Grace A. Dow Memorial Library

Library Board Minutes

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

City Hall Council Chambers


I.          Roll Call – Stein called the meeting to order at 7 p.m.


PRESENT:       Melissa Barnard, Maxine Brink, Stu Bush, Ann Heard, Cherie Hutter, Kathleen Kinnish, Judy Stein, Marilyn Soules


ALSO PRESENT:       Virginia McKane, Assistant Director

                                    Tony Lascari, Midland Daily News

                                    Mike Shea, Alison Hudson, Judy Seaman, Amy Kosters, all from Arnold Center, Inc.


II.         Acceptance of Minutes


            Minutes of the July 20, 2005 meeting were approved as submitted.


III.       Additions or Changes to the Agenda


            The agenda was changed to remove the Mideastern Michigan Library Cooperatives’ 2005-2006 Budget from new business until next meeting.


IV.       Cup and Chaucer Update – Mike Shea, Director of the Arnold Center


            Shea reported that due to the collaboration of the City of Midland, Library        Board and Arnold Center, 57 employment opportunities have been created in our community in various locations.  He introduced Alison Hudson, manager of the Cup & Chaucer, Judy Seaman and Amy Kosters who work at the Cup & Chaucer.  Each of them spoke about how much they enjoy working there.  Shea thanked the Board for their continuing support and answered questions.  The Cup & Chaucer staff then presented a birthday cake to celebrate the first anniversary.


V.        Public Comments


            There were no public comments.


VI.       Director's Report


            Barnard reported that effective November 1, patrons may return their audio books in the outside return.  Music CDs still cannot be returned because the cases break upon impact with other materials.


            Barnard reported that Youth Services librarian Char Taber attended a workshop on serving young patrons with disabilities and reported that we were working in the right direction and that there are not a lot of new ideas.


            No report yet on the video game workshop.

Barnard also reported that our VolunTeen  program had an increase this summer with 51 teens volunteering 749.5 hours.  The Voluntary Action Center helps with the recruitment and record keeping.


            First Grade Tours began in September.  This year The Friends of the Library are providing a book for each child.  The generosity of the Friends is appreciated by all.


            The Summer Reading program saw an increase in the number of children participating and in the number finishing and receiving a book from the Friends.


VII.      Patron Compliments and Concerns


The following compliments and concerns were discussed.


1.                  I would love to have the library open up at 8 a.m. (or even 8:30) Monday through Friday during the school year.

Staff uses the time before opening at 9:00 a.m. to set up for the day.  Increasing hours would require an increase in the library’s budget.


2.                  The Library catalog is a little confusing.  Could you like have someone who helps new patrons find things Ok?

Encourage users to ask librarians for assistance or refer to available guide on searching the catalog.

Also, an ATM nearby would be most appreciated.

No plans to include an ATM on library property.


3.                  I really applaud all the changes and improvements!  Heavy duty plastic bags (like Meijer or Walmart) for the books would be greatly appreciated.  The ones provided tear before we get to the car!

Staff is exploring options to the bags currently being provided.


4.                  Not all people are Christian or similar beliefs.  Some people, like myself, happen to be Wiccan and I think it is discriminatory towards others like myself to have a minor section to our Wiccan path and have a Christian path area almost twice the size as the Wiccan one and with better books.  You need more books for different paths like Wiccan.

Library strives to provide a diverse collection and does not attempt to purchase an equal number of books for every subject.  The number of books depends on titles available to purchase, quality of materials, and demand.  Additional titles have been purchased on Wicca but this is a high loss area.


5.                  Please give priority to expanding the MP-3 audio book collection.

Collection continues to grow as more titles are available in this format.


6.                  Please redo your outside deposit (book) box.  When I've dropped in books, they always get stuck on a piece of metal; and more than once I've found other people's books stuck.  It would be so easy to steal them.  Two drop boxes for the weekend would also be better because the one gets too full sometimes.  But I do enjoy the library otherwise and always time my errands so I can use your bathroom!

Staff checked the drop.  Books may get caught on each other in rare circumstances. Users are encouraged to push the materials completely in the drop opening.


7.                  Maybe we need better answering service – 25 minutes is a long time to get a busy signal (many times); also, libraries in Canton, Plymouth, Ann Arbor, Westland, and many more do not have a charge in any of the videos or DVDs – why us?

Reviewed phone functions with staff to address busy signal issue.

Videos and DVDs provide a revenue source for the library.


8.                  You should have a game room and charge money for customers to use it.

Not in library’s mission.


9.                  Use the stools without backs or arms in the new computer desks; these stools were used on the old computer desks.  The new computer desks are crowded and there is not room for chairs with arms and backs.

Computer desk spacing has been adjusted.  Stools available for use.


10.              Although the payphones are a little frustrating, your services are excellent.  I was happy with the computer search as well.

Not aware of problem with pay phones.


11.              Your corner sign at St. Andrews and Eastman is overgrown with weeds.  Don't our tax dollars pay to control this blight?

Staff did not weed during extremely hot summer days.  Weeding was done when weather cooled.


12.              Every time I look on the "Book Express," I find almost all fiction.  Couldn't there be more nonfiction books ordered for this area?

Non-fiction appearing on the bestseller lists is included in the collection. Staff will review.


13.              I have used this library for over 40 years.  The bathrooms are still the same.  How about an update?

The building is continually being evaluated for areas of concern.  Any improvements have to be budgeted.


14.              Good place for homework.


15.              I needed to upload files from a disk and that service was not available.  Please fix this.

Security issues are still a concern.


16.              Please connect Word/Excel to the internet in order to send emails with attachments.

Reviewing the feasibility of offering this software.


17.              I don't think one hour is enough time on the pc.

See the “Frequently Asked Questions” column in the September/October 2005 Library Connection, online at


18.              Please get a "Notepad" type program on Internet computers.  Using this type of program, I can modify the stuff I print so that I can print more on 5 pages (like maybe 500 words) than I can otherwise.

Reviewing the feasibility of offering this software.


19.              I think having a color copier for the internet printer and regular copier would be beneficial to those who use the library services.  Thank you!

Will consider color printing when Print Management System is operational so that an appropriate amount can be charged to cover costs.


20.              Your Youth Summer Reading Program is Great!


21.              My second grader read 43 books this summer in your summer reading program – that was just super.  Please keep up the great work!


22.              Teens like the swim and ice cream coupons too – in the summer reading program.  Please include these coupons for them next year.

Staff will discuss the prize options for teens in their planning for the 2006 Summer Reading Program.


23.              I love your coffee shop.


24.              We had great service at the Cup and Chaucer this morning.  It was nice to be able to take drinks with lids out of the Cup and Chaucer.


25.              Wonderful idea to let you take covered drinks in the library.  I'm sure more people will buy.


26.              Re: Cup and Chaucer.  It would be beneficial to customers to have music (i.e. soft jazz) played softly to create a more pleasant atmosphere and to allow customers to have private conversations.  Even quiet conversation is easily overheard and is distracting to customers reading or studying.  Music would likely attract more customers as well.  The staff is very friendly and pleasant.  The coffee and service is outstanding.  Thanks for your consideration!

Would have to install a speaker system to provide music.


27.              I live in Gladwin County and have worked for Dow for 12 years now.  For a "Dow" named library, I was shocked to learn that I cannot check out books because of the county I live in.  A lot of Dow employees live outside of Midland/Saginaw/Bay City area.

See question 28.


28.              I began work at Dow in 2000 and applied for a library card at Grace using my home address which is in Frankenmuth.  I was given a card with no problem but two years ago, I was asked to pay a $75 fee since I wasn't considered a resident or my home town library was no longer a member in the co-op.  I have paid the fee for two years now and am finding that $75 is starting to become a bit of a hardship, so I am writing to see if I have any options.  I don't mind paying a fee but just feel that the $75 is a bit oppressive.  I realize that libraries are paid for by tax dollars of the particular community and I support that.  But I do have some questions and thoughts.

·        Is Grace a member of the Mideastern Michigan Library Cooperative or the Valley Library Consortium?

Grace Dow Library is a member of both the Mideastern Michigan Library Cooperative and the Valley Library Consortium.  Our cooperative membership determines our service area because we receive state aid based on this membership.  Residents of the legal service area of those libraries that are members of this cooperative are eligible for library cards at no additional charge.


·        Why doesn't Grace participate in the MichiCard program?

The Michicard program does not provide any compensation to libraries willing to allow non-residents to borrow materials at no charge. The library is funded by property taxes paid to the City of Midland.  Funding is also received from the townships of Midland County that contract with the City of Midland for library service. 


·        Would the Library Board consider lowering the $75 fee?

The fee is included in an ordinance adopted by the Midland City Council (Ordinance Number 1440).  The $75 annual fee is based on the cost of providing services to those who live in areas that do not contribute funding to the library.


·        Would the Library Board consider a reduced rate for certain businesses such as Dow Chemical?  It seems that a lot of library activities and things are sponsored by Dow Chemical's Foundation – perhaps a reduced rate for employees of certain sponsors or businesses? Thank you for your time.

Eligibility for a library card is not determined by sponsorship of programs.  Businesses that pay property taxes to the City of Midland are eligible for a business library card.  A company representative who is authorized to commit the company to full responsibility for all materials borrowed using the company library card must sign a form.



VIII.     Old Business


a.         Board/Community Communications

            The Board decided to continue the Frequently Asked Question column in the library newsletter.  Stein is responsible for the November/December issue, followed by Heard, Brink, Kinnish, Soules, Hutter, and Bush who will conclude in the November/December 2006 issue.


b.         Board Annual Report Update and Joint Board/Council Meeting

            There will be a joint meeting with the City Council on November 21 at 6:30 p.m. in Council Chambers.  The annual report of the Board will be presented at that time. 


c.         State Librarian's Excellence Award

            The application for the Excellence Award has been mailed to the Library of Michigan.  Announcement of winner will be in October.  Thank you letters to those who provided letters of support will be sent out after the winner is announced.


d.         Community Read Project

Heard reported that the committee has met several times and is working toward a March announcement with discussions in April.  The criteria have been set as follows:  the target audience is primarily adults with  high-school students as secondary;  book should have broad appeal for men and women and be character driven rather than plot; goal is to encourage reading and discussion and bring community together; and in paperback format to allow maximum number of participants.  Other members commented on the big challenge before the committee.


e.         Mayor Black Appreciation

This item was delayed until October.


IX.       New Business


            a.         Annual Statistical Report, 2004/2005

                        Barnard reviewed the report and noted that the average daily circulation figures have increased as well as the gate count.  Discussion was held on various statistics.  Barnard will provide information on the percent of the collection that is in circulation as requested by Hutter.


X.        Board Comments


            There were no board comments


XI.       Adjournment


            The meeting of the Library Board adjourned at 8:50 p.m.  The next meeting of the Library Board is scheduled for Wednesday, October 19, 2005 at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall.