MARINet Board Minutes

To: MARINet Board and Interested Parties

From: MARINet Staff

CC: Val Morehouse; Glade Van Loan

Date: 06/21/99

Re: 05/27/99 Meeting at Marin County Civic Center, Room 410B, 9 A.M. (Approved)


Board Members---Mary Richardson, Board President (Sausalito Public Library); Debbie Mazzolini, MARINet Board Secretary (Belvedere-Tiburon Public Library); Anne Montgomery (Mill Valley Public Library); Sara Loyster (San Anselmo Public Library); Vaughn Stratford (San Rafael Public Library). Absent: Carol Starr (Marin County Free Library). Staff present--Val Morehouse (MARINet Systems Administrator).

Larkspur Library Director Frances Gordon was introduced to the MARINet Board. Senior Librarian Libby Flynn of Marin County Library was introduced and is sitting in for Carol Starr. A copy of the latest MARINet Automation Update is in the Board Packet. There are no Minutes available to approve this time. Approved Minutes of previous meetings can be found online at under "About Us."


 Information on Regina Minudri is on the San Francisco P.L. website is in the Board packet.

The Featured Lists Workshop has been scheduled for June 30th, 10AM-12 NOON at the Belvedere-Tiburon Public Library. It is an Intermediate Level workshop with working knowledge of the create lists function assumed. Intended audience is Reference and Public Services staff.

Several libraries have been visited by a man and a woman (walk-in non-borrowers) who pose a provocative question concerning the Library, the Internet, and child pornography, to whichever staff member happens to be present. So far staff members have been prepared to give the individuals a copy of the Library's Internet Policy. Have your Internet policy easily accessible for staff, and let staff know about the visitations. Everyone shared copies of their Internet policies. Val commented that Larry Irving, NTIA Director, is urging that the FCC require that all schools and libraries receiving ERATE funds have acceptable use policies for the Internet.

Vaughn Stratford updated everyone on the City Hall in the Mall pickup location for North San Rafael. He asked Members to remind staff to tell patrons that all pick up location numbers have moved down one on the list beginning alphabetically with North San Rafael.


Personnel Update

Val queried Board members about personnel changes, but there were none this past month. Glade VanLoan is back from vacation, but she reminded Board Members that she is going be on vacation day after tomorrow, May 29-June 7th. Val will be attending an NBC Technology planning workshop on June 8th all day and a SuperSearch network improvement meeting at Sonoma State the following morning; thus, she will be out of the office until after lunch on June 9th.

Budget & Sinking Fund Update, Training, Delayed Payment Request

 The 1/8 cent sales tax discussion was tabled until the next meeting due to Carol Starr's absence. Members reviewed copies of the Monthly Budget Report showing MARINet's expenditures and projected encumbrances as of April 30th. The report is cumulative from July 1st at the beginning of this fiscal year. There are still a few large bills outstanding including an order for barcodes and mailers, and the telephone bill from Marin County. The latest Sinking Fund printout was included in the packets, with interest posted through April 1st, 1999.

 Marin County has requested that the MARINet Board grant the Library a payment extension from the end of September JPA cost share payment requirement, since the Library's taxes will not come in until later, causing a severe cash flow problem. Board Members inquired if MARINet would be able to cash flow through the end of December 1999. Val Morehouse said that if everyone else paid as usual MARINet would be able to cash flow. The biggest payments due will be the online database subscriptions and the first half of the Innovative maintenance contract. Both are five figure bills. The second installment of the Maintenance contract comes due in January. At that point, MARINet would be in difficulty without the payment, as salary charge-backs would be coming in also. Members inquired into the amount of interest received from last year's budget during the period July-Dec. Val read off the amounts from the budget report. A discussion of alternati ves ensued, but no conclusion was reached. In the absence of Carol Starr, Val Morehouse suggested that some Board Members volunteer to form a sub-committee to explore solutions with Carol as one of the members. The Committee will report to the June Board meeting. Anne Montgomery and Debbie Mazzolini volunteered.

 Val reported on her best estimate of what would be used by the end of June on this year's training consultant contract. She has budgeted the same amount for the coming year, and with the current year's track record, she feels that MARINet will be positioned to hire additional trainers for specific areas such as implementing use of the 856 field, etc. That will provide some flexibility. The idea of hosting some type of Management Institute to work with MARINet management level library staff on a consortium "vision" for the future was discussed. This would require a hiring a facilitator skilled in group process for planning. Board Members were urged to think more about this idea in order to develop it more fully at coming meetings. The Board had no objection to the dollar split, so Val will split out the new budget training dollars as discussed. The basic training contract will be negotiated after MARINet finishes its budget closing for t his fiscal year.

Security Policy Discussion

A copy of Mill Valley call numbers that need to be checked in every jurisdiction was provided to every Board Member. Val reported on activities that MARINet, Innovative, and Mill Valley had been taking on this problem, and the results. The issue is serious, and MARINet is researching additional ramifications. Val reported that MARINet is working on the permissions setups for extra hires and subs. It requires detail work and is progressing slowly. She indicated that a request has come in from San Rafael to password certain longtime volunteers who work in cataloging. Vaughn Stratford spoke to the issue, and explained the San Rafael Library accepted the associated liability. Given that circumstance, the Board agreed to the passwording of specifically identified volunteers.

 Board Letter to Committees & Action Form

 A draft of a Board Letter to Committees, the Board's Annual Goals for MARINet, and a proposed Action Form for Committees was considered next. Sara Loyster stepped members through the letter, and Board Members had several suggestions. Sara will incorporate these and return corrected copies to MARINet.

 Audit Decision for Two-Year Catch Up Tabled

Val reported that the Marin County Auditor's Office had been asking whether or not MARINet wished to contract with them for the two-year catch-up audit. After discussion, the Board is contemplating amending the JPA on this topic; thus, the issue was tabled.

SuperSearch Icon To Go on MARINet Webpac Search Screen

No feedback was received on the query to staff concerning the location of the SuperSearch icon. The choices were (1 locate it individually on each individual library's web page; or, (2 locate it on the bottom of the MARINet search screen with some type of comment urging patrons to search further if the item isn't found in the MARINet system. At the moment, a test SuperSearch link is hidden under Help Screens on the WEBPAC for everyone to try before launching. It doesn't not have a tailored URL. MARINet will need to request a customized URL from SuperSearch; or remove it entirely and let each library put up its own SuperSearch icon, depending on the Board's decision. Libby Flynn spoke in favor of placing separate icons on each library's web page. Sara Loyster spoke against fragmenting patron searches, and in favor making it easy for patrons by placing a SuperSearch link at the bottom of the MARINet WEBPAC search screen: "when patrons are searching for titles in the library they are not doing it from the library's home page--they're searching in the MARINet catalog." After discussion, the Board confirmed the previous decision made at the retreat, to place the SuperSearch link at the bottom of the MARINet webpac search screen. Val Morehouse will contact SuperSearch about exchanging the test URL for a real one and let everyone know when it is ready.

EBSCO Online Periodical Database Approved

 Val referred the Board to a printed comparison of online database offers, and to some additional background data that had come in from new vendors. Over the past six months, MARINet arranged vendor trials from Innovative, R.R. Bowker, EBSCOhost, UMI/Proquest, and Gale/IAC. Board Members reported on comments that had been made to them by their staff members concerning content and interface from the various vendors. The Board decided to contract with Innovative for Books In Print and with EBSCO for a periodical index for a one year period.

 Referring Email Reference Questions Received by MARINet

 This issue surfaced when a patron from the Corte Madera library sent a non-system reference question to the MARINet office via the "email us" function on the MARINet web page. Since this was not a system how-to question (which Val herself answers), she attempted to refer the reference question back to the patron's home library of Corte Madera. A lengthy exchange of emails between Val and county library staff ensued, concerning whether or not the specific email reference question, or any email reference questions would be accepted by them. Although the specific issue was resolved, general questions remain: what should MARINet do with (1 email reference questions sent to MARINet which have a clear MARINet home library attached to the patron; and, (2 with email reference questions sent to MARINet when the library is not a MARINet library? Val reported that Carol Starr said reference staff tell her they are overburdened and are unable to deal with email questions; but that Carol's email also indicated she felt the libraries should handle them as they do telephone reference questions, and that MARINet should refer questions back to the home library. After discussion, it was the consensus of the Board that if the patron's home library is a MARINet library, MARINet should refer the question back to that home library: if the question is from a patron whose home library is not a MARINet library, the question should be referred back to the outside library. Val would continue to handle those incoming system questions.

System Update

Official announcements about the MARINet system involving hardware or software will come from the MARINet office only. For example, the rumor concerning the eminent demise of email on the Innopac was widely circulated, and untrue. Only MARINet is on Innovative's special contact list for letters and email on these topics. If MARINet doesn't distribute the information, then assume it is rumor or gossip, and dismiss it.

Val reported that besides spending considerable time at Millenium workshops at the III User Group conference in April, she has been working with Aaron Blazer on a possible multi-module Millenium purchase (a package price) that could be installed over the next 3 plus years. Tentatively, she has been discussing basic modules such as acquisitions, serials control, circulation, database maintenance, plus some modules yet to be determined. She filled out a survey for Aaron to help him come up with a proposal. Preliminary investigation shows that the discount would run into four figures for each module packaged this way. The Board requested that Val obtain more information.

III also provided recommendations for minimum hardware needed to perform Millenium functions: Pentium II 266 MHz and 64Mb RAM with 50 Mb free disk space, Windows 95, Netscape 4.04 or later and Java plug-in version 1.2. Val emphasized that this was the minimum; and, she does not recommend purchasing the minimum configuration for staff use, since staff tend to do multiple functions at once and keep multiple windows or applications open simultaneously. The result would be crashes and sluggishness. An improved configuration would be a Pentium @ 350 MHz & 128 RAM with larger disk drive and the software listed above. She does not recommend purchasing a celaron because Innovative does not recommend it (which usually means the software has not been tested with it). Any problems surfacing due to incompatible chips would receive little consideration if a library has not followed III's recommendations. Val also directed the Board's attention to a letter from III dated May 4, 1999, and a follow-up dated May 14, 1999 in which Innovative states its revised policy on support for peripheral equipment. III details what they will and will not continue to support.

With more and more PC's are in the consortium, Val recommended that each library maintain a PC-by-PC logbook with all setups, configurations, licenses, and changes done on each PC. This would allow library staff and/or any technician to assess the status of the PC by checking the logbook when repairs or upgrades are needed. A list of things to include in a logbook was included in the Board packet. The Board requested that the Systems Integration Group create an input form for the PC Logbook.

Val addressed the issue of pending contracts for tech support. MARINet and individual libraries have experienced problems this past year that need to be clarified in any potential contract. Val went over the list of contractual issues (included in the Board packet). Most revolve around responsibility for supervision, evaluation, backup, and communication/reporting. Val urged Members not to enter into a contract with these issues still unclarified. Otherwise, these will continue to cause confusion, appeals to MARINet to fix-the-fixes (already paid for once), and less than optimal service.

Next came some housekeeping and data maintenance issues: MARINet needs a count of how many EM320W licenses each library currently owns and how many they need in the coming year. Once obtained, it should be possible to pay for a consortium site license. Val reminded everyone that the telephone number overlay in the 415 area code will affect Marin, and the MARINet system. Neighbors living next door to each other can have different area codes. Every library circulation desk needs to add the area code to existing patron records, and make sure that any new patrons registered have complete phone numbers (including the area code) entered.

Under software adds, changes and orders, the "new PIN" message has been added to the WEBPAC. At the request of the Bibliographic Standards Committee, the MARC validity table has been updated. Web Access Management has been ordered from III. The Subject and Title re-indexes have been ordered. Marin County Library is considering purchasing Output to Third Party Accounting Software from III to mount on the system. The idea is to interface output from the system's fund accounting in Acquisitions with the county MARS system. This would eliminate double keying. Anne Montgomery stated that individual software purchases like that, which will affect system maintenance costs for all, need to be brought to the Board. Val Morehouse said it has not been ordered; therefore, now is the time to voice any objections. The Board approved Marin County Library's purchase of Output to Third Party Accounting Software.

Val requested clarification on whether or not it is a MARINet-wide policy that all reserves placed (whether staff or patron placed) will be 50 cents, since West Marin libraries are giving the first reserve free to individuals. Members stated that it is not MARINet-wide.

 Belvedere-Tiburon requests clarification on what to do about holds placed on order records when the title is indefinitely delayed by the publisher. An example would be Crichton's Timeline. The consensus was that those 6 months or older should be removed by the ordering library from the order and the patron notified. A free holds letter to the patron was suggested, as they would already have been charged 50 cents for the never appearing hold.

 Mayors' and Councilmembers JPA Oversight Group

Anne Montgomery reported that she had attended the meeting of the oversight group at their request. Apparently they are going through the list of JPA's of which there are over 30 in the county. The city managers spoke in favor of an oversight mechanism for public accountability, and Anne felt that some type of JPA oversight was a given. This might be in the form of a periodic report to the oversight group and copies of certain documents. She said that the group got the message that MARINet is operating very well.

Committee Updates: Circulation, Bibliographic, & TUG

 Symptomatic of why there are so many expired patrons in the database, the expired patron's cleanup is going slowly, as only a few of the circulation folks have responded to Val's review file, indicating that they have addressed the issue. Val will keep trying.

On the database maintenance issue, Val Morehouse has redone the bad records review file, adding more questionable records to the "x" coded records discussed at last month's Board meeting. Bev Burke of the Bibliographic Standards Committee then prepared an analysis handout on the "questionable records" needing upgrading, showing who owns what. The Bibliographic Standards Committee members asked Val to express to the Board Members that in order to make progress on the backlog of poor records cataloging staff would need "focus time". Val elaborated on "focus time" to mean a certain number of hours per week to work specifically on the poor records. This might require a schedule reallocation or some other modification by each Board Member in their capacity as Library Director. Board Members felt that the catalogers (aka Bibliographic Standards) should definitely weed first before putting effort into tattered or outdated material. Val expressed the idea the Public Se rvices staff could certainly team on that, allowing catalogers to use focus time on snagging good records to replace the poor ones.

The Technology User's Group mentor's job description is posted on the Intranet under the "Members Only" area. TUG members were introduced to the MARINet Intranet and to the mentor's job description at the May TUG meeting.

The next meeting will be June 24th at Civic Center, Room 410 B, 9:00 AM.


 Agenda for the May Meeting

MARINet Automation Update: 3/13/99-4/30/99

MARINet Monthly Budget 98-99 Report by Category as of 4/30/99.

 MARINet Sinking Fund showing interest earned as of 4/1/99.

Draft Board Letter to Committees and Proposed Action Form

Call Numbers List

Comparison of Online Database Offers so Far

May 4th Letter from Innovative concerning Maintenance of Peripheral Equipment

PC Logbook: Records to Keep on Library PC's

PC Support Contractual Issues to Address

Memo from Beverly Burke concerning Bib Records needing Upgrading

C:\data\board\990527m.doc vm


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