Library Board

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

7 p.m.

City Hall Council Chambers


I.                   ROLL CALL

Soules called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. 


PRESENT:   Melissa Barnard, Maxine Brink, Stu Bush, Sarah Galt, Kathleen Kinnish, Norm Neher, Marilyn Soules, Judy Stein


ALSO PRESENT:      Virginia McKane; John Palen, Midland Issues;

                                    Cathy Nelson Price, Midland Daily News



            Minutes approved as submitted.









            In addition to the report, Barnard noted the retirement of Rebecca Hastings, Youth Services Librarian. Barnard explained that as vacancies arise, each position is evaluated in an effort to control costs.  The vacated full time Youth Services librarian position has been upgraded to a Supervisor of Youth Services as part of a staff re-organization plan.   Beginning February 4th, Stephanie Williams, Circulation Services Supervisor, will assume the duties of the Supervisor of Youth Services, reporting to Assistant Director Virginia McKane.


            Kinnish voiced her support for the computer classes that staff is conducting in Midland Public Elementary Schools’ computer labs.  Longview and Chippewassee Schools are locations being targeted at this time. More classes are being considered.


            Stein complimented staff on their attendance at educational workshops. Kinnish noted the library’s participation in Kids Day at the Mall.


            Soules congratulated the library for recognition from the Michigan Humanities Council for their participation in the Great Michigan Read. The library was presented with a framed print.  Soules, Neher, and Brink attended the reception honoring both the library and the Michigan Historical Society.  The autographed print is hanging in the adult fiction section on first floor.









            Signed Compliments and Concerns:


1.      On Tuesday, October 23 around noon I went to the library.  I made one pass around the parking lot but could not find a handicapped space.  I made a second pass and found all the six handicapped spaces and the two 5 minute spaces all filled.  I double-parked in front of the drop box and returned my book.  I checked and found none of the vehicles had handicapped license plates or permits.  I saw a pickup truck backed into the handicapped space in front of the door to the auditorium.  There was something printed on the back of the truck pertaining to eating.  I then tried to make a third pass around the front half of the lot but discovered it was backed up with cars waiting for parking spaces, even flowing out onto St. Andrews.  There wasn’t a parking space available on the library side of the street.  I am 83 years old, walk with a cane and could not walk far enough to park in the Center for the Arts lot.  I went on home.  It did not affect any over-due fees, but was not able to get back to the library to make any selections for another week.

It is illegal to park in a handicapped parking space without the required identification.  The police will be called if cars are parked illegally.


2.      Suggestion: To build a second library on the other side of town.  Also including the addition and building of a library book store.  With the way Midland’s growing, it would even be better yet to have two new libraries built.  Grace A. Dow being central, other one being by or approximately, give or take, four to five mile radius from both High schools. More jobs.

Need has not been identified. Funding is not available.


3.      On a beautiful October Sunday afternoon there were at least 20 people waiting to enter the library when it opened.  They were a mix of all ages.  It is a testament to the value that our community places on its library. The programs, the collection and the staff make this fine facility an excellent resource to enhance the lives of our citizenry.


4.      I want to compliment you on the redesigned home page for Grace A Dow Library.  All my most frequently used options are at the top and I do not have to scroll to find them.  Thank you.


5.      The internet computers need to be able to accept/use USB keys, floppy disks in order to send documents over the internet.  For example using email. In today’s world much communication is done via the internet.  It is a disservice not to have this capability on your computers.  Possible fixes: better firewall, better techs. Separate network.  With all the money the city has, you should be able to offer better computer services.

Security of the network remains a concern. 


6.      I participated in the “Be a Tourist” event this weekend.  Please consider sidewalks for crossing from library to Center for Arts/Gardens.  I saw a lot of people moving between the two areas and proper sidewalks/cross area would be sensible.

Crossing St. Andrews is being addressed by the Project for Public Spaces.


7.      It would be nice to have headphones near the youth computers.  I can not leave young children alone to reserve the computer while I go upstairs, wait in line and check out headphones.  If I check out headphones first, come downstairs and there is no computer available the kids are disappointed!

Since headphones do need to be checked out, patrons will have to stop by the Circulation Desk to do this.  Patrons may bring in their own headphones or purchase inexpensive ones at the Circulation Desk.


Unsigned Comments:


1.      Persons renewing or applying for a library card holds up the checkout line.  Sometimes this can cause quite a delay and a long line.  Maybe this task could be delegated to someone less frequently in demand by the public.  Such as the reference desk or the media return desk.

It is more efficient to handle all library card related matters at one location rather than have patrons go from desk to desk.  Besides applying for cards, other issues may cause delays. The staff at the Circulation Desk is best equipped to address these and move people through the check out line as quickly as possible.  Those interested in applying for library cards can start the process online through the library’s website.


2.      Please allow non fiction video tapes and CD’s to rent out as free.  Some have not been rented out for over year, and many for last 6 months.  Other cities have them for free.

The recently revised Fines and Fees Ordinance sets the fee for videos older than 6 months at $1.25.  Public comments were considered during the process.


Additional Comments:


1.      More computers needed in the Teen Room.  (3 comments)

One more computer is being added to the Teen Room.


2.      Positive comments about the library and staff. (6 comments)




a.          Board/Community Communications

Bush will be submitting the “Did You Know” article in the Library Connection for March/April.  Brink volunteered for May/June and Neher will submit for July/August.  Ideas were shared about topics.  Board members decided that one option would be to write about recommended books or movies.


b.         Mideastern Michigan Library Cooperative Board Report – Bush

Bush reported that the state aid funding for public libraries and cooperatives was reduced but not cut in the 2007-08 budget.  The Mideastern Michigan Library Cooperative 2006-07 audit is complete and its financial position is good.

Bush reviewed the State Librarian’s proposal for the reorganization of cooperatives.  He encouraged Board members to view her blog for details.


c.          Fines and Fees Ordinance Revision Implementation

The City Council approved the proposed revisions to the library fines and fees. They will go into effect on February 4th.  The library has posted signs, bookmarks with updated information are available, and information is included on the web page. 



d.         Library Board Goals Committee Reports


1.      Neher and Soules - Suggest new opportunities for library collaborations with community organizations. 

The library has provided a list collaborative projects and programs to the committee. Neher and Soules will meet with Barnard and McKane to discuss how to proceed.


2.      Bush and Galt - Suggest innovative marketing strategies to communicate library services and programs to the community. 

Galt and Bush presented three suggestions:  brainstorming with members of the Board, staff and public or with a work group that Galt organizes, explore business marketing strategies, or approach a marketing professional for input.  Discussion also included the use of focus groups.


3.      Brink, Kinnish and Stein - Seek dialog/feedback from the community to determine needs through solicited comments. 

Stein presented three ideas: Library Board members would wear name tags at library functions to encourage dialog with patrons, a letter would be sent to Midland schools to receive feedback on library services, and questions provided at the check out desk would encourage patron responses.


Soules requested that Board members review all of the suggestions and bring any questions or comments to the February meeting.



           Project for Public Spaces, Discovery Square

        Barnard shared the concept drawing of a roundabout on St. Andrews linking the library and Center for the Arts parking lot.  Private funding has been secured for this project. The project has been included in the City of Midland’s engineering priorities and will continue through the formal process.


        During the design phase of the roundabout, Barnard requested that consideration be given to installing a drive-up return since the library’s parking lot would have to be reconfigured to accommodate the roundabout.  A drop was incorporated in the concept drawings allowing vehicles to drive up and deposit items that would be conveyed through a tunnel into the library’s lower level.  The cost was estimated at $50,000 to $75,000.  Funding for the return is not included in the funds allocated to the St. Andrews project. Barnard confirmed that there are no funds in the Library or City budget for the drive-up return construction. 


        The Board discussed the investment of funds in the drive–up return and whether this project should move forward.  Soules suggested that since funding would determine the outcome, funding resources should be explored.  Barnard will research funding alternatives and report back at the February meeting.     







         Brink moved to adjourn.  Stein seconded.  Meeting adjourned at 8:58pm.