Present (In Person): Stephen Elfstrand, Paul Dahl, Thomas Bremer, Jenny Turner (PALS), Susan Dueis (PALS), Larry Kellerman, Robbie LaFleur, Kathy Malec, Orrin Ausen, Cynthia Jorstad, David Barton, Keith Ewing, Bill Dejohn
Present (Via Web): Todd Digby, Bob Horton, Jan Carey, Brittney Goodman, Vi Bergquist, Michael Kirby
(Pre-Meeting chatter was about what equipment is being lent by libraries. Keith Ewing noted that they have 60 laptops that can be checked out, and lots of other stuff – VCRs still, and even two old lantern slide projectors.)
Each person was asked to say how long they have worked in libraries and what they find most exciting about the future with the MnPALS Consortium. Bill DeJohn asked, “Can we maintain relationships and collaboration given technological developments and library economics?” Stephen Elfstrand noted, “Every time I get to know something, everything changes!” Michael Kirby is eager to get library users excited about using libraries. Todd Digby noted that the diversity of staffing complements in the participating libraries really affects how technology is implemented inlibraries.
2. Amend/Adopt Agenda
Larry moved; Orrin seconded.
3. Approve Minutes
April 16, 2009 Minutes approved with changes to Larry Kellerman’s name and location for September meeting (not Hennepin Technical College). PALS staff will make changes to the posted minutes.
4. MnSCU Update – Todd Digby
The increase in funding for PALS went forward, with some last minute negotiations. Massive budget cuts to MnSCU and the U of M; PALS funding was one of the few items with an increase. There are concerns about staffing for MnSCU libraries, not just now, but next fiscal year, and even more so in the following fiscal year.
Projects: Students First, an IT initiative to streamline moving from one campus to another. Todd will be tracking the project to see how it affects libraries. There is no timeline for a unified ID for students. They are working with staff first. Todd was not sure of the timing, but it might be a year or two out.
5. PALS Executive Director's Report – Stephen Elfstrand
Jenny Turner is the newest User Support and Training staff person. She has been asssigned Aleph Course Reserves to support and is also assigned to Evergreen. She is on the Marketing Team and is chair of the Communications Team.
MnPALS income is up this year because of a number of factors. There was a sale of MnPALS Plus to ODIN. There are new services like WorldCat Local, and the proxy service brought in money. Rasmussen dropped out, generating income because of fees this year, though it is not positive long term.
The expense side was better than expected. Two staff positions were held open for much of the year.
There was resolution with Ex Libris about maintenance contracts. We got full credit for 50% of the hardware we purchased, about $240,000. We got concessions for things that weren’t delivered on time. We paid $140,000 rather than $380,000. We saved money. Downside? From now on, we do have to pay the full maintenance charges (about $230,000).
We still have reserve funds.
For FY10, there is a projected deficit of $336,000.
PALS has been working with Minnesota State University, Mankato to implement a VM, a virtual machine cluster. If a piece of hardware goes down, one of the virtual machines can be put into use instead. It costs PALS only $2000/year to use this cluster of machines, which is a good value.
Looking at future years, FY12 shows a larger deficit; this is largely due to hardware upgrade needs. However, the reserves will not be depleted as soon as previously projected. In a few years we will be down to less than half a million dollars from a high of two million. Stephen summarized, “We will squeak by into the medium-term future.” “We will continue to try to increase our income by variousmeans."
6. MINITEX Update - Bill DeJohn
Large increase in requests from all sectors of our region, even from academic libraries. Bill has noted that there is more and more in the literature about demands on interlibrary loan staffs. Libraries have no increases in staff, yet double-digit increases in borrowing and lending.
They are planning for H1N1; after all, they have many students as workers.
Libraries are encouraged to put the icon for AskMN virtual reference project on their webpages. Even if libraries don’t participate by providing reference staff, they can put the link on their web pages.
MnKnows.org is active; there are ads on MPR. They are beginning to see referrals from the icon on the MPR page.
MINITEX was lucky to escape any unallocation.
Top referring sites to MnKnows, identified by Google Analytics: Traverse des Sioux, Cloquet, Hibbing, State Law Library. All these sites have the logo on their front pages. Oddly, Ramsey County is a top referring site and the link is buried far into their site.
Bill is concerned that academic libraries alert future teachers to ELM resources available to K-12 students. About half of MN schools don’t have librarians. These new teachers will be important links to library resources.
They will be talking about Google Books at the MINITEX User Group meeting tomorrow, September 11. We need to think about what it means to regional libraries. How will be ready to have our staff ready to answer questions about the collection after they read about the project in the newspaper?
7. User Council Update – Michael Kirby
Michael encouraged everyone to take the needs assessment survey.
Ex Libris User Group meetings will precede the fall user group meetings. User group workdays continue to be successful and highly rated.
Governance. There was a suggestion that a time slot at the user group meeting be set aside for a “town hall-style forum” on governance. (Dave Barton noted later, “Don’t call it a Town Hall meeting; that has such a bad connotation!”) They suggested getting away from the “User group” name – perhaps call them interest groups. Do we need a User Council AND Executive Committee? Should we meet less frequently? They did not vote on anything to bring forward actions.
8. Old Business
Thomas Bremer: It is interesting that the governance structure is based on the old module-based PALS structure. That doesn’t necessarily fit the current activities. Keith Ewing: There used to be a tight connection between the user groups and the Executive Committee and the PALS staff. Now the PALS staff is becoming more entrepreneurial. What is the relationship between the Executive Committee and the PALS office? The relationship is getting looser.
Larry asked about the intention of the town hall-type discussion of Governance at UG. Michael responded that the thinking was to get a lot of discussion about the issue from frontline staff. Paul asked if Plus would continue even if we transition away from Aleph? It could—it is not dependent on the underlying system. Libraries need more than just the ILS now and need PALS to support it. Cynthia discussed that they are willing to pay some extra to PALS office for more support.
And what does governance mean? Thomas: In the old days of PALS, the governance of the work of the PALS staff was quite direct as the various modules were developed. The group of directors decided on priorities. The user groups asked for changes to be programmed. Larry Kellerman: It seems we need a different structure for the user groups, which are functional-based. We don’t have the same autonomy with Aleph to change things as we did with the former PALS.
Keith: The ILS has traditionally been all of the items housed in the library. Do we want to include all of the electronic licensed resources? The catalog – that which we own – and the OPAC – that which our users want – are two completely different things. Thomas: Smaller libraries may need even more help with non inventory-control aspects of librarianship. Keith: The Needs Assessment will bring out some of these issues we are discussing. Stephen: So much of the work of library staff is inter-modular. How can they form interest groups based on a specific technology? Larry: would these be long-term or ad hoc? Keith: The ILS is a decreasing part of what we do. Thomas Bremer: We are basically an advisory group, historically and now. Keith: it should be a symbiotic relationship.
Bill DeJohn: Is the mission of PALS to serve the customers, or to serve the Library staff? Dave Barton: PALS has always served the libraries. Bill: But the user is going to Google. We may be in our own bubble. Dave Barton: Maybe PALS could broker four or five interfaces, and libraries could purchase what they want. Keith: And our catalogs look like a Sears catalog, when the users want a Google box.
Needs Assessment Task Force
Keith Ewing: They want as many responses as possible, many librarians from each library. There may be additional, more focused, assessments that need to be done as a result of the first assessment.
9. New Business
Paul: It seems that PALS has made a commitment to Evergreen based on the actions of one other public library choice. However, Plum Creek has chosen Koha. Would MnPALS be willing to switch to another system in the future, or support more than one? Stephen: The PALS office looked at both Koha and Evergreen and made a well-reasoned decision to explore Evergreen further. They would not be able to support more than one open source system. “I suppose that if in six months, everyone was going to Koha, we could switch,” Stephen noted.
Second Location for PALS Office
Paul looked at the $60,000 paid for rent in Mankato—is it the best location? Many Consortium libraries are within an hour of the Twin Cities. Could servers be kept in Mankato and have training and support in Twin Cities? Would that be any cheaper? What about contractual obligations with bargaining units and staff willingness to move to TC? Paul brought up idea of telecommuting from home. Vi sees benefit of having staff housed together. Paul wondered about moving entire operations then to TC. Moving servers would probably be easier than getting staff to move. Cynthia spoke about possible negatives of moving PALS operations. Larry asked if there was room in the MnSCU offices in the Wells Fargo building. Todd responded that there was probably not room for PALS staff. We also do most of our support and training via web these days. Todd spoke about the pluses of having PALS staff at MSU. Paul asked Todd if MnSCU has a bigger impact on PALS than the non-MnSCU libraries. Todd responded that he is working for MnSCU libraries, but the PALS office works to consider the viewpoints of all libraries.
360 Degree Feedback (Performance Reviews) for Stephen Elfstrand and Todd Digby
When it comes time for their reviews, Stephen and Todd will solicit comments.
Spending Cuts for PALS Office
Stephen has shared the salary structure of the PALS Office with Paul. Of 17 staff, many earn more than Paul does as Library Director at MDH. If PALS budget cuts come, would staff take voluntary salary cuts rather than layoffs? This wouldn't be possible because of Union issues. PALS staff members are represented by multiple Unions. Cynthia pointed out that logistically, from a Union contract standpoint, there couldn't be a voluntary reduction in salary. Stephen is hoping to avoid layoffs by revenue increases from new customers.
Transferring Staff Knowledge
Paul brought up the fact that when Mike Barnett left the PALS office, he hadn’t shared all of his knowledge. He is back as a consultant; are there ways to capitalize on his return to gather more of his knowledge? Stephen thought we could explore something along those lines since MB still does contract work for PALS. Al may be leaving at some point; the PALS technical services staff are actively trying to document his knowledge and learn the processes he manages.
10. Closing Remarks
Stephen mentioned the beta work on ERM and Open URL Link Resolver. We are marketing Plus to various customers.
Orrin spoke to the need to have in-person meetings occasionally. Cynthia said that she feels she gets more out of in-person meetings. Paul wants people to think about the issues of getting enough in-person attendance at meetings if a web option is available.
Future Meeting Schedule:
November 12, 2009 (Web only)
February 11, 2010 (Web only)
April 8, 2010 – Annual Meeting and Joint Executive Committee/User Council Meeting (In person and Web)
1. Introductions / Roll Call
2. Amend / Adopt Executive Committee Agenda
3. Approve MnPALS User Council / Executive Committee Joint Meeting Minutes from April 16, 2009
4. Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Update – Todd Digby
5. PALS Executive Director’s Report – Stephen Elfstrand
6. MINITEX Update – Bill DeJohn
7. User Council Update – Michael Kirby
8. Old Business:
Needs Assessment Task Force
9. New Business
Second Location for the PALS Office
360º Feedback (Performance Reviews) for Stephen Elfstrand and Todd Digby
Spending Cuts for PALS Office
10. Closing Remarks
From the North on France
Turn right into 7700 France Avenue South (after light at 76th) visitor parking lot right by the 7700 France sign (MSU is not listed on the sign - flag flies on flag pole, however). Park in that parking lot and go in the front entrance (east side of building) to Security at the front desk and sign in. Follow hallway on left, turn right by television on wall and follow around to the North Elevators. Go to third floor - off elevators - for Suite C go to right and at the end of that hall go left to Suite C.
From the South on France
Turn left on Minnesota Drive (corner building is Fidelity; 7700 France is the building right behind) and get in right lane. Take first right into large parking lot (west side of building) and then an immediate right and drive around to the east side of building; park in visitor parking and go in the front entrance (east side of building) to Security at the front desk and sign in. Follow hallway on left, turn right by television on wall and follow around to the North Elevators. Go to third floor - off elevators - for Suite C go to right and at the end of that hall go left to Suite C.