Minutes — October 9, 2020


The one hundred eighty-second meeting of the Ohio Public Library Information Network (OPLIN) Board of Trustees was called to order at 10:01 a.m. on Friday, October 9, 2020 by Board Chair Chris May at https://www.gotomeet.me/OPLIN/october-oplin-board-meeting.

Present were Board members: Angela Baldree, Travis Bautz, Jamie Black, Justin Bumbico, Roger Donaldson, Travis McAfee, Tara Sidwell, Garalynn Tomas, and Holly Varley. 

Also present were: Karl Jendretzky, Laura Solomon, and Don Yarman (OPLIN); Stephanie Herriott, Wendy Knapp, and Jamie Pardee (State Library); and Michelle Francis (Ohio Library Council).


Holly Varley nominated Garalynn Tomas to be appointed Board Secretary; Jamie Black seconded. There was no discussion, so the chair called for a vote on the motion; all aye.


Garalynn Tomas motioned to approve the agenda as presented; Justin Bumbico seconded. There was no discussion, so the chair called for a vote on the motion; all aye.


The Chair called for public participation.

State Librarian Wendy Knapp reported that more than 100 people were registered for ODN Fest happening the next week. Mini-grants to assist libraries with metadata projects for inclusion in DPLA are due November 2. The SEO consortium is testing a mobile app that will allow patrons to check out materials using their phones. Because state employees are not permitted to travel, Knapp is scheduling virtual visits to learn more about local libraries and their services. 

OLC Director Michelle Francis gave an update on the Public Library Fund which came in above estimates for October; overall, the PLF is only down 2% from pre-pandemic estimates because state revenues have been strong due to stimulus spending. OLC surveyed libraries about services they have been offering during the pandemic, and the results can be viewed on the OLC website. Another survey focuses on digital literacy efforts; OLC is discussing with the Governor’s administration public library efforts in digital instruction, and how to close gaps. Francis outlined the Department of Education’s CARES Act-funded initiative RemoteEDx, addressing the digital divide challenges associated with K-12 learning. The deadline for public libraries to apply for the CARES Act funds the legislature has set aside for them is November 16; funds must be spent by the end of December. Francis also discussed other library-relevant legislation, including HB 606 which grants legal immunity to workplaces if they are responsible for COVID transmission. HB 733 which adds an increase to the PLF; it is unlikely to pass, but it is a good conversation starter with legislators to explain the library funding mechanism.

While the OLC Annual Convention was cancelled, OLC has partnered with the New York Library Association to allow OLC members to attend the New York virtual conference at member rates. OLC is also hosting “COVID-19 and Stress,” a free webinar with the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS), explaining how to cope with anxiety and manage stress during these challenging times.

Jamie Black asked whether Francis or Yarman had any idea how many households do not have access to the internet. Francis and Yarman discussed some of the problems with this data: an entire census tract may be marked with available broadband if only one house within that tract has access, or providers may indicate that broadband is available when it may not be. Some recent data can be found at https://connectednation.org/ohio. Francis discussed HB 13, which OLC supports, to provide matching dollars for public/private partnerships to expand broadband coverage in Ohio.

Holly Varley mentioned that the state library of Oregon released a letter based on the REALM study and Lancet recommendations that reduced the quarantine of library materials from 3 days to 24 hours, and wondered if Ohio might do the same. Wendy Knapp mentioned that the Oregon Department of Health made that recommendation, and that Knapp and her state librarian colleagues in the Great Lakes region will be reaching out to in their regions to see if other state health authorities might follow. Michelle Francis advised that because Batelle and OCLC are in Ohio, and because Ohio has only an interim health director, the situation is more politically delicate.

APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES of August 14 meeting

Angela Baldree motioned to approve the minutes of the August 14, 2020, meeting as presented; Justin Bumbico seconded. There was no discussion, so the Chair called for a vote on the motion; all aye.


Jamie Pardee reviewed the financial reports, noting that there is a cash balance of a little over $3 million to start the year, with a projected cash balance of about $2.7 million to finish, a decrease of $258,000. Earlier in fiscal year 2020, Pardee had projected a negative number in “Unplanned Spending Authority,” but because of the timing of the internet service bill from OIT, OPLIN’s expenses did not exceed the allotted spending authority for last fiscal year; it will be necessary to ask the Controlling Board to increase spending authority appropriation for fiscal year 2021 to cover these bills. Pardee also summarized the expenses so far for the fiscal year, which are on track for this time of year.

Yarman added that staff have collected one quote from a Juniper service reseller which covers exactly what is needed for the time period required, and is continuing to work with Juniper to provide two more resellers with the required identical coverage for price comparison. Black asked what happens if the deadline to submit requests to the Controlling Board passes; Yarman said Controlling Board approval for the purchase is necessary, and he will keep working to get it through. Jendretzky said that although the process of getting quotes has been difficult, it is resulting in very good pricing. 

Jamie Black motioned to accept the financial reports; Tara Sidwell seconded. There was no discussion, so the Chair called for a vote on the motion; all aye.




Yarman talked about OPLIN’s history using EZproxy to authenticate users outside of libraries into subscription databases. A change in how OCLC supports EZproxy functions drove a major change to OPLIN’s EZproxy implementation. To support statewide authentication, OPLIN needs wildcard certificates for each of the 252 instances of EZproxy. Karl Jendretzky explained how he and Jessica Dooley, using the Let’s Encrypt non-profit certificate authority, have built an automated system, the “cert slinger,” which connects to the state’s DNS system, generates any wildcard certificate it needs, then deploys the certificate onto the appropriate server. They also discussed how OPLIN staff worked with the Upper Arlington Public Library to customize that instance of EZproxy so that it authenticates with barcode and PIN against the library’s patron database, allowing the option of tighter authentication security (and library branding). Future possibilities include developing an “authentication handler” which would let OPLIN front-end any authentication into the diverse environment of Ohio’s library systems using more secure protocols than SIP.

Yarman announced that the RFP for statewide Career and Technical Skills learning resources would be going up on the state’s procurement website after the meeting, and he would email all the vendors who have expressed an interest about the opportunity. The Content Advisory Committee will review the responses to the RFP, and send their recommendation to the OPLIN Board for the December meeting.

Yarman reported that database usage seems to be recovering from the disruptions of the spring, when stats for Lynda.com and genealogy resources spiked but everything else cratered; usage has returned to levels congruent with the same months the year before, but about 10% higher. In discussions with Lynda/LinkedIn Learning, Yarman learned that LinkedIn intends to remove the statistic for number of videos viewed, which is the “item investigations” equivalent that OPLIN reports to the State Library as part of the annual count of database uses for each library. LinkedIn recommends an alternative statistic which will cause libraries’ usage numbers to drop.

Library Services Manager report

Since completing the Drupal 8 migration, Laura Solomon and Jessica Dooley have been working on a test Drupal 9 migration, since Drupal 8 will be end-of-life in a little over a year. Those migrations have failed as the current Drupal 9 release lacks some important functionality, so they will try again with the next Drupal 9 release. Typically, OPLIN offers a new, free Webkit feature each year, but there wasn’t one during the Drupal 8 migration project. With that done, Solomon is offering a new feature that will allow libraries to embed emoji directly into their content. She is also working on some premium features, including a Cover Art Carousel (images of library materials that are linked to those titles in the library’s catalog), Sticky Header (an interface enhancement that keeps the library’s logo and menu at top as users scroll down), and Color Coded Upcoming Events Block.

One of the reasons OPLIN has stuck with Drupal is that web accessibility is built into the foundation of the platform. One in four Americans identify as having some kind of disability, and accessibility of online content is vital. This has long been an interest of Solomon’s, and OPLIN is supporting her time to study for the Web Accessibility Specialist certification from the International Association of Accessibility Professionals. Solomon’s accredited expertise in web accessibility will be a beneficial service for Ohio’s public libraries.

Technology Projects Manager report

Jendretzky reported that the CLC would like to explore using OPLIN’s SMS Gateway instead of their own local messaging service. The CLC’s message volume is double that of OPLIN’s (300,000 messages per month to OPLIN’s 150,000). Tripling the load on the SMS Gateway would burn OPLIN’s credits faster, but would save the CLC libraries money; it is also likely that with the added volume, OPLIN could buy credits at a lower per-credit cost. CLC has requested OPLIN build out the service, so that CLC can receive instant feedback on messages and have their catalog respond to errors. This advanced capability could be offered to CLEVNET as well.

Installations of new circuit orders are proceeding well, with only 9 of the 80 original orders still open. 




With no other business pending, the Chair adjourned the meeting at 11:06 a.m.