order to pay for damage costs.

Next Meeting - Rod Wagner reported that the next meeting will be held May 11, 2007 at the Nebraska Library Commission.


Chair John Dale adjourned the meeting at 9:30 a.m.

Maria Medrano-Nehls, Secretary

All attachments are available upon request. If you would like a copy, please contact Sue Biltoft at the Nebraska Library Commission, 800-307-2665 or 402-471-2045.

For more information, contact Sue Biltoft.