Minutes — April 12, 2013


The one hundred thirty-seventh meeting of the Ohio Public Library Information Network (OPLIN) Board of Trustees was called to order at 9:10 a.m. on Friday, April 12, 2013 by Board Vice-Chair Karen Davis at the State Library of Ohio in Columbus, Ohio.

Present were Board members: Don Barlow, Jill Billman-Royer, Susan Brown, Ben Chinni, Karen Davis, Sandi
Plymire, Becky Schultz, and Jeff Wale. Jamie Mason arrived at 9:12.

Also present were: Stephen Hedges, Laura Solomon, and Karl Jendretzky (OPLIN); Jamie Pardee and David Namiotka (State Library). Lynda Murray (Ohio Library Council) arrived at 9:30.


Jill Billman-Royer motioned to approve the agenda as presented; Don Barlow seconded. All aye.


Karen Davis called for public participation; there was none.

4. APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES of February 8 meeting

Karen Davis requested approval of the minutes of the February 8 Board meeting.

Don Barlow motioned to approve the minutes as presented; Jill Billman-Royer seconded. All aye.


Jamie Pardee presented the Financial Reports as of March 31. Report B detailed fiscal years 2012 and 2013; fiscal year 2012 is now closed and unchanged. Both revenue and expenditures in the current fiscal year are similar to what they were in past fiscal years at this time.

Jamie Mason assumed the gavel.

Karen Davis motioned to accept the Financial Reports; Sandi Plymire seconded. All aye.


Stephen Hedges started Board discussion with an overview of current OPLIN status and environment, beginning with a reminder of the OPLIN mission. Stephen also described changes to the way people interact with libraries and the Internet since OPLIN was started, and enumerated actions currently underway to move the final T1 library circuits to Ethernet. Total library Internet traffic continues to grow at about 30% each year, but lower costs for bandwidth have kept telecommunication costs within budget and recent upgrades to network core hardware should allow OPLIN to handle infrastructure demand for several years to come.

Stephen also reported that the Libraries Connect Ohio partnership remains active, and reminded the Board that other OPLIN services include technical support, optional Internet filtering, email for library staff, website kits, and text message notifications to library patrons.

The Chair now called on Lynda Murray to begin the discussion of ebooks in libraries (Item 6.3).

6.3. OLC work on ebooks

The Board first asked Lynda Murray to inform them of the status of budget negotiations in the legislature and she reported that it currently appears there will be no significant changes in public library funding from the language in the Governor's proposed budget. It is assumed that OPLIN funding will continue to be taken from the Public Library Fund in this budget and future budgets.

Lynda informed the Board that the Ohio Library Council (OLC) and the metropolitan libraries have begun to explore federal legislation to ease the problems public libraries experience with purchasing and lending ebooks. Former Congressman Zack Space has been contacting Ohio legislators in Congress to explain the problems, and the response from all of them has been encouraging. It has meanwhile become apparent that very little serious legal research has been done about the copyright and licensing issues that have allowed these problems to develop.

Stephen Hedges reported that he recently heard Patrick Losinski, Chief Executive Officer of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, describe the need for legal research at a recent OLC Board meeting. Stephen realized that it might be appropriate for OPLIN to use some E-rate funds to pay for legal research, as well as the costs of communicating the results of that research, since equity of access to electronic information such as ebooks is the core of the OPLIN mission.

Lynda noted that legal research is needed before Congress proceeds to any hearings on the library/ebook issues, and it is estimated that this research and development of communication and education tools would cost about $50,000. Don Barlow asked if legal research is an allowable use for public funds, and Lynda assured him it is. Don also asked if funds could be solicited from mid-sized libraries, and Lynda replied that since speed was essential at this point in the process, it would be better right now if fewer organizations were involved.

In response to questions from the Board, Lynda noted that the American Library Association has chosen to address the ebook problems by lobbying publishers, but they have no objections if Ohio public libraries want to pursue legal solutions. Stephen also noted that much of the day's discussion would revolve around best ways to use OPLIN E-rate reserves, and this legal research is one possibility. Several Board members noted that ebook problems are a critical issue for their libraries.

Jill Billman-Royer motioned to commit $50,000 to the Ohio Library Council to be used for legal research and education in regard to library lending of ebooks; Don Barlow seconded.

Recorded vote: Don Barlow, aye; Jill Billman-Royer, aye; Susan Brown, aye; Ben Chinni, aye; Karen Davis, aye; Sandi Plymire, aye; Becky Schultz, aye; Jeff Wale, aye; and Jamie Mason, aye.

The meeting returned to the regular agenda order.

6.1. OPLIN mobile initiatives

Laura Solomon began by noting that many newer websites present themselves differently depending on the type of device being used to access the site. Recent upgrades to the base Drupal software have now made it possible for Dynamic Website Kits to employ Responsive Web Design (RWD) that tailors the look of the website to the appropriate device. Laura demonstrated the different looks of a website kit depending on whether the device used is a laptop, tablet, or smartphone of various sizes. In response to questions, Laura explained that the cost of upgrades is covered by the annual maintenance fees for website kits.

Karl Jendretzky explained work he has done while rebuilding the Explore Ohio search site to allow the website to take advantage of location awareness built into mobile devices and modern web browsers. Karl loaded geographic data for Ohio counties and zip codes into a database so users of Explore Ohio will now be able to limit their searches to websites of organizations near them. This functionality will next be extended to the Ohio Web Library authentication system to verify that users are located within Ohio, and the Find-a-Library tool, using the same base of geographic data.

6.2. Review proposed services discussed previously

Stephen Hedges presented a list of additional services to libraries that the Board has considered since the new services task force presented suggestions in 2011. Offsite data storage was offered as a service, but not used by any libraries. Supporting the creation of digitization labs is an ongoing project that will leverage LSTA funds; Jeff Wale provided some information about the challenges digitization projects present to libraries. Stephen also noted that at least $125,000 per year will be saved through new statewide telecommunications contracts, and the Board has discussed the idea of using this money to fund a two-year pilot project to provide limited subsidies for Internet costs of branch libraries.

Stephen also presented information about the most likely results of the Libraries Connect Ohio negotiations for the next five years of Ohio Web Library databases. The bid review committee recommended that statewide subscriptions to Oxford Reference, NewsBank and Mango Languages be discontinued on July 1, which could present a problem for public libraries that usually set their budgets for a calendar year. NewsBank has proposed an extension to the current contract to provide seamless access through December for libraries that subscribe in their next budget year starting in January. The Board requested more detailed information about usage of NewsBank and wondered if a similar contract extension might be worked out with Mango Languages. Further discussion was postponed pending retrieval of NewsBank usage statistics during the lunch break.


Having provided background information, Stephen Hedges now presented a copy of the current Strategic Plan with highlighted areas he thought might need to be updated.

The Board suggested a few minor corrections and discussed some major topics. They felt that the limited financial support OPLIN might provide to subsidize Internet connections at branch libraries was not as helpful as OPLIN technical assistance with branch connections. There was some discussion of what OPLIN might do to assist with increasing use of personal wireless Internet devices in libraries and the security issues involved. This devolved into a discussion of increasing OPLIN assistance to libraries for configuring their local networks. Karl Jendretzky suggested that even a simple audit of local networks could quickly provide a lot of help for local library IT staff. Jeff Wale suggested this might be added in general language to the Strategic Plan, but a separate detailed service plan should also be developed. The Board also asked that the offer of rack space at the State of Ohio Computer Center for offsite data storage be removed from the Strategic Plan.

Regarding databases, the Board discussed the fact that some databases are more important to public libraries than they are to the entire group of Libraries Connect Ohio affiliated institutions. It was suggested that OPLIN might consider buying databases beyond those provided by Libraries Connect Ohio. Stephen Hedges recommended that the OPLIN Content Advisory Committee be revived if additional databases are to be selected for purchase.

In regard to other objectives in the Strategic Plan, the Board decided to make no changes to the current Dynamic Website Kits service. The Board also asked that the objective of moving OPLIN funding back into the General Revenue Fund be removed from the Strategic Plan.

The Board recessed for lunch at 11:50 and resumed meeting at 12:35.

The Board briefly discussed some NewsBank usage statistics which Stephen Hedges had gathered during the lunch break, and which apparently include usage of some newspapers not purchased by Libraries Connect Ohio. Some libraries would probably want to buy some newspapers regardless of usage. The Board asked Stephen to contact the libraries which use NewsBank the most to determine if there is any value to extending the contract.


Stephen Hedges reminded the Board that they are required to have annual ethics training. To satisfy that requirement, Stephen distributed and discussed copies of the Ethics Commission publications "Helpful Ethics Guidelines for State and Local Board and Commission Members," "Ohio Ethics Law Memoranda for Board and Commissions Members," and "Bulletin: Gifts and Entertainment, February 21, 2013." He also noted that the Ethics Commission is very helpful and encouraged Board members to contact the commission if they had any questions about ethical activities.


9.1. Status of employee compensation proposals

Stephen Hedges reported on ongoing communications with the Attorney General's office regarding clarification of the Board's authority to set compensation for OPLIN employees. Stephen reminded the Board that they had decided last October to request 4.7% cost-of-living increases for all staff. Stephen asked if the Board wished to revisit that decision for any reason; the Board still supported the 4.7% increase.


10.1. Resolution appointing State Library as fiscal agent

Sandi Plymire offered the following resolution:

WHEREAS, the State Library of Ohio has served as the fiscal agent for the Ohio Public Library Information Network since July 1, 1995, as specified under Section 69 of H.B. 117 of the 121st General Assembly, the biennial operating appropriations bill; and

WHEREAS, subsequent biennium budget bills in effect until June 30, 2009 reiterated that the State Library would serve as the fiscal agent for the network; and

WHEREAS, the Ohio Revised Code section 3375.66(A)(5) states that the board of trustees of the Ohio Public Library Information Network shall appoint the State Library of Ohio as the board's fiscal agent.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the board of trustees of the Ohio Public Library Information Network that:

Appointment: The board of trustees of the Ohio Public Library Information Network hereby appoints the State Library of Ohio to continue to serve as its fiscal agent and provide all fiscal services described in R.C. 3375.66(A)(5)(a-e).

Adopted and recorded this 12th day of April, 2013.

Jeff Wale seconded the resolution. All aye

10.2. Administrative Rule on Board eligibility

Stephen Hedges reminded the Board that the wording of the Revised Code does not require a Board member to resign when they are no longer employed by an Ohio public library (with the exception of library trustees). The Attorney General's office has suggested that this could be remedied by establishing an Administrative Rule, and Stephen reviewed the procedure for doing that. The Board moved into a more general discussion of the procedure for removing members for malfeasance or other reasons. Ultimately, the Board felt that sufficient safeguards already exist in the Revised Code and that the rare instances when the Board would need to ask a member to resign could be handled as they arose.


Stephen Hedges reported that much of his time recently has been devoted to the Invitation to Negotiate process for the Ohio Web Library databases. He also reported that he has reviewed the discussion from the last meeting regarding the possible policy of requiring libraries that have left the OPLIN network to pay the installation fee if they re-join the network. Stephen said he would not advise making this a part of OPLIN policy, reasoning that installation fees are really a normal cost of doing business for OPLIN, paid every time a circuit is switched to a new vendor.

Regarding OPLIN office activities, Stephen highlighted his attendance at the meeting of the ETM libraries at Upper Arlington, his presentation to librarians from Kyrgyzstan visiting the State Library through the Columbus International Program, and two meetings related to the digitization labs project.

11.1. Technology Projects Manager report

Karl Jendretzky reported that the installation and turn-up of the new 10 Gbps hardware at the OPLIN core went well, and he anticipates no further upgrade will be needed for about seven years. OPLIN's second 1 Gbps circuit to a library (Cleveland Public) is now coming online.

11.2. Library Services Manager report

Laura Solomon reported there are now fifty-nine live website kit libraries, with another ten in construction. Special graphics for the Summer Reading Program, which twenty-one libraries have purchased for creating a Summer Reading Program page on their website, are now being installed. In response to a question, Laura provided information about the process of upgrading all sites to Drupal version 7.

11.3. Database usage

Stephen Hedges reported that aggregated database usage continues to grow slowly, despite occasional changes to the way individual vendors report statistics.


12.1. Board recruitment

Chair Jamie Mason appointed departing Board members Jeff Wale, Karl Colón, and Gary Branson to an ad hoc nominations committee that will collect and review nominations for new Board members and report back to the Board at the next meeting. The committee will also develop a recommended slate of officers for the upcoming year. Jamie named Karl Colón to chair this committee.

12.2. Director's evaluation process

Jamie Mason asked all Board members to complete their individual spreadsheets evaluating Stephen Hedges' annual performance by May 31 and email them to Karen Davis, who will compile the results for presentation at the June 14 Board meeting.


Before adjournment, Stephen Hedges reviewed some decisions from the day's discussions:

  • $50,000 will be spent for legal research on ebook lending;
  • there will be no pilot project testing financial support for branch connections;
  • OPLIN will pursue a plan to offer basic audits of local network configurations; and
  • Stephen will gather more information about the need for an extension to NewsBank and report back in June.

On motion of Don Barlow the Board adjourned at 1:16 p.m.