Grace A. Dow Memorial Library

Library Board Minutes

Wednesday, October 16, 2002


PRESENT:       Melissa Barnard, Stu Bush, Eric Gardner, Cherie Hutter, Kathleen Mortensen, Judy Stein, Harvey Steinberg


ALSO PRESENT:   Assistant Director Virginia McKane and John Palen, Midland Issues


I.          Call to Order


            The October 16, 2002 meeting of the Library Board was called to order at 7 p.m. by Hutter.


II.         Acceptance of Minutes


            Bush motioned and Steinberg seconded to accept the minutes of the September 18, 2002 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


            There were no public comments.


V.        Director’s Report


            The Board discussed the Letter to the Editor in the Midland Daily News from John Rapanos in response to our display of banned books.  Barnard reported that the library does own several copies of Merchant of Venice.  The Board requested that Barnard notify Rapanos that the library has the title in the collection.


            Barnard reported that the Friends of the Library will be moving their office back to the library in November.  The Friends feel the library is the best place to have their office, hook up their computers, and keep their files.  The Friends will share the office in Youth Services that used to be the Youth Services Coordinator’s office. 


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


            The Board discussed the five patron comments concerning the library’s collection.  All the comments were very similar in their complaints; unfortunately, no one left their name so we were unable to address their concerns personally.


            Regarding the “dirty” book comment, McKane is sure the comment was concerning dirty books that are old and not clean to the touch because of heavy use.  Those titles are also out of print and can’t be replaced.


            McKane explained how the baby story time sessions are scheduled.  In the past, Youth Services offered six-week sessions.  This year, they are offering three weeks now and three weeks again in November.  Again, the patron making the comment did not leave their name so we could not respond to the concern of the shorter sessions.  Hutter commented that she is pleased, though, that people take the time to fill these forms out.


            The comment about not finding minutes of the Barstow Airport Advisory Board was from John Palen.  Barnard reported that Katherine Redwine was addressing the issue.  The library is the only place where you can get all board and commission minutes.  Barnard said Palen’s comment certainly alerted us to keep better track of them.  Palen responded that filing of the major boards has been exemplary.  Gardner asked if all boards put minutes on their websites.  Barnard responded that not all department have a website.  MCTV is currently working on their website. 


            Mortensen asked about the return drop box drive-up question.  Barnard replied that the staff has discussed this.  The problem with an outside drop box is the large number of books that get returned and the frequency of emptying that would be required.  Gardner asked if we have explored the possibility of adding more five-minute parking spaces.  Barnard replied that we are getting more frequent complaints of not enough parking for patrons coming into the library.


            Barnard gave further details on the network laser printer that was set up as a test for the public computers recommended by the library’s technology committee.  With the desk jet printers, we go through many color cartridges which are expensive.  The laser printer produces a better copy and is faster than the desk jets.  We are trying to find better ways to serve our patrons but also be more economical.


VI.       Old Business


a.         Coffee Bar

            Barnard informed the Board that she met with Martin Finney from the Arnold Center about a possible partnership with the Arnold Center to set up a coffee bar in the library.  The Arnold Center is interested in pursuing this as part of employment opportunities for their clients.  They understand that the library is not in a position to purchase all the equipment and they are familiar with the appropriate grant sources.  The Arnold Center staff understands that we would be willing to start with a cart but want to be able to provide a variety of coffees.  The Board is favorable to this.  Gardner commented that with a partnership that starts small and builds up, it gives us choices and would also be a good addition for the community.


b.         Question of the Month – November/December

            After discussion, the Board agreed to ask patrons if they found the material or information that were looking for and to explain.


c.         Excellence Award

            Copies of the Excellence Award nomination that was sent to the Library of Michigan Foundation were distributed.  After the announcement of the winner is made, the Board will send thank you notes to those that sent in letters of nomination.


d.         Fines and Fees Ordinance – No report


e.         Library Planning Process

            Hutter asked for two volunteers from the Board to work with the library staff on the planning process.  Stu Bush and Eric Gardner volunteered.  Hutter will attend meetings as needed.


VII.      New Business


            Township Representative Appointment

            Barnard reported that a letter of resignation from JoAnn Wilkie has been sent to City Council.  Barnard spoke with the Township Association chair about sending a letter of recommendation to City Council of who could take Wilkie’s place.  The appointment by City Council would fill the remainder of Wilkie’s term, which goes through 2004.


VIII.     Board Comments


            Gardner asked about ordering extra copies of books that are presented at library programs.  Barnard discussed the hold process and acquiring additional copies of titles.  The library has been trying to be more proactive in getting people to place holds by giving them hold coupons at the programs and book discussions.  Steinberg asked if there is any other way to tally interest without placing holds.  Barnard replied that the system identifies holds for the entire consortium.  New books can only be placed on hold at the owning library.  Staff can determine how many holds are for Midland only.  The new systems that we are looking at can be customized to our own library needs.


            Barnard reported that we are still expecting delivery and installation of the new reference desk as scheduled.


IX.       Adjournment


            The meeting of the Library Board adjourned at 8:15 p.m.  The next meeting will be Wednesday, November 20, 2002 at 7 p.m. in the Boardroom.