Grace A. Dow Memorial Library

Library Board Meeting

Wednesday, January 16, 2002


PRESENT:       Melissa Barnard, Sandra Blank, Stu Bush, Cherie Hutter, Judy Stein, and Harvey Steinberg


ALSO PRESENT:    Virginia McKane, City Council Member Mary Currie, and Kathie Marchlewski, Midland Daily News


EXCUSED:      Kathleen Mortensen and JoAnn Wilkie


I.          Call to Order


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


II.         Acceptance of Minutes


            Minutes of the December 19, 2001 meeting were approved as submitted.  Steinberg motioned and Bush seconded to accept the minutes.


III.       Additions or Changes to the Agenda


            There were no additions or changes to the agenda.


IV.       Public Comments


            There were no public comments.


V.        Director’s Report


            Barnard reported that the library sponsored cram night at the library, Sunday evening, January 13.  About 60 students came to study and eat pizza.


            Battle of the Books activities picked up again in January.  The Battle Briefing was held and a mock battle was done.  Team registration deadline is tonight.


            Barnard said staff is very excited about the 18% increase in circulation over the same period last year.  The library did offer a holiday special of 25¢ for videos and a significant number of videos were checked out.


            Regarding some of the compliments and concerns, the library does have a CD player.  Barnard reported that a while back it had been stolen and when we got it back, there were parts missing.  MCTV staff were able to fix it and now the player is back in service. 


            Another item brought up for discussion was the new shelving and the negative comments we are getting about it.  Fortunately, the shelving is very flexible and we have changed the layout again. 


            Regarding the suggestion for gift certificates, Barnard responded that we do have coupons and we will let people know they are available to purchase.


            All were surprised with the comments about the checkout staff.  Steinberg suggested perhaps they were people arguing about fines, etc. with the staff there.


VI.       Old Business


a.         Board Manual Materials: Friends of the Library

            Barnard reported that the Friends of the Library are now a nonprofit 501c3 organization.  Last reported membership was around 300.  Activities center around three book sales per year.  Half of the books for the sales are from withdrawn library items and half are from donations.  The money raised from the sales is given to the library for special projects.  This year, the Friends have committed to donating $15,000 towards the following:  Writers Conference keynote speaker, summer reading program, golf pencils, Battle of the Books, National Library Week, exterior benches, and a holiday breakfast for the staff.  The Friends have paid for half the fee for the Chapter-A-Day book club.  In addition, the Friends have committed to giving $250 every year in memory of Rosemarie Byers and $1,000 every year in memory of Edwin and Helen Blake.  The Blake’s are deceased Friends members who donated $300,000 to the Friends organization.


            Barnard referred to the Friends website that is linked to the library’s site.  The Friends have items they call “treasures” and offer them for sale on their web site.  They also offer our Book Express books for sale.  Bonnie Lowes is the president of the Friends.


Steinberg mentioned the Beanie Baby sales of a couple of years ago.  The sale of Beanie Babies was very profitable for the Friends.  The profits from this have been used to purchase books for every kindergartner in Midland.


b.         Coffee Bar

            A listing of the latest comments about the coffee bar was distributed and discussed.  Hutter is overwhelmed that so many people responded to the question.  It seems the most controversial issue is where the coffee bar would be placed.  Steinberg noted that a lot of the negative responses were concerned with the mess that could be made.  Blank commented that there are a lot of built-in assumptions in the “yes” responses.  Bush said the “no” responses are quite well thought out and bring up some very good issues but most of the “no” response issues can be dealt with.  The board encouraged Barnard to go forward and take the next steps as necessary.  Barnard will talk with key people in the City for assistance in feasibility, etc.  Barnard said at some point, the board will need to make a recommendation to City Council.  A question on what information that the City Council needed to consider the recommendation was directed to Currie.  She indicated that more than the patron comments were needed.  Bush asked if the library could contact other libraries that have coffee shops to get ideas of where it could be located.  The question will remain available for public comment through the end of January.


c.         Board “Question of the Month”

            Hutter distributed a list that she had asked Barnard to prepare with input from staff on possible “Questions of the Month.”  After much discussion, the board agreed that the February question will be “What could the library do to make your computer experience more successful?”


d.         TeleCirc Review

            Barnard gave the board an overview of what TeleCirc is and what it does.  TeleCirc is a telephone notification system.  The library is in the process of testing the dial-out feature of first notice overdues and holds.  The call will be made seven days after the book is due; Barnard said we may shorten that time.  The system will let patrons confirm or cancel holds.  Patrons can also renew overdue material as long as there is no hold on the item.  If the patron is not at home to receive the call, the system will leave a message and a telephone number to call.  This is a very cost-effective way of notifying patrons of their overdues.  Barnard said we hope to get the feature that allows the patron to give the correct pronunciation of their name.  If the patron has no answering machine, our written report will tell us it was not successful in making a call and will generate a mail overdue.  Second notices will continue to be mailed.  Barnard asked the board to participate in the testing of the system.  Barnard distributed a rough draft of bookmarks that will be distributed to the public and asked for the board’s input.


VII.      New Business


            The board viewed the video “Basic Skills for Library Trustees.”  Hutter made two suggestions based on information presented on the video:  Evaluate the board meetings annually and review the ordinance annually.


VIII.     Board Comments


            Stein commented that she has tried the Chapter-A-Day book club and thinks it is great.  Barnard said the graphics staff will be making up some posters and flyers and we’ll feature the service in our next newsletter.


            Hutter had a conversation with a library employee about using the receipts generated by the checkout desk and allowing patrons to continue stamping their books.  Barnard said the library has set this issue aside because of TeleCirc, which is an important enhancement to our services.


            McKane reminded the board of upcoming events happening at the library.


            Currie commented to the Board that they are doing a good job.


The meeting of the Library Board adjourned at 9:05 p.m.  The next meeting will be Wednesday, February 20, 2002 at 7 p.m. in the Library Boardroom.