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System Director’s Report:

August 2007

A survey is included in your mailing this time, and I hope you can find a few minutes to share your thoughts and opinions. The idea for the survey came from a meeting I had with the Personnel Committee of the Board. I mentioned that I am sometimes unsure about what to cover in these reports and during board meetings. Are you getting too much information, too little, or just enough? We decided that the best way to find out is to ask, so this is our formal request for feedback. If you like the idea, we can do something like this on a regular basis. However, this is not intended to replace an open- door, email, phone, FAX or stop-me-in-the-hall policy. I welcome the chance to talk with you any time.

As I write this in late August we are still awaiting action on the state budget for 2008-09. We usually put the system budget together right after the September board meeting for your approval in October and submission to the Division for Libraries, Technology and Community Learning shortly thereafter. It is likely that this year we will need to prepare our 2008 budget without knowing what we will receive in state aid, but I’m fairly optimistic that it will all be settled by the time we do the mid-year 2008 budget revision.

As usual, a lot is happening with our member libraries. Middleton Public Library was named the Wisconsin Library of the Year for 2007 and will be honored at the WLA conference in Green Bay in October. Ground was recently broken for a new building that will include the North Freedom Public Library in North. The 12 libraries that received the Madison Community Foundation grants for new materials in targeted subject areas are beginning to purchase those items and publicize the additions to their collections. And the library planning group in Fitchburg is beginning to take the steps required to establish an official library board.

Collectively, our libraries and our partners in the Wisconsin Public Library Consortium (WPLC) are among the top five customers of Overdrive, Inc. in uses made of our shared collection of downloadable audio books. Of the 24 months that WPLC has offered the audio book download service, use has increased in all but three months. Our increase in circulation in 2007 has been huge, with July 2007 topping 7,000 – more than twice the July 2006 total. SCLS staff are working to post these statistics by individual library.

Stef and I will attend an all-day meeting next week for all the public library systems in Wisconsin, hosted by the Division for Libraries, Technology and Community Learning. You will get a report on the highlights, if there are any, when we see you next time.

I’ll see you on the 10th.