Grace A. Dow Memorial Library

Library Board


Wednesday, January 19, 2011 7 p.m.

City Hall Council Chambers



      I.                        Roll Call

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


PRESENT: Melissa Barnard, Maxine Brink, Michael Burhans, Tami Johnson, Laura Peterson, Suzanne Phillips, Marilyn Soules


ABSENT:  Sarah Galt


ALSO PRESENT: Wendy Shields, Technical Secretary; Virginia McKane, Assistant Director, Ron Suszek, Supervisor of Adult Services


   II.                        Acceptance of October 20, 2010 Meeting Minutes

Motion to accept minutes made by Brink, seconded by Peterson.  Motion approved.


 III.                        Additions or Changes to the Agenda



IV.                        Public Comments



   V.                        Presentation on Library’s Audio Visual Collection

In addressing the Board goal to increase awareness of the library, Barnard arranged for Ron Suszek, Supervisor of Adult Services, to give a presentation.  Suszek gave an overview of the library’s audio visual collection.


Following the presentation, the library’s “commercial” featuring Ron Suszek was shown.  The piece was produced by MCTV and City Communications staff.  It can be viewed on the library’s website.  Burhans suggested putting the commercial on the Facebook page.  Barnard said that she will be showing the commercial to other library directors at the upcoming Mideastern Michigan Library Cooperative Advisory Council meeting.


VI.                        Director’s Report

Barnard announced that our library won the “I Love My Library” sweepstakes sponsored by Taped Editions.  The prize is $500 worth of audiobooks.  Phillips asked about the comments submitted by our patrons during the voting process.  Barnard responded that the company plans to forward those comments to her at later date.  Johnson commended the community for supporting the library.




Barnard recognized two gifts recently received by the library.  Four Bertoia stools were donated for use at the library.  Staff is currently looking for a spot to place these stools, possibly on the Mezzanine overlooking the Quiet Room.  The Friends of the Library provided funding to replace the mobile computer lab which was owned by Mideastern Michigan Library Cooperative.  The new equipment includes a wall monitor for easy visibility, a teaching station and ten student laptops.  Several classes are planned for February.  Johnson thanked the Friends for coming to the rescue and providing the funds for the new computer lab.  Soules commented on the upcoming computer classes for teens.  A class for teens on Picasa Digital Photos will be presented in February.


Barnard explained that the drop in circulation figures for December is due to being closed for five days in December 2010 as compared to two days in December 2009.  Considering an average circulation of 2,000 items per day, this affected the figure significantly.


Johnson inquired about the Battle of the Books status.  Barnard responded that the kick-off was a great success and the deadline for registering teams is January 24th at 8:30p.m. 


VII.                        Patron Compliments and Concerns


1.      Midland Library is one of the very best, great selection and wonderful summer programming for kids; I also enjoy the many different art shows hosted at the library.

2.      Thank you for gathering authors – If You Like.

3.      Please consider making each edition of the “Library Connection” a different color.  That way, customers will know:  new color = new edition.

Color changes have been initiated.

4.      Some people talk loud and long on cell phones in the library.  I don’t notice any conspicuous signs “Be Quiet”.  Why not post such signs?

Rather than signs, librarians at the Reference Desk should be notified and they will address the issue.

5.      Why continue to use labels and stamps when we receive a printout at checkout.  It seems redundant.  It would save time and money, plus make cleaner books.  I notice many people do not stamp the books anyway.

Suggestion is under consideration.

6.      Audiobooks on cassette, disc barcode labels often block summary on back of case.

Barcodes are placed in the same upper left hand corner for all materials for efficiency in check out.

7.      WiFi is more secure if you have a password and tell everyone what it is, than no password at all.  This can prevent people hacking into your connection.  Use “Free” as a password (kind of standard).

Passwords are not necessary for security of the network.






8.      I feel it is time to drop the charge on DVDs.  We pay taxes each year to the library so we may borrow materials.  One of the staff said the library shouldn’t “compete” with video stores.  That argument doesn’t work.  You competed with Walden’s, B&N, The Book Nook.  The libraries in Greater Detroit dropped charging for DVDs and videos years ago.  Please drop this charge!

The library has always charged a fee to borrow videos.  The revenue generated helps support the collection.

9.      I have noticed problems on multiple DVDs and audio CDs checked out from the library.  Scratching is the culprit.  With the new policy of keeping DVDs at Reference Desk cabinets, scratching every time inserted and removed from those sleeves will only increase the problem to the point of un-usability.  A cleaning machine would be a wise investment to maintain the library collections.  A scratched/damaged disc is an un-usable asset!

The sleeves used to store the DVDs are designed for this purpose and do not scratch the discs.  The library has a cleaning machine and discs with reported problems are put in the queue for review.

10.  Please make educational DVDs, CDs and videos like Math, Calculus free for use!  Please allow free use of DVDs, CDs and videos on site in conference rooms (especially educational media) for homeschoolers and college students (all grades, too).

The fees charged for borrowing videos are an important revenue sources for the library.  There are security issues in allowing videos to be previewed onsite.



1.      I suggest limiting cell phone use to checkout area only.  Cell phones are very disruptive when I am trying to read or use the computer.

If alerted, the librarians at the Reference Desk will address the issue.

2.      I think “step” parents should be allowed to get library cards for their “step” children.  I, being the “step” mom, am the only one that would have brought the kids to the library!  We can get our “step” children health insurance (as an example) but we are not allowed to get them a library card – how sad!

Applications must be signed by a parent or legal guardian to establish the person responsible for materials loaned to a minor.

3.      Our library in Illinois had a “mailbox” that was a drive-up to drop off books and videos from the parking lot.  It was much more convenient and safe than what Midland offers.

Due to the quantity of returns and the concerns for staff safety, a stand-alone drop box is not feasible.


VIII.                        Old Business

 a.   Board/Community Communications






                   b. Mid-Michigan Library Cooperative Report

Soules reported that state aid to libraries was slightly reduced for fiscal year 2010-2011.  A supplemental state aid payment has been appropriated to libraries to offset decreased state aid amounts. 


The Personnel Committee will begin the annual evaluation of the Cooperative Director.


 c.   Library Board Goals Committee Reports

No updates.  Committees continue to work on the goals.


IX.                        New Business

a.    Library Strategic Plan Review

Barnard gave an update on action items in the Strategic Plan.


Soules recognized the library’s dedicated and hard working staff.  Johnson added that all the action items were accomplished with fewer resources.


   X.                        Board Announcements

Johnson asked how staff was notified about the Taped Editions sweepstakes.  Barnard responded that our staff contact for ordering audiobooks received an e-mail from the company informing her of the sweepstakes. Phillips commented that she was pleased with the Midland Daily News pieces about the library winning the sweepstakes contest. 


XI.                        Adjournment

Brink moved to adjourn.  Burhans seconded.  Motion approved.  Meeting adjourned at

8:10 p.m.