Birmingham Public Library Board Minutes
August 27, 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, 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 Ms. Grace Slaughter. Ms. Slaughter has been an employee of BPL since 1990 and is currently the youth librarian at Springville Road Library.
- Mrs. Blair moved approval of the agenda. Mrs. Sims seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.
- Mrs. Blair moved approval of July 23, 2009 board minutes. Mrs. Allen seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.
- Mrs. Blair moved approval of the consent agenda. Mr. Rumore seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.
- The board recognized Mr. Jeff Cornette, a volunteer at Avondale and North Avondale Libraries. Ms. Lyons stated that he is an excellent volunteer and performs his duties very well. Mrs. Welch presented Mr. Cornette with a certificate of recognition for his service to BPL.
- The board recognized Ms. Saundra Ross, librarian at North Avondale. Ms. Lyons stated that Ms. Ross took a horticulture class help her dress up the outside of North Avondale Library. She is also part of the Turn the Page initiative. Mrs. Amamoo presented Ms. Ross with a certificate of recognition for her service to BPL.
- Mr. Rumore asked Ms. Ross what the library board could do for North Avondale Library. She stated that North Avondale needed an "official" meeting room space, more books, supplies, and more computers.
Long Range Planning Committee Report
- Mrs. Margaret Jones, interior designer for East Lake Library, presented the furniture choices .
- Mr. Adams moved approval of the Long Range Planning Committee minutes and approval of furniture choices for the East Lake Library. Mrs. Allen seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.
- Mrs. Welch stated that the carpet is unraveling at Pratt City. Ms. Blalock stated that she would check into it.
- Mrs. Allen moved that the board go into executive session. Mrs. Blair seconded the motion.
- The board resumed its regular session.
- Mrs. Allen moved to reject Christopher Parson's appeal of his termination. Mrs. Sims seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.
- Reverend Johnson moved that the board extend the opportunity to Christopher Parson resign. Mrs. Allen seconded the motion. The motion was approved with a 7-1 note (Mrs. Blair---NO).
- The board decided to give Mr. Parson the opportunity to resign by September 4, 2009, and if not he would be terminated.
Friends Advocacy Committee
- Mrs. Sims stated that the committee is writing a letter to be sent to BPL staff and board members which will encourage everyone to join Friends of the Birmingham Public Library.
- The Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) received funding.
- Mrs. Sims stated that a "sinking fund" for board projects was been started with a $100 donation from her. She encouraged all board members to contribute. Mrs. Sims recommended the library purchase a plaque with names of Friends of the Birmingham Public Library engraved on it.
- Mrs. Allen moved for the approval of Patron Appreciation Day on November 19, 2009, from 11-2, to be celebrated at all branches. Reverend Johnson seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.
- Mrs. Sims attended a luncheon at the Bessemer Library which focused on rallying support for libraries.
- Mrs. Sims stated that Councilman Royal gave $144,000 to the BPL Archives Department and that administration should send him a letter of appreciation.
- Mrs. Welch, Mrs. Sims, and Ms. Blalock will be meeting with the Birmingham Public Library Foundation soon.
- Reverend Johnson stated that the board should support the Birmingham Business Alliance and, possibly, request sponsorship for the Patron Appreciation Day. Ms. Blalock stated that BPL is a member of the Birmingham Business Alliance.
- Mrs. Sims moved the approval of the Friends Advocacy committee minutes. Mrs. Allen seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.
- BPL staff enjoyed working with the youth from the Department of Youth Services.
- Ms. Blalock stated that administration will email pictures of board members to everyone.
- Ms. Blalock stated that she and Ms. Lyons would put together an interview training packet which will be shared with the board.
- Administration will be working on a plan of action regarding the Swine Flu.
Buildings, Facilities And Projects Update
- Terry Oglesby, the library's project manager in the City's Architecture Division was unable to attend the board meeting this month. Mr. Oglesby related to Ms. Blalock, however, that both the East Lake and the Powderly projects are on target to be completed by early 2010 and by the end of 2009, respectively. The elevator specifications have been submitted for the East Lake project and have been approved. The earth work at Powderly has been completed, while work on the foundation and footings is underway. Mr. Oglesby reported that everything is progressing well.
- The Linn-Henley bathrooms are scheduled to reopen this week. Work on the crosswalk is progressing smoothly. A couple of recent issues have been resolved, and the project is moving much faster.
- Birmingham City Council and Birmingham School Board forums were held at both the Central Library and the North Birmingham branch. The forums at the Central Library took place on August 11, 12, and 13, and were sponsored by the NAACP and the League of Women Voters. Approximately 500 people attended the three nights.
- Forums held at the North Birmingham branch were broadcast. This is a first for the library and for WAYE Radio Station (1220 AM), which has never broadcast from a library before. Questions were taken from attendees and callers. The North Birmingham forums took place on August 18, 19, and 20.
- Ms. Blalock congratulated Reverend Johnson on the success of the candidate forums.
- The Birmingham City Council adopted the Fiscal Year 2010 budget, which is essentially the budget proposed by the mayor in May. The amounts approved for each account are the actual amounts expended in the FY2008 budget. Ms. Blalock reported that this is an acceptable level for the library. The library is fortunate to have escaped the severe cuts seen in many other parts of the country. The budget report mailed in board packets is the approved budget with expenditures for July. Included is a list of transfers that are yet to be made. Next month's director's report will specify transfers
Birmingham Library Fund Budget
- Ms. Blalock presented the expense budget projection. In this projection, accounts are arranged into categories matching the city library budget. Ms. Blalock plans to make sure that the auditors do likewise, so that like accounts may be compared. There are, however, expenditures in the Birmingham Library Fund which are not funded in the library's City budget. An example of this is the Food for Fines program, which is not on the city library budget.
- Ms. Blalock reports that the revenue category is more difficult to track due to the fact that only fines are included in the city's revenue budget. Ms. Blalock is in the process of creating a revenue budget for the Birmingham Library Fund and will have it ready by the next board meeting. In the meantime, she presented a draft of the list of revenue categories.
- Ms. Blalock reports that BPL has submitted a grant proposal to the National Endowment for the Humanities for $151,613 to fund the cataloging and preservation of the map collection. BPL will submit another grant for $101,451 to the Council on Library and Information Resources Hidden Collections Grant in early September. No response is expected until next spring. Ms. Blalock will ask the staff directly supervising this project to attend a board meeting this fall to explain this exciting project.
Staff is also in the process of writing and submitting proposals for the continuance of funding the BPL@Night series at Central Library and the four regional branches. Additional proposals are being written to fund Alabama Bound. BPL is also submitting a proposal that would supplement the Pride and Passion exhibit programs.
2009 Summer Reading Program
- Ms. Blalock reports that the summer programs were a big success this year. Especially exciting was the growth of the teen program. Overall, BPL registered 5,443 children, presented 426 programs, and presented 3,790 certificates--5% more than were awarded in 2008. More than 20,000 children attended programs. In 2008 that figure was a little over 17,000.
Back To School
- Wylam, North Birmingham, and Pratt City branches were sites for Councilor Roderick Royal's annual school supply give away on Saturday, August 15.
- Pam Lyons organized a training program for security guards and public services staff across the Birmingham Public Library system. The training emphasized positive methods of controlling the behavior of children in the library after school. Ms. Lyons and Vincent Solfronk, head of the Central Youth Department, also gave a presentation at the Philips Academy PTA.
Awards And Gifts
- Roderick Royal appropriated $144,000 to the Archives Department for this fiscal year. Ms. Blalock wrote to him with a request to meet and discuss his vision for the use of this funding. Jim Baggett and the archives staff are working on proposals to present to Councilor Royal.
- BPL received $75 in memory of Pride Forney.
- Community Development funds were received for the following libraries:
- Titusville $250 for a printer
- North Avondale $4500 for furniture
- West End $500 for summer reading programs
- North Birmingham $4005 for prizes, children's listening station, and furniture
- Community Development funds have been allocated for the Wylam Branch in the amount of $4,000 for furniture.
- Nell and Bill Allen donated Cozy Corner theme sets to the West End Branch.
Staff is working on a plan to protect both staff and the public from the projected flu epidemic. To that end, Julie Cobb from the Jefferson County Health Department will address us on September 2 at our bimonthly branch and department head meeting regarding the H1N1 virus. We will have a plan of action in place by mid-September.
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.
Seasons Readings Reviews
- The call is out for reviews to go in our annual holiday season pamphlet. Board members have participated in the past, and are very welcome 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 most creative and meritorious proposal. This competition has lead to several excellent projects, such as baby changing tables in rest rooms, environmental monitors in the special collections areas, and increased capacity for serving the needs of Hispanic patrons. The competition has served as an excellent way to encourage creativity on the part of staff, in addition to meeting patron needs.
- The 25th anniversary celebration for the east building will kick off on September 13, 2009.
- Ms. Blalock stated that she enjoying being director.
- Mr. Rumore stated that it was determined that BPL does not have the expertise or resources to take over for the Jefferson County Law Library. The law library will remain open until the end of the year.
- Mrs. Welch stated that Springville Road Library needs to be cleaned. Ms. Blalock stated that she would look into it.
- Ms. Blalock stated that administration is looking at reorganizing the building service workers.
- Reverend Johnson thanked the board for its support in his endeavors. The Drum Majors for Justice will perform on September 26, 2009, from 4:45-8:00 p.m.
- Mrs. Amamoo stated that she attended the Pratt City school supply giveaway and that it was very successful. She also suggested that in order to save paper, we could cut down all the board handouts before the meetings.
- Mrs. Sims stated that the Friends Advocacy Committee will be looking over the Beyond the Budget proposals, She also inquired about sprucing up the library for the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) Conference next year. Ms. Blalock stated that carpets are being cleaned, light bulbs and ceiling tiles are being replaced, and paint is being touched-up where needed.
Mrs. Allen thanked Ms. Blalock for the programming on Bright House local channel 4, but stated that we should market this programming more.
- On August 24, 2009, Mrs. Allen will be speaking with the Five Points West community to update them on the Learning Tree Park and to encourage participation in raising money for this project.
- Mr. Rumore attended the Brown Bag Lunch program where antiques were being appraised. He enjoyed the program.
- Mrs. Welch stated that the board will be cutting down on meeting times to an hour and a half.
- Judge Owens had her baby girl, Berkley Rae, and both are doing well.
Meeting Adjourned at approximately 10:30 a.m., with the next scheduled meeting on September 24, 2009
Irene S. Blalock, Director