Budget cuts bring changes to FDL Library services

In anticipation of reductions in funding, the Fond du Lac Public Library will be changing automation systems in November. Removing the library from the shared Winnefox cataloging system will change to the way library patrons can request materials not found on the Fond du Lac shelves.

Starting August 1, card holders will be able to place holds only on materials that the Fond du Lac Library owns. Materials owned by other libraries will be accessible only through holds made by library Help or Reference desks staff. “Hold” is library shorthand for when a patron requests a specific book, movie or other item that the library finds and holds for later pickup.

Changing automation systems will save the library about $60,000 annually, said library Director Ken Hall. Hall said public funding cuts forced the library to choose from a short list of alternatives: eliminating the shared catalog, reducing the budget for new materials or reducing hours of service.

“We took the option that we believe, in the long term, will have the least-negative impact possible,” Hall said. “We believe that, over time, service to our customers will be stronger and better because of this decision.”

A vast majority of the library’s circulation involves new materials – items a year or two old. Hall said he wanted to preserve funding for new materials so patrons can “get what they want when they want it.”

At the same time, use of the main library has shown substantial annual increases since the 2004 building expansion. Use in May 2011 set a record for that month with more than 63,000 items circulated, a 10 percent increase over May 2010. Each year, about 400,000 people visit the main library. Cutting hours flew in the face of customer demand, Hall said.

In fact, the library expects the new Express branch, to open this fall in Johnson Crossing Shopping Center, will alleviate pressure on the main library. The branch, which will replace the current bookmobile parked outside Festival Foods, will be open twice as many hours with a materials collection about three times what the bookmobile holds. The library is opening the branch to better serve city customers in an area of high need. To do so, the bookmobile in Rosendale also will close; its final day of operation will be Friday, August 19.

Even though Fond du Lac is leaving the shared Winnefox catalog system, those materials – as well as materials from libraries across the country – still will be available to patrons, just in a different manner than they’ve been accustomed to. The materials in question amount to less than 10 percent of the total library circulation.

Starting in November, when the Fond du Lac Library in essence stands alone, patrons will see a much different online catalog. Eventually, Hall said, he wants to improve the automation services available to patrons, who now are used to being able to perform many library service tasks themselves online.

“In the mean time, we know that there will be a transition period,” said Support Services Coordinator Lori Burgess. “We hope our customers will have patience with us as we work through the changes.”

Because library staff is devoted to providing high-quality customer service, Burgess announced that September will be Patron Appreciation Month: all month the library will offer “Food for Fines.” Donating one nonperishable food item will equal $1 of forgiven extended use fees. Replacement charges and referral fees still will apply.

The Fond du Lac Public Library, located at 32 Sheboygan St., supports a high quality of life in Fond du Lac through reading, lifelong learning and community involvement.

For more information, call the library's Help Desk, 920 929 7080, ext. 131; Reference Desk, ext. 118; and detailed information is available in this Q&A.

 

 

Comments

Waste of Money

I bet that "Express" branch costs at least $10-15,000 per month in rent alone. I now have to go to the Oshkosh website (which is better organized BTW) and have holds sent to the North FDL library to get Winnefox materials. I also go to the West Bend library's website and have holds sent to the Brownsville library to get materials. This extra branch is stupid. If people from the county can't drive an extra two miles to get materials when they are in town for other things as well why bother wasting my tax money on their laziness? Oshkosh is a larger community and only has ONE library and not THREE! How can a government run library (fDL) break away from the others? Who gave permission? I want names and ranks. I stopped in and talked with other libraries in the Fox Valley and they are confused and wondering who is running the FDL library/circus down here and why is it happening.

Wisconsin materials

Materials from across Wisconsin and the U.S. are available to all FDLPL patrons.

If you search our catalog from the top of our webpage. If you do not find what you are looking for, click on the WISCAT link at the bottom of each page on the catalog.

Perform your search across Winnefox and many other libraries across the state. Once you find what you are looking for, click the "Request this item" button. Fill in your contact information and we'll let you when the item arrives in FDL.

Leaving the WPL

Why was the patrons who use the FdLPL not asked or surveyed about the decision to leave the WPL before the decision was made?

Disappointed!

Needless to say I wish I had paid more attention. Do to family needs my time is very limited, however periodically I do find the time to follow a subject I am interested in. I often found the need for ordering books. I would rather have traded Winnefox for the new branch. That's my two cents.

Should have surveyed the users

I too use the assets of the FDL Library quite a bit. I certainly would have traded Winnefox for the New Branch with no hesitation. It is not like we here in FDL live in a large Metro area where one has to drive miles to get to the library. Not a smart choice in my book. When budget cuts need to be made, why not make use of this wonderful website and poll the actual uses of the library and see what they want?

A fact that should been emphasized

In the July 27 Reporter, I read for the first time the information that the FdL library is paying more for the Winnefox system than similar libraries are. No one likes to feel cheated, and this information casts a different light on the issue, at least for me. Why is this fact not stated in this particular article? I don't see any mention here of the discrepancy in Winnefox costs for FdL as opposed to for other libraries and how you tried for 18 months to get a better deal for FdL before leaving Winnefox. This is pretty significant information, IMO, and if you had stated it earlier, I think it would have really helped library patrons to understand why the decision to leave was made. As it was, we were initially given only some of the reasons that did not totally make sense to a lot of us. Better communication on your part from the start would have helped a lot.

Independence

There are constraints to any collaboration, and Winnefox is no different. Policies, procedures and services are enacted for the good of the whole, vs. for the good of a individual library and its patrons. So yes, we will have more freedom to add services that, for a variety of reasons, were not adopted by the system. You'll hear more about the new services as they are worked out.

Questions that need to be answered by Library!

My co-workers & myself were discussing the decision made by the director & have come up with some questions that we strongly feel need to be addressed by Hall himself or whoever is in charge of answering questions on this blog & not to be ignored like most questions on here.

1) Why is the Festival Branch named as such? That is free advertising for Festival where the mini mall is NOT owned by Festival.

2) Oshkosh is a larger city than FdL, yet FdL has 4 branches compared to the 1 at Oshkosh. Is there really a need for 4 branches? Assuming having 4 branches is upping the cost paid to be in the Winnefox system. Guessing the cost to FdL would be 4 times as much as the cities that have only 1 branch. Now in this economy, would it not make sense to go down to one branch, pay less to Winnefox & save money all around. You cannot tell us that it is not going to cost money to the FdL library to change all this over.

3) Why will another branch be going in at the East Johnson street mini mall? (Notice it was not stated Festival branch because that is wrong in the calling it that & will be addressed at community meetings.) What about the West side of town, by Pick N Save, Menards? Now why isn't there a Pick N Save branch, a Menards branch? Give these businesses who also employ people & have been a business in FdL a lot longer.

Myself & my co-workers will be watching these blogs to see if the questions here are answered. We are all tax payers & thus the decision made here out tax dollars are being put to poor use in our opinion. Where the decision was made without our input along with the input of the majority of the patrons of the library. We are curious who is actually going to benefit from this change?

The majority of us have children who do utilize the library, not for movies but for reading material. Where in discussing it we are in agreement that the majority of our kids reading material is coming from outside libraries seeing it is not available at the FdL library.

Also in our discussion it was noted that the majority of us do donate to the FdL library. Thus our donations will not be given anymore. We will support the NFdL library who is in the Winnefox system & who we have contacted & were told that we are welcome to utilize the library & the Winnefox system.

It is really sad that a POOR decision was made to benefit a very few with no thought or consideration to the majority of the patrons.

Will be looking for the answers to these questions. Seeing according to the article a lot of thought was put into this decision thus meaning it that is so, than these questions were all considered & it should take no thought to answer them.

Questions that need to be answered:

In answer to your questions:
1. The name of the branch is "FDLPL Express Branch". Festival is not in the name. It is often referred to as being at Festival because the location is recognizable and we have had a parked bookmobile there for about 3 years.

2. We do not have four branches. When the Express Branch opens we will have the Main Library, one Express Branch and a satellite at St. Agnes. There is no cost to operating from St. Agnes except for the cost of the books. You would have to ask OPL why they don't have branches. I can't speak for them.

3. The location of Johnson Crossing was picked because of the high traffic and the fact that it is easily reached by residents of the Holy Land. About 65% of the use of the parked bookmobile is by northeast County residents who have no other library access. We would like to put express branches in the places you mentioned, but obviously can't afford so many.

As been said before, there was never any discussion of leaving the shared catalog in order to pay for an express branch. I understand that you believe that this is a poor decision, and naturally you have a right to your opinion. I hope that in November when all the facts are in, we will be in agreement.

Ken Hall
Director

Outside libraries

In a previous comment you stated that eventually books in other libraries throughout the US will be available. So thus I am assuming that the patrons will be able to put the books on hold & the FdL Library will get them in? So pray tell, how much is that going to cost the library? Now say I want a book that is only available in California - are you telling me that FdL will get such book in for me from that location?

Yes, we will

We have that service now; it's called Interlibrary Loan (ILL for short). We use it when the item cannot be found in Winnefox or Wisconsin. Most every library in the country plays by the ILL rules; they fulfill a primary objective of the public library: to get people the information they want.

You can look at the ILL holdings through WorldCat, found on the website on the left side the Resources page.

Wow

Talk about censoring the replies on here! Too funny! Guess if someone states something that is against the decision or asks a question that you cannot answer block the comment. Just like a survey was taken regarding this change!

No censorship in play

The only comments that I am aware of that have not been posted were spam - they were garble and didn't make sense.

As you can see, many of the comments below question the decisions and pose questions. We monitor the comments for the usual reasons - to block profanity/vulgarity, etc.

We who are reviewing comments may not get to yours or others right away - we do so at work, and aren't here 24/7. But we are monitoring this board with diligence.

Accounting for the savings

I would like to see the breakdown of the $60,000 cost savings calculation. Is there new WALS software Winnefox was requiring? Is it in savings of the FdL Library reimbursement costs to the rural FdL Cty libraries? How does the hours open $ reimbursement factor in?

How about increasing late book fees to raise extra funds - that way no one loses service and no one is required to pay more out of pocket (unless you chose to be late!)

Questions

I have some questions. In another page on this site where comments cannot be left, it says: "During an August to November transition time, the catalog will show all Winnefox materials, but patrons will be able to place holds on only materials owned by FDLPL. Holds on non-FDLPL materials will have to be placed by staff (in person, over the phone or by email - refe[email protected]).

In November, our catalog will show only materials owned by FDLPL, but it will include new and improve features."

Does this mean that beginning in November, we will no longer be able to "hold" materials from other libraries?

And if we are actually able to still place such holds from November on, how will we be able to tell if the other libraries have this material when your catalog no longer tells us whether they do? Are we supposed to guess if the material is available? Do we have to ask a librarian to manually look up every single thing we are interested in that the FdL library does not carry?

As for these "new and improve" features, what might they be that could possibly begin to compensate for what is being taken away?

Answers

In November, the catalog you’re used to now will change to show only FDLPL-owned materials, and you will be able to place holds on those materials yourself, online.

But you will have access to a second catalog – similar to the WorldCat currently available on our website (go to Resources, left column). That second catalog will show materials at libraries in Wisconsin and throughout the U.S., but – at least initially – you will have to go through library staff to place holds on those materials.

We're working on creating an automated system for the second catalog. We have every intention to restore all do-it-yourself library functions you have enjoyed.

Winnefox Decision

I am a very heavy user of "Winnefox holds" and would have been happy to pay $1.00 per hold to help this program along.

Charging for holds is not

Charging for holds is not legal under Wisconsin law.

Ken Hall

Hours

I do find it hard to believe that cutting hours of service would be that big of an issue. Is it necessary to be open Monday thru Friday at 9 AM & except Friday open until 8 PM? I have looked at other libraries & have seen none yet that have hours of operation that FdL does.

So instead of cutting back on hours penalize the people using the library who have found that FdL does not have many of the selections that they are looking for & are thankful for the Winnefox system.

Also, according to the article in the Reporter the branch office, quote from the article: will alleviate pressure on the main library. Okay, but above it is stated that there will be no new hires for the branch office. So if the pressure is so great at the main location & moving employees to the branch office, thus shorting people at the main location, I still fail to see how it will 'alleviate pressue'. Unless.... There will be no new hires but there will be increased hours for the staff, thus costing the library more money.

Also, did Hall or anyone else look into why FdL was paying so much more for the Winnefox library system than the other locations?

Quote from this article: Cutting hours flew in the face of customer demand, Hall said.

I would like to know which customers Hall surveyed to make such a statement seeing my email is registered with the library & I did not receive a 'survey' asking my opinion on the issue. And know others did not either.

I honestly feel that this move by Hall is going to effect FdL library. I know for one that I will be transferring to NFdL who is in the Winnefox library system & I have emailed them & they will welcome my patronage & support!

The hours of service for

The hours of service for FDLPL -- about 65 hours per week -- are in line with other libraries in communities our size. Take a look at Oshkosh, Neenah, Appleton, for example.

We absolutely looked into why FDL was paying more than other libraries of our size. We took many suggestions and requests for cost savings to Winnefox over the last 18 months. All were rejected.

No, we did not survey customers whether to cut hours. When use of the building continues to rise, I think it is fare to say it flew in the face of customer demand.

Ken Hall

Customer demand

Use at the FDL Main building has risen steadily since its expansion/remodeling. Last year, 400,000 people visited the building. With that kind of demand, the option of reducing hours seemed too punitive to the community overall. The library conducted a customer survey through Marian University that indicated strong preference for a branch/second location.

Remember - the August to November period will be a transition time. After November, when FDL is a standalone library, things will be different, but you still will have access to the materials you need and want.

Customer Demand

You have stated that the main building use has risen.

What is the use at the other branches - Rosendale, St Agnes, Festival?

Upon opening the Festival branch will the St Agnes branch close?

Also, seeing holds for outside libraries will need to go through the staff, that will get quite busy for them, wouldn't you say? Seeing as many have commented that they use the Winnefox system quite often. (Can just imagine the waiting line with this...)

WI Public Library Consortium

Will this affect patrons who utilize the WPLC? Since we currently have to log in under the Winnefox Branch?

Access unaffected

You still will have access to WPLC

WOW

I am shocked at the negative comments being made about this. People, remember that you have a library to use. I am one of the patrons that will use the Festival area library and have spoken with others that are very happy about the DONATION made to help with the funding. I cannot believe how irrated these messages are. Look at some other reason to get mad. The library should bring you happiness. Think back to when the Winnefox wasn't even an option. This is just temporary. I guess you can't please everyone, but I am a true library patron. I guess the ones that are complaing should start to buy all their materials that they get for free at the library and then see how they like it. Thank you to the library as I for one enjoy.

Fond du Lac Express Branch

The decision to open a FDL Express Branch next to Festival Foods is not needed. One "benefit" in the Reporter was that the rural/East side patrons will have closer access. It is a short drive from Festival to the library. Let's keep the downtown alive.

Also, what about the West side of town patrons. Seems to me they have the same drive the current library as the East side patrons. Why are they less deserving of a more convenient library site??

Keep up the great work at the library we currently have. It is wonderful and we enjoy it!

East Side Patron

What about the St Agnes

What about the St Agnes location? There will thus be 2 locations on the East side & how many on the West side?

As you have said - let's keep downtown alive!

Winnefox

While I am not a fan of leaving the Winnefox system, the simple fact of the matter is when the money isn't there, it isn't there. It is the same reason companies are laying people off, cutting benefits and salaries, or closing down. It is the same reason people are dropping cable, vacations and going out to eat. Tough choices have to be made and I don't think we should hate on the library for being forced to make them. I for one know that I do not have the same info that the library staff does, so I won't judge their desision and will keep using the valuable services that they offer. The library staff has several times found resources for me that were not in the Winnefox system, and I am sure they will continue to get me what I need regardless of if it is in Winnefox or not. No, I don't work for or am not married/dating anyone who does work for, the library system.

Yuck

Well, this totally stinks. Sure, open a branch way over at Festival Foods that will cost a lot to maintain over the coming months/years and serve only a tiny number of people, but shortchange the main branch and make things inconvenient for the vast majority of users. I'll never donate anything to the library, because I don't like the decisions it makes that have no benefit to me and in fact detract from my use of the library.

Disappointing News

We are actually Neenah patrons who use the Winnefox System. Fond du Lac has been one of our favorite libraries because of their nice selection of Christian and Amish fiction. In fact, because we have an employer who offers matching gifts, we were seriously considering making a donation to Fond du Lac in appreciation for being able to borrow their books. This is disappointing news and I wish you could have found a different way to save money. Perhaps if the library would get out of the business of movie rentals, there would have been money for books and audio-books. Good luck in your new venture.

Winnefox Withdrawal

This decision saddens and concerns me. I can only imagine the extra burden on library staff to accommodate requests for materials not owned by the FdL Public Library. Maybe I am unique in this situation, but a majority of my library holds have been from other libraries in the Winnefox system.

I don't recall seeing an official poll, but I, for one, would have been glad to pay a small fee for items requested, but not held by the Fond du Lac Library, in order to stay in the Winnefox system.

Adding a branch on the east side that serves just a portion of library patrons while severely restricting the choices of ALL library patrons doesn't make sense to me. The Festival branch is just MINUTES from the main branch. People can't drive 5 extra minutes to get to the main library? How much is it going to cost to pay rent, utilities, buy materials and pay staff at the branch per year? Drop the branch; KEEP the Winnefox system for EVERYONE.

I agree with everything this

I agree with everything this patron said. I, too, would've paid a small fee for non fdl books. Opening up a branch by Festival is ridiculous! How much IS that going to cost?

Also Agree

I too agree! You cannot tell me that it will cost less than $60,000 a year for this other branch that will make convenient for a few?
How many patrons of the library would not be willing to pay a small fee for non FdL items?
How many patrons would be willing to pay a fee just for a library card? I for one would not have a problem at all!
Guess someone whose word means more than ours decided it was too far for them to drive to the downtown location. Sad where a decision is made to benefit a few select people!

cutting the patrons from the winne-fox system

Just another bad decision to benefit a select few, We had no vote when they built the library , and as usual we have no vote and no voice in how it would benefit the patrons . They are more then happy to spend taxpayers dollars, they just don't want to hear what the taxpayer has to say. So much for accountablity.

Winnifox vs Branch

I'm very disappointed to learn of the leaving the Winnifox system! I was just considering donating to the branch when I learned of this. That defeats the purpose for me. As a homeschooling Mother of young children, I don't often get to go in the library or upstairs. I so heavily rely on the internet catalog for holds, that not being able to use it will cut down on our usage tremendously! How much is the branch office going to cost to run? More or less than $60,000? I will donate that $100 to keep the Winnifox system running! Stop the branch and keep Winnifox!

Clarifying the holds situation

The change that begins August 1 - that holds will have to be processed by a library staff member - is temporary. We are working (actually as I write this) on a system that will restore patrons' ability to do place holds on their own. August to November is a transition time. It will get worse and then it will get better.

The branch at Festival is being funded by private donations (we're up to $29,000+ of the $40,000 needed) and from the savings realized from closing the two bookmobiles. We are not adding staff.

Will the ongoing utility

Will the ongoing utility bills and rent be paid by these private donors, too?

Donation

What happens if the $40,000 in donations is not met? By my calculations you are short $11,000.

What about next year & the years after? What happens if donations are not sufficient to run that branch?

Has it occurred to you that you will be losing donations by leaving the Winnefox system just to satisfy the whims of a few?

FDL book selection

I certainly hope you plan to pump some money in to your book selection. I have no choice but to use the winnefox system due to the lack of selection, or the many old/outdated books you have on hand at the FDL location. This is definitely going to be a huge disservice to the community. Let me get this straight, the library is having budget issues, so decides to open another branch, in an expensive price per foot shopping center?

Books on hand

We know that a big majority of our patrons want what they want when they want it, and that mantra is and will guide our budgeting and buying decisions. You'll see more and more copies of the most-popular materials.

Series

Have to suggest whoever is in charge of purchasing books needs to do some research. Have found the series by authors that FdL has one of the books in a series & never the first or last one! If a person is interested in reading a series, yes, they depended on Winnefox, where the other libraries used common sense to make all books in a series available.

Leaving Winnefox is a huge mistake

I think leaving the Winnefox system is a poor decision. Opening a new branch on the east side of the city, another poor decision, only accomodates those who are in that area. Winnefox accomodates all of the people, especially those in rural areas and their community libraries. Connecting small communitty libraries with FDL is a huge benefit to public users. Taking that away is a huge mistake.

Between a rock and a hard place

The decision to leave Winnefox was taken only after an exhaustive examination of the options in front of us. With financial pressures closing down, we chose the option we felt -- in the long run -- would be the least-disruptive to patrons. It's hard to see that now, of course. But we hope you are patient with us during the August-to-November transition time. The situation will improve after November, when we become standalone and have the freedom to act independently on behalf of Fond du Lac patrons. The decision to open the branch at Johnson Crossing expands the current parked-bookmobile service that was very busy. We know that shopping center draws from a large area, and we hope to both serve those who don't want to come downtown and to relieve pressure on the main building, which is drawing upward of 400,000 visitors a year.

Acting independently?

I wonder what you mean by the FDLPL being able to "act independently." Does being a member of Winnefox somehow constrain your operations?
I have to say, this decision does disappoint, as I use the system on a regular basis. I will hold severe criticism in order to allow you the time you request, but it seems that in dire economic times, libraries should work more together, since there is no way that any single one can meet all patron needs.
Thank you for the services you continue to provide.

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