Items for Vote after the SHARE Membership Meeting

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Voting Has Closed


SHARE needs members to vote to update our SHARE policies and procedures, to better serve our members and/or follow guidelines set by organizations such as the Illinois State Library, American Library Association, or the Library of Congress.

The proposed changes include:

Establishing or Changing SHARE Policies

Tiered Voting

cloudLibrary Fee Scale Change

SHARE Fee Scale Change and Increase

These proposals were discussed at the SHARE Membership Meeting at IHLS Member Day on Thursday, November 7, 2019 in Effingham, Illinois, and a recording of that meeting is below. Additional information about the changes AND supporting documents are available for your review below. SHARE governance requires that the majority of member libraries submit a vote on the proposed changes, so please take a quick minute to cast your ballot on behalf of your library. Each member library can only vote once. If your library has multiple locations (schools, branches, etc.), please choose one authorized person to vote on behalf of your agency.

Recorded SHARE Membership Meeting

Did you miss the SHARE Membership Meeting after IHLS Member Day? Watch the recording now.

The following items were up for member vote:

Topics: Establishing or Changing SHARE Policies | Tiered Voting | cloudLibrary Fee Scale | SHARE Fee Scale

Establishing or Changing SHARE Policies

The Finance and Policy committee, as approved by the SHARE Executive Council at their meeting on June 24, 2015, determined that the following steps will be taken to establish policies and procedures, to change existing policies, or to change the fee structures for SHARE:

  1. Member library staff will address their concerns to the chair of the appropriate committee.
  2. The committee will review items of business and, if appropriate, develop a recommendation for a new SHARE policy or procedure, a change in existing policy, or a change to the SHARE fee structure. In the event of a minor change, one that does not change the intent or spirit of the policy, committees have the authority to make the change, with the changed policy revised and in effect at that time.
  3. Proposed committee recommendations will be posted on the SHARE website for member comment, for a period of no less than two weeks.
  4. The committee will meet to review member comments and make changes, as appropriate.
  5. The committee will send a final recommendation of a new policy or procedure, a change to existing policy, or change to the SHARE fee structure to the SHARE Executive Council for review.
  6. Once the recommendation is approved by the Executive Council, the recommendation is considered a Best Practice, and is expected to be followed by the SHARE membership.
  7. If approved by the SHARE Executive Council, the committee will present the recommendation to SHARE members at the next membership meeting.
  8. One week after the membership meeting, a vote will be conducted electronically, to approve or disapprove the recommendation. Voting will take place for a period of one week. Each SHARE member library is allotted one vote per library agency. In the case of schools, library agency should be interpreted as school district.
  9. Results of the vote will be announced within one week of the vote closing. If the recommendation is approved, the new policy or procedure, the changed policy, or the new fee structure will be in effect at that time. If it is not approved, the recommendation will return to the committee for further discussion.
  10. If library staff are unsure of which committee to direct their concern, please contact the SHARE Director, one of the SHARE Managers, or a member of the SHARE Executive Council.

Tiered Voting

The SHARE Executive Council has suggested a change to the current voting process. The council determined that a tiered voting process may be appropriate when the vote in question is only applicable to some libraries. They propose that changes to cataloging policy should be voted on by a quorum of cataloging libraries, and changes to the eResources policy should be voted on by a quorum of eResources participants in order to streamline the voting process.

cloudLibrary Fee Scale

The SHARE Executive Council, in conjunction with the SHARE Finance & Policy Committee and the SHARE eResources Committee, has been examining the cloudLibrary Fee Structure and would like to make a recommendation for revision to the SHARE Membership.


A member asked the eResource Committee to review the current eResource Fee Structure. There was concern that the current scale was unfair, because it was based partly on collection expenditures that are not always included in the SHARE database. The committee explored the issue and came up with a new option based on library revenue. The goal was to find different methods that generate a similar amount of revenue to pay for this program, without a collective increase (even while some individual libraries will see a change).

There were many thoughtful comments, and it became clear that the current structure is unpopular. When discussing the options, the only consensus was that it is difficult to change the basis of calculations without some libraries seeing potentially dramatic increases or decreases.

The SHARE Finance and Policy Committee reviewed member comments and utilized that feedback to make additional changes. The option that is up for vote was selected because it has the least amount of dramatic changes, while also spreading any increases among more libraries. This option is also the most equitable to the group at large, since the libraries with the least amount of revenue will also be the libraries paying the least.

While you consider this change, please also consider each library’s purchasing power. Right now, 25% of each library’s fee goes directly to the bibliotheca platform fee, with the remaining 75% spent towards the pay-per-use eAudio collection and purchasing, either directly by individual libraries or via centralized purchasing. This means that if the fee changes, then the percentage each library is allocated toward purchases will also change. For those libraries that choose to buy more for the program in excess of the set fee, they will be billed directly from IHLS, which is the current process. Members in the cloudLibrary program also now have the option to add additional funds to the group account for centralized purchasing.

The attached documents include details about the change in the fee structure as well as how the change will impact each library. If you have any questions regarding this change, please contact Cassandra Thompson.


SHARE Fee Scale

The SHARE Executive Council has determined that a SHARE fee increase is necessary to maintain existing service. The SHARE Finance and Policy Committee reviewed the existing scale and proposed both an increase and a simplification of existing fee calculations, with increases that are equitable to the most members.


The last fee increase was three years ago. While we try to be very judicious in implementing rate increases, the SHARE balance of revenues over expenditures remains very narrow. In the next fiscal year, SHARE expects expenditures to overtake revenues, with a projected increase of at least $30,000 each year including the contractual increases to our Polaris software. This means we cannot continue to offer the same level of service without increasing each library’s fee.

As shown in the graph below, this increase will help the SHARE program continue to keep revenues over expenditures, with the initial increase helping to generate enough revenue to give us the badly needed “cushion” in our operating fund. The navy blue line shows the increase in projected expenses. The grey line represents the likely trajectory if we do not increase revenues, with the program projected going into a negative balance in FY2021. As you see with the purple line, If we increase fees, we will receive approximately $90,000 in additional revenues in FY2021 to help with unexpected costs and keep member fees steady.

Fee Increase Chart

The committee deliberated on the best course of action that would work best for both the SHARE program and member libraries. There were several concerns.

  1. The SHARE program anticipates a 2% increase each year, at a minimum. This projection does not factor any additional cost increases for goods or services, since they will be difficult to predict.
  2. The SHARE program operates on a very narrow margin. The current balance of revenues over expenditures is budgeted at approximately $37,000 after IHLS support. That sounds like a lot, but it is only 2% of our $1.6 million dollar budget.
    1. Standard business practice is to operate with more of a cushion of at least 5-10% to cover:
      1. Unexpected expenses or decreased revenues.
      2. Large expenditures (like Polaris) that will be due at the beginning of the fiscal year, before the year’s membership dues are received.
      3. Expenditures that might rise at a greater rate than predicted.
  3. What about the changes to the minimum wage? Will members be able to absorb an increase at this time? The SHARE Finance and Policy Committee discussed this issue in depth, since they are all also affected by this change. The final consensus was that it would be better to raise the fee once to cover three years versus to increase each year.
    1. Libraries will be better able to absorb the increased cost now, before minimum wage continues to increase.
    2. Libraries will be able to budget more effectively, without having to go back to members for more money each year. This was actually more cost effective for more libraries, with most members seeing a $100 or 7-8% increase, versus a system-wide percentage increase every year.
  4. Is the SHARE program operating as efficiently as possible? SHARE employs 15 FTEs, including 4.25 Administrative staff, 2.5 Circulation staff, 6.25 Cataloging staff, and 2 IT staff. (IT has 4 staff members total, with 2 paid exclusively via the SHARE budget, but all are shared between IHLS and SHARE. The CMC Catalogers are not counted, since their services are available state-wide and paid via grant funds from the Illinois State Library and the Secretary of State from revenue appropriated by the Illinois General Assembly.)
    1. The SHARE staff are great at what they do! We want to recruit and retain the very best employees with competitive wages and an excellent benefits package.
    2. The SHARE staff already offer essential services. Even with one person down that means less service and longer wait times.
    3. The SHARE staff are already feeling stretched thin. When staff feel so overworked that a vacation is not an option, there are two consequences:
      1. Staff get sick and burn out.
      2. Staff vacation accrues and becomes a liability if they retire or leave. IHLS limits vacation accrual, BUT we would rather have happy and healthy employees.
    4. How does the SHARE program compare with other consortia? You will be amazed at the efficiency of our program and value you get with your membership dollars compared to other consortia in both Illinois and some of our neighboring states.
      1. SHARE is much larger yet runs on less.
      2. SHARE fees are much less expensive than other consortia.
  5. What happens if this vote to increase fees fails? Cutting staff is not a decision that can be made by the SHARE program, since all SHARE employees are ultimately IHLS employees. Laying off staff would not be recommended, due to the reasons outlined above. If this initiative fails, the SHARE Finance & Policy Committee may have to review to start using Reserve Funds for day-to-day operations, instead of having those funds available for future equipment needs and/or emergencies. Another option would be to request a loan from IHLS to pay bills that are due early in the fisal year, but that is with the assumption that IHLS would have the funds available. This also assumes that IHLS would be able to absorb the loan, since we are also dealing with the impact of the change to minimum wage. A loan would still have to be paid back, so neither of these options are ideal.

The SHARE Executive Council does not make this recommendation lightly. We understand the ongoing concerns of our members regarding the minimum wage increase and potential changes to library revenue due to the 2020 Census. At the same time, we know that continuing to provide libraries access to almost 10 million items makes each library significantly more valuable to patrons, as demonstrated by the number of items lent between libraries.

SHARE aims to provide all of the information so each member can make an informed decision. The included documents show the proposed increase by each type of library, so everyone has an estimate of their fees. For school libraries, the minimum fee will increase by $100-$125. For academic, public, and special libraries, there will be either an increase to the minimum fee ($100-$125) or a change to the algorithm, with an increase for most between 7-8%. The comparison between the old and new scales are included. In addition, we have also included the FY2020 budget for membership review, information about IHLS salary ranges (IHLS Salary Scale), how SHARE compares to other consortia, and SHARE staffing levels for the last three years (SHARE A Great Value). Please take a look at these documents and how the changes will affect your library. If you have questions about these changes, or would like any additional information, you can reach out to Cassandra Thompson.

Thank you to everyone that cast a ballot on behalf of their library.