TBABS Advisory Council Meeting Minutes May 6, 2010
Members present: Sharon Baker, Kitt Jordan, John Brown, Frank Synoground, Carolynn Avery, Sharon Baker, Jan Chance, Leone Holden
Absent: Marcia Mee and Annis Holsworth
Staff present: Jim Scheppke, Susan Westin, Elke Bruton, Robin Speer
Meeting officially came to order at 10:02 AM.
Introductions of the members and staff present.
Bob Disher will be the new representative for Vision Working Group
Approval of Agenda – unanimous.
Minutes from 1/28/10
Need clarification of Question: are we purchasing DVX’s? Not at this time; however this is a line item in the 2010-2011 fund development budget for purchasing DVDs. Approved minutes with clarification – unanimous.
State Librarian’s Report
Digital transition is going very well. Compliment to TBABS staff on a smooth transition. We get wonderful comments from our users all the time saying how thrilled they are with the new equipment. Thank you to the staff. Advisory Council also thanks the staff.
Legislative concept – at the last meeting Advisory Council recommended stable funding for the NEWSLINE service. Board approved recommendation. Legislative concept went in the budget to Administrative Services in April. Jim met with Jim Carbone, DAS budget analyst, and Howard Lavine, Governor’s Office, – they agreed and understand the importance of NFB-NEWSLINE. There is a need to expand NEWSLINE to other newspapers in the state (Southern, Eastern, and Central). One thing to investigate is the situation with the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) where the funding would come from. Jim spoke with Jon Cray and he said the PUC is neutral at the present time on funding from the residential service protection funds. The hope is that the Governor will agree to support the concept and pass it along to the new Governor. Then the hope is for the new Governor to introduce a bill in the 2011 session to fund NEWSLINE.
Budget for TBABS – the budget is good through this biennium (through 6/30/11). Budget outlook for next biennium is not good. There will be a deficit of 2.5 billion in general funds. We are working on a budget proposal to the Oregon State Library (OSL) Board. Last session, because of short fall, funding for the State Library Specialist 1 position is from the interest money from the Endowment fund and will need to shift funding back to general funds for the next biennium. TBABS is doing very well in customer service to Oregonians. We are facing budget difficulties in 2011 may need assistance from the Advisory Council. The Advisory Council expressed their appreciation for Jim’s efforts.
Fund Dev. Report
Robin reported on the Spring Appeal for 2010: mailing was sent out 4/15/10. As of today the donations received are $18,535. The donations received in 2009 were $23,825 in the expendable account. The Bequeaths for this fiscal year as of today are $114,175. The balance of the Endowment Fund is $812,558.
Question: are we allowed to use the principal for the program? No, the OSL Board has not authorized usage of the principal. We have use the interest from endowment fund for the digital transition and staff salaries.
Planned Giving – Irene Price Society
Robin reported that the program had a first mailing that went out on 4/15/10. A follow-up phone call is being made at this time to see if they understand the information that was sent. Response on the first 25 calls is:
Signed up for Irene Price Society – 2
Requests for more information – 6
Could possible be interested – 7
Not interested – 12
We will assess the activity we receive and move forward accordingly. A second mailing is planned for a new target population in June.
Program Manager’s Report – Susan
In late March a customer service survey was completed by phone. Population surveyed were 426 of all ages and all areas of the state. The results were 97.9% rated TBABS as good or excellent versus last years rating of 98.7%
Each year Susan does a comparison with other states of size, population served, and funding. Comparison results were that we ranked high in circulation versus readership and circulation versus FTE. The cost per circulation in Oregon is $2.03 whereas the average is $5.20. Jim mentioned that it is good to compare our program with other states. We consistently come out on top with our program efficiencies and low costs. Comparisons are for 2008 (pre-digital transition). It will be interesting to see new figures after the digital program has been in place.
Beginning in April we took over administration for BARD. Staff have the authority to approve service in BARD. At the present time we have 379 people registered to use BARD and over 21,000 books and magazines have been downloaded.
Question: does BARD include web Braille? Elke answered not yet, but it is coming soon. Numbers will go up at that time.
Digital Transition – have over 1800 players in field. Started sending out players to new patrons on Dec. 1st. Elke stated that in the past she checked on patron usage after 3 months from sign up. April was first month we lost less than 10% of patrons after 3 months from sign up.
Question - How many patrons receive digital machines ?
We have approximately a third of existing patrons using digital players. We have about 1,000 patrons on the waiting list. New patrons are getting digital players immediately. We have improved retention numbers.
Question – how many players a month are we getting?
Susan stated we are receiving 168-176 basic players and 25-40 of advanced players per month.
Question – what is the projected date when all people on the list have received the new players?
Ekle replied that it is possible that we could meet it in the next 3 months. Low staffing issues have slowed the process a bit. Carolynn is still waiting for a player for her institution. She would like it for reasons of selling the new digital process to patrons. Public and school libraries and other institutions will start receiving the digital players after the waiting list is completed.
Qestion - Are there commercial players on the market yet. Susan responded that there are none of the NLS style. There are some other products that can play the downloadable books.
Question - can more than one book be placed on a cartridge?
Susan replied not on the ones provided by NLS. Blank ones that TBABS creates can hold more than one book on a cartridge. The question is should TBABS pursue this course. Advisory Council members had a discussion that some would like it, some not, and some would like the same author’s books on one cartridge. Jim stated that it would make our circulation go up if we sent out more than one book on each cartridge but it would not be good if it confuses the patrons.
Susan reported that a 2.4 % inflation rate is factored into the budget. We are looking at key performance measures for the whole library for possible revisions. The budget committee that met last month made a recommendation to stay with the same 4 key performance measures for TBABS. The Legislative fiscal office is pushing to reduce to 2 key performance measures for TBABS: circulation and cost per circulation. The Advisory Council thought is that when we report on circulation, part of the narrative will have the number of people in the program and the percentage of eligible population.
The Council had a discussion that it would be easier for Legislators to review fewer key performance measures. The data can be worked into the narrative of the measures to include information from all 4 existing performance measures. Jim stated that there is one more budget committee meeting on May 18th and he would take a recommendation from the Advisory Council to the meeting. Sharon moved to recommend reducing from 4 to 2 key performance measures. Jan seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
The staff recommend transferring funding for the one SLS position from the interest on endowment fund back to general funds. John Brown moved to maintain the current funding plus cost of living adjustment for TBABS for the next biennium. Sharon seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
Jim mentioned one thing that will happen with increased usage of the program, this will increase need for staffing. It helps with work load if more people will use BARD in the future. It is about self service (using BARD and Unabridged) that will help grow the program without growing staff in the next biennium. Beyond that, as the program grows we may eventually need more staff.
Annual Donation Expenditure 7/1/10 - 6/30/11 Report
Susan provided a proposal for spending donation funds for the 2010 – 2011 fiscal year. The total amount requested is $82,000, which breaks down as follows:
Customer service enhancements:
Descriptive videos - $500.
Unabridged – $8000
Large print calendar –- $12,000.
Oregon Talking book project: $20,000
NFB NEWSLINE – $13,500
Printed materials for direct mail: $6,000
Planned giving: $2,500
SAGE database: $2,000.
Student worker: $8,000
Parking $2,000 per year.
Beginning balance $233,893. Estimated at end of 2009-2011 biennium to be $235,893.
Expect revenue of $85,000 for next fiscal year.
Carolynn moved to accept the report as given and send approval to the OSL Board. John seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
Expanding patron base – discussion
We currently have 4,800 patrons. It was much higher in the past around 7-8,000 because of large print books, etc. With digital books the numbers should go up. The council voiced a concern about increasing patron base. Digital players and books should appeal to a lot more people. We need to reach the people. There are several low vision conferences and events around the state. Advisory Council members will make attempts to promote the program at conferences and in newsletters, speaking with local media, etc. On May 7th there is a low vision conference in Portland (Casey Eye Institute). The State Library will have a display at the conference. The Advisory Council expressed a desire for council members to have digital players for promoting the program.
Frank plans to retire at the end of June from the Commission for the Blind after 22 years. He has been on the Advisory Council for 18 years. He expressed a desire to remain on the Advisory Council. Jim thanked Frank for all the work he has done for the program and the commission. Angel Hale is replacing Frank at the Commission for the Blind.
Next meeting: Carolynn as vice chair will become chair. Advisory Council will need to elect a vice chair.
Advisory Council members expressed a concern that they have not received the voter’s pamphlet on tape. Cassettes and digital were sent out this week. A mailing was sent out that said patrons needed to opt in to receive it. Susan will check individual accounts of council members who thought they were to receive it. Secretary of State’s office had staffing changes that slowed the process. Can also use www.Voteoregon.gov website.
Next meeting: 9/16/10 at 10-12.
Adjournment at 11:40.