(A) In carrying out its responsibilities under Chapter 3375. of the Revised Code and in approving regional library system (RLS) plans, the state library board shall keep in mind the overall and long-range needs for assuring library services to the residents of Ohio and will base its decisions and actions upon these needs.
(B) Planning for the regional library system.
The state library board will grant a charter to a RLS and declare its eligibility for subsidy only after the approval of the submitted plan and demonstration that the RLS board has been organized in accordance with the statutes and this rule.
(1) Four or more libraries, representing two or more types of libraries, in a single metropolitan area, or public libraries in two or more counties, may submit a plan for the formation of a regional library system.
(2) The plan shall demonstrate that the proposed boundaries do not overlap the boundaries of an existing state library chartered library system.
(3) The plan shall be prepared and submitted in a form determined by the state librarian.
(4) The plan shall contain a draft set of bylaws covering the organization, administration, and operation of the RLS which will be approved by the membership after charter is granted.
(5) The regional library system shall be governed by a board of trustees consisting of at least seven and not more than fifteen persons to be selected from among the duly appointed representatives of the member institutions. The number of trustees, the manner of selection, the term of office and the provision for filling vacancies shall be determined and set forth in the bylaws.
(6) The RLS plan shall show how the proposed RLS will promote access to library materials and services required by area residents; provide the staff resources necessary to bring about the effective use of library materials and provision of services required by area residents; and promote the library network connections required so that Ohio's library and information resources are available to all area residents.
(7) The plan shall identify the regional library system needs, methods by which goals and objectives are carried out, and a planned evaluation process addressing the total plan.
(8) Membership: Participating libraries may be full voting members of only one existing state library chartered regional library system. The plan may include a separate category of membership for associate members.
(9) The RLS plan shall be based upon the following principles and shall clearly state the application of each principle proposed:
(a) The plan is suitable for the geographic, demographic, educational and economic features of the area.
(b) The plan shows the organization to be built on existing strengths of the current resources, services, and facilities of member libraries.
(c) The plan provides for the addition and withdrawal of member libraries, and definition and change of boundaries.
(d) The plan provides for coordination of library resources and services, cooperation with other libraries, library organizations, and other regional library systems; and for contracting with other libraries, other state library chartered regional library systems, and/or other legal entities to provide and/or receive services.
(e) The plan provides that the board of trustees, elected from the member institutions, establishes adequate criteria for the selection and evaluation of its RLS director who will have authority to appoint staff, prepare budgets, and administer programs for the RLS. Qualifications for the RLS director shall include, as a minimum, a masters in library and information science (MLS) degree from a library school accredited by the "American Library Association." The plan provides for the board of trustees to hire a clerk as a treasurer of the organization's funds. The clerk shall carry out the duties as defined in section 3375.92 of the Revised Code. The RLS director and staff shall have the same employment status as employees of public libraries.
(f) The plan assures that each member library has a method for providing input to and evaluation of the plan.
(g) The plan is designed to meet the library service needs within the region.
(i) Resources. The plan shall show how the system will provide for an effective utilization of library resources and a plan to provide access to those resources.
(ii) Services. The plan shall show how the system will provide for identification and coordination of services for the area.
(iii) Special staff. The plan shall demonstrate provision of services, on a systemwide basis, by professional specialists to address the identified area needs. These specialists may be staff members of participating libraries.
(h) Administration: The plan shall assure adherence to applicable Ohio law and state library regulations in the operation of the regional library system. The administrative element of the plan will be sufficiently detailed to demonstrate how the program objectives will be accomplished.
(i) The plan shall include provision for identifying and providing access to materials not available within the RLS.
(j) The plan shall make specific provision for staff development to raise the level of library services.
(k) The plan shall encourage a coordinated and ongoing public information program to make people aware of the services provided by the member libraries and encourage the use of these services.
(l) The plan shall include a timetable for reaching specific levels of service throughout the area as related to paragraph (B)(7) of this rule.
(m) The plan shall outline the methods for continual evaluation. Evaluation shall be related to the stated objectives of the RLS; scope and extent of services, and progress in adopting new developments and techniques to improve direct service as related to paragraphs (B)(7) and (B)(9)(1) of this rule. A report of such evaluation shall be submitted annually to the state library board.
(n) The plan shall include provision for regular reporting to the RLS membership and submission to the state library of an annual fiscal and narrative report and other reports as required.
(10) The RLS plan shall include a detailed biennial program budget and a four-year budget projection.
(11) The fiscal year of the RLS shall be defined by the state fiscal year (July first through June thirtieth).
(C) Chartering the regional library system.
The state library board will charter a regional library system upon approval of the library system's plan. The state library staff will evaluate the RLS plan and submit its recommendations and comments for consideration by the state library board.
(1) The comments and recommendations of the state library staff shall be submitted to the state library board which will approve or disapprove the RLS plan. If approval is granted, the state library board will grant charter to the, RLS and declare the RLS eligible to receive subsidy funds and apply for grants from the state library board.
(2) In order to provide an appeal channel in the event a plan is disapproved and chartering denied, applicants may request a hearing before the state library board for review of the plan. Such a request must be filed with the state librarian within thirty days of state library board action.
(D) State funding.
(1) State aid subsidy fund grants will be made for the support of the administrative and operational needs of the regional library system upon the chartering of the regional library system and the appropriation of funds by the general assembly.
(2) The state library will evaluate the biennial programs and budgets and shall submit comments and recommendations to the state library board. The state library board will set the level of the subsidy request.
(3) If insufficient subsidy funds are appropriated to finance all requests of the chartered systems, the state library board shall give priority funding to those systems successfully carrying out a state library approved plan of service as evaluated by the state library staff, and may reduce the grants proportionately.
(4) Subsidy fund payments shall be made according to the statutes and this rule, and the terms of written agreements between the RLS board and the state library board. These agreements shall, among other things, specify the RLS board to which payment is to be made; the purposes for which the funds are to be expended; specify the amount, time and manner of payment; specify that payment is to be conditioned upon receipt by the state library board of progress reports from the RLS as related to paragraphs (B)(9)(m) and (B)(9)(n) of this rule; specify that the subsidy grant can be expended only in augmentation, and not in lieu of, local appropriations.
(a) Payments in subsequent years shall be contingent upon the state librarian's confirmation to the state library board that the RLS board has submitted all reports as required, has submitted its biennial program and annual program statement updates, and is functioning in accordance with the RLS plan.
(b) The state library board may require the RLS as a condition to receiving any future payments, to supply additional information as it shall deem necessary.