Grace A. Dow Memorial Library

Library Board Minutes

Wednesday, September 18, 2002


PRESENT:   Melissa Barnard, Stu Bush, Eric Gardner, Cherie Hutter, Kathleen Mortensen, Judy Stein, JoAnn Wilkie


EXCUSED:   Harvey Steinberg


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


I.       Call to Order


         The September 18, 2002 meeting of the Library Board was called to order at 7 p.m. by Hutter.


II.   Acceptance of Minutes


         Mortensen motioned and Bush seconded to accept the minutes of the July 19, 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


         As requested at the July meeting, copies of the signed resolution of City Council accepting the Board’s annual report were distributed.


         In reference to providing lists of new books, Barnard reported that area libraries are now looking at new automation systems which would enable us to produce various reports in-house.  Down the road, we will be able to do the kinds of lists the board had suggested previously.  Hutter said that with that flexibility, we could add these lists to the website as well.


         Barnard reported that major changes have been made in the magazine room.  The magazine room is now self-serve and so far is working very well.  We have found that the use of the magazine room has changed and it is not necessary to have closed stacks.  The library had been staffing that room 71 hours per week.  Staff now checks the room periodically to see what needs to be reshelved.


         Barnard showed the board the plans for a new reference desk.  The intention is to create a warmer, friendlier approach to reference.  Patrons are looking for more involved answers and will now be able to sit down to have an interview with the librarian.  Installation is set to be done early November.


         The Friends of the Library book sale was a big success, taking in about $15,000, breaking a previous record in sales.  Hutter asked for any updates in general.  Barnard talked with the Friends Board president and there is no new information to report.  The Board thanked John Palen for his article in Midland Issues.


         McKane described a new program in Youth Services for the graduates of the library’s Brown Bag Book Club for 4th and 5th graders.  A group of seven enthusiastic 6th through 8th graders met.  The group will be known as the Saturday Morning Chapter Chats.


         The Senior Expo is coming to the Midland Mall on October 23rd, in which the library participates.  The graphics staff has been working on a banner to be used at events like this. 


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


         Regarding the comment about people parking in the handicapped spaces without proper plates or stickers, Barnard has verified that the police will come and ticket these people.  Barnard has also asked the maintenance staff to check the parking spaces periodically.


         Mortensen commented about the graphic novels suggestion; it was her son that wrote the suggestion.  Mortensen was pleased to say that her son promptly received a letter from Youth Services librarian Rebecca Hastings responding to his suggestion.  The library’s young adult collection of graphic novels will be located in the teen section.


         Hutter asked about the comment questioning why the library charges for videos and DVDs.  Barnard responded that libraries did not have the funds to get the collections started and videos were very expensive at that time.  Libraries now count on the revenue to maintain the collection.  Another consideration in charging was the competitiveness with local businesses.  Some libraries have phased out charging for videos but some have also stopped getting the latest releases.


         Stein asked about Bibliostat, a workshop that Barnard and McKane attended.  Barnard responded that it is a web-based program for library staff to use that provides the ability to compare your statistics to other libraries.


         Hutter asked about staff day.  Barnard gave an overview of the day’s events, held at Valley Plaza.


         Mortensen asked about the mat at the front door.  Barnard replied that we were unable to fix the rug; a new mat has been placed on order.


VI.    Old Business – The order of Old Business was changed.


         d.      Excellence Award

               Gardner distributed copies of the Board’s nomination letter to the Library of Michigan Foundation.  Stein reported that nine letters of support were received.  Of the nine, the committee selected four letters to accompany the Board’s nomination.  The Board also reviewed and edited a thank you letter to the community leaders who sent in support letters.  The deadline for nominations is September 30. 


               Barnard will be at MLA when the Excellence Award is presented.  Hopefully the Foundation will notify the winner ahead of time so someone from that library is there to accept the award.


         a.      Annual Report Presentation – Video

                  The video will be available for members to take home to view.


         b.      Coffee Bar

               Barnard reported on responses from various vendors and businesses.  Most thought coffee service in the library is a good idea but had concerns about noise, retaining dependable staff, and question the profitability for a vendor.  Several of those interviewed suggested that the library might want to subsidize a business as an incentive.  The Board was not favorable towards using public funding to support the operation of a coffee service privately owned.  Hutter would like to see us move ahead on this and appointed Stu Bush to work with Barnard.


         c.      Board “Question of the Month”

               After discussion, the Board decided to continue with the same question, with a few word revisions, through the month of October.


         e.      Library Fines and Fees Ordinance – No report


VII.   New Business


         Library Planning

         Barnard distributed copies of some of the planning studies that have been done at the library.  Barnard said every organization needs some kind of plan to give direction to the organization.  The last plan done by the library was in 1997; updates were made to the plan in 1999.  Both Barnard and Hutter have found that a five-year plan may be too long.  Barnard said it is important for the Board to be involved because they represent the community.


         After discussion, it was suggested that the library staff address four or five service areas.  The Board will review them and contribute the community’s perspective.  Barnard said an interim report from staff can be provided at the December meeting.


VIII.  Board Comments


         Mortensen explained about a community her friend is in that decided to read a certain book and meet to discuss it.  Barnard said a modified form of this was done with Homer Hickham’s book October Sky.  McKane said that “Community Reads” is a new trend in libraries.  The hardest part of doing this would be selecting the book.


         Stein shared a story of a friend with an eighth grader who visited another library in the area and commented that there was nothing to read (like there is in Midland).


         Hutter passed along a concern from one of her staff.  A piece of scrap paper that the library provides for jotting down reference information contained an obscenity.  Barnard responded that the library will be more careful in the future.


         Mortensen commented that she likes the Banned Books exhibit on the lower level.  The exhibit was done by Youth Services librarians Rebecca Hastings and Char Taber.  Gardner said that he told his students at SVSU to come in to see the exhibit.  Barnard reported that the Midland Daily News came in and took pictures of the display.


         Wilkie announced that this would be her last meeting as a member of the Library Board.  She believes that Ruth Knapp from Greendale Township will be taking her place.  The Board thanked JoAnn for her many years of service to the Library Board.


         Mortensen thanked the library for their cooperation with the Midland Public Schools.  Mortensen had asked for a book for one of her students and Rebecca Hastings was very helpful.


IX.   Adjournment


         The meeting of the Library Board adjourned at 8:55 p.m.  The next meeting will be Wednesday, October 16, 2002 at 7 p.m. in the Boardroom.