Birmingham Public Library Board Minutes
March 18, 2010
Central Library Boardroom
Meeting Called By
Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch, President
Type of Meeting
Regular Board Meeting
Trustees: Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch, President; Judge Shanta' Owens, Vice-President, Thomas Adams, Nell Allen, Gwendolyn R. Amamoo, Georgia Morgan Blair, Samuel Rumore, Dora Sims
Board Members Not Present
E. Bryding Adams, Reverend Anthony Johnson
Call To Order
- Meeting was called to order by President 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 Deidre Sims, library assistant at Southside Branch Library. She has been employed with BPL since 1982.
- Georgia Blair moved approval of the agenda. Samuel Rumore seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.
- Thomas Adams moved approval of the consent agenda. Georgia Blair seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.
- Thomas Adams moved approval for the director to proceed with a contract with Robert A. M. Stern Architects, LLP for renovation plans at the Central Library. The motion was approved.
Terry Oglesby, City Architect
- Powderly Branch Library construction should be completed by the end of March.
- East Lake Branch Library will have to utilize a more conventional heating system than previously planned. Work should be completed by the end of May.
- A pre-bid meeting regarding the roof at Smithfield Branch Library will be held on Thursday, March 18, 2010.
Carla Perkins, children's librarian at Avondale, gave an overview of Tot Time, 1,2,3 Play With Me and other programs for children. On behalf of the board, Dora Sims presented Carla with a certificate of recognition.
- Debbie Dahlin gave an overview of Collection Management and the purchasing process for books, CDs, DVDs, microforms, and magazines. Collection Management maintains nine online databases which are made accessible to patrons remotely and in the library. A tour of the facility is planned at the end of the meeting.
Friends Advocacy Committee
- Dora Sims reviewed the minutes from the March 3, 2010 meeting.
- Dora Sims moved approval of an annual appreciation event for the Mayor and City Council, the annual BPL Staff Day, and Patron Appreciation Day. Gwendolyn Amamoo seconded the motion.
- Nell Allen inquired about funding for the event. Dora Sims asked that board members contribute to the "Sinking Fund," which would pay for these events. Nell Allen offered a friendly amendment in which the board honor the Mayor and City Council this year only. Dora Sims accepted and seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.
- Renee Blalock stated that a previous appreciation event had cost approximately $500.
- Dora Sims requested that all board members donate at least $100 per year to the "Sinking Fund" to cover these expenses.
- Dora Sims moved approval of changing "Sinking Fund" to "Board Fund." The motion was seconded by Georgia Blair, which carried unanimously.
- Dora Sims moved approval that the board pay the Freedom to Read Foundation renewal out of the Board Fund. Sam Rumore seconded the motion. Nell Allen abstained from the vote. Gwendolyn Welch made a motion to reconsider and asked each member to pay $10 for the Freedom to Read Foundation membership. Dora Sims seconded the motion, which passed. (Gwendolyn Amamoo and Thomas Adams abstained)
- Dora Sims moved approval of the Friends Advocacy Committee meeting minutes. Gwendolyn Amamoo seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.
- Gwendolyn Welch stated that a deadline was not given for submission of additional questions for the director evaluation. Nell Allen set the deadline to submit additional questions for the director evaluation for April 1, 2010. All questions should be submitted to Nell Allen, Personnel Committee Chair.
Building, Facilities and Projects Update
- Grand re-opening program for Powderly Branch Library has been tentatively scheduled for May 23. East Lake Branch Library re-opening is not scheduled, but will probably be in early June.
Finance and Budget Update
- The Budget Office distributed budget preparation materials on Monday, March 8. Pam Lyons, Danny Dorroh, Angela Hall, and Edith Major attended budget preparation training in the Budget Office. Staff prepared the library’s budget request for FY2011 and submitted it on Monday, March 15 as required. A copy of the submittal will be sent via e-mail to the library board as soon as the Budget Office reviews and verifies accuracy.
- The budget process was very complex and differed from previous years. The City stated forecast amounts projected for the library, as they have done in the past. Instructions were given to ask for changes in these forecast amounts only for line items that are critical to our mission and necessary to maintain services at current levels. The library’s materials account was cut by $500,000, which is a bit more than a third of our budgeted amount for FY2010. The director requested that the amount be restored to present levels. Submission of this request is the first step in a long process which has started in January in past years. The only other adjustments made were for accounts for which adequate amounts were not forecast. An example is the property rental account from which we pay the rent for Eastwood Branch. This was under budget by about $34,000.
- Public hearings will be held when the Mayor submits his budget to the City Council for approval. These hearings are presently scheduled for Wednesday, May 19, with adoption scheduled for June 15. If changes are made to this schedule, the director will notify the board. Staff plans to attend the hearing and, as always, board members are welcome.
- If the proposed cuts are in the final budget for the library, a great deal of belt-tightening will be necessary. Funds currently spent for discretionary items will need to be reallocated to library materials where possible. The director has asked staff to send cost cutting ideas to her. She will continue to examine them for usable plans. Staff is reviewing a cost-cutting proposal drawn up last year.
Robert A. M. Stern Proposal
- The proposal from RAMS Architects has been received, sent to all board members, and to the City's legal department. The legal department approved the proposal. Approval of this proposal will be recommended by the director at this board meeting.
Strategic Plan Request for Proposal
- A request for a proposal to assist the library in strategic planning has been sent to Tom Thompson. The director recommends that the library solicit proposals from at least two additional firms.
- The Birmingham Library Foundation Board met on March 10. The board is in the process of updating policies and by-laws and recruiting people for the five vacant positions on the board. To this end, the board will meet monthly until these positions are filled.
- The amount of time spent on budget planning has delayed the review of the Security Manual. Staff still needs to review the manual. Once it is finalized and the electronic copy is available, the manual will be sent to all the trustees for comments and suggestions before the final draft is submitted to the city attorney and the library board for approval.
Board Travel and Conference Registration
- The travel and registration form for board members has been sent to all trustees. Trustees are asked to use this form for all future travel planning.
- The Volunteer Program Committee has written a procedures manual for volunteer recruitment, opportunities, training, and management. Final editing is in process. Staff is organizing and implementing the library’s volunteer program. The manual includes job descriptions and applications for potential volunteers. It will also contain information encouraging volunteers to join the Friends of Birmingham Public Library.
Alabama Legislative Advocacy
- Rebecca Mitchell, director of APLS, asked that board members contact local legislators and ask for their support of public libraries--especially as regards per capita state aid--in the budget for FY 2011. A copy of this memo is provided. The director and Jennifer Neely have prepared a document showing libraries in each board member's district with accompanying legislators and contact information.
Gifts and Grants Received
- Georgia Blair, representing the Progressive Democrats, donated $50 to North Birmingham Regional Library. The North Birmingham Crochet Class donated $100 to North Birmingham Regional Library. Kathleen Papagni donated $300 to the Public Services Department of the Central Library.
Current and Upcoming Events
- Alabama Illustrated: Engravings from 19th Century Newspapers is on display in the Library Gallery from February 13 through March 31. Jim Baggett will present a gallery talk on Sunday, March 21 at 3:00 p.m.
The Big Read continues through April. Check the Reader for events and programs.
Alabama Bound, a major event of The Big Read, will take place at Central Library on March 20 and will feature The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain. Will Stutts will appear as Mark Twain. A panel including Dr. Jacqueline Wood, Chandra Sparks-Taylor, Faye Gibbbons, Alan Gribben, and Ted Dunagan will recount their experiences with Tom Sawyer. Dolores Hydock will present a program entitled: Dead Cats and Spunk Water: Superstitions and Strange Logic in the Writing of Mark Twain. The winner of Word Up! will also appear. For a special treat, Irondale Café will cater lunch for $10 a plate.
- On April 11, a memorial, including a plaque and the planting of a horse chestnut tree like the one Anne Frank could see from her hiding place window, will be dedicated at 3:00 p.m. in Kelly Ingram Park. BPL is a partner in this program.
- The library is partnering with the Birmingham Metro NAACP to present a celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Arthur Harold Parker. The library’s major contribution will be to establish an online exhibit about Dr. Parker’s life and his impact on education in Birmingham.
Be sure to check the BPL Blog at http://bplolinenews.blogspot.com/ to keep up with all the activities going on at this library. You can subscribe and have any updates sent to your email if you have not already done so.
- Dora Sims encouraged board members to speak with legislators to garner support for LSTA funding.
- Sam Rumore's wife's book has been published. It is an Alabama history book that is told from the perspective of attorneys.
- April Odom stated that it was Jim Holbrook's recommendation that the library take a cut in the budget.
- On behalf of the board Gwendolyn Welch sent cards to Claudette Camp and Calberta Atkinson and letters of sympathy to the widow of Joe Williston, and to former director Barbara Sirmans, on the death her mother. Gwendolyn Welch asked the director to inform the board when an employee dies. She acknowledged the wonderful presentation to Echo Highlands Neighborhood Association by Rochelle Sides-Renda, Coordinator of the Eastern Region. She said that the board should always let staff know that they are appreciated. She also stated that the evaluation of the library director must be done in an open meeting, according to the Open Meeting Act. She thanked the Department of Archives for assisting Birmingham City Schools in researching Washington Elementary School's history. She asked that BPL review the possibility of increasing meeting room rental fees and allowing bridal showers, etc. in meeting rooms. She plans to retire from Birmingham City Schools on June 30, 2010. She made a donation in memory of Mrs. Mary Lee Gray Speights, mother of Mrs. Barbara Allen, to the Board Fund or BCALA fund, if needed.
- Gwendolyn Amamoo expressed appreciation for Gwendolyn Welch's leadership as the library board presdient. She encouraged the board to contact Bettina Boateng, who informed her that several openings for media spots are available during the weekends in April.
- Georgia Morgan Blair congratulated Dora Sims on the exceptional job she has done with the Friends/Advocacy Committee. She is a Civil Rights Foot Soldier and expressed interest in participating in the Civil Rights Tour at the NCAAL Conference in August.
- Pamela Lyons ask the board to help promote and support the library during the NCAAL Conference on August 4-9, 2010. She gave an overview of the proposed agenda and the welcome reception, which will be held at Central Library on Friday, August 5, 2010, from 6:30-9:00 p.m.
- Alabama Bound will take place this weekend.
- BPL is making a special effort to let the media know of all the activities that the library supports.
Irene S. Blalock, Secretary