Birmingham Public Library Board Minutes
January 15, 2009
Central Library Boardroom
Meeting Called By
Gwendolyn B. Welch, President
Type of Meeting
Executive Board Meeting
Trustees: Gwendolyn B. Welch, President; Nell Allen, Vice-President; Judge Shanta' Craig-Owens, Parliamentarian
Call To Order
- Meeting called to order by President Gwendolyn B. Welch.
- Mrs. Welch noted that the mission of the Birmingham Public Library is to provide the highest quality library service to our citizens for lifelong learning, cultural enrichment, and enjoyment.
- The invocation was given by Roderick Zeigler, a BPL staff member in the maintenance department for sixteen years. Mrs. Allen presented Mr. Zeigler with a certificate of appreciation for his service to the library board.
- A motion was made by Mrs. Allen and seconded by Mrs. Fincher to approve the agenda.
- A motion was made by Mrs. Adams and seconded by Mrs. Fincher to approve the minutes.
- A motion was made by Mrs. Allen and seconded by Mrs. Sims to approve consent agenda.
Interim Director's Report
- The Library will be closed on January 20, 2009 in observance of the presidential inauguration. The Benjamin Franklin program was scheduled for January 20, 2009 and will be rescheduled for Tuesday, January 27, 2009 at 6:30 p.m.
- A joint branch and department head retreat is scheduled for January 21, 2009 at Lawson State Community College. Mr. Tom Gossom is slated to address attendees.
On February 3, 2009, at 6:00 p.m., BPL at Night will host a showing of Traces of the Trade, a documentary film. The panel discussion to follow will also address the related book, Inheriting the Trade.
- The library received $500 from The Dora Stern Rosen Fund, $500 from the Literacy Council, and a private donation in the amount of $99.90. The total for these donations is $1,099.90.
ADA accountability modifications are being planned for the crosswalk at Central Library. Charles Williams & Son, architects, are to address the sloping incline issue.
- Mrs. Allen inquired as to whether the Pratt City branch roof issues had been addressed.
- Mrs. Blalock stated that the issue is not the roof, but the flashings. Repairs of this nature fall under the auspices of the City of Birmingham.
- Mr. Adams inquired about the status of contracts for the renovation of the Powderly branch. Ms. Blalock stated that although bids will go out soon, the City of Birmingham oversees the bidding process.
- Mrs. Amamoo asked if Councilor Witherspoon was being kept abreast of the renovations at Powderly branch. Mrs. Welch stated that Mrs. Lyons should send a letter to Councilor Witherspoon to create a record of communication.
- Mrs. Lyons requested that issues and information regarding Powderly branch renovations be brought to the February meeting.
- Mrs. Allen inquired about the candidate chosen to fill the Personnel Assistant position. She stated that the population of Birmingham is 85% African American, while African Americans comprise only 20% of these positions in BPL. She requested additional information on the new hire.
- Ms. Lyons confirmed the hiring of Crystal Morton-Hill as the new Personnel Assistant. Ms. Hill was introduced to the Board.
- Mrs. Fincher asked if a hiring freeze was in effect for BPL. Mrs. Lyons stated that the Library's positions are budgeted, so therefore are not affected by the freeze.
- Ms. Fincher inquired about the job responsibilities of the Personnel Assistant. Ms. Lyons stated that she reports to the Personnel Officer, Edith Major.
- Mrs. Allen stated that the Personnel Assistant position is an important position in terms of the well-being of the Library.
- Mrs. Sims asked if the board is allowed to have any input prior to the hiring of employees.
- Mrs. Fincher stated that if we did not actually evaluate that person, we did not make recommendations for hiring. The director and associate directors would be solely responsible for hiring and the board would only take part in the director position(s). The Library Board is responsible for hiring the director and associate director.
- Mrs. Allen stated that the board is supposed to approve the recommendations of the staff in the hiring process.
- Ms. Lyons stated that it is the practice of the board to hire only the director and associate directors, and to approve coordinator positions and above. All other approval falls under the responsibility of the Director. Every applicant for every position must complete an EEOC statement disclosing race and gender.
- Mr. Adams stated that the board needs to do a good job of hiring the director so that the board can get out of the way and let the director do the job. He suggested procuring legal advice concerning hiring procedures. He stated that he would not want to get the board in hot water by stating that we should hire more African Americans.
- Mrs. Blalock stated that the personnel assistant position is a clerical position and does not participating in hiring. This person assists with processing timesheets, medical forms, and Stromberg. BPL follows the hiring rules of the City of Birmingham, per a court ordered consent decree.
- Mrs. Fincher stated that perhaps the board needed to readdress the director position search.
- Mrs. Welch stated that the board does not conduct interviews, but is supposed to be made aware of hiring recommendations. She suggested that the board may want to refer to its attorney, Mr. Fullerton, regarding hiring procedures.
- Mr. Williams stated as long as a conscience effort was made to recruit for the director position that the board should go ahead and choose from the pool of candidates that did apply.
- Mrs. Fincher stated that the honorific 'Judge' be added to Shanta' Owens title on the BPL letterhead.
- Judge Owens thanked everyone who attended the swearing-in ceremony.
- Judge Owens stated that it is important for the board to dress appropriately during any board functions.
- Mrs. Allen stated that she is happy to have Mrs. Adams back. She also stated that the Central Library's windows were not clean.
- Mrs. Amamoo wished Mrs. Sims the best on her trip to the presidential inauguration.
- Mrs. Welch requested the board meet on Saturday, January 31, 2009 at 9 a.m. to review the survey and director candidate interviews. The meeting was confirmed for Saturday, January 31, 2009.
- Judge Owens asked if the trustees absent from the director interviews would be allowed to participate in the selection process. It was decided that all board members would participate in the selection process and the members not in attendance at the interview would be informed of the candidates' interviews through other board members notes.
- Mrs. Welch will make committee assignments at the February meeting.
- Reverend Ed Davis, president of the Wylam Neighborhood Association, passed away. Mrs. Welch sent his family a letter of condolence.
Mrs. Welch received many thanks from library staff for the Library Board holiday greeting and thanked Mrs. Lyons for the electronic stationary. She also thanked Mrs. Sims, Mrs. Amamoo, L & 0 Greek Specialties, and the Guster Law firm for their donations to the Midwinter Conference on behalf of BPL.
Pamela O. Lyons, Interim Director