Birmingham Public Library Board Minutes
February 25, 2016
Central Library Boardroom
Meeting Called By
Kimberly Richardson, President
Type of Meeting
Regular Board Meeting
Trustees: Kimberly Richardson, President; Georgia Morgan Blair, Vice-President; Gwendolyn Amamoo, Willie S. Davis III, Patty A. Pilkerton, Eunice Johnson Rogers, Dora Sims, James A. Sullivan, Judge Scott Vowell, Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch
Call To Order
- Meeting called to order by President Kimberly Richardson.
- Dora Sims gave the invocation.
Swearing in of Officers and New Board Members
Judge Shanta Owens administered the Oath of Office to new library board members and officers. She was accompanied by Judge Shera Grant.
- James A. Sullivan
- Willie Samuel Davis, III
- Eunice Johnson Rodgers
- Judge John Scott Vowell, Reappointment
- Georgia Morgan Blair, Vice President
- Kimberly Richardson, President
Approval of Agenda
Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch moved approval of the agenda with the addition of Public Voices and a Personnel Committee Report. Georgia Morgan Blair seconded the motion which passed.
Approval of Consent Agenda
Georgia Morgan Blair moved approval of the Consent Agenda which was seconded by Dora Sims and approved.
There were no presentations made during this meeting.
Operational Items Requiring Board Approval
Jim Sisson and Claire Parker were introduced and given an opportunity to speak to the board regarding the library’s strategic plan. Patty Pilkerton moved approval of a contract with Vantage Associates for the strategic planning process which would be signed by Library Director Angela Hall. Judge Scott Vowell seconded the motion which passed. Gwendolyn R. Amamoo abstained. Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch asked that the contract be reviewed by the City’s legal department before signing.
Terry Oglesby, City Architect
Terry Oglesby gave an update on the anticipated cost to make the escalators stairs—about $200,000. He stated the project would be very involved and that stairs would make the area look completely different. The cost was approximately $460,000 to replace the escalators. Terry indicated the work would have to be bid and he was not certain how long it would take to create a staircase. Oglesby reported that repairs were underway to address the ceiling tiles that fell at the Woodlawn Library.
Nicole King, City Attorney
Nicole King reported that Melissa Smiley is completing work on the Memorandum of Understanding between the Library and Foundation Boards. Attorney King also stated the Friends representative is an advisory position and must sit with the public and express concerns with the public voices.
Gwendolyn Amamoo was appointed as the Board’s Parliamentarian. Committee chairs and members were also identified:
- Finance—Blair, Chair; Davis and Pilkerton
- Personnel—Vowell, Chair; Amamoo and Welch
- Long Range Planning—Pilkerton, Chair; Blair and Sullivan
- Advocacy—Sims, Chair; Rogers and Amamoo
- Policies—Welch, Chair; Sims and Vowell
Overview of Activities for this Period:
- The weeks since our last board meeting have gone by very quickly. The staff has been involved in a flurry of activities in preparation for February and the many Black History Month Programs—a total of well over 60 programs throughout our system—that have kept all of us extremely busy.
- We have completed the interview process for our Eastern Region Coordinator position and are happy to report that Yolanda Hardy has been selected to fill the position. Mrs. Hardy is currently the branch manager at the Smithfield Library. Information on the selected candidate was reviewed by the board president and chair of the personnel committee before the position was offered to her. A bio on Mrs. Hardy is included in your packet.
- During the first few weeks of February, the library partnered with the City of Birmingham and the Small Business Administration to provide financial assistance to residents impacted by the Christmas Day storms that destroyed several homes and business in the western part of the City. SBA staff used space at our Powderly Branch Library to provide the services. Don Lupo assisted in coordinating this partnership.
- My first evaluation as director for the Birmingham Public Library system was reviewed with me on Tuesday, February 16. Both the library President Kim Richardson and Personnel Committee Chair Georgia Morgan Blair went through the document with me page-by-page. It was a first as well with the document being created using the Survey Monkey software. I am very pleased with my progress and have a blueprint to help guide me through the remainder of my first year.
- Deputy Director Sandra Vick Lee has just returned for a Director’s Symposium in San Diego sponsored by Innovative. Sandra attended in my absence due to the upcoming Foundation Board Meeting. Innovative provides the platform that supports our integrated system which allows for membership, circulation, and cataloging. The symposium took place February 15-17 and gave the 40 attendees cutting edge information on upcoming trends in the library arena.
- The Library Foundation Board met on Wednesday, February 17. Our Fundraising Consultant Sean Mikula, with Power 10 Consultants, was on hand to give the final results from our Feasibility Study. The report is included in this packet and I will be prepared to share just a few highlights at the upcoming Committee of the Whole Meeting on Monday, February 22.
- Sandra Lee has completed preliminary research on what might be required for our libraries or at least Central and the regional libraries, to provide passport service. The process will require dedicated staff and well defined application/certification process. We will need to gather additional information and Sandra will work towards having a full report at the next Advocacy Committee Meeting.
Other Activities Around Our System for this Period:
In this portion of our report, Deputy Director Sandra Vick Lee has given special focus to the variety of partnership our branch and department staff are engaged in carrying out. Please review and let us know if you have questions.
The SaveFirst tax preparation service is continuing at these locations - Woodlawn, Smithfield, Springville Road and West End. Information has been shared on Bham365 and on our blog. Five Points West and Avondale Libraries have a different group providing services at their location. The locations have been busy and the public greatly appreciates the free service provided by our partners.
- Black History month programs are in full swing throughout the system. Public Relations created a brochure of events containing over 60 programs at the BPL locations. All locations are reporting well attended programs.
- Valentines for Children’s Hospital and Valentines for Veterans were delivered to the respective locations. 3,000 beautiful valentines were created for Children’s Hospital. Saundra Ross, North Avondale Branch Head, coordinated the sorting and packing of the valentine cards and gifts. Several other staff members including Pam Jessie, Woodlawn, and Teresa Ceravolo, Southside, helped in the fun filled work. Over 120 valentines were received by the Springville Road for Veterans Hospital. Locations were encouraged to send valentines to Veterans groups in their community such as Three Hots and a Cot.
- 123 Play with Me sessions have begun at Avondale, Springville Road, and Central These sessions are continuing through February and early March. We are seeing new faces at each location for this series of programs.
- Page to Stage Reader’s Theatre workshops featuring the Birmingham Children’s Theatre production – “Tuxedo Junction” have started and will continue through February. Southside hosted Page to Stage with The Junior League bringing the Yummy Truck for the children to experience a healthful food snack and play activities. It was a wonderful experience. This is a partnership with Birmingham Children’s Theatre and the Junior League of Birmingham.
- The Hillcrest Afterschool Grant program opportunities are continuing in the libraries. Programs started last fall and this month the featured program is Get Rhythm with John Scalisi. It is a drum circle and rhythm activities for children. Programs will continue into the spring.
Summer Reading preparation is underway. The summer reading programs are almost completely scheduled and the libraries are working on the calendar information for the Public Relations Department. Programs are being scheduled for children, teen and adults. APT and Polly McClure (Read Out and Read Alabama) will again sponsor and promote the Rx for Summer Reading initiative. We have confirmed summer reading partnerships with Barnes and Noble, Alabama Sports Hall of Fame and Rally’s.
- February 1st began a new partnership with the New Rising Star Community Support Organization. Through the United Way and the Community Foundation, New Rising Star has received approval for a Child Nutrition program in which we are being able to participate. The program is part of a federal Department of Education initiative administered through the State of Alabama. East Lake, Woodlawn, Inglenook, North Avondale and the Central Library Youth Department are the libraries participating in the partnership. Snacks for the afterschool children at these libraries are provided on a weekly basis. The snacks have been very well received by the children at these locations. It has also had an impact on the children’s behavior in the afternoons. A snack in the afternoon takes the edge off when most of these children eat very early in the school day.
- Prime Time Family Reading will begin a spring session on March 3 at the Inglenook Library. This session is already full and we are taking names for a waiting list. There are a number of returning families to the program and at least two new families that will be joining us for this session.
- Weld Magazine is very interested in increasing their circulation in the Western area of the City. Janine Langston pulled together the Western Region and Ensley, East Ensley and Pratt City February programming information for inclusion in their upcoming editions.
- Many of the branch libraries have been busy creating displays for Black History Month and February as the Love Month. Avondale’s displays also included popular audiobooks, new fiction and new Large Prints to promote the collection. Eastwood has been busy marketing their new titles in the new display area on the fiction wall. Titusville has also been busy with their display areas.
- Avondale hosted their 3rd Annual Beach Bingo Bash Family Night. This description was shared by the Avondale staff – “This January tradition was started due to the fickle winter weather in Alabama – snow, no snow, freezing, hot – too hard to predict. Of course this year’s event fell on one of the coldest nights in January. It was so much fun to see the kids sitting on their beach blankets in shorts wearing their sunglasses. I am pleased to say that everyone BINGOed, so everyone won a book. The books were donated by patrons throughout the year. In addition to playing BINGO, the children danced with scarves to the song Let It Go, and played keep the snowballs on the parachute. It was a fun night of B-I-N-G-O!”
Libraries Visited/Meetings Attended/ Community Events During This Period:
This listing basically covers my involvement in activities during this period. Deputy Director Sandra Vick Lee is also involved in a number of activities that she reports to me and those items are used for her evaluation.
- Jan 26 Sandi Lee, Deputy Director joined me for the weekly Kiwanis Club of Birmingham meeting. The speaker was Jeh Johnson, Secretary of Homeland Security for the United States
- Jan 26 Birmingham City Council Education Committee Meeting—Council members asked several questions about the library and upcoming building projects. I asked them to make a request for any information through the Mayor’s Office.
- Jan 28 Swearing in Ceremony for Judge Shera Grant at the Jefferson County Court House
- Feb 01 City of Birmingham Department Heads’ Meeting
- Feb 02 Meeting with Volunteer Coordinators at the BJCC for the UNCF Masked Gala which is coming up on February 27. I have volunteered to assist with registration.
- Feb 04 JCLC Executive Committee Meeting at Homewood Public Library
- Feb 05-10 Vacation
- Feb 10 Fundraiser and Program Honoring Jesse J. Lewis, Founder of The Birmingham Times, at the Lyric Theater—followed by a performance featuring the Temptations Review
- Feb 11 JCLC Director’s Meeting at the Homewood Public Library
- Feb 11 Meeting with members of the Birmingham Sister City Commission—Mark Jackson and Scotty Colson—regarding the welcome home program for Miss Iwate, the library’s Japanese Friendship Doll
- Feb 12 Service for Mrs. Luvenia Little, mother of Mayor William A. Bell, Sr. at New Hope Baptist Church
- Feb 13 African American Genealogy Group Annual Heritage Festival at the BPL Central Library—I was given the opportunity to bring greetings to the group on behalf of the library
Feb 21 African Children’s Choir to perform at the Sixth Avenue Baptist Church—I have been asked to welcome the audience as part of my involvement as an adviser for the Alabama Gospel Music Center which is being planned for the former McCoy Methodist Church located on 8th Avenue just across from Birmingham-Southern College. The program begins at 6:00 p.m. and is free to the public
- Feb 24 Virtual Meeting with PLA Family Involvement Group
- Feb 25 UAB Blazer’s Basketball Game for a presentation to BPL from the UAB Benevolent Fund—BPL has been awarded a $50,000 grant for teen STEM programming with the UAB Engineering Department
- Feb 27 UNCF Gala at the BJCC East Ballroom
- Feb 29 City of Birmingham Department Heads’ Meeting
- Mar 02 Joint Branch and Department Head’s Meeting at the Central Library
- Mar 02 Momentum Event for Leadership at the Medical Forum Building—I have been invited to introduce the quilter’s from Gee’s Bend. The quilter’s will be award recipients at this women’s conference program—registration is required.
Update of Library Services
- The Collection Management Coordinator position has been reopened and will be advertised for two additional weeks to garner more interest.
- Mary Stewart, Head of Cataloging, will represent the division at JCLC meetings and plan training for staff in the interim.
- A full report on our facilities is included in this packet.
- As part of our budget packet for the City, a listing of immediate needs for our facilities will be shared with Public Works and Planning Engineering and Permits. This items will be added to the list of capital improvement needs for the City.
Accomplishment of Objectives Set Forth in Strategic Plan
- The library board has agreed to contract with Vantage Associates and Parker Consulting to lead our strategic planning process. Included in your board packet is a draft contract for review along with an updated proposal. Please take time to read the contract—which follows the same basic outline as our off duty officer contracts—and the proposal. Both Jim Sisson and Claire Parker will attend the board meeting and be prepared to answer any questions you might have.
- After speaking with Board President Kim Richardson, I am recommending that we create a Strategic Planning Steering Committee composed of (1) the board’s Long Range Planning Committee Members; (2) library director and deputy director; (3) director of development and director of public relations; (4) webmaster; (5) one branch manager; (6) one LA III full-time; and (7) public services coordinator and youth services coordinator. The board president will serve in an ex-officio capacity.
Financial Reports and Grants
- Financial reports are included in this packet for your review.
- I have not received any questions from board members regarding the 2015 Library Audit. At the Committee of The Whole Meeting on Monday, February 22, there will be an opportunity for questions. The final audit documents have been delivered and can be distributed at that time. A draft copy of the audit is included in this board packet.
- On Monday, February 15, I received my FY2017 workbook. The library’s budget request is due to the Finance Office on Friday, February 26. Information regarding our budget request is included in this packet. Please review the material. We will have an opportunity for review and discussion at the Committee of the Whole Meeting on February 22, at 3:30 p.m.
Where I Need Your Assistance
I need assistance in moving forward with a few items which include the following:
- It’s already time to make our budget request for FY2017. At our last Committee of the Whole Meeting in January, I shared information pertaining to several “assignments” we were given from the City’s Administration. I have a number of suggestions to make regarding those assignments and ask that you review the budget information carefully. Two of the assignments have to do with the State of Alabama Gun Law passed in 2013. The requirements are specifically for City of Birmingham buildings.
The first assignment meant that we had to get our part-time pay codes in order and set up only two to three pay codes for all of our positions. This means that rather than have building service workers who work various hours—some 6, 10, 12, 15, 20, or 29 hours a week, we will only have building service works who work 15, 20, or 29 hours per week. In order to do this, we need at least $180,000 to make up this difference. This is a mandate for all City Departments and one that we have been working on since September of 2015 to bring into compliance. We can achieve this goal by deleting 16 positions—some have not been filled for at least the last year—only 2 are very recent vacancies.
The second assignment is to make certain that each library is staffed with a security officer for all of the hours each library/building is open to the public. Attached is a separate document outlining the collective thoughts from our department heads and branch managers on how this can be achieved. Realistically, we cannot attempt to reach this goal without additional funding from the City. While we already have some security officers who may be capable of working afternoon hours at our branches, we cannot staff all 20 buildings without giving these officers additional hours and hiring at least 14 additional part-time officers. This request places an unrealistic burden on our system. For this reason, I ask that the board request that the City enter into a contract agreement with a local security firm to provide the officers that are needed. Lately, we are having difficulty attracting qualified candidates for our part-time security positions. Entering into an agreement with a security firm means they will bear the burden of staffing our libraries with security officers—if someone calls in sick, they will send another person to that location. Cost information is included in your packet.
- The third assignment means that we install free-standing, ADA approved scanners at all library entrances. Based on our calculations, we need at least 26 scanners since some of our libraries have at least two public entrances. I will add the cost of the scanners to our capital request for FY2017.
What I Am Currently Reading or Listening To:
I just finished listening to a number of great things. After attending a concert by Dianne Reeves at the Hoover Library Theatre, I checked out two of her CDs that were available at the Central Library. She is a wonderful singer and entertainer. Her CD, Beautiful Life, made the ride to and from work pretty upbeat.
Toni Morrison’s book Home was one of the audio books I picked up recently. It’s the story of a Korean war vet who finds his way home in time to save his sister who is near death after a doctor “practices” medicine using her as a test case. The story was actually read by Toni Morrison and was rather short—only 4 discs. However, I was reminded once again—no matter how short the story—that Morrison is a masterful storyteller. Heartbreaking with poignant reminders, for me, of what the Tuskegee Syphilis Study may have produced.
- Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch suggested that everyone read the Power 10 Executive Summary from the Feasibility Study.
- Georgia Morgan Blair shared an ad in the newspaper about the Birmingham’s Best Bites recipe book and asked everyone to please vote.
- Willie Davis–no comment.
- Dora Sims welcomed the new members.
- Eunice Johnson Rogers stated the library is very dear to her and she is happy to be on the board.
- Gwendolyn Amamoo welcomed the new members.
- Patty Pilkerton welcomed the new members.
- Judge Scott Vowell—no comment.
- James Sullivan—no comment.
- Kimberly Richardson welcomed the new members and thanked everyone.
Angela Fisher Hall, Secretary