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Council Meeting Minutes #21

July 10-11, 2008
Monarch Hotel
Clackamas, Oregon

Thursday, July 10, 2008: 11 am - 5 pm
Friday, July 11, 2008: 9am - Noon

Expected participants
PowerPoint (requires Council login)

David Bilyeu (COCC), Tom Peischl (CWU), Natalie Beech (Chemeketa), Michelle Bagley (Clark), Brent Mai (Thursday only, Concordia), Karen Clay (EOU), Pat Kelley (EWU), Merrill Johnson (GFU), Nadine Williams (by phone on Friday, LCC), Jim Kopp (L&C), Susan Barnes Whyte (Linfield), Nancy Hoover (Marylhurst), Jan Marie Fortier (MHCC), Janet Crum (OHSU), Karen Kunz (OIT), Karyle Butcher (OSU), Marita Kunkel (Pacific), Donna Reed (PCC), Helen Spalding (PSU), Vickie Hanawalt (Reed), Scot Harrison (SMU), Bryce Nelson (SPU), Teresa Montgomery (by phone, SOU), John Popko (SU), Lee Lyttle (TESC), Deb Carver (UO), Drew Harrington (UP), Jane Carlin (UPS), Charles Chamberlin (proxy for Betsy Wilson, UW), Carolyn Gaskell (WWU), Sue Kopp (WPC), Jay Starratt (WSU), Allen McKiel (WOU), Christopher Cox (WWU), Deborah Dancik (WU), Dalia Hagan (Thursday only, Whitman).

William J. Crowe, Special Assistant to the Dean of Libraries, University of Kansas

Alliance staff
John F. Helmer, Kyle Banerjee, Nancy Nathanson, Jodi Allison-Bunnell, Elizabeth Duell.

Welcome & Introductions

Lyttle called on Council mentors to introduce Michelle Bagley (Clark), Brent Mai (Concordia), Jane Carlin (UPS), and Christopher Cox (WWU).

Dancik thanked Lee Lyttle for his exceptional service to the consortium and Council adopted the following resolution:

Resolution for Lee Lyttle

  • Whereas Lee Lyttle has guided the Orbis Cascade Council as Chair in a very challenging year and
  • Whereas Lee Lyttle has greatly facilitated Council deliberations through his calm demeanor, inclusive, and collaborative style and
  • Whereas Lee Lyttle has expertly run Council meetings with complicated agendas, with a number of participants present by telephone
  • Whereas Lee Lyttle led the Council through consideration and resolution on the difficult question of the future of Summit
  • Whereas Lee Lyttle chaired the Alliance”s Negotiating Team in addition to his responsibilities as chair of the Executive Committee and
  • Whereas Lee Lyttle handled the final negotiation with III with directness, an ethical approach, and smart political strategy to reach a successful outcome and
  • Whereas Lee Lyttle has maintained a consistent focus on and strong execution of the Alliance”s Strategic Agenda and
  • Whereas Lee Lyttle has handled with good humor and aplomb the considerable additional work and challenges the above represent
  • Be it resolved that the Orbis Cascade Council recognizes Lee Lyttle”s extraordinary contribution to the Alliance”s success, appreciates his professional acumen, and sincerely thanks him for all his efforts on our behalf.
  • Be it also resolved that the Orbis Cascade Council extends hearty best wishes to Lee Lyttle as he leaves Council to move to his next professional adventure.

Dancik thanked John Helmer for his service to the consortium during these challenging times.

1. Summit Migration status report

Banerjee reported
  • Group Catalog & reconciliation: work is progressing and on track
  • VDX profiling: work is progressing and on track
Helmer reported on
  • Circulation Gateway: technical challenges have been encountered but several more complex approaches are under investigation and look promising. Implications:
    • Work to process Summit borrowing requests will increase and, since the new public interface is likely to be a clear improvement over Summit's current interface, we might see a combination of increased use and more work per item.
    • New timeline: delays in the circulation gateway development mean that a first iteration of WC Navigator will be delivered for testing on October 15 (originally expected in August). Late October to early December is a likely time for patrons to begin using WC Navigator.
  • Contract negotiation: work is progressing and on track
  • Other consortia using WorldCat Navigator: several other consortia have expressed a strong interest in WC Navigator and may follow our lead.
Hanawalt reported
  • Communication Team: Penelope Hummel has been retained as a communications consultant. First deliverables are linked to an Alliance communications page: Public FAQ, Web blurb, and graphics. The next set of products will include bookmarks announcing the change in Summit, and an article that members can adapt for a variety of publications.

2. Future of the Alliance

Dancik provided an introduction to the next section of the meeting, consisting of reports, presentations, and discussion in preparation for Council's February 2009 retreat.

2.1. Report: Strategic Agenda 2006

Helmer reported on progress made on the Strategic Agenda developed by Council in 2006. All aspects of the agenda have been accomplished or are well underway. Helmer emphasized the value of having such a document to guide priorities and help evaluate new opportunities. He further encouraged Council to develop a similarly ambitious and achievable plan for the next several years.

Banerjee and Allison-Bunnell reported on the NWDA and Digital Services Programs.

2.2. Report: Council retreat preparation survey

Hagan and Harrington presented summaries of the Council retreat preparation survey.
2.3 Presentations and Council Discussion
    The More Things Change ...
    William J. Crowe
    Special Assistant to the Dean of Libraries
    University of Kansas
    An I for an I
    Jay Starratt
    Dean of Libraries
    Washington State University

Council engaged in a wide-ranging discussion on Thursday afternoon, through dinner, and again on Friday morning. Elements of that discussion included the following: 
  • Need to challenge ourselves and avoid complacency.
  • We need to make better use of our strong local resources (e.g., OCLC, UW iSchool, faculty researchers)
  • Moving to the network level continues to be a useful concept.
  • Need to make sure we maintain focus and collaborate with other consortia.
  • Alliance should continue to be a ‘business-like cooperative’ that delivers good value and does not duplicate what we can get elsewhere
  • While homogeneous in some ways, the membership is also very diverse. Should we be more often looking to subgroups with common interests?
  • Carli (the Illinois consortium) is an example of a vision to do more at the group level and, as a result, to allocate more consortial funding. Alliance will want to carefully balance time spent by member library staff and funding for central staff.
  • As the Alliance grows, its identity as a membership organization is threatened. This is part of the challenge OCLC faces.
  • Do we spend too much time looking back? Maybe a non-incremental approach is more often needed.
  • We need to more routinely tap in to younger tech-savvy faculty. Perhaps a board of advisors made up of young faculty would be useful.
  • Inspire young leaders to take charge and deal with the things that aren't being dealt with now; innovative people attract other innovative people;
  • We do some things very well - and we want to keep them: cooperation and meeting the needs of different sized of institutions
  • Qualities that we need to work on: defining membership criteria; multiple levels of membership; financial needs; size of groups; committee structure;
  • Be aware of the assets we have - acknowledge your staff and the work that they do - engage the staff
  • Engage in the institutional agenda outside of the library
  • Marketing the resources we have to engage people and share our story
  • How do we make sure to mobilize our efforts for the future rather than splintering off?
  • As the Alliance looks to the future we have two questions: what are we going to do and who we are going to be?
  •  How are successes and failures connected to the Alliance”s vision statement?
  • Need to focus on why we are doing this: why is this the library's job? Why is this ours? Services must fill a need. We need to recognize the difference between innovation and novelty.
  • How do we struggle with the majority and the minority needs?
  • The move to WorldCat Navigator it isn't wild and bold - it's just the next step - We aren't doing anything edgy and we have the ability to do that - The question is how do we address the tension between the mainstream and the far out things that only some of us are interested in?
  • We need staff to support those activities to keep them from floundering under volunteerism
  • While OCLC is a powerful partner, we need to make sure they remain responsive to the membership. We don”t want to trade one monopoly for another. 
  • We should consider something similar to ARL”s agility fund. If there are a couple of libraries that are serious about risk taking, we should have a proposal process and fund to support this kind of activity
  • Need to plan for succession, engaging people in the whole, and improving the individual in the process
  • The identity of libraries has changed radically and will continue to change.  The Alliance can help cope but this evolution is ultimately up to individual libraries.
  • The culture of innovative risk taking is important
  • We tend to think that there needs to be a strong center - maybe we are stuck in that; looking at corporation model with members as share holders; the thing that will hold us together longer is R&D
  • As librarians we have problems moving quickly - not in our nature to move that fast
  • We need governance which reflects what we are as well as what we want to be as we grow and bring in different kinds of libraries
  • Any organization that does good stuff is sloppy. It's not the day-to-day stuff that we need the Alliance for - it's the sloppy stuff
  • How many collaborative organizations do we need to do the same thing? Where are you going to get the rest of the things that you can't get from general groups?
  • Geography still matters; all the different types of institutions working to the same goal; how can we use the great things that we have in common and use the power of the collaborative to solve problems?
  • Maybe we need communities of interest to help support innovation?
  • Maybe the issues isn't as complicated as we think - create a R&D group that works on particular issues,  can ramp up quickly, get a grounded idea and then get it done
  • We should create incubators for member ideas and make it work for members; giving staff room to try ideas whether or not they fly
  • NWDA is finding out what the students and researchers need - have we looked at what we need?
  • We should start with the feedback from students and faculty. Strategic planning must be based on student learning in the classroom
  • Should libraries actively support publishing or look to other groups in the institution?
  • Perhaps we need to break the connection between governance and participation in Summit. Libraries should be able to participate in Summit without governing the consortium as a whole.
  • Alliance should be helping members rethink legacy services as well as launching initiatives to create new services. There are still examples of strong consortium activities elsewhere that we should be prepared to adopt.
  • Let”s create an R&D branch of the Alliance rather than waiting for the answers to come to us. Perhaps we can position the Alliance as an R&D partner with OCLC.
On Friday morning Council expanded on the previous day's discussion, including
  • R&D seems like an important role for the Alliance.
  • We should look more closely at how to include groups in the Alliance. For example, perhaps it would make sense to work with Washington”s community and technical colleges as a group rather than 30+ individual organizations?
  • We need to do more to learn from each other.
  • Legacy systems are keeping us back. The Alliance should help members move to more efficient (perhaps network?) solutions.
  • Perhaps a Council blog would prove useful for communication between meetings.
  • Growth will be a reality but we need to decide how we want the Alliance to grow.
  • Need to come to grips with the ROI of local vs. collective investment. Some members want to move as much as possible to a collective level so that time is available to concentrate on services that only make sense at a local level; others are concerned about outsourcing too many local responsibilities.
  • Retreat will be a good opportunity to determine who we want to be and what we want to do.
  3. FY09 Budget Adoption

Documents (requires Council login):
  • Income and Expense Report, a 1 p. Excel file
  • FY09 Budget Notes, a 3 p. Word file.
  • FY09 Budget, an Excel workbook composed of six worksheets or tabs: Collapsed, Expanded, Alliance fees, NWDA fees, Reserves, and FY04-11. The "Collapsed" worksheet is a one page summary of the "Expanded" form of the budget, which prints as 22 legal-sized pages.
Council discussed the budget, with most attention focusing on the reserve.  Council members are generally happy with the current reserves policy.  Some advocated a smaller operating reserve, based on three rather than 12 months operation.  Others advocated for the inclusion of more reserve funding for strategic initiatives.  Council concluded that more thought should be given to the reserves as we complete this unusually active year and conclude Council's planning retreat.
Motion to adopt FY09 Budget: Peischl
Second: Dancik
Vote: Council voted unanimously in favor of the motion

4. Moratorium on consideration of membership applications

Council discussed Executive Committee's recommendation to:

a) Place the following statement at the top of the Alliance Membership Criteria web page:
The Orbis Cascade Alliance is engaged in migrating Summit to a new technological platform. Given the close connection between consortium membership and participation in Summit, the Alliance will not accept or consider membership application until implementation is complete, robust, and sufficiently optimized for current members. Once Summit migration is complete, Council will determine next steps with regard to membership. During this time, the following Membership Criteria, Expectations, and Obligations remain valid for current members.
b) Remove the membership application from the Alliance Web site

Council discussed and revised the statement as follows:
  • Replace "until implementation is complete, robust, and sufficiently optimized for current members" with "until further notice."
  • Add Helmer as contact for more information.
Motion to approve revised recommendation: missed
Second: missed
Vote: Council voted unanimously in favor of the motion

5. Electronic Resources Program Annual Report (Doyle)

Doyle reviewed the ER Program accomplishments over the past year and answered Council questions.

See slides 20-35 from PowerPoint (requires Council login)

Note: ER Program purchasing statistics for each member were included in meeting packets mailed to Council members.

  • Council thanked and applauded David Bilyeu and Lee Lyttle for their service as they depart from Executive Committee.
  • Kopp invited Council members to attend the Johannah Sherrer Memorial Lecture on September 26.  This year's speaker is Susan Gibbons, Vice Provost and Dean of the River Campus Libraries at the University of Rochester, NY.

Minutes -- Duell & Helmer