Library Board

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

7 p.m.

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, Kathleen Kinnish, Judy Stein, Marilyn Soules


            ALSO PRESENT:       Virginia McKane, Assistant Director

                                                Tony Lascari, Midland Daily News


            ABSENT:        Cherie Hutter


II.         Acceptance of Minutes


            Minutes of the October 19, 2005 meeting were approved as submitted.


III.       Additions or Changes to the Agenda


            There were no additions or changes to the Agenda.


IV.       Public Comments


            There were no public comments.


V.        Director's Report


            Barnard reported that the library is doing a series of computer classes in January.  These classes have been well attended.  People are needing basic computer skills; the mouse class fills up the fastest.  The mobile computer lab is provided by our cooperative.  Computer classes will be offered again in May.  All classes are free.


            McKane reported that cram night at the library was a success, with over 150 students attending.  The library provided pizza and a coupon for a free drink from the Cup and Chaucer.  Heard said a lot of students talked about it at school.


            McKane reported that the deadline for team registration in Battle of the Books is Monday night, January 23, at 9 p.m.


            Stein complimented and thanked the staff for finding a way to allow books-on-tape to be returned in the outside book drop.  Stein commented on the duct tape and knitting programs.  Stein also thanked the Friends of the Library for the donation of $500 for the public celebration in honor of the library's excellence award.


VI.       Patron Compliments and Concerns


            Barnard responded to the comments and questions received from patrons.


1.              Congratulations to you and your staff on being chosen to receive the "2005 State Librarian's Excellence Award."  It is an award well deserved.  All of you do a great job!


2.              Please consider my request for a discounted library cost card.  In other words, a scholarship to help my family afford library prices for videos or any cost item.  We get a 65% discount from the Community Center.  Would you consider this and let me know?

          Fines and fee amounts for the library are included in a City Ordinance and exceptions cannot be made.


3.              Please note:  "Inter-library" yellow bands that are only taped to the front of the book do not stay attached and could easily be lost.  I recommend returning to use of full wraparound band.

          There is no penalty to patrons if bands are lost.


4.              A man was using computer for pornographic sites.  My son was sitting with me and the man had the porn pictures up.  I was truly offended and can't believe as a library (family center) you allow this.

          Most public computers in the library are filtered.  The area with unfiltered computers is labeled.  If a patron is offended by images on a computer, they should speak to a librarian.  The Internet Acceptable Use Policy addresses actions to be taken.  Policy can be viewed on library’s website,


5.              Word processing capabilities would be very helpful.

          Under consideration.


6.              Please, a drive-up book drop.  I couldn't get through the lot today because of all the cars parked on the curb, some with driver door left open.

          Being studied.


7.              Please order the older movies in DVD if you can – Audrey Hepburn, etc.

          Purchasing as available and as funding allows.


8.              What happened to a lot of the magazines?  It looks like subscriptions ran out and weren't renewed, mostly since August.  This is especially bad for weekly magazines.

          Some lag due to change in vendors.  Most magazines are now being received.


9.              When I visited, I was unable to access my homework through SVSU's website.  I don't have access at home so I came to this library, only to be let down.  If it wasn't for the young lady behind the desk, I would have been in quite the pickle.

          Some plug-ins are blocked on public computers.


10.          Would it be possible to bring our own headphones for the "Game Only" computers?  It appears that the library's have broken and not replaced.  Also, it would be nice if sound could be turned on at the internet computers, but headphones required, as an option.

          Sound will be available on public computers by the beginning of February.  Headphones can be checked out at the Circulation Desk.  Users are encouraged to bring in their own headphones.


11.          It would be nice to again have a booth to preview audio books.

          Was discontinued because it was not used.


12.          The library is great, but you need more books for middle schoolers.

          There is no separate section for books for middle school students.  Patrons should ask at the Youth Services desk for assistance.


13.          I love the library.


14.          Formerly, the book reviews were annotated (LJ, BL, PW, etc.) with date and issue.  This was helpful because I could look it up later if I considered checking out a book or putting it on hold.  Now I have no reference info.  Some new ways are not as helpful to your customers as the old ways.

          Complete citations were reinstated.


15.          Women's bathroom smells bad.

          Restrooms are cleaned daily, automatic air freshener is used.


16.          Both outside containers that hold trash were overflowing last night at 8:30 p.m.  It looked quite bad when the rest of the facility was beautiful.

          Someone was using the trash receptacles for dumping personal trash.


17.          I would like to see cell phone usage banned in the PC area.  People are no longer courteous and speak frequently, loudly, and often with offensive language.  Thank you.

          If disturbances are reported to the librarians, they will speak to the offender.  Cell phone users will be reminded to put ringers on vibrate and talk quietly while in the library.


18.          Must the Cup and Chaucer coffee room be so loud?  Isn't the library a place to relax and read, without banging things in the coffee room?  I would hope so.

          Users are encouraged to have their conversations in the Cup and Chaucer.  Drinks are allowed in other areas in the library that are quieter.  Closing times in the coffee bar may be louder due to clean up.


19.          Hello!  I think your library is da Bomb!  You have so many books and things to do here!


20.          This library has a nice selection of CDs and movies.  Although the movies are not free to check out, they are at a nice rate to pick up a movie for cheap.  I think the library needs some new CDs.

          Suggestions for purchases are always welcome.


21.          The Horizon catalog system has some problems – if you put a book on hold, it will not allow you to return to look for more under same author – you have to start search over.

          Staff tested this and had no problem returning to previous page.  Users should see a librarian if they are having problems with the catalog.


22.          I wanted a printout of books between certain call numbers in the juvenile reference section and was unable to do so from home.  I called the library and after some help, the advanced search still didn't give me what I wanted.  Why can't we – in the computer age, have a system that sorts out just children's?  Or has a listing by call number?  This "new" search system seems to be very problematic.  I love and appreciate the library but the search makes it difficult to use.

          Automated system does not allow this type of sort on the catalog.  New and upcoming releases may address this and other features of the catalog.


23.          I received an automated call regarding an overdue book.  In the past, such a call was straightforward and notified us of an overdue book.  This recent call was very confusing.  I was in a hurry leaving the house and was impatient with the choices and also was unsure if the number went with what had just been stated or with what was coming ahead.  I just hung up.  I was gone over the weekend and did not receive a follow-up call.  I would rather receive an email notification of an overdue book.

          No changes have been made to the automated phone service.  Patrons may receive notices by email by contacting Circulation Services.


24.          I was looking for the autobiography section but had difficulty finding it.  Suggestion: re-label the shelf to include both biographies and autobiographies on the signage.

          Signage on the ends of the shelving units will be changed to Biographies including Autobiographies.


25.          The lights are dull so you need to get new lights.

          No area identified.


26.          Please convey to the powers that be that we are very appreciative of the people that keep the sidewalk and parking lot clear of ice and snow – especially those of us that hobble.


27.          Please change the hand soap in the ladies bathroom from the foaming stuff to the thicker soap so that when we press the dispenser we know it is real soap coming out of the dispenser.

          Foam is cleaner to use and just as effective as liquid soap.


28.          Safety issue:  please fix the light fixture in the first floor men's room.  It's flickering badly.  I have a family member who suffers from epileptic seizures induced by flickering lights.

          Problem corrected.


29.          You really need to get a clock down in the teen room.

          Clock is located on the wall next to door leading out to the hallway.


30.          Cart in lobby is trip hazard – also ugly.

          Cart is used to receive mail and is placed against the wall, out of the walkway.  A new cart was purchased several months ago.


31.          Please take down the Christmas banners placed on display in the main area of the library.  They smell like someone has not showered in a week.

          There is some odor when the banners are first hung.  No other complaints.


32.          I am writing from Indianapolis, IN about my mother.  She is a resident of Midland, a senior citizen, and homebound disabled.  She does have internet access, however, and I've regularly emailed her about how delightful it is here in Indianapolis that our library system's catalog is online (the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library).  I am able to make reserves/holds and renewals online, and that as someone also homebound disabled, our library system is  made accessible to me by their system of having someone deliver my reserved books and pick up my returns on a regular basis.


          Do you have accessibility services for people who are disabled to the point of being homebound?  Mostly she is able to use print books, although at times her arthritis is bad enough she has considered my suggestions of accessing the Library for the Blind and Handicapped services, although again her strong preference is for print books.  It would be wonderful to be able to gift her with information giving her access to her love of books and libraries, so any information, resources, suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

          No homebound delivery service available.  Staff will assist relatives, friends, and volunteers in selecting materials for a homebound individual.


33.          I have a question about the schedule for the preschool story time (Listeners Story Hour), for 3-5 year olds.  It is scheduled for Tuesday mornings at 10 a.m. and Thursday evenings at 7 p.m.  My 3-year-old daughter attends preschool every Tuesday and Thursday morning, and I would expect that many other 3-year-olds do as well.  This precludes them from being able to attend the story time at the library.  I am curious as to why you would schedule an event for preschoolers at a time when some of the clearly cannot attend.   As for the 7 p.m. hour – are most preschoolers still awake at that time?  My children (ages 3 and 18 months) go to bed at 7 p.m. every night, and will continue to do so for quite some time.  With the current library schedule for preschool story hour, I am quite disappointed that my daughter will not be able to participate, at least until next year when her school schedule will be different.


          I understand that you have many scheduling needs to accommodate as you plan and implement your programs.  I simply ask that you consider adding a preschool story hour on a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday, morning or afternoon, so that my daughter – and others like her who attend school on Tuesday mornings and go to bed at an early hour – have the chance to participate. 

          Library is not always able to accommodate all needs.  A three year old can attend either the Circle Time or the Listeners story times.  Evening story time for 3-5 year olds is well attended.


VII.      Old Business


a.         Board/Community Communications

            Brink has turned in her "Frequently Asked Question" response for the March/April issue of the Library Connection newsletter.  Kinnish will write one for the May/June issue.  Stein requested that the book drop/parking lot issue be included on each month's agenda.


b.         Joint City Council/Library Board Meeting

            Barnard mentioned that she received complimentary remarks from the City Manager from City Council members.  Board members commented that the information exchanged with Council members was useful.


c.         State Librarian's Excellence Award

            Barnard said there are still commemorative book marks available from the Excellence Award celebration.  Soules commented that the library's excellence is on-going, not a one-time thing.


d.         Community Read Project

            Heard reported that the committee is still reading.  The committee did contact two authors; however, neither were available.  The timetable of a community read is being pushed back to the fall.  For the first one, the committee really wants to have the author of the chosen book present.


e.         Cup and Chaucer Bar Report

            Barnard reported that allowing drinks in more parts of the library has increased the Cup and Chaucer's business.  A new manager started a week ago; she has a lot of ideas for promoting the coffee bar.


VIII.     New Business


a.         Board Goals Review

            Barnard reviewed the Looking Forward section under Board Goals from their 2004/05 annual report.  The board discussed ways to communicate to the townships all the services the library has to offer and to offer to speak at one of their township meetings.  A committee of Stein, Bush, and Brink will develop a letter to send to townships highlighting library services.


            Barnard reported that staff is working on the fines and fees policies so that recommendations can be brought to the board for consideration.


            The board will continue to review and support the success of the Cup and Chaucer.  An update on the Cup and Chaucer will be reported at each library board meeting.


            The board also discussed ways to recognize the Friends of the Library for the support they give the library each year.  More discussion will be held at the February meeting.


b.         Library Strategic Plan, 2003-2006

            Barnard reviewed the library's strategic plan, which included technology excellence and customer service excellence, and what has been accomplished.  The board agreed that the technology and customer service committees should continue their work.  Barnard will contact the facilitator used to assist staff to develop the plan and get input on how to proceed.


IX.       Board Comments


            Heard said she talked with a teacher at Midland High School who lives in Mt. Pleasant and why he cannot have a free library card.  She explained how the townships contribute towards library services for their residents.


            Stein asked about eBooks.  Barnard replied that initially, patrons need to stop by the reference desk to sign up and get their ID# and password. 


X.        Adjournment


            The meeting of the Library Board adjourned at 8:39 p.m.  The next meeting of the Library Board is scheduled for Wednesday, February 15, 2006 at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall.