Birmingham Public Library Board Minutes
November 20, 2014
Central Library Boardroom
Meeting Called By
Gwendolyn R. Amamoo, President
Type of Meeting
Regular Board Meeting
Board Members Present: Gwendolyn R. Amamoo, President; Patty A. Pilkerton, Kimberly Richardson, Samuel Rumore, Dora Sims, Judge Scott Vowell, Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch, Dr. Monique Gardner-Witherspoon
Call To Order
- Meeting called to order by President Gwendolyn R. Amamoo.
- gave the invocation.
- The Library Board meeting agenda was unanimously approved by the Board.
- Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch moved the approval of the consent agenda with removal of the Personnel Actions. Dora Sims seconded the motion, which passed.
- Brenda Dickerson, with the Citizens Coalition for a Better Birmingham, . .
- Chanda Temple and Lisa Smith were presented certificates for the "Star of the Month" for their work on the Birmingham Best Bites Cookbook. Both also received copies of the cookbook.
Terry Oglesby, City Architect
- MBA, Engineering, Inc., was approved yesterday for the Titusville and North Avondale engineering work to provide construction documents for the foundation repairs.
- CMH is going to be on the Council agenda next week for Wylam library.
- We have received another price for repairs to the sign at Smithfield from Garner Stone--their price was $47,660.
- I am expecting another price from Allen Contracting for the repair work to the wood at Ensley Library.
- We are hopefully a little closer to closing out Pratt City. Harrington has met again with Monumental to review what must be done to complete the work.
Nicole King, City Attorney
- Under recommendation from Nicole King, City Attorney, the Library Board voted to enter into executive session.
- The ordinance currently in place regarding the Friends President serving as an advisory member of the Library Board will need to be revised, as there is no longer a Friends group. There will no longer be a Friends representative serving on the Library Board.
- Nicole King requested a copy of the Foundation Board minutes regarding the merging of the Friends and Foundation Board.
- Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch asked Administration whether or not there is a way to increase hours in order to give part time staff members more work time. Angela Fisher Hall stated that when extra help is needed, the Central Library is able to send back up to the branch in need.
- Angela Fisher Hall will ask Georgia Blair, Personnel Committee Chair, to hold a meeting in order to discuss next year's budget and whether or not part time worker's hours can be increased.
- Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch moved the approval of the Personnel Action report. Kimberly Richardson seconded the motion, which passed.
Executive Search Committee
- The Executive Director job announcement has not been advertised nationally. The Library Board will be notified when this happens.
Advocacy, Fundraising, and Development Committee
- Dora Sims moved to approved the updated Library Board posters which will be displayed in all BPL locations. Kimberly Richardson seconded the motion, which passed.
Interim Director's Report
Overview of Activities for this Period
Tonya Clarke at our Springville Road Regional Library was recently featured in an AL.com article on her sign language classes which she provides for area teens. She is devoted to providing ongoing program opportunities for the youth in the Eastern area. You can find the article at http://www.al.com/opinion/index.ssf/2014/11/agents of change tonya clarke.html:incart river.
- The 2013 Annual Report for the BPL system has been completed and is now posted on the website. Thanks so much to the staff members who assisted in getting it completed—Melinda Shelton, Tressa Fancher, Olivia Alison and Lisa Smith. Everyone throughout the system contributed to the content.
- I attended training at the Crossplex on the new Microsoft Surface Pro tablets that the City will soon be using. Some of our branch managers will be able to order a similar tablet in late 2015 as part of the lease cycle—locations normally receiving laptops may want to order this tablet instead.
- Wifi has also been installed throughout City Hall and in Linn Park.
- Our Staff Day Planning Committee met on Wednesday, October 29 to review staff comments and to look at next year’s plans. Overall, staff really enjoyed the 2014 activities.
- The seven BPL neighborhood libraries began their Winter Hours on Monday, November 3. Since these are our smaller libraries, they will close to the public at 5:00 p.m. before it gets too dark. Our IT staff had to make adjustments to the computers to accommodate the new hours.
- Special thanks to Edith Major for assisting in the coordination of the grief counseling session for our staff. Five staff members attended the session on Wednesday, November 5 which was led by Mark Phillips with Employee Assistance.
- Staff at our libraries are busy planning holiday events and adding beautiful displays to support our collection.
- Please plan to stop by our Springville Road Regional Library and take a look at the work which continues on the new Ecoscape. This is a project in conjunction with Birmingham-Southern College’s Southern Environmental Center. Information on funding for the project is available in the Development Report.
- On Thursday, November 6, I enjoyed having the opportunity to greet members of the Association of Black Fundraising Executives (ABFE) as they toured our special collections in the Linn-Henley Research Library. Thanks to Lyord Watson and Kim Richardson for organizing the visit.
- I visited the following libraries during this period: Eastwood, East Lake, Five Points West, Powderly, and Pratt City.
Update of Library Services
- During the month of October, our Catalog staff created 5,575 new bib records and 1,164 new records for the other JCLC libraries. Catalog also processed 3,881 new items. On the Acquisitions side, the staff placed orders for 5,198 new items and received 3,747. We are still down one librarian in the Catalog Department and we should receive permission from City Hall in December to move forward with advertising the job.
- Our libraries were sites for both the neighborhood and general elections that took place recently. The poll workers always enjoy using our facilities to welcome voters.
- The Halloween events at our North Avondale Branch Library (61 in attendance) and also at Legion Field (hundreds if not a thousand or two) were well attended and the children had a wonderful time. Special thanks to Board President Gwen Amamoo, Jean Shanks, Yolanda Hardy, Chanda Temple and Candice Hardy for spending their Friday night at Legion Field engaging the children in wonderful library activities.
- We have now recorded five break-ins at libraries throughout our system. Staff is working to have security cameras installed, as well as having our alarm pads and codes upgraded. This process should take at least a month to complete.
- An update on our Eastwood Branch Library will be shared at the Board meeting.
- The Wylam Neighborhood Association usually gets an update each month from staff representing the City Council District for that area. They have been informed that at least $900,000 remains for a renovation of the Wylam Branch and we are waiting for an architect to be appointed for the project.
Accomplishment of Objectives Set Forth in Strategic Plan
- I shared copies of the Strategic Plan with all Board members after last month’s meeting. Please let me know if any of you need hard copies of the document.
- I have received information on a location for our Board Retreat scheduled for Saturday, January 10, 2015. That information will be shared with our Long Range Planning Committee Chair.
Financial Report and Grants
- All of our financial reports are included in your board packet. Once you review, please let me know if you have questions.
- The fully executed Investment Strategy document has been shared with Barbara Watson at Regions Bank.
- Funds for our E-rate reimbursement for FY 2014 have begun to trickle in. We primarily use our E-rate reimbursement to cover the annual lease payment for our computers.
Where I Need Your Assistance
- Get prepared to help in any way that you can in moving our renovation project along. We hope that clearance will be given by the first of the year to engage our fundraising consultant to begin the process of raising money and with that, we should be ready to prepare the construction documents. It is difficult to see so many items not functioning as they should; however, an end is in sight. Let’s continue to believe that.
- Other items that I need to discuss will be shared at the Board meeting.
What I Am Reading or Listening To This Month
- I am listening to the audio book titled Let It Go by Bishop T.D. Jakes. He offers very practical advice on overcoming indifference and working towards common goals.
- “The State of America’s Libraries: A Report from the American Library Association 2014” is a special issue from American Libraries: The Magazine of the American Library Association. This 89-page document is worth reading and gives a review of everything from technology in libraries to construction projects.
- A recent novel by Jean Love Cush titled Endangered has been a good read. The novel brings to the forefront the crime and fear that engulfs parents—especially mothers—of children growing up in the larger inner cities.
- Our lease on the Eastwood Branch Library property expires on September 30, 2015. In preparation for that time, I began an investigation of what opportunities lie ahead.
- I met with the Eastwood Branch Manager Brandon Smith and the Southern Region Coordinator Felita Hawkins to discuss the needs at Eastwood. I asked Brandon to talk with his staff and generate a list of things they might want to see in their library or at their location that they do not have now.
- On Thursday, November 6, I met with Councilor Kim Rafferty—the Eastwood Branch lies in her district. She is interested in the library remaining in its current location but with more space—possibly taking on an additional space at this location. A space measuring approximately 1200 sq. ft. will be available just before September 2015. Councilor Rafferty also included a representative of the property owners, Dick Schmalz, in this meeting. The cost for the space could be at least another $1500 to $2000 per month in addition to what we are currently paying.
- I met with members of the Eastwood Neighborhood Association on Thursday, November 6. The most vocal citizens asked to have the library returned to the “Eastwood” neighborhood. Everyone present mentioned how much they love their library.
- The Crestline Neighborhood will not meet again until January.
- The Crestwood South Neighborhood will meet on Monday, November 24 at 6:30 p.m. I will attend that meeting to get input from that group.
- I have talked with Lisa Cooper, Director of Economic Development for the City regarding the property at 7500 Crestwood Blvd. That property is about 19,000 sq. ft. In order to get more information about the property, a letter of interest needs to be sent to the owners—Sears Holding Corporation. They currently hold a 15-year lease on the property and would be very interested in the City of Birmingham leasing the property. Ms. Cooper has shared contact information for the property manager.
- Judge Vowell moved to allow Angela Fisher Hall to investigate options for the future location of the Eastwood Library. Patty A. Pilkerton seconded the motion, which passed.
- The BPL board retreat is scheduled for Saturday, January 10, 2015. For planning purposes, I have checked on availability for the hours of 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.
- Currently, space is available at the following locations for our consideration:
- Crossplex Send letter to Mayor William Bell for fee waiver
- Arlington House No letter is needed—catering available by staff
- Ruffner Mountain Cost is $50 per hour
- I have requested menus for each location and will be able to share that information with the Long Range Planning Committee when we meet again.
- Sam Rumore moved the approval of the closing of the Smithfield Library on Friday, October 30, 2014 at 1:00 and all day on October 31, 2014. Judge Vowell seconded the motion, which passed.
- Sam Rumore moved the approval of the closing of the Library on the Saturday, December 26, 2014, the day after Christmas with no one scheduled, no one paid. Dora Sims seconded the motion, which passed with a 7-1 vote. (Patty Pilkerton opposed)
- Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch reminded Administration that anytime the Library must close due to air condition/heating issues, weather, etc. the Board must first approve.
- Angela Fisher Hall would like to have permission from the Board to give approval on agreements with local and national production companies to film commercials, documentaries and other promotional pieces within the Birmingham Public Library System. Generally, local production crews may ask to come to the library to film a spot for area organizations like Birmingham City Schools or the Jimmy Hale Mission. They do not have location agreements but simply want approval to film at our location. On other occasions, the production company or news station such as C-SPAN, want to cover a program or special collection at the library. In the last few months, we have had national companies to express an interest in filming. Because of the size of these companies, and their standard operating procedures, they often have a location agreement that needs to be signed. They provide proof of insurance and any other documents we request. Caroline Jackson, Assistant City Attorney, has created a template that can be used for instances like this. With your permission, I ask for the authority to approve such requests and ask the Legal Department to create an agreement based on the needs and/or request of the production company. This will give us an opportunity to address their timeline and meet their needs in a timely fashion.
- Sam Rumore moved that Angela Fisher Hall be given the authority to work with the City Legal Department to create an agreement that can be used when companies show interest in filming pieces within the Birmingham Public Library. The agreement must be signed by the City Legal Department and the Library Board President. Patty A. Pilkerton seconded the motion, which passed.
- Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch thanked Angela Fisher Hall and Olivia Alison for their work on the Annual Report and stated that she was very pleased with the new services, programs, and events being offered at the Library as reflected in the Annual Report.
- Gwendolyn Amamoo stated that in the interest of time, any Board member comments not made in the meeting may be submitted to Gwendolyn Amamoo by 5:00 on Thursday, November 20, 2014 so that they may be added to the official November Board minutes. Angela Fisher Hall will distribute the additional comments to all Board members by 8:00 a.m. on Friday, November 21, 2014.
- Sam Rumore stated that the City is planning to honor his former law partner, the late Nina Miglionico, with a statue commemorating her life and work as an attorney and long standing activist for women's rights.
Angela Fisher Hall, Secretary