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Frederick A. Costello August 27, 2013 Added Page 3 on November 1, 2013
Introduction: The proposed changes in the library services have been stimulated primarily by budget cuts but also by changes in library usage. The purpose of this report is to provide the historical data on both the budget and the usage. This data can be viewed in light of the planned changes to the library system (Appendix A) and the comments from county citizens about the planned changes (Appendix B). Summary: Except for the years of the housing bubble, the library budget has been consistently, although gradually, reduced. Library visits have increased slightly, but website usage has increased greatly. Discussion: Trends in Library Services We obtained performance data from the County budget documents, which list performance measures that the library staff has generated. Library usage has moved toward electronic visits via the Internet ( Table 1, Lines 3 and 4); however, personal contacts have also increased (Line 12). Many of the other performance measures combine personal contacts and Internet contacts, so the division between the two forms of contacts is not evident. Some of the personal contacts could well be in the form of help with computer services.
Performance measure 1 Library visits 2 Registered cardholders 3 Library Internet website page views 4 Library Internet website user visits 5 New registrations added annually 6 Circulation of all materials 7 Items ordered 8 Items processed 9 Turnover rate for all materials 10 Holds placed 11 Program attendees 12 Total contacts 13 Hours open 14 Information questions addressed 15 In-house print use 16 In-house electronic use 17 Library Internet website page views 18 Requests for document retrievals 19 Document requests shipped within 24 hours 20 Refiles completed 21 Cubic feet of records destroyed Ratio 2011 Ratio 2011 to 2001 to 2004 1.07 1.03 0.63 0.70 8.46 1.53 13.76 1.81 1.02 1.18 1.15 1.16 0.53 0.71 0.60 0.80 1.25 1.25 2.64 1.51 1.01 0.89 1.66 1.25 0.88 0.93 0.97 1.07 1.16 3.26 1.18 1.53 0.80 0.86 1.14 1.33
Table 1: Library Performance
Accessing the library from a remote site should require less time from the library employees; however, if the staff must work with library visitors to teach them the use of the computer, more staff time might be required.
Trends in Library Expenditures Library expenditures have varied significantly over the past 13 years (Figure 1). Perhaps the most unusual aspect of the expenditures is the large difference between the approved budget and the actual budget. The actual budget is consistently greater, as if the library receives a significant share of surplus funds generated by, for example, unexpected tax revenues. Sometimes it is as much as 15% greater.
40,000,000 35,000,000 TOTAL Operations Support services/Technical operations 25,000,000 20,000,000
Archives and reference/Customer service
5,000,000 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010 2012 2014 2016
Figure 1: Annual Library Expenditures
The 24% budget increase from 2001 to 2007, evident in Figure 1, corresponds to the time period during which real-estate taxes increased by a factor of two due to the housing bubble. The 2014 budget is approximately equal to the 2004 budget (Table 2). Because the CPI has increased by a factor of 1.26 since 2004, the expenditures budgeted for 2014 have only 79% the purchasing power of the 2004 budget (0.79 = 1/1.26). The number of library employees has also decreased – to 91% of the 2004 number. The number of administrative employees had increased from 24 to 50 during the housing bubble. It remained at 45 through the 2013 adopted budget; however, it was cut to 22 in the 2013 revised budget. It appears, however, that the 23 people removed from administration were transferred to services. Before their transfer, the administrative expenditures were $90,000 per employee. The proposed 2014 budget has the administrative expenditures at $150,000 per employee. Consequently, the administration expenditures in the adopted 2014 budget is $722,000 greater than in the revised 2013 budget.
Ratio 2011 Ratio 2011 Ratio 2014 Cost Center to 2001 to 2004 to 2004 Administration 1.74 1.59 1.26 Support services/Technical operations 0.61 0.83 0.83 Operations 1.01 0.88 0.96 Archives and reference/Customer service 0.96 2.43 TOTAL 0.96 0.96 1.00 Number of employees Total expenditures CPI-U 0.88 0.96 1.27 0.88 0.96 1.19 0.91 1.00 1.26
Table 2: Expenditure Changes
Projected Budget If the library budget were reset to the 2004 budget, to before the housing bubble, but corrected by the ratios of county population and inflation, the 2015 budget would be $37,998,340 (Table 2).
2004 2015 Total expenditures $ 27,213,865 $ 37,998,340 Population 1,022,298 1,124,131 CPI 1 1.269799028
Table 3: The 2015 Expenditure if Equivalent to the 2004 Expenditure
The trend in cost per employee has been generally downward (Figure 2). The trends in the “administration” and “support services/technical operations” are in opposite directions from 2013 to 2014, although, when combined, the combined expenditures per employee are the same for the two years. Apparently high-salary employees were transferred from “support services/technical operations” to “administration” in this one -year time period. If this had not happened, the expenditures in 2014 would be nearly the same as in 2004. The category “Archives and reference/Customer service” was introduced in 2006, in the housing-bubble period, and has been retained ever since. Added to “administration”, it exceeds the 2004 expenditures per employee. Apparently people from “administration” were transferred to the newly formed category of “Archives and reference/Customer service”. Total library expenditures, in constant dollars, have decreased 16.2% from 2004 to 2014 while population has increased 9.5% over this same time period. In constant dollars, the total expenditures per employee have decreased from $83,168 in 2004 to $72,519 in 2014, a 12.8% decrease. The number of employees has decreased 8.5%.
200,000 150,000 Administration Support services/Technical operations Archives and reference/Customer service
2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010 2012 2014 2016
Figure 2: Expenditure per Employee in 2015 $
Appendix A: Outline of the Changes to the Library System (From http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/library/news/changes.htm) What changes are occurring at Fairfax County Public Library? The library will begin testing a new organizational structure in the fall to meet its long-term strategic goals and address continuing budget cuts. The new structure will be beta-tested at Burke Centre Library and Reston Regional Library. It includes a one-desk model of customer service, with cross-trained staff answering account and information questions, and increased programming conducted within the branch as well as in the community. Why are you changing the library’s structure? There are multiple factors driving these changes. The way customers use the library has been changing over time; technology is having a major impact on library customers and staff; the county is still undergoing a budget crunch; and all county agencies are required to reduce their annual budget. Libraries in general are at a pivotal crossroads as we are called upon to meet the changing needs of our customers, brought on by technology and the Internet while providing resources with shrinking tax dollars. Libraries all across the country are trying new ways of operating. If the new model proves successful, the library would be able to meet county budget reductions without reducing library hours or eliminating staff. The new infrastructure would require fewer library staff since the library would use cross-trained employees to staff a single desk. The library would implement the changes over three to five years allowing retirement and resignation to lead to the reduced staffing levels and allowing time for the transition to occur. Will it impact how I use the library? Customers will be able to have reference and library account questions answered at the same desk. Customers may also notice more staff circulating in the branch offering assistance to customers as needed. Eventually there will be more programming in the branch and in the community, so we hope customers will take advantage of that. When will the changes occur? The one-desk model is already in use at Burke Centre Library and other testing will begin in the fall. What does beta testing mean? Often used by computer companies to test new software in the field, the library is testing a new way of doing business in the two branches to see if the assumptions we’ve made about library usage and customer needs are accurate. We’re testing in just two branches, a community branch and the busiest regional branch in the county. We can then adjust the model before rolling it out to the other 20 branches. What are the library’s long-term strategic goals? The library has been going through a process of self-review since the economic downturn caused severe and ongoing reductions to the library budget as well as the elimination of 70 full-time library positions in 2010. We’ve streamlined our processes and eliminated some services including text a librarian, test proctoring, online homework tutoring and grant writing support. After working with a consultant and analyzing customer and staff surveys as well as other pertinent statistical data, the library produced a strategic plan that calls for more integration in the community, more emphasis on early literacy (helping children get ready to read), creating branches that reflect the dynamics of the communities where they are located and giving customers more input into programming and other services. You can read the strategic plan on the library website. http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/library/news/strategicplan.pdf Will staff still be able to answer reference questions? Yes, all branches will continue to have trained staff to assist with reference questions. All of our customer services staff is being cross-trained so that more staff is able to answer account and reference questions. Will the library be eliminating positions? No employees are expected to lose their jobs with the library. The reduced level will be attained over 3-5 years through resignation and retirement. Over 30 percent of library staff is eligible for retirement through December 2015. The long-term vision is that the library will reduce the number of positions required to staff a branch during operating hours. We will learn more about our staffing needs as this new model is tested at Burke Centre Library and Reston Regional Library. 4
Do you expect these changes to impact customer service at the branch, for example create longer wait times to check out books or get an answer to a question? We expect the new organizational model to enhance the customer experience. Thanks to the self-check-out computers now in place and payment kiosks coming in December, many transactions will not require a staff person, freeing staff to meet different community and customer needs. However, we are committed to the highest level of customer service, and if longer lines occured, we would adjust the staffing to accommodate customer needs. Since staff will be cross-trained, however, available staff on duty will be able to help out at the desk if it should get too busy. Will there still be children’s services? Yes, we will still offer a full range of children’s services at every branch. We will continue to have staff with expertise in children’s literature able to enthusiastically recommend books to our young readers and parents looking for assistance with encouraging their children to read. The library will be increasing the level of programming for children, both in the library and in the community. As we test this new model at Reston Regional Library and Burke Centre Library, we will offer additional visits to the schools, to childcare centers and to Head Start classrooms. The educational needs of the community are very important to us. Is it true there will not be any traditional librarians in the library, i.e., staff with master’s degrees in library science? Today we employ some staff with a master’s degree in library science (MLS), but the majority of our staff doesn’t have that particular degree. We fully anticipate that at a later date, when we are hiring new staff, we will continue to hire those with advanced degrees, but the MLS will not be a requirement. For some branch positions, it may remain a preferred requirement. We anticipate hiring those with management, education, technology and business degrees, as well as those with a library science degree. I understand that changes are also being made to library programming, can you explain? Currently, the library has branch staff that program as part of their duties, but under the new structure the library will have full-time programming staff that plan and conduct programs in the branch and in the community. This will increase the number of programs staff can offer, for example impromptu storytimes, additional book talks in schools and more outreach.
Appendix B: Comments on the Library Changes
Related to the Staff The state law1 requires one person with an MLS degree. Sam Clay, the library director, says he meets this requirement. The American Library Association has a long statement of the competencies required of a librarian. (http://www.ala.org/educationcareers/files/careers/corecomp/corecompetences/finalcorecompstat09.pdf) Librarians are complaining that an MLS degree is essential. The pilot should consider having one MLSdegreed person in each library, unless examples are found that show that the MLS degree is not important. Librarians have told me that the person with an MLS degree can save library users much time in searching for items and in validating the source of the items found. Appendix C gives the titles of courses that a typical MLS program would entail. Many people will have their jobs eliminated and how other systems are coping with their budget issues. Even the present plan is likely to eventually be more costly due to increased administration payroll, less flexibility in sharing the workload within the branch and increased turnover in the two frontline positions in the branch. Related to the library as a service No detailed examples have been given where such a conversion has occurred and the results were considered favorable. Appendix D gives a list of some of the less-visible tasks that librarians perform. The library has literacy programs and homework-help programs. Should these be in other agencies (e.g., in the schools)? As I understand the beta plan, there will be only a single desk. Right now at Reston Regional there is a checkout desk at the front. There is an information desk right in the middle of the library. Those computers are the information desk are hooked to databases beyond google. After the Beta plan is implemented, if you need to talk to a librarian you will have to wait behind all the people who are now in both lines. I have had to wait fifteen or twenty minutes for an information librarian under the current set up. Under the Beta plan my information librarian will also be dealing with transactions like issuing cards, processing fines. I am not sure what else. Also Reston Regional will be cut from 20.5 staff positions to 13.5. There aren't going to be enough people working to serve the public. There will be no information librarians under the Beta plan. They will also be replaced with clerks with two years of JC. The internet is full of erroneous information. Anybody can put up anything. It takes an educated librarian to know which sites and which information are likely to be accurate. Would you take the advice of someone with two years of JC on where to look for medical information if you had lymphoma? And there will be no more children's desk at Reston Regional. There will be no children's specialist assisting in outreach programs for children. And one other thing about e-books. It appears that the sale of e-books has plateaued at around 20% of total book sales. It may very well be a fad. After people have to replace their e-readers a few times when they break (about once a year), they may lose interest and go back to print books. Ebooks are good for some things. They are good for people with vision problems. You can easily adjust the font size of an e-book to make it much larger. They don't work very well for children, because the screens are too small for picture books with illustrations.
Related to the Beta Test The presentation charts imply that this is a beta test, not a pilot test. A beta test is a test of a system so that bugs can be found and eliminated before full implementation. Books are being destroyed, not put in storage. Others have told me that the destruction is not at the normal rate, but at an accelerated rate; therefore, the pilot is irreversible. Reston, perhaps the busiest of all of the County libraries, is being chosen as the pilot for regional libraries. A better choice would be a library with the least business. For a true beta test to show it doesn’t make a difference who is working, you should not use your existing library staff to work in those libraries, since they have been doing these jobs for years in many cases and their combined education and experience puts them way ahead of any people that might be hired in the future. Related to Budget: The Board should encourage efficiencies, not discourage them. A pilot program to test efficiencies and streamline services has been proposed to be tested at two of our libraries. Some Board members oppose the pilot before it has even begun. What does this say to our County employees who want to deliver better services? The library budget is now back to its 2004 level in current-year dollars, which is a 21% cut in constant-year dollars. Many other agencies have had increases since 2004. Chairman Bulova said there was a $27 million surplus in the budget this year. She was suggesting a "bonus" to county workers of $500. Sam Clay cannot replace print books with digital. In the first place, most modern books are more expensive than digital to start with. Publishers charge more for them when they first are released. A $10 paper book (with the library discount) will cost a library $85 for one digital copy. It can only be lent out 25 times. Actually it is leased, not sold to the library. If the library wants to keep it available, it will have to buy it for another $85. Most books are not even available digitally. And they won't be.
Appendix C: Course Requirements for a Degree in Library Science or Information Technology (http://slis.fsu.edu/academics/graduate/msit/) Core Courses (12 semester hours) LIS 5203 Assessing Information Needs (3 hours) LIS 5408 Management of Information Organization (3 hours) LIS 5275 Usability Analysis (3 hours) LIS 5487 Information Systems Management (3 hours)
Electives (20 semester hours)
LIS 5008 Advanced Online Searching (3 hours) LIS 5263 Theory of Information Retrieval (3 hours) LIS 5271 Research Methods in Information Studies (3 hours) LIS 5313 Media Concepts and Production (3 hours) LIS 5362 Design & Production of Network Multimedia (3 hours) LIS 5364 Web Site Development and Administration (3 hours) LIS 5367 Advanced Web Applications (3 hours) LIS 5403 Human Resources Management (3 hours) LIS 5405 Leadership in Technology (3 hours) LIS 5411 Introduction to Information Policy (3 hours) LIS 5417 Introduction to Legal Resources (3 hours) LIS 5418 Introduction to Health Informatics (3 hours) LIS 5426 Grant Writing, Evaluation and Administration (3 hours) LIS 5442 Information Leadership (3 hours) LIS 5472 Digital Libraries (3 hours) LIS 5484 Introduction to Data Networks for Information Professionals (3 hours) LIS 5485 Introduction to Information Technologies (3 hours) LIS 5489 Network Administration (3 hours) LIS 5602 Marketing Library and Information Services (3 hours) LIS 5775 Information Security (3 hours) LIS 5782 Database Management Systems (3 hours) LIS 5786 Introduction to Information Architecture (3 hours) LIS 5787 Fundamentals of Metadata Theory and Practice (3 hours) LIS 5788 Management of Health Information Technology (3 hours) LIS 5916 Computers as Persuasive Technology (3 hours) LIS 5916 Consumer Health Informatics (3 hours) LIS 5916 Advanced Social Media (3 hours) LIS 5916 Information Technology and Older Adults (3 hours) LIS 5916 Social Media Management (3 hours) LIS 5916 Virtual Reference Environment (3 hours) LIS 5916 Mobile Application Development (3 hours) LIS 5900 Directed Independent Study (2-6 hours) LIS 5945 Internship (2-6 hours)
According to what can be deduced from the LIBRARY MANAGERS MEETING (January 8, 2013), MLS graduates are currently in oversupply. Librarians can specialize, i.e., children's collections, health collections, among others. MLS degreed librarians also develop and manage collections.
Appendix D: Library Activities (Excerpted from FCPLEA General Meeting Minutes, November 27, 2012) 1. Goal of the Collection Services Department (CSD) is to keep the collection balanced and relevant to what patrons want. This includes popular titles, as well as books that support system initiatives, such as early literacy. 2. There has been a sharp decrease in the collections budget, from $6M in 2002 to $3M in 2012. 3. CSD has to be fiscally responsible with the collections budget when ordering for different genres and materials. 4. Currently, the part of the collection that is getting checked out the most is “JR” books (50+%), DVDs are at about 40% and “JP” books are at 29%. 5. About 25% of the entire collection is checked out at any given time. 6. The best way to have popular materials without a lot of weeding later is by leasing books through McNaughton, using a point system. Books from $15-$25.99 = 1 point, $26+ = 2 points, and anything less than $15 is not on the lease program. 7. About 5-10% of the collection is leased. 8. When deciding on Hotpicks titles, we try to choose books that aren’t too long because a patron needs to be able to read the entire book in 2 weeks. 9. The holds ratio now is 6:1, used to be 4:1. Example: ratio: 6:1 - there are 6 people ahead of you on the list and if each person before you checks out the book for the entire 3 weeks, then you are 18 weeks away from getting the book. 10. Have a lot of gift money for ebooks, from Friends and other sources 11. Many challenges with ebooks right now but the most difficult is that out of the 6 major publishers, only 2 will sell to libraries, Random House and Harper Collins. With Harper Collins, we have to buy the book again after 26 checkouts. 12. Changes may be coming with the mergers between Random House and Penguin, and between Harper Collins and Simon & Schuster. There are several court cases going on right now that may also bring about changes to the ebook market. 13. Right now, it isn’t easy to buy ebooks. With all the potential changes coming, it may or may not help in buying ebooks. 14. Scholastic does sell to libraries, a lot of homework books are coming out in digital and not print. 15. Nowadays, some books are only available as an ebook, especially with authors going to selfpublishing with the digital format of their books. 16. The cost for a new Random House ebook is about $80 each. The older the book, the less expensive. Some books are back in digital format but are out of print in paperback or hardback. 17. Overdrive is doing as much business as a regional library in terms of circulation. Over the summer, the circulation level was like PH & KP, but over the fall, the circulation increased to a regional branch level. If more titles were available from publishers, Overdrive would probably be our “busiest” branch. We have a yearly contract with Overdrive. 18. Current stats: Over a million checkouts in Overdrive Over 25,000 books available in the catalog which doesn’t include the always available/public domain books
Over 9,000 users per month 19. The print collection in the future may be less but more specialized. 20. Maybe by 2015, new titles will only be available in digital format. 21. We can only host through Overdrive for ebooks; therefore, we cannot accept ebook donations. It is better to give money and ask that it be earmarked for ebooks specifically. 22. We cannot provide music digitally. It would cost 1/3 of the budget to set up. There would also be other constraints and limits 23. Libraries are still doing great with DVDs so don’t see us going t o streaming movies, although DVDs are expensive 24. Audio CDs are still checking out very well with a holds ratio of 6:1, but we aren’t doing as many replacement CDs anymore because they are so expensive to replace. 25. We order few Large-Print books since the LP market seems to be on its way out. Many publishers aren’t selling them because ereaders make it easy for a customer to change the font to a larger type. 26. Starting in mid-October, the weeding part will get started to make sure that what remains on the shelves is in good condition and relevant. Since that time, TE has processed over 179 bins of discards. 27. We have to start thinking in terms of a system collection, not a branch collection, because the collection will start floating in April. The Collection Manager will be in place by then. There are several library systems that have had great success with floating so we should also. We will not go back to non-floating. 28. Will we still order by grids? Probably, but don’t know for sure. 29. What about the process for new books? The process will stay the same.
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