Birmingham Public Library Board Minutes
July 23, 2009
Central Library Boardroom
Meeting Called By
Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch, President
Type of Meeting
Regular Board Meeting
Trustees: Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch, President; Nell Allen, Vice-President, Thomas Adams, Gwendolyn R. Amamoo, Georgia Morgan Blair, Reverend Anthony Johnson, Judge Shanta' Owens, Samuel Rumore, Dora Sims
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.
- The invocation was given by Ms. Tina Samuel, library assistant at the Titusville Library. She has been employed with BPL since 1989. Mrs. Blair presented Ms. Samuel with a certificate of appreciation for her service to BPL.
- Mrs. Allen moved approval of the agenda. Mrs. Blair seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.
- Mrs. Adams moved approval of June 18, 2009 board minutes. Mrs. Blair seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.
- Mrs. Blair moved approval of the consent agenda. Mrs. Sims seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.
- The board recognized Mr. Ralph Pippin III, who recently received his Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice from University of Alabama at Birmingham. Mr. Pippen has been employed by BPL since November 2004. Mrs. Allen presented Mr. Pippin with a certificate of accomplishment.
- The board recognized Mr. Frank Golden, building service worker supervisor with the Central Library. Mr. Golden has been employed by BPL since 1977. Mrs. Lyons stated that Mr. Golden is a man of many talents and works overtime to get the job done. Reverend Johnson presented Mr. Golden with a certificate of appreciation for his service to BPL.
Long Range Planning Committee Report
- Mrs. Blair read the Long Range Planning Committee minutes (attached) with corrections that the Powderly Neighborhood Association should be Jones Valley Neighborhood Association.
- Mrs. Blair corrected the director's report on Bond Funded Construction Projects. Mrs. Miriam Witherspoon should be changed to Ms. Miriam Witherspoon.
- Mrs. Margaret Jones, interior designer for Powderly and East Lake libraries, presented the furniture choices for Powderly Library.
- Mrs. Blair moved approval of the Long Range Planning Committee minutes and approval of furniture choices for the Powderly Library. Mrs. Allen seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.
- Mrs. Blair moved approval of the meeting room at the Powderly Library be named in honor of Ms. Miriam D. Witherspoon. Mrs. Amamoo seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.
- Mrs. Allen stated that originally Ms. Witherspoon asked for the Powderly Library meeting room to be named after Ms. Leona Payne.
- Mrs. Allen stated that after selection of the new library director, some board members were concerned that there was no board input in determining the director's salary. After contacting Pam Lyons concerning this, she informed Mrs. Allen that the customary procedure for internal promotions was used. Mrs. Allen stated that the board would like to have salary information for the director and associate director positions.
- Mrs. Allen moved approval of the library director performance evaluation form. Mrs. Blair seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.
- Mrs. Allen stated that the preliminary evaluation for the director will occur in January. Thereafter the evaluation will take place yearly in November.
- Mrs. Allen moved approval of the minutes from the Personnel Committee meeting. Mrs. Blair seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.
- Mrs. Welch stated that a member of the Montgomery Public Library Board sent her a copy of an evaluation form they use and requested a copy of ours when completed.
- Mr. Adams asked whether the search for the new associate director has begun.
- Mrs. Allen stated that the director should go through the Board Personnel Committee for the hiring of the associate director. The director should bring all qualified applicants forward to the Personnel Committee to be interviewed.
- Mr. Adams stated that the associate director should be hired by the director and that the board should get started on the process in the event of a City of Birmingham hiring freeze.
- Mrs. Blair asked whether or not administration has considered redistributing the work load and holding off on hiring an associate director. Ms. Blalock stated that it has been considered and rejected because it is very difficult workload for only two people.
- Mr. Adams moved that the director begin the process of identifying and recruiting a new associate director and to bring her recommendation to the board for approval. Reverend Johnson seconded the motion. (All in favor – Mr. Adams and Reverend Johnson, All Opposed - Mrs. Welch, Mrs. Blair, Mrs. Allen, Judge Owens, Mrs. Amamoo, Mrs. Sims, Abstained – Mr. Rumore) The motion failed.
- Mrs. Allen stated that Mr. Adams' motion does not follow procedures set in place for hiring the associate director and above classifications.
- Mr. Adams moved the approval for the director to bring the recommendation for the associate director position directly to the Personnel Committee and approval from the board. Reverend Johnson seconded the motion. Judge Owens presented a substitute motion of approval for the Personnel Committee to advertise the associate director position, allowing the director to participate in interviewing and discussion of candidates. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Blair, which carried unanimously.
- Reverend Johnson stated that the board should give Ms. Blalock what she needs to function in administration. Mrs. Allen stated that the board needed to follow the same manner used in hiring the director.
- Ms. Blalock stated that the board should interview the associate director candidates, but also let the director sit in on the interviews and participate in the discussions of the associate director interviews. Administration has the job description for associate director ready to advertise.
- Mr. Rumore stated that the board should proceed with the process of hiring an associate director.
- Mrs. Blair stated that the board needed to follow procedures.
- Judge Owens stated that the director should sit in on the interviews and give input on the candidates.
- Mrs. Allen stated that the Personnel Committee relied heavily on administration in the search for the library director.
- Mrs. Amamoo stated that administration should utilize all resources when advertising for the associate director position.
- Mr. Adams stated that it is very important to involve the director in the search for the associate director and that the board should move forward with the search for associate director.
- Mrs. Allen requested that Ms. Blalock begin advertising for the new associate director position.
Terry Oglesby, Architect, City Of Birmingham Architectural Division
- The ADA renovations at Linn-Henley should completed by the end of August.
- There has been a delay in the construction at Powderly Library due to sewer issues with Jefferson County. The deadline for completion at Powderly Library is the end of December. Asbestos treatment has been completed at East Lake Library and construction should begin soon. Mr. Oglesby stated that he would do his best to make sure that a good job is done with all the renovations. He also addressed roof leakage, due to human error, in new construction.
Buildings, Facilities And Projects Update
- Since Hope Cooper's report, work has begun at the East Lake branch. All permits have been issued for the Powderly branch project and ground preparation will begin this week. The work at Central has resumed on the crosswalk. Terry Oglesby, the city architect who serves as project manager for Powderly, East Lake, and the Central ADA projects, will attend board meetings to answer questions and give the board an update on projects.
- Ms. Blalock has been to every branch for a visit since the last board meeting. She was extremely impressed with how neat, clean, and attractive each one looked. It was a very pleasant experience. She very much enjoyed seeing and talking to the branch staff. She was able to attend a couple of summer programs and saw the wonderful decorations at each branch.
Communication With Staff
- Ms. Blalock has begun a practice of writing an email at least once a week to all BPL staff. She wants to stay in touch and to let them know what is going on with their new director and to tell them about activities and programs here at BPL. She also emailed a copy of the calendar of events for the upcoming week along with this memo. She has enjoyed doing this and has received positive feedback from the staff.
- Ms. Blalock continues to work through the comments and requests from the staff survey she did in June. One request often repeated was the desire for closer parking for staff at Central Library. She discussed this need with the manager of Park Place and discovered that they offer monthly parking on their lot across from the library. She was able to obtain a discount for library staff so that they can pay $25 per month rather than the usual $40.
- The City Council has not yet adopted a budget for Fiscal Year 2010. In the meantime the city has continued the FY2009 budget and until the new budget is adopted we will work within the same amounts as last year.
Cotchery Foundation Event
- Our partnership with the Cotchery Foundation to combine reading and football was a huge success. Ms. Blalock attended the bowling event on Friday, June 19. It was terrific--a couple of hundred kids and adult chaperons bowled, hobnobbed with pro football players, and ate and drank soda to our hearts content. The next day the football skills camp was a huge success at Legion Field. The Foundation gave away athletic shoes, backpacks, and other educational materials to all the boys who attended. We believe this partnership with the Cotchery family will grow and prosper over the years.
Turning The Page Team
- The group that attended the PLA Turning the Page training in Nashville in March continued their project of offering training at all joint branch and department head meetings by presenting a program on community partnerships on July 8. This group of young librarians is dynamic, bright, and energetic. Ms. Blalock look forward to great things from them in the future.
- The minutes of library board meetings from January, 2009 to the present are now online. They are uploaded after approval and can be found at www.bplonline.org/about
Complete Count Committee
- Ms. Blalock stated that she has been appointed to the Mayor's Complete Count Committee. The purpose of this committee will be to build awareness of Census 2010 in order to increase completion rates by the citizens of Birmingham.
Awards And Gifts
- The Literacy/Outreach exhibit at the Diversity Fair at the ALA Convention won honorable mention.
- Both Five Points West and Avondale branches have won Birmingham Beautification awards. They will receive these awards at the luncheon on Thursday, July 23.
- We received a $100 donation from Mrs. Welch in memory of Mrs. Lillie M. H. Fincher for the Archives Department.
- We had two visits of note this month. First, the Public Printer of the United States, Robert C. Tapella, was here on July 7 to tour the Government Documents Department. He is the head of the U. S. Government Printing Office and oversees printing for all three branches of the Federal government.
- On July 15 two Chinese provincial library directors, Ms. Xiaowen Wang and Ms. Aiyun Wu, were given a tour of both buildings by Jiemin Fan. They especially enjoyed having a native Chinese speaker who could easily answer all of their questions. Mrs. Fan reported that they were very impressed with our facilities and services.
- The coordinators, Ms. Lyons and Ms. Blalock visited the Nashville Public Library on June 26. Some of the attendees had toured Nashville Public when at PLA in March and were very impressed with it. Everyone enjoyed themselves and got lots of good ideas. Ms. Blalock recommends visiting this library.
The fall selection for JCLC's Project Read is Dewey: the Small Town Cat Who Touched the World, by Vicki Myron. More later on the programs and other events planned for this community reading project.
2010 will bring the first state-wide Big Read project funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, and it will be in Alabama. The book will be Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain, which will be available in a special Alabama Big Read facsimile of the first edition. It will include a letter from the governor and a special introduction by an Alabama scholar of Mark Twain. Alabama Bound will host a special event featuring discussions of Tom Sawyer, food of the times, a Mark Twain impersonator, and much more. Mark your calendars for March 20 for the 2010 Alabama Bound.
- Staff training--sexual harassment workshops will be conducted in August for all BPL supervisors. This will be a refresher course for most.
- Board training--As instructed at the last board meeting, we have arranged for the City's interview training to be offered to the board at the August 27 meeting. The training will be about two hours long.
- Seasons Readings Reviews--The call is out for reviews to go in our annual holiday season pamphlet. We've had some board members participate in the past and would like for more to do so this year. The reviews should be between 150 and 200 words. Reviews are due September 4, 2009.
- Beyond the Budget--The annual Friends sponsored grant competition has begun for all departments and branches. Each year the Friends award $1500 to the proposal that is most creative and has the most far-reaching merit for the Library. This competition has lead to several excellent projects, such as baby changing tables in rest rooms, environmental monitors in the special collections areas, and increases capacity for serving the needs of Hispanic users. It has served as an excellent way to spur creativity on the part of staff and to spotlight need.
- Mr. Rumore stated that he was concerned that there may be some changes within the county law library. Mr. Rumore stated that he was appointed by Judge Scott Vowell to serve on a circuit court committee and will essentially be the liaison between the administrators of the law library and BPL regarding BPL possibly assisting the law library.
- Ms. Blalock stated that the library has been holding one-on-one consultations with patrons seeking employment. These consultations include resume writing and job-seeking training.
- Mrs. Welch asked that Ms. Blalock, Ms. Sims, and Mr. Rumore draft a letter to the administrators of the law library to show BPL's support.
- Ms. Sims, Mrs. Amamoo, Reverend Johnson, Mrs. Blair, and Mrs. Welch gave reports on the Annual ALA Conference.
- Mrs. Welch stated that she toured the following libraries: Indianapolis-Marion County, Carmel Public, Haughville Public, and Nashville Public Libraries, and was impressed with her findings.
Mrs. Welch asked all trustees and administration to read their July/August issue of the Public Libraries: The Economy Issue, with a special focus on page 35 where BPL is featured for providing social networking sites for patrons.
Mrs. Blair stated that there was an article in the Birmingham Times featuring Mrs. Welch regarding the June board meeting and an article featuring Mrs. Fells, who is Mrs. Fincher's daughter.
- Reverend Johnson stated that the executive director of the Sickle Cell board would like to come to the August board meeting to speak. He is also on the committee for the Chocolate Nutcracker and requested that board members support this committee. The NAACP gala will be on October 17, 2009 at the Sheraton at 7:00 pm.
- Mrs. Amamoo thanked Ms. Blalock for her hard work.
- Ms. Blalock stated that the interview training for board members would be done on August 27, the next Board meeting day.
Meeting Adjourned at approx. 10:20 a.m. with the next scheduled meeting on August 27, 2009
Irene S. Blalock, Director