Board Minutes 2012 03 (special meeting)

Special Meeting
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Guilford Free Library, Guilford


PRESENT:  Barbara Cangiano – BR, Valerie Kilmartin – DU, Marie Shaw – EH, Lydia Main – EL, Richard Conroy – EX, Sandy Ruoff – GU, Cindy Muhlbach – HA, Gale Bradbury – LB/LG, Beth Crowley – MA, Bonny Albanese – MA, Vince Juliano – MD, Jason Neely – MD, Karen Roesler – ME, Bob Hull – NB, Lois Baldini – NH, Suzanne Maryeski – NL, Meryl Farber – OR, Pat Griswold –RA, Susan Donovan – ST, Leslie Scherer – WA, Todd Fabian – WD, Kathy Giotsas – WM, Lew Daniels – WS, Alan Hagyard – LION.


I.  CALL TO ORDER:  President, Richard Conroy called the Special Meeting to order at 9:38 A.M.


At the February 28, 2012 meeting, the Board voted to spend the necessary funds from LION reserves to keep the holds-to-copies ratio at 7 for the rest of the fiscal year with the understanding that the LUX Committee will analyze the data and make a budget recommendation for next fiscal year.  A few days after the meeting, Random House announced that distributors to libraries (Overdrive) would see an e-book price increase of up to 300%.  Furthermore, this increase would only be for library distributors.   This increase will have a significant effect on how many titles LION can purchase for its collection.


The question of whether to limit or stop purchases from Random House was discussed.  The following are some of the points raised during the discussion:

  • The price increase is discriminatory, aimed at public libraries.
  • It limits our abilities to buy from other publishers.
  • It opens the door for other publishers to do the same.
  • When an e-book is purchased, we are not buying a book, we are buying access to a book.
  • If a distributor other than Overdrive is used, we may lose the entire e-book collection we have invested in.
  • E-books, although growing rapidly in popularity, still represent a small portion of the library’s “circulation”.
  • There is patron demand for more titles in our e-book collection, but we have a fiscal responsibility to stand firm against unreasonable pricing.
  • Libraries across the state and nation need to speak out against actions such as those taken by Random House.
  • Library users should be made aware of any changes made in our purchase of Random House e-books.  This can be done in several ways; a splash page when accessing Overdrive from our catalog, articles in library newsletters, or newspaper press releases.


That LION immediately hold a moratorium on the purchase of e-books from Random House due to the 300% increase in the cost of Random House e-books,

That LION create a Task Force to work with other library organizations, statewide and nationally, to expand the moratorium and to negotiate e-book prices, licensing, and traditional library service needs with publishers,

 That the Task Force monitor pricing of e-books by other publishers,That LION announce its moratorium via Conntech and other media, and encourage all libraries nationally to participate and notify Random House and Overdrive of the action,

That LION re-visit the moratorium in September or when Random House adjusts its pricing to an acceptable level.

 Moved by Vince J. and seconded by Meryl F.  Approved unanimously.

LION President Richard Conroy asked that anyone interested in serving on a Task Force to address the above actions as well as to investigate issues and concerns with Overdrive and options for acquiring e-books through other means such as Freading should contact him by the end of the week.

In the meantime, LION will follow the holds-to-copies ratio approved last month for non-Random House titles.

III.  Adjournment:

On a motion by Meryl F., seconded by Lydia M. the meeting was adjourned at 11:01 a.m.

Next Regular Board Meeting:  April 24, 2012 at the Russell Library

Essex Library will provide the refreshments.

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