Library Board

Wednesday, March 19, 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, Sarah Galt, Kathleen Kinnish, Norm Neher, Marilyn Soules, Judy Stein


ALSO PRESENT:      Virginia McKane; John Palen, Midland Issues



            Minutes approved as submitted.









            Barnard noted the promotion of Mary Schultz to the Acquisitions and Circulation Coordinator position. 


            Stein inquired about the presentation for the P.E.O. Chapter FA.  The Philanthropic Educational Organization has several chapters in the Midland area.  This chapter requested a presentation and tour of the library.


            Neher shared with the board that two librarians from Grace A. Dow Memorial Library will be attending the MeL training organized for the Midland Public School Media staff.  


            Stein encouraged others to sign up for email delivery of the Library Connection.  She reported that it is easy, and will save on paper and postage costs.  Patrons do need to contact the library to remove their name from the mailing list.


            Soules questioned if the decreased gate count for January and February can be attributed to the availability of electronic resources.  Barnard commented that weather conditions may have been the biggest factor.  The gate count is a best estimate since the equipment used has limitations and does not provide an exact count. 


            Stein asked about the analog to digital program sponsored by MCTV and the library. Speakers will provide information on the change to digital broadcasting.  The program will be taped and replayed on MGTV5.












1.      I would like to see more of the Playaways in stock.  They are a much appreciated addition.

Another comment was received regarding Playaways: I love the new playaway.  It is so compact and it is very easy to use.  I listen to it every day while I walk.  I hope you get in more.


2.      Self contained audio MP3 type books battery too hard to get in and out (left it in).  Was left, middle of book, tried to get to the start, wouldn’t shut off, and would not go back to place left off.  Unhappy, thought it was a great concept.

The library continues to purchase books on CD/MP3 and have downloadable audios available as alternative formats.


3.      Stephen King – 7 Day Novel.  No option for 14? Don’t know anyone who can polish off a King “thick, involved, diverse” novel in 7 days.

Titles in the Book Express collection are also available in the new fiction section and can be checked out for 14 days. 


4.      I mistakenly left 4 DVDs at the cottage.  I tried to renew online but was told I had to come to the library.  I appreciate renewal vs fines as the better option.  Why can’t DVDs renew online and I would pay when I checked out the next time? (No different than late fees etc.) Saves gas, time, global warming etc.

The library’s automated system can not add the fee to the patron’s record with an online renewal of DVDs.


5.      How can you make it so that rich people can rent new movies for $2.50 and pay the high price for prints from computers but not the poor or very low income folks. It’s not fair. Thank you.  We may not be coming here anymore.

During the process to revise the library fines and fees, several public hearings were held at Library Board and City Council meetings on the proposed changes.




1.      I would like to see new DVDs on exercise, yoga, etc.  be 7 day rather than 4.  Thank you.

In order to maintain consistency, all new DVDs will be classified as new for a period of six months. 


2.      I think your new pricing on new videos is terrible.  Then to reduce the time to 4 days.  I can understand an increase, but yours is way too much.  I’ll be getting mine from Auburn for $.50 and 3 weeks.

During the process to revise the library fines and fees, several public hearings were held at Library Board and City Council meetings on the proposed changes.


3.      Playaways:  Don’t waste money on music ones.  Quality is poor. Also elderly or handicapped (arthritic) people may need help with battery placement.

Very few Playaways are music based.  Staff at the check out desk can demonstrate how to open the battery compartment.


4.      Need to let people check out books when they have a fine.  Because most of the time it’s not their fault.  So if they have a fine it won’t keep them from reading.

Materials may be checked out if the total amount of fines owed is less than $5.00.




There were 2 positive comments about the library.



a.          Board/Community Communications

Soules invited Board members to share any comments received from the public.

Stein received comments about the child-friendly furniture in the Youth Services area and inquiries on the in-house use laptop program. Staff is moving forward on preparing the laptops with the appropriate software and printing capability.


Kinnish thanked McKane for attending a Quilters Squared meeting where she talked about the apron and quilt display on the library’s mezzanine during April and programs featuring author EllynAnne Geisel.


Brink’s article has been submitted for the May/June Library Connection issue and Neher will submit one for the July/August issue.  Kinnish will do an article for the September/October issue.


b.         Library Drive-Up Return

In addition to the comments provided in the Board packet, the following one was recently received:

“I don’t think we need a new book return.  It would be nice to spend $ on programming instead. We are getting along just fine with our current book return. Thanks.”


Barnard explained that the library does have a programming budget.  Programming is balanced with available staff resources.  The library does apply for programming grants for special events.


Stein read a letter of support for the proposed drive-up return from Cherie Hutter, a former Library Board member who served during the time that most complaints about the current return situation were received.  


Soules summarized the comments in the Board packet: four in favor, one against and one questioning loss of parking spaces. Barnard noted that in the concept drawing the drive-up return would not reduce parking spaces.  The construction of the roundabout will reduce parking spaces in the library’s parking lot.  These will be made up with the expansion of the parking lot at the west end of the library. 


Barnard requested that the Board provide direction on the proposed drive-up return so plans could move forward if City Council approves the roundabout project in the next month.




Galt spoke about the positive and negative responses received and noted that she has only received negative comments.  She struggles with supporting this project but also recognizes that as a new Board member does not have the history of the complaints. Galt emphasized the importance of listening to the public and encouraging everyone to speak up on the issues.


Stein voiced her support of the drive-up return and asked for a clarification of why a free standing box is not recommended.  Barnard explained that the volume of returned materials and staff safety are the primary concerns. Stein commented further that the public safety issue is a deciding factor for her.


Soules favors the drive-up return for its accessibility and availability to all who want to use it.  Brink understands that some may not support the project but she is in favor of moving ahead.


Brink moved to support efforts to seek funding to implement plans to construct the drive-up return. Stein seconded.  Motion passed 6-0. 


c.          Library Board Goals Committee Reports

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

No report from Central Michigan University students assigned to the project due to exams and spring break.

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

Kinnish reported that no new ideas are being presented.  She commented on the feedback received on the drive-up return. 


Soules supported the idea of providing Board members with name tags to wear when they attend library events.  With Board consensus on the idea, Barnard will provide the name tags.


The suggested letter to staff at Midland Public Schools is still on hold due to no specific topic for input.


Galt would like to see the Board stretch more with future goals.  She expressed concern that the Board needs to focus more on looking forward and that goals set reflect that focus.  She suggested that our library statistics be benchmarked to other libraries to better evaluate performance.


Barnard related that the 2008-2009 City Budget will be presented in a new format that will include separate sections for each department.  Performance indicators and various graphs will give citizens a better understanding of city operations.


Barnard reminded Board members that the library’s strategic plan was extended through 2008.  The plan needs to be reviewed and a decision made about moving forward. The community goals as identified by City Council will be scheduled for Board discussion. 


d.         Expiring Term of Board Member – Soules

Soules announced that she will be seeking reappointment.  The City Council accepted Bush’s resignation from the Board at their March 24th meeting.


e.          Mideastern Michigan Library Cooperative Board Report

Bush was unable to attend the March Board meeting.  Board members were provided with a copy of the letter sent to the State Librarian on behalf of the Cooperative Board opposing her reorganization plan for state aid and cooperatives. All Board members are welcome to attend the Cooperative’s annual meeting on May 8th at Genesee High School. 


f.           Mideastern Michigan Library Cooperative Representative

Bush has agreed to remain on the Cooperative Board for the May and June meetings.   The Board decided that the representative to the Cooperative Board should be a member of the Library Board.  Stein moved to nominate Soules as the Mideastern Michigan Library Cooperative Board Representative effective immediately.  Brink seconded.  Motion passed.  Barnard will notify Bush.



a.          City of Midland 2008-2009 Budget Process

Barnard reviewed the city budget adoption process:

                     April 14 - City Manager presents the proposed budget to City Council

                     April 21 - Budget work session with City Council, covering the general fund

                     April 28 - Preliminary public hearing on proposed budget 

                    May 5 - Budget work session with City Council, covering other funds

                    May 12 - Charter-mandated public hearing

                    May 19 - Adoption of the City Budget 

                    May 23 - Last day by ordinance for City Council to adopt the budget 


b.      Board Annual Report Committee

Kinnish, Neher and Galt volunteered to serve on the Annual Report Committee.  Kinnish will act as chair.   



           Neher thanked library staff for the assistance in compiling book orders for the elementary media centers and thanked the Friends for funding transportation for the First Grade Tours at the library.


Soules thanked the library staff for the volunteer recognition in the Library Connection   and thanked Bush for his years of service on the library board.  Soules complimented McKane on the newspaper digitization presentation at the previous month’s meeting and for her work on the project.



         Brink moved to adjourn.  Kinnish seconded.  Meeting adjourned at 8:20pm.