Grace A. Dow Memorial Library

Library Board Minutes

Wednesday, April 16, 2003


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


EXCUSED:     Eric Gardner


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


I.          Call to Order


            The April 16, 2003 meeting of the Library Board was called to order at 7 p.m. by Hutter.


II.         Acceptance of Minutes


            The minutes of the March 19, 2003 meeting were accepted as submitted.


III.       Additions and 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 distributed copies of ShelfLife, the library’s newest publication.  The book review newsletter, compiled by the Adult Services staff, will be published four times per year.  Barnard said it is an exciting project for the staff and it will highlight little known authors in our fiction collection.


            Barnard also distributed copies of the library’s Midland Writer’s Conference brochure.  The Conference, in its 24th year, will be held Saturday, June 14.  The keynote speaker will be Michael Beschloss, author of The Conquerors: Roosevelt, Truman and the Destruction of Hitler’s Germany, 1941-1945. 


            Barnard reported that she has received many compliments from patrons about last week’s National Library Week programs.  More information about attendance will be available at next month’s meeting.  Hutter expressed her thanks to the staff for another year of fine programming.


            Hutter commented that she was pleased to hear Mark Athey received the employee of the year award, as he is a most accommodating and delightful person.


            McKane reported that James Tobin will be here Tuesday, May 20.  Tobin will present his latest book titled To Conquer the Air: The Wright Brothers and the Great Race for Flight.


            McKane also updated the Board on some changes to the train for the Youth Services area.  The track/shelf will run along the soffit above the nonfiction books on Plexiglas shelves.  Children will be able to see the train underneath as it goes around.


            The following discussions relate to comments from patrons:


            Regarding the comment concerning the security issue and the inability to clear cookies from the internet computers, Barnard responded that staff is aware of the problem and are working on finding software to take care of this.


            Regarding the recommendation to put up “No Standing, No Stopping.  Fire Lane” signs near the entrance of the library, Barnard said she has talked with the fire chief and someone from the fire department will be contacted about signage requirements. 


            In response to the request for a CD player downstairs, Barnard replied that we have had one in the audiovisual room for quite some time.  Unfortunately, the patron didn’t see the sign or ask a staff person.


            Regarding the comment that library employees should park away from the front door, Barnard responded that the library staff has a separate parking lot off Eastman and do not park in the main parking lot.  Barnard also said that the library’s lounge and auditorium are available for rent before the library opens to the public.  The City Human Resources department also uses the lounge for testing before the library opens.  The patron making the comment did not leave their name or telephone number.


VI.       Old Business


            a.   Coffee Bar

                  Barnard reported that the coffee bar item was on the consent agenda for the City Council meeting Monday night.  City Council is supportive of the idea to pursue a coffee bar and has directed staff to develop a proposed agreement with the Arnold Center and seek outside funding.  The front half of the Midland Room is proposed to house the coffee bar.  Barnard will be meeting with Mike Shea to work on funding opportunities. 


            b.   Board “Question of the Month” – February/March Results

                  Results of the February/March question were distributed and discussed.  The question “Where do you get your information about the library?” generated 13 responses.


            c.   Board/Community Communication


                  The Board discussed different ways to communicate to the public and get input as well.  Information nuggets such as “did you know” is a possibility as well as attempting to do something interactive on the website.


                  Barnard shared a suggestion made by a staff member that each board member take an issue of the Library Connection newsletter and write a guest column of their own from the board’s standpoint.  Hutter will supply an article for the July/August 2003 issue.


                  DuFort reported that township residents often ask what they are getting with the money the townships pay for library service.  DuFort suggested that copies of the library’s newsletter be sent to each township clerk and supervisor.  Palen commented that the Library Connection is a very attractive newsletter; however, parts of it are hard to read.  Palen will give Barnard a few names of people who could help with critiquing the newsletter.   


            d.   Library Planning Process

                  There was no report.


            e.   Annual Report Committee

                  There was no report.


VII.      New Business


            a.   Library of Michigan Quality Standards

                  Updated copies of the standards were distributed.  A statewide committee came up with essential, enhanced, and excellent measures.  Within each measure, there are core and elective measures.  These measures are currently not tied to state aid.  The committee is asking public libraries across the state for their input.  Barnard said the library supervisors have been given the documents to look over and encourages the Board to look them over too.


            b.   Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA)

                  Although this Act has not been introduced in Michigan, Barnard wanted the Board to be aware of it.  The Act seeks to create a unified approach to licensing software and information.  Fair use, reproductions for classroom use, preservation, and interlibrary loan may be adversely affected by this Act.


            c.   Freedom to Read Protection Act

                  This Act, introduced by Rep. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, is designed to exempt libraries and booksellers from provisions of the USA Patriot Act that allow the federal government to search their records without a traditional search warrant.


VIII.     Board Comments


            Hutter was pleased to see the Friends of the Library issue resolved and thanked Palen for his article in Midland Issues reporting on this.


            Hutter shared with the Board a letter she and Barnard received from a mother with concerns about the Battle of the Books.  The patron is concerned about the lack of relevant discussion on the books selected and the competitive nature of Battle.  Hutter read Barnard’s response that was sent to the parent.


            Stein has heard many positive comments from adult friends, as well as her 16-year-old daughter and her friends, that they are excited about the coffee shop.


            Mortensen questioned the difference between video sets packaged together or separate and the price of checking each out.  Barnard will look into this.


            DuFort said that the townships would like to get a breakdown of usage, not just the number of cards issued per township.  DuFort reported that the townships produce a newsletter a few times each year and would like to get some input from Barnard to include in the newsletter.  DuFort also invited Barnard to speak to the Township Association to share some of the services that are offered.


IX.                                                        Adjournment


            The meeting of the Library Board adjourned at 8:45 p.m.  The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, May 21, 2003 at 7 p.m. in the Boardroom.