Grace A. Dow Memorial Library

Library Board Meeting

Wednesday, May 15, 2002


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


ALSO PRESENT:     Eric Gardner, assistant director Virginia McKane, and John Palen, Midland Issues


I.          Call to Order


            The May 15, 2002 meeting of the Library Board was called to order at 7:02 p.m. by Hutter.


II.         Acceptance of Minutes


            Minutes of the April 17, 2002 meeting were approved as submitted.  Bush moved and Steinberg seconded to accept the minutes.


III.       Additions or Changes to the Agenda


            There were no additions or changes.


IV.       Public Comments


            There were no public comments.


V.        Director’s Report


            Regarding the phone notification system, Barnard reported that we just received a negative comment from a patron wanting everyone to be given a choice between phone notification and written notice of holds and overdue notices.  Barnard said we work with patrons on a case by case basis on problems encountered.  Barnard will contact the patron to discuss the phone notification system.


            Barnard distributed information from the Friends of the Library annual meeting, which was held on Sunday, May 12, Mother’s Day.  Barnard said it was a very frustrating meeting and reported that the Friends had been having problems getting people to fill their board seats.  The new Friends board did get voted in at the annual meeting but no one volunteered to coordinate the book sale, which has been postponed indefinitely.  The former book sale chair is now the treasurer; all others are new to the board. 


In addition, under the leadership of Bonnie Lowes, the former Friends board transferred the Edwin and Helen Blake gift to a foundation without the membership’s knowledge.  Many Friends members present at the meeting knew the Blakes and were very upset with this new foundation. The new Friends board plans to call an open communications meeting and invite the board members of the new foundation.  Mortensen mentioned that she served on the Friends board for two years and was aware of conflicts. 


Barnard reported that the Friend’s financial report shows a balance of over $100,000.  Barnard will be working with the new Friends board and reviewing library project requests with them for 2002/2003.  Barnard also reported that a few months ago, the Friends moved their corporate offices out of the library, to rental space on Eastman.


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


Stein inquired about the workshop on lapsits that Youth Services librarian Monica Anderson attended.  McKane responded that lapsits are programs designed for pre-walkers and walkers with the idea to get very young children together with books, learning rhymes, etc.


Regarding the patron comment about the evergreens in the cement planters, Hutter assumed that Dow Gardens took care of our planters.  Barnard responded that we do on occasion consult with Dow Gardens but maintain the grounds ourselves.


Mortensen said she was pleased to see such a nice letter about National Library Week.  Mortensen also said it was nice to have Bookmark come to the schools again.


VI.       Old Business


            a.         Coffee Bar

            Barnard reported that she has been contacting people to find out what steps need to be taken next.  Barnard has talked with the City Purchasing Agent about how we may want the bid to be written up.  A recommendation needs to be sent to City Council allowing the Library Board to move forward on a coffee bar.  The board will plan on submitting a recommendation to Council for their June 24 meeting.  Hutter asked if someone would be willing to chair a coffee bar committee.  Mortensen will chair the committee with the help of Bush and Steinberg.


            Hutter had been corresponding with the former library director who believed there had been drawings done of a new coffee bar at the library.  Hutter contacted Dow Howell Gilmore but they were unable to find any drawings.  Bush will check with people he knows at Three Rivers Construction, the company that completed the library’s renovation project.


b.         Board “Question of the Month”

            Barnard distributed copies of the responses received to date.  Because of the low number of responses, Barnard suggested that we put the question on our website as well as place questionnaires at the computer stations.  The board agreed to do this through the month of June.


            Hutter commented that she has looked up books in the catalog and it doesn’t indicate that Midland has that book on order but it shows other libraries as having that book on order.  Barnard responded that because we put popular books on standing order, they come automatically and don’t show up in the catalog as being on order.


c.         Reporting Committee

            Blank will contact the Mayor to say the Library Board would like to present their annual report at the June 24 City Council meeting.  If the date is OK, Barnard will follow through with the City Manager’s office.  The report will be ready for final approval of the Library Board at their June 19 meeting.


d.         Excellence Award

            Barnard reported that the material for the Excellence Award will be mailed this summer from the Library of Michigan.  Barnard was told that the criteria for the award is just about the same as last year, with only some minor changes.  Stein distributed a timeline for getting material together.


e.         Materials Selection Policy

            Barnard reported that the policy has been looked at and condensed by the staff and reviewed by the City Attorney.  After reviewing the changes of the draft policy, the board agreed to recommend the policy to City Council for approval.


VII.      New Business


a.         New Board Member

            New Library Board member Eric Gardner will begin his position July 1.  Gardner has already been contacted by the City Attorney’s office about the Open Meetings Act, Freedom of Information Act, and the City’s Ethics Ordinance.


b.         Library Fines and Fees Ordinance

            Barnard informed the board that there are some changes that need to be made to the Library Fines and Fees Ordinance.  Anything the library charges to the public must be listed in the City Ordinance.  Barnard reviewed some of the changes being proposed.  We are checking with other facilities to see what they are charging for equipment.  Barnard will have an update at the next meeting.


c.         Word Processing for Patrons

            Barnard reported that the library currently does not offer word processing on our computers.  We are beginning to talk about making word processing available to patrons.  We are planning to buy a couple computers with only word processing available.  Staff agrees that there should be a charge to use these computers; this service would be similar to the typewriters we now have available.  Stein suggested that there be a charge for paper as well as for the use of the computers.  Barnard said the staff is working on figuring out how people could self schedule time on the computers.  We don’t want to get into taking reservations and it would be hard to limit the time because of each individual’s abilities.  The Youth Services staff gets a lot of requests for word processing.  Guidelines would have to be written up for users.  Barnard should have more to report at the next meeting.


VIII.     Board Comments


            Stein said she likes the sign that was put up as you come into the library about having a library card.


The meeting of the Library Board adjourned at 9 p.m.  The next meeting will be Wednesday, June 19, 2002 at 7 p.m. in the Boardroom.