Monday, April 01, 2013

NTLP Will Close on 4/30/2013

(This is not an April Fool's joke.)  The following letter was sent on Friday, March 29 to the Directors of all NTLP Partner Libraries from Ken Haas, chair of the NTLP Board of Directors.  (See printable PDFs of the letter and the cover email.)

(For followup information, please monitor the NTLP website and NTLP's new blog.)

March 29, 2013

Dear Partner Libraries of NTLP,

It is with regret that the NTLP Board of Directors announces the imminent closing of NTLP.

When the TSLAC announced that funding for the State Library Systems program would not continue past August 31, 2012, the NTLP Board and the staff decided that the independent nonprofit could continue serving libraries and anticipated that the organization would be funded through membership fees, fees for services, donations, sponsorships, grants, and contracts. This decision was reinforced through a vote of the NTRLS membership.

With the change, NTLP reduced its staff to about one-third of the previous level. NTLP's office space had already been reduced to about one-third of the original space during a recent move.

From 1974 through 2012, the State Library Systems program enabled an increase in the number of Texas public libraries and an enhancement in personnel skills and library services. This set a new standard for public libraries across the state and enabled the standard to be met without charge to Texas public library communities. In an ironic twist to the original plan, then, few library communities were prepared to absorb the cost to continue receiving such services when State funding ended.

In its first year without government funding, NTLP has grown to 80 member libraries, a figure which exceeds any previous NTRLS membership number and includes 15 libraries from the former NETLS and CTLS areas. However, $80,000 total revenue from membership fees represents only about 25% of NTLP's minimum annual operating budget for the current level of service, and many libraries could not pay the cost of membership nor the cost of individual services. During this fiscal year NTLP received $85,000 in grants from TSLAC, but those funds are committed to specific programs and not available to support general operations. NTLP has been seeking support from donors and sponsors but to date no funds have come from those sources.

By mid-March NTLP Board and staff had already recognized that a crisis point was coming, and we were anticipating staff salary cuts in order to continue operations to the end of the fiscal year. Recent developments, however, have made it futile to attempt to carry on.

Beginning in 1999 TSLAC required that all Regional Library Systems maintain a cash reserve equal to a certain percentage of the annual administrative costs.  Since the closing of NTRLS, TSLAC has been in communications with NTLP regarding a requirement to return the cash reserve funds to the State. NTLP and TSLAC disagree on the amount of the cash reserve (by an order of magnitude), but variations in recordkeeping and staff changes over 15 years have made it challenging to document our position.

On Monday March 25, NTLP received a letter from the Texas Attorney General's office supporting TSLAC's position on the cash reserve issue. The Board plans to contest the amount, but it will mean diverting staff time to researching and documenting the history of the cash reserve. This development, when we were already facing a financial crisis with no solid funding base sufficient to carry us into the next fiscal year, led the NTLP Board of Directors to advise an immediate and orderly shutdown of the organization since it would no longer be able to serve its mission.

Libraries that joined NTLP since January 1, 2013 will have their membership fees refunded in full but continue to be recognized as Partner Libraries of NTLP. NTLP is asking our Commercial Partners to continue to make vendor discounts available to our Partner Libraries through at least September 30, 2013. The NTLP website and other online resources will continue to be available as long as funding permits. Other existing NTLP commitments will be met to the extent possible, but no new services are possible at this time, since NTLP staff must focus on the shutdown process.

NTLP staff will release further information about the shutdown process and the plans for specific projects – including scheduled training events, support for NTLC (the ILS consortium), support for North Texas Libraries on the Go (the Overdrive Consortium), and development of Geodesity (the eBook Platform) - as we work out the details.

Both the Board and the staff are sad to have to accept this decision, which we know will adversely affect so many libraries. We continue to believe in the value of nonprofit support for libraries and for collaborative library projects, and we hope that sometime in the future such efforts may be funded at a level that makes them viable. It is clear that such services cannot depend solely on funding from cash-strapped public libraries.

Thank you to all of you who have supported NTLP and NTRLS during its nearly-40-year history.


Ken Haas, Chair
NTLP Board of Directors

Cc:     NTLP Board of Directors
    Carolyn Brewer, NTLP Executive Director

Friday, March 22, 2013

Please Update your Bookmarks for NTLP's New Blog

NTLP's blog has moved to  Please join us there for news about NTLP and our partner libraries, and NTLP staff commentary on trends in the library and technology worlds.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Library eReaders for Homebound Patrons

See the No Shelf Required blog for a podcast interview about the Dayton Metro Library's program for homebound patrons using Sony eReaders.  They began the program when they noticed that certain materials the patrons had requested were not available in large print, but were available from the library as ebooks where the font could be enlarged on the device.   It makes so much sense to make eReaders available to these patrons!

Listen to the podcast to hear details.

Two years ago NTLP had a program funded by a TSLAC special project grant to help libraries implement or expand services to homebound patrons.  eReaders would be a great addition to any of those programs!  For libraries that don't subscribe to a downloadable ebook provider, they could still offer to assist homebound patrons with ereaders using ebooks from free sources.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

The Lingering eBook Mess of 2012

Brian Kenney has an excellent article in Publishers Weekly about eBooks and eReaders in libraries. -

It covers a whole gamut of topics, from library book price-fixing in 1966, to the frustration of librarians helping patrons with eReaders so they can move their reading lives to a market that excludes libraries, to the library's inability to offer newly released bestsellers in digital format. 

Here's to more chaos in 2013!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Aytz Chaim Foundation Offers Free Books to Public Libraries

Thanks to CTLS Deputy Director Laurie Mahaffey, we were introduced to Mr. "Tank" Rubinett of Aytz Chaim Foundation and that nonprofit's offer to send a compendium of books about the Holocaust to Texas public libraries. The organization will pay for the books and ship them, postage paid.

Mr. Rubinett is passionately trying to get into as many public libraries as possible a compendium of books that each cover the Holocaust from a different perspective. The compendium currently includes eight titles, but it eventually should include the third book of the trilogy, which is just hitting the press, plus one additional book he hopes to add soon. 

The organization doesn't keep a really large inventory in stock - in part because they raise funds to purchase the inventory and sometimes need time to raise those funds first. NTLP staff has made arrangements with Mr. Rubinett so that your public library may submit your order through NTLP, and NTLP will forward orders to Mr. Rubinett as we collect them. 

If you would like to order any quantity of any or all of the titles, visit and place your order as soon as you have time to do so. The Foundation will need to determine how much funding they will need and make plans to raise those funds in order to purchase and ship the items you request.

If, upon receiving the gift book/s, you would like to insert a gift or memorial book plate in these books or otherwise list them as contributions to the collection, the donor is Aytz Chaim Foundation, a 501(c)(3) entity of Congregation Agudas Achim of Austin, TX.

These are the titles included in the currently eight-book compendium.
  • Buchenwald Trilogy, Volume IThe beasts of Buchenwald : Karl & Ilse Koch, human-skin lampshades, and the war-crimes trial of the century / Flint Whitlock. First edition. Brule, Wisconsin : Cable Publishing, 2011, ©2011. How was it possible that Karl and Ilse Koch, a seemingly ordinary couple who ran Naz Germany's most infamous concentration camp, could have been loving parents while brutalizing prisoners and committing some of the worst atrocities known to mankind? This searing account exposes the whole ghastly story. Flint Whitlock is a Pulitzer-nominated author and military historian and has been called “One of America's leading military historians” by World War II magazine. 
  • Buchenwald Trilogy, Volume IISurvivor of Buchenwald : my personal odyssey through hell / Louis Gros, Flint Whitlock. 1st Ed. Brule, WI : Cable Pub., 2012. “I was only seventeen years old when the knock on our door came late one night. The French police barged in, arresting me and my father as members of the French Resistance. After months of incarceration in French prisons, two thousand inmates were jammed into twenty rail cars. Our destination was Buchenwald, the most horrific camp in Nazi Germany, where we were viewed by our SS keepers as expendable sub-humans and forced to work as slave laborers. I was beaten and starved. I witnessed brutal tortures and senseless murders. But I survived.”
  • The four-front war : from the Holocaust to the Promised Land / by William R. Perl. New York : Crown Publishers, c1979. from a Kirkus Review: “William Perl, an American psychologist born in Prague, organized and led Irgun attempts to smuggle Jews out of Nazi Germany and Central Europe from 1937 through the first years of World War II. [He] seeks to publicize Irgun actions, via its youth movement Betar, in saving thousands of lives--despite overwhelming opposition--before the implementation of the Final Solution and before the Jewish leadership thought it propitious to act.”
  • Gated grief : the daughter of a GI concentration camp liberator discovers a legacy of trauma / Leila Levinson. Brule, WI : Cable Pub., 2011. After the death of her father, a WWII Army doctor, Leila Levinson discovers shocking photos he had taken of a Nazi slave-labor camp.  When she learns that he suffered a breakdown after treating the camp's survivors, she seeks out and interviews dozens of WWII veterans who also liberated Nazi concentration camps, all of them unprepared for the unimaginable horrors they found. In this groundbreaking portrait of trauma’s legacy, Gated Grief reveals how the unspoken memories still imprisoning WWII veterans have affected their loved ones as well.
  • History on trial : my day in court with a Holocaust denier / Deborah E. Lipstadt. 1st Harper Perennial ed. New York : Harper Perennial, 2006. This chronicle of the author's five-year legal battle with writer David Irving, a prolific supporter of Holocaust denial, describes how the author and a team of experts defended against Irving's libel suit while exposing his distortions of history.
  • The Holocaust conspiracy : an international policy of genocide  / by William R. Perl. New York : Shapolsky Publishers, c1989. By combining existing research with previously unknown findings, Dr Perl draws the inescapable conclusion that it was not apathetic inaction of the worlds powers that made the Holocaust and the Final Solution so tragically ineffective. [The book] sheds shocking new light on the plots and discreet actions of world powers to effectively support the Nazi genocide programs.
  • Holocaust survivor : Mike Jacobs' triumph over tragedy : a memoir / Mike Jacobs ; edited by Ginger Jacobs. 1st ed. Austin,TX : Eakin Press, 2001. It was Rosh Hashanah 1939 when the Nazis invaded Konin, Poland and marched into Mendel Jakubowicz’s (now Mike Jacobs) synagogue. On that day, everything that Mendel had known, loved and considered precious had disappeared. Just a teenager at the time, Mike credits hope, belief and positive thinking for keeping him alive through those five and a half years. MikeJacobs lives in Dallas and is available for speaking engagements. 
  • Tomorrow will be better : surviving Nazi Germany / Walter Meyer ; with the editorial assistance of Matt Valentine. Columbia : University of Missouri Press, c1999. How does a young German who has been a member of the Hitler Youth and has competed in Nazi-organized athletic competitions become, over the span of two years, an 80-lb, tuberculosis-stricken concentration camp escapee? In this memoir, Walter Meyer leads readers from one harrowing moment to the next as he recounts his experiences during and after Hitler's reign. His experience as a non-Jewish survivor of the Nazi concentration camps provides an enlightening and varied perspective to the Holocaust dialogue.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Call for Nominees to NTLP's Board of Directors

Due to resignations and the current Board's decision to increase the number of Board members to a total of 11,SIX of the 11 positions will need to be filled for FY 2013.

Since NTLP no longer serves as home of NTRLS, its Board members no longer must be affiliated with any library (although we would hope that they're strong library supporters), and our Board members no longer must come from any particular geographic region.

Do you know of anyone who would be a good addition to the NTLP Board? If so, please send to that person a link to this blog post.

Those wishing to volunteer to serve on our Board are asked to submit via email to NTLP no later than Monday September 10 the following:
  • Their name, as they want to be known by our library Partners
  • A Statement of Purpose (Why they support NTLP enough to volunteer for its Board)
  • A resume OR short summary of experiences / expertise
  • A photo
In addition, all potential NTLP Board members are invited to register for and join us at NTLP's Annual Membership Meeting in Denton (details below), although participation at that meeting is not required for those wishing to serve on NTLP's Board.

Here's information about the meeting; a FAQ for potential board members follows.

NTLP Annual Membership Meeting
Wednesday, September 19, 2012, 10:00 AM - 12:30 PM
breakfast provided
Everyone is welcome to attend.  Representatives from partner libraries
are especially encouraged to attend,  but others are also welcome.
Center for Visual Arts
400 East Hickory Street
(Located at the corner of Bell and Hickory)
Denton, TX, 76201

Frequently Asked Questions regarding serving on the NTLP Board of Directors

How often does the group meet?
The group meets at least quarterly but may meet more often provided that the meeting announcement is sent to each Board member at least 14 calendar days (10 calendar days for special meetings) in advance. Additionally some Board members meet with Board-appointed committees, and those committees usually meet quarterly at this time.

What is the length of a Board member's term?
According to NTLP's Bylaws, all Board members shall serve three-year terms. A Board member may be re-elected for one consecutive term and qualifies for re-election after sitting out one term.
HOWEVER, because NTLP's Board is evolving with the membership-driven nonprofit at this time, some of the people elected to the Board in FY 2013 will serve only one year, others two years and others 3 years, and those terms will be decided by a straw vote.

What are the powers and duties of the Board?
According to NTLP's bylaws, the Board of Directors shall have all the powers necessary to operate the Corporation, including but not limited to the power to:
(a) Sue and be sued in its own name;
(b) Contract;
(c) Employ an Executive Director to serve at the Board’s pleasure, who shall appoint all other
(d) Authorize a compensation plan for employees;
(e) Receive money, property and services from a Partner’s governing body, or any government,
private individual, foundation, business or other sources of funds;
(f) Expend the money and use the property and services to carry out the purposes of the
(g) Rent, lease, lease with an option to purchase, or purchase property for the use of the
(h) Adopt and amend policies for the administration of the Corporation and to authorize
(i) Approve the Annual Plan of Service, including any amendments, and any Long Range Plans
formulated with input from the Partners;
(j) Appoint standing and special committees;
(k) Hold special Corporation meetings as the need arises, notice having been given to Partners at
least ten (10) calendar days in advance of the meeting;
(l) Hire a certified public accountant to provide accounting and financial advice to the staff and to
the Board and to perform an independent annual audit;
(m) Employ a general counsel to serve at the Board’s pleasure;
(n) Approve all grant applications;
(o) Solicit funds from private and governmental sources;
(p) Approve new Partners; and
(q) Hold such other duties and powers as are usually vested in the Board of Directors of a non-profit organization.

Is NTLP's Board of Directors covered by liability insurance?

What if I have other questions?
Contact NTLP.

Issues Facing Libraries that Want to Circulate eReader Devices

A few times in recent months librarians have asked me for advice about circulating ereader devices pre-loaded with content.  

I often refer librarians to the successful Nook lending program  at the Burleson, Texas  Public Library, and to Buffy Hamilton’s blog, The Unquiet Librarian, which has excellent accounts of a Kindle lending program that had to be discontinued and the Nook lending program that replaced it. also has useful information about the issues involved in Kindle lending, and PC Sweeney’s Blog has arguments for and against checking out ereaders along with a description of the Nook lending program at the Sacramento Public Library.

When an individual consumer is deciding which device to buy for reading ebooks, it often boils down to an individual preference for Apple, Amazon or Barnes & Noble.  When a library is choosing a device to circulate, the issues tend to center around the vendor’s licensing terms and how hard it is for the library staff to manage a large number of devices.  Can you manage multiple devices with one account at the vendor?  Can you load one ebook onto multiple devices at once?  Can you remove the library’s credit card number from the device before loaning it to patrons? From this standpoint, many institutions have settled on the Nook Simple Touch as the most suitable device.

But it turns out that the Nook Simple Touch is inaccessible to persons with low or no vision, since it does not have a text-to-speech capability.  The National Federation for the Blind has brought ADA violation complaints against the Nook lending programs at the Free Library of Philadelphia in May 2012 and now the Sacramento Public Library.

Libraries are trying hard to meet patron expectations with regard to ebooks.  Faced with rapidly changing technology, limited availability, awkward implementations, device and format compatibility issues, and high prices for downloadable ebooks, some of them have navigated the maze of licensing rules and vendor account management procedures to offer a circulating ereader collection as a creative solution.  The accessibility issue and the corresponding threat of lawsuits presents yet another obstacle that may force many libraries into abandoning this method of offering ebooks to their patrons.  

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Bill Whiteside Resigns from NTLP Board of Directors

At its meeting last week, the NTLP Board of Directors accepted accepted with regret but understanding - and with appreciation of his many years of service - Bill Whiteside's resignation.

Mr. Whiteside began serving our group in the early 80s, when it was still the North Texas Library System. He witnessed the development of the nonprofit North Texas Regional Library System, Inc., and the evolution of that nonprofit as it became North Texas Library Partners and then simply NTLP

NTLP staff joins the Board in recognizing his valuable contributions to our organization and adds our grateful thanks to his wife Betty, who was Vice Chair of the transition committee in 1984-85 and have served our organization in various other capacities. Even in "retirement," they're serving our nonprofit. Their memories and experiences are already proving vital as we archive the history of the system.

Thanks, Bill and Betty!