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System Director's Report:

April 2005

The Month in Review

April has been a busy month, but everything seems to be in progress, with nothing yet completed.

On April 5th, we brought in several vendors of RFID (radio frequency identification) technology to demonstrate their wares to interested member libraries, and on the 14th, LINK created a task force so that all the libraries interested in this technology (it functions like an electronic bar code but makes inventory management much easier) can continue to explore it, but at least in hope of ultimately settling upon a single acceptable solution for everyone.

On April 15th, WPLC (the Wisconsin Public Library Consortium) met and decided to proceed with an experimental deployment of Overdrive products. Overdrive sells audio books (a very popular item in our member libraries) but in downloadable electronic format. This should be a good counterpoint to our print e-book collection, but there are still several hurdles to overcome before it can be deployed in conjunction with our LINK network.

On April 18th, Phyllis and I met with our auditor and with a fundraiser with whom our auditor often works. They shared with us some organizational and fundraising ideas for our SCLS foundation to help us get through these days of deficits and tax freezes. Phyllis and I are reviewing our options and will bring more information about these possibilities to you over the months to come.

On April 21st, we held our annual librarian’s meeting. Some 45 members attended, and based on the evaluations, a fun and productive time was had by all. The advocacy piece that will be shown at our May 12th meeting was one of Mark Ibach’s many contributions to the event.

On April 25th, I took the afternoon off to try to replace a router at home with another product that would play nicely with the cable company and stop dropping their signal every day or so. Two routers and a lot of phone calls later, I discovered that one of my cats had chewed a hole in the middle of an Ethernet cable, making reception problematic at best. After saying “golly whiz” a few times I got the problem fixed and suggested to the cat that there was a perfectly nice power line just down the block that he could gnaw on if he was so inclined, but that my computer equipment was out of bounds. He stared at me, but I don’t think that he was listening.

On April 29th, a small group of members, staff, and SCLS trustees is scheduled to meet to begin to lay out possible methodologies for our upcoming strategic planning process. As with so many other things, more about this later.

As for the rest of the month, informational and advocacy efforts by the entire Wisconsin library community have been in full swing, but at this writing Joint Finance has yet to act on any educational issues, much less anything involving libraries.

That pretty much sums up April. May is on the way. We’ll see what happens then.