At the May 24, 2010, LTLS Board meeting, several actions were taken as a result of the current financial challenges facing LTLS and other library systems in Illinois.
Jan Ison, Executive Director, summarized the challenging economic climate, the current cash flow situations facing various library systems, and the cash position for LTLS. With information from the Illinois State Library that reimbursements are 6-9 months delayed, many systems face lack of cash to continue operations. LTLS currently has a sufficient cash balance to continue the priority services (LINC and delivery and restructuring discussions) through June 2011. This is because the Board and administration have been fiscally conservative in their management and have fund reserves that will see us through this difficult time.
As a result of the financial crisis, several initiatives are developing that may lead to restructuring of the library system model currently in place in Illinois. With this information in hand, the LTLS Board agreed to the following course of action:
- Support the Executive Director's priorities of multitype resource-sharing and collaboration as continuing core values, even in these difficult times.
- Take a leadership role in cooperative library service and continue to encourage and enhance the cooperative efforts that LTLS has supported and continued for more than 40 years.
- Submit a system FY2011 budget at the same level as FY2010, as requested by the Illinois State Library.
- Commit to placing the automation (LINC) program and delivery as the highest priority services in FY2011, with other services operating on an "as funding is available" basis.
- Engage the membership in discussion of what they see as a priority for service in addition to delivery and automation.
- Move forward in a fiscally responsible way.
- Revisit all services offered and reduce cash outgo in order to weather the current cash flow crisis, with the plan to reinstate services as money becomes available.
- Continue to work quickly with systems to restructure the cooperative organization to meet the needs of the people of Illinois. Immediate options to consider include sharing staff with other systems to maintain other critical services during FY2011 while working towards a longer-term future.
- Revitalize the LTLS Foundation to determine if the foundation should be the 'foundation' for LINC to assure that the program continues with no lapse in service due to the state financial crisis.
LTLS staff will begin review of the FY2011 budget immediately, with plans for a revised budget to be available at the June 21 Board meeting. A meeting between an LTLS Board committee and a Shawnee Library System Board committee is already planned. Various staff members are involved in collaboration discussions with other system's staff as well. There will also be a survey sent out to the LTLS membership, asking for input on prioritizing services as we continue to operate and examine restructuring.