The Library Citizens’ Oversight Committee (COC) met this morning in the community room of Madelyn Helling Library (with a video-conference link to one of its members in Truckee). After considering in detail three proposals (including the most recent from LSSI) the COC voted officially and unanimously to recommend the latest iteration of the Truckee Friends of the Library (TFOL) proposal which was first presented to the committee on January 4th, and reworked for this session with the help of county staff.
The COC recommendation and the recommendations of the two other working committees will be given to Rick Haffey later in the month, where they will all be evaluated by his office. Out of that process, Rick Haffey will eventually make a recommendation to a subsequent meeting of the full county Board of Supervisors.
Given the multifaceted nature of the process, it’s fair to say that all options are still in play. How much influence the decision of the COC has on the remaining committee processes is yet to be seen.
Present for the meeting were: Regular voting members Diane Davis (chairperson), Jack Ricks, Christine Trussler and Ruth Jackson Hall (in Truckee); Mary Ann Trygg (county librarian); Mary Ross (Chief Fiscal & Admin Officer, IGS Dept.); Steve Monaghan (county CIO).
Perhaps a half dozen guests, including me, were also present in the community room at Madelyn Helling, and several other people were at the Truckee end with Ruth Hall, presumably members of the Truckee Friends of the Library.
In brief, the now-officially-endorsed TFOL proposal has the following highlights (adapted from Mary Ross’s summary):
Keeps all libraries open (Foley would be managed by the western county Friends of the Library).
Retains a high level of professional staffing as compared to scenario #2, and keeps the Penn Valley and Bear River stations open.
Helling and Truckee Libraries would be open 37 hours per week, and Grass Valley 35 hours. Penn Valley at 20 hours, and Bear River at 14 hours, remain as currently scheduled.
In order to maintain this level of service, one Librarian position is eliminated, and the other Librarian positions are reduced to 30 or 35 hours per week, except for the two Children’s Librarians, which are reduced to 20 hours per week.
Literacy Program staff are retained at a level that corresponds with the restricted funding expected to be available for that program.
Significantly, the financial analysis done by county staff for this proposal shows a positive library fund (“savings account”) balance projected out through fiscal year 2014-2015, with the balance troughing to $32,442 in 2012-2013 and rising thereafter.
As with the LSSI proposal, the plan calls for an overall budget deficit by the end of the 2010 fiscal year of over $250,000. Only “option B” (close Penn Valley and Bear River) shows a smaller budget deficit ($72,000) for the current fiscal year.
Whatever uncertainty clouds these financial projections obviously clouds all scenarios equally.
After the committee completed its official vote, Diane Davis asked if anyone present had other suggestions for fundraising.
Among the suggestions were the following:
Outsource book purchasing
Outsource internal support services
Outsource literacy progarm (but note: state currently provides 2/3rds of literacy program funds)
Self checkout (already being implemented)
Community fund-raising (e.g., NCTV telethon, etc.)
Grants (note: Mary Ann Trygg has already worked extensively on this)
Several people, both committee members and guests, echoed the sentiment about LSSI expressed well by Ruth Jackson Hall in Truckee: “We’ve asked a lot of specific questions that have been answered with generalities.”
There seemed to be a general consensus in the room that with LSSI, “there are just too many uncertainties.”
There were concerns about how LSSI would handle staffing, service levels and financing, and whether they would be able to report on other low-level details about the relation of revenue to services.
In this case, the Devil may actually be in LSSI’s absence of details.
The next meeting will be of the Library Ad Hoc Committee on Wednesday, January 20th at 8 a.m. in the Empire Room on the second floor of the Rood Center.