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School & Library Network Advisory Board Meeting

December 11, 1996


Members Present: Joanne Steneck, Phil Lindley, Raymond Poulin, Gary Nichols, Reginald Palmer, Tom Romano, Stephen Gilbert, Bill Black.

Absent: Barry McCrum

1. Approval of Minutes from November 6, 1996 meeting; old business. Minutes were approved with one correction. Item 8 listed the next meeting as November 11 instead of December 11, 1996. Ray Poulin announced there would be a demonstration of the ATM technology at 4:00 p.m. in the State Office Building on December 6 following the Advisory Board meeting. All Board members were invited to attend.

2. Report from NYNEX on Applications and Installations. Art Henry reported 1,003 applications had been received as of December 9 of 1,138 eligible schools and libraries. 416 installations were completed as of December 5. AEV payments have been sent to 46 schools and libraries.

3. Publicity Efforts. Ray Poulin reported on the demonstration planned with Governor King at 9:30-10:30 a.m. on January 13, 1997. Governor King will visit Mt. View High School in Thorndike and will be connected to a number of other sites probably in Augusta, Vinalhaven, Presque Isle and Portland. PUC Chairman Welch will also participate. Senator Olympia Snowe may also participate from the Portland location.

4. Follow-up Efforts with Libraries and Schools That Have Not Applied. Linda Lord was able to reach by telephone 122 of 146 schools that had not applied as of early November. The vast majority of these plan to apply. Karl Beiser sent letters to the 63 libraries (and 10 U.M. campuses) that had not applied. Contact was made with 37. Of these, 23 are still interested, 11 may want AEV, and 10 are not interested in participating. Reasons for not participating include: open a limited number of hours, lack of space, and general lack of interest.

5. Process for Certifying Eligibility of Additional Libraries. Karl Beiser and Gary Nichols described a proposed process for certifying additional libraries as eligible to participate in the School and Library Network. Libraries wishing to participate will file an application with the State Librarian. The State Librarian will certify to the Advisory Board that the library meets the eligibility criteria in the Commission's Order of November 7, 1996. The Advisory Board will then add the library to the list of eligible libraries. Ms. Steneck suggested that the application form include a checklist of the eligibility criteria (e.g., open 20 hours a week, participate an interlibrary loan, etc.). Everyone agreed that this process was acceptable.

Gary Nichols raised two additional issues. First, he asked the Board to consider allowing these additional libraries to be eligible for computer grants on the same terms as public libraries. If the library has no computers adequately sized to operate on the Network then it would be eligible for either a new computer grant ($2,000) or an upgrade grant ($600). The Commission's November 7 Order stated that these libraries would not be eligible for computer grants. In particular, he noted that many of the smaller health science libraries may not have an adequately sized computer and their participation would not be possible without a grant. After discussion, it was agreed that the Board will ask the Commission to amend the November 7, 1996 Order to allow these additional libraries to apply for computer grants.

Mr. Nichols also raised the question about whether proprietary (or for-profit) college libraries should be eligible to participate. The November 7, 1996 Order expanded eligibility only to libraries that are non-profit organizations or that operate within a non-profit organizational structure. After discussion, it was agreed that we need more information about these proprietary schools: how many are there; size and location of collection (particularly where classes are taught in dispersed locations rather than primarily at a main campus); what does it mean for a proprietary college to be accredited or authorized by the Legislature; and how many institutions exist that meet the proposed definition? The issue was tabled until Mr. Nichols provides further information at the next meeting.

6. Responses to Informal Survey. Joanne Steneck reported that 58 schools and libraries responded to the short survey sent by e-mail to all schools that were connected as of early November. There were some problems with the list as a few sites that were not connected received the survey. Overall, response was very positive. A few individual problems were noted and Art Henry is following up on these. There were a number of sites that had been connected for two or three months but were still not making access available to library patrons or students. It was generally agreed that some amount of time may be necessary so that staff can learn the equipment, but longer than 4-6 weeks is probably not necessary.

7. Training Status. John Pierce reported that as of December 8, 1996, 577 individuals had received the end-user training. One problem noted is that some county law libraries are unstaffed and it is not clear who will be in charge of the computer and connection. Gary and Karl will do some research on this and report back at the next meeting. Jay Johnson reported attendance is increasing for the technical coordinator training and they doing better at filling classes. Since computer lab space will be available at the university campuses over the holidays, there will be a push to schedule training in these locations.

8. E-Mail Address for Each Site. Art Henry distributed a plan for assigning a standard general address for each school and library (e.g., school/library or something similar). Every site would determine where the general mail would be forwarded and would update the cross reference table with this information. After a great deal of discussion, it was agreed that there should be a uniform way to contact each school or library participating in the Network and the system proposed by Mr. Henry was acceptable. Mr. Henry will do further work on the process for implementing this, particularly for those schools that have already been connected.

9. Other. Tom Romano distributed the proposed plan for implementing the voice grade business line standard package. This plan includes 22 hours of no cost toll calling in Maine. Schools or libraries choosing this option (37 to date) will participate in NYNEX's new Business Link Plan which bills customers at a flat 25 per minute for in-state toll calls. Calls over $200 receive a 20% discount. Each site will receive a $264 credit on its bill each month. Any amount not spent will not carry-over to the next month. The independent telephone companies need to look at this further and they will work out any details with Tom. It was agreed that if any Board member had questions or comments on this proposal they should contact Tom in the next week. Once he's worked out any issues with the independent telephone companies, he will proceed to implement the plan.

The next meeting will be January 15, 1997 at 1:00 p.m. in the Commission's Hearing Room.

The meeting adjourned at 4:02 p.m.