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School and Library Network Advisory Board Meeting

November 6, 1996


Members Present: Joanne Steneck, Phil Lindley, Raymond Poulin, Karl Beiser (for Gary Nichols), Barry McCrum, Reggie Palmer, Tom Romano.

Absent: Bill Black, Stephen Gilbert

1. Approval of Minutes from October 3, 1996; old business. Minutes were approved with no changes. Ms. Steneck announced that NYNEX board member Jim McCarthy has accepted a new position with NYNEX and that NYNEX has designated Tom Romano to take his place. Barry Crommet will replace Jim Grave as an alternate. Art Henry also announced the School and Library Project at NYNEX is moving from Falmouth to 1 Davis Farm Road in Portland, Maine 04103. The 800 number remains the same: 1-800-315-0633.

2. Report on Commission's Deliberations of November 4, 1996 on Possible Expansion of Eligibility Criteria. Ms. Steneck explained that the Commission decided to extend eligibility to additional libraries if they meet specific public access requirements. The Commission did not extend eligibility to superintendents' offices because it found that such connections went beyond the primary purpose of the Network to provide Internet access for students. Commissioner Nugent dissented to this portion of the decision and would have allowed the superintendent connections. The Commission stated it does not object to superintendents connecting to the MSLN Network but that NYNEX ratepayer funding would not be available for this purpose. Ray Poulin said that he will be working with other interested parties to try to find other funding sources so that superintendents can be connected to the Network. Karl Beiser agreed that State Library will devise a plan for explaining eligibility requirements to these additional libraries. The Commission's order will require the State Librarian to notify the Advisory Board when a library meets the eligibility requirements.

3. Report from NYNEX on Applications and Installations. Art Henry reported NYNEX has received 953 applications (from 84% of the eligible schools and libraries) as of November 5, 1996. 319 standard frame relay installations have been competed and 38 AEV funding applications approved. NYNEX anticipates 500 connections will be completed by December 31, 1996. Ms. Steneck reported 261 computer grants have been approved.

Mr. Henry explained that there have been some problems with connected schools and libraries being billed for services. Any problems should be referred to the MSLN Project at NYNEX 1-800-315-0633 (not the number for biling questions on the bill). In some instances there are legitimate charges for inside wire but according to Art any work that involves a charge is explained to the school or library and requires their signature.

4. Publicity Efforts. Ray Poulin reported on a meeting held on November 4 with Dennis Bailey of the Governor's Office and Board members Phil Lindley, Barry McCrum, Reggie Palmer and Gary Seekins (representing Steve Gilbert), and Barry Crommett. Governor King is willing to participate in efforts to publicize the Project. A date in mid-January will be chosen with press opportunities at three or four schools and libraries. Senator Snowe will also be asked to participate. The group is seeking anecdotal stories about the MSLN Network and Internet successes. It was agreed that an E-mail would be sent to the MELIB-MIEC lists. John Pierce agreed to collect responses. The publicity group will meet again on November 26.

4A. E-Mail Addresses for Schools and Libraries Connected to the Network. Ms. Steneck raised the question about whether each school and library participating in the MSLN Network should be assigned an E-mail address. An alternative could be to require each school or library to designate an E-mail address of their choice as their contact. She suggested that part of the purpose of the Network, besides providing access to the Internet, was to facilitate the ability of those outside the school or library to contact schools and libraries. A wide ranging discussion ensued with consensus reached that each school or library should be assigned an address using a common addressing methodology. It will then be the responsibility of the school or library to designate someone internally to be responsible for responding to inquiries received at that address. The address would likely be listed on the PUC's S&L Directory, DOE Moose Book as well as being the point of contact for the Advisory Board. Art Henry agreed to work with Jay Johnson and CAPs to create a proposal on how the addressing would work and a plan for notifying those already connected. It was also noted that this requirement would need to be explained as part of the training. This will be discussed further at the next meeting.

5. Communications to Schools and Libraries Who Have Not Yet Applied. Over the past two weeks, Linda Lord has been calling 146 schools listed as not having applied as of mid-October. She has been able to reach 100 of them. She distributed a memo summarizing reasons for not applying. 84 have either applied or plan to apply (including 27 intending to apply for AEV). She will try to reach the remaining 40 schools.

Richard Arnold began calling the approximately 70 libraries that have yet to apply. He found it is often difficult to reach small libraries or the person with decisionmaking authority (trustees, etc.). Instead of calling, the State Library will send a letter within the next week.

6. Collection of Information for Evaluating Program and Report to the Legislature Due February 7, 1996. Ms. Steneck explained a plan to administer a short informal survey to connected schools and libraries via E-mail. A draft survey was distributed and she requested comments. The survey will be sent out during the week of November 1 to the list of technical coordinators maintained by NYNEX and CAPs.

7. Training Issues. Jay Johnson and John Pierce reported on the status of training attendance. Numbers for both the Technical Coordinator Training and the Basic End User Training are improving. A concern remains that some attendees come to the training with virtually no computer experience. John found a small percentage of attendees estimate their skills in E-mail and browsing at 0, 1 or 2 (0 being least capable) following the training. Everyone agreed there should be some follow-up to make sure that sufficient support exists at these sites to ensure the usefulness of the connection. John will continue to follow this issue and should have more information following the first review of the three contractors in mid-November. Jay and John agreed to give updated reports at the next meeting.

8. Other. The next meeting will be held on November 11, 1996.