The following email was sent to all LINC users, directors, and Board/Agency administrators today. Please let Pat Boze (firstname.lastname@example.org) know if you have questions or comments.
"The financial picture of the state of Illinois has been in turmoil for the past several years, and the turmoil began to effect library systems more severely beginning in March 2010. The problem was that the grant payments that LTLS and other systems rely on for funding was seriously delayed. Fortunately we continue to receive our funds but the delay has had an effect on services. The Illinois State Library advised library systems in May 2010 that this funding delay was expected to continue and that it was imperative that System Boards consider options to eliminate duplication of services. Beginning in July 2010, Lincoln Trail Libraries System, Lewis & Clark Library System, Rolling Prairie Library System, and Shawnee Library System began a process to merge operations. The four systems began this process with the assumption that state funds would continue but the actual payments would be delayed.
As part of this process, the four systems’ automation programs are working on a collaborative plan to achieve the same economics of scale that a single library system would provide - eliminating redundancy in processes with the ultimate goal of improving services. The long-term goal is for the automation systems to migrate to a single automation platform within a 1 – 4 year time frame. This is exciting work that could mean considerable cost-savings, opportunities for bringing new libraries into the group, enhanced resource-sharing opportunities across an even more diverse group of multitype libraries, and additional enhanced services for library users in this new system area as well.
What each of you wants to know is what is the short-term strategy for the LINC (Libraries IN Cooperation) automation program in FY2012 and 2013. Our plans are simple:
- LINC will continue to be the main bibliographic and resource-sharing resource for area libraries and their patrons.
- There will be automation and cataloging staff to manage the operation of LINC that will continue to provide at least the same level of technical support and service as they have in the past.
- LINC staff will continue to support the current LINC governance structure as they have in the past.
- LINC will be administered by the new system entity that will be the contractual agent for the existing contracts that allow LINC services to be offered. These contracts include:
- Horizon and its many modules (Circulation, Cataloging, Acquisitions, Serials, Homebound, Homeroom, Reserve Room, Debt Collect, Remote Patron Authentication, etc.)
- LTI Authority Control
- Library Elf
- WebFeat Database Access
- Syndetics Solutions Enhanced Content
- Library Thing, Shelf Browse and Library Anywhere Mobile Catalog
- SIP and SIP2 access
- Email server for email notification
- WorldCat Local QuickStart support
- OCLC Cataloging and Batch Holdings
- Alpha-G utilities
- The LINC Cataloging Center will continue to provide a service of original and copy catalog for non-cataloging center libraries, utilizing OCLC as the sole source for cataloging records
- The existing LTLS Automation Equity Fund of over $430,000 will be maintained as a separate fund in the new system entity for the purpose of enhancing the LINC services and/or replacing the automation platform.
- The FY2012 costs currently shared by the LINC membership will be held as close to the FY2011 costs as possible. The current shared cost model will not change in FY 2012.
- Delivery will continue to be a core service supported separately by the new system entity.
- If within the next 1-4 years the LINC automation group decides to migrate to a new automation platform, the new entity will do everything possible to keep costs affordable as well as investigate alternate additional funding to make this economically feasible.
We appreciate the support the LINC libraries have shown during this time of uncertainty. We have done our utmost to preserve the stability of LINC and realize how important this service is to the current LINC libraries. There is a document, LINC Planning Document FY2012 and Beyond, that is posted online: http://www.lincolntrail.info/linccommittees/linc-ic/LINCPlanDoc-01182011.pdf with additional information and a timeline.
This is an important issue for you to discuss with your Board at an upcoming meeting. LTLS staff are willing to come to discuss this issue with your Board, at you request, as well. Also, we will schedule regional visits with the LINC library directors in early February to answer questions and concerns they may have about the plan or LINC in general. Please feel free to email Pat Boze, email@example.com, with additional questions or to schedule a Board discussion time.
We want to take this opportunity to thank you for your invaluable contributions and continued support for the rich library resource-sharing environment that has been cooperatively built over that past 30 years by all of you, for your users."