Grace A. Dow Memorial Library

Library Board Minutes

Wednesday, February 19, 2003


PRESENT:    Melissa Barnard, Stu Bush, Eric Gardner, Cherie Hutter, Kathleen Mortensen (arrived at 7:40 p.m.), Judy Stein, Harvey Steinberg


ALSO PRESENT:    Virginia McKane, Assistant Director; John Palen, editor of Midland Issues; Kathie Marchlewski of the Midland Daily News; Coleen Fulks; Debbie (last name not provided)


I.       Call to Order


         The February 19, 2003 meeting of the Library Board was called to order at 7:05 p.m. by Hutter.


II.      Acceptance of Minutes


         Steinberg motioned and Bush seconded to accept the minutes of the January 15, 2003 meeting as submitted.  Motion carried.


III.    Additions or Changes to the Agenda


         There were no additions or changes made to the agenda.


IV.    Public Comments


         Coleen Fulks addressed the board about her marketing suggestions via Local Cable Access.  Her suggestions include:  TV story time, story time for “at-home” adults, TV version of “Battle of the Books,” and a “magazine” type program highlighting services, collections, and the Board.


         Debbie expressed interest in observing the Board meeting to better understand the library.  She and her daughter use the library frequently.


V.     Director’s Report


         Barnard reported that the mother/daughter tea was a sellout.  A very nice article was written by Kathie Marchlewski of the Midland Daily News.  Joyce Fisher and Virginia McKane came up with marvelous arrangements and the Mezzanine looked lovely.  Hutter mentioned that another tea will be held during National Library Week in April.


         Regarding the article “An open book,” by Patti Darnell of the Midland Daily News, Barnard wants to make sure the board is aware of why the Michicard is not accepted here.  We have had some calls from people not realizing they have lost their borrowing privileges when they move to townships that do not contract for library services.  The annual cost to townships is based on a formula which involves the township’s SEV and a percentage of the library’s operating expenses.


         Barnard reported that the library has done a lot of advertising lately, which has resulted in good attendance at library programs.


         Barnard reported that the local history and genealogy collection will be moved to the former magazine room. 


         McKane shared drawings of the new Youth Services desk.  In addition to the design having curves and squares to show the mathematical concepts of Alden Dow, it will also be very colorful.  Plans include an operating train to run along the top, to show the “playful” side of Alden Dow.  The new desk should be installed by the end of June.


         The following discussions relate to the written director’s report and comments received from patrons:


         Hutter said she is pleased to see the library statistics continually going up.  Barnard said that the new web page has made placing holds much easier.


         Stein asked about “Book Page.”  Barnard replied that it is in the form of newsprint, comes out once a month, and reviews new books.  They are provided to the public at no charge and are located next to the New and Notable display.


VI.    Old Business


a.      Coffee Bar

         Barnard reported that she had a meeting with City finance people and Mike Shea at which the coffee bar funding and expenses were discussed.  Since we are opening up space in the Midland Room, that location will be available for the coffee bar. 


b.      Board Question of the Month

         Hutter commented that she feels the board has struggled to come up with questions lately and responses from the public have been slim.  The Board proceeded to brainstorm.  Some ideas include doing quick survey questions, have checkboxes available, and instead of asking for information, do a “did you know,” listing facts and figures of interest on the library website.  Hutter asked the Board to continue thinking of ideas. 


c.      Library Planning Process

         Gardner reported that the Library Planning Committee had a very productive first meeting.  The library staff laid some good groundwork.  The committee did a good deal of brainstorming.  Bush added that the committee is working with the SWAT analysis and a pretty aggressive schedule is set.


d.      Township Vacancy

         Barnard reported that a letter was sent to Sharon Such, President of the Township Association, offering our assistance in filling the vacancy.  Barnard later found out that Such is no longer the president of the Association.  Barnard has not been able to reach the new president to determine the status of their recommendation.


e.      Annual Report Committee

         There was no report from the committee as they have not yet met.


VII.   New Business


a.      Library Online Catalog Demonstration

         Using a laptop and projector, Barnard gave a demonstration of the library’s new online catalog.


b.      Library of Michigan Quality Measures

         Due to the late hour, this item was postponed until the March meeting.


c.      Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act

Due to the late hour, this item was postponed until the March meeting.


VIII.  Board Comments


         Barnard mentioned that terms for Stu Bush and Cherie Hutter expire the end of June, 2003.  Both members have indicated they wish to remain on the Board.  Barnard will inform the City Manager’s office.


         Gardner brought up a concern he received from two different parents concerning the parents of Battle of the Books teams asking if there are ways the staff can calm the parents. 


IX.    Adjournment


         Bush moved and Steinberg seconded to adjourn the meeting.  The meeting of the Library Board adjourned at 9 p.m.  The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 19, 2003 at 7 p.m. in the Boardroom.


Fulks addressed the Board with her marketing suggestions for the library utilizing MCTV.  Her written ideas and suggestions were distributed and discussed. 


Fulks said that one of the new governor’s top priorities is children’s education.  A goal she has is for every child be read to for half an hour every day.  Fulks asked the Board what the library is going to do to address this challenge.  McKane responded that the library currently has story times for kids of all ages.  There are stories for babies, toddlers, circle time for 2-3 year olds, as well as listeners story time for ages 3-5.  The library also has a partnership with Success by 6 Playgroup, designed for ages 0-5.  Fulks is concerned that the community does not know about these programs.


Fulks is concerned that the library should have a plan, specifically for marketing.  She feels the library is lacking in its marketing on local cable TV.  Fulks is proposing for librarians to read to children through the television, by taping their story times.  Barnard responded that because of staffing issues, this is not a direction we plan to go in.  The library does use the message board on MCTV.   In addition, the stories the librarians use are copyrighted.  Bush added that the library has been on Delta College television, as well as Hometown News for various programs.  Gardner said that people have been researching child education and that process is much more complex.  If the library were to move in that direction, it would require certain staff training.  Gardner suggested that we get data from MCTV on how many people watch different programs.


Other concerns, such as story times for at-home adults, televising the battle of the books, and keeping the public informed about staff, activities, changes in policies, were also discussed.  Fulks is concerned that the library is missing a lot of people.  Barnard responded that in addition to have the library’s newsletter available here, it is also mailed to over 3,400 interested people, as well as to each of the local schools.