Library Board

Wednesday, September 20, 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, Sarah Galt, Ann Heard, Kathleen Kinnish, Marilyn Soules, Judy Stein


            ALSO PRESENT:       Virginia McKane; Tony Lascari, Midland Daily News; John Palen, Midland Issues


a.       Cup and Chaucer Coffee Bar Report – Mike Shea, Director of The Arnold Center

Shea presented information on the effect of the increase in minimum wages to the coffee bar operation.  The operation cannot absorb this increase because revenues have not provided a profit.  The Cup and Chaucer will be reducing open hours to Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.  Shea and staff will work with library staff to explore the possibility of self-service merchandise outside of open hours.  Barnard cautioned that staff couldn’t be responsible for making coffee or collecting money.


The Board supported the changes.  Stein thanked Shea for his efforts to keep this service available.


II.         Acceptance of July 19, 2006 Meeting Minutes


            Minutes of the July 19, 2006 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 Pluto sign had not yet been installed.  There will a

            ribbon cutting ceremony at the Delta College Planetarium on November 8, 2006. 

            The Discovery Science Channel, the Detroit Free Press and other media will be



            Bush asked for an update on the Borrow-a-Basket program sponsored by the

            Friends.  Barnard noted that many baskets have been checked out and patrons

            seem to appreciate this new service.


            Stein highlighted the Teen Read Author visit and the book talk at Independence

            Village.  Stein also congratulated Patty Wilke on her promotion and thanked her

            for her service to the Library Board.


VI.              Patron Compliments and Concerns



1.                  We just returned from a trip.  Our car had both cassette tape and CD capabilities for sound.  The CDs skipped and the tracks were hard to find and it is necessary to repeat an entire track for going backwards for one sentence.  Ultimately, if you have any influence, many of us still find cassette tapes more reliable and useful (though presumably digital will take over eventually).

            Vendors are phasing out books on tape.  Books on CD are improving in their

            search features.


2.                  While enjoying an iced mocha in the Cup and Chaucer, I happened to notice several weeds and other unwanted flora in the landscaping (outside the window).  I would be willing to work a few hours/week (with pay!) tending and weeding these areas… seriously!

            Staff has addressed.


3.                  Time for a gate across the parking lot activated by one's library card!  This would allow library patrons a place to park and relegate "Center for the Arts" patrons to their own space!!

            The west parking area is owned by the Dow Foundation and is used by many

            library patrons.  Library card access only would not serve those who forget

            their card or who are coming to apply for a card.


4.                  A while ago I suggested purchasing Mailbox Magazine, a magazine for preschool teachers.  I am extremely happy to see that you now are carrying it in your collection!  Thank you so much for hearing my suggestion and acting on it.


5.                  I really enjoy renting DVDs from your collection.


6.                  Have you folks considered going to angle parking to make backing safer?  You could do it next time you seal drive.

            Angled parking would result in the loss of spaces.


7.                  Thank you to the Youth Services department and the City of Midland for the July 27 "Touch a Truck Day."


8.                  We need stronger bags to put your books in.  The ones that you have now have ripped.  I hope you get better bags.

            Heavier bags were purchased several months ago.


9.                  I would love to have a table and chair (back) where the older fiction is shelved.  It is tiring to have to stand while scanning through books to see which to choose, especially for one with health problems.

            Stools and a table have been provided.


10.              I miss the small tables and chair in the isle in front of the "mysteries."  I used them frequently.

            Stools and a table have been provided.


11.              I think the wall behind the puppet theatre needs a mural or some type of pictures on the wall.  When you look at it from the back it is so plain.

            Suggestion will be taken under consideration.


12.              Thinking of the requested "drop off" for books, etc. from a car – a try it out method could be a free standing "drop off" box like the one SVSU library uses.  This could try out the idea.  Also another idea – if the traffic flow in parking were reversed or reconfigured completely, a driver side drop off could be on the side of the building resulting in less structural change needed.  A traffic flow change could have other advantages; a traffic flow expert could see that advantage.

            A free standing book drop would have to be emptied frequently especially         

            during times that the library is not open and staff would have to transport.

            materials in various weather conditions and over uneven surfaces.


13.              Audiobooks only for MP3 players is NOT useful.  We have ipods and will not ever have MP3.

            There is no library licensing arrangements for ipods.




Unsigned compliments and concerns:


  1. I was in the Cup and Chaucer Monday, July 31 and from 11:55 a.m. to 12:25 p.m., there was a "booth" with nothing but a laptop on the chair.  A guy came back and worked on the laptop until 12:40 then left and did not take laptop.  The counter person said he comes in regularly and uses that chair/table as "his office."  Public library for sure but you should be getting big bucks for personal "office space."  I suppose it might offend him if you were to comment?

            Many people use the library on a regular basis as a place to do work or

            study.  The library and coffee bar are not responsible for items left



  1. I would really like you to resume Listeners Story Time in the evenings.  I work full-time and cannot bring my son during the day.  He loves to come to Story Time and I don't want to lose the opportunity.  Please reconsider this decision.

            Staff regularly evaluates the scheduling of programs.  Evening story times

            had not been well attended.


  1. My only suggestion would be for NO cell phones to be allowed at all.  I can be reading and hear someone on their phone.

            From the May/June 2005 Library Connection newsletter:

            Can something be done about patrons using cell phones in the Library and in the Coffee Bar? It can be very distracting when people talk loudly on their phones.
Cell phones can make life easier and more connected, but they can also be distracting. The Library does not ban cell phones as they are a part of many people's lives and are often a necessity. We would like to suggest that when a patron needs to use their cell phone, they go outside or move to an area of the Library where their conversation will not intrude on other patrons. While in the library, please put cell phones on vibrate and keep voices low.


  1. I enjoy your magazine room and use it frequently.


  1. I preface this by saying I love going to the library and understand the challenge I'm addressing.  But, during the summer, it is getting exceedingly difficult to spend much time on hot summer days there due to the very "stuffy" conditions that exist due to the poor air conditioning and stuffy areas that exist.  If nothing else, this can be for next summer.  I was sitting at the computer and feeling excessively hot and could hardly think or function.  I left early and didn't even use all the time allotted me.  I just couldn't deal with it!  Plus, I went into the "Quiet Reading" room and tried reading and fell asleep because of the lack of circulation.  Last summer with a 90s summer and very high humidity all summer I never found the library to be cool or comfortable.  The same thing happened this summer when the temperature reached the 90s along with high heat indexes and humidity.  Therefore, I leave before I want to or just don't go!  What can be done?  It really curtails the time I want to and sometimes have to spend there – and enjoy there.  Can something be done about how uncomfortable it sometimes can be during the summer?  Thanks!  I appreciate it – a loyal library lover!

            There were a number of mechanical problems with the library’s HVAC

            system this past summer.  Work was done as quickly as replacement parts

            were received.


  1. It would be nice to see the checkout stamp (date, etc. stamp) in larger print; also a more effective one such as the librarians use at the checkout desk.  Often I've found that the stamp has been played with and the dates are off.

            New stampers were put out in July.  A notice does alert patrons that other

            users may alter the dates on the stamps.  Patrons should use the printed

            receipt that they receive at check out to verify due dates.


  1. It would be cool if there was a book discussion group for middle schoolers and another one for high schoolers (like Brown Bag Book Club).

            Pizza & Plots Book Discussion Group for students in grades 6-8 meets for the

            first time on Monday, September 25.


  1. Several people were smoking at the entrance and around the tables.

            Posted sign at the front door reads that no smoking is allowed in the area. 

            Patrons should notify staff if someone is smoking in that area.



VII.      Old Business


            a.         Board/Community Communications

                        Bush prepared responses to two frequently asked questions: TVs in the Teen Room and changing the online catalog.  It was decided to use the question on TVs for the November/December newsletter.


                        Discussion followed on what the Board would focus on in future newsletters.  A “Did You Know?” column was supported.  Galt will submit an article for the January/ February newsletter.  She will bring ideas on topics to the October Board meeting.


            b.         Community Read Project

                        A resolution supporting a proclamation for Community Read Time from October 9 through November 9, 2006 will be presented at the October 9, regular Council meeting. Heard has agreed to represent the Board at that meeting and announce the title of the book.


                        Barnard reviewed the various locations for the book discussions.  McKane announced the program sponsors: Friends of the Library, Midland Daily News, Mashue Printing, and Michigan Humanities Council.


            c.         Book Drop/Parking Lot

                        Barnard reported that options had been received from Wilcox Professional Services and have been reviewed by City Planning and Engineering staff.  Barnard and McKane will meet with Wilcox to further discuss the options.


            d.         Mideastern Michigan Library Cooperative Board Report 

                        Bush reported on the Mideastern Michigan Library Cooperative Board meeting held in September.  He noted that a reduction in State Aid to Cooperatives resulted in reductions in the budget.


                        Soules moved that Bush be re-appointed to the Mideastern Michigan Library Cooperative for fiscal year 2006-2007, Galt seconded.  Motion passes.


            e.         State Librarian's Visit

                        Stein commented on the successful visit by Nancy Robertson, State Librarian, and Roger Mendel, Director of Mideastern Michigan Library Cooperative.


            f.          Board Annual Report

                        Kinnish reported that the report was well received with several questions from Council on the book drop, the change in service areas because of Cooperative membership, and the decrease in library circulation.  Stein expressed appreciation to Kinnish for presenting the report.


            g.         Board Goals

                        The Board focused on Goal 2: Explore at least one new method of communication with the community about library services in order to preserve and expand our patron base.  Galt agreed to head a sub-committee to discuss ideas.  Bush and Soules will serve on this committee.  Barnard will prepare a list of current communication avenues used by the library.  The sub-committee will report back in October.


                        The goals will be listed on each agenda to stay current with progress on each.


VIII.     New Business


            a.         Township Communication

                        Barnard spoke at the Midland County Township Officers Association meeting on September 14, 2006 at the Porter Township Hall.  Barnard highlighted library services for card holders and reviewed the library services agreement.  Brink commented that Barnard received a warm reception.


            b.         Project for Public Spaces Report

                        Barnard updated the Board on the progress of the Discovery Square Placemaking Team.  Discovery Square will encompass: The Center for the Arts, Whiting Forest, Dow Gardens, Northwood Creativity Center, Michigan Molecular Institute, Alden B. Dow Home & Studio, and the library.  One focus will be St. Andrews Rd, developing a crossing that is safe and pedestrian friendly, and will slow traffic down.  Changes in St. Andrews may effect the book drop location options.


                        The Committee would like organizations within the Discovery Square to begin using Discovery Square as tag line on publicity to start educating the public about the Square as a destination.  McKane will be serving on a committee that will develop a logo or some identifier for Discovery Square. Heard moved to support using the Discovery Square tag line on publicity as appropriate.  Bush seconded.  Motion passes.


            c.         Annual Statistical Report

                        Barnard presented a breakdown of the statistics from the 2005-2006 fiscal year.  Barnard reviewed use of materials noting that the circulation losses occurred in the non-fiction areas and with VHS and Book-on-Tape formats.  These formats are being phased out, replaced by DVDs and Books on CD that are experiencing increases in circulation. Five-year graphs demonstrated trends in gate counts, programming attendance, and reference question counts.


                        Barnard presented the following list of actions to address circulation:     

                        1. Review use of materials, particularly non-fiction.

2. Explore different ways to display materials.

3. Ensure that materials are up-to-date and accurate.

4. Expand popular collections like Book Express.

5. Utilize website to promote materials.

"New at the Library" feature with Books Coming Soon and Selection of Books Now at Library

6. Promote related materials at programs.

7. Increase interaction with patrons in the library.


                        Board members commented on the changing role of the public library with increasing use of the databases.


                        Barnard is preparing a presentation on the library for an upcoming meeting of the City Council.


IX.       Board Comments

            Bush commented on the report, “Long Overdue,” that was sent out to Board

            members.  Stein announced that due to the length of this meeting, the report

            would be discussed at the next Board meeting.


            Soules related very positive comments about the library from a visiting relative.


 X.       Adjournment

            Brink moved and Bush seconded to adjourn the meeting.  The meeting

            adjourned at 9:25 p.m.  The next meeting of the Library Board is scheduled for

            Wednesday, October 18, 2006 at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall.