The NOVELNY Program : Meeting Minutes
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Meeting Minutes

April 24, 2002
10:30-3:00 PM
Albany Public Library

Persons in attendance: Thomas Alrutz, Soumaya Baaklini, Mary Brink, Jeff Cannell, Elizabeth Closson, Diane Courtney, Bill Crumlish, Diana Cunningham, Carol Desch, Marilyn Douglas, Loretta Ebert, Christie Frost-Wendlowsky, Carey Hatch, Dottie Hiebing, Carole Huxley, Cara Janowsky, James Kadamus, Susan Keitel, Mary-Alice Lynch, Sara McCain, Edward McCormick, John Meierhoffer, John Monahan, Gerald Nichols, Marsha Ra, Kathleen Roe, John Shaloiko, David Walsh, Janet Welch.

Not Present: Sara Kelly Johns, Charles McMorran, Mary Redmond

The meeting was convened at 10:40.

INTRODUCTION AND WELCOME: Ms. Hiebing introduced herself. Each member introduced him and herself.

Mrs. Welch welcomed members. She expressed appreciation for participation and explained that members did not represent a particular group but were representatives of the library community, geographic location and particular expertise.

COMMITTEE CHARGE: Mrs. Welch drew members attention to the "Charge". She said particular attention should be given to the item: Provide a statewide perspective on all NOVEL initiatives and coordinate the initiatives with other cooperative library efforts within the state. She added that while all "charges" are important, we should particularly note that one. As far as developing and implementing policy at the state level; the Steering Committee is an advisory body - the policy-making body is the Board of Regents and the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries is the formal body appointed by the Board of Regents to make formal recommendations to the Board. What we do here will come under the umbrella of RAC. Mrs. Welch added that Ms. Hiebing and Ms. Frost-Wendlowsky are members of RAC and will serve as liaisons. This Committee's overall written policy is the report generated by the Regents Commission on Library Services which was adopted by the Board of Regents as statewide policy.

GOALS OF THE MEETING: Mrs. Welch explained the NOVEL Implementation plan has five initiatives that would be priorities, namely access to electronic resources; expand resource sharing; coordinated program for digitization; enhance high-speed telecommunications and develop a portal.

The Steering Committee is not bound by documents that already exist but should use them as a "platform" from which to start. Mrs. Welch added that the initial planning work is done and may be modified as needed. NOVEL, while not yet funded by the state, is moving forward, particularly with EmpireLink. We are also moving to create a marketing focus as recommended by the Board of Regents (particularly with the media) to capitalize on the use of NOVEL.

Mrs. Welch then explained there would be a Public Television spot with Commissioner Mills focusing on NOVEL and electronic resources statewide. This will be taped in the next few weeks and will include as guests Edward McCormick and Jeff Cannell.

Mrs. Welch also advised the Committee about the May 17 Leadership Meeting for library advocates with Commissioner Mills. She urged all Committee members to attend and invite those people who are advocates for NOVEL and New Century Libraries. She added a press conference at that event would focus on NOVEL.

RULES OF ENGAGEMENT: Ms. Hiebing began discussing rules of engagement, agreement on a schedule for coming meetings and resources this Committee has available to them. She explained the Committee would divide into small groups to work on the five initiatives. Short-term work may consist of meetings, conference calls and electronic communication. Ms. Hiebing said when the Committee works together, she prefers to work in an environment that is consensus building where members will support an approach even if not the member's first choice.

Ms. Douglas raised the issue of the NOVEL listserv confirming each member received the message they are all on listserv.

Committee members broke into small groups to discuss how they will work together.

Small groups reported back and agreed on the following Rules of Engagement:

  • Respect everyone's opinion ***
  • Listen **
  • Ask for clarification *
  • Phrase issues in a positive way
  • Raise concerns as they arise
  • Use five minute "time out" to raise issues
  • The Chair will act as a clearinghouse for issues
  • Review Minutes, they are the official record for
    • points of concern
    • action items
    • remaining issues
  • Focus on ideas
  • Remember the statewide perspective
  • Respect diversity
  • Clearly define terms which may have different meanings for each person
  • Signal when you want to go "off line"
  • Enable risk-taking
  • Agree to disagree
  • Identify new opportunities for partnerships
  • Don't speak until recognized
  • Maintain a sense of humor
  • Agree on goals and desired outcomes
  • Find a way to reach consensus on:
    • role of steering committee members
    • anticipated outcomes
  • Understand realities of budget
  • Information should be on a timely basis
  • Take in good faith what others are saying
  • Set time limits for discussion
  • Be aware of the need for balanced communication in small groups
  • Get something done
  • Remember customer focus
  • Maintain good communication between committee members and library community
  • Provide opportunity for all to be heard

Mr. Nichols asked how deliberations of this committee would be communicated to field on regular basis. Ms. Hiebing said the summary would be shared within a week after each meeting. Once approved (within 1 week) a summary will be available on the web site page with a NYLINE message referring people to that site.

Mr. Nichols asked what our responsibility is for immediate implementation of NOVEL services, i.e. recommendation of databases? How do we communicate to constituencies to avoid people working at cross-purposes across the state? What is our purpose as we continue through the agenda? Ms. Welch suggested we continue through the agenda and come back to this.

COLLABORATION: Mr. Kadamus shared information on other State Education Department initiatives. He began by talking about the web portal and said we need to form partnerships. Elementary, Middle Secondary and Continuing Education (EMSC) has a data "key" which relates to initiatives #4 and #5. EMSC had lots of Federal dollars the last few years for online information sources for teachers and administrators K-12. He said there is information on Standards, Curriculum and also links to sites such as resources in libraries and museums. All of these systems were developed regionally and EMSC is attempting to put these together into single web portal to allow teachers, statewide, to have access. He said they just put out an RFP for $2.3 million and received 18 applicants. They were not sure regional people would want to come into a statewide system, but they did. EMSC give access to all teachers and administrators for free at a basic level; then for a charge EMSC will hire web designer to come in and connect to different places. He added that a web designer would customize entry for social studies teachers, librarians, math teachers, etc. Staff from Cultural Education was involved in the first stage. There is a lot of cross interest that we now need to connect together. Ms. Ra said she heard the State just hired a Chief Information Officer in the Governor's office. Mr. Walsh said yes, mainly to coordinate technology in all state agencies. He said the state had an Office of Technology for 3-4 years but no one to oversee until now.

Mr. Kadamus said the second piece is telecommunications, Initiative #4. He stated SED had discussions with cable TV, which is interested in connecting with us on high-speed communications. The Vice President of the cable corporation said it is not too big to jump to connect libraries too. Cable TV could be a possible partner with this. Mr. Kadamus said there is no reason to be separate; the problem is not to rush too fast. He said we need to develop pieces simultaneously with the desire to merge together eventually. He said we are trying to avoid creating a mega-system when what we need is a "building block" system.. A redesign of the State Education Department web site will bring these items together. He added that all of these projects are part of the State Education Department overall mission.

Mr. Monahan said that the web portal offers exciting possibilities to enhance established collaborations and invite new partnerships that extend beyond the local regions. He referred to the existing resources and samples of "Best Practices" made available to teachers and administrators by SLS Directors through links available on BOCES School Library System home pages. He recommended that this existing body of work be considered in the planning for the web portal with SLS directors playing a role.

Ms. Hiebing asked for other questions.

Mr. Alrutz said the draft LSTA plan mentions recommendations, particularly the NOVEL steering group, and will use funds to implement work as it nears implementation.

RESOURCES AVAILABLE: Ms. Hiebing said resources were available for discussion.

Mrs. Welch said concerning resources, our major funding source is the New Century Libraries legislative proposal and LSTA funds. The intent is LSTA funds will be used for this purpose with basic funding from ongoing state funds. Other funding existing now to implement NOVEL is regional bibliographic database funding, system automation funding (with the possibility for grant funding of new programs) and private grant funding. Staff resources are available from the State Library.

Mr. Kadamus added one other possibility is the 'No Child Left Behind' federal legislation signed in January. Part of the legislation 'Improving Literacy through School Libraries act' will benefit school libraries particularly in the area of technology. The current appropriation is at $12.5 million. There needs an increase in the appropriation to $100 million because at $100 million the legislation provides for the grant to be administered through the states. He added there is a clear interest in Congress - just not funded yet.

Mr.Nichols said for practical purposes this group could influence resources within the state. He asked what proportion of LSTA money is for grants? Mrs. Welch said the current situation with LSTA is subject to change, with $2 million for the EmpireLink project. As far as a statewide grant, we have $2.2 million; within that there is a breakdown of $1 million for technology, $800,000 for special service and $400,000 in the service improvement category.

Mrs. Welch said for the record, Marilyn Douglas is the lead person for NOVEL at the State Library.


Ms. Hiebing suggested that members choose an initiative they would like to work on. Questions developed to help groups form ideas on what needs to happen in each area include:

  1. If we succeed, what has to happen?
  2. What are critical success factors?
  3. Besides us, who needs to be involved?
  4. How do we get them involved?
  5. What are we willing to do now?

Ms. Hiebing asked members to make recommendations for other people that need to be involved in small groups. Mr. Alrutz said it was envisioned that the number of people on this Committee would be smaller and that we would appoint a larger group to work on various issues. He asked is the concept that Steering Committee members would participate in one of the 5 groups and add more people from outside? Ms. Hiebing said that the Steering Committee is the group but, more people can be added if they have expertise. She added one of things the Steering Committee will talk about is a more permanent structure to this Committee with some thoughts on numbers, staggered representation, etc. Mrs. Welch said, regarding the size of this group, she felt that a group this large was needed to recognize the complexity and number of libraries and programs as well as geography of state. She added, it was important for the future of NOVEL to have a number of different perspectives.

Mr. Monahan questioned the role of the Ex-Officio. He understands they are non-voting but do they participate in reaching consensus? Mrs. Welch affirmed that yes, they are part of the committee as a whole however, if a vote is needed, they don't vote. Mr. Hatch said this needs to be clear in the Rules of Engagement.

Mr. Nichols said regarding self-selection of a small group, we might not be qualified to be on it but may have an interest in it, what is the process? Mr. Alrutz said what if one was not interested in one part but had an interest in whole thing? Mr. Crumlish said this discussion is too early, there is too much we need to do as group before we can compartmentalize. Ms. Hiebing suggested we try to select a small group and reconvene in 2 hours.

Committee broke at 12:15. Small group discussions took place around initiatives I, III, IV, V (no one selected II).

Group reconvened at 2:15.

SCHEDULE OF FUTURE MEETINGS: Dates were decided for next four meetings to be held in Albany as follows: June 26, August 14, October 11, December 5.


I - Increase access to electronic resources on a statewide basis - John Shaloiko

Soumaya Baaklini, Mary Brink, Jeff Cannell, Diane Courtney, Loretta Ebert, Cara Janowsky, Mary-Alice Lynch, John Monahan, Gerald Nichols

  • Needs to be customer driven
  • Needs to have school and public library collaboration in same community for joint licensing
  • Field communication
  • Statewide review (trial) of databases
  • Evaluation of database use
  • Standardization of contracts statewide for volume discounts and consistent pricing
  • Training - not just vendor - online and regional
  • Open process to all vendors
  • Validate the need for an E-advisory group with charges and expectations
  • Collection development plan for databases
  • Better PR - publicize what we license
  • Need enhanced statistical generation

Q.1 - What needs to happen first -

    • E-advisory committee needs charge, members, and to communicate to field.
    • Committee charges would include the electronic resource selection process, evaluation process, standard contract process, training/communication and collection development.
    • Determine what needs to be done under electronic resources
    • Validate need for advisory group

Q.2 - Success Factor -

    • More people use and access database through the process
    • Save money, time and energy
    • Effective training at local/regional level

Q.3 - Who should be on -

    • Need to include librarians and users throughout the State
    • Should be no more than 7-9 people and include different types of library people

1-rep for public library
1-rep for school library
1-rep for 3R's
1-rep for new higher education initiative group
1-rep for NYLINK
1-rep for WALDO
2 extra for a total of 9

Q.4 - How do we get them involved -

    • Through better communication and trials

Q.5 - What are we willing to do now -

    • Look at charge and sharpen
    • Think about and recommend who is to be on the e-advisory committee.

II - Expand resource sharing in New York State to improve electronic and traditional access to library resources for all users -

  • Still part of planning
  • Won't have small group attached
  • Should consider it in all groups.

III - Develop coordinated program for the digitization of information resources in NY libraries and other repositories - Dianne Cunningham

Sara McCain, Kathleen Roe

  • 8 elements on page 6 of the NOVEL Implementation Plan are still relevant recommendations for proceeding on digitization

Q.1 - What needs to happen first -

  • As quickly as possible, establish a Digitization advisory group
  • Critical success factors related that this group would have some representation relative to content, etc.
  • Access to expertise - either formal part of group or just invited to meet informally
  • Access to technology may require some funding; particularly if experts are invited.
  • Should be flexible in bring in people - it's important to have "worker bees"

Q.3 - Who should be on -

  • NYPL representation
  • Rochester Public Library
  • Cornell University
  • Columbia University
  • Western NY 3 R's
  • Rochester 3 R's
  • Westchester City Archives
  • School Library System
  • Health Science Library
  • Colorado Digital Project - Liz Bishoff
  • State Library
  • State Archives
  • State Education Department - I.T.S.
  • National Library of Medicine

Q.5 - What are we willing to do now -

  • Identify small core of "worker bees"
  • Submit list of names to State Librarian
  • Ask State Librarian to chair steering committee

IV - Enhance the availability of high-speed telecommunications for NY's libraries across all regions of the state - Tom Alrutz

Bill Crumlish, Marilyn Douglas, Christie Frost-Wendlowsky, Carey Hatch, Susan Keitel, Edward McCormick

Q.1 - What needs to happen first -

  • Form telecommunications advisory group (not steering committee members)
  • Clarify reporting back function to steering committee group

Q.3 - Who should be on -

  • One suggestion is to request State Library and full committee members to identify potential members for small group by next meeting.

Q.5 - What are we willing to do now -

  • Form committee to further define goals
  • May need 2 advisory groups or 2 waves of committees
    • 1st is technical advisory group
    • 2nd is marketing, legislative advisory group
    • steering committee itself may need to be reformed
    • need mechanism to report back to steering committee
    • steering committee members possible liaisons to advisory group
  • Gather information and data as in written report
  • Define "high speed" telecommunications

V - Develop a NOVEL user interface that integrates the service and resources brought together under NOVEL - John Meierhoffer

Carol Desch, Marsha Ra

  • Portal is more than web page so more flexibility is needed in this steering committee

Q.1 - What needs to happen first -

  • Identify and call on existing expertise in the library community. Add 4-5 people w/expertise representing public and school libraries
  • Consult experts on what "portal" means and what possibilities are. Identify "best practices" for the library and other portals
    • make presentation to NOVEL Committee on this topic and develop understanding of what we could develop
  • Identify audiences/client groups for portal
    • do focus group activities to determine what mixture of portal possibilities meet needs
    • model for NOVEL portal developed/implement and test prototype/use for advocacy
    • issues to look at:
      • authentication
      • role of local library/library system
      • filtering
      • ongoing evaluation
      • coordination with other initiatives like the 'Virtual Learning Space'
      • identify & prioritize range of NOVEL services
      • support local branding
      • cost & funding

Q.2 - Success Factor -

  • If we succeed we have portal that is:
    • easy to navigate
    • flexible
    • award winning supports local library branding
    • makes NOVEL a household word
    • addresses needs of a wide range of library users
    • it's so sexy we get "gobs" of State funding

Q.3 - Who should be on

  • See #1

Q.4 - How do we get them involved -

  • Identify people to add to groups
    • Gary Kuchark (SED ITS) - working on SED portal issues
    • Open to suggestions: Public? School? Academic? Special Libraries?

Q.5 - What are we willing to do now -

  • Think about incorporating / providing Interface for initiative
  • Resource sharing
  • Get a consultant to help us present/prepare presentation for NOVEL steering committee on portal(s)

Ms. Hiebing said at the next meeting members would have opportunity to see all notes. She added that between now and next meeting that Steering Committee members are encouraged to look at the lists and try to accomplish some items and at the next meeting we will continue conversation.

Mrs. Welch stated she was very impressed with what the group was able to accomplish. She noted that the Steering Committee needs to carefully study the issue of advisory groups, i.e. how many, who they are advising, and what their charges will be.

The meeting adjourned at 2:55.