Birmingham Public Library Board Minutes
August 26, 2010
Meeting Called By
Shanta' Craig Owens, Vice-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, Samuel Rumore, Dora Sims
Call To Order
- Meeting called to order by Vice President Judge Owens.
- The invocation was given by Mrs. Allen.
- Mrs. Welch moved the approval of the consent agenda. Mr. Rumore seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.
- Nell Allen moved the approval of the July 22, 2010 minutes with two corrections: 1) to follow the changes recommended by Laura Wainright from Regions Bank regarding the Tutwiler account mid cap mutual fund from the Pioneer Mid Cap to the Goldman Sachs Mid Cap with a change in the large cap growth from the Pioneer Large Cap Growth to the American Century Large Cap Growth. This would include re-balancing the account to its target of 55% equities and 45% fixed income, and 2) To record and attach to minutes the written reports for the ALA conference submitted by Nell Allen and Dora Sims. Gwendolyn Welch seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.
- Alonzo Darrow and Leroy Bandy spoke on behalf of the Pratt City Neighborhood Association. They inquired about the following:
- the parking lot at Pratt City
- mold growing outside the library
- borrowing supplies from the library
- utilizing the library kitchen for meeting room events
- lack of supplies in the library (i.e. soap, tissue)
- Ms. Blalock will research these issues and call a meeting with the neighborhood association.
Director's Report (as reported to the board)
Finance and Budget Update
- Provided with this report are two Library Fund Budget Reports. The first is the end of year report for FY2010 and the second is the first report for FY2011. BPL's revenue was slightly higher than expenses for FY2010. I set up the budget for FY2011 to be similar to the amounts expended in FY2010 or reduced due to the budget cuts. I will adjust the amounts as the year progresses. I did not budget for gifts and grants as they are unknown at this time. As we are approved for grants and receive gifts from individuals and neighborhood associations, I will adjust the budget.
- A copy of the July City Budget Report was provided in the Board packet sent out last week. Please direct any questions to me.
City Retirement Incentive Plan
- As reported in my email dated August 25, 2010, the City of Birmingham has adopted an incentive plan to encourage employees to retire which will enable the city to reduce the number of employees and thus the city’s budget. She will keep the board informed of any developments.
- On August 17, I met with Georgia Blair and Dora Sims for my annual evaluation. I was presented with copies of the rating sheet and each board member’s completed form. I have not yet written a response to the evaluation but will have one prepared for the September board meeting. She will also present a report on my first year as director.
Buildings, Facilities and Projects Update
- East Lake Project. We have been informed that we should receive this building on or around September 12. This is contingent upon receipt and successful installation of the HVAC system and completion of the interior finishes. No delays are foreseen at this time. If this schedule is correct, we will schedule the opening for mid-October.
- Powderly Project. Opening today. As discussed in Hope Cooper’s report there are several issues being addressed that will make today’s opening less than perfect. The HVAC system is in the process of being optimized. Presently its performance is less than desirable. Bathroom fixtures are in need of strengthening. Signage is coming. The architect, the engineer, and the construction company were all on site today to discuss the HVAC and how making it work properly. Hopefully this situation will soon be resolved. The building is cooler today than it has been.
- Slossfield is closed and the equipment and furnishings removed. All usable items have been distributed across the system. The City Public Works Department has removed the HVAC units. An unsuccessful attempt was made to steal them on August 13.
Strategic Plan/Central Architectural Planning
- Clarus is conducting interviews. Most are complete. Lengthy surveys for 22 BPL staff members will go out soon. A brief survey will go out to all staff, also. Clarus staff will begin training selected BPL staff to conduct community conversations in early September. You will receive a schedule of these as soon as it is available.
- Alex Lamis and Deirdre Cerminaro of Stern Architecture made a second site visit on August 17 and 18.
In addition to discussions of options with administration, they met with Alice Walther of Clarus to discuss how they can collaborate on the two planning processes. This was a successful and valuable meeting for everyone.
- NCAAL was a huge success! Those of you who were there know that attendees to the National Conference for African American Librarians (NCAAL) earlier this month were completely wowed by Birmingham Public Library, the skills of our staff, and the hospitality shown them as planned by Pam Lyons and Janice Granger, co-chairs of the NCAAL Local Arrangements Committee. Their hard work over the past two years showed in every event. Angela Hall joined the committee in December and contributed to the success of the conference. Other staff made presentations, led tours, welcomed our guests, decorated for the welcome reception on the Friday night of the conference, gave directions, and had a great time themselves. We were all impressed with the high quality of the presentations, the enthusiasm of the attendees, and the general high energy level of each part of the conference. Hosting this conference was a great deal of work for our highly skilled staff. My favorite comment was that Birmingham “raised the bar” for future NCAAL conferences.
- Edith Major created and is using a written exit survey for all staff leaving the library for any reason. We hope to use this to improve service to the public and working conditions for our employees in the future.
Gifts and Grants Received (June and July)
- Thanks to Mrs. Welch, Mrs. Lyons, Mrs. Sims, Mrs. Major, Mrs. Granger, and other library staff for raising a total of $19,894 for the NCAAL Conference. This amount includes $6,000 from the City Council, $6,000 from the Mayor (not yet received but in process), $2500 from the Friends of the BPL, $2000 from the Huisking Foundation, $1700 from Oliver Robinson, $500 from Linda Coleman, $500 from Curtis Broom, and a number of smaller contributions as well as in kind contributions from local businesses such as Piggly Wiggly and Royal Cup. Staff was able to provide a wonderful experience for attendees thanks to these funds.
- Library staff has begun a donation campaign to raise awareness of the cuts in the library’s acquisitions budget. There is a “Donate Now” button on our Web page and, beginning in the next couple of weeks, staff will be distributing postcard size promotional pieces to inform the public of this campaign and encourage them to make donations. We would like for all board members to take the lead in making donations to this drive. The amount is not important but having all board members support the campaign is. As soon as the cards are printed Ms. Blalock will send a few to each board member to distribute. The administrative staff would very much appreciate the help of the board in spreading the word about this opportunity to support the library.
Current and Upcoming Events
- Staff continues to set up a promotional booth at the Wednesday Downtown Farmers Market. We have reached many people with information about events and services at the library.
- Save the date! We have secured a very exciting speaker for Staff Day on October 21. Sandra Nelson will reprise her very interesting and popular talk at the Public Library Association National Conference in March entitled “Reimagine, Reinvent, Reallocate: Our New Reality.” The Friends of the Birmingham Public Library have agreed to contribute $2000 to make this event possible. It will be held at Boutwell Auditorium.
Be sure to check the BPL Blog at http://bplolinenews.blogspot.com/ to keep up with all the activities going on at the library. You can subscribe and have any updates sent to your email if you have not already done so.
- Mr. Rumore inquired about the City of Birmingham's new retirement incentive plan. Ms. Blalock stated the following requirement and incentives:
- Must have one of the following: 30 years of service, be age 55 and have 25 years of service, or be age 65 and have 5 years of service
- Will receive a check for vacation pay, 80% of health insurance (single or family) paid by city, pay up to 160 hours of sick time, and receive one week of pay for each year of service.
- Ms. Blalock will have all staff who are taking the new retirement plan to write up current duties and why their jobs are essential. She also stated that current employees may be able to fill some of the positions that will become vacant.
- Mrs. Welch thanked the NCAAL Conference committee for their hard work on the 2010 NCAAL Conference.
- Mrs. Welch also encouraged all board members to continue advocating for the library and to send letters to our state senators keeping them informed of the good things going on at the library.
- Mrs. Welch attended the Guster Show and announced upcoming library events.
- Mrs. Welch distributed a copy of The Birmingham News which includes a feature about the reopening of the Powderly Library.
- Mrs. Welch thanked the board and the library stating that they library has great employees.
- Mrs. Welch asked the board to inform staff if they know of any companies that will match donations to the library.
- Gwendolyn Amamoo stated that she enjoyed the NCAAL Conference and enjoyed listening to the conference attendees' nice comments about the library and events.
- Sam Rumore graduated from library school in August 2010.
- Mr. Rumore visited four midwest presidential libraries and stated that it was important to emphasize positive aspects in any town, such as the Civil Rights Trail here in Birmingham.
- Mrs. Sims stated that she enjoyed the NCAAL Conference and learned many things. She especially enjoyed the conference session with Mr. Toomie and expressed interest in having him come to the Birmingham Public Library to speak to the board.
- Mrs. Allen thanked staff for the success of the NCAAL Conference.
- Mrs. Allen expressed the need to have trees and grass present at the Five Points West Library.
- Mrs. Allen stated that she would not support further closures of library branches.
Irene S. Blalock, Director