WINNEFOX LIBRARY SYSTEM

BOARD MEETING MINUTES

May 25, 2005

 

 

The regular meeting of the Winnefox Library System Board of Trustees was called to order at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 25, 2005, in the Meeting Room at the Oshkosh Public Library by President Judy Malueg. Trustees present were: Lurton Blassingame, John Brennan, Deanna Boone, Debra Clark, Jo DellíAntonia, Bonita Dresen, Vern Hess, Jackie Jurkowski, Judy Malueg, John Muentner, Jeff Ogle, Mary Olson, James Reiland, Kay Roethel, Lewis Rosser, Joyce Schoepel, Paul Wade, Merry Whipple, Tom Widener, Tom Willadsen and Scott Woldt.Jennifer Corbin and Yvonne Feavel were absent.Also present were:John Nichols, Director of Winnefox Library System; Mark Arend, Assistant Director of Winnefox Library System; Richard Bowman, Oshkosh Public Library Business Manager; Julie Schmude, Administrative Services Coordinator; Marcy Cannon, Administrative Specialist; Karen Boehning, WALS Program Coordinator; Jack Fry, Director of Elisa D. Smith Public Library; Ken Hall, Director of Fond du Lac Public Library; Stephen Proces, Director of Neenah Public Library; Diane Disterhaft, Co-Director of Berlin Public Library; Desiree Bongers, Director of Ripon Public Library; Theo Knigge, Director of Carter Memorial Library, Omro; Don Stolley, Oshkosh Public Library Board; Sandy Joseph, Oshkosh Public Library; and Jeff Bollier, The Northwestern.

 

President Malueg welcomed, new board member, Mary Olson.

 

Public comments:none.

 

Minutes

Motion to approve the minutes of the March 30, 2005 regular Winnefox Board Meeting.Motion: Boone; Second: Rosser; Vote: Unanimous.

 

Motion to approve the minutes of the May 10, 2005 special Winnefox Board Meeting.Motion: Rosser; Second: Whipple; Vote: Unanimous.

 

Classifications

Motion to approve the March 2005 and April 2005 WLS Classification of Invoices Previously Paid.Motion: Roethel; Second: Willadsen; Vote: Unanimous.

 

Motion to approve the March 2005 and April 2005 WALS Classification of Invoices Previously Paid.Motion: DellíAntonia; Second: Whipple; Vote: Unanimous.

 

Motion to approve the March 2005 and April 2005 WCTS Classification of Invoices Previously Paid.Motion: Brennan; Second: Whipple; Vote: Unanimous.

 

John Nichols gave the Report of the Director.

 

Winnefox Directorship

The board discussed options in the director position.

 

 

 

WINNEFOX LIBRARY SYSTEM ††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††BOARD MEETING MINUTES

May 25, 2005††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Page 2

 

 

Tom Widener read a statement to the board.His statement is included at Attachment 1.

 

Motion to let Don Stolley, President of Oshkosh Public Library board read a statement.Motion:Willadsen; Second:Rosser; Vote:Unanimous.

 

Don Stolley read a statement from the Oshkosh Public Library board.His statement is included at Attachment 2.

 

Motion to search for one director and maintain joint directorship.Motion: Woldt; Second: Jurkowski; Vote: Motion passed 14-7.Aye:Blassingame, Brennan, Boone, DellíAntonia, Dresen, Hess, Jurkowski, Muentner, Ogle, Olson, Roethel, Wade, Willadsen, Woldt; Nay:Clark, Malueg, Reiland, Rosser, Schoepel, Whipple, Widener.

 

Discussion then turned to next steps and selection process.

 

Motion to use the executive committee as Winnefox members on the search committee.Motion:Wade; Second:Reiland; Vote:Motion passed 19-2.Aye:Blassingame, Brennan, Boone, Clark, DellíAntonia, Dresen, Hess, Jurkowski, Malueg, Muentner, Ogle, Olson, Reiland, Roethel, Rosser, Schoepel, Wade, Willadsen, Woldt;Nay:Whipple, Widener.

 

Motion to let Ken Hall, Director of Fond du Lac Public Library speak from the audience.Motion:Willadsen; Second:Rosser; Vote:Unanimous.

 

Ken Hall pointed out that, although he did not have a problem with what the board was doing, the board was making motions on items not on the agenda.

 

The board thanked Ken Hall for pointing that out.The motion to use the executive committee as Winnefox members on the search committee was nullified.President Malueg will appoint members to the search committee.

 

Proposed Change to OCLC Inter-Library Loan (ILL) System

Motion to approve the proposed change to OCLC Inter-Library Loan System as proposed in Exhibit C.Motion: Blassingame; Second: Whipple; Vote: Unanimous.

 

WPLC Overdrive Digital Audio Book Demonstration

Motion to table the WPLC Overdrive Digital Audio Book Demonstration as contained in Exhibit E until the board gets more information and an opinion from council regarding copywrite laws. Motion: Reiland; Second: Rosser; Vote: Unanimous.

 

Request for Future Agenda Items

Widener requested detailed information about the Omro/Winneconne Non-Reciprocal Payments be made available at the next meeting.A request for the directors of Omro and Winneconne Public Libraries to attend the meeting was also made.

 

 

 

WINNEFOX LIBRARY SYSTEM ††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††BOARD MEETING MINUTES

May 25, 2005††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Page 3

 

 

Whipple requested that the board discuss the Winnefox marketing position at one of the next two meetings.She would also like to see the full report from Blue Door Consultants.

 

Motion to adjourn at 5:40 pm.Motion: Whipple; Second: Clark; Vote: Unanimous.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

 

John Brennan

Secretary

 

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Attachment 1

 

Winnefox - Comments for vote

 

Passing out the hats as it appeared in the last meeting that some were wearing hats from another organization.Let us all be sure that we are wearing our Winnefox hat as we go into these discussions.

 

I feel badly that a simple question as to whether we should take the opportunity to examine a different organization with the Winnefox Directorís retirement has degenerated into a debate over how the organization has operated in the past.

 

That was, and is not, the point.Early correspondence went out of the way to praise the past and present operation of Winnefox.Who would of thought that would be turned into the issue.

 

I have twenty some pages of response to a survey that completely missed the point.

 

The point is:

Would Winnefox be better off, in the future, with itís own director?

 

A Little Background

If we were meeting today as a new Board to form a system, what would we do?

As suggested by Trustee Woldt, we would look at the past, or at least what else is happening.

 

We would look at how other systems were organized, and would discover that 14 of the 16 had an independent Director for the system, eight had started with an independent Director, and that 6 of the systems had changed from a resource library combination to an independent Director and that none had switched from an independent to a shared Director.That history would certainly enter into our consideration.

 

I had a conversation with the Director of the Lacrosse Library, according to her, approximately the size of the Oshkosh Library.La Crosse is the resource library for the Winding Rivers System, a system comparable, but somewhat smaller than Winnefox.Winding Rivers started with a combination Director, but now has a separate Director.It is working well, according to the La Crosse Director.She said, in her words, ď she would screamĒ if something happened to the Winding Rivers Director, and she were asked do the combined job.

 

She indicated that there was no way she could do justice to both jobs!

 

That is what Winnefox will face with a NEW, not the existing, combination Director.

 

Upside

 

Trustee Willadson commented in the last meeting that the upside of separate Directors had not been addressed, a fair comment.

 

The upside for Winnefox, and particularly itís smaller libraries, is quite simple:

 

A 100% Winnefox director with the prime responsibility to the 30 libraries in the system, as opposed to a 20% Director with prime responsibility to the Oshkosh Public Library.

 

Downside

 

Are there downsides to a separate Director?

Letís look at a couple of those discussed in the last meeting;

Donít fix it if it ainít broke

 

There is always fear of the unknown, in this case change. But we must realize that a new Director, or Directors, is going to bring change.Change happens in all organizations, despite the existence of policies and procedures.Change is happening in Winnebago County with a new Executive.A new judge can even create change in the judiciary.Change will happen in Winnefox; change will happen in the Oshkosh Public Library.

 

Possible increase in cost.This is an area of concern, particularly to the smaller libraries

 

Winnefox presently has an assistant Director at $ 75,000, plus about $23,000 to OPL and $7000 as a consultant for the existing Director; so the cost for a separate Director is essentially equal.

 

This is reasonably compatible with other projections, although the present Winnefox Director includes a Field Services Librarianin the proposed Winnefox organization. That position has been vacant since 2002, and was eliminated in 2003, so I question why it would be necessary in the future.

 

Other costs are now contracted with the Oshkosh Public Library, so even with minor adjustments, the cost impact is negligible.

 

Winnefox has a budget of about 1.4 million, after County passthrough.So even if costs would go up slightly, it would have no impact on Library costs.

 

I know that this was a little long, and I appreciate your indulgence.

Hopefully this information will aid in your understanding of the issue at hand Ė Should Winnefox have itís own dedicated Director.

 

What is best for Winnefox?††

The summary was not read Ė comments were similar, however

 

Summary

 

The decision that we make today will influence the libraries in the Winnefox System for many years.We can move forward and build on the excellent base that has been built over the past years.Donít confuse what has happened in the past with what can happen in the future.This is an opportunity to improve service to all libraries in the Winnefox System

Letís not waste it


Attachment 2

 

 

The Board of Trustees of the Oshkosh Public Library would like to join the Winnefox Board in thanking John Nichols for his years of service and professionalism. His term at the Oshkosh Public Library and the Winnefox Library System has been years of great change in libraries and broad expansion of library services.His foresight and steady leadership have made both the system and all the member libraries strong and healthy.

 

It is the unanimous desire of the Oshkosh Board that the two directorships remain combined.Because we believe the partnership between the Winnefox Library System and the Oshkosh Public Library is so valuable, the Oshkosh Public Library Board requests that the Winnefox Library System Board join us in a joint search for a new director.†† Our desire is that we find the best possible director, one that both the system and the library can embrace and welcome with enthusiasm.We believe that the process of seeking a common director will be an exercise that will continue the trust and goodwill that exists between the two boards.

Although John's retirement is a logical time to consider restructuring the administration of both organizations, we of the OPL Board, considering this history of good will and harmony, believe it is wise to keep the positions together.The combination of these positions has a long and successful track record.It seems unwise to split the positions, given this history.The phrase ďIf it ain't broke, don't fix itĒ springs to mind.We believe that if the positions are split, they will never be reunited.

 

Part of the reason for the systemís health and vitality has been one directorís ability to create synergies between the individual libraries and the system, to act for their mutual benefit. While the appearance of conflicts of interest has been possible the entire time these two positions have been combined, we have not heard a single instance of WLS or OPL suffering because of an actual conflict of interest. Rather, we see repeated occasions when the interests of both entities have been well served by "coincidences of interest," which the current director has been able to exploit.

 

In a climate of shrinking tax dollars available to cities and counties to support libraries, it seems unwise to split the position and thereby increase the amount of tax dollars spent on library administration. Governments at all levels are seeking ways to create efficiencies and combine services to make tax dollars go farther. Splitting the positions would go against this tide of increasing cooperation among units of government.

The Oshkosh Board believes both OPL & Winnefox, have been good stewards of the public's tax dollars all of the years the positions have been combined. Should the Winnefox Board decide it best to seek their own director, they will need to be ready and able to articulate and defend this position to the taxpayers.

Our analysis estimates that the Winnefox Library System would increase their annual operating costs for library administration by around $26,000 in 2006 if the position were split.It appears that the Oshkosh Public Libraryís operating costs would increase about

 

 

$36,500 in 2006.This includes an increased cost for marketing.[Please see the accompanying papers.]


While it is the strong desire of the Oshkosh Public Library Board for the positions to remain combined, indeed we've heard nothing to indicate the current structure needs any improvement, nor have we heard any potential "upside" that could be
realized by splitting the positions, we realize that we cannot make this decision unilaterally.

If Winnefox's Board feels it best to seek their own director, we will abide
by that decision and seek a director for OPL independently.We appreciate the commitment the system board made at its May 10 meeting to reach a decision May 25.†† However, it is the unanimous desire of the Oshkosh Board of Trustees that the two directorships remain combined.We hope that the Winnefox Board will join us in finding a new director that will successfully guide our system and our member libraries into the challenges of the future.

We thank you for your consideration of this matter and we look forward to working with you to our mutual benefit.

 

Sincerely,

 

Don Stolley, President

Oshkosh Public Library Board of Trustees