Library Board Liveblog, June 14

I missed the last library board meeting, back for this one.  Waiting for the meeting to begin.

While we’re waiting, I will be (hopefully) giving some comment on street signage at tonight’s City Council meeting.  In honor of that, I cracked the cap on my front tooth yesterday, so there will be a slight hillbilly feel to my appearance!

This will be the last meeting until September.

5:15 – we’re getting started.

Some discussion of the attendance record in the minutes.  (9 board members are in attendance today.  Bill Coleman and his beard, sadly, are not.)

Roberta Goldman from the Foundation is here with Bob.

5:18 – Kevin notes that many committees, including Finance and Administration, have been working diligently.

Kevin – “Every day has been budget day, and he’s beat the path to city hall” – regarding Mark’s work.

NEWP issue – Kevin’s position has been that this library is an open meeting space. “democracy is messy…the point is that this is a place of public forum.”  They will continue to review the policy and look at what other library systems are doing.  “Most important thing is that we’re not trying to keep anyone out” of the library.

[I’ll try to write more about this later.  It’s been on my mind, but I don’t know that I have a lot more to add to what I’ve already written on this topic.]

Donna moves to empower Administration Committee to meet over the summer if need be, seconded.  [This would be for urgent decisions only, or for hiring that might need to occur in the summer — the full board would vote on the person in the fall.]  Passes.

5:23 – Report of the Head Librarian: City Council passed budget a few weeks back – reduction of 4 positions.  The library’s union voted to ratify the contract with the health insurance.  City Council will take up restoring line items for these 4 positions ($200,000) and for restoring 12% of the line item ($24,000) for materials as per the state guidelines.

5:26 – There are some more grants out there from the Foundation – one submitted to the Harrington Foundation, for finishing renovations to the FPBL.  Bob received notice from Alden Trust ($30,000) for the first year of a renewal on Sunday funding.  Bob also notes that they’ve got $4800 for summer reading from Rosemary Davis Foundation.  Should be hearing soon from the Fuller Foundation on FPBL work.

5:28 – back to Mark.

Senate passed the Worcester Talking Book Library to level-fund.  It will have a unique budget line item in both House and Senate budgets.  Took about six months of advocacy on a lot of people’s parts.

5:30 – will hear early next week on capital budget.  have about $600,000 before them.

[Bill C. walked in.  Sorry, Mike, no beard.]

Main South Initiative.  Conversation continues.

Bookmobile – “it’s in great shape, Joel keeps an eye on it”.  Foundation has submitted a couple of grant proposals on this.  “It’s certainly something we’d like to move forward on.”

Strategic Plan – have data from the patrons.  (This would be a three-year strategic plan.) 

If you’d like to participate in the committee to work on the strategic plan — please contact Kevin (the chair of the board).

5:35 – Terry – Report of the Committee on Administration.  They met on the meeting room policy.  Dee has done a lot of background work on meeting room policies.  They felt they should have a statement (positive wording) having to do with library’s mission.  Would also like to have some video monitors [!!!]out front 50% of time on patrons, 50% of the time other things (?).  Would like new meeting room policy approved by city solicitor and city police department.


Susan – Second topic of discussion of Administration Committee was about evaluation of the head librarian.  The committee met with Mark a couple of times, discussed a few overarching goals for which he would be accountable, but give him leeway.  Two different ways of looking at his performance review when the time comes in November.  Review would include consideration of position description.  Needs improvement would require next steps.  (She’s discussing goals, so far it’s what you’d expect — 1) the library is a Worcester institution of importance, 2) services, and 3) strategic plan —  I’ve just got video cameras on the brain and I may give a short comment on it.)

[Jabian enters]

More discussion on digital signage/video monitors.  Those monitors (the ones that you see when you walk in) would periodically show you folks walking in, etc.

Phyllis Harrington is a bit confused.  Kevin fills her in on NEWP and the last meeting.  NEWP meeting peacefully, nine outsiders came in and attacked NEWP, police were aware ahead of time, police were cooperative.  They did have a presence in the area.  Police responded quickly.  No arrests.  The meeting room policy would be about keeping folks in the meeting rooms safe.  Signs are up saying you’re being recorded, etc.  The video was given to the police.

I [Nicole] asked whether we could be clear in the meeting room policy or elsewhere about the instances in which these kinds of videos would be handed to the police/law enforcement.  I would not want to attend one of these meetings, have the video handed to law enforcement, and be labeled as such.  I reiterated that I am not, in fact, a white supremacist.

5:54 – Further discussion of awareness by staff vs. overinterference.

Terry asks if when Dee sends out the meeting room booking — if that goes to just that group.  Dee confirms that it just goes to that group and on the public calendar.

5:56 – Mark reiterates the work of Joel and his group in safety, “that’s an example of finding the right balance.”

Doreen was the librarian in charge that day, she gets a shout-out as well.

If you have any comment on the meeting room policy, contact Terry Dorsey.

5:58 – Donna, report of the Finance Committee — discussed budget, trust funds, and investment policy.  Since then, they have received packages from Bartholomew with information, cash balance, and the RFP process for the contract for Bartholomew.  Will start bidding process in August 2012.  Also asked for documentation from Bartholomew around the time we hired them as a management consultant.

$60,000 to Foundation would be contingent on review of Foundation.  Kevin would like empowering Finance Committee to do that review so that it doesn’t wait until September. 

Jabian asks for what the plan is for informing the entire board.

Donna assumes that if they felt things were in order — and the disbursement has already been approved by the board as a whole — committee would approve.  If there were qualms about the audit, would bring to the full board.

All board members would be informed, it would be an open meeting.

6:03 – Jabian seconds, voted to approve.

Donna — votes taken today in Finance:
for FY11 – 6,189 from Saxe fund for summer reading program T-shirts
$150 for Wei’s conference from Saxe fund
$600 – staff development day from Green Fund
$3890 from Green for t-shirts
$1000 from Higgins for t-shirts

[1500 t-shirts in all, in case you were wondering]

return 25% of interest to Higgins [and another fund I missed] – moved back to principal.

Finance Committee needs to work on budget for FY12.

($15,000 out of Green Fund for books, $950 from Higgins for staff development, $5,000 for unknown computer peripheral from Higgins)

6:09 – Terry – report on Friends – Paul Reynolds was ill, no report on bookstore or sorting, but internet book sales was $170 from May 1-17.  Bookstore committee discussed the old proposal to have a cafe, which is what the bookstore was supposed to be.  Patrons have indicated this on surveys.  Alex is doing research into this.

Friends, continued – discussing WooCard participation, maybe the bookstore could sell the cards.  Summer reading program for adults theme is Novel Destination – lunchtime programs on Thursdays through August 12.  Approved new signage for bookstore on the Salem Street side.  Donations to the Friends have been slim, been looking into if some of the schools that have yard sale events would like to donate extra books.

Friends, continued – Alice and Terry went to a fundraising meeting last Saturday.  There were 10 libraries represented.  80% of them liked the idea of Got Books?  That’s how they get rid of their books and don’t care what happens to them.  Somehow it has to be publicized that Got Books is a for-profit.  Alice mentioned that there might be some help from legislature on this. 

FYI — there’s someone on the Friends board who will actually pick up books at your house.

I [Nicole] asked if the Friends can investigate doing book-drop-style containers like Got Books?  Terry will mention it.

Phyllis reiterated that it’s really tough to drag a box of books over to the main desk.

6:18 – there’s a presentation on the draft circulation policy.

Anne White, circulation manager, introduced as “one of the movers and shakers in our library” is one of the driving forces behind the policy revisions.

However, here’s the draft policy.  Please let me know if you can’t access it.  I will also try to get a copy of the Powerpoint.

FYI — for children and teens, a new cardholder would be able to take out six items.  For adults, it would remain two.

Loan and Renewal – removal of limit by format or subject, two renewals instead of one (yes!!!).  Borrowing limits would also be changed.

Wei is also discussing linked accounts — while library staff could easily review linked accounts (and let someone take out a hold for someone else on the linked account), a patron would not be able to see what someone else in a linked account has.

Fines and fees would be changed — see the draft policy document for more information.  For all formats, it would be 10 cents a day — video/DVD included — for adults.  Maximum would be $2.  However, removed the maximum per patron fine.  (The online system doesn’t support the maximum per-patron limit.  That is, if you have $17 in fines and pay it in the system, it won’t tell you now that you only really need to pay $10, not $17.)

I’m going to be heading over to City Hall.  This officially concludes this liveblog.