Board Minutes 1999 10

Minutes of the LION Board Meeting
October 22, 1999

Present: Valerie Harrod, DUR, Sandy Long, MAD, Sue Berescik, EHP, Marie Shaw, ELH, William Deakyne, ELY, Bridget Quinn-Carey, ESX, Sandy Ruoff, GUI, Donna Lolos, BRB, Nancy Avery, LED, Karen Smith, MDF, Roxanne Moreau, MRD, Howard Einsohn, MXC, Barbara van der Lyke, MTC, Alice Shepherd, MTC, Kelly Marszycki, OLY, Ed Murray, NLN, Linda Rusczek, MDT, Arthur Meyers, MDT, Leslie Scherer, WAL, Lew Daniels, WSB, Susan Donovan, STC, Hannah Estra, NWC, Pat Johnson, Bib, Ann Montgomery Smith, PCL, Bill Edge, Mark Hewes and Rick Widlansky, LION.

Absent: TVY, WBR.

 

I. CALL TO ORDER: The meeting was called to order by Sandy Ruoff at the Russell Library, Middletown, CT at 9:35 am.

Bridget Quinn-Carey, new director of the Essex Library as of November 1, was introduced and everyone present introduced themselves.

II. ADDITIONS TO ADGENDA: None.

III. PUBLIC COMMENT: Arthur Meyers of Russell Library distributed copies of a motion that had been approved at a meeting of the Russell Library Board urging CLA and the State Library to include funding for statewide automation in legislation. He recommended that LION approve a similar resolution and that LION ask other networks and individual libraries to do the same. Sandy Ruoff said that some of these issues were raised at a recent ACLPD Planning meeting and that when she spoke to the State Librarian he felt that there might be ways for cost savings other than automated circulation systems that the state could support, such as telecom, and that he would be willing to meet with others to discuss it. So we should not dismiss entirely the possibility of state support. Valerie proposed that PCL should get on the agenda for the next ACLPD meeting. Mark added that long term, if the state is going to realize its desire to have citizens get access to holdings, there has to be a technological link between the state systems and the networks and the state and the stand-alones. ReQuest will have to ante up somehow to encourage the ILSs to support Z39.50, etc. Valerie will pursue putting this issue on the next ACLPD agenda. This is the "non-money" year of the legislature, but there are some items for which the State Library is seeking money for automation and this could potentially fit into the process, with a push toward directing funds toward public libraries or not. Bill said the Connlinet funds were granted 10 years ago and all networks are facing re-capitalization needs. Kelly reiterated Valerie’s point from last month that we "hold the state hostage" because they’ve taken advantage of all of our records for years and the philosophy of PCL is inclusive not an exclusive project. These are good economic times; we should push now. Mark pointed out that it takes LION about 5 days to produce the tapes to contribute to ReQuest; 94 libraries contribute about three quarters of the records in ReQuest. Leslie asked if the Russell Library motion would be helpful or not helpful in CLA’s legislative work; we don’t want to undermine CLA and we want libraries to be unified in front of the legislature. Sandy Ruoff said it could serve to increase better communication with the State Library and ACLPD and won’t be divisive unless people in the library community decide to make it divisive.

Ed Murray moved and Lew Daniels seconded a motion that LION ask CLA and the State Library to include in the legislative program funding for statewide library automation. All voted in favor.

This motion needs to go to the next CLA Board meeting, since they endorse the legislative package. Mark interjected another supporting argument that is the every increasing need for statewide patron authentication for access to licensed resource databases. The long range plan for CLN services has a lot of good info or "hooks" to attach this request. Mark and Art will work on a "background paper" to go with the motion. There are different needs for funding from all the different players. The motion implies that every library or organization should be able to ask for what it needs, Connlinet style, rather than trying to devise one solution that everyone can buy into.

IV. APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Leslie moved and Ed seconded a motion that the minutes be approved as distributed. All voted in favor.

V. TREASURER’S REPORT: The Treasurer’s Report as of September 30, 1999 that had been e-mailed was also distributed. It was the consensus to accept the report. Valerie asked if there was a lot of money outstanding on the frame relay upgrade; about $6,000 is due but not until June 30th, 1999.

VI. DISCUSSION/ACTION ITEMS:

1. Status of Partnership of CT Libraries:

Ann reviewed the status of PCL, reminding us of the original mission statement and vision statement; which said PCL should be cost effective; we now have a budget and vendor proposal which require an outlay from members to get to the next level of automation; members will have to decide if it is cost effective. The clout of a larger membership base concept did not produce an outstanding change in telecom rates but did give some advantages in the contract with SNET in allowing installation costs to be waived. Seamless connectivity for users was a goal and the new system with the combined databases for bibliographic info and for patrons does eliminate boundaries. Some benefits of merging are:

Single unified patron and bibliographic database.

Depth of staffing for technical support and more coverage at times when libraries are open.

Elimination of boundaries between networks existing now.

A single telecom infrastructure with sophisticated monitoring systems (although monitoring we wanted was not achieved from vendors, existing staff has learned the technology and enabled the monitoring we need).

Internet service as provided now is not as effective as we would like and needs to be improved.

Web page hosting and email accounts can be enhanced.

Cataloging services now different in each network can come together and libraries can have new options.

Standardization of policies and procedures from the patron’s point of view make library use easier.

PCL may have a role in online database management, remote access support and discounts for things the State does not include.

Funding is set aside for authority control.

90 day operating reserve fund is included in the budget.

Outsourced ILS which makes vendor responsible for hardware & software upgrades over the life of the contract.

Group purchasing and sale of goods, such as barcodes, etc.

The next generation of ILS has new and enhanced technical functionality.

The system can be used with dumb terminals as well as PCs.

A help desk will be available all the hours that libraries are open.

Ann showed an organization chart for the 3 networks throughout the merger, without names attached to the positions. The question was asked if the new organization would be more expensive or less expensive in terms of staff or overhead; Ann said it would be similar in cost but hopefully would provide more services to members. There would/could be a place in the new organization for all LION staff members. Positions to be eliminated for certain would be 3 network directors, 2 half-time administrative assistants and one bookkeeper. Marie asked what would happen if Bibliomation, the last to migrate, decides at the last minute not to merge. Ann said that there would be binding agreements from the networks with PCL before a contract is signed with SIRSI. From day one of PCL, Bibliomation will be under control of PCL. Then Marie said, PCL is absorbing the cost of remaining 2 separate computer systems and Bibliomation is not paying the cost of running Bibliomation and also contributing toward SIRSI.

One time costs to set up PCL are estimates, erring on the high side, so that there will not be surprises, added expenses that haven’t been taken into account. $260,000 severance and incentives is included to help retain existing staff and is still under discussion. Authority control cost of $235,000 for the entire database has been included in the one-time costs. The totals for Bibliomation libraries works out to about $24,000 per library, for LION and CONNECT libraries it is $21,267 per library. There is now a big difference in assumptions; funds which LION and CONNECT have in the bank can be used by each network in any way they choose, whether to help their member libraries pay one-time fees or buy PCs, etc., instead of being a "dowry" for PCL. A question was asked about the reserve funds of LION and how far they would go toward the purchase of a SIRSI system for LION libraries only; a very rough estimate of the SIRSI system cost is $800,000, not outsourced. Ann mentioned that CONNECT has asked SIRSI for a purchased system quote not outsourced as PCL is, for a system that could include LION libraries, so alternate options may be available. Bill Deakyne corrected the information he had given at the last LION meeting to say the comment should be reversed, that it is a possibility that the Waterford/Groton/Mystic group might join PCL, or join LION, because a SIRSI system is at the top of their list. He also felt not enough investigation has been done into SIRSI for LION alone. Marie asked if CONNECT has gotten the information, why can’t LION? Ann further explained that the SIRSI quote per user for PCL was $480 outsourced and for CONNECT it was $900, but that CONNECT then asked for a purchase quote and Dency has said that CONNECT "can do it for less than PCL." Does this mean that CONNECT has decided they are not going to move to PCL? No, they are reviewing all their options. They are having a meeting right now. Bill Edge said the fear all along has been that there’s no way to pull Bibliomation into the deal, for a number of financial and political reasons. We’ve solved the financial problem but Dency believes Bibliomation isn’t going to play but that it makes sense for LION and CONNECT to work together. All of the financial info to date has indicated a 900 user system is necessary to be cost effective, but he’s not sure what the quote is that Dency has gotten, although he thinks it’s based on purchase of equipment, not outsourcing, and that would require a level of staff adequate to run and maintain the system rather than outsourcing to the vendor. Can we have PCL without Bibliomation? Depends on what the libraries want. Now that the financial picture is known and other aspects of PCL are clearer, it’s time to reach a decision and not surprising that everyone is "looking around." Kelly reiterated that the political voice of 3 groups combined would be a much stronger political force in the long run and it would be sad for libraries in CT in general not to have this. Bill Deakyne doesn’t believe the merger will enhance our political clout or ability to get legislative funds.

Marie said she is unable to commit her institution for 3 years funding and most of us don’t have the authority to do that. Many institutions, such as the community colleges and schools, have already paid for telecom infrastructure and perhaps staff and we can’t ask our funding authorities to pay twice for parallel systems. Howard asked if Bibliomation isn’t going to join and now CONNECT is going off on its own, what is PCL? Ann said it was not a definite conclusion by either of those groups. Bibliomation is in a difficult spot because the biggest member has said if Bibliomation does not go to SIRSI the member will leave.

(The group agreed to take a break at this point.)

The meeting resumed at 11:35 am. Documents from PCL had been distributed at the meeting including a one-page budget summary. The budget has been balanced; it has been reviewed by all PCL committees, PCL Board, etc. The budget is the worst-case scenario; actual costs may not be this high but the budget insures there’s enough money and that nothing has been overlooked or underestimated. In year one, Bibliomation is separated out and the other 2 networks integrated.

Sue asked where telecom was in the one-time assessments. Ann said because of everyone’s current position, on frame relay, etc., there would be no significant cost incurred. Rick said that really isn’t certain because there could be upgrades and need for more bandwidth. Ann said SIRSI says 56K is all that’s needed for the ILS and if more bandwidth is required it would be due to Internet use. This is one reason SIRSI was chosen over III which seemed to require more bandwidth and everyone would have to increase capacity.

Bill said the budget had been built on a program basis so, for example, if PCL doesn’t get Internet customers, the staff for Internet can be cut. Rick said each library should remember that they would have to factor in the cost of their own category 5 wiring, hubs, switches and electricians to upgrade to PCs.

The PCL budget is complex; it consists of 4 basic programs: administration, ILS, Networking/Telecom and Bibliographic service. PCL tried to structure the budget so that libraries will be billed for things they use and not pay for things they do not use, but in the end they had to package things into a basic package that every library gets. Institutions will have options for Internet access for web hosting, etc; for specific fees. There is a provision for database administration in the future, but none planned/budgeted yet. (It’s assumed the contracts that LION has with EBSCO will move to PCL and there will not be a PCL service charge on top.) Per site fees are priced and tied to telecom. If an institution gets WAN support, circuits, etc. through a college or some other source, then the institution would only pay the minimal amount for a PVC rate to connect to PCL. There is a per site LAN fee for making sure the ILS works with whatever equipment each library has. There are now no distinctions between PACs and staff terminals in terms of function/use or fees. $1,050 per year per user (terminal) is the cost; there’s a one-time cost if users are added. This is a place where administrators can make choices affecting costs; another place is size of bandwidth. This budget allows libraries to keep dumb terminals and has a fee to maintain them, but does not require libraries to move to PCs. Many of the features of the new ILS can’t be used with dumb terminals. You would not be using many of the strengths of the new system if you don’t use PCs. Under Bibliographic Services, the overall health of the entire system needs authority control and so every library is charged a per user fee for this. There are now 3 models for cataloging; in the new system it’s hoped that libraries can mix and match options for cataloging. Hopefully libraries can continue their present cataloging practice if they want to and everyone is not forced into one model.

Bill Edge has calculated for each LION library the PCL costs based on the library’s current use of services. The PCL assessment work form is a way for a library to double-check the figures.

The net for LION as a whole is a 6% increase, but the increase for each LION member is all over the map; seemingly the percentage increase is highest for the smaller libraries and for libraries with more than one site. No formula has been found to overcome this. The PCL Board has said they will "negotiate" with individual libraries to try to overcome this hurdle. The State Library’s answer to equal access for all, no matter how small, has been ReQuest, which isn’t "good enough" for most of us. It may be possible for small libraries to get their telecom from CLN and then be able to afford PCL, but we’re not sure how this would work.

2. LION’s telecom: The contracts with SNET for maintenance of LION’s telecom and circuits have expired; they are not on a month-to-month basis, as we were told. The minimum time SNET will do is a one-year contract and that is the highest cost. It was the sense of the Board that LION obtain vital telecom support service coverage as soon as possible.

VIII. OLD BUSINESS: Bill Deakyne said before any payments are made to departing network directors or incentive payments are made they should be put in writing for members to vote on. Ann said the PCL Board has designated the Personnel Committee to come up with a plan and they have not reported yet. Karen asked if LION could investigate options other than PCL before the next LION Board meeting. She will set a Finance Committee meeting.

IX. NEW BUSINESS: None other than next meeting date which will be November 23rd, 9:30 am at the Russell Library. Refreshments will be provided by Branford.

X. ADJOURNMENT: Leslie moved and Bill Deakyne seconded a motion to adjourn and all voted in favor at 1:15 pm.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Sandra R. Long, Secretary

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