Message to the Community from Luren E. Dickinson:
Most people connected with the Shaker Heights Public Library are aware, to one extent or another, that we are a part of the CLEVNET system. The majority, however, probably do not have a clear understanding of what the CLEVNET organization does, how it came into being, or
its significance to the Shaker Library.
CLEVNET is a library automation consortium operated by the Cleveland Public Library, originally developed as a partnership with the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library in 1982 to provide an online catalog and automated checkout services for both institutions. Shaker Heights Public Library joined the organization in 1983 and we re now in our twenty-fifth year of membership in an enterprise that has grown to include over 30 libraries across nine counties of northern Ohio that stretch from Sandusky County in the west to Lake County in the east to Wayne County in the south. Most are public libraries, but school (the Hawken School) and special libraries (Cleveland Law Library and the Global Issues Resource Center of Cuyahoga Community College) are also included.
The number of services provided by CLEVNET has grown over the years along with the number of member libraries. In addition to the original services, acquisitions services, licensed electronic databases, Internet access, and e-mail were added. Floating collections were tried with some success and optional services such as time and print management are still available.
Up to this point, we have been using the same contract that was developed a quarter of a century ago. This year, the Cleveland Public Library decided to update the contract language and an interesting conversation has ensued over the past few months. What has resulted is a much better contract, which protects the rights of both Cleveland Public Library and CLEVNET member organizations, such as the Shaker Heights Public Library.
One of the key issues has been to provide formal recognition of the various member groups, which have developed over time to give input regarding the current and future operations of CLEVNET. Groups such as the Directors’ Advisory Group, the Directors’ Panel, and a variety of Special Interest Groups will now be officially chartered and recognized as part of the new contract with appropriately designated regional representation. Likewise, protections and clarifications have been added to address future potentials, such as the dissolution of CLEVNET itself or termination of membership by a library organization. At this stage, only the Wadsworth Public Library has decided to cancel its membership, effective February 1, to handle its own technology directly with a different automation vendor.
Once approvals are received, the new contract will go into effect July 1. In the meantime, CLEVNET automation services will be moving ahead with an ambitious plan for 2008 that will include technology planning and implementation of the new Symphony 3.2 software that will include online registration, online payment, and books by mail options. The WiFi capabilities of individual libraries will be enhanced and dramatically expanded bandwidth overall is expected. A new e-mail component is currently in the works and next year’s offerings will include instant messaging as part of the KnowItNow platform. Finally, regular reporting is once again in place and there are hopes of producing a CLEVNET Handbook within the next twelve months.
E. Dickinson, Director