Minutes — June 10, 2016


The one hundred fifty-sixth meeting of the Ohio Public Library Information Network (OPLIN) Board of Trustees was called to order at 10:04 a.m. on Friday, June 10, 2016 by Board Chair Becky Schultz at the OPLIN office in Columbus, Ohio.

Present were Board members: Jill Billman-Royer, Susan Brown, Karen Davis, Joe Greenward, Cindy Lombardo, Jamie Mason (at 10:25), Chris May, Travis McAfee, and Becky Schultz.

Also present were: Stephen Hedges, Laura Solomon, and Karl Jendretzky (OPLIN); Beverly Cain, Stephanie Herriott and Jamie Pardee (State Library); Doug Evans (Ohio Library Council); Tim Diamond and Larry Finnegan (CLEVNET); and Jeff Garringer.


The Chair requested that the first item under the Chair's Report ("Appoint Director search committee") be moved to the second item under New Business.

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


The Chair called for public participation.

Tim Diamond, Chief Knowledge Officer of Cleveland Public Library, introduced himself and Larry Finnegan, Information Technology Director of Cleveland Public Library, representing the CLEVNET consortium. Tim summarized the history of CLEVNET and its relationship with OPLIN, and expressed gratitude for this extraordinary partnership based on mutual respect and understanding. Tim also noted that CLEVNET is a little nervous about the upcoming retirement of OPLIN Director Stephen Hedges, and urged the Board to do their best to find an adequate successor. Stephen Hedges noted that CLEVNET predates OPLIN, and that much of OPLIN was modeled on CLEVNET. Stephen thanked Tim for his remarks.

Beverly Cain announced that the State Library was beginning the process of doing a new evaluation and five-year plan for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant program, and has released an RFP for a consultant to help with the process. She also reported that the federal LSTA budget is currently scheduled for a slight increase, though Congress has not finalized the budget. Beverly notified the Board that the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA) organization is working toward revising the data collected nationally from libraries to gather more relevant data and make it available more quickly. This initiative is called "Measures That Matter," and some public libraries may be contacted to serve on the advisory committee.

Doug Evans reported that state revenues during the last few months have been less than they were projected to be, which means the Public Library Fund (PLF) is also distributing less funds to libraries. Doug noted that new federal overtime rules and the Ohio legalization of medical marijuana will both affect public library operations. Several other pieces of recent state legislation also affect libraries: an amendment to HB 390 now allows libraries to include local tax revenues in the calculation of their bond ratings; online voter registration is now possible; and the one-weekend sales tax holiday tested last summer is now permanent. Doug also reported that the Ohio Library Council (OLC) will be trying some workshops in Southeast Ohio next spring to replace the annual chapter conference. Library safety and security will be a focus of OLC education for all public libraries in the near future.

4. APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES of April 8 meeting

Karen Davis motioned to approve the minutes of the April 8 meeting as presented; Chris May seconded. There was no discussion, so the Chair called for a vote on the motion; all aye.


Jamie Pardee noted that Fiscal Services has been busy bringing the current fiscal year to a close, but there are no problems within the OPLIN budget. The budget for next fiscal year will probably be adjusted slightly in July to reflect projections based on this year's expenditures. The latest E-rate refunds are starting to arrive, but some may not get posted to accounts until next fiscal year. Jamie also pointed out that rent payments were doubled this year, due to an undetermined clerical error, so there will be no rent payments in the next fiscal year.

Doug Evans asked if the sponsorship funds for the OLC Convention would be reflected in next year's budget, and Jamie replied that was correct; the purchase order will be issued after July 1.

Karen Davis motioned to accept the Financial Reports; Susan Brown seconded. There was no further discussion, so the Chair called for a vote on the motion; all aye.


6.1. Ratify DAS MOU

Stephen Hedges reminded the Board of the discussion at the April 8 Board meeting of possible network configurations, during which he had mentioned the possibility of receiving a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) proposal from the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) Office of Information Technology (OIT) for internet access services. Stephen had promised to pass any such proposal from DAS through the Executive Committee. He did receive a proposed MOU, but he did not remember his promise until after he had signed the MOU and sent it to DAS, so he immediately emailed the Executive Committee and offered to ask DAS not to countersign the MOU if any of them had objections. No objections were voiced, but Stephen would still like to discuss the MOU in an open meeting and get a vote to ratify it.

The Board discussion in April concluded with the understanding that the Board wanted to maintain: the OPLIN network core; OPLIN's ability to secure the network; the ability of OPLIN to respond quickly to network issues; and OPLIN's independence within OIT. Controlling costs was a secondary concern. Stephen feels the MOU does all of that. In essence, the MOU keeps the status quo in place for another year — including cost — with the option to extend the MOU for two more years in the next budget biennium, which will eliminate the need to put OPLIN internet access out to bid every year for E-rate purposes.

Jamie Mason asked about the effect on the budget of the single annual payment rather than monthly payments. Stephen replied that the annual payment should not be a problem, and he did not anticipate receiving an invoice until August at the earliest.

Jamie Mason motioned to ratify the Memorandum of Understanding with the Ohio Department of Administrative Services, Office of Information Technology, for internet access services; Jill Billman-Royer seconded. There was no further discussion, so the Chair called for a vote on the motion; all aye.

6.2. Discuss results of database purchase survey

Stephen Hedges reported on the survey conducted by OPLIN at the suggestion of the Content Advisory Committee (CAC) asking public library directors a few questions about their database purchases and usage. 108 libraries responded, which is an outstanding response rate, especially since some libraries that do not purchase databases decided not to answer any of the usage questions and skipped the survey entirely. Of the respondents, about 20% do not purchase any databases to add to the Ohio Web Library collection; Stephen noted, however, that some of these may actually be buying Novelist as part of their membership in the SEO or CLEVNET consortia, but may not think of that as a database purchase. About 40% of respondents purchase more than three databases, which would seem to indicate that libraries buying more than one database tend to buy more than a few, yet about two-thirds of respondents are spending less than $20,000 a year.

Of the libraries that are buying databases, about 40% buy Heritage Quest and some sort of auto repair database, about a third buy legal forms and directory databases, and about 30% have continued the Mango subscription which was dropped from the Ohio Web Library collection. When libraries were asked what patron questions they cannot answer, their answers reinforced these buying decisions; libraries that did not buy auto repair databases, for example, reported that patrons would ask for auto repair information and the library would be unable to respond.

When asked about the most and least useful databases (including those in the Ohio Web Library collection), about 25% mentioned Ancestry Library Edition first in their most useful list, but the EBSCOhost databases were also ranked highly, as were directory databases. The least useful databases mentioned — and there were not many — tended to be resources that have been owned outright by the Libraries Connect Ohio partners for many years and have old web interfaces.

Stephen offered a few observations after reviewing all the data, in no particular order. We should think very carefully before we stop providing high-quality genealogy resources to Ohio public libraries. People seem to turn to libraries only after they have tried to find what they want on Google, then they bring the impossible questions to the library. EBSCO still seems to be a useful foundation upon which to build a wider reference collection. And consortia and libraries in Ohio are not reluctant to purchase resources that are not in the base Ohio Web Library package, though that does create some disparity in the ability of libraries to fulfill requests for information, which should be a concern for OPLIN.

Stephen had no recommendations for action at this time, though he has started to review the RFP language for the next database selection process in late 2017. He believes there could be a way to change the list of subject requests to make sure there are bids in the subject areas important to public libraries.

Jill Billman-Royer asked how often requests to complete the survey were issued and if there had been any follow-up communication. Stephen replied that there was only one request sent out, since libraries were only given two weeks to respond, and he did send a brief summary of the most important findings out to all the library directors.

Travis McAfee asked if any of the questions dealt with the process of buying databases, since he had heard from some libraries that dealing with database vendors was sometimes unpleasant, with inconsistent pricing between libraries. Stephen replied that he was aware of that problem, but there were no questions in the survey in that area. Jill asked if the questions were structured with an opportunity to provide open-ended answers, and Stephen replied that they were, and there were many comments, especially to the question about the least useful databases.

Chris May asked if there were plans to send another survey with questions about staff database training and how usage statistics are collected and used. Stephen said there were no such plans, but he will ask the CAC for their opinions regarding a follow-up survey.

6.3. Discuss results of websites survey

Stephen Hedges started the presentation of the results of the library website survey by reminding the Board of discussion during the April planning meeting about the marketing of the website kits, during which it was decided to assess the current status of Ohio library websites. Laura Solomon led the OPLIN support team through a process of surveying the websites of 173 Ohio public libraries; metro library websites were not surveyed, and current website kit customers were skipped. Laura's survey looked for eight things: is the library's address on the home page?; is the library's phone number on the home page?; are the library's open hours on the home page?; is there a box for search terms on the home page?; is the Board of Trustees listed anywhere on the website?; is there a calendar (not a list) of events on the website?; is the website design responsive?; and does the website pass a Section 508 compliance test?

Laura Solomon explained that responsive web design is preferred to separate websites designed for mobile devices, and Section 508 compliance assures that a website is accessible to the visually impaired at a basic level. Only three websites passed a Section 508 compliance test. Laura also noted that two libraries still had no website at all. Stephen remarked that about a fifth of the population prefers to use a mobile device for internet now, so the high number (96) of websites that do not have a responsive web design is also concerning.

Stephen observed that in some cases, the library may have made a conscious decision to reject some of the practices checked by Laura's survey. Travis McAfee said that his library hosts so many events, for example, that the format of a calendar of events is awkward compared to a list, though his library's website provides both. In response to a question from Susan Brown, Laura clarified that she and the Support staff did not take the time to locate basic information about a library if it was not on their home page.

Stephen suggested that there is definitely a need for some education about good website design. As for the possibility of designing and selling "light" website kits, discussed at the April meeting, Stephen personally felt that the cost could not be lowered enough to be a compelling reason for a library to replace their current website. He noted, however, that OPLIN staff hold various opinions about offering such a kit or template. Finally, he pointed out that some of the libraries with the biggest problems do not participate in listservs or other normal channels of library communication.

Travis asked if OPLIN could provide libraries with a flat HTML webpage, but Karl pointed out that this would mean libraries could not make changes when staff or board members changed, unless OPLIN made the change for them. At some point it becomes easier to use a Drupal site, then the site would need the same basic upgrades and maintenance as the other Drupal sites.

Jamie Mason questioned if it was really OPLIN's responsibility to clean up library websites, considering the amount of technology leadership already coming from OPLIN. OPLIN has already made it widely known that the website kits are available.

Doug Evans and others noted that Laura's list of survey questions is a very clear, concise list of library website best practices, and there would be great value in distributing it to all libraries. Doug offered to use OLC communication channels to distribute a message including these best practices.

Cindy Lombardo pointed out the the cost of the standard website kits is so low, there's little point in trying to design a light version. Stephen will pursue providing increased education about website best practices, and if there is a resulting demand for some sort of light website kit, that can be reconsidered by the Board later.

6.4. Approve Strategic Plan

Stephen Hedges presented the current Strategic Plan with proposed additions and deletions in red type. Some of these changes were reviewed in April, others are new following discussion in April. Stephen explained each of the proposed changes and reviewed earlier discussions.

There was brief discussion of alignment between the goals in the Strategic Plan and the job goals of OPLIN staff. There was also some discussion as to whether some goals might be accomplished by hiring contractors.

Jill Billman-Royer motioned to approve the Strategic Plan as presented, with the substitution of the word "offer" for the word "provide" in the general description of the Technology Support Priority; Chris May seconded.

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

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


7.1. Discuss Director position description

Stephen Hedges provided copies of his position description (PD), with a couple of minor suggested changes. He remarked that the PD had not been revised since he started as Director ten years ago, but he felt it was still a pretty accurate job description.

Cindy Lombardo asked if the percentages of time expected to be spent on each category of job duties was realistic, and after some reflection Stephen replied that they were probably not accurate. Stephanie Herriott remarked that it was important that the percentages be accurate, to give candidates a good idea of the extent of some duties. More detailed information can be included in the job posting.

Susan Brown noted that there is no mention of the time spent assisting the Board with recruitment of new members. Cindy and Stephanie noted that it is important to provide the candidate with a good idea of the challenges of the job, though Stephanie noted the PD was not the best vehicle for that; interview questions might be better.

Stephen will calculate more accurate percentages of his time spent in various duties and will add assisting Board members with recruitment.

Susan pointed out that the PD does not explicitly say that travel is required. Cindy suggested that five years' experience would be a more appropriate requirement than three years, and there was general agreement. Susan and Jamie Mason suggested that the candidate should have an advanced degree and the experience, rather than "and/or," also to general agreement. Susan also cautioned that the degree should be from a "regionally accredited" institution.

Stephanie asked the Board if they planned to require a drug test or background check; if so, that should be stated in the job posting. Jamie speculated that the Board might want to require a credit check also, but Jamie Pardee pointed out that all monies are handled by the State Library. In response to a question, Stephanie advised the Board to eventually adopt a drug-free workplace policy, using a forthcoming state policy as a guide; Doug Evans noted that OLC will also be providing a guide to public libraries.

Stephanie also mentioned that the Board should decide if the new Director would be covered by the Teleworking Policy.

7.2. Appoint Director search committee

Stephen Hedges reminded the Board of some things regarding the Executive Director search committee that had been discussed at the April meeting. It had tentatively been decided that the search committee be limited to five people. There was some questions as to whether people other than current Board members could serve on the committee, and best practice seems to be that is OK so long as they are qualified and do not have an agenda. There was some concern about representation of library types on the committee, but Stephen pointed out that the committee will not be working on policies that affect the libraries, only acting on behalf of the Board to find a new executive. Stephen listed the people he knew of who had already expressed interest in being on the committee. Jill Billman-Royer pointed out that the duties of the search committee also need to be clearly defined.

Cindy Lombardo asked how committee members from outside the Board would be recruited and what the minimum qualifications would be. Travis McAfee asked if there was a compelling reason to include people from outside the Board. Jill noted that, while the search committee would do the interviews, the hiring decision would be made by the entire Board, so there is little reason not to include them. Joe Greenward suggested that the committee be limited to current and former Board members, so that everyone on the committee was familiar with OPLIN governance and administration. Jill wondered if the search committee could include some extra, non-voting people in the interview process.

If former Board members are invited to the committee, Jill suggested that the Board Executive Committee select the search committee members from the people who express an interest. Cindy suggested that people be asked to briefly state why they are interested in being on the committee, and Becky Schultz added that they should be made aware that they would be expected to attend all Board meetings until the committee's work is finished.

Jamie Mason asked if one of the four Board members who had expressed an interest should be appointed now as the chair of the committee, but that decision was deferred until the committee was established. Beverly Cain and Doug Evans pointed out that they believed the State Librarian was a member of the search committee the last time an OPLIN Executive Director was hired; Beverly confirmed that she would be interested in serving on the committee. Jamie suggested that with four interested Board members plus the State Librarian, there may be no need to recruit more people.

The Chair appointed Beverly Cain, Joe Greenward, Cindy Lombardo, Michael Penrod, and Becky Schultz to the ad-hoc Executive Director Search Committee.

7.3. Approve salary increases

Stephen Hedges explained that this is a repeat of Board action last year, when the state allowed 2.5% pay increases for state employees in fiscal years 2016 and 2017. The Board action last year only covered fiscal year 2016.

Jamie Mason motioned that, in that the 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, 2016 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, 2016; Cindy Lombardo seconded.

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

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


Stephen Hedges provided an update on the DPLA Ohio LSTA-funded project that is coming to a close and beginning the transition to the "Ohio Digital Network" governance under the leadership of the State Library. Stephen now thinks OPLIN may have an active role in coordinating communications with public libraries. Stephen reported that Chuck Gibson's speech at the Community Breakfast for Worthington Libraries mentioned OPLIN several times, since the Northwest Branch that opened twenty years ago had the first OPLIN internet connection. He also reported on the Ohio History Day awards ceremony, at which he presented the Advanced Digital Researcher Awards. Finally, Stephen announced that the State Library Board had approved the LSTA grant to Libraries Connect Ohio to support the Ohio Web Library databases.

Regarding the OPLIN office activities calendar, Stephen highlighted his visit to Dayton for their Northwest Branch opening, Laura Solomon's presentation at the Massachusetts Library Association conference, and Karl Jendretzky's network support visits to the Preble County and Dayton libraries.

8.1. Library Services Manager report

Laura Solomon reported that the OPLIN website now includes a marketplace for additional modules for website kits, and that she recently added a module for creating website forms in response to demand from website customers. Because some modules are complex to manage, she has begun creating short instructional videos for them.

8.2. Technology Projects Manager report

Karl Jendretzky informed the Board that OPLIN is about to release another E-rate Form 470 to get bids on upgrading connections to fifteen libraries, seven of them to be upgraded to circuits faster than 100 Mbps. Karl reported there are 131 libraries using OpenDNS, with a number of CLEVNET libraries joining, and about 100 libraries using the SMS messaging system, with CLEVNET accounting for about 16% of that traffic. Karl has been working with Columbus Metropolitan Library to set up a second circuit at the main library using City of Columbus fiber. Karl described an upgrade to software and hardware at the network core, during which it was discovered that additional hardware will need to be upgraded, contrary to what the vendor had said; consequently the vendor is offering the needed hardware at a deep discount. Finally, Karl reported on the progress of upgrading servers and installing HTTPS on website kit servers.

8.3. Database usage

Stephen Hedges reported that database searches in May were about 10% above May 2015, and items viewed was about 10% below last May. He also noted that with one exception, items viewed over the past twelve months had not varied by more than 10% when compared with the same month in the previous year.


9.1. Ethics training

Board members were reminded that they should send their certificates of completion of required ethics training to Stephen Hedges for recording.

9.2. Resolution

Chair Becky Schultz recognized Joe Greenward to offer the following resolution:

WHEREAS, JAMIE MASON has been a member of the Board of the Ohio Public Library Information Network since November 2009, and

WHEREAS, he has helped ensure the success of OPLIN by freely giving his time and energy for almost SEVEN years of service, and

WHEREAS, he has provided additional service as the Chair of the OPLIN Board from July 2012 through June 2013, and

WHEREAS, he has unfailingly contributed his valuable opinions to OPLIN Board and OPLIN Executive Committee deliberations, and

WHEREAS, he has been a dedicated and active advocate for OPLIN throughout his tenure on the Board, and

WHEREAS, his experience as the Technology Manager at the Avon Lake Public Library, and as Deputy Director and Director of the Rocky River Public Library gave him an important perspective on OPLIN and its services to libraries,

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that on the 10th day of June, Two Thousand and Sixteen, the members of the Board of Trustees of the Ohio Public Library Information Network recognize and acknowledge the considerable contributions made to public libraries and library service by JAMIE MASON during his exemplary tenure with this Board, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Board extends its most sincere thanks and appreciation to JAMIE MASON for his outstanding service as a member of this Board.

Jill Billman-Royer seconded the resolution. All aye.

The Board recessed at 12:26 p.m. and resumed discussions at 12:31 p.m.


Susan Brown motioned to enter Executive Session to consider the compensation of a public employee; Jill Billman-Royer seconded.

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

The Board entered Executive Session at 12:32 p.m.

The Board returned from Executive Session at 12:37 p.m.

Susan Brown motioned to adjust the salary of Stephen Hedges to reflect the same 2.5% increase resolved earlier in the meeting for OPLIN staff; Jamie Mason seconded.

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

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

The Board expressed their appreciation to Stephen for his good work over the past year.


On motion of Karen Davis and second of Cindy Lombardo the Board adjourned at 12:40 p.m.