Grace A. Dow Memorial Library

Library Board Minutes

Wednesday, November 20, 2002


PRESENT:       Melissa Barnard, Stu Bush, Eric Gardner (arrived at 7:25 p.m.), Cherie Hutter, Kathleen Mortensen, Judy Stein, Harvey Steinberg


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


I.          Call to Order


            The November 20, 2002 meeting of the Library Board was called to order at 7:05 p.m. by Hutter


II.         Acceptance of Minutes


            Mortensen motioned and Bush seconded to accept the minutes of the October 16, 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


            Barnard shared with the Board a full page picture/article on the upcoming Tellabration program scheduled for November 23rd at the library.  The library is co-sponsoring the event with the Midland Area Storytellers. 


            Several Board members commented that they saw the new Reference desk and love it.  The new desk makes the room look more open.  Barnard responded that we have received positive comments from the public.


            Barnard reported that we will be adding another adult nonfiction shelving range to alleviate crowding on shelves.  We will also be creating a car care corner behind the reference shelving.  Bush asked if there is any thought to expanding the library.  Barnard responded that duplication of formats is causing some of the problems and staff is evaluating the use of space.


            Barnard reported that circulation is continuing to rise.  Mortensen commented that the library is one of the real jewels of the city and believes it makes a difference with people deciding whether or not to move to Midland.


            The Battle of the Books kickoff was very successful.  The auditorium was filled to capacity.  Guest speaker Kate DiCamillo autographed copies of her books.  We had 100 copies of her books on hand and ran out.


            Hutter asked Barnard about the library’s participation in the Senior Expo.  McKane responded that the library’s booth was located across from where they were giving flu shots so many people stopped by.  The library’s new banner was very attractive.


            McKane distributed the library’s new welcome brochure.  The brochure is for new library card holders.  We will be distributing copies around the community.  Graphics staff member Doreen Dagenais designed the brochure.


VI.       Old Business


a.         Coffee Bar

            Barnard distributed the editorial and the “Roses to” column from the Midland Daily News.  Barnard met with Mike Shea of the Arnold Center to discuss what the library is looking for in a coffee bar.  Shea will do some cost estimates and get back with Barnard in December to discuss research they have done. 


            On a side note, Barnard was asked to write an article for the Library of Michigan newsletter about the challenges of starting a coffee service in a library.  Barnard was able to end her article on a positive note mentioning the Arnold Center’s interest in assisting the library in offering this service.


b.         Board “Question of the Month”

            Results of the September/October “Question of the Month” were distributed.  Hutter commented that it is clear people want author visits.  Barnard said the staff learned something new too – Socrates Café – is a small discussion group on philosophy, that people are interested in.  Palen added that there is a Midland Metaphysical Society, which has been in Midland for 30 years.  Book character visits ranked high too.  The National Library Week committee has seen these results and are looking into bringing some authors here.  Barnard is hopeful the library can work with Barnes & Noble in cooperative programming.


            Barnard reported that there have been few responses to the current “Question of the Month.”  We have received several comments from patrons asking to be notified before their material is actually due.  The library’s automated system will, in the future, be able to notify people with email addresses a couple of days before materials are due.


c.         Excellence Award

            Barnard had the opportunity to talk with the executive director of the Library of Michigan Foundation about the Excellence Award.  Our library was one of the five finalists that were forwarded to the state librarian, who makes the final decision.  Genesee District Library won the award for opening a library in a mall.  Barnard got the impression that one major thing happened that enhanced their service, instead of just an overview of the library.  We will receive a certificate of participation.  Hutter thanked the committee for their work on this, a first-class effort, and feels we certainly need to try again. 


            The Board requested that Barnard make the nomination and support letters available for the staff to view.  The library’s newsletter will include information on the award.  The newsletter plus a thank you letter will be sent to those who provided letters of support.


d.         Library Fines and Fees Ordinance

            Barnard reported that anytime we charge something to the public, it needs to be incorporated in our fines and fees ordinance.  We are reviewing the fines and fees ensuring that all charges are included and updated.


e.         Library Planning Process Committee

            The Board approved the proposed planning process and Gardner and Bush agreed to serve as Board representatives on the steering committee.  Barnard is to contact possible consultants to facilitate the community visioning and development of areas of focus for the library. 


f.          Township Representative Appointment

            Barnard reported that Ruth Knapp, recommended by the Township Association to fill JoAnn Wilkie’s term on the Library Board, has withdrawn her name from consideration.  Township Association president Sharron Such views this position as an important one and is anxious to get the vacancy filled.  Barnard reported that the person who is recommended by the Township Association will need to fill out an application and be interviewed by City Council.


VII.      New Business


            There was no new business.


VIII.     Board Comments


            Stein shared favorable comments of having a coffee bar in the library, as well as one very negative comment about using library funds to run a coffee bar.


IX.       Adjournment


            The meeting of the Library Board adjourned at 8:30 p.m.  The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, December 18, 2002 at 7 p.m. in the Boardroom.