Grace A. Dow Memorial Library

Library Board


Wednesday, April 15, 2009 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: Wendy Shields, Technical Secretary; Virginia McKane, Assistant Director; John Palen, Midland Issues


II.                 Acceptance of February 18, 2009 Meeting Minutes

Minutes approved as submitted.


III.               Additions or Changes to the Agenda



IV.              Public Comments



V.                 Director’s Report

Barnard mentioned the Internet Safety Program that is planned for Wednesday, May 6th, 7:00 p.m. in the Library Lounge.  Panelists include: Todd DuBois, Charter Communications; Norm Neher, Midland Public Schools; Stephanie Williams, Supervisor of Youth Services and a representative from the Michigan State Police.  The program will be taped and shown on MGTV.


Barnard reminded people that the Books and Bites Book discussion group takes place on the third Thursday evening and fourth Wednesday afternoon of the month.  This month they are discussing Gore Vidal’s Lincoln.  The Library will continue to collect “Lincolns for the Library” through the end of April.


Barnard announced that the Adult Literacy Council is sponsoring a program at the Juvenile Care Center.  McKane explained that volunteers will read stories over a PA system at bedtime to the residents.  Library Youth Services Librarians are selecting the books that will be read.  If you are interested in volunteering, contact the Adult Literacy Council.  Neher commented that he had previous volunteered and thought it was a good program. 


Soules commented on the Canoeing in Michigan program coming up in June.  She noted that it was a good collaboration with the Chippewa Nature Center.


Galt and her children attended the Lincoln impersonator program and really enjoyed it.


Soules attended the Library Tea and enjoyed the presentation by Civil War re-enactors who portrayed a General and his wife.


Barnard congratulated Soules on her letter to the President that appeared in the Midland Daily News.


VI.              Patron Compliments and Concerns


1.      Nice library, only thing is you need to rent out video games, PS2, Wii, Xbox 360.

A decision has been made not to develop a collection of video games due to circulating issues and ongoing costs to maintain.

2.      I fully understand the economic pressures impacting the library.  I have, for the last couple of years very much enjoyed American Photo.  I hope when the situation allows, that the subscription can be re-activated.

Some magazine subscriptions have been discontinued due to reductions in the materials budget.

3.      A suggestion to have an island for good books read by your patrons.  Time of the Assassins, by Hugh Holton, I found in the stacks – not a famous author – it was a very good book to read.

Library staff will explore ways to encourage patrons to share good reads with others.

4.      The PC cords at the tables in the large print book area are a safety hazard, the City would be liable for any injuries.

Using outlet plugs proved ineffective so plates have been installed over outlets not to be used and areas have been designated that have appropriately located outlets.

5.      Consider a day rate for laptop checkout.

The hourly rate is established in the city ordinance. There are no plans to change the rate at this time.



1.      I really like how you have remodeled the restrooms in the Youth Services area.  It is nice to see children’s needs addressed.  The shorter toilets and sinks are very helpful for young children.



1.      Congratulations!  We are advocates for your efforts and celebrants of your accomplishments.

2.      Congratulations on earning the Enhanced Level certificate.  As patrons of the library we are continually highly grateful for the quality and kinds of service provided.  What a great gift within the community.

3.      I just read in the Midland Daily News that the library has earned the Enhanced Level of the Library of Michigan’s Quality Services Audi Check List and is 12th out of the 300-plus public libraries in the state to earn the certification.  Bravo!  Since moving to Midland in 1983 I have been so impressed with the facilities, collection, service and staff.  I feel very fortunate to live in a community to be so blessed with Grace A. Dow Library.  Kudos to the staff!


The following comment was read at the Board meeting:

Congratulations on getting GADML an Enhanced Level of Certification from the Library of Michigan -- a well-deserved recognition for your efforts.  My granddaughters (5 & 8) stayed with us last week, and enjoyed visiting the library to check out books, use the computers, and play with the wooden train.  They were impressed with the large selection of books. Librarians in the children's area are always helpful and have often assisted me in locating specific books.  For some reason, I can usually find specific books on the main floor more easily than in the children's section!


VII.            Old Business

a.    Board/Community Communications

Snover will be responsible for the May/June board section in the Library Connection.  Johnson will do July/August.  Soules inquired about continuing the board section in the Library Connection.  Galt commented that it is hard to determine the effectiveness of the articles.  Barnard stated that not many comments are received about the Library Connection in general.  Johnson noted that people seem to like the newsletter because there were comments when it was no longer being mailed.  It was decided to re-visit this topic in the future.


                  b.   Mideastern Michigan Library Cooperative Board Report

Soules reported that the current director is retiring in the fall and the search for a replacement has been narrowed to four candidates.  Soules inquired about the status of the state’s funding of libraries and the Library of Michigan.  Barnard responded that it is still undecided.  Soules reported that the Cooperative will offer a list of presenters for the Summer Reading “Be Creative @ the Library” programs. 


c.       Library Board Goals Committee Reports

Soules called upon board members to report on the activities of their committees.


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

Report presented January 2009.


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

Board members assigned:  Galt, Soules, Kinnish

Barnard reported that the Strategic Planning Committee had an initial meeting that lasted 3.5 hours.  The committee felt they had some good discussion and accomplished a lot in their first session. 


Barnard shared the current mission statement which is over ten years old.   Barnard shared a draft of a new mission statement that the committee developed.  She welcomed any input or comments.  Snover felt the statement was welcoming and thought that “citizens” was a good word choice.  Neher felt that the word “entertainment” showed the change in how libraries are used; that there is a more recreational use of libraries.  Johnson felt it was short enough to memorize and easy to recall. 


The Library does not currently have a vision statement.  Barnard shared the two vision statement options that were developed by the committee.  Again, she welcomed comments.  Neher was concerned about using the word “The” at the beginning.  He felt it was exclusive of other places in the community.  Kinnish asked about the use of the words “gateway” and “gathering place”.  Neher suggested “destination” rather than “gathering place”.


The committee’s next meeting is Tuesday, April 21, 2009.


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 in October 2008.


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

Board members assigned:  Kinnish, Soules, Snover

Mary Beth Rousseau from Northwood University has offered to have students in one of her Marketing Management courses develop marketing strategies for the Library.  Teams of students will present their plans for consideration at the end of the term.  Barnard and McKane have visited the class twice and report that the students are very committed and enthusiastic.  Committee members are invited to attend the final presentations.  Snover wondered if MCTV could record the presentations.  Barnard said that she would look into that possibility.


d.      Budget Updates

Barnard announced that the proposed budget cuts for the Library have not changed at this point in the budget process.  The Library is proposing eliminating four vacant positions, reducing hours and a reduction in the programming budget.  The City Manager will present the proposed budget to City Council on Monday, April 20. 

If approved, the reduced hours will go into effect July 1, 2009.  Barnard reviewed the timeline for the budget process.   


Galt inquired about the possibility of beginning the reduction of hours before July 1.  Soules questioned whether the hours change had to be approved by City Council.  Barnard responded that the hours can’t be changed without approval.


e.       Reappointment of Library Board Member

Barnard announced that City Council has reappointed Sarah Galt for another three year term on the Library Board.


VIII.         New Business

a.       New Board Member Appointment Process

Barnard announced that there is a three year term position open on the Library Board.  This position would expire 6/30/2012.  Applications are due by 5 p.m. on May 1, 2009.  Applications are available online at the City’s website, at the City Manager’s Office or at the Library.  Applicants will be contacted to schedule an interview.


b.      Library Board Annual Report Committee

Soules asked if the Board was ready to form a committee to complete the Annual Report.  The following Board members agreed to serve on the committee:  Sarah Galt, Tami Johnson and Marilyn Soules.  Soules asked when the deadline was for the report.  Barnard responded August, 2009.


IX.              Board Announcements

Soules remarked on the “Lincoln” theme for Happenings 2009.  She felt it made for great programs.  Barnard noted that it has been one of the more successful themes for programming.  Barnard commended McKane on her work in selecting this theme.


Soules recounted that she was on a tour of Dow-Howell-Gilmore and they showed a slide of the Library’s Teen Room as one of their accomplishments. 


Johnson congratulated all of the Battle participants for a great year.  Neher thanked the parents who help with the program.


X.                 Adjournment

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