FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is the philosophy of shared costs?
The philosophy has been to allocate the costs of the LINC consortium according to how much each library uses the LLSAP. Use can be tracked in many ways for each library, such as number of ports, amount of circulation, number of holdings, total materials budget. All of these elements are calculated in formulas that assess the total costs of LINC and the Cataloging Center equitably to all participating libraries.
Committees and the LINC governing bodies have determined these cost formulas and approved them. LTLS does its best to control costs for the various elements that determine the overall bottom line. Libraries have also agreed that once costs are determined, the formulas should apply and libraries are responsible for paying their portion of the shared cost. Libraries that are members of the consortia agree to this, through the LINC Principles of Cooperation and the LINC Membership Agreement.
Who determined the cost sharing formula between libraries?
The Automated Libraries Council determined the current method of allocating costs. The LINC Directors Group would decide if any further refinements are necessary.
What does the annual LINC ongoing costs pay for and how is it shared between the libraries?
For the LINC ongoing costs, member libraries pay for hardware and software maintenance expenses to Epixtech, maintenance for routers, the shared data circuit to access LINC as well as some support staff costs and supplies.
The LINC ongoing costs are allocated according to three data sources: 1) number of ports 2) circulation 3) holdings. The projected costs for the year are divided equally into three portions of the formula and each part is allocated according to the three data sources (ports, circulation and holdings). Example: if projected Central Site costs were $90,000 for the year, $30,000.00 would be allocated to the individual libraries according to the number of ports each library has, $30,000 would be allocated according to the local circulation, and $30,000 would be allocated according to the number of holdings.
What does the annual Cataloging Center and OCLC costs pay for and how is it shared between the libraries?
For Cataloging Center, member libraries that use the center pay for the costs associated with the center including all OCLC use, professional and staff costs, and supplies.
The Cataloging Costs are allocated according to the individual library’s materials expense less the periodical expense. That figure is used to allocate the projected Cataloging Costs for the year.
For the shared OCLC costs, member libraries have been paying for the initial ongoing batchloading of holdings records into OCLC. Those costs are currently being paid through the Illinois State Library. The formula for batchloading was determined by a percent of the holdings that libraries loaded into OCLC.
What is a port, how much does it cost, what does it pay for?
A port equates to a simultaneous user of the Dynix software. The cost of a port is currently $4000.00 and has been since 1993. The port/access fees are used to purchase additional licenses from epixtech as well as to be sure that the hardware has sufficient capacity to handle the number of users on the system. LTLS purchases additional hardware capacity and upgrades the software as the numbers of users are added to the system. In 1993, the Automated Libraries determined that it would be best to incorporate the hardware and software upgrades into the access fees in order to have a state-of-the-art system for members without assessing additional one-time charges for routine upgrades. This allows the libraries and LTLS to maintain response time and performance guarantees and has been a very successful way of managing upgrades. In 1997 the LINC system needed a major upgrade, which cost $235,000, and no fees were assessed to individual libraries to pay for that upgrade.
Does LT charge overhead?
No, LTLS does not charge building rent, insurance, or administrative overhead for the service of managing LINC.
What data is used to determine how much my library pays and when should I expect to know how much I owe for the next Fiscal Year?
The primary data (circulation, materials expenditures, holdings, and periodical expenditures) used in the formulas is derived from the Annual Profile Survey (APS) that member libraries complete. The surveys are to be returned to LTLS by January 15th. Libraries have requested the cost information by February or March prior to the beginning of the Fiscal Year. LTLS has not been able to meet that deadline for several years, as libraries are not completing the entire APS in a timely fashion. LTLS needs the signed document not just specific numbers, as the signature is the certification part of the APS process. LTLS is diligently working to have libraries submit the FY 2001 APS online.
Other data used is the actual number of ports that a library has access to and the actual number of records that were batchloaded.
What data (year) do we use?
For the costs for FY 2002 the FY2000 APS data was used. LTLS uses the current figures for the number of ports the individual library has access to.
How often are libraries billed?
The LINC Ongoing Costs and Cataloging Costs are billed on a quarterly basis. There are monthly bills generated for equipment or supplies.
How much grant money is used for LINC support?
We have used the Live and Learn grants to help new libraries join the LLSAP. The grants have been in the amount of $10,000 per library to help defray the start-up costs. We have also received grants in the past to upgrade the automation equipment such as a grant to upgrade the wide-area-network. Every year LTLS uses at least $75,000 of the Live and Learn grant to directly benefit the LINC consortia.
What do libraries pay when they join LINC?
For the past several years LTLS has awarded Live and Learn grants to libraries to help with the start-up costs. These costs include installation of hardware and data circuits, peripheral equipment, port fees, retrospective conversion costs and supplies. The grant covers most of these start-up costs although the library must add local holdings to the database and pay for supplies.
In addition to the annual LINC ongoing costs and the Cataloging Center costs that occur after the start-up costs, libraries pay for maintenance on local equipment, additional supplies and telecommunications connections to the system.
When do libraries start paying their share of costs?
The start-up costs described earlier are paid as the equipment is installed and services are provided. The Cataloging Center Costs begin after the first fiscal year and the LINC ongoing support begins after the second fiscal year.
How would we pay for a new automation system?
LTLS maintains a special fund “Port-Telecommunications Fund” where all the money collected from port fees is tracked. LTLS uses that money for upgrades as described previously, but the fund is also used for upgrades or purchasing a new system. As of June 30, 2001, there was $290,331 available in this fund. Other money that is deposited in that fund includes any funds that were not expended from the LINC ongoing costs during the previous fiscal year. In addition, LTLS has some credit with the current vendor, epixtech that could be applied to the purchase of upgrades if we remain with that vendor.
If the amount of funds in the “Port-Telecommunications Fund” were insufficient to purchase a new system, several options for payment would be a special assessment to member libraries, borrowing the funds or a special grant.