Minutes — April 14, 2017


The one hundred sixty-first meeting of the Ohio Public Library Information Network (OPLIN) Board of Trustees was called to order at 9:02 a.m. on Friday, April 14, 2017 by Board Vice-Chair Joe Greenward at the OPLIN office in Columbus, Ohio.

Present were Board members: Jill Billman-Royer, Karen Davis, Jeff Garringer, Joe Greenward, Cindy Lombardo, Chris May, Travis McAfee, and Becky Schultz.

Also present were: Stephen Hedges, Karl Jendretzky, Mandy Knapp and Laura Solomon (OPLIN); and Beverly Cain and Ashleigh Conkey (State Library).



Karen Davis motioned to approve the agenda as presented; Jill Billman-Royer seconded. There was no discussion, so the Vice-Chair called for a vote on the motion; all aye.


The Vice-Chair called for public participation.

Beverly Cain talked about her concerns over the proposed cuts to federal funding for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). So far, Ohio has only received about half of the IMLS funds expected this fiscal year. These funds are very important to Ohio libraries, so this funding will be a focus of the upcoming National Library Legislative Day. She is also concerned about the announced overall reduction in the state budget due to declines in revenue.

4. APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES of February 10 meeting

Chris May motioned to approve the minutes of the February 10, 2017, meeting as presented; Cindy Lombardo seconded. There was no discussion, so the Vice-Chair called for a vote on the motion; all aye.


Stephen Hedges presented budget information as of the end of March 2017, including expenditures for the FY2016-2017 biennium and cash flow for the FY2014-2015 and FY2016-2017 bienniums. He reviewed expenditures for administration accounts, calling attention to the budget for advertising the Executive Director position and for new office computers, and also reviewed expenditures for new routers for the network. He pointed out the annual decreases in telecommunications expenses, but expects that cost to stabilize as most of the connections become covered by long-term contracts. Looking at expected revenues, he noted that the approval of the OPLIN E-rate application has been very delayed this year, which also affects the timing of the receipt of E-rate reimbursements. It is possible that a large portion of anticipated E-rate reimbursements may not arrive before the end of this fiscal year; however, delayed receipt will simply result in larger E-rate revenue in the next fiscal year.

Cindy Lombardo motioned to accept the financial reports; Chris May seconded. There was no discussion, so the Vice-Chair called for a vote on the motion; all aye.


6.1. Decide on database authentication

Stephen Hedges reminded the Board of discussion at the February meeting about OPLIN purchase of EZproxy from OCLC and a number of possible configurations that could provide easy access authentication for users of the databases when they are not in a library. Soon after that meeting, it became clear that there was only one configuration that would work for OPLIN needs, so a quote for that type of service was received from OCLC for $37,422 annually. The configuration will authenticate users through proxy-by-port, so only one SSL certificate is needed which OPLIN already owns. OPLIN staff discussed the configuration with OCLC technical staff to make sure it would work as intended. Stephen also reminded the Board that this purchase would be combined with other State Library purchases from OCLC and would require Controlling Board approval.

Karl Jendretzky reported that some specialized database vendors are changing their products so that our current EZproxy software cannot handle authentication; the statewide databases are unaffected so far. For some libraries, he has been able to work around this by switching to proxy-by-port, but this does not solve the problem for all of the them.

Jill Billman-Royer motioned to approve the purchase of EZproxy stand-alone software licensing; Travis McAfee seconded.

Karen Davis asked if the libraries with database authentication problems would have to wait two months until the EZproxy purchase was complete before their remote users could use the databases. Karl confirmed that is correct, and reported that he has spoken with the affected libraries and they understand the problem.

There was no further discussion, so the Vice-Chair called for a vote on the motion; all aye.


7.1. Decide on staff raises

Stephen Hedges explained that this is a repeat of Board action taken the previous two years. The state has allowed 2.5% annual pay increases for state employees, but the Board must approve the increases each fiscal year.

Cindy Lombardo motioned that, in that the E-1 salary tables in Ohio Revised Code 124.152 awards State of Ohio E-1 employees a 2.5% salary increase beginning on the first day of the pay period that includes July 1, 2017 and allows increases up to 2.5% for other exempt state employees, the Ohio Public Library Information Network (OPLIN) Board of Trustees, in accordance with the duties assigned by Ohio Revised Code Section 3375.66, approves adjusting the compensation of each OPLIN staff member to one that reflects a 2.5% salary increase for each employee beginning with the pay period that includes July 1, 2017.; Chris May seconded. There was no discussion, so the Vice-Chair called for a vote on the motion; all aye.


8. Background reports from OPLIN staff

8.1. Budget background

Stephen Hedges presented information on the Public Library Fund (PLF) in the proposed state budget and how OPLIN funds are drawn from the PLF. He also reported on INFOhio lobbying to have their funding increased by $1.1 million in FY2018-2019, to correct cuts to their funding in the current budget biennium. INFOhio funding directly affects the Ohio Web Library databases, since INFOhio normally contributes about $500,000 each year to the cost of these databases, but has only been able to contribute a total of about $500,000 over the last two years under the current reduced budget. IMLS funding is also a huge component of the funding for Ohio Web Library purchases.


Stephen Hedges and Karl Jendretzky discussed the current relationship between OPLIN, the Office of Information Technology (OIT) and OARnet. Stephen presented information about the history of the relationship between the three entities and noted that there currently seems to be more cooperation and less competition among them. Karl described some examples of this cooperation: sharing denial of service protection and possibly content filtering with OARnet; direct 10 Gbps connections to OARnet for internet access; and working with OIT to reconfigure and duplicate the OPLIN network core.

8.3. SOCC Co-location

Karl Jendretzky provided an update on the project to create space in the State of Ohio Computer Center (SOCC) for library-owned servers and networking equipment, noting that the routers needed to link the equipment racks are expected to arrive any day. The OPLIN core will be first to move, which will require some brief downtimes for the network, as telecommunications vendors' connections to the network core are being re-designed.

Karl also reported that he is gradually deploying the new routers to libraries and will increase the pace somewhat this summer, but OIT staff will not be available to do the bulk of the work until the third quarter of the year.

8.4. Ohio Digital Network

Mandy Knapp explained that the Ohio Digital Network (ODN) is the Ohio Service Hub of the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) and OPLIN coordinates the digitization hub libraries to serve as the ODN Community Engagement Center for public libraries. Current work revolves around identifying and gathering metadata for the first submissions to DPLA. The State Library has hired a contractor to set up Repox, the software that will be used to aggregate the metadata from libraries. Mandy is thinking about the training and assistance that will be needed for libraries with limited digitization experience. Mandy and Laura Solomon are exploring ways that a library's digitized materials could be integrated into their Drupal website kit.

8.5. Website accessibility

Laura Solomon reported that she had seen web-based software last year called "sitecues" that adds zoom and speech features to websites. This can greatly increase the accessibility of the site for people with special needs. The product was relatively expensive and to integrate it into the website kits would either require doubling the annual website maintenance fee or a commitment by OPLIN to pay the cost, which would be a change from the current policy of recovering the costs of hosting website kits. The sitecues company has since been purchased and new pricing has not been published.

The Board expressed tentative interest in such a product to boost website accessibility, but it was agreed that no decision can be made about purchasing until current pricing information is available.

8.6. E-rate services

Stephen Hedges pointed out that OPLIN has been contracting with Lorrie Germann, the state E-rate coordinator for schools, to present workshops and provide E-rate assistance for public libraries, as well as preparing OPLIN's E-rate applications. Now Mandy Knapp, the state E-rate coordinator for public libraries, has joined OPLIN. Mandy should be able to do what Lorrie has been doing, but Stephen recommended continuing with Lorrie's contract for one more year because the E-rate system is still going through big changes, and Lorrie is still working on issues caused for OPLIN by those changes. E-rate reimbursements are such a big portion of OPLIN revenues, it is important to avoid mistakes. Mandy and Lorrie together would provide backup to each other until things stabilize. Stephen also pointed out that the E-rate changes have meant that fewer libraries qualify for E-rate discounts; this is something that should be kept in mind as the Board discusses the place of E-rate assistance in the OPLIN strategic plan.

8.7. Ohio Web Library Specialists

Mandy Knapp described a new initiative, Ohio Web Library Specialists, that she plans to announce next week. Based on the successful iCoaches program developed by INFOhio, OWL Specialists will provide in-person training to library staff in effective use of Ohio Web Library resources and will be acknowledged for their expertise. The Content Advisory Committee recommended that existing database experts among public library staff be identified, and Mandy intends to provide initial training to all Specialists in the fall. The eventual goal is to have at least one in every county.

Chris May asked if the initiative will be coordinated with the regional library systems. Joe Greenward asked if there will be a directory of Specialists on the OPLIN website. Mandy said she would make sure both things happen.

8.8. OWL Invitation to Negotiate

Mandy Knapp and Stephen Hedges presented information about the upcoming Invitation to Negotiate (ITN) for new five-year Ohio Web Library database contracts. Mandy provided a general timeline and explanation of the process, with planning beginning as soon as the state biennial budget is set. Stephen pointed out that the end of the current five-year contracts could be a turning point for the Libraries Connect Ohio partnership, and gave a brief history of that partnership. He also distributed a chart showing the irregular history of INFOhio contributions toward the cost of the databases.

Stephen noted that he had attended an INFOhio Board meeting to discuss this, and they are well aware of the problem and already looking for more stable sources of funding than the state budget. Aside from budget pressures, both OhioLINK and INFOhio are being pressured by their parent organizations to provide more resources that directly support curricula, while public library users want resources that are of personal interest to them. Those two pressures — money and different user mandates — could alter or even split the partnership.

9. Outcomes of Content Advisory Committee meeting

Mandy Knapp reported on the annual meeting of the Content Advisory Committee held in late February. The committee discussed the difficulties in comparing usage statistics from different vendors. They also chose five people to serve on the OWL ITN selection committee and discussed ways to get feedback from the public library community on desirable databases. Mandy also discussed using vendors to provide database training to librarians, but the committee felt that training from a librarian was often better, so Mandy has proposed several programs for the Ohio Library Council Convention this fall that will combine both vendor and librarian trainers.

The Board recessed for lunch at 11:05 a.m. and resumed discussions at 11:45 a.m.

10. Review of current Strategic Plan

Stephen Hedges presented the current plan with areas highlighted that might need changes and also a simplified one-page plan. He began discussion by asking for reactions to the one-page plan.

Several Board members expressed an appreciation for the ability to get a quick overview from the one-page plan, but also wanted the ability to see the more detailed content in the current plan that has been so carefully crafted. Stephen noted that organization of the one-page plan differed somewhat from the current plan.

Stephen then described proposed changes to the current plan which he feels are needed, noting that further changes could make it the detailed plan to accompany the one-page plan. Several services are new since the current plan was written, and there are also some questions about continuing a few current services, based on the morning's background presentations.

Travis McAfee noted that many libraries are not aware of all the services OPLIN offers. Jill Billman-Royer suggested that social media could be used to call attention to specific services.

Discussion turned to the E-rate training and support currently provided by OPLIN. In response to a question from Cindy Lombardo, Mandy Knapp reported that smaller libraries tend to be the ones that attend the training, while many of the larger libraries hire consultants to handle their E-rate applications. Travis suggested continuing the trainings until there was a noticeable drop in demand. Jill and Joe Greenward suggested changing the wording to "offer E-rate guidance" and Stephen remarked that he thought this activity should be moved from the Marketing category to Operations. The consensus of the Board was to accept Stephen's suggestion to continue Lorrie Germann's contract for another year.

Turning to the Ohio Web Library partnership, Joe noted that it is hard to make plans when the funding is so uncertain. Cindy wondered if the share of funding from OPLIN could be re-negotiated with the other partners, and Stephen replied that the partners had already had conversations about the mismatch of funding to usage and should be willing to re-negotiate. Stephen then clarified the various portals to the collection, noting that ohioweblibrary.org is available for use by anyone in Ohio. Beverly Cain speculated that the school representatives on the committee that selects the databases for the collection might have undue influence on the decision, and Stephen reported that the partners have also talked about possibly making some modification to the committee membership based on the amount of funding contributed.

Stephen also noted that both INFOhio and OhioLINK are under some pressures to provide "open educational resources" for schools and other resources specifically targeted to the classroom, while we know that public library users have very different interests. Chris May pointed out that as libraries buy their own resources to satisfy patron demand, usage of Ohio Web Library may continue to slip. Mandy noted that about 40% of public libraries buy their own databases. Stephen suggested that OPLIN could decrease the funds contributed to Ohio Web Library and use the savings to buy databases of interest to the public. Karl Jendretzky thought vendors may not be eager to sell OPLIN databases that they were successfully selling to individual libraries, and Travis confirmed that was his experience at NORWELD. Joe wondered if the ITN could be used to get quotes for databases for OPLIN only, and Stephen replied that could be done, but the other partners just buy their own resources outside of the ITN process. Stephen will make sure the wording of the strategic plan supports OPLIN paying a fairer share for the Ohio Web Library collection.

A few more items in the proposed plan were now discussed. It was decided to provide a circuit "for use by" the State Library, since the main circuit is now outside the OPLIN network. It was felt that mentioning the Ohio Digital Network by name was too specific. Some discussion took place about the pricing of extra user accessibility for website kits. Stephen and Laura suggested that the cost recovery model for website kits be dropped in favor of a fee set by the Board. Karen Davis suggested retaining the cost recovery model and making accessibility beyond the standards an option for libraries that want to pay. Since the strategic plan does not directly address website kit pricing, Stephen suggested that this debate be postponed until there is more information about the cost of accessibility options.

Stephen will prepare a revised version of the proposed plan for further review at the next Board meeting.



Becky Schultz reported that the request for applications for the Executive Director's position would be posted on the state's website from April 17 to May 31. The Committee will review applications when they meet on June 9 and start making plans for interviews.


Stephen Hedges informed the Board that changes to the format and location of the RightClick conference this fall make it impossible to host an ice breaker the evening before. He also shared language that will be added to the OPLIN website to clarify that website kits have limited storage space on the servers, enough to host a large website but not enough to use for extensive storage of other files.

Regarding the OPLIN office activities calendar, Stephen highlighted his attendance at several budget hearings and at the ETM libraries meeting in Westerville, visits to Rockford and Coldwater libraries by Karl and Cleveland Public Library by Mandy, and presentations done for librarians by Laura and Mandy.

12.1. Library Services Manager report

Laura Solomon reported that there are now 74 libraries using website kits, with three of those still in development. She has developed this year's Summer Reading Program templates, with sixteen orders so far, and has also been busy with a number of website redesigns lately. Laura has done four full audits of websites and 12 more audits of website kits. She also reported that she has taken down an old legacy OPLIN website, "Famous Ohioans," because the technology used to build the games on the site — the majority of the content — is no longer supported. Finally, she described a new way she has been perfecting of displaying information about the Ohio Web Library databases on a website kit.

12.2. Digital Resources Manager report

Mandy Knapp shared database usage statistics and reported that she discovered an error in the aggregated data we were getting from Ancestry Library Edition, so those usage statistics are much higher now. She also noted that she has been answering a lot of questions from libraries about the new item in the state data report regarding "Successful Retrieval of Electronic Information."

12.3. Technology Projects Manager report

Karl Jendretzky informed the Board of a good promotional price he got on SMS messaging credits by buying about two year's worth of credits now.


13.1. Approve recommendation from Nominations Committee

Karen Davis shared a list of the nominations received to fill three open seats on the Board after July 1, and she also provided some demographic information about the current Board and the nominees. She noted that all candidates were very well qualified and the committee's decision was difficult.

The Nominations Committee recommended that the Board ask the State Library Board to appoint Jamie Black, Justin Bumbico, and Tara Sidwell to three-year terms on the OPLIN Board beginning July 1, 2017.

Karen briefly described the experience and qualifications of each recommended candidate.

Jill Billman-Royer seconded the Committee's recommendation. There was no further discussion, so the Vice-Chair called for a vote on the recommendation; all aye.

13.2. Begin Director's evaluation process

Stephen Hedges distributed the spreadsheet used in past years to evaluate the Director's performance and asked if anyone would like to suggest changes. In response to a question, he clarified that the Customer Focus section was added last year because the state now requires that evaluation for all employees.

Joe Greenward asked all Board members to send their evaluations to him no later than May 26.


On motion of Jeff Garringer and second of Jill Billman-Royer the meeting adjourned at 12:55 p.m.