Minutes — August 14, 2015


The one hundred fifty-first meeting of the Ohio Public Library Information Network (OPLIN) Board of Trustees was called to order at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, August 14, 2015 by Board Chair Jill Billman-Royer at the OPLIN office in Columbus, Ohio.

Present were Board members: Marty Beets, Jill Billman-Royer, Susan Brown, Karen Davis, Joe Greenward, Jamie Mason, Chris May, Travis McAfee, Michael Penrod, and Becky Schultz.

Also present were: Stephen Hedges, Laura Solomon, and Karl Jendretzky (OPLIN); Stephanie Herriott (State Library); and Michelle Francis (Ohio Library Council). Ann Watson (State Library) arrived at 10:15.


Jill Billman-Royer presented the slate of officer candidates recommended by the Nominations Committee: Becky Schultz, Chair; Susan Brown, Vice-Chair; Cindy Lombardo, Secretary; and Michael Penrod, Treasurer. Jill asked if there were any additional nominations, and there were none.

The Chair called for a vote on the slate of officers submitted by the Nominations Committee; all aye.

Stephen Hedges thanked Jill Billman-Royer for her exceptional work as Board Chair.


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


Chair Becky Schultz asked for approval of the following schedule of meetings, all at the OPLIN office starting at 10:00 a.m. unless otherwise noted: October 9, 2015 (at Duke Energy Convention Center, Cincinnati); December 11, 2015; February 12, 2016; April 8, 2016 (9:00 a.m. start); and June 10, 2016. She also asked for approval of two further meetings for planning purposes: August 12, 2016; and October 14, 2016. All meetings are on the second Friday of even-numbered months.

Karen Davis motioned to approve the Board meeting schedule as presented; Michael Penrod seconded. There was no discussion, so the Chair called for a vote on the motion; all aye.


The Chair called for public participation.

Michelle Francis reported briefly on Ohio Library Council (OLC) discussions with directors of small libraries, the new OLC website under development, and the upcoming OLC Convention. She also distributed a summary of provisions in the new state budget that potentially affect libraries and described the more important ones. She noted that a webinar on the state budget has been posted on the OLC website.

Michelle described a meeting she and Stephen Hedges had with Rep. Terry Boose, who would like to do something special for libraries before he leaves the legislature and had heard good things about CLEVNET. Stephen suggested to him that extending OPLIN connections to branch libraries would be one thing that could be done to bring OPLIN closer to the CLEVNET model. Michelle and Stephen made it clear, however, that a prerequisite for such an extension of OPLIN would be moving OPLIN funding out of the Public Library Fund (PLF) and back into the General Revenue Fund (GRF).

Michelle has since had discussions with a few other legislators and a few library directors. Legislative leaders are indicating that moving OPLIN out of the PLF, so soon after a significant increase in the PLF, would be a very big request. In response to a question from the Board, Michelle noted that using more PLF money to fund an OPLIN expansion would create issues for libraries without branches who would not benefit, but would just see their PLF funding reduced. Stephen also explained that the financial benefit to many libraries that do have branches would not be significant, since they are often getting very high E-rate discounts on branch connection costs.

For these reasons, Michelle and Stephen do not plan to work on extending OPLIN connections to branches. Stephen did note, however, that he and Michelle had assumed that the OPLIN Board would support moving OPLIN funding out of the PLF, should an appropriate opportunity arise, and he asked if this was still the will of the Board.

The Board had some concern that removing OPLIN from the PLF would simply reduce the PLF by the amount of the OPLIN funding. Michelle noted that OPLIN funding is a fixed amount, while the PLF is calculated by a formula, so reducing the PLF by the exact amount of OPLIN funding was not likely, though some adjustment to the formula would be probable. Ann Watson asked if there were disadvantages to OPLIN funding coming from the GRF, and Stephen replied that OPLIN would be asked to prepare the same reduced-level budget requests that other state agencies funded from the GRF are asked to submit. Michelle noted, however, that as long as OPLIN is funded from the PLF there is no likelihood of requesting increased OPLIN funding either. The consensus of the Board was to continue to look for opportunities to remove OPLIN funding from the PLF.

6. APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES of June 12 meeting

Michael Penrod motioned to approve the minutes of the June 12 meeting as presented; Susan Brown seconded. There was no discussion, so the Chair called for a vote on the motion; all aye, with Jill Billman-Royer abstaining.


In the absence of Jamie Pardee, Stephen Hedges presented information about the Budget/Expenditures as of July 31, which now includes final budget numbers for Fiscal Year 2015. Stephen noted that Administration expenditures were 10.2% of total expenditures in FY2015, as opposed to 9.2% in FY2014, but this change was due to a decrease in total expenditures, rather than an increase in Administration expenditures. In FY2014 there were expenditures related to the Digitization Hubs grant and the extension to the subscriptions for NewsBank and Mango Languages; these expenditures were not needed in FY2015. While there was an exceptional expenditure in FY2015 for the network protection measures, this was offset by savings in telecommunications costs.

For FY2016, the approved expenditure for the DPLA in Ohio Project has not yet been added to the budget. Also, the amount due for the Libraries Connect Ohio (LCO) purchase of databases will be lower than currently reflected, since LearningExpress Library was cancelled after INFOhio's funding was cut in the new state budget.

Stephen also discussed the Revenue/Cash Balance numbers for FY2015, noting that the cash position at the end of the year was a little over $250,000 more than at the beginning of the year. Much of this is due to higher than anticipated E-rate reimbursements received within the fiscal year. Revenue from the PLF has not changed since FY2012.

Michael Penrod motioned to accept the Financial Reports; Jamie Mason seconded. There was no discussion, so the Chair called for a vote on the motion; all aye.


8.1. Approve Strategic Plan

Stephen Hedges provided a draft of the strategic plan that included changes discussed at the June meeting. Stephen summarized changes that had been presented and discussed at the June meeting and noted that the major change then requested was that a summary of the plan be added. The version now presented to the Board included such a summary; the time period covered by the plan was also changed to coincide with the state budget biennium.

Jill Billman-Royer motioned to approve the Strategic Plan as presented; Michael Penrod seconded.

During discussion, Board members expressed approval of the added summary.

There was no further discussion of the motion, so the Chair called for a vote.

Recorded vote: Marty Beets, aye; Jill Billman-Royer, aye; Susan Brown, aye; Karen Davis, aye; Joe Greenward, aye; Jamie Mason, aye; Chris May, aye; Travis McAfee, aye; Michael Penrod, aye; and Becky Schultz, aye.


9.1. Approve salary increases

Stephen Hedges explained that the state is offering "exempt parity" to state employees, such as OPLIN staff, that are not part of a bargaining unit ("exempt"). Since bargaining unit employees will be receiving 2.5% raises in the new state budget biennium, exempt employees are also being offered 2.5% raises for parity. In cases where boards have the authority to set salaries, which is the case with OPLIN, the agency board must pass a resolution authorizing the increase.

Stephanie Herriott explained that while one bargaining unit has agreed to 2.5% raises each year for three years, not all bargaining units have reached agreements with the state as yet, so agencies are asked to limit exempt staff salary increases to one year for now.

Chair Becky Schultz recognized Jamie Mason to offer the following resolution:

In that the new biennium budget (HB 64) 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, 2015 and allows increases up to 2.5% for other exempt state employees, the OPLIN board 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, 2015.

Jill Billman-Royer seconded the resolution.

Recorded vote: Marty Beets, aye; Jill Billman-Royer, aye; Susan Brown, aye; Karen Davis, aye; Joe Greenward, aye; Jamie Mason, aye; Chris May, aye; Travis McAfee, aye; Michael Penrod, aye; and Becky Schultz, aye.

9.2. Discuss joining Ohio One network

Stephen Hedges distributed several documents related to the Ohio One network, reminding Board members that this statewide networking initiative had been discussed a bit at the April Board meeting. Stephen provided a brief refresher on the concepts underlying the proposed network. Stephen and Karl Jendretzky reported on a meeting with representatives of the Office of Information Technology (OIT) and OARnet to discuss including the OPLIN network in Ohio One. This would entail installing additional equipment at the libraries.

Karl pointed out that the Ohio One concept increases the complexity of the network and the number of organizations which have responsibility for portions of the network. Stephen pointed out, however, that Ohio One proponents believe that Ohio One will ultimately streamline troubleshooting of network problems. Within the current budget, there would be no charge for any additional network maintenance or the equipment needed in the libraries.

After extensive discussion, Stephen recommended that OPLIN agree to the installation of the necessary equipment at one or two test locations and see if Ohio One provides any value. Board members questioned how the results of the test would be evaluated, and whether or not agreeing to a test would commit OPLIN to Ohio One if the test is successful.

After further extensive discussion, the consensus of the Board was to proceed with limited testing of Ohio One and report back to the Board, after which the Board would again discuss moving the OPLIN network into Ohio One. The estimated timeframe for the testing would be six months.


Stephen Hedges provided an update on the DPLA in Ohio project, and also provided the website address where news and information about the project is published. A wide variety of organizations are actively involved in the project.

Regarding office activities, Stephen highlighted his attendance at a House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee hearing and an Ohio Digitization Interest Group meeting in Cincinnati; Karl Jendretzky's visits to eight libraries to troubleshoot network issues; and Laura Solomon's presentation at the Ohio Library Support Staff Institute at Baldwin-Wallace University.

10.1. Technology Projects Manager report

Karl Jendretzky reported that Cleveland Public Library will soon start using the SMS messaging service; currently the service sends about 70,000 text notifications to library patrons each month. Karl has installed a VoIP telephone system for the office and has established Google mail accounts for the OPLIN office, since we were unable to obtain government licensing for Microsoft mail accounts after repeated attempts.

10.2. Library Services Manager report

Laura Solomon reported that Braindunk upgrades to the website kits have now been applied. Laura has been working on a new OPLIN website with better responsive design and clearer organization. Laura was also been working on a widget that libraries can use to embed links to the Ohio Web Library databases into the libraries' websites.

10.3. Database usage

Stephen Hedges reported that database usage compared to the same period last year has changed very little. He noted that LearningExpress Library usage has been gradually declining as libraries increasingly promote usage of Ohio Means Jobs, though this decline has only a small effect on total usage.


Chair Becky Schultz appointed Jill Billman-Royer to the Board Executive Committee. She also reminded the Board that the October 9 meeting will be held at the Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati in conjunction with the Ohio Library Council Convention and Expo. Stephen Hedges noted that the annual OPLIN Stakeholders Meeting will also take place at the OLC Convention.


On motion of Jill Billman-Royer and second of Susan Brown the Board adjourned at 11:49 a.m.