Grace A. Dow Memorial Library

Library Board


Wednesday, August 19, 2009 7 p.m.

City Hall Council Chambers


      I.                        Roll Call

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


PRESENT: Melissa Barnard, Maxine Brink, Sarah Galt, Kathleen Kinnish, Norm Neher, Suzanne Phillips, Marilyn Soules


ABSENT:  Tami Johnson


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


   II.                        New Member Introduction

Galt welcomed Suzanne Phillips to the Board.


 III.                        Acceptance of June 17, 2009 Meeting Minutes

Minutes approved as submitted.


IV.                        Additions or Changes to the Agenda



   V.                        Public Comments



VI.                        Director’s Report

Barnard announced that the Friends of the Library have generously donated a total of $50,000 to the library for the 2009-2010 fiscal year.  Of this $50,000, $23,500 will be used to fund special projects including contracting for a design consultant to develop a plan for renovating the Library’s auditorium, purchasing equipment to provide digital signage in the lobby for announcements and to promote library programs, purchasing  the online electronic resource Something About the Author: Facts, and Pictures about Contemporary Authors and Illustrators of Books for Children, and purchasing laptops for children and teens to use in the Youth Services area of the library.   The remaining $26,500 is used to help fund annual library programs including: Battle of the Books t-shirts and trophies, first grade tour books, Summer Reading Program books and One Book One Community events.  The Friends of the Library earn revenue through memberships and used book sales held at the library. Soules mentioned that the Friends of the Library will also take monetary donations.


Barnard reported that the library will host the author of the Great Michigan Read book, Stealing Buddha’s Dinner, on October 15th at 7:30p.m. in the auditorium.  Author, Bich Minh Nguyen will present a program on her memoir with book sales and signing to follow.


Barnard stated that all of the adult programs being planned for the fall have been funded by various organizations.  Central Michigan University Public Television was awarded a grant to fund the program featuring the PBS American Experience Film, The Polio Crusade.  The National Endowment for the Arts is sponsoring the showing of short films from the Ann Arbor Film Festival.  The Friends of the Library are sponsoring the One Book, One Community events.  Finally, the Great Michigan Read is being sponsored by the Michigan Humanities Council.  The Library appreciates the support of these organizations.


Barnard announced that the Cup and Chaucer will celebrate its 5th anniversary on September 22nd with a ribbon cutting, cake and coffee.


Barnard reminded the Board that the Library will be closed on Monday, September 7th for Labor Day.   Sunday hours will resume on September 13th.


Neher inquired about the new features in the automated system.  There will be no major changes with the release.  Several that affect patrons include being able to see the suspended date on holds and holds on regular items will be canceled automatically when the same title from the Book Express collection is checked out.


Soules noted that patrons can request a $1.00 off admission coupon for the Alden B. Dow Museum of Science and Art Einstein exhibit when they check out materials from the library.


Kinnish was glad to see collaborations with other organizations and inquired about the Ann Arbor Film Festival.  Barnard explained that Donald Harrison from the Ann Arbor Film Festival received a grant to take the films to other locations and he contacted the library to see if we would be interested in showing a series of short films that were showcased at the Film Festival this year.  These films will be shown on September 24th at 7 p.m. in the Library’s auditorium.  There is no charge to attend.  A list of the short films that will be shown is available on the Library’s website.


Galt asked about the cost of maintaining the new laptops for children and teens.  Barnard explained that these will be inexpensive units that will not be included in the computer replacement budget. Since the library has not experienced operational problems with the adult rental laptops, it is not anticipated that the new laptops will add to expenses.  These laptops will include Microsoft Office Suite and flash drive capability.


Phillips inquired about auditorium renovation.  Barnard explained that she and McKane will work with a consultant to develop a proposal that will include estimated cost and color boards.  Determining the cost of the project is necessary to pursue funding sources.


Soules expressed appreciation to the 124 teens that volunteered for the Summer Reading Program.





VII.                        Patron Compliments and Concerns


1.      New hours for summer is fine, but for fall I would like them back.  I like to use your services between 8-9 in the evening.  I work till 6 and then get dinner, go to the gym or walk the animals.  So it’s nice to have that hour before you close to come in get on the computers pick up a magazine, etc.

The reduced hours will be in effect indefinitely.  The elimination of 4 staff positions due to decreased revenues has necessitated a change in hours.


2.      I have a suggestion:  Please install dropboxes throughout Midland (similar to how the U.S. Post does it).  This will save money in gas for your customers and your books will not be late on the majority of delinquent customers.

This would increase costs to the library.


3.      We love your kid’s books and your summer reading program.


4.      The planters outside the front door are the prettiest I’ve seen at the library.  So glad you gave up on planting little evergreens in those planters.  Please give my compliments to whoever designed this year’s planters!


5.      Wouldn’t it behoove the library to have more than one copy of national best sellers.  Especially when we share with many libraries, i.e. Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.

The library purchases based on demand.  New books are not loaned to other libraries.


6.      Our niece, a student at Oakland University is staying with us this summer.  She needed a class at Delta and is now taking an online Literature class through Oakland.  She needs to read eight somewhat obscure titles for the class and was very impressed to find all eight at the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library.  It is nice to know that the Library here can support online learning.  We sometimes take for granted how fortunate we are in Midland…Thanks for all you do…..



1.      Would it kill you to open doors two minutes early, 30 people waiting outside for fifteen minutes on July 2, 2009.

People waiting may not have been aware that library hours were changed on July 1st from 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.


2.      How about a library card activated parking lot for library patrons and card holders?!  Then they might find a place to park during non-library functions. 

The library also has events that require our patrons to use the Center for the Arts parking lot.  Sharing the parking lots may present parking challenges on some occasions but benefit everyone in the long run.




3.      I propose that there be no “holds” for new DVDs.  Often I find that it is days (or up to a week) before the new DVD is checked out by the person requesting a hold on the item.  A “no hold” new DVD policy would increase turn-around time and might possibly increase library revenue.

Staff has reviewed this practice and will be eliminating holds on new DVDs beginning January 2010.


4.      Need self checkout!  I have used at other libraries and it works.

No funding is available to purchase and install a self checkout system.


5.      It is very frustrating – on your paperback books all of your labels make it hard to read what the book is about.

The due date labels do obscure information on library materials regardless of where they are placed but users prefer to continue stamping dates on the materials themselves.


Barnard read an additional comment received.  This comment was sent to the Online Book Club that users can subscribe to through the library’s website.


We have the greatest library in the world in our town, Midland, Michigan.  It is a beautiful building full of wonderful books.  The staff is hard working and always willing to help.  I have been a life long lover of the library and can not imagine a world without a library near by.  I started going to the library by myself by the time I was in the first grade.  How sad that a community would lose this wonderful resource.

I enjoy reading your column everyday.


VIII.                        Old Business

a.    Board/Community Communications

Galt reminded the Board that it was decided to discontinue the “Board Favorites” section of the Library Connection.  McKane said that the September/October issue will introduce Suzanne Phillips as a new Board member.  This space will continue to be used for Board meeting date information.  The Board decided to retain the “Board/Community Communications” item on the agenda because it is the time when Board members can share comments that they receive from patrons. 


                  b.   Mideastern Michigan Library Cooperative Board Report

Soules reported that Denise Hooks has been selected as the new Cooperative Director.  She will replace Roger Mendel who is retiring this fall.  Hooks is Director of Mott Community College Library and has a total of 30 years library experience. 


Soules reported that there is concern about the Governor’s executive order to disassemble the Library of Michigan collection, distribute it to other facilities and reduce the funding they receive.  The Michigan Library Association is encouraging citizens to contact their legislators in support of the Library of Michigan.  In order to stop this action, legislators have to challenge the executive order.  For more information, citizens can go to the Michigan Library Association’s webpage.  MLA is also sponsoring a rally at the Capitol in Lansing on September 10th.  


Soules asked for Barnard’s input on this topic.  Barnard said that concerns voiced are the uncertainty of where the collections will be housed, in particular the genealogy collection which draws people from all over the nation and world and what will happen to the funding for databases provided by the Library of Michigan, as well as what impact will this have on Melcat, the statewide catalog.  Barnard said that directors understand the state’s budget concerns, but they would like to see input from the library community before decisions are made.


c.       Library Board Annual Report Committee

A draft of the annual report was included in the Board member packets.  Galt reviewed the report and will make the suggested changes.  The revised report will be brought to the Board for approval at the September meeting.  The report is then sent to City Council.


d.      Strategic Plan Review and Approval

Barnard explained that the proposed mission and vision statements need Board approval.    The Library’s current mission statement is ten years old and the library has never had a vision statement. 


A motion was made by Brink and seconded by Kinnish to support/approve the new mission statement and vision statement.  Motion passed.


Barnard reviewed the areas of focus on the strategic plan.  Some action items have already been completed.  A Library Facebook page was started and now has over 180 fans.  Phillips suggested a teen sub group on Facebook.


Galt inquired about how the staff will manage its accountability.  Barnard noted that there is a document with names of staff members responsible for the completion of each action item.  Soules commented on how the library staff is constantly striving to make our library better. 


Soules motioned that the Board accept and approve the strategic plan as presented.  Brink seconded.  Motion passed.  Galt thanked the staff for all of their work.


IX.                        New Business

a.       Board Meeting Dates

Brink motioned that the proposed 2010 Board meeting dates be accepted as presented.  Phillips seconded the motion.  Motion passed. 


b.       Board Goal Development

Galt stated that their packets contained a list of the Board goals for 2008-2009 as well as the current City Council goals.  A new list of goals for 2009-2010 needs to be developed.  Galt suggested that the Board plan to approve the goals at the October meeting. 




There was discussion about possible goals and areas of interest.  Galt offered the idea of informal benchmarking by picking another library and going to their website to get ideas.  Barnard commented that staff does use other library websites for program and service possibilities.  Kinnish suggested taking a look at other library boards’ goals.  Soules suggested that goals be drawn from the strategic plan.  Kinnish inquired about how many goals are needed.  There is no defined number but, historically, it has been four.


It was decided that the Board members would bring goal ideas to the September meeting.  Barnard was also asked to contribute goal suggestions at the next meeting.



   X.                        Board Announcements

Brink announced that she has a Midland County Township Officials meeting on September 3rd at Porter Township Hall.  Staff will provide handouts for Brink to distribute at the meeting.


Soules announced that she volunteered be a reader in the RAP program, reading to juveniles at the JCC on Sunday evenings.  Youth Services Librarians have provided the reading selections for this program. Neher and Barnard said that they have participated in the past and it was a rewarding experience.


Soules complimented the staff on the comprehensive information that is on the website for college bound students. 


XI.                        Adjournment

Brink moved to adjourn.  Neher seconded.  Motion passed.  Meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.