Board Retreat

Minutes—April 8,


The one hundred twenty-fifth
meeting of the Ohio Public Library
Information Network (OPLIN) Board of Trustees was called to order at
9:30 a.m. on Friday, April 8, 2011 by Board Chair Sandi
Plymire at the State Library of Ohio in Columbus, Ohio.

Present were Board members:
Don Barlow, Gary Branson, Jason Buydos, Karl Colón, Karen
Davis, Jamie
Mason, Jeff Wale, and Sandi Plymire. Bonnie Mathies arrived at 10:30.

Also present were: Stephen
Hedges, Karl Jendretzky, and Laura Solomon (OPLIN); Diane
Fink and
David Namiotka (State Library); and Doug Evans (Ohio
Library Council).


Sandi Plymire requested approval of the meeting agenda.

Jason Buydos motioned to
approve the agenda as presented; Don Barlow seconded. All aye.


The Chair recognized Doug Evans.

Doug provided an update on legislative activity related to public
libraries, particularly the next state
biennium budget. Funding for OPLIN and the Library for the Blind and
Physically Handicapped are currently slated to come out of the Public
Fund (PLF), which would increase the anticipated cut in library funding
from 5% to about 6œ%. OPLIN has also suggested amendment language to
re-direct the filtering earmark in the OPLIN budget to e-government

Karl Colón and Jeff Wale asked about S.B. 5, the "collective
bargaining" bill. Doug indicated that Ohio Library Council (OLC) believes the bill would not
apply to library employees who are not union members. He also reported
that it has been suggested that some
language may be moved into the budget bill to preclude a referendum.

Don Barlow asked about retirement system changes in the budget
legislation. Doug responded that PERS has indicated that the proposed
shift in employee/employer contributions would affect the solvency of
the retirement fund.

of February 11 Meeting

Karl Colón motioned to
approve the minutes of the February 11 meeting; Karen Davis
seconded. All aye.


Diane Fink presented the Financial Reports as of March 31, 2011.

Report A showed the
budget and expenditures at the end of Fiscal Year 2010 and Fiscal Year
2011 through March 31. Fiscal Year 2010 is closed, but Diane
noted that FY 2009-2010 Capital Funds for purchasing routers have now
been transferred to the Office of Information Technology (OIT) for
router purchases in FY 2010, and that OPLIN submitted a request for
Capital Funds in February 2010. In the FY 2011
budget, Diane highlighted the effect of furlough days on the OPLIN
payroll, and also noted the decrease in telecommunications costs
resulting from OIT's new rate structure this fiscal year. Report B
showed the
revenue and cash balances for Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011. E-Rate
reimbursements for funding year 2005 continue to arrive, so the cash
balance at the end of March was about $2.3 million.

Stephen Hedges called attention to the budget item for filtering
grants and presented the proposed amendment to the budget bill language
which would re-purpose the current $81,000 annual earmark for filtering
support, using it to support e-government services instead. He also
reported that the OPLIN office is testing some Cisco hardware that
might be able to implement centralized filtering within the budget
constraints of the filtering earmark, should the amendment be
unsuccessful. Individual libraries should be able to configure the
filter for their own library; Board members cautioned that libraries
would also need to have the ability to deactivate the filter on
individual computers. If both the amendment and the central filter
testing are unsuccessful, Stephen would like to have a future
discussion about changing the way filtering funds are distributed to

Diane reported that the Department of Administrative Services (DAS)
has opened negotiations with the OPLIN landlord for the next biennium
lease. Although OPLIN has budgeted for an increase, DAS is resisting
any increase and is suggesting that OPLIN move into the State Library.
This would appear to be more expensive for OPLIN than paying a slight
rent increase at the current location, so OPLIN has asked DAS to
proceed with negotiations with the landlord; however, Diane, Stephen,
and Beverly Cain met to discuss the situation and have decided to also
request that DAS conduct space planning with OPLIN and State Library
staff to develop contingency plans for moving OPLIN into the State
Library location.

also presented Biennial Budget Reports, which include the Executive
Budget amounts released by the Governor. The only difference between
the submitted budget and the Executive Budget is a small reduction in
expenses due to the proposed shift in employee/employer contributions
the retirement system. The House Budget is expected on May 5. The cash
balance at the end of the biennium, assuming OPLIN used the entire $2
million in spending authority, would be just over $100,000. Jeff Wale
asked how this cash balance compares to previous years. Diane noted
that the projected cash balance looks low because of the difference
between the requested $2 million in spending authority in each year and
estimated $1.3 million in E-Rate funds expected to be received,
creating an accounting deficit of $700,000 in each year. In reality,
cash balance at the end of the next biennium will probably be about the
same as at the end of the current biennium.

Diane reported on Beverly Cain's testimony before the Higher
Education Subcommittee of the House Finance and Appropriations
Committee on March 31; the proposed State Library budget is 7.7% less
than the current budget. She also reported briefly on the open Request
for Proposals to supply statewide delivery for library materials.

Jamie Mason motioned to
accept the Financial Reports; Gary Branson seconded. All aye.


6.1. OPLIN "Return on Investment"

Stephen Hedges recalled that he had presented a draft document
titled "OPLIN Value" at the last Board meeting. The document was
intended to demonstrate the "return
investment" libraries receive from OPLIN in return for taking OPLIN
from the Public Library Fund (PLF). The consensus of the Board had been
that the document should be revised
and then presented again at this April Board retreat. After the
February meeting, however, the Executive Committee worked with Stephen
to prepare a revised document, "Benefits of Collaborative Purchasing,"
which was presented to the OLC Board at their meeting and then used at
the OLC Legislative Day on March 24.

Now Stephen presented the full spreadsheet used to prepare the
"Benefits" document. He pointed out that this detailed data revealed
some surprising facts about how little the information databases are
used by some libraries. The data also showed that the large libraries
have a negative return on investment in OPLIN, which can be explained
by the fact that the most expensive service OPLIN provides to libraries
is the Internet connections, and these can be provided much more
economically to large libraries as opposed to small libraries.
Therefore the small libraries tend to show a positive return on
investment in OPLIN, even if some of them do not use the database

Don Barlow and others pointed out larger libraries accept that, in
many ways, smaller libraries need more in order to keep library
services equitable across the state. Karl Colón noted that the data in
the spreadsheet was very valuable for the OPLIN Board, but also
demonstrated that OPLIN should clearly not be marketed as an
"investment" for libraries, and for that reason funding for OPLIN
should ultimately come from the General Revenue Fund (GRF) rather than
the PLF.

The Board discussed the value of OPLIN services to libraries, beyond
the expected "utility" of providing basic Internet connections and
databases. Satisfying the demand for e-government services in libraries
is dependent on maintaining robust and secure Internet connections,
which is beyond the technical expertise of many libraries. Many
libraries are dependent on OPLIN email services. There is a need for
more library websites that provide good access to the databases, as the
website kits do. OPLIN services may be especially valuable to smaller
libraries, but the real value for all libraries is not so much as a
provider of Internet connections and databases as a provider of
services that sustain and support the connections and databases. Should
service extend to audits of libraries' internal networks, something
which OPLIN is uniquely qualified to do? What would that cost, keeping
in mind that it could be spread over an extended period?


There was no new business to come before the Board.

[The Chair recessed the meeting from
11:45 a.m. to 12:25 p.m. for lunch.]


The next portion of the meeting included reports on the current
status of OPLIN services and discussion of future plans.

8.1. Internet connections

Karl Jendretzky presented a list of all libraries receiving fiber
Ethernet upgrades as a result of the OPLIN E-Rate RFP, and the few
libraries that must still depend on T1 circuits purchased under the
SOMACS contract. Stephen Hedges clarified that the SOMACS contract has
just been renewed (2 years) for the final time. Karl noted that
improvements to the OPLIN core are also underway. The remaining router
upgrades are also planned if funding can be found. Looking to the
future, the core may soon reach the point where purchasing 10 Gbps
hardware will be more economical that maintaining multiple 1 Gbps

8.2. Databases

Stephen Hedges presented statistics of databases usage, which still
show continuing slight increases in the number of documents retrieved
despite slight decreases in the number of searches. Google analytics of
the ohioweblibrary.org site confirms slight decreases in the number of
visitors to the site. There was some discussion of the technical
barriers to seeing EBSCO articles in Google search results. Stephen
also reported on the breakdown of payments for the databases from the
Libraries Connect Ohio partners and noted that LCO would be requesting
federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds from the State
Library Board again in May. Diane Fink also reported generally on the
status of federal funding for the LSTA program.

8.3. Dynamic Website Kits

Laura Solomon presented extensive information about how the website
kits are designed and displayed some "before and after" examples of
library websites. She also explained some of the custom modules which
libraries have requested and the step-by-step process of designing a
website kit. Interest in the kits continues to be strong. Looking to
the future, Laura would like to focus more on developing sites that
work well on mobile devices, and on encouraging libraries to pay closer
attention to their website analytics. In response to Board questions,
Laura clarified that the website kits can only be hosted on OPLIN servers,
to control upgrade costs, and that about 15% of Ohio public libraries
are currently using website kits. Board members noted the low cost and
suggested that OPLIN might actively approach libraries with poor or no
websites about purchasing a website kit.

8.4. Technology projects

Karl Jendretzky reported that OPLIN currently operates 19 servers,
17 of which have been rebuilt within the last three years on old
hardware and moved to the State of Ohio Computer Center (SOCC). He
reported that the SMS (text messaging) service is currently generating
about 14,000 text messages for libraries each month and should be able
to handle as many as 400,000 messages a month. The OPLIN email service
is about to move to Zimbra now that the latest version (7.0.1) of that
software, which fixed some bugs, has been released. Karl and Terry
Fouts (OIT) are still exploring methods for performing thorough testing
of circuit performance at library sites. The Board asked what sort of
requests for networking assistance come from libraries; Karl replied
that most issues are internal to the library, since OPLIN now upgrades
connections before bandwidth limitations cause problems.

Jason Buydos motioned that the Chair
establish a committee to explore the direction of future OPLIN
services, including local technical support and other services; Karl
Colón seconded. All aye.

The Chair asked for volunteers, then
appointed Jason Buydos, Karl Colón, Jeff Wale, and Don Barlow to an
ad-hoc committee to explore future OPLIN services.

Looking to the future, Karl Jendretzky reported that he would like
to rebuild the system which authenticates users for database access. He
also noted that OPLIN needs to buy more routers to complete the
replacement of end-of-life routers still in use, and also needs to buy
some new server hardware for redundancy.

8.5. Technology leadership

Stephen Hedges presented the portion of the current strategic plan
dealing with technology leadership and detailed activities in support
of that goal. He suggested no changes to the strategic plan in this

8.6. Marketing

Stephen Hedges presented the portion of the current strategic plan
dealing with marketing and detailed activities in support of that goal.
He suggested that it is time to do focus groups again; the Board
suggested that focus group questions could come from the ad-hoc
services committee. Stephen also suggested that the activity using
social media to publish information about OPLIN services be removed,
since this is not the most effective way to use social media. Likewise,
he suggested removal of the activity using the router replacement
project to provide information about OPLIN services, since OIT staff
handle the actual router replacement, not OPLIN staff. Karen Davis
asked how the order of libraries receiving replacement routers was
determined; Stephen replied that it was based on a combination of
bandwidth need and any guidelines which may be set by the funding

Stephen will make changes to the current strategic plan based on the
day's discussions, and present proposed changes at the June Board

8.7. Activities calendar

Stephen Hedges reported on office activities, highlighting
budget-related meetings and Laura Solomon's presentation at the
Computers in Libraries conference in Washington DC.


9.1. Board member recruitment

Sandi Plymire appointed Jeff Wale, Karen Davis, and Jamie Mason to a
nominating committee to recruit Board member candidates, noting that
the Board is losing two members, one of them a library trustee. The
committee is also charged with recruiting a slate of Board officers.

9.2. Director evaluation process

Bonnie Mathies volunteered to once again collect Board member's
evaluations of the OPLIN Director and collate them. Sandi Plymire asked
all Board members to send their evaluations to Bonnie by May 16. Sandi
encouraged Board members to include comments on their evaluations. The
Executive Committee will review the evaluations prior to the June Board
meeting and report to the full Board.


The Chair adjourned the meeting at 2:11