Management Council notes – February 12, 2015

Management Council notes

February 12, 2015


Menninger Room 206

Present:  Cindy Hohl, David King, Diana Friend, Gina Millsap, Ivan Johnson, LeAnn Petrie, Marie Pyko, Nancy Lindberg, Paul Brennan, Rob Banks, Ruth Rodden, Sandy Hestand, Scarlett Fisher-Herreman, Sheryl Weller, Stephanie Hall, Stephen Lusk, Thad Hartman, Ted Yungclas

Meeting Purpose: Discuss MC meeting structure, cell phones, programs and Aspen Institute

Expected Product: Ideas on meeting structure for remainder of the year, guidance on cell phones and programs and rich discussion of Aspen Institute Report Rising to the Challenge: Re-Envisioning Public Libraries

The February 12, 2015 meeting of the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library Management Council was called to order by facilitator Thad Hartman at 2:00pm. Thad asked the Council to review minutes from January 29, 2015 for additions, corrections and identification of action items. There were no action items. Minutes were accepted as submitted.

Ideas relating to Management Council Structure

In follow up to prior discussion, Thad Hartman develop and distributed an outline of a plan for structuring Management Council meetings and went through it with the group (attached). The outline formalized some of the things the group already does and built in time for more learning and discussion along with brainstorming sessions. Discussion followed and these additional items, thoughts and ideas were included:

  • Include something fun to do at meetings/team building
  • Keep in mind that MC is the brain trust for the organization and we need to use and take advantage of what we have → use our time wisely
  • There was general acceptance and positive feedback to the concept of the hand out. It was noted that there would need to be flexibility.
  • Meetings need to last no more than two hours
  • Breaking up in to small groups is beneficial at times → brainstorming sessions.
  • Try using proposed framework at next meeting.

Voiceover Internet Protocol (VOIP)

Ruth Rodden and David King shared information from the recent VOIP committee. The Library has seven cell phones that can be used at off-site locations (3 for Bookmobile, 2 for vans, 2 Red Carpet). From time to time there are situations when a cell phone is needed but there is not one available. Ruth and David led discussion about cell phone use, cell phone need, and determining whether we need more cell phones. With plans to expand programming and services in to the community we may need additional phones which will not be part of the new VOIP. It needs to be determined why an employee would need a cell phone (i.e. a bookmobile won’t start, an outreach story teller needs directions to a location, a Red Carpet driver needs to let next client know the van is on the way, etc.)

Ruth and David will meet with managers and supervisors to discuss departmental needs and if there have been times that a cell phone would have been of use but was not available.  They will determine how many non-VOIP phones would be needed considering the following factors: employee’s interest, public’s interest, library’s interest, and law. David will prepare a bulleted list of what the possibilities and advantages would be for Library issued cell phones and the level of functionality needed for these phones.

A side discussion occurred relating to BYOD (Bringing Your Own Device) to use at work. There are several models available where businesses and corporations use this plan. Among the issues that the Library faces regarding BYOD is exempt and non-exempt employee’s utilization of cell phones and whether or not they can/should use their personal devices for work outside of Library Hours (i.e. checking e-mail off the clock). Establishing a specific app for personnel was discussed along with blocking external e-mail and/or permitting access on certain devices. In addition, setting security thresholds and protocols need to be done. One thought is that employees should be using library phones and the Library should provide the proper equipment. Other employees’ schedules and calendars intertwine to the point using two phones is counterproductive and the employee wants to keep calendars and have access to work e-mail on their personal phone. Gina agreed to speak with Chuck Engel about the BYOD issue and we will plan to have him come and speak to the Management Council soon – when his schedule permits.


Cindy Hohl reported that she still needs to hear from people regarding programming plans. She has reviewed the last two copies of Library News and found a couple of items that might express the goals that the Library is supporting.

Gina Millsap referred to an e-mail sent to supervisors and managers via Sheryl regarding the staff conference budget summary for 2015 which had been previously approved. Gina asked everyone to review the list and to talk to her in advance if they have an employee who wants to attend a conference that is not included on the list.

The Aspen Institute Report – Rising to the Challenge: Re-Envisioning Public Libraries

The Gates Foundation and IMLS were both involved as participants and funders of the report which will be used at the local, state and federal levels to engage community members, stakeholders and decision makers in understanding the new role and potential of libraries to effect change in their communities.

In preparation for discussion at today’s meeting supervisors and managers read Rising to the Challenge: Re-Envisioning Public Libraries in advance. Gina Millsap distributed possible questions (below) for discussion and gave brief background information. She reminded the group that she chairs the Advocacy Committee for ALA whose main focus is Information Policy, Leadership, and Advocacy, and that she works closely with another advocacy working group jointly formed through ALA and COLA.

After the Aspen Report was published, Gina made contact with Amy Garmer, Director, Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries, The Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program and the primary author of the report. Gina informed Amy of the enthusiasm expressed by our Board of Trustees and Staff regarding the report and our interest in using it as a basis for our community planning workshops. She also discussed with Amy our need for a discussion model that can be used for our staff, our board and our community. Subsequently, we have been invited to be a pilot site for the development of a model for using the report as the basis for a community-wide discussion. TSCPL will be the first model community in a pilot project sponsored by an IMLS grant. The state of Connecticut has been selected to be the model state for the pilot.

Gina asked the group to review the possible discussion questions and select four or five to talk about this afternoon. A “brainstorming” format was used allowing five minutes for ideas and thoughts to be recorded.

Possible Discussion Questions:

  • What excites you most about the findings in the Aspen Institute report?
  • What are we already doing that we can tie to goals framed in the report?
  • What are the barriers you see to executing on the ambitions and particulars of the report?
  • How would you surmount those barriers?
  • What’s needed to accomplish the goals?
  • The report says, “Public libraries that align their people, place and community goals will find greatest opportunities for success in the years ahead.” How would you define TSCPL’s platform?
  • Do we know our community’s goals and aspirations?
  • What community goals in Topeka and Shawnee County can the library advance by aligning its people, places and platform with them?
  • How would we measure outcomes to know if we are making a positive impact in the attainment of these goals?
  • What are our library’s people assets?
  • What are our library’s place assets?
  • What are our library’s platform assets?
  • The report identifies challenges and critical success factors in achieving this new vision of public libraries. Let’s discuss each of these factors and determine if TSCPL has what it needs or is performing as it should to transform and evolve.
  • Funding
  • Governance
  • Business Model
  • Measuring Outcomes
  • Balancing Local, State and National Interests

Questions Discussed

Do we know our community’s goals and aspirations?

Five minutes brainstorm

  • We have a strategic plan that we are completing (from 2008)
  • We are in the process of establishing a new plan. We are on the way to learning these.
  • Planning community meetings
  • Reference to Heartland Visioning’ s plan and their five areas of focus – Community Pride and services, Dynamic Core, Entertainment and quality of life, Parks and Recreation, and Transportation
  • Look at United Way – they have their own impact goals, Education (kids ready to read and on grade achievement), Income (finance), and Health (basic needs)
  • Legislative decisions causing deep budget cuts to education. Do we have a role in helping feed hungry kids – what is that?
  • (more people look to us and lean on us in times like these to assist)

Do we have a role in helping feed hungry kids – what is that?

  • Heartland Healthy Neighborhoods
  • Schools – have clubs after school with different focus
  • For this community to grow and thrive we need to have employers who can afford to pay employees a living wage so they can survive.
  • We have a really good shot at developing a strategic plan that can serve our community.

What excites you most about the findings in the Aspen report?

Five minutes brainstorm

  • Like the libraries platform we have built → not so building and program focused
  • Human capital within the Library, new role of the librarian
  • Being the national content and service hub. Not just tied to what can be afforded but being part of a consortium that can share with other libraries
  • Going to locations where children are – i.e. Nashville’s program where they bring services into the schools → go where they are.
  • Libraries make knowledge/society available to all
  • The public libraries have the stature needed for success and the respect of the public. We level the playing field. We make the community better.
  • We are on the right track. Proud of ourselves. We are in a community that has a lot of challenges but the community supports it library.
  • Our funding structure → we’re fortunate to the governing and funding structure we have.

What’s needed to accomplish the goals?

Five minute brain storm

  • What goals?
  • Have to align ourselves with the community, share resources, write grants together
  • Need by-in, need leading industry leaders to advocate for us and to invest in us. Political leaders need to support us.
  • Need the private sector people
  • We need to make some noise → people need to know what we do.
  • Political savvy – Aware of legislature move to make elections party based.
  • Bill before legislature to prevent university professors from writing opinions and publishing them.
  • People don’t understand what happened to school finance
  • Aspen Institute Report → Connecticut State Library, bringing in legislators
  • Don’t have to start from scratch, be sure to utilize what tools and models are available.
  • Maximize human capital in the library, the more it is used, the more it grows. This is happening throughout the community and will continue to grow.
  • Have to organize around the work. Might have to up our training, up our expectations. Look at having the right people to have the right skill set to support efforts to be out in the community.
  • No silos
  • (don’t have) Mission creep – how we go about advocating positive change. What is it and at what level. How do we balance? → be mindful of the mission.
  • In the ASPEN report it specifies that the Spanish speaking population in the U.S. will be near 30% by 2050.  We (in Topeka) already know this population is growing?   In order for us to reach our goal of having every child ready to read before kindergarten, we will need to communicate with this population?  How do we plan on reaching those parents that cannot speak English?  How can we best serve as a “cultural” change agent for our community?
  • According the ASPEN report libraries are playing a fairly new role in the workforce infrastructure?  It would seem to me that we could grow our footprint in the community by getting an understanding how we can better serve, current as well as potential incoming businesses?

How would we measure outcomes to know if we are making positive impact in the attainment of these goals?

Five minute brain storm

  • Summer reading and test scores
  • How do we determine causal vs. correlation
  • Document behaviors → aggregate information
  • Survey of experiential activities – correlate to readiness for school
  • How do we transition from traditional transactions?
  • Adapt ILS counting to paint a broader picture of what is being checked out.
  • Still counting, but differently
  • Identify different statistics
  • Better use of distributing data we have – use our own data better
  • Key performance indicators – what value are you bringing?
  • – Example from casinos → new accounts and following up with the
  • – Example from casinos → how many players move up tiers
  • Measure what it means to be successful
  • Need better access → use logic models and others → outsource
  • Understand Methodology
  • Stats are not top of the mind of 95% of people – measure in the best way we can.
  • What do we know about assessment models? Quantitative/Qualitative
  • We sit among three Universities
  • Need to be involved with PLA process

What are we already doing that we can tie to goals framed in the report?

Five minute brain storm

  • Broadband work group/partnership → Government Partners
  • Early childhood reading initiatives
  • –  3rd Bookmobile
  • –  Children’s Library
  • –  Family place
  • –  Out in the community
  • –  Creative environments
  • –  Planning and delivery of story times
  • Building skill sets of staff and having them take initiatives into the community
  • We have 40 trained facilitators
  • Changes to librarian jobs
  • Freeing up staff to go out into the community
  • Using technology and the Digital Branch
  • Work we do with Hi-Crest
  • 712 Innovations embedded librarian
  • Kansas Children Discovery Center (KCDC) partnership → MOU
  • Librarians as curators
  • Hiring a Customer Experience manager
  • Getting out into the community
  • Embedded Librarians → where are hidden communities
  • Still managing physical collections and bringing in digital collections → neighborhood and beyond → help use business data bases
  • Those who go out into and hold memberships in service organizations
  • Our great databases – excellent resources to support our databases
  • Bibframe – replaces mark records
  • Building relationships
  • What is the toolkit and the core competencies for being a library today? Where are we learning how to do partnerships and customer experience? (not at library school)
  • Need training for developing partnerships
  • Learning throughout life
  • Learning in the digital environment
  • Continuing to be the peoples university
  • You can take control of your life and your learning in a public library

There was additional discussion about the Library as a Platform

Meeting adjourned

The meeting adjourned at 3:55pm.

Next meeting is scheduled for February 26, 2015 at 2:00 pm in Menninger Room 206

Sandy Hestand – facilitator



Comments are closed.