Agendas and Minutes

Citizen Library Advisory Ad Hoc Committee (View All)

Citizen Library Advisory Ad Hoc Committee, March 27

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Citizen Library Advisory Ad Hoc Committee

March 27, 2008

Guanajuato Room, Ashland Public Library

4:00-6:00 pm



Churchman, Vavra, Keil, Gibb, Batistella, Mayor Morrison, Seltzer (city staff liaison), Blossom (library staff liaison)



Ashworth, Burkholder



Mark Smith, LSSI, Jim Bradley, Friends of Talent Library, Kit Leary, OSF Archivist


Call to Order:

The meeting was called to order at 4:00 pm.


Vavra asked for additions/approval of the agenda.  Blossom requested discussion of funding memo be added to the agenda.


Citizen Issues:

Jim Bradley made a few comments on Josephine County residents using Jackson County libraries.


LSSI Report

Mark Smith from LSSI presented a Report to the CLAC (written report is attached) which included an update on library usage and hours in Ashland, library programming, library outreach and library collection.  The full report is included below.


Smith was asked how LSSI determines library efficiencies.


Library staffing levels are critical.  We look at the number of staff and the number of FTE per hour and we look at the technical services.  We prefer to have staff out front assisting the public rather than in back offices doing technical services e.g. processing books.  We determine that staff costs to process books cost more than to purchase the books already processed from vendors.


We expect staff to multitask: work the desk and work the floor.  We determine the tasks that need to be accomplished and the tasks that have always been done but no longer serve a purpose.  We look at ways to improve customer service.  Self check out is quicker for users and allows the staff person to be on the floor rather than behind the check out counter.


We look at circulation.  The number of books coming in vs. the number of books going out.  We look at the work flow of books and identify how those books are re-shelved and then determine whether the process is efficient or could be improved.  


We look at economies of scale.  LSSI operates 60 libraries.  We don¡¯t have to duplicate administrative services including HR, accounts payable, payroll, graphic design etc.  We do collective purchasing of library furniture, computers and some books, though we also encourage branch managers to identify and purchase books of interest to the local community.


Smith was asked about salaries for library employees.  LSSI tried to match salaries as near as possible but could not match benefits.  As county employees, library staff had benefits equaling approximately 57% of their salary.  LSSI offers benefits at around 35% of salaries.


Vavra asked how LSSI gauges customer satisfaction.  Satisfaction is measured using a variety of tools: customer cards and in-library surveys.  On occasion they have conducted telephone surveys, which are expensive.


Vavra commented that she hears statements that ¡°libraries don¡¯t affect my business¡± or ¡°libraries need to reinvent themselves¡±.  Smith responded that libraries provide a tool that enhances an educated workforce needed by businesses, communities with libraries generally enjoy a higher quality of life, libraries are an economic development tool, and businesses generally don¡¯t locate to an area that lacks a public library.


Smith commented that there are many, many Jackson County library users who check out lots of books but don¡¯t seem to get ¡°involved¡± on political actions to vocally support the libraries.  Keil commented that it was the same with schools.


Smith applauds the ¡°literacy campaign¡± but it is more than engaging individuals, the campaign should also focus on developing a coalition of agencies and programs that currently provide literacy and education assistance: GED training, Life Style skills, HeadStart, SOU, etc.  They all share similar stakeholders and the library can act as the center.


Vavra asked about union organization.  The union has asserted a ¡°right of successorship¡± therefore claim the right to bargain for the library staff.  LSSI has agreed to meet with the union and begin negotiations.


Smith explained that the county intends to transition out of SOLIS and contract with LSSI for the services.  SOLIS is a non-profit agency contracted to negotiate and provide technical services: software, Qwest, Verizon, routers, switches etc.  SOLIS originally provided services to libraries in Jackson County and ????  Jackson County and RCC are the only remaining libraries serviced by SOLIS.  It is likely that LSSI will provide the services for RCC as well.


Morrison asked how a library accommodates bi-lingual support.  Smith explained that they look for staff that is bi-lingual, offer ESL classes and adult learning classes at the libraries.  The LSSI library in Riverside employs bi-lingual staff and offers numerous bi-lingual classes.  Smith commented that there is a large Latino population in Jackson County and eventually the libraries need to more adequately provide for that population.


Churchmans commented that a nice feature might be to include a comment section on the catalogue site so that readers could leave comments/recommendations on the books they¡¯ve read for others to read.


The new director will start on April 14.


M/S approval of minutes with corrections churchman/Keil.


Discussion of funding memo

Keil reminded the group that the county provided funds for three years and Ashland for two years.  Need the November 2008 ballot to cover the third year.


Vavra asked the group to table the discussion until the next meeting.  Morrison supports ¡°getting in synch¡± with the county.


Report on Open House and Public Meeting.

Vavra will speak to the Chamber on April 14.


Batistella reviewed the committee member assignments re: outreach to recruit people to testify.  Vavra will submit a guest editorial/letter to the editor to various print media inviting people to attend the Open House and evening meeting.  Speakers will be limited to three minutes and be asked to comment on the importance of libraries in regards to economics and education.


Some review and discussion about the flyer/insert.  All comments and corrections should be sent to Batistella no later than 5 pm on Friday, march 28.  The flyers will be inserted into all books checked out of the library leading up to April 23.


Vavra asked Morrison what the council will want to hear.  Morrison commented that it is important for the council to hear and understand the benefits of a library to the citizenry.


Brief discussion on the presentation to the council on May 6.  Seltzer and Morrison will map out the timeline needed for the November ballot.


Next meetings:  april 10, April 23 and April 24.


Meeting adjourned 6:10 p.m.



all the individual agencies

provide a tool

Vavra added an item to the agenda to discuss CLAC appointing official liaisons to the committee.


M/S approval of February 14 minutes with corrections, Churchman/Ashworth, M/S approval of February 28 minutes with corrections, Keil/Ashworth.


Gibb asked for background information on the discussion at the previous meeting re: Jackson County Library Advisory Committee marketing campaign.  Vavra gave a brief update.


Gibb asked what the impact to the Ashland library might be if a county wide levy failed in 2010.  Keil commented that if the levy fails, Ashland needs to have a contingency plan such as forming a special district.  It was noted that this issue needs to be discussed at a future meeting.


Report on Open House/Public Hearing April 23

Keil and Ashworth had met previously to discuss the open house and public hearing. Keil reported the Open House will be held at the library from 11:00 þu 5:00.  Two CLAC members will be at the library to elicit specific input from library users.  A single page handout will be available that summarizes the work of the CLAC ¡°where we are¡± and ¡°how we got here¡±.  The handout will be available at the Open House and in the library a week prior as an advertising tool for the Open House.  The handout will also be posted on the city¡¯s website advertising the Open House.


The evening event will be a special meeting of the CLAC to include a public hearing.  CLAC will contact various library supporters to present prepared testimony (5 minutes each) and invite the general public to testify (3 minutes each).  The purpose of the public hearing is to elicit citizen input on the proposed extension of the current levy and get a sense of how much the levy amount should be.  The meeting will begin with a 10 minute presentation on the work of the CLAC.


Gibb asked how this input will help get the CLAC to determine a dollar amount for the levy.  Batistella asked for clarification on a two year levy and a four year levy.


Vavra requested the discussion wait until after hearing from Batistella on the Outreach/Publicity planned for the events.


Batistella provided a draft flyer and draft publicity plan which included key messages, potential invited individuals and media outlets.  Keil suggested adding Juli diChiro and the Ashland Coalition members to the list.


Discussion on other methods to get the word out about the events.  M/S approval to officially request the City waive the fee to hand a banner on Main Street. 


Batistella asked how much outreach must occur between now and May 5 versus outreach between now and November.


Vavra expressed the need to do outreach now and later.  The community needs to feel they are involved early in the process to help shape the recommendation and so they feel connected to the issue by the November election.


Discussion about the amount of the levy.


The committee is divided: some feel the levy should be for ¡°up to 58 cents¡±, others feel it should not be more than 25 cents others feel the amount cannot be determined until after the public input.


The group recognized it will be difficult for the CLAC and for the public to determine the need since it is unclear what will happen after June of 2010.  The Ashland levy provides supplemental funds for the Ashland library which includes additional weekly hours, three full time employees and outreach services.  The levy expires in June of 2009, but the county funds continue for another year.  CLAC is sensitive to the importance of a county wide levy and does not want to inadvertently send the message that Ashland is preparing to ¡°go it alone¡±.


The countywide levy will be on the November 2010 ballot.  It is unknown whether the County will fund the library for FY2010-2011.  If the 2010 levy passes taxes can be collected in FY2011.  Will the county fund the library for an additional year until the taxes area available?  If the levy fails, how will Ashland fund its library?


Keil clarified the ballot language must be a fixed amount or a fixed rate and can include the phrase ¡°up to¡±.


Vavra invited the guest to comment on the group discussion.  Leary commented that during the last campaign it took a great deal of explaining to people that the City would only collect 25 cents even though the ballot indicated 58 cents.  She felt it was confusing and supports setting a levy amount of 58 cents.  Brady commented that Ashland needs a best guess on the amount to fund a stand alone library and that the CLAC should not be concerned about alienating the rest of the county.


Keil suggested the CLAC consider two measures: one for 25 cents to supplement the county funds and one for an amount needed to fund a stand alone Ashland library.  Keil did not encourage group discussion and suggested CLAC think about it for a future discussion.


Vavra asked the group to read and comment on her draft announcement.  M/S Keil Churchmanto authorize Vavra and Batistella to make any necessary changes to the draft and submit the announcement without further group review.

Vavra invited the group to discuss the possibility of setting a policy to appoint official liaisons to the CLAC from other communities.  Brief discussion and then tabled due to time constraints.


Next meeting: March 27


Meeting adjourned: 6:05 p.m.


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