Birmingham Public Library Board Minutes
April 22, 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; Bryding Adams, Nell Allen,Gwendolyn R. Amamoo, Georgia Morgan Blair, Reverend Anthony Johnson, Samuel Rumore, Dora Sims
Board Members Not Attending
Call To Order
- Meeting called to order by President Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch.
- Ms. 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 Marie Nash, library assistant III at the North Avondale Branch Library. She has been employed with BPL since 1984.
Terry Oglesby, City Architect
- The Titusville Branch Library roof is ready for the bidding process.
- The City is in the process of exploring alternatives for the roof top air conditioning units at North Birmingham Regional Library.
Birmingham City Schools Superintendent, Dr. Craig Witherspoon
- Dr. Witherspoon visited with the library board and looks forward to working with the board in the future. Dr. Witherspoon presented a reading challenge to students for the summer reading program.
- Janine Langston gave the superintendent an overview of the summer reading program.
- Yolanda Hardy, from Smithfield Brach Library, gave an overview of the branch and was presented a certificate of recognition. She has been employed with BPL for over thirty years.
- Georgia Blair moved approval of the consent agenda. Bryding Adams seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.
Long Range Planning Committee Report
- Ms. Blair distributed and reviewed the minutes from the April 19, 2010 Long Range Planning Committee meeting.
- Ms. Blair moved approval of the Long Range Planning Committee minutes including, hiring Clarus Consulting Group, Inc. to develop a strategic plan for the library. Bryding Adams seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.
- Ms. Sims requested that all board members donate to the Board Fund. Donations made to this fund will be used to sponsor an appreciation luncheon for the Mayor and the City Council. The luncheon will be held sometime in June.
- Ms. Sims received a quote from Eason Caterers for the event. Administration will request a proposal from Creative Catering by Ambrosia.
Buildings, Facilities, and Projects Update
- Grand re-opening program for Powderly Branch Library has been changed and is now tentatively scheduled for May 27, following the monthly board meeting which will be held at Powderly. Should the date changes, Board members will be notified. A date has not been set for the reopening of East Lake Branch Library.
- Smithfield Branch Library will be closed for the installation of its new roof. This will be soon but a specific date has not yet been determined. This is one of the projects funded through the Alabama Public School and College Education Fund.
Finance and Budget Update
- The Budget Office redistributed budget preparation materials to all City departments. On Monday, April 19, the library was given instructions to cut the budget, with the alternative of having the Mayor's Office do it. Administration and staff have gone over the request and have cut wherever possible.
- The City has stopped making any payments from the FY2010 budget in order to close the budget gap caused by lack of revenue. Ms. Blalock has instructed staff to cease making orders.
- These cuts will require a great deal of belt tightening on the part of the library. Funds presently spent for discretionary items will need to be reallocated to library materials wherever possible. Ms. Blalock continues to review cost-cutting measures and has instructed the library business office not to process orders that have not been approved by administration. Ms. Blalock stated that the Library Fund must be conserved as much as possible.
Associate Director Performance Evaluations
- Angela Hall received her three-month evaluation with very high marks. Ms. Hall’s performance is excellent. She is a very quick study and began to make a real contribution to the library from her first day. She will receive a six-month evaluation in July. Pam Lyons will receive an evaluation this month.
Alex Lamis, (Robert A. M. Stern) Site Visit
- Members of the staff, library board, and Foundation, and Friends members spent two days meeting with Alex Lamis and Deirdre Cerminaro. They toured both buildings. Library staff provided almost all of the requested information, including pictures of both buildings at the times they opened, questionnaires completed by staff, reports on items such as the linear feet of shelves in the public areas and the stack areas, and other pertinent information.
Strategic Plan Request for Proposal
- Staff sought and received four proposals from local firms to assist the library in writing a strategic plan for the whole system. Staff met with the Long Range Planning Committee to propose selection of the firm best suited to perform this work. The staff is recommending Clarus Consulting Group.
- The Birmingham Library Foundation Board met on April 5. The board finalized the list of people they will seek to recruit for the five vacant positions on the Foundation Board. Staff is working on presentation materials to aid in interviews with the prospective members.
Itty Bitty Scavenger Hunt
- The Central Library was featured last month in The Birmingham News annual photo scavenger hunt. Dozens of people visited the library each day during March, squinting at the hunt form and diligently looking around the library. We were especially busy during Spring Break week with patrons making the most of this and all Birmingham has to offer the “staycationer.”
Gifts and Grants Received
- Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch--$100 in memory of Mrs. Mary Lee Gray Speights
- Community Development--$5,134.92
Five Points West From Ensley Highlands--$2,500
Pratt City from Smithfield Estates--$634.92
West End from Oakwood Place--$2,000
BPL@Night from the Daniel Foundation--$5,000
Word Up Competition from Regions Bank--$500
Current and Upcoming Events
- BPL is a participant in the Research on Energy Saving Opportunities in Libraries – Image Permanence Institute (Rochester Institute of Technology) IMLS National Leadership Grant 2009-2012. This project focuses on the long term effects of enery cutbacks on collection preservation. We are one of five library partners, including New York Public Library, University of California, Los Angeles, Cornell University, and Yale University. The project team from Rochester will be here next week working with library and City of Birmingham Public Works staff to set up the process and train staff in the procedures for the project.
- “Alabama Illustrated: Engravings from 19th Century Newspapers” continues in the Library Gallery until “Pride and Passion: the African American Experience in Baseball” goes up on May 1. (The Academy of Fine Arts “Southern Roots” exhibit was canceled.)
- The Big Read “Last Page” Event will take place in Linn Park during the Magic City Art Connection from 11:30 to 12:30 on Saturday, April 24. Jim Aycock will entertain and there will be art activities for children.
- Library staff is participating in the March of Dimes Walk on Saturday, April 24, at the UAB Mini Park. Participation from the library board would be welcome.
The library is partnering with the Birmingham Metro NAACP to present a celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Arthur Harold Parker. Cake will be served at the Central Library at 12 noon and at 3:00 PM at the Smithfield Branch on Friday, May 7. The NAACP will present a program in Dr. Parker’s honor at 6 p.m. in the Linn Henley Auditorium on May 7. The library has created an online exhibit about Dr. Parker’s life and his impact on education in Birmingham. It can be found at: http://www.bplonline.org/resources/exhibits/ParkerA.H/gallery/parker/index.html.
- Summer Reading is starting early with “Score Big" and "Make Waves @ Your Library and the Cotchery Foundation.” This is a special program funded by Jericho and Mercedes Cotchery which encourages children to read. A letter from Mercedes Cotchery is attached for your information.
- The library will have 26 summer workers (aged 14 and 15) from the Division of Youth Services Kids and Jobs program is this summer. They will be spread throughout the system and will be with us from June 7 through July 2.
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.
- Nell Allen stated that the Director's evaluation will remain as is in November. Each Board member was asked to get a copy from the secretary.
- Ms. Welch stated that the NCAAL Conference will be held on August 4-8, 2010 in Birmingham and encouraged all board members interested in attending to contact Jennifer Neely by Friday, April 30, 2010 so that the early bird registration bundle can be used.
- Gwendolyn Welch stated that she is having administration research the salary for Angela Fisher Hall. She noticed that some of Angela's subordinates had a greater annual salary that she does.
- Ms. Blair stated that the library board should invite Jay Roberson and other City Council members to visit the library.
- Ms. Allen stated that the Learning Tree Park at Five Points West is shaping up. It is not complete but is over halfway there. She also thanked Virginia Guthrie for all of her help with the park.
- Ms. Sims distributed and reviewed her notes from the recent PLA and ALLA conferences.
- Ms. Blair attended PLA and stressed the importance of employee and staff safety at the library.
- Mr. Rumore gave an update on his attendance at PLA.
- Ms. Welch distributed and reviewed her notes from PLA. She attended the Turning the Page presentation and suggested that the library develop and articulate an advocacy plan.
Irene S. Blalock, Secretary