Birmingham Public Library Board Minutes
October 23, 2014
Central Library Boardroom
Meeting Called By
Gwendolyn R. Amamoo, President
Type of Meeting
Regular Board Meeting
Trustees: Gwendolyn R. Amamoo, President; Georgia Morgan Blair, Vice-President; Patty A. Pilkerton, Kimberly Richardson, Samuel Rumore, Dora Sims, Judge Scott Vowell, Katrina Watson, Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch
Call To Order
- Meeting called to order by President Gwendolyn R. Amamoo.
- Samuel Rumore gave the invocation.
- Georgia Blair moved the approval of the agenda adding the "Executive Search Committee Report" and deleting "Nicole King, City Attorney's Report." Dora Sims seconded the motion, which passed.
- Georgia Blair moved the approval of the consent agenda with a change to the minutes under "Board Member's Comments"- Kimberly Richardson clarified that her daughter was accepted to participate in a leadership program through Altamont School and she wants to focus on helping the library. Dora Sims seconded the motion, which passed.
Terry Oglesby, City Architect
- The foundation testing at the North Avondale and Titusville libraries has been completed. Both sites have high plasticity (easily expands and contracts) soil and the plan is to get fee proposals from a construction engineering company so that drilling may be done in order to reach soil that is not damaged. This process is expensive. North Avondale has noticeable cracks in the interior walls and Titusville has cracks in the tile in the restrooms and the floor slab has dropped down in the meeting room. Currently, there is no structural damage, although the repairs should be completed as soon as possible.
- The Smithfield Library outdoor sign has cracked. The interior anchors have come loose from the interior of the sign. In anticipation of the Magic City Classic, Public Works has placed a barricade around the sign just as a precaution; however, the barricade must remain in place until additional work is completed. There are currently three options: 1. remove the panels and reattach with an estimated cost of $35,692; 2. demolition the structure and save the granite panels with an estimated cost of $22,425; 3. have Public Works demolish the remaining structure at possibly no cost to the library.
Long Range Planning Committee Report
The Long Range Planning Committee met on Monday, October 13, 2014 at 8:30 a.m. The minutes are attached.
- There were three main points that were discussed. The priority building maintenance/repair list for Tyrone Silmon, Mayor's Office Representative, the Library Board retreat, and the Eastwood lease agreement.
- Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch suggested that City Hall dynamics be added to the discussion items at the Library Board retreat.
- Kimberly Richardson suggested that the Library Board incorporate items from the library's strategic plan for discussion at monthly Library Board meetings.
- Angela Fisher Hall will send an electronic copy of the strategic plan to the entire Library Board.
- Judge Scott Vowell moved the approval for Interim Director, Angela Fisher Hall, to move forward in exploring possible opportunities for the future of the Eastwood Library. Dora Sims seconded the motion, which passed.
- Judge Scott Vowell moved to include a Foundation Board representative in the upcoming Library Board retreat. Patty A. Pilkerton seconded the motion, which passed.
- Judge Scott Vowell moved the approval to move forward with the Library Board retreat plans before a new Library Director is hired. Dora Sims seconded the motion, which passed with a 7-2 vote. (Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch and Georgia Blair voted "No")
Advocacy, Fundraising, and Development Committee
The Advocacy, Fundraising, and Development Committee met on Monday, October 20, 2014 at 3:30 p.m. The minutes are attached.
- Dr. Regina Ammon suggested that a Foundation Board representative be placed on the Library Board posters that will be displayed at all Birmingham Public Library locations.
- Angela Hall, Interim Director, will forward the timeline and City ordinance change which reflects removing the Friends President as a voting member of the Library Board.
Executive Search Committee
- A draft of the Library Director job description was distributed.
- Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch moved the approval of the Library Director's job description along with the amendments. Dora Sims seconded the motion, which passed. (Judge Scott Vowell abstained from voting)
Interim Director's Report
Overview of Activities for this Period
- Our staff worked extremely hard on this year's Eat Drink Read Write (EDRW) Festival which took place from October 3-10, 2014. We recorded more than 800 participants over the week-long period. Thanks to all BPL Trustees who attended. This year's festival had several new features including an outdoor festival in Avondale Park; a closing event titled "Birmingham's Best Bites" that included samples of great dishes from area chefs and restaurants; a children's recipe competition; and a cookbook with favorite recipes from area chefs and restaurants. Also on the final night, BPL's own coffee blend was unveiled.
- Congresswoman Terri Sewell visited the Central Library on Thursday, October 9 as she hosted her annual Military Academies Night—an opportunity to interest local students in scholarship opportunities available to attend the countries 5 military academies. Last year a student in attendance at the BPL program received a scholarship to West Point.
- Staff Day 2014 took place at the Southern Museum of Flight. Our Staff Day Planning Committee worked for the past 8 months to make this year's training day the best yet—and based on early reviews from staff, they succeeded. An evaluation survey will be sent to staff in order to follow up on this year and to make plans for next year's event.
- Jamilah Woods (LAIII Central Computer Commons) and Vincent Solfronk (Head, Central Youth Department) participated in Council President Johnathan Austin's District 5 Fun Day at Railroad Park. I visited with the team on Sunday to see how things were going. This event had thousands in attendance and several families came to the BPL table to color Halloween pumpkins.
- Several programs have been planned in conjunction with the Dalai Lama's visit later this week. Special thanks to our Coordinator for the Eastern Region Sandi Lee for coordinating the programs. Staff in the Business Science and Technology Department at the Central Library have created a bibliography of titles by and about the Dalai Lama.
The November 7, 2014 edition of Bards & Brews will take place at the Birmingham Museum of Art. I hope all of you will make plans to attend.
- Author Wanda Vaughn visited the West End Branch Library in 2012 and indicated at that time that she was writing a juvenile book based on characters in major Alabama cities. Ms. Vaughn asked the West End Branch Manager Maya Jones to send her a copy of the 1912 West End Branch Library—and she did. Last week, Ms. Vaughn e-mailed the image of the front book cover and stated that there is a pen and ink drawing of the old West End Branch Library inside the book which is titled Birmingham, 1933: Alice. The book is scheduled to be published later this year.
- Each City Department Head was recently evaluated by either Chuck Faush or Jarvis Patton. I—along with several others who recently took over positions—was evaluated by Chuck Faush. I will share a copy of the evaluation with members of the BPL Personnel Committee for review.
- Our Personnel Officer Edith Major has scheduled a Performance Evaluation Training for BPL staff on Wednesday, October 22.
- I have asked that a representative from Employee Assistance come to BPL and talk with staff who have experienced grief on a number of levels. Several staff members have experienced the death of siblings, parents and close friends—as well as life threatening illnesses. The discussion will take place on Wednesday, October 29.
- Our staff team, led by Melinda Shelton our BPL Webmaster, is doing a final review of the 2013 Annual Report. The web version should be ready by our meeting date on October 23. However, we will need assistance from our Graphic Designer Lisa Mitchell to prepare a layout which can be downloaded as a print copy.
- Jim Baggett, Melinda Shelton and our Friends Council led by Regina Ammon have completed and submitted a nomination for the BPL Archives and Manuscripts Department to receive a National Medal. The document was submitted on October 15. Wish us luck! The award comes with national recognition and a $10,000 stipend.
- I visited the Pratt City Branch and the Avondale Regional Branch Library during this reporting period.
Update of Library Services
- Local citizens are finding their way to a number of ongoing programs and services offered by the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) System. We recently had more than 30 attendees for our Beyond The Basics Genealogy class which took place on Saturday October 4. This program is always a favorite for those who want to get to "the next step" in researching family history.
- Staff at the Central library has come together to set up a computer area in the Youth Department. This will allow students to have access to several computers in an area where they will not have to wait in line with adults for access to the public computers.
- Karnecia Williams, Branch Manager at the Inglenook Library, is working with the Inglenook Recreation Center to conduct a monthly, storytime for neighborhood children whose parents do not frequent the library.
- In September, our Catalog Department created 3,989 new bibliographic records for BPL items. They also processed 4,394 new items. Our Acquisitions Department placed orders for 2,792 items and received 4,262.
- Staff at our library locations is continuing the process of checking alarms to make certain the system is communicating with the monitoring company. The testing has been completed; however, we need to upgrade our alarm pads at all locations except our two newest buildings—Pratt City and Inglenook.
- Billy Conner, Felita Hawkins and I will meet with Terry Oglesby on Tuesday, October 21 to discuss the results from the recent geo-tech surveys at North Avondale and Titusville.
Accomplishment of Objectives Set Forth in Strategic Plan
- I am working with Long Range Planning Committee Chair Katrina Watson to plan a Board retreat. That retreat will focus on the strategic plan.
- Staff training is a goal set forth through our Strategic Plan. Our recent Staff Day 2014 provided realistic training for staff at all levels in the organization.
Financial Report and Grants
- All of our financial reports were submitted on Friday, October 17 in your board packet. Once you review, please let me know if you have questions.
- Danny Dorroh, Business Manager, has submitted our request for E-rate reimbursement for FY 2014. We primarily use our E-rate reimbursement to cover the annual lease payment for our computers.
Where I Need Your Assistance
- On Wednesday, October 22, Chanda Temple will be recognized as one of Birmingham's Women Who Make A Difference. Come out and show your support. Visit bhammag.com for ticket information.
- After our Long Range Planning Committee Meeting on October 13, I made a commitment to prepare information for our review showing needed building upgrades and/or repairs. Once that list is complete and receives your blessings, I want to share it with Tyrone Silmon.
What I Am Reading or Listening To This Month
- In preparation for Birmingham's Human Rights Week and the visit by the Dalai Lama, I have read The Giver by Lois Lowry. The author will be in Birmingham this week and I am in discussion with Sherri Nielsen to plan a library related program for her visit. Chanda Temple is working to help April Odom with promoting the movie screenings that will take place during this period.
- I am listening to the audio book titled Don’t Know Much About The Universe by Kenneth C. Davis. Although it is an older title, published in 2001, I was amazed by how much information about this great universe I did not remember. When reading Friday’s news about the large comet that is due to pass Mars this weekend, the entire event had new meaning to me.
- Dora Sims suggested that the Library Board revisit the approved 2015 holiday schedule to include the closing of all Birmingham Public Library locations on Saturday, December 26 and Sunday, December, 27, 2015.
- Angela Fisher Hall, Interim Director, requested that the Library Board consider closing at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 23, 2014 for the Christmas holidays. Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch moved to approve the closing of all Birmingham Public Library locations at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 23, 2014 for the Christmas holidays. Georgia Blair seconded the motion, which passed.
- Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch asked the Library Board to consider giving Staff Day gifts to only current employees. This would exclude Library Board members, retirees, and volunteers. Library Board members agreed.
- Dr. Regina Ammon, Library Board Advisory member, suggested that the Library Board revisit its request to have performance evaluation training for employees due to the amount of time it takes them away from other work. Angela Hall, Interim Director, explained that this training was recommended by the Library Board and occurred on a regular meeting date and time for the group that attended.
- Kimberly Richardson attended the 2014 Eat, Drink, Read, Write Festival's Birmingham's Best Bites program and congratulated staff on a job well done. Ms. Richardson also had a chance to visit Powell's Books in Portland, Oregon and stated that she really enjoyed it.
- Dora Sims attended the 2014 Eat, Drink, Read, Write Festival's Birmingham's Best Bites program and stated that the program was excellent; she congratulated staff on the annual Staff Day event that was held at the Southern Museum of Flight; she commended Angela Fisher Hall, Chanda Temple, and Olivia Alison on their work at the library; and also stated that she received a 60 minute massage as a door prize on Staff Day and gave it to Alisha Johnson, Ensley Branch Manager.
- Samuel Rumore attended the annual Staff Day event at the Southern Museum of Flight and had a wonderful time.
- Katrina Watson attended the annual Staff Day event at the Southern Museum of Flight; she attended the 2014 Eat, Drink, Read, Write Festival's Birmingham's Best Bites program and gave thanks to Haruyo Miyagawa and Chanda Temple; and she also thanked Olivia Alison, Director of Development, for her report that was included in the Library Board packet.
- Patty A. Pilkerton attended the annual Staff Day event and is currently reading a book that was published, in part, from research done in the Birmingham Public Library Archives Department.
- Georgia Blair stated that she has heard many compliments regarding the 2014 Eat, Drink, Read, Write Festival; she congratulated Chanda Temple and former Library Board member, Judge Shanta' Owens for being recognized as one of Birmingham’s Women Who Make A Difference; she congratulated Eric L. Guster Welch on his article regarding the new salary rates for Birmingham City Council members approved by the Birmingham City Council; and she also stated that she has visited several library branches during the month of October.
- Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch congratulated staff on the 2014 Eat, Drink, Read, Write event; she congratulated Chanda Temple and the Birmingham Public Library for being featured in the latest edition of Birmingham Magazine; she asked Angela Fisher Hall, Interim Director, to consider submitting the public relations work for the 2014 Eat, Drink, Read, Write Festival as consideration for the John Cotton Dana Award; she attended the Eat, Drink, Read, Write "Urban Homesteading" Event; she thanked administration for offering performance evaluation training and grief counseling; she recognized that Alabama Congresswoman Terry Sewell held an event at the library and hoped that she had been offered the opportunity of a library tour; she recognized the Southern History Department for genealogy classes that are offered; she stated that the annual Staff Day event was great and suggested that Danny Dorroh, Business Office Manager, serve on the Staff Day Committee for accounting purposes; and congratulated Five Points West, Avondale, Inglenook, Southside, and Woodlawn libraries for increased circulation during the month of September.
- Dr. Regina Ammon congratulated staff on the 2014 Eat, Drink, Read, Write Festival and stated that the Friends contributed $7,000 to the event and also that the Friends has submitted a nomination for a National Medal for the Archives Department which if won, will be presented by First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House.
- Gwendolyn Amamoo congratulated Kimberly Richardson for receiving a Centers for Disease Control contract which will allow her to service non-governmental organizations seeking federal funding in South Africa; she thanked Angela Fisher Hall for a job well done; she stated that the 2014 Eat, Drink, Read, Write Festival was great; and thanked all Library Board members for their commitment to the Library Board.
Angela Fisher Hall, Interim Director