Library changes Q&A
Fond du Lac Public Library (FDLPL) will be leaving the Winnefox shared catalog automation system. Here are some answers on the major points surrounding the change.
What exactly is happening?
FDLPL will become a stand-alone library. We will remain a member of the Winnefox district – district boundaries are mandated by the state – but we’re leaving the Winnefox shared automation system.
Why is this happening?
Short answer: We had to find a way to cut the budget before public funding cuts forced our hand, and changes are inevitable when funding is cut.
State funding for libraries has been decreasing steadily, with promises of more cuts in 2012
Local funding is likely to fall as well
Fixed costs (insurance, building, etc.) are rising
There are only three areas where spending cuts have any real impact on the bottom line:
Hours of operation (payroll)
Purchases of new items for collection
Automation/Winnefox shared catalog
Of the three, trimming automation costs has the potential for the least-negative impact on the FDL library user over the long term.
How much money will going stand-alone save?
About $60,000 a year
What will be different?
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 - email@example.com).
In November, you'll have access to two catalogs: a new and improved FDLPL catalog that will be fully automated, and a second catalog with Winnefox and other libraries' holdings. The second catalog will be automated as soon as we can make it happen.
Anyone can use their FDLPL card in person at any Winnefox library, now and after November.
Won’t holds take longer now?
Some will, some won’t. It depends on the location of the item. However, holds probably were going to slow down anyway. All libraries are facing funding cuts, and many will be forced to cut their materials budgets.
Fewer items means longer waits.
We remain on the same Winnefox delivery route as we’ve always been through 2012 at least.
We are prepared to be more aggressive about buying materials that are desired by patrons but not readily available.
Why don't I see all my holds when I access my account?
Only holds on FDLPL materials will show up when you look up your account on our catalog because all other holds are going through a different system. Technically, all other holds are ILL (interlibrary loans). Don't worry if you don't see them; if you've interacted with library staff to place your ILL hold, the process is under way.
What about e-books? Will the Winnefox e-books go away?
All e-books in the Winnefox and FDLPL catalogs will be available to FDLPL card holders. And FDLPL intends to increase spending on e-book licenses for Fond du Lac users.
Will patrons ever get to make their own holds again?
Patrons now and after November will be able to place holds on all FDLPL-owned materials. For non-FDLPL-owned materials, we’re working on creating a process where patrons can do the holds themselves online. But we won’t know for sure what format it will take until we go through the process.
How is going standalone the best option?
The library is getting used more each year. Cutting hours has the double negative of limiting access and reducing payroll.
A majority of library users want the newest material, and they want it when they walk in the door. Cutting the materials budget would limit our ability to satisfy the majority of our customers.
Becoming a standalone library allows us greater flexibility in creating other services, such as electronic collections.
Isn’t this going backward?
We are “under construction” until November. We believe that in the end we’ll come out in a better place for Fond du Lac library users. We hope people can reserve judgment.
The savings from not paying Winnefox will ease pressure off the budget to allow us to spend more on new/popular materials.
Only 10 percent of our circulation is of non-FDLPL library materials, and many of those items were of titles that we own but weren’t available as quickly. So the number probably is closer to 5 percent or less.
How can you afford to open FDLPL Express (the new branch)?
The work to open a branch library began several years ago with a market study conducted by Marian University. The bookmobile parked outside Festival Foods was, in essence, a market-tester. Use of that bookmobile was very robust and grew steadily.
Startup funding for FDLPL Express at the Shops at Johnson Crossing – furnishings, etc. – is coming from community contributions. Operational funding (staffing and overhead) is coming from money shifted from the closed Rosendale and Festival bookmobiles.
Circulation from rural (county) customers creates funding. We think rural customer use of the new branch will skyrocket. It has been very high at the Festival bookmobile.