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School and Library Network
Advisory Board Meeting
February 26, 1997

Members Present: Bill Black, Tom Romano, Stephen Gilbert, Gary Nichols, Reginald Palmer, Linda Lord (for Raymond Poulin), Barry McCrum, Phil Lindley, Joanne Steneck

1. Approval of Minutes of January 15, 1997 Meeting. Minutes were approved.

2. Report from NYNEX on Applications and Installations. NYNEX has received applications from 1,059 schools and libraries. As of February 24, 1997, 730 sites had 56Kbps installations, voice grade business line connections, or received AEV funding. Art Henry provided a list of 82 schools and libraries that have not applied. Karl Beiser reported on the results of his phone calls to non-responding libraries. At least nine of the libraries on Art's list are unlikely to apply because of their small size and limited hours. This is in addition to 22 other sites that have already indicated they do not intend to apply. It was agreed that a letter will be sent, after all applicants are connected, to sites that have not applied to offer them another opportunity to apply.

Art Henry described the calls NYNEX is making to every connected site to make sure there are no problems with their connection. If the connection is not being used or there are problems, they will ask whether they have attended training. Art will report back on information gathered at the next meeting. Joanne Steneck asked about calling AEV recipients. AEV recipients currently return a receipt form on which they indicate when they expect to be connected. Art will report at the next meeting on status of those return receipts and the Board will decide whether call backs to AEV are needed.

Gary Nichols reported that the Maine State Library sent a survey to all connected libraries (104) in early February to find out if libraries are using their connection and if obstacles exist to making maximum use of the Network. They have received 39 responses. Gary and Karl will report on the results at the next meeting.

3. Eligibility of Alternative Schools. The Board voted at the last meeting to recommend to the Commission that alternative school programs located in separate buildings from an already eligible school site be made eligible sites. Ms. Steneck suggested that eligibility be qualified with additional language requiring the alternative program to be under the control and supervision of a school administrative unit and that the Department of Education be responsible for certifying which alternative programs meet the requirements. The Board agreed with this recommendation. The Commission will consider this recommendation at its deliberations on March 3.

4. Eligibility of Proprietary Colleges. Gary Nichols provided a memorandum answering questions that had been raised when this issue was originally presented at the December 11 meeting. After discussion, the Board unanimously agreed to ask the Commission to expand eligibility to libraries in for-profit colleges that are accredited, authorized by the Legislature to grant associate degrees, and are recognized in the U.S. Department of Education's biennial survey of academic libraries. The Commission will consider this at its deliberative session on March 3, 1997.

Art Henry asked how the project goal of connecting all schools and libraries by June 1997 was affected by these recent additions of other school programs and libraries. It was agreed that the project goal is to have all State-approved schools and public libraries (desiring a connection) connected by June 1, 1997. NYNEX is on-track to reach this target. The additional libraries and programs will be scheduled as soon as possible after receipt of application and determination of eligibility, but not necessarily before June 1, 1997.

5. Status of Applications from Additional Libraries. The State Librarian sent a letter in late January to 60+ additional libraries inviting them to apply. Gary Nichols said 2-3 hospital libraries have applied so far. The letter asks interested libraries to apply by April 1. Gary will report at next meeting on the application process.

6. Discussion of Formal Survey. Everyone agreed that the "informal" surveying being undertaken by NYNEX and the State Librarian will provide good information on "how things are going." Everyone further agreed that a more formal review should probably be conducted after all sites are connected and have some experience using the Network. It was suggested that a survey could be designed this summer and administered in the mid-October time frame. Ms. Steneck said she would ask the Commissioners for their view on this time frame. The formal survey will be discussed further after results of informal contacts are known.

7. E-Mail Addresses for All Sites. Art Henry will prepare a letter to send to all connected sites to notify them of their site address and asking the site to provide the address of person where they want the MSLN address forwarded. Joanne and Art will work on the letter in consultation with Linda Lord and Gary Nichols. John Pierce and Jay Johnson will make sure that the site address is discussed as part of training.

8. Training Status. Both technical coordinator training and user training are on track to have everyone trained by June. NYNEX will add columns to its regular status reports on whether sites have received both trainings.

9. Performance of Network. Gerry Dube gave a report on system usage. Levels of usage seem to be tracking expectations. Calls to the Orono Operations Center increased greatly in January. They are continuing to monitor this situation and the reasons for increased calls.

10. Activities in Legislature. John Pierce asked the Board if he could extend an invitation to legislators to attend scheduled training sessions. This would not result in any additional costs. The Board agreed he should extend the invitation. John also offered to do a technology demonstration in the State House. Linda Lord, Gary Nichols, Barry McCrum, Steve Gilbert and Art Henry volunteered to assist John in this effort.

The next meeting will be on April 9 at 1:00 p.m. in the Commission's Hearing Room.