Agreement gives Lebanon library members access to countywide collection

Updated: Oct. 19, 2017

This article was changed to reflect the date the program is likely to start.

Lebanon Public Library patrons will soon be able to check out materials from several other Linn County libraries without leaving town.

Library Director Kendra Antila said the program will likely start Dec. 1.

The City Council on Wednesday, Oct. 11, approved an intergovernmental agreement among Albany, Harrisburg, Scio, Sweet Home and Linn-Benton Community College that allows Lebanon to join the Linn Library Consortium’s Resource Sharing program.

Lebanon residents have had the ability to see on-line what materials are available at other libraries since 2001, when the Lebanon Public Library and Albany Public Library began sharing an integrated library system, Antila said. Since then, the libraries in Scio, Harrisburg, Sweet Home and LBCC joined the same ILS, splitting annual costs with Albany Public Library, which provides technical support.

In February 2016, those libraries, with the  exception of Lebanon, entered into a new agreement for resource sharing, allowing their patrons to borrow up to five items from any other participating library. The only cost to the libraries is the courier service, which is shared among them.

The five members have collectively circulated more than 4,100 items from other member libraries since the service began last year.

With the approval by the council, Lebanon residents may now use the courier service. In addition to books, library cardholders can borrow DVDs and other resources available from member libraries.

“If the Lebanon Public Library were to purchase a single copy of each item that other LLC libraries own that we do not, it would cost over $3.5 million,” Antila said. “However, if one includes staff time in selecting, ordering, cataloging and processing, the value is significantly higher.”

Lebanon’s annual cost is $1,500, its portion of the shared courier cost.

The courier drops off incoming items and picks up outgoing items every Tuesday and Thursday, Antila said. “Additional workload for staff would be minimal and more than offset by the value of the material. This is a wonderful opportunity to join a successful, mutually bene-ficial agreement that will expand services to the public at very little cost.”

In the past seven or eight years, Antila said, LLC libraries have become part of the statewide Passport Program, which allowed patrons of member libraries to sign up for a Passport card and borrow up to five items at no cost at other libraries; but it required them to travel to the individual libraries where they wanted to borrow materials.

The courier service “takes that Passport Program just a step further,” Antila said. Patrons can use their home library cards to borrow from other libraries, “and as an added bonus, there’s a courier.”

Albany provides the courier, who works between Albany’s two library branches, she said.

“The reason we didn’t start in February 2016 like everyone else did is Carol (Dinges), my predecessor, was a little worried about the workload that would be generated, and she wanted to hold off until we had returned staffing levels to where we were prior to the budget cuts,” Antila said. “The intent was always that we would become a part of it. We participated at every level from conception to reality. We’ve continued to play a part in the shaping of the policy and procedure.

“I think it’s time for us to join. It’s a win-win for us and the public. It means we can offer the library patrons more choice, more convenience. The library essentially gains a larger collection that didn’t cost a thing.”

Present and voting to approve the agreement were Jason Bolen, Bob Elliott, Floyd Fisher, Robert Furlow and Rebecca Grizzle.

Wayne Rieskamp and Mayor Paul Aziz, who is recovering from an illness, were absent.

In other business, the council:

n Approved the annexation of 2255 Stoltz Hill Road, a .11-acre lot owned by Scott and Christine Boucher, to allow the extension of city water service to the property. The property is zoned residential mixed density. The council approved the annexation of a neighboring property in September.

n Approved an update to the city’s ordinance governing liquor license recommendations to reflect the current responsible department and position. The responsibility for investigating applicants and making a recommendation to the council has belonged to the Finance Department, the Police Department and Administration. The responsibility now belongs to the City Clerk’s Office.

n Approved updates to the city’s parks ordinance, clarifying the process for reservations after dusk, changing the person responsible for reservations from the police chief to the maintenance services director, clarifying a requirement for special permits for the possession of alcoholic beverages in city parks and increasing the fine for violating the ordinance from $500 to $1,000, the current fine for  violations of ordinance on the city’s fee schedule.

n Agreed to take ownership of the Lebanon Skate Park, 200 Harrison St. The Lebanon Skate Park Committee funded and constructed the first two phases of the Lebanon Skate Park.

The intent has always been to transfer ownership when the park was up and running, said Ron Whitlatch, engineering services director. The city will be able to use the existing value to apply for grants to complete remaining items needed for the park, including a restroom, lighting, irrigation, landscaping and a paved parking lot.

n Learned that the city had received from City-County Insurance Services a Gold Award for worker safety among cities with 80 to 126 employees.

City Manager Gary Marks said that this is the third time in four years the city has won the award. In each of those years, the city had no injury-related lost work time. The award is given to the city with the best record.

In its category, “there is not a better city in the State of Oregon. “There is only one of these that’s given out. It’s to the city that has the best record. At zero, you don’t get any better than that. In the last four years, we’ve only had one injury on the job that has resulted in a loss work time situation. With 90-plus employees that is a great accomplishment.”

Many cities have fewer employees who have more injuries on a regular basis, he said.

“The reason we’ve had our success is not an accident,” Marks said. “We have a very active safety committee. We have built into our organization a safety culture. Our employees look out for each other. They are aware of their training, and it pays off.”

It pays off by sending employees home to their families whole after each shift, he said, and it pays off financially.

In 2013, the city’s premium was twice what it is now, Marks said. The premium goes down every year.  This year, the premium decreased by $47,000, and the city is about to receive about $30,000 back as a dividend, a total of $77,000.

“I’m very proud of this award, and I’m very proud of our staff,” Marks said.

n Learned that Lebanon had received an award for Strawberry Plaza Park during the Oregon Main Street awards dinner in Oregon City last week.

“We were named the No. 1 public improvement for Oregon downtowns for 2017,” Marks said. “This is a very big achievement and a very big deal for us because cities our size don’t get this award. These usually go to the big cities that have the big projects that typically are much more significant than a city our size can accomplish.

“We were told that not only did we win this award, we ran away with it. I’m very proud of this. It’s quite an accomplishment and a testimony to our community and its desire to make downtown the heart again of this place we call Lebanon. It’s a testament to our staff that worked so hard to make this plaza come together and to be the facility that it is for our community. And again, I have a lot to be proud about, about our community.”