Grace A. Dow Memorial Library

Library Board


Wednesday, October 15, 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, Tami Johnson, Kathleen Kinnish, Norm Neher, William Snover, Marilyn Soules


ALSO PRESENT: Virginia McKane, Assistant Director; Wendy Shields, Technical Secretary; John Palen, Midland Issues


II.                 Acceptance of September 17, 2008 Meeting Minutes

Minutes approved with changes.


III.               Additions or Changes to the Agenda



IV.              Public Comments



V.                 Director’s Report

Barnard reviewed the Library’s upcoming holiday hours during November and December.  Please check the Library website or call for information on Library hours.


Galt noted that attendance was down for the “Be a Tourist in Your Town” program.  Barnard remarked that it was the third year the library was involved in the program and participation at the Library has dropped each year of the program. Kinnish and Soules volunteered on Saturday to assist staff.  Kinnish commented that it was a good family day with a variety of groups attending.  Soules added that there was a fun, interactive trivia activity for the visitors to play.


Soules commented that partnering with the Center for the Arts Theatre Guild for the upcoming To Kill a Mockingbird programs demonstrates community collaboration.


Kinnish inquired about the Library’s co-sponsorship with the Literacy Council on the program on dyslexia which will be Saturday, October 18th from 1-4 p.m.  Registration is available by calling the Literacy Council office or visiting their website.  There is no charge to attend this program.


VI.              Patron Compliments and Concerns


1.      Having enjoyed several of your Books and Bites selections last season (and not able to attend the discussions on Thursday evenings), is there any chance of having a second discussion time?

Staff is considering adding a day time book discussion session beginning in 2009.

2.      I like that I can get a library card when I am seven.

3.      We love the Move & Groove!  Please bring the program on a regular basis for preschoolers.  Even if you alternate between the Move & Grove and Storytimes – we would love to participate with dancing.

Move & Groove is being offered in October and December.

4.      At 7:00 p.m. Friday, Sept. 19, I could not park at the library due to the fact there were cars from people attending a Center for the Arts activity.  This has happened before.  The library parking lot fills up and there is no room for library patrons.  There are not signs of enforcement to tell people not to park in the library parking lot.  Possibly a change could be made.

This does not occur frequently.  Parking was available in the far west parking lot.  The Center for the Arts and the library practice a good neighbor policy in the use of their respective parking lots.

5.      I think it’s absurd when one places a book on hold that one has to arrive at the library when the doors open on the day the hold expires – otherwise, it’s sent back.  Therefore, I think the hold date should be listed as one day earlier because if someone arrives, say in the afternoon of the expiration date, it’s tough.

The notice sent states that the material will be held until a certain date.  On that date the material is available for pick up until closing.

6.      I liked this library because it was a safe place to encourage my children to read.  I was very disappointed to find my child watching a TV here rather than looking for a book.  My child was easily drawn away by a program I do not approve of.  I hope you will consider removing the TV (at least to a closed room, but hopefully all together).  Reading strengthens the imagination, whereas, most TV programs simply desensitize the mind.  Libraries used to have a very common rule “ssh…please be quiet”.  The TV could be heard coming down the stairs.  Need I say more?

The Teen Spot that houses the televisions has been designed for teens not for young children.  The intent was to create a space that was attractive and appealing to young adults. Program selection is limited to those appropriate for this age level. Staff should be alerted if the sound is too loud.

7.      Have “novel” section for busy parents – just a small selection of choices.  Quick grabs to go.

The lower level is for materials appropriate for youth.  Using the back stairs to go to first floor rather than the front stairs will take patrons right by the New Books and Book Express collections that offer smaller collections to browse.



1.      I think kids under the age of 18 should be able to use a computer here at the library.  What if they need to do homework?

Children of all ages may use the public computers at the library.  Laptop use is restricted to persons 18 years or older because it requires signing an agreement.

2.      Please consider having the reference desk handle new or replacement library cards – these are time consuming and hold up the check out line tremendously.

The Check Out desk is always staffed with two people who do not leave the desk area.  The Reference desk at times is staffed by one person and staff at this desk can be away from the desk helping patrons with inquiries.

3.      Love, love, love the redone bathrooms in the lower level!  Great for my preschooler…and me!  Thanks for a job well done.

4.      The Library is a great place to be and I love the books.  Thanks for being the best library!


VII.            Old Business

a.       Board/Community Communications

Soules asked Board members to share their experiences as participants in the Community Roundtables.  The Community Roundtables, sponsored by the City of Midland and held during the week of October 6th, were an opportunity to get community input to address challenges in the 2009/2010 budget.


Kinnish reported that the results of the telephone survey were shared and city services were divided into tiers based on the value placed on them.  The Library was listed in the top tier.  At her session, everyone had very positive things to say about the Library.  Even though cuts will have to be made, people made it clear they didn’t want the Library to be affected.


Neher mentioned that a citizen suggested that people be charged to use the Library.  Neher responded that this was an equity issue and the Library should continue to be accessible to all regardless of their economic situation.  Participants noted that the Library has a large budget in comparison to other city departments.


Galt reported that the when the question of Library circulation was brought up, the City Manager answered that the circulation was doing great.  A citizen also brought up the idea of shortening the weekday hours at the Library but not the weekend hours.  Galt appreciated the opportunity to attend the roundtables.


Brink shared that two participants suggested cutting the Library budget but the discussion seemed more focused on other city services like Dial-a-Ride and EMS.


Johnson said that it was very interesting to attend the roundtable discussions and reported that a compilation of the comments would be available in early December.


Soules noted that the comments about the Library were favorable in her session, that with the struggling economy the Library is needed.  She provided information on the efforts of the Library administration to reduce staffing and increase fines and fees.


The results from the telephone survey and the roundtables will be compiled by the facilitators and the City Manager will present the report to City Council in December.  Council will discuss the results at their January planning meeting.


Soules reminded the Board that there will not be a December Library Board meeting.


b.      Mideastern Michigan Library Cooperative Board Meeting Report

Soules was unable to attend the last meeting.  A consultant for the new director search has been hired.


c.       Library Board Annual Report Committee

The Library Board Annual Report for 2007/2008 was accepted by the City Council at their October 13th meeting. The report has been posted on the website.


Soules thanked Galt, Kinnish and Neher for their work on the Annual Report.


d.      Library Board Goals

Soules invited Board members to indicate what goals they would like to work on this year.


Goal 1:  Advise library staff and evaluate processes and procedures related to technology use and instruction at the library.

Board members assigned:  Neher, Galt, Johnson


Goal 2:  Participate in the review of the Library’s Mission Statement and development of a strategic plan.

Board members assigned:  Galt, Soules, Kinnish


Goal 3:  Participate in the City of Midland Community Roundtable discussions regarding city services, including the services of the library, to provide input in identifying city budget priorities for fiscal year 2009-2010.


This goal was completed when Brink, Soules, Johnson, Neher, Galt and Kinnish attended the Community Roundtable discussions.  Soules commented that if there is any follow up on the roundtables, Board members may be asked to participate.


Goal 4:  Suggest innovative marketing strategies to communicate library services and programs to the community.

Board members assigned:  Kinnish, Soules, Snover


In addressing Goal 4, Snover commented that he would like to see a weekly spot in the Midland Daily News for the Library, perhaps a Library Corner or announcements for the community.  He was not sure if cost would be a factor.


Galt offered to have her brainstorming class come up with ideas for the members working on Goal 4.


Soules had contacted a Northwood instructor about the possibility of students in marketing programs assisting with Goal 4.  She will follow up with the instructor.


Soules provided Barnard with the name of a possible facilitator for Goal 2.  Barnard will make the contact.



VIII.         New Business        

Soules inquired about the new laptops.  Barnard reported that they were checked out 115 times in September.  The response has been excellent.  The number of laptops seems to be sufficient at this time.  Barnard said that use may increase as people become more aware of this service.  The laptops can be borrowed for the first hour at no charge, $2.50 for each additional hour.  Most users are borrowing the laptops for one hour.  Though this hasn’t been a revenue generator, the laptops do address the issues of no computers available, not enough time on the computers, and the ability to upload and download.


IX.       Board Announcements

            Brink announced that voters can still vote absentee.  The deadline for absentee voting by mail in the City of Midland is November 1st.


            Johnson reported that she visited the Everything website and there is still not a library link.  Johnson sent a note to the company requesting that link.  McKane had notified the web contact previously about adding a library link.


            Soules commented that she liked the Paul Newman movies display.  Soules also mentioned that patrons who like books on tape should check out the Friends sale shelf in the Cup and Chaucer Coffee Bar area for these items.


            Kinnish asked for the dates of the next Friends of the Library Used Book Sale. The sale was held the weekend of October 10th and the next sale is scheduled for February 2009.


            Barnard thanked the Board members who attended the Community Roundtable discussions.


X.        Adjournment

Brink moved to adjourn.  Galt seconded.  Motion passed.  Meeting adjourned at

7:55 p.m.