Birmingham Public Library Board Minutes
February 26, 2015
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, Dora Sims, Judge Scott Vowell, Katrina Watson (via teleconference), Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch
** THE VOICE RECORDING DEVICE MALFUNCTIONED DURING THE MEETING. IF ANYONE WOULD LIKE THEIR NAME ATTACHED TO A SPECIFIC MOTION OR SECOND, PLEASE LET JENNIFER NEELY KNOW. SORRY FOR THE INCONVENIENCE **
Call To Order
- Meeting called to order by President Gwendolyn R. Amamoo.
- Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch moved the approval of agenda. Georgia Morgan Blair seconded the motion, which passed.
- Georgia Morgan Blair moved to remove the Personnel Action report from the consent agenda. Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch seconded the motion, which passed.
- There was a discussion of staff evaluations in regards to merit raises. Georgia Morgan Blair asked Angela Hall, Interim Director, to make certain that staff evaluations are completed before each merit raise due date.
- The Personnel Action report was approved.
- The consent agenda was approved.
- Dennis Gray, LA III in the Computer Commons, was acknowledged for completion of his 2013 Engineering Degree at the University of Alabama Birmingham.
Terry Oglesby, City Architect
- Design plans are in the works for the Wylam Library.
- The wood replacement has been completed at the Ensley Library. The new entrance doors have not yet arrived.
- The replacement sign for the Smithfield Library is in the process of being installed.
Interim Director's Report
Overview of Activities for this Period
- I will have my annual review for 2014 available for you at the Board meeting on Thursday, February 26. At a later date, the document will be prepared for final layout and posting on our website.
- There are currently 11 to 12 vacant positions throughout our system and at least six of these positions are full-time. I have been told that the positions cannot be approved for advertising until we have security cameras placed in all of our branch libraries. I have asked for assistance with the installations from the City’s IMS and Public Works Departments. They should be able to assist us around the first or second week in March. In the meantime, our 4-member maintenance staff will continue to work on getting this job completed. Cameras have been installed at 5 branch locations—Eastwood, Ensley, Smithfield, Titusville and Woodlawn. We have 13 locations remaining. My goal is to get this completed before the preliminary budget is run for next fiscal year. If jobs are vacant, they are sometimes deleted from the system.
- As I have worked with our Personnel Officer Edith Major to have get our vacant positions filled, we have found a discrepancy in the funded hours for several of our part-time positions. We are in the process of working with the coordinators to document exactly how many hours our currently employed part-time staff members are working. It is very difficult to tell exactly when this discrepancy first began to occur. I hope to have a better update on this, as well as a solution, at our March meeting.
- We have been contacted by staff in the City’s Community Development Department regarding property in the Pratt City area which might be acquired through the new Land Bank Authority. Branch Manager Deborah Drake Blackmon, Northern Region Coordinator Sandra Crawley, Southern Region Coordinator/Maintenance Coordinator Felita Hawkins and I have met to discuss the main priority for any new property. Deborah has indicated an expanded parking lot is a top priority for staff.
- Our IT Services Department and Computer Services Liaisons (CSLs) have been busy installing our new lease computers throughout the system.
- Southside Branch Manager Teresa Ceravolo, along with staff and patrons throughout our system, made very decorative cards for patients at Children’s of Alabama and the VA Hospital. Hundreds of cards were delivered to both locations in time for Valentine’s Day.
- Staff in Central’s Public Service Department will mentor students in the Project Search group at Birmingham-Southern College. The students have learning disabilities; however, the program helps to connect them with businesses and services throughout the City of Birmingham where they learn job skills.
- Several new classes are being offered to the public—as well as our staff—in the Computer Learning Center. The expanded classes include searching for information on patents and grants.
- During this reporting period, I have visited the following libraries in our system: Avondale, East Ensley, Ensley, North Avondale and Pratt City.
Public Relations Update
- I met with our Staff Public Relations Committee to focus on our PR needs for the upcoming months. In addition to making certain we had everything in place for the Local Authors Expo, we also discussed other upcoming events.
With the recent resignation of Chanda Temple, Director of Public Relations, I will take on the task of writing and submitting press releases and handling any calls from the media. Our L2Crew, under the leadership of our Webmaster Melinda Shelton, will continue to produce the weekly e-newsletter, update our Facebook pages, and handle all other aspects of social media. Through the hard work of L2Crew member Hunter Murphy, we have a following of more than 10,000 on Twitter.
Our Graphic Designer Lisa Mitchell has completed flyers for Bard Brews & Haiku and the Holocaust Brown Bag Programs. She is hard at work on Summer Reading items and has completed the following:
- Youth promotional flyer
- Teen promotional flyer
- Rally’s coupons
- Alabama School of Fine Arts’ Coupons
- Cotchery READ poster
- Registration cards for children
- Teen certificate
- We have made, and continue to work on, a community information board for the First Floor in the East Building. Jevonda Weldon, PR Assistant, is responsible for keeping two of the boards updated with programs and community news.
- A large project Jevonda will oversee is laminating the new staff ID Badges. My goal is to have this project finished by the end of February. Staff throughout the system have assisted in gathering new staff photos, inserting staff information into the layout and printing the new badges to complete this initiative. When this is over, we will have a new internal document—a staff directory, by location, with photos.
- I have completed press releases for the Cherry Blossom Festival and a follow up for the Local Authors Expo. On Friday (February 20), I will send out an announcement regarding the Holocaust Brown Bag Programs.
- Library staff will participate in the Alabama Money Expo scheduled for Saturday, March 7, 2015 at Carver High School. Our Business Science and Technology (BST) staff will share information on personal finance and small business resources.
Update of Library Services
- During the month of January, our Catalog staff created 3,833 new bib records and 1,465 new records for the other JCLC libraries. Catalog also processed 3,779 new items. On the Acquisitions side, the staff placed orders for 3,384 new items and received 3,464 new items.
- We have filled the cataloger position in our Catalog Department. This position will be responsible for cataloging items for our special collections and the person will begin on March 9.
- We are short one full-time delivery driver. Once we are able to advertise our positions, this will be one (of many) that is needed right away. The position services all libraries in the BPL and JCLC systems.
- Our Collection Management staff has been in contact with a local individual who has taken on many library digitization projects pro bono. He might be willing to help us digitize many of our older holdings. Hopefully, we will have an update by next month. This can possibly help us tremendously down the road with grant projects.
- I provided a list of major upgrades needed throughout our system in 2015-2016 to Stephen Fancher, Director of Public Works and Andre Bittas, Director of Planning Engineering and Permits. The list includes at least 10 roofs that need to be repaired or replaced; along with other capital projects which have a long-term impact on our system and cost at least $50,000 or more. I will schedule a meeting in the next week or two with Stephen and Andre to review our list.
- Our staff has met twice with the City architects and the team from CMH Architects regarding our Wylam project. Work is progressing and at this point we are working on a floor plan which will provide the best monitoring, access and functionality for the building. The Western Region Coordinator Janine Langston, Branch Library Assistant III Connie Tolbert and IT Coordinator Phillip Willingham have met with a representative of the Greater Emmanuel Community Church which is interested in housing the library during the time the construction project takes place. We have checked on accessibility for patrons, as well as electrical output for power and data. The church’s pastor is working on cost estimates for us to review. The Wylam School has told us they cannot assist us. We will continue to look for other possible venues.
- The City’s Economic Development Director, Lisa Cooper, continues to assist me in making contacts with property managers in the Eastwood/Crestwood area regarding our Eastwood Branch Library. Several properties that board members asked me to follow up on have contracts. They include the former buildings that housed Ryan’s, Red Lobster, and K-mart (used as a annual location for children’s items sold on consignment). The current lease holders of the BMW Motorcycle facility, Sears Holding Corporation, cannot give us an update until the sale of the Century Plaza property is complete (we do not have any additional information on this sale). Finally, I have asked the property manager of our current leased space to give me actual costs for a new lease. He has promised to get that to me very soon.
Accomplishment of Objectives Set Forth in Strategic Plan
- It is time to prepare for our next Strategic Plan and I will need the Board’s assistance to move forward with preparations. I would like to proceed in getting quotes on the cost to have this done.
Financial Report and Grants
- All of our financial reports are included in your board packet. Once you review them, please let me know if you have questions.
- We are on tract with spending for our City budget. As of this writing, we have spent approximately 63% of our budget with 4 full months left in the fiscal year.
Where I Need Your Assistance
- I would like for you to be aware that we do have a discrepancy in the hours assigned to our part-time staff when compared to the City’s budget for each position. I am working through this with our personnel officer and the coordinators. I will have a better update, and possible solution, at our next board meeting in March.
- With the delay in advertising our vacant positions, it is creating a serious void in staffing needs at many of our locations—including here at Central. I will work with our leadership team to develop a temporary staffing solution and review the plan with our board president once it is completed.
* If any Board members are interested in attending the Alabama Library Association Conference (April 7-10, 2015) in Point Clear or the American Library Association Conference (June 25-30, 2015) in San Francisco, it is time to make a request to the full board for funding approval.
What I Am Reading or Listening To This Month
- At this year’s Local Author’s Expo, I had an opportunity to talk with Vanessa Davis Griggs. I have never read any of her books and so I purchased several. Currently, I am reading Ray of Hope, one of her older titles. Additionally, I am a new member of the Alabama Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Committee. There is a discussion going on regarding the 2013 decision to remove the book titled The Complete Persepolis from Chicago Public School classrooms. I’ll read this title over the weekend. The book is an acclaimed graphic novel which was made into a movie.
- Kimberly Richardson was nominated for and elected unanimously to serve as the 2015 Library Board President.
- Gwendolyn Amamoo and Samuel Rumore were nominated for the 2015 Library Board Vice President position. Gwendolyn Amamoo was elected to serve after receiving six votes as opposed to Samuel Rumore's two votes.
Executive Director Search
- Applications for the Library Director position have been received and Dr. Peggy Polk, City Personnel Director, will present the top five applications to the committee at the next meeting date.
- The Library Board voted to approve travel expenses for Dora Sims to attend the American Library Association's annual meeting in San Francisco, California to continue her work with the Freedom to Read Committee.
- Gwendolyn Amamoo thanked the Library Board members for the many enhancements and accomplishments at the Library including: the Library Board Retreat, the Performance Improvement Plan, updated policy manuals, donation of $500 to annual Staff Day, and presenting certificates to staff and Library Board members.
- Dora Sims has been elected to serve as President of the Five Points West Neighborhood Association.
- Georgia Morgan Blair attended the Smithfield Library program in which Janice Kelsey and Gwendolyn Sanders-Gamble gifted Smithfield Library the 1963 resolution from New York City Firefighters. The program was well attended.
- Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch congratulated Kimberly Richardson and Gwendolyn Amamoo on their Library Board elections as President and Vice President. Mrs. Welch also thanked Angela Fisher Hall for explaining any discrepancies in reports made to the Library Board.
- Judge Scott Vowell and Patty Pilkerton both congratulated Kimberly Richardson and Gwendolyn Amamoo on their Library Board elections as President and Vice President.
- Kimberly Richardson thanked the Library Board for their support and also stated that she plans to optimize the use of the talents of each and every Library Board member.
Angela Fisher Hall, Secretary