Meeting Minutes

Board Meeting Minutes
Approved 12/15/2016
TETON COUNTY LIBRARY BOARD MEETING
Thursday, December 5, 2016 10:00 a.m.

Board Member Attendance
Present:  Katherine Dowson, Ari Goldstein, John Hebberger, Jr., Mark Hendrickson
Absent:  Carol Peck

Board Chair John Hebberger, Jr. called the meeting to order with a quorum present.

John said that the sole item on the agenda was the presentation of the Teton County Library 2016 Strategic Plan.

Teton County Library 2016 Strategic Plan

Susan Eriksen-Meier, Strategic Plan Consultant, began review of the plan by noting that the Strategic Plan document was formatted to include all elements identified as deliverable in the strategic plan consulting contract.  Because the library board had already reviewed and approved the vision, mission and strategic plan goals, the focus of today’s meeting was the Strategic Plan’s implementation and evaluation components.

Implementation Plan
Susan explained that implementation was a three-pronged approach:  (1) Core Library Services; (2) Strategic Implementation Activities; and (3) Response and Resilience to respond to community needs, both crisis and opportunity.  Each of these approaches was integral for the library going forward.  In speaking to Response and Resilience, this was time that captured the library’s bandwidth to be able to continually respond to community need, a piece that was important to the Strategic Plan as a whole, and to account for changes that happen in the library, such as staff turnover.

Susan presented a break-out by library department and the library as a whole of time allocated to Core Library Services, Strategic Implementation Activities, and Response and Resilience.  The break out of time was something the library board requested.  Each department has different ratios, which is appropriate to the range of responsibility per department.  Overall the library spends 78% of time on Core Library Services, 6% on Strategic Implementation Activities and 16% on Response and Resilience.  This analysis can be used as a management tool to discuss if the ratio of time is correct for teams, and what it would take to adjust ratios.

John said that the time allocation can be translated to dollar investments.  Katherine asked how the Library Foundation fits into this analysis.  Pauline Towers-Dykeman, Teton County Library Foundation Executive Director, said that in the coming months the Library Foundation Board will consider strategic investments based on the findings and ongoing prioritization identified in the Strategic Plan. 

Mark expressed concern that Library Administration had little to no time allocated to Response and Resilience.  Valerie said that this analysis prompts the question of how we can engage managers more directly in order to increase time for Administration responsiveness.  She added that the library does its own financials, maintenance, payroll, which are essential functions for the organization.

Katherine asked where we find the time for being an exemplary library.  She estimated that this would likely fall into Strategic Implementation and Responsiveness categories.  With over ¾ of time on library core services, she asked about bandwidth for innovation.  Susan responded that all three prongs were important and that there was no hierarchy in each of these approaches.  What will be new and has the potential to drive innovation is that goals, actions and priorities will be vetted by management team so that together we can intentionally define or change investments across the library.  Over time, the breakdown of time can change.  The library may choose to fulfill staff vacancies differently in order to enhance time for strategic implementation activities and responsiveness.  For now, this analysis is a tool to structure conversations.

Lannie Hoglund, Teton County Library Foundation Board Member, asked if the feedback we seek as we move forward with the plan will first be national or local.  She said that some national feedback may not be applicable locally.  Valerie responded that with a highly education community we will need to be aware of national trends our community knows about that may inform community expectations of our library.  However, we will be responsive and follow trends that speak to actual community need and interest, as opposed to implementing national fads.  Susan said that in our Community Needs survey, what was clear is that while there are national trends of some libraries going more or all digital in their resources, our community loves printed books.  What will be interesting and will spur robust conversations is when the community appears to be on the fence about a particular trend, or we see the need to ramp up a new investment to provide responsive service or resources in the future, .despite present community feedback.

Mark asked if some of the pieces identified in the implementation activities were already actionable.  Valerie replied that some were.  We are in the beginning stages of new programs and initiatives being vetted through a design process that more intentionally includes IT, Communications and Facilities.

Katherine asked who determines intrinsic value of what we provide.  Valerie said that currently we are straddling the outcome data and impact conundrum; that we need to get quantitative and qualitative feedback.  Susan said that in the plan, data collection is intrinsic to understanding evolving community need.  Also with Teton County Library as an “essential part of the Teton County team,” we also need to ask if it’s the library’s job to take on a new initiative or if there is another entity that is better poised than the library to address a particular need.

Susan highlighted the Core Library Services list.  Valerie explained that the Core Library Services definitions come from the American Library Association and includes traditional and 21st century library core services.  We are using Core to define what is essential to open our doors.  Currently, we have the bandwidth to go beyond core.

Evaluation Plan
John stated that this is probably the most important piece of the plan; it’s our contract and list of expectations we have of the library and library director.

Mark raised a concern that the evaluation plan appeared too heavily subjective and not enough quantitative; how do we actually “measure” if we are hitting the mark?  Valerie said that we want to provide tangible, concrete evidence.  However her experience is that evidence is a combination of variables, including statistical, outcome evaluation and process evaluation.  She welcomed feedback on how to make the evidence stronger.  Susan said she will continue to work with the library to help with evaluation and look at the role of causation in determining outcomes for library patrons.

John asked board members to focus on the Evidence column.  Board members provided feedback on what to delete or edit in terms of characterizing and collecting evidence for each piece of evidence.  Rebecca Huntington, Communications Manager, raised that the implementation and evaluation pieces of the strategic plan were fluid, and wanted to be sure that this was communicated to the public.  Susan suggested that on the non-static parts of the plan, which included the implementation and evaluation plan, we add a line on each of these pages noting that these items are subject to change based on quarterly review of the strategic plan in library board meetings which are open to the public.

John shared comments that Carol passed along about the nature of the Strategic Plan Executive Summary.  It appeared that the current Executive Summary provided facts about the library.  She suggested that the Executive Summary be a summary of the whole plan and its recommendations.  Board members agreed with Carol’s suggested that a plan summary should be the focus of the Executive Summary.  John recognized and thanked everyone, from board, to supporting organizations, to staff, to Susan for their participation in the Strategic Plan process.  Mark observed that the process brought us all together.

Action Item:  John moved to adjourn the library board meeting.  All voted in favor.