Birmingham Public Library Board Minutes
June 18, 2009
Glen Iris Elementary School Library
Meeting Called By
Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch, President
Type of Meeting
Regular Board Meeting
Trustees: Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch, President; Nell Allen, Vice-President
Call To Order
- Meeting called to order by President Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch.
- Mrs. Welch stated 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.
- Mrs. Welch welcomed the newest board member, Mrs. Georgia Morgan Blair.
- Dr. Michael Wilson, principal at Glen Iris Elementary School, welcomed the board and thanked the board for choosing Glen Iris Library for the meeting venue.
- Mrs. Welch asked that the board keep Mrs. Lillie Fincher's family in our prayers.
The invocation was given by Andrei Jones, the Adult Services librarian at the Five Points West Library. He has been with BPL since 1994. Mr. Rumore presented Mr. Jones with a certificate of appreciation for his service to BPL.
Mr. Rumore stated that at the May 28, 2009 Board meeting, he presented the certificate of appreciation to Mr. Sam Granger.
- Mrs. Allen moved approval of the agenda. Mrs. Amamoo seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.
- Mrs. Allen moved approval of the corrected May 28, 2009 board minutes. Mrs. Sims seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.
- Mrs. Allen moved approval of the consent agenda. Mrs. Sims seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.
- Teresa Ceravolo, branch manager at the Southside Branch Library, gave an update on the License to Read Program and the increased circulation at Southside Library.
- Mrs. Allen stated that she was very impressed with the friendliness of the staff at Southside Library as well as with the number of patrons.
- Mrs. Amamoo stated that Southside Library's excellent service has not wavered in all the years she has been visiting.
- Mrs. Blair stated that the staff at Southside Library is most gracious.
- Mrs. Sims stated that the Friends recently held a meeting at Southside Library
- Mr. Rumore asked what the library board could do for the Southside Library, and Ms. Ceravolo stated that the library needed a bigger parking lot, reorganization within the library, and more computers.
- Mr. Rumore presented Ms. Ceravolo with a certificate of appreciation.
- Mrs. Welch thanked Ms. Ceravolo for helping Glen Iris Elementary Library with library books for the students when she was the school's librarian.
Finance Committee Report
- Mr. Adams stated that the Business Office at the Central library has developed a procedures manual. The purpose of the manual is to describe the purchasing and accounting policies and procedures of the Birmingham Public Library.
- Mr. Adams moved approval of the Purchasing and Procedures Manual. Mrs. Allen seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.
- Ms. Blalock stated that the staff appreciated the focus of the library loard on the accounting manual.
- Mrs. Adams moved approval of the Conflict of Interest Policy for the level of coordinator and above. Mr. Rumore seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.
- Ms. Blalock will work with staff to coordinate Conflict of Interest/Ethics training for employees below the level of coordinator.
- Mrs. Blalock stated that Mayor Langford submitted the Birmingham Public Library City Fund budget to the City Council for approval. A copy of this budget is in the packet (attached).
- Mr. Adams stated the Finance Committee would be working on a Birmingham Library Fund budget.
- Mrs. Welch thanked the committees for doing good work and especially thanked Mr. Adams and the Finance Committee for the work done on the budget and procedures manual.
- Mrs. Welch distributed cost cutting ideas submitted by administration.
- Mrs. Allen reported that the Personnel Committee has been working on a library director performance evaluation.
- Mrs. Allen stated that the Long Range Planning Committee should concentrate on the following: repairing archives, school age kids, and the BPL Foundation.
- Mrs. Allen stated that administration should do a better job of collecting fines and overdue library materials.
- The Personnel Committee will meet on Wednesday, July 1, 2009 at 10 a.m. in the Board Room.
- Mrs. Welch thanked the committees once again.
- Ms. Blalock stated that she sent a survey out to the staff to get ideas on how to improve the library.
- Ms. Blalock stated that she is learning her new position and is working to stay on top of everything. She noted that it is quite different to be the one ultimately responsible and requires a change in mindset. She commended Ms. Lyons for being extremely helpful, as she always is. This week has been hard for all of us with the death of Mrs. Fincher on Sunday and on Tuesday, the death of Marian Woods, who worked for the library for many years before she retired in 2005.
- Ms. Blalock stated that she sent a survey to staff soliciting their ideas for what they expect from her as Director and their vision for the Library. She is communicating with the whole staff frequently by email and, where possible, in person. She is also talking to people as much as possible. She plans to begin visits to all departments and branches and meetings with staff in the near future.
- Recently Mrs. Welch asked Ms. Lyons to check on the Library Foundation and its relation to the board. She contacted Fred Fullerton in the city attorney's office and sent him a copy of the Foundation articles of incorporation and its by-laws. He responded that “the Foundation is a not-for-profit independent legal entity and the Library Board has NO authority to or any say in how any funds may be expended. The Foundation controls all matters. However, if the Foundation was to give money to the Library Board with no strings attached then that is a different matter.”
- Ms. Blalock stated that the coordinators and she attended the City Council meeting this past Tuesday. They promoted summer reading programs for all ages and delivered samples of our materials for each councilor and the Mayor.
Buildings And Facilities Update
- We are experiencing the usual air conditioning problems. For details, see Hope Cooper's report. We are continuing to experience problems at Springville Road, but these should end shortly when the city workers install a new unit paid for through one of our state grants. I have created a spreadsheet which outlines the status of these grants. We met with Andre Bittas, the head of the Public Works Department, and gave him a copy of the grant amounts and project descriptions. He will assign the design work for these projects to the city architect.
- Powderly is underway. Loretta Bitten and Jamilah Muhammad are working in the Collection Management area. They are using Central's collection to continue the Books-By-Mail service and loans to nursing homes. Their summer programs are continuing at the Wiggins Park Recreation Center.
- East Lake will close to the public on June 19. The preconstruction meeting with the contractor is scheduled for June 18 at 2:00. Staff will complete packing and moving to storage the week of June 22. East Lake will present their summer programs at the 45th Street Baptist Church.
- The elevator project has not begun, but we expect it to very soon.
- ADA work on the crosswalk has been postponed and will not take place on City Stages weekend because the contractor discovered the ramp is steel reinforced concrete and will present more difficulty than they thought to demolish. They have begun preliminary preparation work.
2010 Fiscal Year Budget Update
- The City Council has not approved a budget for 2010. So far our experience with Public Works has been very positive, and we look forward to a new partnership with them. Hope Cooper and the library maintenance crew have forged a very good relationship with the Public Works staff over the past years.
Reception For Interim And New Director
- The staff in the Administrative Office did an outstanding job of working with the board by sending invitations to the reception for Pam Lyons and Irene Blalock on Monday, June 22. They designed it and sent both by eVite and by mail. Judging from the replies we will have a large crowd. Everyone is excited about it. Ms. Lyons and Ms. Blalock feel very honored.
Summer Reading Clubs Update
- Summer reading is going very well. Hundreds of children have registered all over the city. Ms. Blalock encourages the board members to participate in the adult reading club, the first that BPL has done. The culmination of the Cotchery Foundation summer reading/football skills camp project is this weekend. There will be a bowling event on Friday (173 participants) and the football skills camp (178 participants) on Saturday.
Board Survey For Web Site
- The project to put pictures of the library board members on the BPL web site is underway. Each board member will soon receive an email with a template to complete a short bio to go with your picture. We plan to take new photographs at the July board meeting. More details will be forthcoming.
BPL At The Diversity And Outreach Fair
- BPL Literacy and Outreach staff will be presenting at the Diversity Fair at ALA in Chicago. This is a wonderful event that showcases the best of diversity and outreach services and programs across America. If you have not attended it before, you are urged to do so if you will be in Chicago this year. It will take place on Saturday, July 11 from 3:00-5:00 during the conference. It is usually in the convention center. Details will be in the conference program. (The acceptance letter is included in your packet.)
- Hanna Steel Corporation gave Wylam Branch a gift of $300. The company has been making this donation for summer reading for many years.
- A report on the status of the Alabama Public School and College Education Fund Grants to Birmingham Public Library Status was distributed and reviewed.
- Mr. Rumore submitted a request for excusal from the January, March, and April board meetings so that he could attend classes in Tuscaloosa for the School of Library and Information Studies.
- Mrs. Amamoo moved approval of Mr. Rumore's request to excuse his absences; Mrs. Allen seconded the motion. Yes--Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch, Nell Allen, Thomas Adams, Gwendolyn R. Amamoo, Georgia Morgan Blair, Reverend Anthony Johnson, Judge Shanta' Owens, Dora Sims. Samuel Rumore abstained.
- Reverend Johnson asked if all absences from board meetings would be excused. Mrs. Welch stated that any time a board member is absent from a board meeting and wants to be excused, he/she should submit a request in writing to the board. The board will then vote on the request.
- Mr. Rumore asked about the status of the recently vacated associate director position.
- Mrs. Allen stated that the Personnel Committee must initiate steps in hiring the associate director.
- Ms. Blalock requested that she and Mrs. Lyons be given an opportunity to have an input.
- Mrs. Amamoo requested that the board take the city's interview training.
- Mrs. Welch thanked the library staff for their work on the reception for the director and former interim director.
- Mrs. Sims reminded the board that the Friends Advocacy Committee is requesting the support from Alabama senators so that funding will remain intact for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). She also thanked Mrs. Welch for the committee organization structure.
- Mrs. Welch asked that administration inform April Odom as to why the library rejected one of the city's print jobs.
- Mrs. Amamoo welcomed the newest board member, Georgia Morgan Blair. She asked where money goes when donated for a specific branch. Ms. Blalock stated that it goes into that branch's account.
- Mr. Rumore expressed condolences for Mrs. Fincher and asked that Mrs. Fincher's request to recognize Mrs. Lyons as interim director be filled. Mrs. Lyons' plaque will be ordered once she retires.
- Ms. Blalock reported that Mrs. Fincher's plaque had been ordered.
- Mrs. Blair stated that she was glad to be back on the board.
- Mrs. Allen thanked the board for their cooperation and stated that the library is only as great as the library board, director, and staff.
- Mrs. Welch thanked the board and stated that she was shocked to hear of Mrs. Fincher's passing. She also stated that Mrs. Fincher taught her a lot and was a great lover of history. Mrs. Welch requested that the entire board pray for Mrs. Fincher's family.
Meeting Adjourned at approx. 10:30 a.m. with the next scheduled meeting on July 23, 2009
Irene S. Blalock, Director