Birmingham Public Library Board Minutes
November 19, 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, E. Bryding Adams, Thomas Adams, Gwendolyn R. Amamoo, Georgia Morgan Blair, Reverend Anthony Johnson, Samuel Rumore, Dora Sims
Call To Order
- Meeting called to order by Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch.
- Gwendolyn 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 June Lacanski. She has been an employee of BPL since 1981 and currently works as a children’s librarian at the North Birmingham Library. Gwendolyn Welch presented her with a certificate of recognition.
- Georgia Blair moved approval of the agenda. Nell Allen seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.
- Georgia Blair moved approval of the consent agenda. Bryding Adams seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.
- Terry Oglesby, from the City Architect office, gave an update on library renovations. Construction of the foundation and wall has commenced at Powderly Library. Excavation work has been completed at East Lake Library, and renovations should be moving forward. ADA renovations at Central and Linn Henley should be completed soon. Bids have been received on repairing some stone work at Smithfield Library.
- The Honorable Judge Raymond Chambliss swore in the board members. Judge Owens swore in Renee Blalock, Library Director.
Friends Advocacy Committee
- Thursday, November 19, 2009 is Patron Appreciation Day at all library locations. Board members are encouraged to visit at least one library location. All board members joined Friends of the Library and encouraged donations to the “sinking fund.”
- The Local Author’s Expo will take place December 4-5.
- The Friends drive has increased membership substantially in the past couple of months.
- The Committee is working to promote a library legislative agenda to garner support for the Birmingham Public Library.
- The Jack Bulow Award for “Volunteer of the Year” was recognized at the Friends annual meeting.
Public Relations Committee
- Judge Owens recommended that the board assist staff, when necessary and time permitting, in hosting out of town guests with visits to historical sites, dinner, and City Council meetings.
- Renee Blalock will contact Rochelle Sides-Renda about teen groups caroling at nursing homes for the holiday season.
- Renee Blalock will register BPL in the December Christmas Parade.
- The 2010 Board Directory should be available the first part of the year.
- Gwendolyn Amamoo recommended the library purchase CD players for senior citizens to check out.
- The Nominating Committee met on November 12, 2009 at 7:30 a.m. at the library. Gwendolyn Amamoo, Chair, and members Georgia Blair and Samuel Rumore were present.
- Gwendolyn Amamoo moved that the unanimous recommendation of the committee for president was Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch. Dora Sims seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.
- Gwendolyn Amamoo moved that the unanimous recommendation of the committee for vice president was Judge Shanta’ Owens. Georgia Blair seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.
- Nell Allen nominated Nell Allen as vice president. Bryding Adams seconded the motion.
- Judge Owens (6-Yes) Thomas Adams, Gwendolyn Amamoo, Georgia Blair, Samuel Rumore, Dora Sims, and Gwendolyn Welch. Nell Allen (2-Yes) Nell Allen and Bryding Adams. Judge Shanta’ Owens will serve as vice president.
- Gwendolyn Amamoo recommended that the Policies Committee discuss term limits.
- Samuel Rumore moved the approval of the Outside Employment Policy. Bryding Adams seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.
- Samuel Rumore moved the approval of the Line and Staff Relations Policy. Georgia Blair seconded the motion, which carried (8-Yes) Bryding Adams, Nell Allen, Gwendolyn Amamoo, Georgia Blair, Shanta' Owens, Samuel Rumore, Dora Sims, Gwendolyn Welch. Thomas Adams abstained.
- Samuel Rumore moved the approval of the Fiscal Management Policy. Georgia Blair seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.
- Samuel Rumore moved the approval of the Internal Control Policy. Georgia Blair seconded the motion, which carried (8-Yes) Bryding Adams, Nell Allen, Gwendolyn Amamoo, Georgia Blair, Shanta' Owens, Samuel Rumore, Dora Sims, Gwendolyn Welch. Thomas Adams abstained.
- Samuel Rumore moved the approval of changes to the by-laws. Georgia Blair seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.
- Thomas Adams moved the approval of the closing of the BPL in-house payroll checking account. Georgia Blair seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.
Finance and Budget Update
- Danny Dorroh, Pam Lyons, and Irene Blalock have been working with the auditor to improve budget procedures. The auditor is hopeful that he can complete the audit in early December and will attend the library board work session on December 10 if it is completed by then.
Birmingham Library Fund Budget
- Attached is the monthly budget report for October 2009.
- The budget figure for State Aid has been amended to the prorated amount. It is a good deal lower than the previous fiscal year because that amount was also prorated.
- This year’s Staff Day was excellent and well-planned and executed. Board members Gwendolyn Amamoo, Sam Rumore, Gwendolyn Welch, and Dora Sims attended for at least part of the morning. The keynote speaker, Warren Graham, an expert in library security management, was well received by staff.
- Administration and staff are hard at work making improvements to the library’s security procedures. The goal is to ensure that every BPL location is a welcoming, safe, and comfortable environment conducive to reading, learning, and studying.
Friends Annual Membership Drive
- The annual Friends membership drive and the celebration of National Friends of the Library Week were successful. New and renewed memberships continue to flow in to administration.
- The Friends annual meeting took place on November 12.
- Priscilla Hancock Cooper presented an entertaining and interesting program of poetry written by herself and by some of her students, who are young women incarcerated in the Chalkville Juvenile Facility in Jefferson County.
- The National Friends of Libraries Week for 2010 is scheduled for October 17-23.
Presentations and Other Director Activities
- The Birmingham Education Foundation presented a community update session at the library on November 3. This public meeting was a follow-up to the "Yes, We Can, Birmingham" activities, including a report to the community from the Birmingham Board of Education and the Foundation.
Awards and Gifts
- North Birmingham Library has received a gift of $250 from UAB's Comprehensive Cancer Center. This grass-root organization meets at North Birmingham to promote cancer awareness throughout the community.
- Representative Mary Moore gave $1000 to Slossfield Library for the purchase of items to support the children’s education and activities.
Birmingham Public Library’s Southern History Department was listed as one of the top ten public libraries for genealogy by Family Times magazine. In making the award, the writers stated that they “weighed factors such as collection size, census records, special collections, accessibility, geographic coverage, and services.”
- Pam Lyons was appointed to SELA’s Charles Beard President’s Award Committee.
Current and Upcoming Events
- JCPLA Holiday Luncheon, December 8—Call Jennifer Neely if you want to attend. She will make a reservation for you. We are honoring Councilor Roderick Royal as a champion for BPL at this luncheon. The luncheon will be at the Carraway-Davie House.
The special "Read-It-Forward" program for November has begun. The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank, is the chosen title. Each board member will receive a copy to read and pass forward. Books are being distributed through the library system, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, and Birmingham Jewish Federation.
- Patron Appreciation Day was held at all locations on November 19 from 11-2 p.m. Board members were urged to save this date and attend the event at their favorite library to meet and greet patrons.
Digging Out of the Great Depression: Federal Programs at Work, sponsored by the Birmingham Historical Society and the Birmingham Public Library, will hang in the Library Gallery until December 31. It is a very interesting exhibit. Be sure to spend some time viewing it. Also, check out the online exhibit developed by library staff which complements and expands the hanging exhibit. A copy of the opening page has been placed in the board packet. (http://www.bplonline.org/resources/exhibits/new_deal/) This is the first online exhibit the library has created. It has garnered a great deal of positive attention.
- The Local Author Expo will take place on December 4-5, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Santa Claus will visit five libraries in December, beginning with Central on December 5, from 12 to 3 p.m. Santa will visit the four regional branches on the following dates from 2-5 p.m.: Springville Road—December 6; North Birmingham—December 12; Five Points West—December 13; and Avondale—December 20.
- Gwendolyn Amamoo stated that she enjoyed Warren Graham’s presentation at Staff Day. She also expressed concern about who is in charge at the libraries during the evening hours after administration has left for the day.
- The tape recorder malfunctioned during the meeting, therefore the following comments were submitted by trustees:
Mrs. Allen stated the Birmingham Public Library’s Nominating Committee held an unannounced and closed meeting on November 12, 2009 beginning at 7:30 a.m., which was held in violation of the board’s written policy. This discrepancy needs immediate attention. Furthermore, the American Library Association’s practice of holding closed meetings is in place to exclude anyone who has an opposing view of who should be nominated for a position. For integrity and transparency, this precedent of ALA should not influence the practices of the Board of Trustees of the Birmingham Public Library, which is governed by its by-laws.
Mrs. Sims stated that she concurred with Mrs. Allen, that since all committee meetings are open meetings, all board members should receive notice from the secretary advising them when and where committee meetings will meet to avoid board members having the feeling that the board is not performing in a manner of fairness. Even though board members may attend, they do not have a vote at the committee meeting, but should be allowed to sit in on the discussion.
Mrs. Welch stated that she is a member of the ALTAFF Nominating Committee, which is a closed meeting. During this meeting the attendees discuss the good name and character of candidates. Mrs. Welch also stated that she thought that the committee meeting information was given to the director/secretary who handle postings for all meetings. She further praised all board members for exemplifying integrity beyond reproach.
- Mrs. Amamoo stated that the Nominating Committee was asked to meet and bring a slate of officers to the meeting in November. As chair, she polled committee members and determined a date and time. Mrs. Amamoo then asked Ms. Blalock to post the meeting time and date. All committee members were present and on time. The committee unanimously came up with the slate of Gwendolyn Welch for president and Shanta' Owens for vice president. The committee also recommended that the policy and procedures committee examine the term limits for officers. These are the recommendations brought before the entire board. The position of president was voted upon and the vote was unanimously in favor of Mrs. Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch, (who will be serving a second one year term). The recommendation for vice president from the committee is Judge Shanta' Owens. As with proper procedures, nominations were taken from the floor. Mrs. Allen nominated herself and a vote was taken. Judge Owens received 7 votes. Mrs. Allen received 2 votes. Mrs. Allen (who has served as vice president for the past two years) feels that proper procedures were not taken. Mrs. Amamoo feels that the Birmingham Public Library Board is full of qualified individuals who can serve in any capacity and if feelings were hurt, the majority rules. Mrs. Amamoo stated that Mrs. Allen, has done a great job serving as vice president for the past two years. She also feels that the board president and parliamentarians have also served the board very well. Mrs. Amamoo stated that she is a strong advocate for every board member and does not doubt their qualifications to serve in any capacity. She also stated that this is not a personal matter for her and that she serves on the board to the best of her ability and does not keep anyone in or out of any position.
Irene S. Blalock, Director