Grace A. Dow Memorial Library

Library Board Meeting

Wednesday, February 20, 2002


PRESENT:     Melissa Barnard, Sandra Blank, Stu Bush, Cherie Hutter, Kathleen Mortensen, Judy Stein, Harvey Steinberg, JoAnn Wilkie


ALSO PRESENT:  Kathie Marchlewski, Midland Daily News and Virginia McKane


I.        Call to Order


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


II.       Acceptance of Minutes


          A correction was made by Hutter to the January 16, 2002 minutes under Board Comments.  Hutter had a conversation with a library employee about receipts, not with one of her employees.  Bush moved and Blank seconded to accept the minutes as amended.


III.     Additions or Changes to the Agenda


          Under New Business, Hutter added that she would like to discuss a comment she received from a patron.


IV.     Public Comments


          There were no public comments.


V.      Director’s Report


          Barnard informed the Board about the City of Midland electronic newsletter which is available for people to subscribe to through the City’s website.  The newsletter comes out every Friday and gives a summary of what is happening in the City.


          Barnard reported that the library will provide a rotating book collection at the Midland Community Center’s new Barstow-Shipps Over-50 Center.  The grand opening for the Center will be held in May.


          Barnard gave an update on the Battle of the Books program.


          Bush commented that the library has a very effective outreach program, as he noticed from the written director’s report.  Barnard replied that it is very important for the library to be out in the community.


Barnard reported that the library hopes to have magazines barcoded by March to make them available for checkout.  We believe people will be excited to have this new service.


          The following discussions relate to the written comments from patrons:


          Steinberg thinks it is very important for the library to provide foreign films.


          Regarding the shelving unit by the copier in the Midland Room, staff took the shelf down to use in another location, leaving a table by the copier.  We knew people put their papers on the shelf but were unaware that the exhaust from the copier would blow papers from the table.


          Regarding the TV comment, Barnard believes the comment was written after Hometown News was here taping for one of their segments.


          Putting books under separate word headings instead of using the Dewey Decimal System is done by bookstores and works for them but the library will stay with Dewey.


VI.     Old Business


          a.       Coffee Bar

                    Barnard reported that a letter has been submitted to the City Planning Department requesting verification that a coffee bar in the library is within City rules and regulations.


                    After discussion, the Board agreed that a copy of all the comments received about the coffee bar should be made available to the public.  In place of the March question, the comments on the coffee bar will be available on the first floor for the public to read.


          b.       February Question

                    The Board discussed comments received to date on the question of what the library can do to make patron’s computer experience more successful.  Most of the comments included extending the time allowed on the Internet and having computer classes.  Barnard said there is a core group of people that want to stay on the computers longer than the 60 minutes allowed; however, the majority of our users do not use the computers for more than 30 minutes.    We are monitoring to see if we can give people more than an hour.  It is very difficult to determine how much time is enough time so that a lot of people can use the machines; weekends are extremely busy.  Three additional computers are being added to the main floor.  The current timing program is set at one hour but we could use a guest card to give people additional time, if needed.  Barnard will take the information gathered tonight to the library’s technology team.


                    The Board also discussed computer labs.  All libraries have the same issue – how much time people get and how much help they get.  Training and computer labs obviously take extra staff but they still don’t take the place of the computers on the floor.  This is not a new problem for libraries. 


                    Barnard reported that the library is looking at offering word processing; we have had so many requests for it.  Our feeling is most people know how to use Word, so would not need much assistance.   


                    Hutter said that if the board is going to ask the public questions, then the board needs to respond to the public’s answers.  In addition to listing the comments received for the question, we might include how many computers the library has, the amount of usage the computers get, the busiest times on the computers, etc.


VII.    New Business


          a.       Reporting Committee

                    Blank reported that the Reporting Committee came up with a preliminary idea for a report to City Council.  The report would have three sections:  executive summary (compiled by Hutter), activities and issues (compiled by Blank and Stein), and looking forward (compiled by Bush, with assistance from Barnard).  The committee plans on presenting a draft at the March meeting.


          b.       Library Bill of Rights, Freedom to Read Statement, Freedom to View Statement

                    Barnard reported that many collection development policies include the Library Bill of Rights as an integral part of the policy.  They are pretty standard statements which are philosophies that many libraries live by.  Part of the Freedom to Read Statement is included in our policy.  Some libraries make the entire Freedom to Read Statement part of their policy.  The Freedom to View Statement is not that old.  This library did not include it in their last policy but is something to be considered.


VIII.   Board Comments


          Hutter distributed copies of an email she received from the mother of an 18 year-old, whose son was denied a library card at closing time.  Circumstances of the night were discussed.  After much discussion, the Board came up with an idea to have a sign positioned as people enter the library that says something like “New to the Library?  Stop by the Checkout Desk” so new patrons can get their library card before finding material to check out.


          Mortensen works at Adams School, where a Battle of the Books team had not registered on time.  The team was requesting that the library make an exception.  Mortensen commented that this was a difficult situation and respected the staff’s decision.


          Stein brought up the subject of  the State Librarian’s Excellence Award.  Three to five letters of support must accompany nomination.  Stein encouraged the Board to think of people who could be contacted to write letters on the library’s behalf.


          Stein reported that Red Cross training now certifies attendees to use defibrillators.  Larger facilities have these units in case of emergency but is quite expensive.  Barnard responded that there are organizations that have them available.  The staff at the library has been instructed to call 9-1-1 in emergencies.  Barnard will inquire about the use of defibrillators in City buildings.


          Blank shared that her book club has joined the Chapter-A-Day Online Book Club; it helps in selecting books to read.  The next issue of The Library Connection will feature this service.  In addition, Kathy Marchlewski will do an article for the Midland Daily News.


          Wilkie and her grandchildren have had a terrific time with the programs Youth Services has been offering.


          Barnard mentioned that the library received no applications for the part-time Youth Services librarian position.  Therefore, we will be converting the position to an associate librarian position, which requires a Bachelor of Arts degree, and hopefully will be able to fill it with these applicants.


The meeting of the Library Board adjourned at 8:35 p.m.  The next meeting will be Wednesday, March 20, 2002 at 7 p.m. in the Library Boardroom.