Meeting Minutes of the Merlin Consortium
November 10, 2016
Northern Waters Library Service
I. Call to Order
Chair Courtney Dietsche called the meeting to order at 10:05 a.m.
II. Quorum Determination/Recognition of Proxies
Quorum (of 20 members) was determined with the following attendees: Sherry Machones, Michelle Gostomski, Mike Sheehan, Marsha Sorensen (NWLS); Blair Nelson (Bayfield); Kristine Lendved (Cable); Nan Andrews (Eagle River); Kristina Kelley-Johnson (Grantsburg); Ann Larson (Hayward); Courtney Dietsche (Iron River); Caryl Pfaff (LCO College); Julie Zelten (Land o’ Lakes); Connie Ross (Madeline Island); Teresa Schmidt (Mercer); Pam Eschenbauch (Presque Isle); Ida Nemec (Sayner); Amy Stormberg (Shell Lake); Sue Heskin (Superior); Patti Meyer (Webster).
Ann Larson was proxy for Molly Lank-Jones (Hayward).
Courtney then presented Kevin Stranberg who facilitated a discussion on developing Mission, Vision and Value Statements for the Merlin Long Range Plan. Notes of that discussion are being sent under separate cover.
The group broke for a lunch recess at Noon and reconvened at 12:35 pm.
III. Approval of the July 21, 2016 Consortium Meeting Minutes
Kristine Lendved moved to approve the minutes. Seconded by Nan Andrews. There were no comments. Passed unanimously.
IV. Approval of Financial Reports
Michelle Gostomski presented the Merlin financial statements. She remarked on some notes related to the Merlin Budget that was passed at the July meeting for the year 2017. Teresa Schmidt moved to accept the financial statements as presented. Seconded by Julie Zelten. There were no comments. Passed unanimously.
V. Other Business
• Merlin Officer Election
Courtney distributed the ballots for the officer’s election. There were a few absentee ballots cast already. The results of the vote were as follows:
- For Chair, Teresa Schmidt received 21 votes.
- For Vice-Chair, Sue Heskin received 21 votes.
- For Secretary, Mike Sheehan received 18 votes and write-in Shirley Miller received 3 votes.
- The Treasurer is held by the NWLS Office Manager, Michelle Gostomsk.
Officers will assume duties at the first meeting of 2017.
• Presentation of Enhanced Mobile Access
Mike Sheehan offered information on options to the Merlin mobile app which has not been evaluated since its launch in 2010. He presented a comparison of the Boopsie app (used by many libraries) and the MyLibrary app (which is an Innovative Interfaces product).
MyLibrary is currently cost prohibitive and unavailable to consortiums. There was support for the Boopsie app used by the Milwaukee CountyCat consortium and the Allen Park Public Library, with features that include library locations, hours, events, social media and database connections as well as the Merlin catalog.
Mike was directed to set up a demonstration with the Boospie representative for the next Merlin meeting so lingering questions could be addressed. Kristina Kelley-Johnson asked for NWLS to draft a few options for how members could pay for this program. These options will be brought to the next Merlin meeting as well.
• Book Club Cards
Marsha Sorensen began the discussion with proposals for managing book club requests that would address concerns she has with current practices that have been conflicting with consortium standards.
Libraries agreed the options presented be used as “best practices” with a change that would allow book club members more time to pick up items. Marsha was asked if problems were wide-spread or if libraries could be worked with individually. Marsha is aware of holdshelves not being cleared regularly when there are books waiting to be picked up by book club members. She also explained that best practices would help Hayward manage their 18 book club groups and prevent popular materials from being held for prolonged periods of time.
Marsha will send out new procedures with the revisions and add them to the Merlin training materials on the NWLS website. Mike Sheehan suggested we revisit this sometime next year to see if the practices have helped resolve the issues Marsha was noticing.
Teresa Schmidt moved for adjournment of the meeting at 1:43 p.m. and Amy Stormberg seconded. Passed unanimously.
The next meeting will be February 16, 2017 via Go-To-Webinar.
Michael G. Sheehan
The session began with Kevin requesting the group go around the room and introduce themselves individually stating: who they are, what library they represent, and what they expect to get out of this discussion. Kevin wrote down attendees expectations in order to set the planning process in motion.
He then outlined the global view of what a strategic plan usually entails:
• Mission statement (telling who you are)
• Vision (of who you can become)
• Values (describing what you believe in)
• Pillars of Success (which are directional in nature, looking at the next 3-5 years)
• Goals (as a measurement tool)
• Strategic Tactics (your approach to reaching those goals)
• Action Plans (showing specific actions to be taken)
Kevin mentioned he normally tries to set a 5-year plan with leapfrogging plans. He also believes it is important to evaluate the mission/vision/values annually. Some groups he has worked with keep one of these pieces as an agenda topic at every meeting.
Kevin noted he was confused about the Merlin Long Range Plan in the environment of existing system plans and member library plans. He also noted that the Plan was more of a task list; operational but not strategic. There were some comments from library directors who are on the Long Range Planning Committee that acknowledged they drafted the plan knowing it was missing elements of a bigger, broader vision. Their work is very task oriented which is why the plan is heavy on tasks. There was agreement by members of the Long Range Planning Committee that the current plan is operational. Kevin did relate that all the Planning Committee’s work was not in vain since a lot of that task-centric can be used in developing the action plan part of the Plan.
Kevin then got the group thinking about the mission of Merlin, advising us to ask the question of who we are. After some discussion, the group came up with the statement: “Merlin exists to assist member libraries to provide access to an integrated system of resources for library patrons.” It was understood this statement would need to be fleshed out or refined a bit more, but it provides a starting point for the group.
Then Kevin had the group move on to a vision (based on the mission statement) by asking the question of where we see ourselves five years from now. Or we could ask what we want to become. Visions included:
• Valued autonomy
• Continued shared resources
• Have libraries help each other accomplish goals
• Larger scale in the region
• Make Merlin the go-to resource
• Seamless access and barrier free
• Efficient gateway to services
A working vision could be seen as: “Efficient gateway to library services by eliminating barriers.”
Next, Kevin had the group move onto value statements or express what attendees would be core values. Responses included:
• Equal access for all patrons
• Support intellectual freedom
• Enhancing quality of life
• Facilitate lifelong learning
• Patron privacy
• Free access to materials
• Policies encouraging library use
• Efficient use of our resources
• Provide a safe environment
• Intuitive technology
• Outreach beyond walls
• Places to create and experiment
• Sufficient funding
• Exposure to experiences and ideas/a broader world
• Quick and friendly service
• Community gathering place
• Community value/presence
Since there is overlap of values with Merlin and member libraries, Kevin suggested we may need to include some markers with the value statements.
Everyone was then asked to choose four top value statements that apply to Merlin and write them down on post-it-notes. The results were tallied and Kevin listed the top 5 values based on the consensus of the group. These statements were:
• Free & equal access for all patrons
• Promote library use
• Efficient use of resources
Kevin mentioned we could maybe add intuitive technology as another to the list or work it as a replacement if one of the others didn’t work as well.
Since the session time was coming to a close, Kevin addressed what we have accomplished in these two hours so far: developing a mission, a vision, and some value statements, as well as getting the consortium to think of the future instead of just the present with the details. He advised that a sub-committee be developed to work on the wordsmithing of these plan facets. The following people volunteered to serve on this sub-committee:
• Teresa Schmidt
• Kristine Lendved
• Amy Stormberg
Nan Andrews was willing to serve as an alternate or consultant to the sub-committee. Any electronic meetings the sub-committee would perform could be set up by NWLS staff. The sub-committee will report on polished definitions at the first meeting of 2017.
The consortium showed much gratitude to Kevin for helping us achieve some solid stepping stones in refining the Merlin Long Range Plan.