Planning for Better Times

Monday, October 19,  8:30 – 10:00

Mary Rose Quinn, director of Stevens Memorial Library in North Andover, MA and Ron Van Winkle, Town Manager for West Hartford, CT discuss the hard decisions that have to be made in times of economic strife and share ideas on how we can look down the road and plan for better times.

Mary Rose Quinn:
Three downturns in last 10 years: 1999, 2004, now. When you are in good times you are planning for the bad, and when in bad, you are hoping for better. Planning is key. What are your library’s priorities – what are those things that you can’t live without?

Be mindful of ebb and flow of budgets. If you add new technology, can you sustain it in the next economic downturn?

Town manager insists that items in the library budget are rearranged in terms of priority.
1. People
2. Collections
3. Technology
4. Physical plant.

Think strategically and prepare for the siege. Library directors should read “The Art of War” and/or learn to play chess.
Plan for the best while anticipating for the worst.
Have a Plan B – not to be shared with town officials. Have your contingencies in place. ” But  If” -What can you afford to live without while maintaining your services.
What is sustainable and what is not.
Gather your allies.
Marshall your forces and build strong community partnerships. (Rec dept & Senior Center)
Make a friend of your town manager. Make sure thay understand your services and will advocate for you.
“Hang together or hang separately”
In a downturn, libraries are vulnerable and need to build a moat – take stock – what’s important and communicate what your priorities are.
Preserve what you value and make tough choices.
Reduce book budget to save jobs – you can fund raise for books, but not salaries.
Elevator message (Gates Advocacy) – simple message for the parking lot.

Boston Public Library was cut last year by 4-5 mil. had a Ref Ctr for businesses, but closed that branch and moved it into the Copley Square branch which led to increased hours, more accessible, increased attendance, higher level of effectiveness.

Librarians and tragic flaws:
“But we’ve always done things this way”
We try to do too much with too little.
We believe that if we work for others, they will come to our aid – vs every man for himself.

In budget meetings with town officials:
Do not offer any info you are not asked.
Do not throw any one else’s budget under the bus.
Present “we are one big happy family” working toward a common goal.

In a long range plan, focus on the ideal – if you get it you have to be able to sustain it.
In tough times, retrench rather than retreat. Reinvent and plot your next move for when economics improve, recapture your lost ground.
Technology is a prime mover.
Attend: 12:30 “What if”
State of the States.
8:30 Tues Difficult financial times
12 steps
When time are tough ithelps to laugh.

Ron Van Winkle:

Libraries are key for community.
Town managers have a tough role in a downturn.
what is the difference between a town manager and a dog – if you let the dog in, he’ll stop whining.
We have lost 8 mil jobs in the last year (2 mil in 2002) Unemployment at 10% and rising.
Harshest and longest since the great depression.
W/o the stimulus package, the economy could have had and unemployment rate well into the teens.
NE is better off than the nation (NE lost 300k = 4%) in this current recession
1989-92 = biggest recession in NE, lost 600k and 10%

Recession is over – car accident scenario – in recovery – will be OK
In the meantime, conditions are harshUnemployment will continue to rise.
Borrowing fell, industrial manufacture declined, household debt fell, worst housing market, 23 trillion dollars of wealth evaporated.
Wealth to income is lowest since 1951.
We will probably need a second stimulus by extending unemployment benefits, mortgage supports, first time homebuyers credits, tax reductions, aid to state gov, new health plan, new energy policy, Bush tax cuts expire.

Local level:
Property taxes. No new building, decline in tax revenues, health care climbing. NH third highest property taxes, CT is #1, MA in top 10
Foreclosures are occurring in every town. No one wants higher property taxes
Connect and communicate to your town what library issues are:
increased need for library services in a downturn, libraries increasingly provide social services.
Make sure your community understands and values the library’s services.

Every community values the library. Be a marketer and entertainer and a financial officer – Know your budget well.
People looking to relocate to your town by buying or building houses, want to move to a town with a great library.
provides big incentive for town managers to supprt the library.

More than just a library, you are a person, you are part of the solution to the recession, identifies the town – library as the heart of the community.

What can your Friends group do for you if they arn’t providing funds for the book budget.
Beg and plead not to have a disproportionate cut to the budget come out of libraries and senior centers.

Advocacy efforts through town newspapers – local platforms.
Yahoo group
Weekly library newsletter
Quarterly print newsletter from the library
Twitter and Facebook
Word-of-mouth Tell people who come to programs to spread the word.

Looking Good on a Budget: Principles of Design for the Artistically Challenged

Monday 4:00-5:00 p.m.

With the advent of powerful, freely available graphics and desktop publishing programs, librarians can now create attractive and readable publications. Whether on a web page or in a mailing, the way your message is presented is often as important as the message itself. Darrell Eifert, from Lane Memorial Library in Hampton, NH, focuses on basic design elements, including typography, layout and placement. Learn how to license images from the new low-cost “micro stock” agencies and the basics of Open Office Draw, GIMP and Scribus. Free CDs are available for those without high speed Internet access.

– Use Flickr images (look for Creative Commons Attribute, which allows you to freely use images provided you give proper credit — 8,000,000 images available)
– Flickr is FREE – no need for professional photographers or to purchase stock images
– Sometimes purchasing images is necessary, i.e. when you have a specific idea that requires a narrowly focused, professional photograph or you need a human being in the picture (go to istockphoto — they have model releases on file)
– Can purchase images from istockphoto for $5
– Can “try before you buy” — download low-resolution, watermarked images

– Keep it simple
– No more than 2 fonts per layout
– Use serif fonts for body text
– Break large sections of text into multiple columns
– Balance columns across page so text lines up.
– More white space to enhance legibility

– Adobe Creative Suite retails for $1500
– Microsoft products retail for $500
– go to for savings (get MS Office for $16/workstation, minimum purchase of 5 licenses)
– or get Adobe CS3 Premium Suite for $160/yr (1 license max, there’s a waiting list)
– Most important purchase: a printer
– specs: wide carriage inkjet, capable of printing 13″x19″ borderless images on both matte and glossy paper, retails for $200-400
– his recommendation: HP OfficeJet 7000 Wideformat printer (available for $150 at

Design Rules:
– Good design is based more on observation and analysis than it is on some vague notion of “creativity”
– Rule #1: Before anything goes on the page, decide what is most important. What single idea (or perception) do you want to communicate?
– Rule #2: Make what is most important the visual and verbal center of your project
– Rule #3: Arrange the elements in a visually pleasing layout that reinforces the central idea
– Three principles of design: composition, components, concept
– Composition: eye should move naturally from most important information to least important information

Recommended Reading:
book called Design Basics Index by Jim Krause


Photography and Image Sources:
Creative Commons Licensed Images on Flickr —
Royalty Free vector clip art (15,000 images) —
Open Clip Art Library (7,000 images) —
IStockphoto (poster quality images for $5 each) —
When you need big posters (email presenter for instructions) —

Can request free CD-ROM of above software at if you don’t have a high-speed internet connection

Technology Gone Wild; Planning to Tame Technology

Panelists: Alan Kirk Gray Asst. Director at Darien, Dawn Brown Asst. Director at Springvale Public Library, ME, and Kendra Morgan Tech Atlas Outreach Specialist at Webjunction.


Alan: Questions you should ask.

            Who are you planning for?  What are you doing? 

            What are you planning to do?  Level of service, collection, etc.  Level of technology and overall services should all range in the middle

            Where are you planning to go?  Services and Effectiveness. 

            When are you planning? Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow. 

Darien uses a pyramid stepped from today to 10 years from today.  Services – 10 years, Staffing – 5 years out, Management and Funding – 3years out, Resources – 2 years out, Delivery – 1 year out, Daily Presence is the peak – face to face, website, presence.

            Why are you doing this?           

            Whose library is it?

            Where is the edge of the library?

            Do you trust someone to be your patron?

            How do you balance the needs of the connective and contemplative? 

           How do you serve the “hard middle”?   

Customer Service Matrix: Planning for these Standard – Extended –  Innovative

                       Individual Customer Service

                      Library as service provider 

                      Service to the community           

                      Leadership in the community 

Technology Layers: P2P, Patron Direct, Patron Indirect, Staff, Management, Infrastructure.

Infrastructure: HVAC, building maintenance

Management: technology to run the library

Staff: tech for customer service

PI: OPACPD: office, email,

P2P: social networking, file sharing, virtual reference

PD and P2P may have nothing to do with the library, are simply services we provide.

Layers make up an ILS Spine. On either side you have the Patrons or the Staff,  each are split with hardware and software.  Most people start planning with PI and Staff hardware.  Move to Management hardware and Infrastructure hardware and software, and finally incorporate PD and P2P hardware and software. (this was on a handout)

Think like a CEO: Maximize performance and retain customers.RFID will make the most of customer service and effectiveness, big investmentMost important rule: Make Mistakes!Attack like a fighter pilot: Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act, and start all over.  OODA loop  

Kendra: Tech Atlas Tools to Tame Technology

WebJunction purchased Tech Atlas as a planning and management tool for libraries. Screen shots were shown, in lieu of internet not up to allow interactive tour.

Envision Tab sets the foundation for your plan, decide who will be on the team, describe your mission statement: what you will accomplish, your vision is what you would like to see technology bring your library, objectives. A list of goals and objectives can be created, added and deleted at any time.  There is also a budget worksheet for each of the goals and objectives. 

Inventory computers: kept offsite at Webjunction.  Information can be added manually or with a script run over the network. 

Budget and inventories can be downloaded into excel spreadsheets.  Goals and objectives can be downloaded into word documents. 

Consider tweaking, Tech Atlas is just a tool, you can adjust it however you need to to get the best result for you. 

Dawn: Taming Library Technology “The Springvale Maine Way”

Why and how: Tech plan required by state library, Springvale had an older plan, needed to update it, Tech Atlas came available.

Why is a plan important? Computer usage continues to rise, need to update and replace existing computers to meet demand, important tool for fund raising.

What TA did for them: Input all their info and got a 7 page document , but realized it did not meet any of their goals.  They tweaked the format and information they got from TA and built from it 

What they loved: the inventory part of the program broke it down into what we have vs. what we want.  It also allowed them to label where everything is.

            Goals and Objectives and the summary: TA asks lots of questions, so they decided to cut back on questions and make it simple.

            Budget current and projected for the next three years. 

Having a completed plan has changed the way they view technology.  Assists with fundraising, gives them a greater vision for future tech, tamer tech for the library, improved tech planning and accountability so patrons benefit with improved and updated technology. will have power point presentation from today.