Speaking of Nebraska| Future of Libraries


*>>AS TECHNOLOGY CHANGES AS TECHNOLOGY CHANGES THE WAY WE CONSUME INFORMATION, PUBLIC LIBRARIES ARE ADAPTING TO MAINTAIN AND EXPAND THEIR SERVICES. WE LOOK AT THE CHALLENGES LIBRARIES FACE AND THE WAYS THEY’RE CHANGING TO MEET EACH COMMUNITY’S NEEDS. THAT’S TONIGHT ON “SPEAKING OF NEBRASKA.” * *>>THANKS FOR JOINING US ON “SPEAKING OF NEBRASKA”. I’M NET NEWS DIRECTOR DENNIS KELLOGG. PUBLIC LIBRARIES TODAY LOOK VERY DIFFERENT THAN JUST A FEW DECADES AGO. REBEKAH MOREHOUSE OF LINCOLN IS A STUDENT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA AT OMAHA, STUDYING LIBRARY SCIENCE. AS SHE WORKS TOWARDS THE GOAL OF BECOMING A LIBRARIAN, SHE SHARES WITH US HOW SHE SEES THE INDUSTRY ADAPTING TO STAY RELEVANT.>>MY LOVE OF BOOKS IS PROBABLY WHAT GOT ME STARTED IN THE FIRST PLACE. I LOVE TO READ, JUST LOVE THE STORIES AND EVERYTHING LIKE THAT. AND THAT WAS ACTUALLY MY FIRST JOB OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL WAS WORKING AT A LIBRARY IN A SMALL TOWN. EVEN WHEN I WAS A KID AND GOING TO THE LIBRARIES THAT LIBRARIES WERE MOSTLY FOR BOOKS, A LITTLE BIT OF PROGRAMMING FOR KIDS AND EVERYTHING. BUT NOW IT’S REALLY BECOME MORE OF LIKE A COMMUNITY HUB WHERE PEOPLE CAN COME. TECHNOLOGY CHANGES SO FAST, AND THERE ARE CONSTANTLY BEING NEW THINGS DEVELOPED. WITH THE JOB SITUATION AND DIFFERENT JOBS THAT ARE COMING AVAILABLE FOR TECHNOLOGY, THOSE KIND OF CAREERS ARE BECOMING MORE AND MORE IMPORTANT AND NEEDING TO GET STUDENTS INTERESTED IN THAT KIND OF A FIELD BECAUSE THEY MAY NOT KNOW THAT MUCH ABOUT IT. IT’S JUST IMPORTANT TO MAKE THAT KIND OF THING AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC SO THAT THEY ARE AWARE OF IT, THAT THEY CAN GET THEIR HANDS ON IT. IT BECOMES REAL, IT BECOMES TANGIBLE. ESPECIALLY FOR STUDENTS, I THINK, IT GIVES THEM A CHANCE TO EXPLORE. THE CORE MISSION OF THE LIBRARIES AS IT IS NOW, I THINK, IS EMPOWERING PEOPLE TO LEARN, TO BECOME LIFELONG LEARNERS, TO GIVE THEM A PLACE WHERE THEY CAN COME AND EXPLORE AND SEE NEW IDEAS AND NOT BE JUDGED BY WHAT THEY’RE LOOKING FOR, AND THINGS LIKE THAT. BUT IT’S JUST A FREE AND OPEN SPACE FOR THEM TO COME. IN THE FUTURE, I DON’T REALLY SEE THAT CHANGING A WHOLE LOT. I THINK THAT THAT WILL STILL BE A PLACE FOR PEOPLE TO COME AND EMPOWER PEOPLE TO LEARN AND TO MAKE INFORMATION AVAILABLE. AND SO, I MEAN, THAT’S KIND OF WHAT I STILL SEE LIBRARIES BEING IN THE FUTURE. HOW THOSE NEEDS ARE FILLED, WILL DEFINITELY CHANGE AS A CORE MISSION OF WHAT THE LIBRARIES HEREABOUT, EVEN IF THEY COMPLETELY LOOK DIFFERENT, THAT’S GOING TO BE THE MAIN POINT, IS TO ENCOURAGE LIFELONG LEARNING. *>>JOINING US NOW TO GUIDE US THROUGH SOME OF THESE ISSUES ARE SARAH JOHNSON, DIRECTOR OF THE GENEVA PUBLIC LIBRARY, AND AMANDA SWEET, THE TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION LIBRARIAN AT THE NEBRASKA LIBRARY COMMISSION. THANK YOU BOTH FOR BEING WITH US.>>THANK YOU.>>FIRST QUESTION I WANT TO ASK YOU IS JUST SIMPLY WHAT’S THE ROLE OF THE PUBLIC LIBRARY SYSTEM, AND HOW DRAMATICALLY ARE WE SEEING IT CHANGE? AMANDA?>>SO, I’M GLAD YOU ACTUALLY ASKED THAT BECAUSE I JUST DID AN EVENT CALLED “DIGITAL WORLD.” SO WE WENT THROUGH AND WE TALKED ABOUT THE SHIFTING ROLE OF THE PUBLIC LIBRARY, AND RIGHT NOW, PEOPLE THINK OF THE LIBRARY AS BOOKS, AND IT DEFINITELY IS. BUT IT’S KIND OF BECOMING MORE THAN THAT. AND, AS THE VIDEO SAID BEFORE, WE’RE ACTUALLY TALKING MORE ABOUT HOW THE LIBRARY IS BECOMING A PLACE OF LIFELONG LEARNING. AND LIFELONG LEARNING DOESN’T JUST HAPPEN IN BOOKS. IT HAPPENS ONLINE, IT HAPPENS THROUGH TECHNOLOGY, IT HAPPENS THROUGH MAKER-SPACES. AND I KNOW THAT WE JUST HAD THE MAKER SPACE OVER WITH YOU GUYS.>>MM-HMM.>>AND WE’RE ACTUALLY STARTING TO DIVE DEEPER INTO EXPANDING WHAT PUBLIC LIBRARY MEANS, SO IT’S SHIFTING, JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER INDUSTRY.>>SARAH, WHAT WOULD YOU ADD TO THAT?>>I’D SAY IT’S DEFINITELY CHANGING ALL THE TIME WITH WHAT THE COMMUNITY NEEDS OR WHAT THE INTERESTS ARE OR HOW TECHNOLOGY’S CHANGING. THERE’S SO MANY DIFFERENT THINGS GOING ON IN THE WORLD AND HOW THAT AFFECTS LIBRARIES, CONSTANTLY CHANGING TO MEET THOSE NEEDS AND THOSE DESIRES BY YOUR COMMUNITY.>>LET’S TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHO IS USING THE LIBRARIES RIGHT NOW. MORE MILLENNIALS VISIT LIBRARIES THAN ANY PREVIOUS GENERATION. FIFTY-THREE PERCENT OF MILLENNIALS SAY THEY’VE VISITED A PUBLIC LIBRARY OR BOOKMOBILE IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS, COMPARED TO 45% OF GEN-XERS, 43% OF BABY BOOMERS, AND 36% OF THE SILENT GENERATION. SO HOW HAVE LIBRARIES ADAPTED TO GENERATIONAL DIFFERENCES IN LIBRARY PATRONS?>>I THINK THAT OUR PROGRAMMING CHANGES AND THAT WHAT WE OFFER TO DIFFERENT AGE GROUPS IS CONSTANTLY CHANGING BASED ON WHO’S VISITING THE LIBRARY OR WHAT GROUPS WE NEED TO BRING INTO THE LIBRARY AND WHAT THEIR INTERESTS ARE, AND TRYING TO FOCUS ON THE MATERIALS AND THE RESOURCES AND MAKING SURE THAT PEOPLE KNOW HOW TO USE THEM.>>AMANDA, ARE YOU SEEING GENERATIONAL DIFFERENCES IN YOUR WORK?>>OH, DEFINITELY. SO, I FOCUS MORE ON EMERGING TECHNOLOGY IN THE LIBRARY. SO I GET A LOT MORE QUESTIONS ABOUT WHAT’S UP AND COMING IN THE FUTURE. SO RIGHT NOW I’M HELPING MILLENNIALS WORK WITH VIRTUAL REALITY AND AUGMENTED REALITY, AND STARTED TO THINK ABOUT HOW THEY’RE ACTUALLY GOING TO USE THIS IN QUOTE-UNQUOTE “REAL LIFE” IN THE FUTURE.>>[ LAUGHTER ]>>WELL, THAT’S GOOD. AND, ALONG THOSE LINES, LET’S TALK EBOOKS AND AUDIOBOOKS, BECAUSE THEY’RE BECOMING MORE POPULAR; HOWEVER, IF YOU LOOK AT THE STUDIES, 37% OF THE U.S. ADULTS SAY THEY’VE READ ONLY PRINT BOOKS IN THE PAST YEAR, 28% SAID THEY’VE READ BOTH PRINT AND DIGITAL, AND JUST 7% HAVE ONLY READ DIGITAL BOOKS. SO THAT LEAVE 27% OF AMERICANS WHO HAVEN’T READ A BOOK AT ALL, BUT DO YOU THINK THE PRINT BOOKS WILL CONTINUE TO BE AN IMPORTANT PART OF PUBLIC LIBRARIES? AMANDA?>>DEFINITELY. YOU ACTUALLY PROCESS INFORMATION DIFFERENTLY WHEN YOU READ A PRINT PAGE THAN YOU WOULD ON AN E-READER. AND, IT’S BECAUSE WHEN YOU READ A PRINT BOOK, YOUR BRAIN ACTUALLY REMEMBERS HOW MUCH OF THE BOOK YOU’VE ALREADY READ. AND IT REMEMBERS THAT I HAD HALF THE BOOK ON THIS SIDE, HALF THE BOOK ON THIS RIGHT SIDE, AND YOU HAVE AN ORIENTATION POINT, AND IT PROCESSES INTO LONG-TERM MEMORY, AND YOU DON’T PROCESS IT THE SAME WAY IN AN E-READER. SO, PRINT BOOKS ARE KIND OF GOOD IN THAT WAY.>>THERE WAS AN ARTICLE IN THE “ATLANTIC” JUST RECENTLY THAT TALKED ABOUT THE COLLEGE STUDENTS, AND MANY OF THEM ACTUALLY ARE SEEKING OUT PHYSICAL TEXTBOOKS. NINETY-TWO PERCENT OF THE COLLEGE STUDENTS SURVEYED IN THIS STUDY IN 2015 SAID THEY PREFERRED PAPER BOOKS TO ELECTRONIC VERSIONS AND, PLUS, THERE’S A GROWING BODY OF EVIDENCE THAT SHOWS PHYSICAL BOOKS AND PAPERS ARE MORE CONDUCIVE TO LEARNING THAN THOSE DIGITAL FORMATS ARE. IS THAT KIND OF BACKING UP WHAT YOU’RE SAYING?>>YEAH, I’M DEFINITELY NOT SURPRISED. I ALSO STUDYING LEARNING THEORY A BIT, AND THAT ACTUALLY TIES IN QUITE A BIT BY BEING ABLE TO PLACE THE LEARNING PROCESS INTO A PHYSICAL OBJECT.>>HM. AND, ARE YOU SEEING THAT IN YOUR LIBRARY? I WOULD DEFINITELY SAY THAT. IT ALSO DEPENDS ON GENERATIONS. WHEN YOU ARE WORKING WITH CHILD VERSUS SMALL CHILDREN, IT’S MUCH EASIER TO HAVE A PICTURE BOOK PHYSICALLY IN YOUR HAND, FLIPPING BACK AND FORTH BETWEEN THE PAGES, ALONG THE STORY LINE, AND HELPING CHILDREN UNDERSTAND WHAT’S GOING ON IN THE STORY, IT’S EASIER TO FLIP BACK AND FORTH IN PAPER. AND ADULTS EVEN, THEY — A LOT OF ADULTS LIKE THE FEEL, AND THE WEIGHT, AND THE TEXTURE OF PAPER, MORE SO THAN AN E-READER.>>SO ARE YOU SEEING AN INCREASE, THOUGH, IN DIGITAL BOOK CHECKOUTS?>>WE HAVE A VERY HIGH POPULARITY. IT’S VERY — PEOPLE LIKE CHECKING OUT eBOOKS AND READING THEM. IT’S A LOT EASIER WHEN YOU GO ON VACATION. YOU DON’T HAVE A BIG WEIGHT OF BOOKS TO TAKE WITH YOU. IT’S A LOT EASIER TO USE E-READRS, EBOOKS, SO THERE’S DIFFERENT — DIFFERENT TIMES IN A PERSON’S DAY THAT AN eBOOK OR DEVICE WOULD BE A LOT EASIER THAN A PRINT BOOK. SO IT JUST DEPENDS ON WHAT A PERSON’S DAYS LOOK LIKE AN WHAT THEIR INTERESTS ARE, ALSO.>>AND I’M PLAYING AROUND WITH THE MIXED-REALITY BOOKS. SO, WITH THE AUGMENTED REALITY, YOU CAN ACTUALLY OVERLAY IMAGES OVER ONTO A PHYSICAL OBJECT. SO YOU CAN ACTUALLY MAKE BOOKS COME TO LIFE.>>WOW.>>YOU CAN TURN — YOU CAN TAKE LIKE A LITTLE COLORING BOOK IMAGE AND THEN YOU CAN ACTUALLY ANIMATE THAT AND MAKE IT POP UP OFF THE PAGE. AND, YOU CAN ALSO TURN POSTERS INTO AUGMENTED REALITY, AND THAT ACTUALLY KIND OF EXPLORES THAT LIFELONG LEARNING AND KIND OF TAKES IT UP TO THE NEXT LEVEL BECAUSE MAYBE YOU DON’T HAVE TO CHOOSE BETWEEN PRINT AND DIGITAL. MAYBE THEY CAN BE MIXED.>>OH, VERY GOOD POINT. COOL. AND TO DRIVE THE TECHNOLOGY POINT HOME, SARAH, YOU WERE TELLING US ABOUT A STORY ABOUT A FARMER WHO GAVE YOU A CALL FROM HIS GRAIN CART. TELL US THAT STORY.>>HE, WHEN YOU SIT IN A GRAIN CART FOR HOURS ALL DAY, AND YOU NEED SOMETHING TO DO. SO I HAD A GENTLEMAN WHO CALLED AND SAID, “SO, I HEARD THAT I CAN BE LISTENING TO BOOKS WHILE I’M SITTING THERE WAITING.” SO WE WORKED TOGETHER ON GETTING HIM SET UP, AND HIS ACCOUNT UPDATED, AND FIGURE OUT HOW TO USE EBOOKS AND AUDIOBOOKS SO HE HAS SOMETHING TO DO.>>AND SO, AS FAR AS HOW THE INTERNET HAS AFFECTED LIBRARIES IN PARTICULAR, THERE’S A QUOTE FROM THE AUTHOR NEIL GAIMAN. HE SAYS, “GOOGLE CAN BRING YOU BACK 100,000 ANSWERS. A LIBRARIAN CAN BRING YOU BACK THE RIGHT ONE.” SO, IS THAT KIND OF HOW YOU VIEW IT, THAT EVEN THOUGH TECHNOLOGY IS CHANGING, WE’RE STILL GONNA NEED LIBRARIANS TO GUIDE US THROUGH THAT?>>I THINK MORE THAN EVER, BECAUSE THERE’S SO MUCH INFORMATION, AND THE ANSWER ISN’T GOING TO JUST BE YOUR FIRST RESULT ON GOOGLE. THERE’S SO MUCH MORE TO WADE THROUGH, SO MANY MORE RESOURCES TO DELVE THROUGH AND FIGURE OUT WHICH ONE IS THEIR ANSWER. SO I THINK AS TECHNOLOGY INCREASES, IT’S BECOMING MORE DIFFICULT. SO, IT’S NOT AS SIMPLE AS ASKING ALEXA OR ASKING GOOGLE AND GETTING THE RIGHT ANSWER.>>AMANDA SWEET, YOU’RE THE TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION LIBRARIAN WITH THE NEBRASKA LIBRARY COMMISSION, SO YOU ARE WORKING CONSTANTLY WITH TECHNOLOGY. YOU MENTIONED BEFORE “MAKER SPACES,” AND THEY’RE STARTING TO BECOME MORE POPULAR. TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHAT THOSE ARE AND WHAT WE SEE WITH THEM IN THE FUTURE.>>SO, MAKER SPACES IN CERTAIN AREAS HAVE ALSO BEEN CALLED “HACKER SPACES,” OR THEY’VE BEEN CALLED “CREATION SPACES,” AND IT’S ESSENTIALLY A PLACE WHERE YOU CAN TAKE EITHER LOW-COST OR MID-COST OR HIGH-COST MATERIALS AND TRY TO APPLY IMAGINATION AND CREATION TO IT TO MAKE SOMETHING OF YOUR OWN. SO, FOR EXAMPLE, THROUGH THE INNOVATION STUDIOS GRANT, WE ACTUALLY HAVE LASER CUTTERS AND CNC ROUTERS AND AN EV3 MIND STORM, AND A VARIETY OF DIFFERENT MACHINES THAT WE TAKE OUT TO THESE DIFFERENT LIBRARIES. BOTH LIBRARIANS AND THE COMMUNITY ALIKE CAN EXPORE DIFFERENT TECHNOLOGY AND KIND OF FIGURE OUT WHAT IT CAN DO AND HOW IT CAN BE APPLIED IN REAL LIFE — AND THERE’S THAT QUOTE-UNQUOTE “REAL LIFE” AGAIN.>>IT KEEPS SURFACING, DOESN’T IT?>>YEAH.>>SO, AS WE TALK ABOUT MORE TECHNOLOGY, AND COMPUTERS, AND WIFI ACCESS, WHAT’S THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE LIBRARIES WHEN IT COMES TO PROTECTING THE PRIVACY OF THE PATRONS WHEN WE START TO DEAL WITH THIS? AMANDA?>>SO THAT’S ACTUALLY KIND OF TWOFOLD. SO, IN A LOT OF COMMUNITIES, THE LIBRARY CAN BE THE MAIN ACCESS POINT FOR THE INTERNET. SO WE ACTUALLY HAVE TO PROTECT PATRON PRIVACY AS JUST THE ACCESS TO THE INTERNET. BUT WE ALSO HAVE TO RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT HOW THEY CAN KEEP THEMSELVES SAFE AND SECURE AT HOME, TOO. AND, THAT’S ACTUALLY THE DIGITAL LITERACY/DIGITAL SKILL PART OF IT. SO, ON ONE HAND, WE HAVE TO RAISE OUR INTERNAL POLICIES TO RAISE THE PRIVACY AND SECURITY TO MAKE SURE THAT OUR PATRONS ARE SAFE WITHIN THE LIBRARY, AND THEN GIVE THEM THE TOOLS NECESSARY TO KEEP THEMSELVES SAFE. FIND OUT WHAT “PHISHING” IS, WHAT CYBER-BULLYING IS, FIND OUT HOW TO UPGRADE THEIR CYBER SECURITY, USE — PROTECT AGAINST MALWARE AND VIRUSES, CHOOSE THE RIGHT SOFTWARE TO PROTECT THEMSELVES AT HOME, AND IT THEMSELVES AT HOME, AND IT JUST — THE LIST GOES ON AS TECHNOLOGY CHANGES.>>WELL, ANOTHER THING THAT’S CHANGING IS THE PHYSICAL SPACE OF THE LIBRARIES. A SURVEY FOUND THAT 87% OF LIBRARIANS BELIEVE ADVANCES IN COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY AND ELECTRONIC FORMATS FOR INFORMATION STORAGE WILL FUNDAMENTALLY CHANGE THE PHYSICAL FORM OF LIBRARIES IN THE FUTURE, AS LIBRARIES NEED LESS SPACE FOR PHYSICAL MATERIALS. HOW DOES — HOW SHOULD LIBRARIES USE THAT ADDITIONAL SPACE, SARAH JOHNSON, GENEVA PUBLIC LIBRARY DIRECTOR? >>I THINK THAT THERE’S A LOT MORE INTEREST IN ACCESSING COMPUTERS AND TECHNOLOGY, AND THE EQUIPMENT IN A MAKER SPACE, OR OTHER LEARNING AVENUES THAT YOU COME TO THE LIBRARY SO WE MIGHT NOT NEED AS MUCH ROOM FOR BOOKS, BUT YOU NEED A LOT OF SPACE FOR THE COMPUTER DEMAND IN YOUR COMMUNITY WHERE YOU MIGHT ONLY HAVE ROOM OR THE INTEREST FOR ONE, YOU MIGHT HAVE A NEED FOR 12 COMPUTERS. IT REALLY DEPENDS ON YOUR COMMUNITY AND WHAT THE NEEDS THERE ARE, AND YOU — IF YOU HAVE A MAKER SPACE OR YOU HAVE LIKE THE INNOVATION STUDIO GRANT, YOU NEED THE FOOTPRINT AND THE CAPABILITIES TO HAVE A LASER CUTTER AND A VINYL CUTTER, AND AN EMBROIDERY MACHINE, OR WHATEVER YOU NEED TO FACILITATE THOSE NEW EDUCATIONAL TYPES OF PROGRAMMING.>>SO LET’S TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT FUNDING, BECAUSE YOU TALKED ABOUT ALL THESE NEW TECHNOLOGIES THAT WE’VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT THAT, BUT IT SOMETIMES REQUIRES FUNDING, AS WELL. MOST AMERICANS SUPPORT FUNDING LIBRARIES. SEVENTY-SIX PERCENT OF VOTERS IN A RECENT SURVEY SAY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SHOULD EITHER INCREASE FUNDING FOR PUBLIC LIBRARIES OR KEEP IT THE SAME, BUT ABOUT 86% OF FUNDING FOR A PUBLIC LIBRARY COMES FROM LOCAL SOURCES. PRESIDENT TRUMP’S 2020 BUDGET PROPOSES CUTTING FEDERAL LIBRARY FUNDING. IT’S THE THIRD YEAR FOR THAT PROPOSED CUT, SO I’M GONNA ASK YOU BOTH, ARE YOU CONCERNED ABOUT PUBLIC LIBRARY FUNDING AT THIS POINT? AMANDA?>>I’M ALWAYS CONCERNED ABOUT PUBLIC LIBRARY FUNDING.>>LAR LAR [ LAUGHTER ]>>WHERE DO YOU THINK IT’S GOING? I MEAN, ARE LIBRARIES GETTING ENOUGH MONEY FROM THEIR GOVERNMENT ENTITIES TO CONTINUE TO DO WHAT THEY NEED TO DO?>>I THINK THAT WE DEFINITELY NEED — SO THERE’S AN ORGANIZATION THAT’S CALLED “EVERY LIBRARY.” AND AT “EVERY LIBRARY” THEY ACTUALLY GO OUT AND HELP ADVOCATE FOR LIBRARIES THAT ARE STRUGGLING RIGHT NOW. AND, THEY GO THROUGH AND THEY SHOW THEM HOW TO REACH OUT TO LOCAL ADVOCATES AND LEGISLATURE TO FIND OUT HOW TO FUNNEL THOSE RESOURCES BACK INTO THE LOCAL LIBRARY. SO, THERE ARE ORGANIZATIONS THAT DO HELP WITH THAT, BUT IT’S ALSO — LIBRARIES ALSO HAVE TO PROVE THEIR VALUE TO THE COMMUNITY, AND THAT’S ANOTHER THING THAT WE’RE ALL ALSO LOOKING AT IS, IF WE WANT TO JUSTIFY THAT THE LIBRARY NEEDS TO BE THERE, THAT’S SOMETHING THAT WE NEED TO RAMP UP INSIDE, TOO. AND, THAT’S ACTUALLY PART OF WHAT I DO WITH DIGITAL– LIKE, DIGITAL SKILLS AND TECHNOLOGY AWARENESS, BECAUSE THAT’S SOMETHING THAT PEOPLE WANT RIGHT NOW.>>MM HM.>>AND, IT’S ALSO SOMETHING THAT GETS MONEY. WE HAVE TO GO WHERE THE FUNDING IS, AND RIGHT NOW THAT’S STEM SKILLS, AND IT’S LITERACY, SPOTTING FAKE NEWS –>>UH-HUH, RIGHT–>>SO IT’S GOOD ACTING TO WHERE THE FUNDS ARE, TOO.>>AND, SARAH, I WANT TO GET YOUR OPINION ON THAT, TOO, ‘CAUSE YOU’RE WORKING AT THE GENEVA PUBLIC LIBRARY, DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU’VE GOT THE FUNDS THAT YOU NEED TO DO WHAT YOU NEED TO DO?>>I THINK EVERY LIBRARY IS CONCERNED ABOUT FUNDING, SOME LIBRARIES MORE SO THAN OTHERS, AND IT DEPENDS ON THE LOCAL CLIMATE AND WHAT THE POLICIES AND WHAT’S GOING ON IN YOUR COMMUNITY, BUT LIBRARIES DO NEED TO SHOW THEIR VALUE TO THEIR COMMUNITIES AND TO THEIR REGIONS, TO THEIR STATE, TO SHOW THAT WHY THEY — WHY THEY NEED THE FUNDING, TO PROVE THAT THEY’RE VALUABLE, AND EXPLAIN WHY THEY’RE VALUABLE, WHY PEOPLE SHOULD CONTINUE TO HELP FUND THEM. WE RELY ON A LOT OF LOCAL FUNDING. WE ALSO RELY ON A LOT OF STATE AND FEDERAL FUNDS. THE FEDERAL FUNDS CAN MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE IN BIG PROJECTS. LIBRARIES EXPANDING INTO NEW PROGRAMS OR REHABILITATING THE BUILDING OR INCREASING THE NUMBER OF COMPUTERS, GETTING THAT MAKER SPACE. IT CAN REALLY DEPEND ON GRANTS AND OTHER MONIES AVAILABLE THROUGH PROGRAMMING, THROUGH THE STATE LIBRARY COMMISSION AND THROUGH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, SO IT WOULD MAKE A HUGE DIFFERENCE ON THE AVAILABILITY OF RESOURCES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR PUBLIC LIBRARIES THROUGHOUT THE STATE.>>SO, KNOWING THAT, AND AS OUR TIME IS WINDING DOWN HERE A LITTLE BIT, I WANT TO ASK YOU BOTH, ARE YOU OPTIMISTIC ABOUT THE FUTURE, WHEN IT COMES TO LIBRARIES? AMANDA?>>DEFINITELY, YEAH. SO, LIBRARIES DEFINITELY ARE SHIFTING TO CHANGE WITH THE TIMES, AND IT’S MORE OR LESS FINDING OUT HOW TO MARKET OURSELVES BETTER AND SHOW HOW WE’RE CHANGING, HOW WE’RE ADAPTING, AND BEING ABLE TO GET THE WORD OUT THERE.>>GOOD. AND SARAH?>>I WOULD SAY DEFINITELY LIBRARIES AREN’T GOING AWAY ANY TIME SOON. THEY’RE CHANGING. LIBRARIES AREN’T WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE SEEN 50 YEARS AGO, 20 YEARS AGO. THEY’RE CONSTANTLY CHANGING, BUT THAT’S WHAT A LIBRARY — WHAT MAKES A LIBRARY GREAT, IS BECAUSE YOU ARE CHANGING, YOU’RE INNOVATING, YOU’RE DOING WHATEVER NEEDS TO SERVE YOUR COMMUNITY WITH THE FUNDS THAT YOU HAVE AVAILABLE. >>THERE’S NOTHING LIKE CURLING UP WITH A GOOD BOOK, EVEN IF IT’S AN EBOOK.>>THAT’S RIGHT.>>ALRIGHT. WELL, SARAH JOHNSON FROM THE GENEVA PUBLIC LIBRARY, AND AMANDA SWEET, THE TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION LIBRARIAN WITH THE INNOVATION LIBRARIAN WITH THE NEBRASKA LIBRARY COMMISSION, THANK YOU BOTH FOR BEING WITH US.>>THANKS FOR HAVING ME.>>THIS INTERVIEW AND TONIGHT’S PROGRAM ARE AVAILABLE ON OUR WEBSITE. JUST GO TO NETNEBRASKA.ORG/SPEAKING OF NEBRASKA. AND, JOIN THE CONVERSATION ON SOCIAL MEDIA. FIND US ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER AT NET NEWS, NEBRASKA. * >>>MORE WOMEN THAN EVER ARE WORKING IN AGRICULTURE PRODUCTION. IN FACT, WHILE THE PERCENTAGE OF MALE PRODUCERS WENT DOWN BETWEEN 2012 AND 2017, FEMALE PRODUCERS INCREASED 27%. AND NOW, 36% OF ALL PRODUCERS ARE FEMALE. CHRISTINA STELLA OF NET NEWS AND HARVEST PUBLIC MEDIA JOINS US TO TALK ABOUT WHY SOME WANT TO SEE A STRONGER FOCUS ON WOMEN’S HEALTHCARE IN RURAL AREAS. WELCOME, CHRISTINA.>>THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.>>WELL, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE RISKS THAT ARE UNIQUE TO WOMEN WHO WORK IN AGRICULTURE PRODUCTION?>>YEAH, SO THERE ARE DIFFERENT RISKS FOR WOMEN IN DIFFERENT AGE GROUPS, BUT TWO MAIN CONCERNS FOR WOMEN OF REPRODUCTIVE AGE WOULD BE WORKING WITH LIVESTOCK, AND WORKING WITH PESTICIDES. SO A LOT OF LIVESTOCK ARE GIVEN DIFFERENT HORMONES OR VACCINES, OR EVEN PESTICIDES APPLIED OVER THE SKIN. IF YOU’RE GIVING A VACCINE AND ACCIDENTALLY, SAY, PRICK YOUR FINGER, HAVING SOME OF THAT HORMONE EXPOSED TO YOUR SYSTEM CAN ACTUALLY TRIGGER AN ABORTION. SO THAT’S A HUGE AREA OF CONCERN. ALSO, WORKING WITH PESTICIDES, THERE ARE SOME STUDIES THAT SHOW THAT PROLONGED EXPOSURE, OR REPEATED EXPOSURE, COULD LOWER FERTILITY IN WOMEN, AND SO THAT WOULD BE A MAJOR CONCERN, AS WELL.>>SO, WE’VE TALKED ABOUT THE SPECIALIZED RISKS. IS THERE ALSO SPECIALIZED CARE AVAILABLE FOR WOMEN WORKING IN AGRICULTURE?>>UNFORTUNATELY, NOT SO MUCH. SO, IN A LOT OF RURAL AREAS, ACCESS TO GYN CARE IS ALREADY A HUGE PROBLEM. SO IF WE’RE LOOKING AT NEBRASKA, ABOUT HALF OF COUNTIES HAVE NO GYN PROVIDERS WHATSOEVER. SO WE’RE LOOKING AT MAYBE 43 OUT OF 93 COUNTIES LACK THOSE SPECIALISTS. AND, A LOT OF THE TIME, THE PRESSURE FALLS ON PRIMARY CARE PROVIDERS TO BE MAKING UP THE GAPS THERE. ALSO, A LOT OF THE TIME WOMEN JUST END UP HAVING TO DRIVE LONGER DISTANCES, SO THERE’S AN ACCESS ISSUE. AND THEN, WHEN THEY DO GET INTO THE DOCTOR’S OFFICE, A LOT OF THE TIME FINDING PHYSICIANS WHO ARE FAMILIAR WITH THOSE RISKS CAN REALLY BE A STRUGGLE. BECAUSE THAT BURDEN FALLS SO HEAVILY ON THEM TO SORT OF COVER EVERYBODY, THEY DON’T REALLY HAVE TIME TO DO THAT RESEARCH AND TO EDUCATE THEMSELVES ON THOSE SPECIFIC RISKS, SO IT’S REALLY A TWO-PART PROBLEM.>>YEAH, AND I GUESS THE OBVIOUS QUESTION IS, SO WHAT RESOURCES ARE AVAILABLE?>>WELL, THERE ARE SOME ORGANIZATIONS THAT ARE DOING AMAZING WORK TO TRY TO GET THE WORD OUT ABOUT KEEPING PEOPLE SAFE ON THE FARM. ONE THAT COMES TO MIND WOULD BE “AGRISAFE,” WHICH IS A NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION THAT PROVIDES SAFETY TRAINING TO PRODUCERS, MEN AND WOMEN. SOME UNIVERSITIES IN OUR REGION ARE ALSO WORKING TO IMPROVE RESEARCH AND TO REALLY SHARPEN FOCUS SO WE CAN UNDERSTAND WHAT THOSE EXPOSURES ACTUALLY ARE AND HOW THEY AFFECT WOMEN SO WE CAN REALLY ADVISE THEM AS WELL AS POSSIBLE WHEN THEY’RE WORKING IN THE FIELDS. BUT, REALLY, AGRICULTURAL MEDICINE IS STILL A DEVELOPING FIELD, SO THERE’S A LOT OF QUESTIONS THAT WE JUST STILL HAVE TO ANSWER. AND THAT’S WHAT AN EXTENSION AND NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS ARE REALLY TRYING TO DO.>>INTERESTING TOPIC. THANKS FOR LOOKING INTO IT FOR US. CHRISTINA STELLA, OF NET NEWS AND HARVEST PUBLIC MEDIA. YOU CAN LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS TOPIC ON OUR WEBSITE, AT NETNEBRASKA.ORG/NEWS, AND TUNE INTO NET RADIO EVERY DAY FOR A NEW SIGNATURE STORY. THIS WEEK YOU’LL LEARN ABOUT WHY MIDWEST FARMERS ARE STICKING WITH PRESIDENT TRUMP, DESPITE SOME HARD TIMES. PLUS A UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA LINCOLN RESEARCHER WORKING ON HORSE THERAPY FOR ADHD AND AUTISM. AND HOW THE PORK INDUSTRY IS PREPARING FOR THE POSSIBILITY OF A SWINE FEVER CRISIS. ALL THESE AND MORE ON OUR WEBSITE: NETNEBRASKA.ORG/NEWS. *>>>THE NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE ADJOURNED IN JUNE, AND ISN’T SCHEDULED TO RECONVENE UNTIL JANUARY. BUT THE ISSUES IT’S DEALING WITH HAVEN’T GONE AWAY. FRED KNAPP COVERS THE LEGISLATURE FOR NET NEWS AND HAS BEEN KEEPING TRACK OF WHAT SENATORS ARE WORKING ON. THINGS NEVER SLOW DOWN, SO FRED, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BIG ISSUES YOU’RE TRACKING?>>WELL, THE BIG THREE ARE PROPERTY TAXES, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, TAX INCENTIVES, AND CORRECTIONS.>>NOW, THE REVENUE COMMITTEE HAD A SERIES OF MEETINGS ON PROPERTY TAXES, SO WHAT CAME OUT OF THAT?>>WELL, THEY’VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT REPEALING SALES TAX EXEMPTIONS, EXTENDING THE SALES TAX TO CERTAIN SERVICES, BUT THE GOVERNOR HAS BEEN OPPOSED TO THAT APPROACH. SO NOW THEY’RE TALKING ABOUT RE-JIGGERING THE SCHOOL AID FORMULA, UM, LIMITING PROPERTY TAXES TO — INCREASES TO REAL GROWTH, SAY, CONSTRUCTION AND INFLATION, AS OPPOSED TO ALLOWING DISTRICTS TO CAPTURE JUST VALUATION INCREASES. IF THAT APPROACH HAD BEEN IN EFFECT FOR THE LAST 20 YEARS, IT WOULD HAVE SAVED ABOUT A BILLION DOLLARS IN PROPERTY TAXES. SCHOOL PROPERTY TAXES WOULD BE $1.5 BILLION AS OPPOSED TO $2.5 BILLION. BUT, IF THEY’RE JUST GONNA USE EXISTING REVENUES TO FUND THIS AND SHIFT MONEY TO THE STATE — RESPONSIBILITY TO THE STATE, EVEN WITH THE INCREASED TAX PROJECTIONS, AND THERE’S BEEN A RECENT INCREASE OF $161 MILLION FOR THE CURRENT FISCAL YEAR — THAT’S STILL ONLY 4% OF A $4 BILLION PROPERTY TAX SYSTEM. SO IT WOULD TAKE A LONG TIME FOR PEOPLE TO FEEL THE EFFECTS OF THAT KIND OF SHIFT. MEANWHILE, THERE’S A PETITION DRIVE HANGING OUT THERE THAT WOULD SIMPLY REQUIRE THE STATE TO REFUND 35% OF EVERYBODY’S PROPERTY TAXES WITHOUT SAYING WHERE THAT SHOULD COME FROM.>>SO, AT THE END OF LAST SESSION, THE CORPORATE TAX BREAKS FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT KIND OF STALLED A LITTLE BIT. ARE WE SEEING THAT RE-START AT ALL AGAIN? >>WELL, IT’S CERTAINLY GONNA BE ON THE AGENDA, BECAUSE YOU’LL RECALL THE RURAL SENATORS BLOCKED THE RENEWAL OF THE STATE’S MAIN CORPORATE TAX INCENTIVE PROGRAM, THE NEBRASKA ADVANTAGE ACT, ON THE GROUNDS THAT THEY HADN’T RECEIVED THE PROPERTY TAX RELIEF THAT THEY FELT WAS NEEDED. THAT NEBRASKA ADVANTAGE ACT EXPIRES AT THE END OF THIS YEAR, SO THE ARGUMENT IS SOMETHING HAS TO BE DONE. THERE’S A COUNTER-ARGUMENT THAT QUESTIONS THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THESE TAX INCENTIVES, SAYING THEY REWARD COMPANIES FOR DOING WHAT THEY WOULD HAVE DONE ANYWAY, WITHOUT THE INCENTIVES. AND THERE’S ALSO TECHNICAL ISSUES TO WORK OUT, LIKE RECOGNIZING THAT THERE’S HIGHER WAGE LEVELS IN LINCOLN AND OMAHA THAN IN THE SAND HILLS. DO YOU ADJUST THE THRESHHOLDS TO QUALIFY FOR THESE TAX INCENTIVES TO REFLECT THAT, OR DOES THAT MERELY INCENTIVIZE LOW-WAGE JOBS?>>ANOTHER TOPIC WE’VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT, IT SEEMS LIKE FOR A REALLY LONG TIME, IS PRISON OVERCROWDING AND STAFF SHORTAGES IN THE PRISON SYSTEM. SO WHAT ARE THE CHANCES THE LEGISLATURE, THIS SESSION, DOES SOMETHING SUBSTANTIVE ON THOSE ISSUES?>>WELL, THERE’S REAL PRESSURE ON THEM BECAUSE THERE’S A DEADLINE IN STATE LAW THAT SAYS THAT IF PRISONS ARE OVERCROWDED BY MORE THAN 40% AS OF JULY 1ST, THE PAROLE BOARD HAS TO RE-EXAMINE PRISONERS AND START RELEASING THEM. CURRENTLY THE SYSTEM IS 54% OVERCROWDED. THERE ARE ABOUT 5,500 PRISONERS IN THE SYSTEM, AS OPPOSED TO THE 3,500 THAT IT WAS DESIGNED FOR. THERE IS A POSSIBLE ESCAPE HATCH ON THAT PAROLE BOARD REQUIREMENT THAT YOU DON’T HAVE TO LET PEOPLE OUT IF THEY’RE CONSIDERED DANGEROUS, FOR EXAMPLE, BUT ON THE OTHER HAND, THERE’S AN ACLU LAWSUIT HANGING OVER THE STATE THAT SAYS THE EXISTING OVERCROWDING IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL. THE STAFF TURNOVER HAS GOTTEN A LITTLE BIT BETTER, BUT THEY’VE HAD TO USE THE STATE PATROL AND LINCOLN POLICE AND NATIONAL GUARD TO DO RECENT CONTRABAND SEARCHES, AND WHILE THEY HAVE JUST ANNOUNCED A $10,000 HIRING BONUS FOR PEOPLE TO WORK AT THREE OF THE MOST TROUBLED FACILITIES, A SYSTEMIC FIX IS GONNA TAKE A LOT OF MONEY THAT IS GOING TO BE COMPETING WITH PROPERTY TAX AND OTHER PRIORITIES.>>PRISONS, PROPERTY TAXES, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. SOUNDS LIKE IT’S GONNA BE A BUSY SESSION COMING UP IN JANUARY.>>ABSOLUTELY.>>FRED KNAPP, THANKS FOR JOINING US.>>>COMING UP IN DECEMBER, YOU CAN TUNE IN TO NET TELEVISION AND NET RADIO FOR A SPECIAL EPISODE OF “SPEAKING OF NEBRASKA.” FRED WILL BE LEADING A DISCUSSION WITH STATE LEADERS ABOUT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN THE STATE, AND LOOK AHEAD TO HOW LAWMAKERS WILL ADDRESS THE ISSUE WHEN THE SESSION BEGINS AGAIN IN JANUARY. YOU CAN CATCH THIS SPECIAL EPISODE OF “SPEAKING OF NEBRASKA” ON DECEMBER 19TH, AT 7:00 CENTRAL ON NET, AND ON DECEMBER 20TH, AT 6:30 CENTRAL ON NET RADIO. *>>>THAT’S ALL FOR THIS WEEK ON “SPEAKING OF NEBRASKA.” THANKS TO SARAH JOHNSON AND AMANDA SWEET FOR JOINING US. AND TO CHRISTINA STELLA AND FRED KNAPP FOR THEIR REPORTING. AND TO ALL OF THOSE BEHIND THE SCENES WHO HELP TO BRING THIS PROGRAM TO YOU. JOIN US FOR A SPECIAL EDITION OF “SPEAKING OF NEBRASKA” ON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. THAT’S COMING UP DECEMBER 19TH AT 7:00 P.M. CENTRAL. AND COMING UP EARLY NEXT YEAR, “SPEAKING OF NEBRASKA” WILL RETURN WITH MORE IN-DEPTH DISCUSSIONS ON THE TOPICS THAT IMPACT NEBRASKANS’ LIVES. UNTIL THEN, I’M NET NEWS DIRECTOR DENNIS KELLOGG. THANKS FOR WATCHING. CAPTIONING PROVIDED BY