12.19.19 – SC Meeting Minutes
SYSTEM COUNCIL MINUTES
BERGEN COUNTY COOPERATIVE LIBRARY SYSTEM
Washington Township Public Library
December 19, 2019
PRESIDING: Kurt Hadeler, Mahwah
NOT PRESENT: Lyndhurst, Montclair, Nutley, Saddle Brook, Secaucus and Wallington
Sign-in sheet is attached to the minutes in the BCCLS office.
1. CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order by President Kurt Hadeler at 9:55 AM. He recognized Directors Mimi Hui and Jennifer Breuer for their last three years of Executive Board service and Trustee David Marino for his service on Executive Board this past year. President Hadeler also recognized the four new BCCLS library directors in attendance: Katie Piano from Palisades Park, Parinda Desai from Demarest, Laura Chumas from Cresskill, and Elysse Fink from Leonia.
2. MINUTES of PREVIOUS MEETING – OCTOBER 17, 2019
Minutes from the October 17th System Council meeting were provided for consideration.
Gerry McMahon moved to approved the minutes. Matthew Latham seconded the motion. The motion was passed on unanimous voice vote.
3. PUBLIC PORTION
There was no business in Public Portion.
4. TREASURER’S REPORT
Stephanie Bellucci provided the Treasurer’s Report. Financials are in line. The organization is in a holding pattern with the transition to a new board and new business manager. She asked for questions. There were none.
Motion was made to accept the Treasurer’s Report by Mary Jo Jennings and seconded by Michael Banick. Report was passed by unanimous voice vote.
5. PRESIDENT’S REPORT
President Hadeler did not provide a written report for the meeting, however, he did provide oral one. He thanked the members for the last 3 years during tumultuous times for BCCLS. These three years had seen a defense of bylaws, a member library leaving and rejoining, the Executive Director leaving, a new one being hired and the launch of delivery service. All these things point to a resiliency of the BCCLS organization and has made it much stronger and more vibrant. President Hadeler concluded by saying it was an honor and privilege to work with the members and office. He got to know everyone better and was happy to turn the gavel over to Stephanie Bellucci.
6. EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORT
Executive Director Hanson pointed to his written report and then added comments on recent news with our ILS provider, Innovative. The company was recently acquired by Ex Libris (Proquest) from the private equity firm that had held it for the past few years. Hanson laid out the good – that it had a stable home now with a known provider of library services. He also laid out the potential risks. The ILS is now part of a content provider and not an agnostic provider of services. He related that it is unclear what this will be in the future. He also noted our Polaris contract ends in 2020 so negotiation will be starting soon on a new contract.
7. COMMITTEE REPORTS
Ellen O’Keefe reported that the Friends and Trustees Committee had held back extra funds to cover transportation for the author at the Friends Breakfast. The final bill came back lower than budgeted. The committee was able to add $1,000 more to the total raised for a final total of $13,500. President Hadeler noted this was the largest amount ever raised and the highest attended breakfast yet. Ellen O’Keefe noted to put October 2020 on the calendar for next year.
8. NEW BUSINESS
There was no new business.
9. OLD BUSINESS
a. MACMILLAN BOYCOTT
President Hadeler brought to the floor the recommendation from the eBCCLS committee regarding boycotting Macmillan eBooks. In doing so, he provided clarity around the current steps:
- Macmillan’s changes to its lending model had ripple effects throughout the public library community .
- Public libraries across the nation are pushing back.
- In November, the Executive Board moved to join the nationwide boycott on Macmillan eBooks.
- System Council was sought to ratify this boycott for the BCCLS Central Collection and encourage Advantage Plus member libraries to join.
President Hadeler went on to discuss the shifting landscape of the eContent world. These changes are playing out in BCCLS in difficult and thorny ways. We will be dealing with this issue in the coming years as we struggle with the issues of centralized collections, Advantage Plus collections, and other content individual libraries may want to add. He has charged eBCCLS co-chairs to start to think through that framework.
Alexandra Bickel and Molly McKenney rose then to offer the motion for System Council consideration:
Thursday, November 14th, 2019
The eBCCLS Committee proposes the following resolution:
Due to Macmillan’s recent license changes that went into effect on November 1st, 2019, allowing libraries to purchase only a single digital copy of each new ebook for the first eight weeks after its release, the eBCCLS Committee is formally recommending that starting immediately, the eBCCLS Central Collection boycott purchasing eBooks from Macmillan and their subsidiaries until this policy changes. The Committee also recommends that individual member libraries be strongly encouraged to join the boycott.
Macmillan’s actions limit libraries’ ability to provide access to information for all.1 If this boycott is enacted, the eBCCLS Central Collection will use the money that would have been spent on Macmillan titles to reduce patron wait times for other titles by purchasing extra copies of eBooks from other publishers.
The Committee recommends, after discussion with multiple boycotting library institutions (Somerset County Library System, King County Library System, and eLibraryNJ), for BCCLS and individual libraries to post a unified press release (see “press release” attachment) on their websites, email newsletters, and social media pages. The press release clearly outlines for patrons the changes to ebook purchasing, what it means for them, why libraries are boycotting, and what patrons can do to advocate for their library, such as urging them to sign the ALA petition. The Committee also encourages individual libraries to give talking points to their staff (see “talking points” attachment) to educate staff members on upcoming changes, maintain a unified message, and be prepared for questions from patrons.
The eBCCLS Committee will be working with OverDrive to help inform patrons and Advantage+ libraries about affected titles of the boycott.
This boycott will be reviewed in six months to evaluate its effectiveness. It may also be ended sooner if Macmillan changes policy.
President Hadeler provided further clarification. He noted that the boycott only impacts the BCCLS Central Collection. Individual libraries have control over their own collections. The eAudio and print books are not included. The Central Collection boycott will include sub imprints. We are encouraging libraries to post on social media and talk to patrons in hopes to put pressure on Macmillan to change. It is integral for libraries to participate and spread the word. He also suggested that one could use the savings on eBooks – often three times the price of regular books – to buy printed copies to meet patron needs.
John Arthur rose to say that he felt boycott means pain. He didn’t believe taking money away from one division of a publisher and giving it to another would cause a publisher to change.
President Hadeler responded that the Executive Board discussed that and realized this was a strategy that could backfire.
Daragh O’Connor rose to relate that Macmillan’s CEO is scheduled to be at the ALA midwinter and PLA conferences as part of a panel.
President Hadeler furthered the point by pointing out the boycott had placed the issue in front of Congress.
Alexandra Bickel noted there was an informative webinar regarding the boycott by Kings County. She also noted there is a subcommittee forming within ALA and PLA to take further steps. The subcommittee is also looking at other companies who restrict access to content such as Amazon.
Molly McKenney noted that Amazon doesn’t sell eContent to public libraries.
President Hadeler noted that this is now a national level project which means more moving pieces and thus it moves slower. However, small entities have steps that can be taken today.
Ann McCarthy rose to say that she understood the move as a librarian. However, she felt the information provided to the membership was not as complete as possible. As a librarian, she felt that was akin to misinformation being given to the public regarding this decision.
President Hadeler asked if the primary concern was the presentation.
Ann McCarthy responded that it was about the information not being complete primarily around the lack of attention paid to the discount of the first book offered and that the title would be held in perpetuity.
There was discussion regarding if half price was actually a misnomer and how stable the offer might be.
President Hadeler summarized the discussion by pointing out that public libraries have been pushed and pushed. We pay a lot more than when we began. In the beginning, the cost of an eBook vs. a print book was not much more. Now it is three times the cost. That needs to stop.
Len LoPinto rose to ask for clarification regarding the status of the one-copy per buying entity issue. It was related that each Advantage Plus Library and the Central Collection were able to purchase the first copy of the Macmillan titles.
Matthew Latham asked if ALA was recommending legislation.
Alexandra Bickel reported that it was part of the new subcommittee’s work.
Jennifer Kelemen rose to report that she had spoken to her board about the situation. They were supportive and now wanted more information on becoming an Advantage Plus Library. She also asked if we could stand if a few broke ranks.
President Hadeler said if one or two libraries chose not to participate it would be fine. Those libraries would simply have many, many holds on the items they were the only provider of.
Molly McKenney reported that the committee had surveyed Advantage Plus Libraries to ask if they were open to participating in the boycott. Almost everyone responded that they would.
Sarah Lester reported that she sits on the ALA Public Policy Committee. This year, May 4-5 would be ALA’s Legislative Day in Washington D.C. This was likely going to be a huge topic. She was aware that it was on Senator Booker’s radar.
There was discussion regarding if the New Jersey State Library had been involved in any discussions on the regional or national level. No one reported knowledge of that activity.
There was also discussion surrounding if authors had been reached out to. There was little information although it was reported that there was some.
Motion was made to accept by Samantha McCoy and seconded by Mary Jo Jennings. There was a voice vote. All present voted in the affirmative save for one abstention from West Orange.
b. POLICIES AND PROCEDURES – DISCUSSION
President Hadeler introduced coming to a consensus of what is considered damaged as the issue has been brought to DTF and P&P Committees. Now that things are moving rapidly through the system, damage is more apparent. There is also no consistent approach across the board as to what the definition of damage is. P&P has wrestled with this and ultimately this moves into a philosophical debate that requires membership guidance. Which do we value more: customer service or conservation of material. We need to go one way or the other.
Ann McCarthy noted that since Rapid Delivery started there is a bump up in water damage.
There was discussion of adding lids to the containers. This would be a custom job and likely in the neighborhood of $5,000 to enact.
The discussion turned to the possibility of wrapping items again. One library suggested wrapping smaller groups of items for protection. Susan Meeske suggested returning to the old bag system. It would at least eliminate one possibility of damage. This was seen as common sense.
President Hadeler remarked that while for some libraries going back to bagging materials might work, the amount of work required to do this was likely not a possibility for many libraries depending on their volumes or staffing.
Peter Havel related that he felt lucky that he had not experienced water damage in delivery. He asked for a show of hands for the number of libraries that experienced water damage. A smattering of hands was raised.
Jennifer Breuer rose to say that water damage in delivery was different from the big ideas that P&P was thinking about. The committee is focused on the entire damage process because it is not effective in its current form.
President Hadeler noted that DTF and Delivery staff know of the water issue with delivery but the bigger issue of damaged material is the issue at hand.
Judah Hamer noted this should fall squarely in the cost of doing business camp. That we should let it go and not put P&P in this business of small fines.
John Trause suggested the guiding factor should be “is it usable?”
There followed a general discussion. There were a few who rose in support of cost of doing business. There were some who were satisfied with the salmon slip procedure but felt it was breaking down at the patron level – particularly when the receiving library was dealing with materials that are not theirs and the patron is not theirs. There was also much concern about how to delineate damage to older materials and damage to brand new materials.
Jennifer Breuer brought the discussion back to the idea that the current process is not working.
Amy Babcock-Landry suggested a straw poll to gauge current membership thought on the philosophical question.
There was a hand vote for the straw poll – 62 favored speed and customer service.
John Arthur asked the group if we can consider not billing each other for damage.
The discussion turned to the idea that there seemed to be consensus around speed and customer service. There needed to be work on how to deal with what constitutes damage. Small groups were proposed. Cindy Czesak suggested a detailed survey might be better and lead to more honest answers.
President Hadeler brought the discussion to a close with the idea that a survey from P&P would be forthcoming.
c. SALARY SURVEY
President Hadeler brought up a serious issue with the 2019 Salary Survey. Twelve libraries were significantly late in getting their data into the office for correlation. It is a bylaws requirement.
There was discussion centered around why it is late. This included a suggestion to open the survey up earlier for the data to be entered. It was pointed out that there can be significant changes to work forces if the window is too large. Regardless, there was consensus that there has to be a deadline.
President Hadeler closed the discussion by suggesting the proper course of action was for members to just do it.
10. MEMBERSHIP HEARING
Stephanie Bellucci rose to present President Hadeler with an engraved gavel to commemorate his tenure as President of BCCLS. It was a heartfelt and funny thank you. The entire membership applauded.
11. NEXT MEETING
March 19, 2020 at 9:30 AM – Maywood Public Library
Mary Jo Jennings moved to adjourn. at 11:38 am. The motion was passed on unanimous voice vote.