Board Minutes 1999 05 Special

 

 

Minutes of the LION Board of Directors
Special Meeting
Tuesday May 11, 1999

 

Present: Ann Davis, Barbara van der Lyke, Paul Price, Marcia Trotta, Jan Day, William Deakyne, Susan Donovan, Ed Murray, Debby Trofatter, Valerie Harrod, Linda Rusczek, Gale Bradbury, Sandy Long, Karen Smith, Howard Einsohn, Leslie Scherer, Lew Daniels, Liz Creighton, Sandy Ruoff, Marie Shaw, Elsie Jenkins, Anne Clement, Ann Montgomery Smith, PCL, Marcia Lewis, Nancy Wardell, Mary Attridge – Essex Library, Roxanne Moreau, Alexander Slovik – East Lyme volunteer, Bill Edge, Mark Hewes, Rick Widlansky. Absent: None.

 

I. CALL TO ORDER: The meeting was called to order by President Ann Davis at the Russell Library, Middletown, CT at 9:35 AM. Everyone introduced themselves.

II. ADDITIONS TO ADGENDA: Discussion Item 2 will be date of next regular meeting.

III. PUBLIC COMMENT: None.

IV. DISCUSSION ITEMS:

1. Linda Rusczek has been appointed to the Partnership of Connecticut Libraries Board to replace Elsie Jenkins.

2. Ann Montgomery Smith gave a presentation of PCL background. A year ago, a fourth organization, PCL, was set up, as a way to avoid any "cultural" differences between the three existing networks (LION, CONNECT & Bibliomation). At the April 13-14th PCL retreat, PCL members from the 3 networks met separately but were unanimous in their conclusions that the groups should proceed to form one organization, not remain as 4 organizations, and that PCL should select a new Integrated Library System promptly. Target dates were set for selection of the ILS by mid-June and for the formation of one group by mid-July.

Goals of PCL are to:

1) Establish an ILS that provides seamless access for library users among all PCL libraries without political or any other barriers, so that patrons can experience basically the same ILS system in any PCL library;

2) Establish the telecommunications infrastructure required to support such an ILS and make it a success;

3) Meet the needs of PCL member libraries for technical support.

Furthermore, the ILS should be easy to use, but advanced enough to satisfy the most demanding searcher, meet the public’s expectations for a high level of competence, be efficient for staff, should not require a great deal of training for staff or public users to be comfortable with its use, should allow a high level of intralibrary borrowing.

The PCL Business Plan is a draft document and needs comment and feedback from all 3 networks before it is changed and updated around May 20th. [NOTE: LION Board comments on the Business Plan must be in to AMS by May 19th and that the comments can be emailed to AMS for the final draft at amsmith@crlc.org.] Basic design of the Plan:

– 3 networks will become 1 organization

– the budgets of the 3 together will be the budget for PCL

– each network will continue to provide services at current level during the transition to a new ILS

– the PCL telecom plan will be implemented

– an ILS will be selected and implemented

– LAN services will be developed

– all existing staff is needed to accomplish these priorities

– staff needs to be integrated into 1, not remain staff of individual networks.

PCL Board members feel it is time to move forward; getting on the fast track is probably a good idea. In the past we did not know:

– what CT Library Network was going to do

– what the ILS was going to cost

– what the telecom costs would be.

We have more information now on these issues. A current motivation is the LION need to increase system capacity. Each network has its own cycle of system capacity that results in long-term system commitments; a decision for a PCL system can break those cycles.

The PCL budget of over $3 million should be adequate to meet PCL needs. It has been developed on the basis of past expenses of the 3 networks, not income, which tends to be higher.

Bill Edge added some general comments.

The reason that LION, a small but successful organization with 1 major vendor of a relatively simple, reliable system, is even considering "going out of business" and merging is the impossibility of meeting the challenge of PC-based LAN technology in local libraries and the new ILS with network connections and expertise needed with current LION resources. One solution would be to outsource to commercial agencies; the second solution is to form a larger organization with common goals with a deeper staff, large enough to serve a larger number of libraries using the services. Telecommunications services have now come to the same point. We need to outsource to commercial vendors or find more resources to do the job ourselves. We’ve seen with telecom that there is no simple way to outsource to 1 vendor who will do everything for us in the timely, reliable way we’ve come to expect of our ILS service. Not all PCL member libraries will need these PC network services but many small and medium sized libraries will want the service. Bill recommended our consideration. If LION does not merge, LION won’t immediately evaporate, but will wither to some degree.

This is a discussion meeting; LION cannot formally act on this proposal today. The LION Board will need to vote yes or no; then a general membership meeting will be called with adequate legal notification of the vote to be taken. The other 2 groups will have the same process. PCL Board will have to approve; a merger plan, recommend it to a PCL membership, which will have to vote. Ann Davis opened the floor for questions and general comments.

William Deakyne – East Lyme has questions which were answered by Bill Edge in e-mail (now re-distributed to all present) but which were not discussed by LION Board. He does not believe in "seamless" and "economies of scale." He won’t have more funds for service. PC realm not wanted; want dumb terminals, not full service terminals. Small systems or stand alones are successful; don’t need large networks. Feels being pushed into fast track.

Ann Clement – asked if technical support service would come from satellite offices. Doesn’t want to lose high quality of LION tech support.

AMS – size of the PCL service area warrants satellite offices in order to provide acceptable on site support. All PCL libraries have expressed great need for tech support.

Ann Clement – asked about when to expect "day one."

AMS – suggested July 15th.

Bill Edge – year one costs for existing system services remain the same as current. Fast Track concept is for corporate merger, telecom turn-on and network tech support. Of 3 networks, LION is most ready & needful of new ILS, so needs fast track.

Elsie Jenkins – was concerned that LION's merger into PCL and conversion to a new ILS would not happen soon enough for LION members.

Bill Edge – LION may have to proclaim a moratorium, on new users or new features. LION would have upgraded the system before this if it had not been for the fast track approach of PCL. LION system won’t cease running; response time will slow down.

Barbara van der Lyke – noted that MTC is missing from the Business Plan roster of libraries.

Barbara van der Lyke – responded to William Deakyne's points with "deal with what is and not what should be"; said that end users (students) expected it yesterday; means need shared resources.

Barbara van der Lyke – mentioned that academics don't need the technical support that publics do – they have PC, LAN and WAN support, but that other services, such as remote databases and reciprocal borrowing are needed. PCL will have to consider choices of services for subgroups for cost. Only way to improve services is to join larger group.

Barbara van der Lyke – is concerned about the future of the community-technical colleges in regards to the Connecticut State University system, for example moving to the CSU ILS.

AMS – Academics will probably form PCL subgroup. Academic PCL members have felt threatened by CSU system and hope for more clout united in PCL, although some may prefer connections with publics. All PCL committees trying to have academic reps.

Valerie Harrod – feels we have not been rushed; many past hours of work have been devoted to PCL. Plans presented are clear and concise. Concerned about a potential bias on the Selection Team with four representatives using CARL (Kathi Bade, Amy Terlaga, Mike Moran, and Lynn Rosato) and two using Dynix (Mark Hewes, Gale Bradbury).

AMS – noted that the PCL Board appointed one staff and 1 PCL Board member from each network plus AMS, to be lean. Couldn’t find Board member from CONNECT so sought academic member. Procurement Committee, with broader membership is enlisted to participate formally in ILS selection process. Bibliomation and CONNECT feel in the minority as well.

Leslie Scherer – responded that "they may feel that they are in the minority, but that we are".

Bill Edge – there are various minorities, from different points of view. The choice of the ILS comes before the decision to merge and that fact is in everyone's interest. If vendor choice is not acceptable to LION, Inc., LION won’t merge.

Elsie Jenkins – what happens to PCL if 1 network doesn’t vote to merge.

Bill Edge – if LION merged with either 1 of the other 2, would be large enough group to address staffing issues and would be some economy of scale.

Sandy Ruoff – commented that LION must "do it anyway" so LION might as well look at all the systems, go through procurement process now.

Bill Edge – advised that this is the time for LION members to voice their concerns, specify interests to be sure they are heard.

Sandy Long – is concerned about Bibliomation's outsourcing service, particularly the Internet working service because the service has been problematic as of late. Will larger organization mean more outsourcing and poorer service response?

AMS – problems were not due to outsourcing per se, but due to lack of technical in-house staff. Kind of tech support PCL is talking about is planning for LANs in local libraries, not direct Internet service but assign IP addresses, etc.

Marie Shaw – commented that ELH is missing from the Business Plan roster of libraries, and that PCL has recognized academics, but not schools. There needs to be more info re services for schools.

Leslie Scherer – commented draft may have come from Bibliomation, which has a program of limited services for schools.

Marie Shaw – some libraries already have tech services available to them, don’t need PCL’s service. Has to be some economy of scale for those members.

Marie Shaw – expressed her concerns about Bibliomation's viability and whether she would do business with them.

Marie Shaw – commented that the merger would cause her to go back to her community to justify PCL as she did with LION 13 years ago. Need concrete budget numbers to do this.

Bill Edge – noted that LION Board comments on the Business Plan must be in to AMS by May 19th and that the comments can be emailed to AMS for the final draft at amsmith@crlc.org.

AMS – commented that Bibliomation members feel they "have LAN service and other 2 don’t, and we don't want to lose it". In other words LAN service is not optional, but rather core to them, but may not be core to other libraries, get service elsewhere and don’t want to pay to support it. Business Plan says we should immediately try to price LAN service and how to offer as option to other libraries.

Elsie Jenkins – menu of core and optional services should be offered to both full and affiliate members.

AMS – PCL has also moved to identify core services although this is not totally clear.

Bill Edge – Rob McGee recommended network services but in a suite of products, possibly at PCL division level equal to ILS and telecom.

Marie Shaw – endorsed strongly. Helps libraries to make budget decisions and gives better idea if PCL can exist financially based on menu of services and which libraries will buy them.

Susan Donovan – asked about the relationship of PCL to CLN and what services PCL members can get from CLN as opposed to PCL.

AMS – has approached the new State Librarian Wiggin on this issue. She noted Bibliomation's "small library initiative" as something PCL can offer which CLN is not interested in while CLN could do remote patron authentication and authorization for State licensed remote databases.

Bill Edge – commented on the cooperative / competitive relationship between CLN and PCL. "The best way to provide resource sharing is to share a single ILS" and State Librarian/CLN is not at all interested in an ILS. PCL could be a large node of a CLN.

Valerie Harrod – is concerned about the lack of LSTA funds for libraries to join consortia. Wiggin is opposed to funding ILSs. Brettschneider has approved of PCL's eligibility for USF and LSTA funding.

Elsie Jenkins – stated that the ILS couldn’t be marginalized because it is the business of libraries.

AMS – PCL means the ILS should function without concern by the library.

 

LION Board break

Leslie Scherer – commented that only Wiggin and McGee believe in the marginalization of the ILS. Rest of us believes that ILS is critical part of resource sharing and access to remote resources.

Leslie Scherer – asked whether CARL is a deal breaker, or not. She noted that it seems as though a new shared ILS is "a great idea as long as it is not CARL". Concern re system selection process.

Bill Edge – stated that LION is not considering moving to a current, legacy based, character cell ILS, the CARL system now. That idea is dead. If CARL at all, will be the next CARL system.

Sandy Long – since so much concern re choice of ILS, should LION ask reps to go to demos. List of personnel attending the demos by service or module was distributed. Guilford, Woodbridge and New London will also send people. Mark distributed required form for all attendees to complete after demos.

Gale Bradbury – added that there are those in CONNECT that do not want a CARL system. Nobody wants what they have now.

East Lyme volunteer – public comment – library staff need training in technology and customer service. Will new organization try to address this?

Bill Edge – we need to hear directly from users about issues like this and PCL is kind/scope of organization needed to address new tech issues.

Sandy Long – asked about the need to attract non-automated, stand-alone system libraries, and other networks.

Elsie Jenkins – is concerned about the Business Plan's proposed personnel and facilities and how economics will be realized.

AMS – stated that a new shared ILS would be centrally located and should produce savings. She stated that the faster the merger the better because of the changing nature of assets and liabilities.

Bill Edge – commented that there may be merger and conversion expenses, however the combined PCL contracts will not be as much as the sum of the three networks' contracts.

Susan Donovan – asked about the costs of replacing terminals, barcode readers, printers, terminal servers with PCs, new barcode readers and printers and hubs.

Bill Edge – commented that these expenses might not be considered as part of the merger.

Sandy Long – noted the recognition of assets from the networks upon merger and the problem of Bibliomation's apparent lack of assets.

AMS – commented that assets might be used by the networks for PCs, etc., telecommunications and conversion of data, such as bibliographic file merger and authority control.

Marie Shaw – is concerned about the staffing identified in the Business Plan, particularly because it appears as though there is another director to be compensated.

note: all salaries should be reevaluated and that the executive director of a $3M firm at $70K is a very good deal.

 

V. OLD BUSINESS: None.

VI. NEW BUSINESS: None.

VII. ADJOURNMENT:

The next regular meeting will be Monday, May 24th at 9:30 at the Russell Library. Stony Creek is in charge of refreshments.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Sandra R. Long, Secretary

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