First board meeting: no online agenda, budget, tech, etc…

Last week I attended my first board meeting of the library trustees. Since I hope I’ll be on the board soon, I thought it would be a good idea to get my bearings with how their meetings are run.

Nothing surprising overall, the meetings are run in pretty much the same way all local government meetings are. The board president (Bob Hall) ran the meeting, with the interim executive director Michael Crose acting in the same way I’ve seen city managers or county administrator interact.

Anyway, here are a few notes from the meeting:

1. At the time of the meeting (and still up to this point) there is no agenda posted online. For a system this big, this is kind of annoying and troubling. If I was a library patron from one of the outlying counties, it would be near impossible to decide whether to attend based on a agenda that doesn’t exist online.

2. There was a presentation on the budget, with the most interesting note coming from Crose who observed that the system is quickly becoming a single revenue source entity: property tax. As you might be able to tell from the name of the library system, private timber taxes used to make up a healthy portion of revenue. But, in the coming years, Crose observed that timber taxes will trend down to zero percent of the budget (from under 10 percent now).

3. The library system is updating its library catalog software. To me, this is excellent news. I’ve had some issues in the past with the current software (how hard it is to link to a particular item in the catalog).

Some local examples of the new system Timberland will be using can be seen at Kitsap and Pierce county libraries. The Pierce is example is pretty cool, because it shows that the new system could allow patrons to review books.

There were some some more items covered
, but I’m hoping to save them for individual posts. In the future, I hope these meeting reports become a bit more timely and smooth.

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8 Comments

Filed under Meeting reports

8 responses to “First board meeting: no online agenda, budget, tech, etc…

  1. Andrew Poultridge

    Emmett, this is the best Timberland related news I have heard in a while. I hope you can influence the new director’s hiring and bring the TRL web page into the 21st century.

    In addition to an online agenda I think it would be swell to explore ways for citizens to attend the board meetings remotely. TRL covers over 7,000 square miles so there is always someone who is a long way away no matter where in the district the meeting is held.

  2. *sigh* At a glance, I hate both of those catalogs. Okay, so maybe hate is a strong word, but I’m picky about these things. Neither catalog is as intuitive as it should be for its main purpose: searching for and finding resources.

    Plus I didn’t see the ability to permalink anywhere.

    My snipes aside, good luck getting on the board, and I’ll look forward to reading your thoughts!

    Are you going to be the Thurston County rep, or an at-large rep? And how do you swing getting appointed by a county commissioner?

    I’m curious about this process.

  3. I answered some of my own questions (also helps I looked at some of your older posts). I see the Thurston County seat expires in March.

    Good luck!

  4. Looks like reviews are powered by http://chilifresh.com/ — I’m guessing it could (in theory) even be integrated into the current system.

    If they showed both Kitsap & Pierce, they must still be in the evaluation state, since those look to be powered by two competing vendors. (Current system is same vendor as Kitsap, I think, but the version they have is being phased out after a merger.) Wonder if they’ve looked at http://koha.org/ ?

  5. In parenthetical in previous comment: “they” == TRL.

  6. Marissa

    Congratulations Emmett. I’m so happy you took this step. I hope you are appointed and can positively influence the library even more then you do already! 🙂 Marissa

  7. Emmett, I know you’re already educating yourself, but you might also get something out of these videos put out by the State Library in Wyoming.

    http://www.veoh.com/browse/videos/category/educational/watch/v15585156eayqsJPg

    They’re fairly entertaining, and there’s a whole series of them.

  8. Kelsey

    Elaine- I can say with relative security that open source is not in Timberland’s future. One can dream, though…

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