May 10, 2000

Library Board members present: J. Cole, P. Izek, M. Jackson, D. Pratt, B. Zaragoza.
Library staff: C. Brown, D. Cramer, J. Leick, N. Perron, M. Gillespie, M. Morgan, E. Feinberg, J. Gegner, and C. Ahrens.
Guests: JoAnn Harris (OBF).

Meeting was called to order by Chair Zaragoza.

Motion to approve minutes of 3/8/00 meeting was made by J. Cole, seconded; motion passed.


1999 Operating Budget
D. Cramer reported that the 1999 budget is closed out and the library is underspent.

2000 & 2001 Budget
C. Brown reported that a Request for Board action to the County Board to restore the $430,000 that was not added back to the Library's 2000 budget -- transfer to come from the Library Undesignated Fund. A County Board Briefing is scheduled for May 23 to cover Roles and Services, and the supplemental budget request will be mentioned at that time. J. Leick suggested looking at establishing a policy that covers the Library Undesignated Fund and a ceiling, so that any overage in the fund could be used for Library projects in the future.

D. Cramer reported that the core budget request is for 102% of the 2000 property tax dollars which represents $570,000 over the 2000 operating budget.

Hand out "Suggestions to Reduce the 2001 Budget Request" was reviewed and discussed. By January 2001, the Library plans to have a program in place to create "self-sufficient" users.

Suggestions for increased revenue and stretching collection dollars (from M. Jackson based on Library Board previous discussions):
1) Resumption of charging fines for every day book is overdue (not just library open days).
2) Reduce maximum number of books that can be checked out, currently set at 100 items. [C.Brown response: in periodic checking, other than home-schoolers and classroom teachers, HCL has fewer than 200 patrons with 100 items checked out.]
3) Require patrons to pay down overdue balance closer to $0.
4) Reduce number of renewals from three to two; need to look at making the materials available on the shelves for browsers and for ease of access to patrons. [C.Brown response: with current online reserves system, if anyone wants material, they can place a reserve, therefore blocking any renewals.]

For June Ways & Means Committee, Charles Brown will ask IT staff to attend to address collection of fines.

C. Brown will address plans for library cost savings/containment over the next few months for Library Board.

Substitute use: are there heavy users of the fund? This is tracked by agency.

Self-checkout: frees up staff, but operating costs for equipment, maintenance, programmer, life of equipment, etc.

Capital Projects Update
A document is being prepared for Capital Budget presentation and will be shared with Library Board at June W&M Committee meeting.

C. Brown reported on pending projects -- EP, Wa & MG.


Bestseller Express (BSX) Evaluation
E. Feinberg and several staff assembled limited quantitative data and discussed trend lines since the BSX program was initiated. Ways & Means Committee Chair had hoped for more definitive quantitative data, but understands the difficulty in data collection. The Chair recognized that Staff did meet the evaluation request made in September 1999 and the added value request of the March 28, 2000 meeting.

Program has been a learning experience. J. Gegner reported on impact of the BSX program, with circulation that is equivalent to 10% of current fiction circulation. Revenues and costs are being balanced to try to rectify the program. Program is projected to become self-sustaining by December 2001, balance between expenditures and revenues will be met.

Program has allowed looking at other aspects of the collection, e.g. Harry Potter books, possibly expanding program to include computer materials and unabridged audio books.

Staff believes the program has added value to patrons as a service, and is closely aligned to library strategic directions, and that the trend line indicates that the program will be self-sustaining.

Staff Recommendations:
--Retain the BSX program
--Size program to match the income
--Start smaller and increase as demand grows.

If fee is changed, need to submit for County Board budget/fee public hearing in fall of 2000 as part of the budget process.

Action: For further evaluation at November 8, 2000, Ways & Means Committee meeting (will have summer data for comparison).

Library Board requests:
--How do other metro systems measure BSX programs, what are their results, what agencies are included in the program?
--Is the program self-sufficient?
--Does program decrease waiting time?
--Is there better access to bestsellers?

Other related discussions: public library is free -- and brings to the front socio-economic classes, based on ability to pay; suggestion was made to just offer BSX in area libraries; suggestion of sliding fee scale: (for example)
$3 for 10 days, $2 more for next circulation period, $1 for final circulation period; and to consider a promotion program, e.g. for every 5-10 checkouts on BSX, patron receives one circulation free.

Grant Status Report
C. Brown said that the Grant Status Report will be mailed to Library Board for any questions.

Motion to adjourn was made by J. Cole, seconded by P. Izek; motion passed.