Birmingham Public Library Board Minutes
January 27, 2011
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; Nell Allen, Gwendolyn R. Amamoo, Georgia Morgan Blair, Reverend Anthony Johnson, Patricia Rumore, Samuel Rumore, Dora Sims, Judge Scott Vowell, Katrina Watson
Call To Order
- Meeting called to order by Mrs. Welch.
- Mrs. Blair moved the approval of the agenda. Nell Allen seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.
Swearing In Ceremony
- Mrs. Watson and Judge Vowell, new library board members, were sworn in by Judge Owens.
Farah Ferguson was recognized for her editorial to The Birmingham News supporting libraries and her work at Springville Road Library. Pat Rumore presented her with a certificate of recognition.
- Christopher Roddy was recognized for his work at the East Ensley Library. Judge Scott Vowell presented him with a certificate of recognition.
- Marti Ball was recognized for her work at Inglenook Library. Katrina Watson presented her with a certificate of recognition.
- Shauntice Allen and Alice Walther with Clarus Consulting presented the proposed strategic plan to the board.
- Mrs. Blair moved to accept the strategic plan presented by Clarus and to begin the process of creating study groups. Mrs. Sims seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.
- Ms. Blalock presented the board with a written annual report. (Attached)
- A short powerpoint was presented.
Nominating Committee Report
- Mrs. Amamoo announced the nominations for the 2011 library board officers. Mrs. Welch was nominated for the president position and was unopposed. Mrs. Sims, Mr. Rumore, and Mrs. Amamoo were nominated for the vice-president position. Mrs. Amamoo rescinded her name from the nomination.
- Mrs. Amamoo moved the approval of Mrs. Welch as the 2011 library board president. Mrs. Blair seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.
- Mrs. Amamoo moved the approval of Mrs. Sims and Mr. Rumore's nominations for Vice-President. Judge Owens seconded the motion and a vote was taken. Mrs. Sims received eight votes and Mr. Rumore recieved two votes. Mrs. Sims will be the new vice president of the library board.
- Mrs. Allen stated that the Personnel Committee will meet on Thursday, February 3 at 11:00 a.m.
- Administration will forward the twelve job specifications to the committee to review before the February 3 meeting.
Director's Report (as reported by the director)
Buildings, Facilities and Projects Update
- For details, see Ms. Hall’s Buildings Report.
- The major problem we have experienced in the past month is the failure of the heating system at the East Lake Branch. The City Architect is working on these problems. A good deal of work has been done and it appears to be functioning now.
- East Ensley heating has failed but equipment to replace it is on order and will be installed by the city as soon as it arrives.
Finance and Budget Update
- A copy of the Library Fund Budget and a copy of the November City Budget Report are provided in the board packet. Please, let me know if you have any questions.
- I have written to the Mayor and the City Council President requesting that some of the budget surplus reported this month in the newspaper be used to partially restore the library’s acquisitions budget. I have also spoken in person with the City Finance Director and Councilor Kim Rafferty regarding this issue. Board members are also encouraged to speak to their council representative.
Personnel Procedures Changes Update
- The new procedure by which the board personnel chair and board president will approve all hires before they are made has been instituted and is working well.
- We have been told which positions from the VRIP the library may hire but have not been given permission to advertise and fill them. The City will allow us to fill 12 of the 25 positions left vacant by retirements in December. Most troubling is that they will only allow us to fill one Coordinator position, Information Technology, and will not allow us to fill the vacant Associate Director position. We are still managing using our temporary plan and are adjusting it wherever circumstances warrant. The library’s staff has been extremely cooperative and supportive by doing whatever each can to keep the library open, functioning properly and serving the public.
- We are doing well but everyone will be very glad when we can make the hires and get to what will be normal for the library.
The Library Hiring Procedures have been revised with changes proposed by the director at the board’s December meeting. The revised procedures will be presented at the January meeting.
- I have sent information regarding the reclassification of the neighborhood branch head position to the City Personnel Office and to the Mayor’s chief of operations and chief of staff. Personnel Director Peggy Polk has responded that the matter is under discussion. Annualized cost for the first year will be $22,209. I will keep you posted on further developments.
Life Without our 25 Retirees
- I have thought a great deal about what will help keep the library excellent in the future with less staff and I am beginning to understand some of what we must do. First of all the remaining staff must perform at the highest level possible. Work at a public library is all about service but underlying that service are a million details that must be correct or staff will waste a great deal of time redoing, correcting, and fixing problems and mistakes. Therefore, I am emphasizing accuracy, follow-through and ensuring that all managers and supervisors both provide themselves and require of their staff the best possible performance. For example, our time clock and time card system instituted by the City a few years ago is very cumbersome so people tend to not do it correctly. This causes extra time to be spent by supervisors, department heads, coordinators, and the associate director not to mention the personnel officer and staff in Administration. I have instituted a new policy of zero tolerance for errors on time cards and have instructed all supervisors to ensure complete accuracy. We cannot obtain a new and less cumbersome timecard system, but we can reduce the time spent on this one by this policy. As we move through this process there will be other areas that can be streamlined and improved. We plan to emphasize understanding, timeliness, and accuracy in all of the processes we per-form in order to provide excellent service.
- I worked my first weekend as the “in-charge coordinator.” It was very interesting. I really got in touch with my public librarian roots and was reaffirmed in my belief in the importance of the BPL in the lives of Birmingham’s citizens. I was amazed to see the dozens of people lined up by 1:30 on Sunday to get in when the library opened—families, seniors, children, etc.—really all kinds of folks. I worked the circulation desk and was kept busy checking out books, DVDs, audio books, etc. I also answered the phones part of the time and could not believe how many times it rang. I slept very well both nights!
- A problem has arisen with our Computer Commons, formerly known as the computer cluster, at the Central Library making the opening date a little later than we had anticipated. The IT staff is working on a solution.
- Santa’s visits to Central and the regional branches were very successful. Hundreds of children and parents left very happy with their picture and gift.
- I have appointed a task force to work to update and make necessary revisions to the BPL Staff Manual. We hope to be able to present a draft for approval of the board soon.
- The African American Book List is at the City Print Shop and is expected to be ready in time for this board meeting.
- I attended ALA Midwinter. I have been asked to serve out the term of a retiring member of the PLA Board of Directors which I will do through ALA Annual in New Orleans in June. I also represent PLA on the ALA Advocacy Coordinating Committee.
- All BPL locations and the Youth Services Committee have presented our annual MLK Scavenger Hunt in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King. Prize books were awarded. The winners were drawn from participants.
Gifts and Grants Received
- We were saddened by the death of Bill Ricker, a long time regular patron of the library as well as a public figure at City Hall. In his obituary people were asked to donate to the BPL in his memory. So far we have received $326. We especially appreciated the quote that the family included: “[the library is] the strongest and most positive influence on the people of the city.” Staff has prepared a resolution to present to Mr. Ricker’s family.
- An item of interest--I was talking with a library director from a large and famous library in the Midwest at Midwinter. She was telling me about their first annual fund solicitation which raised over $9000 and she was pleased with this amount. Hearing this made me really proud of BPL since we are now above $26,000 for our campaign. I resisted the urge to brag!
- BPL Campaign 2010—From December 16-January 21--$2,891.
- The “Donate Now” button on our Web page is extremely easy to use. We would like for all board member to make a donation to this drive. The amount is not important but having all board mem-bers support the campaign is.
Current and Upcoming Events
- Bards and Brews will be on February 4 at the Central Library at 6:30. (Attendees must be 18 or over and IDs will be checked.)
Please help spread the word: SaveFirst, a free tax help program that is sponsored by Impact Alabama, will operate out of Woodlawn, Smithfield, and West End branches from January 17 through the week of March 5.
- Valentines for Children’s Hospital - Stop by the Children's Department to make a Valentine for the pa-tients at Children's Hospital. All ages welcome. January 20th – February 11th. Supplies will be provided by the library.
The library catalog including patron account services is now available on your mobile phone. We are very excited about this. To access it go to http://m.vulcan.bham.lib.al.us/ from your phone. You can also download an icon so you can go directly to it with out putting in the url. Try it and let us know what you think.
- Dial a Story - Call 226-3650 to listen to a great story over the phone!
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.
- Mrs. Amamoo moved approval to register the board for a series of five ALTAFF online courses at the price of $225.00. Mrs. Sims seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.
- Per Mrs. Amamoo's request, Ms. Blalock will look into having special interest books marked at each Library. Mrs. Welch stated that if this is done, it must be the same system wide.
- Mrs. Blair asked whether or not Ms. Blalock has approached the City for more funding and Renee Blalock stated that it had already been done.
- Mrs. Sims stated that her Midwinter report mirrored the strategic plan.
- Mrs. Welch requested that board members submit articles to "The Voice," the ALTAFF Newsletter, for possible publication. Mrs. Welch also requested that Mr. Rumore serve as Parliamentarian for the 2011 Board year.
- Mr. Rumore congratulated Mrs. Sims on being elected vice-president of the board. Mr. Rumore stated that one day a week he will be working at the University of Alabama Law School Library on curating the Nina Miglionico collection. Mrs. Allen congratulated Mrs. Welch, Mrs. Sims, and Mr. Rumore on their board office appointments. Mrs. Allen also welcomed Mrs. Watson to the Board and stated that she enjoyed the Structured Interview Training.
- Reverend Johnson stated that he is looking forward to Titusville hosting the February board meeting and he also congratulated Mrs. Welch, Mr. Rumore, and Mrs. Sims on their board office appointments. Reverend Johnson also welcomed Mrs. Watson and Judge Vowell to the board.
- Mrs. Amamoo congratulated Mrs. Welch and Mrs. Sims on their nominations for national level positions for ALTAFF.
- Ms. Rumore requested that the board discuss her role as president of the friends.
- Mrs. Sims thanked everyone for their support on her appointment to vice-president of the board. Mrs. Sims also welcomed Mrs. Watson and Judge Vowell to the board.
- Mrs. Watson stated that she was glad to be on the Library Board and would like to get to know each Board member outside of the Board.
- Mrs. Welch thanked the board for her re-election as president and stated that she met Mrs. Watson when she spoke to the Birmingham Change Fund. Mrs. Welch also suggested that each board member submit anyone they know that may serve well as an advisory member of a board committee.
Irene S. Blalock, Director