Birmingham Public Library Board Minutes
June 28, 2012
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, Georgia Morgan Blair, Samuel Rumore, Dora Sims, Judge Scott Vowell, Katrina Watson, Dr. Monique Gardner-Witherspoon
Call To Order
- Meeting called to order by President Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch.
- Farah Ferguson gave the invocation and was presented with a certificate of appreciation.
- Georgia Blair moved the approval of the agenda with the following addition: Samuel Rumore added agenda item "Board Presentation". Dora Sims seconded the motion, which passed.
- Judge Vowell moved the approval of the consent agenda. Georgia Blair seconded the motion, which passed.
- Mr. Bobby E. Horne, President of the North Avondale Neighborhood Association, urged the Library Board to employ armed security officers at the North Avondale Library from 3:00 until closing time.
- Tracey Williams with Volkert and Associates was presented with a certificate of appreciation for their services to the Birmingham Public Library.
- Billy Conner and Rod Zeigler were presented with certificates of recognition for completing the Jefferson County's Manager and Supervisor Course.
- Marie Nash was presented with a certificate of recognition along with $25.00 for winning the "Special" Award.
- Marguerite Scott was presented with a certificate of recognition along with $25.00 for winning the "I Am BPL" Award.
- Teresa Ceravolo was presented with a certificate of recognition along with $100.00 for programming for winning the People Enriching Lives (P.E.L.) Grant.
- Saundra Ross was presented with a certificate of recognition along with $100.00 for programming for winning the People Enriching Lives (P.E.L.) Grant.
- Gwendolyn Welch was presented with a resolution from the Library Board honoring her for winning the 2012 ALTAFF Trustee Citation Award.
City Architect, Gary Ohlman
- North Birmingham roof replacement will begin on Monday, July 2, 2012 and will take approximately three months to complete.
- Inglenook will receive ADA upgrades which will be done by Hoskins Architecture.
- The bidding for construction on the Pratt City Library will open at 1:00 on June 28, 2012.
Legal, Fred Fullerton
- The Library Board went into executive session to discuss personnel and legal issues.
- Judge Vowell moved that the Library Board confirms the recommendation from the Director to not renew the contract discussed in executive session. Nell Allen seconded the motion, which passed with a 7-1 vote. (Georgia Blair abstained)
- The Personnel Committee met to compile the Director's Evaluation scores. The final score was 83.98% and Renee Blalock was also given a performance improvement plan.
- Georgia Blair moved that the Board accept the information coming from the Personnel Committee. Dora Sims, seconded the motion, which carried with a 7-1 vote. (Nell Allen abstained)
- Gwendolyn Welch attended three of the City Council budget hearings in which Councilors Abbott, Hoyt, Parker, and Rafferty have put the Library on their "wish list". They added $51,254.44 to the Personnel line item and $100,000 to the Materials line item. Mayor Bell included a 5% merit increase and the City Council added a 1% cost of living allowance. The revised budget has been sent to Mayor Bell for review.
- Jennifer Neely will be taking t-shirt sizes as well as new business card orders for the Library Board. Please look over the Board directory emailed to you and let Jennifer Neely know of any changes.
- BIG Communications will be filming PSA's with Vonetta Flowers, 2002 Olympic Gold winner and these ads will begin airing on July 27, 2012.
- Georgia Blair suggested that the Library share with the public the winners of the Board funded awards and grants.
Finance and Budget Update
- Let me know if you have any questions regarding the budget reports. If you look at the Personnel section you will note that at the end of May we had spent a good bit less than budgeted. I did a little math and figured we will not spend at least 5% of this part of our budget which is just over $600,000.
- At this time I have no more information regarding the FY2013 budget and the reductions to the library's acquisitions funding. Many patrons and staff have written to or called members of the City Council to urge them to restore our funding.
Update of Library and Director Activities
- The BPL Foundation has hired Big Communications to help us hone our message, plan for marketing the library in the run up to the bond election and other fund raising efforts. They will also be helping us in our logo launch and the establishment of our young professionals group. The Foundation Board continues to work to expand its membership and to position the library for the fund raising activities anticipated to achieve BPL's goal of making all of its facilities attractive, fit for contemporary use, and well maintained.
- Plans and steps toward the formation of a young professionals group for BPL are progressing nicely. The formation of the group will be advertised in August and September and we hope to begin meetings and other activities later in the fall. The staff working on this project are Alisha Johnson, Kelsey Bates, and Ben Peterson. The 25 to 40 years old demographic is targeted for membership in this group.
- Pratt City Branch rebuilding project is proceeding according to schedule. Bids will be opened on June 28. This project has stayed on schedule very well.
- We went to City Council on Tuesday June 19 to support our board president, Gwendolyn Welch, who received a resolution honoring her for the award she received from ALA/ALTAFF for being outstanding trustee for 2012. She was nominated by Dora Sims and Gwendolyn Amamoo both separately, which is very unusual for this award.
- Notice to proceed for the North Birmingham project has been issued and the project will begin on July 2. Service to the public ends Sunday, June 24 and the staff will spend the following week storing, wrapping and preparing the library and its contents for the duration of the project. Staff will work at various locations throughout the system according to the plan originally made when the branch was scheduled to close earlier this year.
- I informed the City of the Board's decision to cancel plans for a temporary library in Pratt City.
- I participated in a research project interview by Brad Bishop of the University of Kentucky library school regarding libraries, disasters, and community resilience. Talking about the April 27, 2011 storm and the resulting damage reminded me of the strong team spirit of the BPL staff and how collaborative they are in all that they do especially in the support they give each other in times of need. As I told the interviewer, we (BPL) have accomplished far more than could be expected knowing our limited resources by forming teams and working together for the good of the library and the people of Birmingham. I think he was also impressed with the support we received from the Alabama Public Library Service, and the support from our sister libraries in the Jefferson County Library Cooperative, and the support we gave to the Pleasant Grove Library and its community. It really made me feel good to be able to say that the library and its staff really contribute to the resilience of our community.
- A representative from the Birmingham Office of the EEOC provided training on all laws covered by them. Branch and department heads attended this training on June 20 at the Central Library. The emphasis of the training was the importance of supervisors and managers knowing and understanding employee rights and their responsibility to make sure that our policies are understood and followed by all. In the past few months, we have done a great deal of training for branch and department heads regarding best practices for management and supervision including evaluations, library policies and procedures, and the law. More sessions are planned over the next few months. A record of all training is kept by our HR staff in a database so that at any time we can provide information to staff and/or supervisors about the training each employee has received.
We have submitted the grant proposal for SmartInvesting@Your Library (http://www.finrafoundation.org/grants/library/) which, as I reported last month, is funded by cooperation between the American Library Association and the FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) Investor Education Foundation (http://www.finrafoundation.org/). This program funds public library efforts to provide library patrons and others with access to effective, unbiased, financial education resources. We will hear if we are funded in December.
- Summer reading programs are in full force at all BPL locations for all ages. A packet of materials used for these programs is provided for your information. I think you will be amazed at the variety and number of these programs. We received a grant from Alabama Power of $5,000 to support this service. It's a really exciting year for the adult program especially. Participation has gone from dozens the first year (2010) to hundreds this year. One reason these numbers have increased is that we are encouraging parents of children registered for the program to also join to let their children see them reading and enjoying books. This is an important way to encourage children, especially reluctant readers to read. We are also emphasizing the importance of reading in the summer to help students retain learning from the previous year and start the next year without the "summer slide" in readiness for the next grade. The Cotchery Foundation, headed by Jericho Cotchery who plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers, is funding the special football incentive part of the reading program again this year. The annual Tailgate Party will be held at Central on Friday, June 22 and the Skills and Drills one day training camp will be held at Legion Field on June 23. In order to participate in the football camp kids must register for the library's summer reading program and record titles of books they have read. The Cotchery's have been our partners and sponsors in these events for four years. Participation has grown each year. 470 tickets to the Tailgate Party have been distributed.
- The Youth Services Committee, which has staff from all locations, has done a really outstanding job in planning and producing these excellent programs. It is their creativity, dedication, and hard work that have resulted in BPL being named one of the Top Ten Libraries for Youth earlier this year by Livability.com. By planning system wide and working together we are able to provide wonderful experiences for the kids in Birmingham each summer.
- BPL staff are working with the Mayor's Office on plans for celebrating 2013, the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham. BPL staff has scheduled a number of special programs to be presented at our libraries throughout the year.
Donations and Funds Received
- Avondale Business Association gave $800 to support the 2012 Summer Reading Program at the Avondale Branch.
- Smithfield Neighborhood Association gave $1,000 to purchases materials and equipment for the Smithfield Branch.
- South Roebuck/Roebuck Springs Neighborhood Association gave $750 to the Springville Road Branch for supplies and materials.
- Wahouma Neighborhood Association gave $5,000 to the East Lake Branch for books and equipment.
- Crestline Neighborhood Association gave $3,000 to the Eastwood Branch for books and library materials.
Exhibits in Central's Gallery
- June 4— July 20: Photographs by Eudora Welty, traveling exhibit by the History Museum of Mobile
- Both Sides of the Lens: Photographs by the Shackelford Family, Fayette County, Alabama (1910-1935) will feature 40 photographs from BPL's collection of early 20th century glass plate negatives taken by a family of African-American photographers who lived in Covin, Alabama. The exhibition will open at BPL on July 24 with a reception and a lecture by Psyche Williams-Forson, Associate Professor of American Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. Dr. Williams-Forson is an expert on African-American material culture.
- BPL's Common Bonds has been hung at the Five Points West Branch. This is an exhibit curated by our staff a few years ago that uses snapshots taken in Birmingham from 1900 to 1950 to showcase family activities and themes of everyday experiences of people living in Birmingham from all classes and races.
- 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.
Sign up for the BPLinks newsletter at http://www.bplonline.org/programs/
- Katrina Watson is very happy with the neighborhood donations to the Library and is proud to be on the Library Board. Katrina Watson also suggested publicizing the Director's Report and holding a check presentation ceremony when neighborhood's donate to the Library.
- Samuel Rumore will be a guest speaker in a library school public library course online.
- Nell Allen congratulated Samuel Rumore on being chosen as a guest speaker for a public library school course and she also congratulated staff on winning the awards and grants. Nell Allen also made the suggestion that Board members should not be involved in choosing winners for BPL's awards and grants.
- Dr. Witherspoon congratulated Gwendolyn Welch on winning the 2012 ALTAFF Trustee Citation Award.
- Dora Sims congratulated the Board Fund award recipients and encouraged all Board members to contribute to the Board fund. Dora Sims also attended ALA Annual and will have a report for the July 26, 2012 Board meeting and will serve as the ALA Annual Program Chair.
- Georgia Blair thanked the Personnel Committee on the Director's Evaluation process and she also congratulated Gwendolyn Welch on winning the 2012 ALTAFF Trustee Citation Award which is published in June's edition of the ALTAFF Voice. Georgia Blair has been asked to serve on the ALA Annual Awards Committee and the Legislative Intellectual Freedom and Advocacy Committee.
- Gwendolyn Welch continues to visit Library branches and encourages all Board members to do the same. Gwendolyn Welch reminded all Board members that even though you may not agree, the decision of the Board as a whole is final. Lyord Watson is now the chair of the Awards Committee and is working very hard to improve the process as a whole.
- Angela Hall are in the process of planning to complete minor upgrades to the branch libraries. Angela Hall also encouraged Board members to attend some of the Library's Summer Reading programs.
Irene S. Blalock, Secretary