Grace A. Dow Memorial Library

Library Board


Wednesday, June 17, 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, Norm Neher, William Snover, Marilyn Soules


ABSENT:  Kathleen Kinnish


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


II.                 Acceptance of May 20, 2009 Meeting Minutes

Minutes approved as submitted.


III.               Additions or Changes to the Agenda



IV.              Public Comments



V.                 Director’s Report

Barnard reminded everyone of new Library hours effective Wednesday, July 1, 2009.  New Library hours are 9:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday and 1-5 p.m. on Sunday.  The Library is closed on Sunday from Memorial Day through Labor Day.  Barnard reported that there were some patrons who thought the reduction in hours was a temporary change; she confirmed that this change is permanent.


Also, the Library will be closed on Friday, July 3rd and Saturday, July 4th for the Independence Day holiday.


Soules commented on the new exterior sign at the Library that directs people to the main entrance and the Auditorium/Lounge entrance.


Galt expressed thanks to the public for their support of the Lincolns for the Library campaign. Barnard reported that $516.84 was donated to purchase books and DVDs. There will be a special display of these items in the Library and a list is available on the website.


Barnard reported that the summer reading program has begun for both adults and children. A wrapper publicizing the summer reading program was included in the Midland Daily News Sunday, June 14th edition. 

Barnard announced that the One Book, One Community program is back by popular demand.  The book title will be announced in the July/August edition of the Library Connection.  The author will present a program at the Library on October 8th.


Barnard reported that Stealing Buddha’s Dinner has been selected as the Great Michigan Read book for 2009.  Copies of the book are now available at the Library.  The author will visit Midland on October 15th.


Soules expressed thanks to the local garden clubs for planting flowers on the Library grounds and the Teen Advisory Board for their work on the Midland Blooms program.  Board member Tami Johnson also helped with Midland Blooms.


Galt asked about the Babysitter Bags that were mentioned in the director’s report.  Barnard explained that the Babysitter Bags had several picture books, a DVD and activity sheets.  Currently, the bags focus on preschool age children.


Soules inquired about the Social Networking Workshop that was sponsored by Mideastern Michigan Library Cooperative.  McKane responded that she attended the workshop that focused on social networking vehicles such as websites, RSS feeds, Facebook, Twitter, and Library Thing.  Participants learned how to use these tools and how they can be best applied to libraries.


VI.              Patron Compliments and Concerns


1.      I would like to see “new” section for MP3 Audio Books so a patron can quickly tell a new addition.  I check them out a lot and it takes time to go back through them.

The library offers an online newsletter that will alert you of new additions. To subscribe:

On our webpage click on “New at the Library”

Scroll down and click on New Audiobooks

Click on “Sign up for email newsletters”

Scroll down to “MP3 Audiobooks” and click on the box

Enter your email address and click on “Subscribe”


2.      It is a real privilege to have access to a truly outstanding library with an outstanding book collection here in Midland.  Kudos to the director and staff for your excellent work.  As my husband and I travel, we frequently visit libraries in other Michigan cities, using WiFi access, reading newspapers and perusing their book collections.  Sometimes we are a bit surprised but heartened to find outstanding facilities in even the smallest towns.  An observation from our experience is that some of these small towns have self-checkout of most items.  I recall that this has been investigated for the GA Dow library.  Can you tell me whether it is still under consideration?

Self check-out is a service that the library would like to offer but given the economic environment and the cost to implement, it is not possible at this time.


3.      Better signage for oversize books would be most helpful.  There is only one sign, above the 700’s.  There is no way to know where the lower numbers are.  It would also be helpful if the main stacks area had some information about where to look for oversize books.

Staff will be addressing this concern.



1.      I am very frustrated and angry at the appearance and contents of the “Book Express”!!!  Four to six month old books, books placed every-which-way on the shelves, no current or up to date books or list of books!!  Other smaller libraries and Meijer have a better updated selection of books.  If these matters do not improve in the near future, I will go elsewhere.

The Book Express collection is kept neat.  Books are added weekly.  If the list is missing, please inform the staff at the Reference Desk.  Books remain in the collection as long as they continue to be checked out.


Six comments from users of conference rooms requesting that library stay open until 9:00 p.m. on weekdays.

Budget reductions and new hours were approved before these comments were received. The Conference Rooms will be available for use until 8:25 p.m. on weekday evenings beginning July 1, 2009.


Two positive comments on flowers in planters in front of library.


VII.            Old Business

a.    Board/Community Communications

The board discussed whether or not to continue the Board column in the Library Connection.  In the past, the column has been used to answer questions and give book suggestions.  In response to the Board’s request of statistics for books that had been recommended, Barnard explained that our current system can’t calculate the statistics for a specific title on a monthly basis.  This makes it difficult to determine the impact of the column.  Johnson questioned whether the space was needed for other purposes.  Barnard responded that the space could be used.  Johnson noted that the column is a good link to the community.  Neher suggested the Board cease publication of the column to see if there is any reaction. The Library Connection will continue to note when the Library Board meets and announce when members leave or are appointed to the Board.  It was suggested that Board contact information be added to this space with a note like “we welcome your comments and suggestions.”  As a result of the discussion, the board decided to discontinue the Board column until further notice or when a need arises.


                  b.   Mideastern Michigan Library Cooperative Board Report

Soules reported that the current director is retiring in the fall and four candidates were interviewed as his replacement.  The committee recommended two candidates to the Cooperative Board.  The Board will offer the position to their choice of candidate.  At this time, no official announcement has been made. 

Soules reported that there will be a 4% cut in state aid to libraries this fiscal year that will affect Cooperative services.   An additional 15% cut has been proposed by the State Senate.  Barnard stated that this additional cut would impact the library’s budget.  Currently state aid makes up approximately $50,000 out of the Library’s $4 million dollar budget.


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 was presented in 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

Library staff is working on action plans for the short term and long term goals.  The Board will have the opportunity to review and approve the statements and strategic plan at the August meeting.


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

Barnard reviewed the ideas presented by the Northwood University students that were most relevant and applicable.


d.      Library Board Annual Report Committee – Galt, Johnson, Soules

Soules reported that the committee has been meeting and will have a preliminary draft at the August meeting.  


e.       Board Member Appointment

City Council will interview three candidates for the vacant Board position on Monday, June 22nd.  The new Board member will be approved at the June 22nd City Council meeting and will start at the August meeting.


f.       Nominations Committee Report & Elections of Officers for 2009-2010 –        Kinnish, Soules

The committee presented the following slate of officers for appointment:

Chair – Sarah Galt

Vice Chair – Tami Johnson


Brink motioned that the slate be accepted.  Neher seconded the motion.  Motion passed.  The new officers begin their term on August 19th.


VIII.         New Business

a.       Mideastern Michigan Library Cooperative Plan of Service Approval

The Mideastern Michigan Library Cooperative Plan of Service was presented for approval.  Brink made a motion to accept the changes in the MMLC Plan of Service.  Galt seconded.  Motion passed.


IX.              Board Announcements

Snover read a statement expressing his appreciation to the Board, the community and the library staff for his time on the board.


Soules thanked Snover for his words and his service to the Board.


X.                 Adjournment

Brink moved to adjourn.  Snover seconded.  Motion passed.  Meeting adjourned at 7:50 p.m.