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System Director’s Report

April 2009

I am writing this report a bit early this month because I will be on vacation next week when Heidi will send out your mailing. We are in that part of April when it is getting green outside, the daffodils are in full bloom, but it was still spitting snow along with the rain two days ago.

We had a beautiful day for our 2009 Annual Meeting, the theme of which was “Customer Service: Putting the Pieces Together.” The staff did a great job organizing the event with equal measures of content and fun. The morning speaker, Donelle Hintermeister, provided a lot of practical advice about customer service. Jan Berg, and other library members of the Technology Planning Committee, led a group process in the afternoon to reach agreement on “Technology Responsibilities of Member Libraries.” These “responsibilities,” or shared values, will be a companion piece to the “SCLS Staff Strategies for Technology.” Together they form a social contract and a shared foundation on which to build future technology services.

Member libraries continue to be extremely busy, and the Summer Library Program has not even started. Circulation for LINK libraries (not including Madison) was up more than 7% at the end of March over 2008 YTD totals. With Madison included, it was up 4.85%. Increases in circulation also mean increases in delivery volume. We had a meeting last week to begin to plan the delivery budget for 2010. From this distance our crystal ball is cloudy when it comes to fuel prices, but some counties begin budget discussions in April and the statewide delivery advisory group meets in May, so we just have to make our best guess.

There will be no Public Library Advisory Meeting in May because so many of our staff and members will be at the Wisconsin Association of Public Libraries (WAPL) conference in the Dells. Both the Wisconsin Public Library Consortium (WPLC) and the System Resource Librarians and Administrators of Wisconsin (SRLAAW) are taking advantage of the WAPL gathering to have meetings the day before the conference. On the agenda for the SRLAAW meeting is an exchange of information and ideas to increase library chances to get stimulus funding.

The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) has created a website with basic information on the $7.2 billion in federal broadband funding. They are working on a statewide application to get fiber into all schools and libraries in the state. According to the DPI, all schools and libraries should qualify to submit grants for the education and training purposes referenced in the federal law. We will be looking into this opportunity.

Our audit report will be delayed until the June meeting, but we should be ready to take action on the lease for the new facility in May. I’ll see you on the 11th.