Present: Paul Dahl, presiding, Ruth Anderson, Bob Horton, Donna Davis, Brittney Goodman, Thomas Bremer, Todd Digby, Vi Bergquist, Larry Kellerman, Robbie LaFleur, Bill DeJohn, Stephen Elfstrand, Heather Biedermann, Jan Carey, Michele Throldahl
Orrin Ausen moved to accept with no changes, Jan Carey seconded. Approved.
4. MNSCU Update – Todd Digby
The increases are in place for this fiscal year. Todd will continue working with the presidents and librarians on the various campuses.
The Office of the Legislative Auditor is examining the central MnSCU office. PALS, since it is not in the central office, is not a direct part of the study. Some of the two-year campuses are hurting, as far as keeping professionals on staff in the libraries. Todd is working with Bill DeJohn, concentrating on convincing the smaller campuses about the need for strong library services.
Centralized common ID, called Star ID, is being rolled out, and Todd is working with librarians to be sure students can take advantage of it.
5. PALS Executive Director’s Report – Stephen Elfstrand
Stephen sent out the first quarter financials. No surprises. Income is as expected. If some of the other products they are developing result in more income that would be a pleasant surprise. Expenses are falling in line with what was expected. He expects expenses to come in close to projections. We still run a deficit each year, which eats away at our reserve. No more money was put into the capital account; it is left in reserves. Last year’s expenses were lower than expected; income higher. Earlier this week, he sent out the anticipated charges for next year. The increases are based on the 7% increase agreed to by MnSCU.
Stephen went over the points made in his presentation at the MnPALS User Group meeting a week ago. They are examining whether to skip version 20 of Aleph, and going on to V. 21. We do have to keep up to date because of the maintenance contracts. Sold MnPALS Plus to ODIN. There are other sales in the works. Open Source Open URL link resolver is being tested. PALSconnect ERM: the open source ERM is going to be beta tested in early 2010; available by June. They are working on developing Evergreen. PALS has received an RFI from East Central Regional Library to develop Evergreen for their system. They have been working on marketing – Stephen feels the sale of MnPALS Plus to ODIN was a direct result of being at a conference.
Robbie asked if PALS was to win the contract to provide Evergreen for ECRL, how would that affect the development of products for all of the other PALS libraries?
Stephen explained, “While it would affect the work load of current staff, we are reaching a point where most major Aleph-related functionality has been provided and so I see a window of time where we could take Evergreen on without negatively impacting ongoing Aleph support. In addition, new staff who are less experienced with Aleph are taking on much of the Evergreen project work."
“We plan to continue the rollout of the OpenURL and ERM products. While we will work on some easy-to-do enhancements to MnPALS Plus which are high priority, development on major or difficult improvements to MNPALS Plus will be less of a priority for the near term. We need to develop customers. If we develop a successful system for ECRL, we may get other public library customers.“
6. Minitex Update – Bill DeJohn
The new Reference Notes is out.
Bill asked if people were using WebJunction. Jan noted that she found one course very difficult to register for. Paul said he felt the contract should be renewed. Vi noted that people are too busy. Robbie noted that many of the software tutorials would be great for new staff, but nobody has new staff these days.
Bill will be traveling to NE MN to visit libraries with Todd Digby. There are still libraries who don’t meet the Minitex criteria for professional staffing.
Paul asked, “How are things going with the MnLINK gateway?” It’s booming. Requests are up. Bill reminded people to use the ELM databases, and that Minitex staff are available to do training.
7. User Council Update – Ruth Anderson
The User Group meeting, held just last week, was successful! There was a request that the UG sometimes meet in greater Minnesota. UG will meet in late October in 2010.
8. Old Business
MnPALS Governance Structure
Robbie asked, “Are we talking about changing the composition of the Executive Committee, or the types of user groups feeding into the User Council, or both?”
Larry Kellerman suggested we ask Stephen Elfstrand whether the existing groups serve the PALS office well. If we are going to remain economically viable, what changes are needed? Would a different structure be useful – like futures, finance, and function? This would let the User Council concentrate on features.
Stephen: Some categories have small numbers of libraries; is that burdensome to the libraries? Jan and Orrin both mentioned the concern of finding representation within some of the smaller groups. Bob Horton, in answer to whether it was burdensome to have to always serve, said that in reality, that was not an issue. Robbie said that the Special Libraries group still makes sense because of the Legislative Library’s role with state documents and the Historical Society’s role with historical MN collections. Any statewide system would have to handle those materials well. Jan Carey suggested combining the representatives within the various two-year college groups. Larry noted that 15 years ago there were more significant concerns about which institutions would have power within the two-year college group. And Todd noted that colleges across the two-year college community have similar catalog Aleph needs. Paul: Do we need to take action regarding the governance structure? Orrin: It would be nice if it is taken care of, so we didn’t have to have it on the agenda all the time. Jan Carey: The turnaround in two-year colleges is so great that if we combined those categories, I don’t think that anyone would object.
Larry Kellerman: Move to combine the categories of Community College and Technical Colleges within the membership paragraph, yet retain four total members for the combined category. (Orrin Ausen then moved to amend the motion, to drop it for this month.) Robbie LaFleur will draft the new language, to be approved by the Executive Committee at the February meeting. Final authorization could take place at the Annual Meeting.
Stephen: the User Council divisions are quite ILS-based. Should we allow for a open source interest group or others? ERM? Does everything have to be related to a module? Jan: we could add other technical interest within the systems group? Larry: maybe it’s time for new terminology, Aleph is stable, and it is really the new systems that need discussion. Paul suggested calling Michael Kirby and asking if, before the February meeting, they could come up with a recommendation for a renewed use group structure.
Larry Kellerman moved, seconded by Jan Carey, to ask the User Council to come up with a proposal for a new User Group structure by the February meeting. Passed.
Needs Assessment Task Force
Paul: Is it right that 55 questions were statistically valid? That’s right, Stephen noted. In some of the questions there were not enough responses to be completely valid. Paul: There will be additional times the survey is discussed, at the Annual Meeting, for example. Is there a next step for analysis of the data?
Robbie asked whether Stephen saw interesting results, even before a formal analysis. The private colleges are not nearly as happy with the reserves module as the two-year and four-year public colleges, he noted. Stephen would like to look across tools to see what is needed. Whatis the membership interested in, interested enough in to work on? In which components is there a strong interest, versus just a moderate interest?
9. New Business
Role of the PALS Office
Paul brought up this issue to start a discussion. As the PALS office is working in an entrepreneurial mode, what is the relationship with the Executive Committee? Is it time for the PALS office to be a full partner in the consortium? Orrin, “What does that mean?” Paul: “Rather than just serving the needs of the consortium, is it time for them to be a full partner? Since they are going to be making decisions that the whole consortium is not going to be voting on, is it time to be giving them a little more independence and autonomy? I think they have that, and the recent decision with Evergreen shows they have that autonomy. Do we formally need to recognize that?” Larry: I don’t think so. Tom: I agree with Orrin. We depend on the PALS office to be forward-thinking. It’s pretty hard for a consortium to be forward-thinking. It’s always good to have a point organization to be forward-thinking. It’s been a role that the PALS office has always played. I think they have the authority, and they should have it. I look at it as what they are doing already. Todd: My concern goes the other way. The last few years have been pretty good. We need the active voice of the consortium to tell us if we are not meeting your needs, I want to be sure we are hearing those comments. Definitely let us know if we are not going in the direction we want you to go.”
They only need six more libraries to respond to the survey. The impact might be that some libraries that were not using direct borrowing, would use it. (Direct requesting, and routing through the Minitex courier service.)
MnPALS Fall 2009 User Group Assessments
They tried to coordinate with the Ex Libris Users Group meeting, so PALS staff also participated in sessions with people from the U, etc. On Wednesday, they tried to create a schedule to allow people to attend multiple user groups’ business meetings. They learned from attendee feedback that having the general session over lunch was a good use of time (even though some felt there was not enough time to talk with colleagues). PALS would definitely consider doing another UG meeting in the Twin Cities in the future, though not the very next one.
Post-Aleph Task Force
Paul suggested a task force be created to come up with principles for a future integrated library system, and to look more broadly at the future, and come up with a list of suggested members. (Todd mentioned that we might want to have a different name. “Post-Aleph” has a connotation that we are leaving Ex Libris soon, which really isn’t the case, and may strike fear into people who aren’t thinking of migrating at this time.) There was discussion, but no consensus. (Note: At the end of the meeting, there was not a quorum present to vote on specific action at this time.)
Larry Kellerman: Move to adjourn. Second: Thomas Bremer
1. Introductions / Roll Call
2. Amend / Adopt Executive Committee Agenda
3. Approve MnPALS Consortium Executive Committee Meeting Minutes from 10 September 2009
4. Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Update – Todd Digby
5. PALS Executive Director’s Report – Stephen Elfstrand