PUBLIC LIBRARY INFORMATION NETWORK (OPLIN)
ONE HUNDRED TWENTIETH REGULAR MEETING of the BOARD OF TRUSTEES
WELCOME and CALL TO ORDER
The one hundred twentieth
meeting of the Ohio Public Library
Information Network (OPLIN) Board of Trustees was called to order at
9:59 a.m. on Friday, June 11, 2010 by Board Chair Karl
Colón at the State Library of Ohio in Columbus, Ohio.
Present were Board members:
Don Barlow, Jason Buydos, Ben Chinni, Karl
Colón, Jim Kenzig, Jamie Mason, Gayle Patton, and Jeff Wale.
Also present were: Stephen
Hedges and Karl Jendretzky (OPLIN); Beverly Cain and Diane
Fink (State Library); and Mackenzie Betts (Ohio
The Chair first recognized Beverly Cain, the new State
reported that she has been in her new job for just over a week, and
this was her first meeting other than with State Library staff.
Unfortunately, she had an OhioLINK meeting at the same time as the
OPLIN meeting, and being familiar with OPLIN already, she planned to
leave for the OhioLINK meeting after her introduction to the OPLIN
Board. She noted that she looked forward to working with the OPLIN
staff and Board to continue to improve services to Ohio public
Beverly Cain left the
meeting at 10:04.
The Chair next recognized Mackenzie Betts from the Ohio
Library Council (OLC).
reported that Doug Evans was not able to attend, but felt it was
important for an OLC staff member to audit the discussion of the OPLIN
strategic plan, since OLC will be doing strategic planning on July 15.
Both Stephen Hedges and Beverly Cain have been invited to participate
in that planning session.
APPROVAL OF THE AGENDA
Gayle Patton motioned to
approve the agenda as presented; Jeff Wale seconded. All aye.
APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES
of April 9 Meeting (Board Retreat)
Jeff Wale motioned to
approve the minutes of the April 9 meeting; Jamie Mason
seconded. All aye.
ACCEPTANCE OF THE
Diane Fink presented the Financial Reports as of May 31,
2010. Report A showed
budget and expenditures for Fiscal Years 2008 and 2009, which are
unchanged from the previous meeting since those fiscal years are
budget and expenditures for the current Fiscal Year (2010) as well as
the budgeted allotments for Fiscal Year 2011; and Report
C showed the
revenue and cash balances for Fiscal Years 2009 and 2010.
Diane reported that the available balances for staff salaries will
cover the last two payrolls of the fiscal
year. No other expenditures from the Administration category are
planned, other than Board member travel and about $1,200 for additional
Ohio Web Library
promotional cards. All payments for Information
Resources, with the exception of the final monthly payments to Past
Present & Future, and all payments for Education &
have been completed. Diane noted that much of the unused balances are
spending authority, not cash, and will be deleted from the accounts at
the end of the fiscal year. Diane also noted that the Office of
Information Technology (OIT) has not yet billed OPLIN for the capital
funds we received for new routers.
Included in Report B were the budget allotments for the
upcoming Fiscal Year 2011. Diane reported that the Office of Budget and
Management (OBM) instructed agencies receiving General Revenue Funds to
set aside 10% of their budgets (except payroll) in case of future
revenue shortages. While this affects some programs within the State
Library, it does not affect OPLIN. Cost Savings Days will again be used
to reduce payroll expenses in all agencies, including OPLIN, as they
were in the current fiscal year. In response to a question, Diane
explained that the budget is developed in consultation with the OPLIN
Director and the OBM analyst assigned to the State Library, but may be
adjusted throughout the year. She specifically pointed out that
payments for "translators" that enable the Ohio Web Library search to
target some websites had been removed from the budget, because Karl
Jendretzky had written custom software to handle this task, thus saving
OPLIN more than $19,000 next year. Finally, she noted that $81,000 will
again be available to support Internet filtering in libraries.
that the cash balance in Fund 4S4 was about $1.3 million at the end of
May. She noted that this balance does not reflect the cash transfers
related to Cost Savings Days, which would be about $14,000. An E-rate
reimbursement received from OIT after May 31 will increase the balance
in the fund at the end of the fiscal year; however, large payments for
databases fall due at the beginning of the next fiscal year, which will
immediately reduce the cash balance. She anticipates that OPLIN will
receive one transfer of $3,702,150 million
from the Public Library Fund early in the next fiscal year, as was the
case in the current fiscal year.
that she has had no news from OBM concerning our capital
budget requests, nor has OBM yet released
preliminary guidance for the FY 2012-2013 biennial operating budget.
The state recently has increased efforts to improve cost efficiencies
related to printing, but OPLIN has already started participating in the
state's cost-per-copy program. The Board asked Stephen Hedges to report
on that, and he said that having the machine has increased the amount
of document scanning done in the office, as well as being much more
economical than replacing the broken copier. Karl
Colón asked Diane if the delay in OBM budget work was related to the
lack of legislative Budget Planning and Management Commission meetings.
Diane replied that she still anticipated that budget submissions will
be due in
2010, but she thought it likely that no significant work would begin on
the budget until after the November elections. Karl asked if multiple
State Library budgets would be submitted, and Diane replied that OBM
usually requested several budgets anticipating different funding
Gayle Patton motioned to
accept the Financial Reports; Jason Buydos seconded. All aye.
6. OLD BUSINESS
6.1. Review Strategic Plan
Hedges gave a high-level overview of a copy of the strategic plan with
proposed changes annotated. The section describing the funding
environment was removed, as per the discussion at the Board retreat.
The "Goal: Internet" section contained changes reflecting the current
situation, many of them due to the new Ohio Revised Code language
defining OPLIN. Within the "Goal: Databases" section, the objective
calling for continually increasing usage was removed, though the
activities were retained. Only minor changes were proposed for the
"Goal: Technology Leadership" and the "Goal: Marketing" sections to
reflect the current environment.
Discussion of specific changes followed. Karl
Colón called attention to the section within each goal providing
background information and inquired if those sections could be removed
to simplify the plan. After some discussion, the Board decided to
retain those sections because they explain the reason for each goal.
regard to providing Internet connections, Stephen noted that language
expressing a preference for using the Broadband Ohio Network has been
removed, since there will now be a cost associated with using that
network. Jason Buydos asked about changing the language that sets
the maximum average usage that would trigger a circuit upgrade at 80%
since feedback from the libraries has indicated that a circuit is
perceived as "slow" when the average usage is closer to 70%. Stephen
noted that this would increase total circuit costs. Jeff Wale suggested
adding language that the upgrades would be limited by available funds;
after some discussion, the Board decided to add language about
available funds as a note at the end of the entire plan, since all the
goals are subject to this limitation. Jim Kenzig questioned the need
for any specific upgrade "trigger," but most Board members felt that
having a specific usage level that initiated an investigation which
might lead to an upgrade was a good idea. There was some discussion
about making the trigger a range of usage levels, but the eventual
consensus was that changing the trigger to 70% was the best option.
As the Board looked at the proposed changes to the databases
goal, Don Barlow asked how a database was determined to be
"high-quality." Stephen explained that the databases are actually
selected by a committee of librarians from public, K-12, and academic
libraries, and it is this committee that judges the quality and value
of the databases. There was then a discussion of changing
"high-quality" to "selected," but the Board eventually decided to leave
this wording unchanged.
Jim Kenzig suggested that the activities attached to
objectives be moved to a footnote-like section at the end of the plan.
The activities, however, are not included in the published plan
Regarding the technology leadership and marketing goals, the
Board supported the minor changes that were proposed.
Stephen will present a clean version of the plan for approval
at the next Board meeting.
6.2. Prioritize goals and
After a brief discussion, the Board was in agreement that the
order in which the goals are presented in the strategic plan—Internet,
databases, technology leadership, and marketing—also represents their
order of importance.
6.3. Focus group alternatives
the Board retreat, Stephen Hedges was asked to develop some methods of
doing focus groups other than the usual face-to-face meeting. Stephen
presented a document that began with a survey of the types of
information which can currently be gathered from libraries with
problems (trouble tickets), library technology staff (OPLINtech mailing
list), and librarians with some technical proficiency (library blogs).
What is most needed, then, is a way to gather feedback from general
librarians and library administrators.
After looking at the
information we already have, Stephen developed five questions which
could be posed to all Ohio public librarians: 1) Are your Internet
connections performing well? (not just the OPLIN connection, but any
branch connections); 2) Do you use information databases? If so, which?
Any problems? (not limited to Ohio Web Library); 3) What sort of
problems, if any, does the Internet cause for your library? What
advantages?; 4) Do you use OPLIN e-mail? Any problems or gripes?; and
5) Do you think OPLIN should charge libraries for Website Kits?
questions could be used in an online focus group, or Board members
could casually ask some of them in their meetings with other
librarians. They could also be posed by e-mail on the OPLINlist, as a
"Question of the Week," for example. Stephen has been researching
online focus group practices, and he and Laura Solomon have been
testing video-conferencing software. Stephen also decided to proceed
with asking four of the questions on the OPLINlist, in order not to
delay any work of the ad hoc committee reviewing the OPLIN mission
statement; those responses will be discussed under New Business.
members were in favor of trying an online focus group. Stephen reported
that he had thought about using Bobbi Galvin, from the OPLIN Support
Center, as the facilitator of a video discussion between about 8-10
librarians, but Board members felt it was important to have a
facilitator who was not associated with OPLIN. Since our previous focus
group was led by Wayne Piper of OLC, the Board asked Stephen to
speculate as to how much OLC might charge to facilitate an online
group, assuming all the preparatory work and recording was done by
OPLIN; Stephen guessed that it might cost a few hundred dollars. OPLIN
might also need to supply webcams and microphones to group participants.
Buydos motioned to approve spending up to $500 to conduct an online
focus group, with the Director having the power to increase this amount
slightly if needed; Don Barlow seconded. All aye.
expressed reservations concerning the question about the cost of the
website kits; that cost is a decision the Board has already made.
Stephen noted that he was in agreement, and had in fact not used that
question on OPLINlist, having changed his mind about its effect. Board
members then offered some general suggestions about other questions,
and asked that the questions be submitted to the Board before the focus
When asked about how soon a focus group could be completed,
Stephen replied that he thought he could have focus group responses
ready by the next Board meeting. Some Board members felt that this
timeline was too aggressive, but Gayle Patton pointed out that having
responses at the next meeting would give the Board time to make any
needed adjustments in the budget to be submitted to OBM.
6.4. Approve revised
"Extending OPLIN" policy
Hedges submitted a revised version of the "Policy on Extending OPLIN to
Other Public Institutions," as per the discussion at the Board retreat.
Jim Kenzig motioned to
approve the revised policy as presented; Jason Buydos seconded.
call: Don Barlow, aye; Jason Buydos, aye; Ben Chinni, aye; Jim Kenzig,
aye; Jamie Mason, aye; Gayle Patton, aye; Jeff Wale, aye; and Karl
7.1. Responses to "Questions
of the Week"
Hedges had noted in the discussion of focus groups that he had posed
one question a week on the OPLINlist e-mail list for four weeks. He now
shared the responses to those questions.
The first week's
question was: "Are your Internet connections performing well?" A large
majority of respondents said their connections were fine. The libraries
that reported problems generally fell into two groups: libraries that
had internal networking problems; and libraries that were using 70%-80%
of their circuit and had not qualified for an upgrade. Further
investigation indicated that a circuit that averages 70% use of total
capacity sometimes spikes at a level high enough to slow the
connection, and these temporary slowdowns are what people remember.
Stephen therefore recommended that the threshold that triggers an
upgrade be reduced from 80% average usage to 70%, which the Board had
already agreed to do in their strategic plan discussion.
The second question was: "Do you use information databases? If
so, which? Any problems? (not limited to Ohio Web Library
databases)." Stephen called attention to the responses to this question
which complained about too many irrelevant results from the Ohio Web
Library search interface. As a result, some changes were made to
improve ohioweblibrary.org. Most notable is Karl Jendretzky's
development of in-house "translators" for some web sites that give us
more control over the results which are presented to the Ohio Web
Library user; OPLIN currently has been buying standard translators from
a vendor, at a cost which would have been slightly less than $20,000
The third question was: "Thinking of your library (not your
home), if there was one thing you could change about the
Internet, what would it be?" A significant number of responders
said, "Make it faster." A few also wanted to control/reduce the amount
of advertising and "frivolous" websites. Stephen noted that he and Karl
had devised a way to allow libraries to choose to block advertising at
the network core, which would require that OPLIN purchase a DNS server
for $4,000-$5,000. Stephen questioned, however, if this is something
OPLIN should do, considering that many "free" websites depend on
advertising revenue. Jason Buydos pointed out that this again raised
the question of whether OPLIN can/should deliver network services
beyond simple connectivity. Several Board members said that their
libraries already block advertising; Jim Kenzig noted, however, that
blocking ads can also block videos that start with brief ads. Karl
Colón pointed out that the proportion of respondents which requested ad
blocking was relatively small. The consensus of the Board was not
to pursue implementing advertising controls at the network core,
although some Board members suggested that OPLIN might publish
instructions for libraries that want to block advertising themselves.
The final question was: "If you use an OPLIN e-mail account
(i.e., ends with 'oplin.org'), is there anything about it that annoys
you? Anything you would change if you could?" The responses to this
question indicated that e-mail is the OPLIN service which most affects
library staff on a daily basis, and that library staff feel that the
service is "old" and limited. Stephen therefore recommended that OPLIN:
- purchase a new e-mail server (next agenda item);
- replace the Squirrelmail web-based e-mail software with
- allow users to choose their own account name;
- increase account storage capacity from 25 MB to 1 GB and
increase timeout from 30 minutes to 1 hour; and
- create new e-mail user documentation.
7.2. Approve new e-mail
Hedges presented a draft document which he proposed to send to OIT
asking for permission to buy a new e-mail server. Stephen and Diane
Fink explained that an equipment purchase of this size would require
OIT approval, which would only be granted if the current server is more
than 5 years old and the e-mail service is judged to be an essential
service within OPLIN's area of responsibility.
collected quotes from four vendors, ranging from $4,994 to $6,099; all
four of the vendors are participants in either the state's Minority
Business Enterprise (MBE) program or the Encourage Diversity, Growth,
and Equity (EDGE) program.
The Board discussed the adequacy of
the storage space that would be available on the new server (4 TB) and
also noted that the Support Center trouble ticket data demonstrates the
need for changes to the e-mail service.
Gayle Patton motioned to
submit the purchase request for a new e-mail server to OIT for
approval; Don Barlow seconded.
call: Don Barlow, aye; Jason Buydos, aye; Ben Chinni, aye; Jim Kenzig,
aye; Jamie Mason, aye; Gayle Patton, aye; Jeff Wale, aye; and Karl
Stephen Hedges reported that Connect Ohio has been contacted
National Telecommunications Information Administration
(NTIA) with questions about the coordinated Broadband Technology
Opportunities Program (BTOP) grant applications submitted by the State
Library and Connect Ohio. Judging by the questions, it appears that
NTIA is most interested in the training components of the grant
applications and less interested in supporting computer purchases. The
State Library, whose application encompasses only computer purchases,
has not been contacted by NTIA.
Stephen informed the Board that he had published a webpage
events leading up to the creation of OPLIN, which had required some
interesting research. He plans to publicly announce the page sometime
before Meribah Mansfield retires from the Worthington Libraries.
Stephen briefly reported that the confusion over the continued
existence of the OPLIN Board seems to have been resolved, though he
will monitor future developments. Both House Bill 495 and Senate Bill
268, containing recommendations for state boards and commissions to be
continued for another five years, include the OPLIN Board. He also
noted that the State Library Board approved the re-appointments of Gary
Colón, Jamie Mason, and Jeff Wale to the OPLIN Board. At the same
meeting, the State Library Board approved another year of LSTA funding
($1,518,401) for purchasing Ohio Web Library databases.
provided the Board with a current report from OIT on the progress of
the project to install the new Juniper routers at library sites. Now
that all configuration files have been satisfactorily tested, the
roll-out is going very quickly.
Stephen shared e-mail correspondence with lawyers from the Attorney
General's office and the Department of Administrative Services. Stephen
had asked for guidance after finding a clause in the Ohio Revised Code
exempting "institutions" with boards of trustees from the requirement
to buy telecommunications services through OIT. The eventual answer
from DAS was that OPLIN is indeed exempted from this requirement. This
will mean a major change in the relationship between OIT and OPLIN,
with OIT now being put in the position of having to compete for OPLIN's
business, and also allowing OPLIN to possibly take advantage of some
NTIA-funded infrastructure build-out projects.
told the Board that he has assumed the responsibility for database
usage statistics in order to free more of Laura Solomon's time for
working on website kits. In presenting the statistics for the previous
two months, he noted that documents retrieved are fewer than in the
same month last year; however, there was a spike last year caused by a
temporary change in the method EBSCO was using to record documents
accessed from ohioweblibrary.org.
8.2. Dynamic Website Kits
Hedges reported that 13 libraries are currently using Dynamic Website
Kits, with another 17 in various stages of development and several
others considering signing up.
Stephen also noted that the Board
had asked him to review the pricing of the website kits. After
reviewing the amount of time spent on the website kits so far, Stephen
and Laura Solomon think the current pricing is in order, except for the
fee for basic setup, which should be raised from $200 to $300.
Mason motioned to correct the pricing of the Dynamic Website Kits by
raising the website creation fee to $300 for libraries who request
website kits after July 1, 2010; Don Barlow seconded. All aye.
Center (April and May)
Karl Jendretzky reported that Support Center ticket activity
lower for the past two months. Outside of the tickets, however, there
was a good deal of activity tracing network problems reported by
libraries responding to the weekly questions posed on OPLINlist.
also reported that he has been working on moving more critical servers
to the OPLIN equipment rack in the State of Ohio Computer Center, where
more reliable power is available. Karl briefly reported on his work
developing new translators for the Ohio Web Library search, as well as
the building of a test server for sending library notifications
directly to patrons' cellphones.
10.1. Director's evaluation
Karl Colón thanked the Board for their participation in the
evaluation of the OPLIN Director. Stephen Hedges' performance review
was very positive, with many good comments from the Board. Stephen
thanked the Board, especially for the many helpful comments. Karl noted
that some comments suggested that Stephen should not be reticent in
making recommendations to the Board; Karl assured Stephen that there
was little danger that this Board would "rubber-stamp" all his
recommendations. Jeff Wale remarked that Stephen is held in high regard
by the librarians Jeff meets.
On motion of Jim Kenzig
adjourned at 12:06.