- Birmingham Public Library Board Minutes
- Call To Order
- Public Voices
- Approval of Agenda
- Approval of Consent Agenda
- Terry Oglesby, City Architect
- Kayla Lawrence, City Attorney
- Operational Items Requiring Board Approval
- Unfinished Business
- New Business
- Director's Report for June 2017
- Board Member's Comments
- Next Board Meeting is Tuesday, August 8, 2017.
- Submitted By
Birmingham Public Library Board Minutes
July 11, 2017
Central Library Boardroom
Meeting Called By
Georgia Morgan Blair, President
Type of Meeting
Regular Board Meeting
Trustees: Gwendolyn Amamoo, Georgia Morgan Blair, Willie S. Davis III, Kimberly Richardson, Dora U. Sims, James A. Sullivan, Judge Scott Vowell, Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch
Call To Order
- Georgia Morgan Blair called the meeting to order.
- Judge Scott Vowell provided the invocation.
- There were no public voices.
- The Advocacy Committee announced awards to the recipients of the June Innovative Cool Awards. Willie Davis III presented a certificate to Whitney Garner, Springville Road for her idea of creating a budget makerspace in the youth department. With the funds, Garner will purchase simple materials such as craft supplies and recycled materials. Hugh Hardy, Powderly was presented with a certificate for his Books, Movies, Popcorn Initiative where he selects books that have been made into movies and adds a bag of popcorn for the patrons. Hardy will use the funds to purchase popcorn.
Approval of Agenda
- Kimberly Richardson moved to approve the agenda. Judge Scott Vowell seconded the motion, and it was approved.
Approval of Consent Agenda
- Kimberly Richardson suggested the use of “recycled” material in the Director’s report regarding the Innovative Cool Award at Springville Road.
Dora Sims reported on the Advocacy Committee meeting. The Local Author’s Expo will take place August 19, 2017. The Neighborhood Association Meet & Greet will be held August 3, 2017. Sims said the Black Author booklet will be ready in time to distribute at the meet & greet. The Slice Pizza & Brew fundraiser went well. The Advocacy Committee discussed giving city council members and the mayor handwritten cards thanking those who have supported the library and raised awareness of library issues. Richardson suggested the neighborhood association Meet & Greet would be a good time to hand them the notes, and if they do not attend, then deliver them to their assistants. Sims stated al.com has finished sales of Birmingham’s Best Bites, and a final check will be distributed to the library.
- Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch respectfully asked the board to wait until January 2018 to create a new paper copy of the board directory since she will not be on the board next year. An online version could be available in the meantime. Sandi Lee confirmed there is a cost to printing the directory. Welch noted Chanda Temple is also an author of Birmingham’s Best Bites with Martie Duncan.
- Kimberly Richardson asked if there is a cost for training employees on the passport initiative. Lee replied there is no cost. Richardson raised a question about a training policy for employees about to retire since some of the employees who completed the training resigned or retired. Lee responded the retirement was not on the radar when the employee started the training.
- Sims said that Public Relations will include a list of upcoming programs in the board packets. Welch requested that PR and those who use BPL social media platforms to be cognizant of posted photos that could contain explicit language on apparel.
- Welch asked for an update of the position upgrade discussed at a previous meeting. Welch spoke with Peggy Polk who said to proceed with that upgrade. Damein Baity calculated the cost of fringe and salary benefits, and Lee requested fringe benefit totals from the city’s budget department to compare. The information has not been shared from the city. Once the information is shared, the funds will need to be found. Welch said if the information is given to Polk, Polk said she would walk it to HR at the city.
- James Sullivan corrected the date of the next board meeting in the June board meeting minutes.
- Georgia Morgan Blair introduced Tracey Simpson, new branch manager at Pratt City library. Simpson is originally from Dallas, TX and has 15 years of library experience.
- Kimberly Richardson move to approve the consent agenda. Judge Scott Vowell seconded the motion, and it was approved.
Terry Oglesby, City Architect
- Sandi Lee provided an update of buildings throughout the system. Woodlawn and Southside libraries have been in the midst of roof removal. During this time, rain has caused major leaks in both locations which staff and crew have been addressing. It will be reported to the city. A capital means list is being worked on. There are a number of locations that have installation of equipment completed by Trane, and follow up is needed to see if the equipment is functioning properly. There are some humidity issues in some buildings. This has the potential of causing mold in the books and can cause them to swell.
- Willie Davis III asked about the incident report regarding two bricks falling from Woodlawn’s ceiling. Lee reported it has been an ongoing issue for a few months. The city said that area of roof is still under warranty, and contractors have looked at it several times. The area is taped off and not open to the public. Work has been performed on it, but it has not held up.
- Dora Sims informed the board the Five Points West library entryway is not in good condition. Sims suggested having large planters in front of the library to enhance the appearance. Sims would like to see if it is possible to change out the walkway which is metal and carpet slats. Lee replied the most economical solution would be to purchase a nice mat to cover the floor since replacing the slats would be costly and deteriorate. Lee needs to check the door clearance.
- Welch let Lee know about a bird’s nest at North Avondale in the eaves of the roof. Lee will check to see if work has been completed on the eaves.
- Sullivan asked for an update on the stair replacement design contract. Lee reported it has been reviewed by the law department and is now in the mayor’s office. The next step would be for the mayor to complete the contract then the library would receive an estimate on the price.
Kayla Lawrence, City Attorney
- Attorney Lawrence updated the board on potential liability risks concerning the animals housed within the libraries. The law department concluded the animals are not a significant liability risk. Kimberly Richardson asked if animals need to be secured to prevent theft, and Attorney Lawrence replied the library would need to make that decision. Judge Scott Vowell noted the library animals are well cared for.
- Attorney Lawrence looked into allowing a church to rent the Arrington Auditorium before business hours and found that there is not a significant liability risk. Lawrence drafted and sent a release to Sandi Lee. Church attendees will be required to sign.
Operational Items Requiring Board Approval
- Richardson asked if all the billed items in the past fiscal year (July 2017-July 2018) would be paid before the close of the fiscal year. Damein Baity reported that most of the bills were paid for the past fiscal year, and the funds were used to the best of their abilities. Baity expects to be in good standing this year since there were able to transfer funds from the general budget.
- Baity reported the library is still waiting on the council’s approval of the budget, and there was a conversation about utilizing earmarked funding in a line item. Baity is waiting to see the result of the budget request especially with Welch and other board members advocating to city council. Some contractual line items were cut and that will impact the library this year if the funds are not replenished. Welch said after she, Blair, and Lee went before city council, she emailed several city councilors requesting an additional $20,000 in the janitorial line item. Less than $18,000 is allocated in the janitorial line item which is less than $1000 per library for the year. This includes toilet paper, paper towels, and cleaning supplies. Welch stated it helps to advocate to council members to raise awareness of the library’s needs. The condition of the Central library was discussed during this town hall meeting. Welch said the board must continue to advocate. Blair added the city councilors were not aware the library has not yet awarded the $1 million reading initiative funds. The library is having to jump through hoops with the mayor to even discuss it with him. Blair said the letter of partnership is being drafted and will be sent to the Birmingham City Schools superintendent for her signature before it is sent to the mayor’s office. Blair said it was requested of city council to make the reading initiative a line item.
- Judge Scott Vowell noticed the press was at the library following up on a story about the conditions of Central’s building and thinks the library is missing an opportunity by not taking advantage of the public’s interest. Lee toured the press around the library and informed them of some of the issues. Judge Scott Vowell suggested inviting city council to the library to show them the conditions. Kimberly Richardson hopes there is an opportunity to use the neighborhood association officers can also be advocates to work with us. Richardson hopes Lee feels empowered to speak on the libary’s behalf when the board president is not available and to make statements and communicate as a representative of the library system.
- Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch commended the Development staff for obtaining sponsorships for EDRW. The Development report said the mayor was in attendance for the Slice fundraiser, and Welch added that library board members, Pat Rumore, David Herring, other Friends Foundation board members. Welch asked to rethink how people are recognized.
- Kimberly Richardson asked for an update with the executive search. Edith Major reported there are approximately fifty applicants so far. The job posting will end on August 18, 2017. Major sent a survey to staff which was requested by the executive search committee. Richardson recommended the search committee look at the evaluation and scoring process before candidates are selected.
- Kimberly Richardson received a phone call about a request made to our staff to participate along with the Civil Rights Institute and Birmingham Museum of Art to use the corridors of the 1st floor to exhibit information on Dr. Charles Drew, an African American doctor who played a critical role in the development of plasma and blood banks as well as an exhibit of photographed children. This nationally recognized project centers around some LGBTQ issues, national policies of gay men being prohibited from donating blood. This exhibit starts in September and goes through December.
- Jiemin Fan who coordinates the Central library’s gallery space let Development know the gallery is available for that time. Lee said additional information has been requested.
Director's Report for June 2017
- Sandi Lee said an updated organizational chart was given to the board for their review. Beginning July 22, the position vacancies will start to create difficulties in maintaining Saturday hours at the community branches. Eastwood will have two part-time vacancies, both of which work weekends. Titusville and West End will each have a part-time vacancy that is scheduled every other weekend. An alternative staffing plan will need to be created or make a schedule to close some locations on the weekends. Lee, Damein Baity and Edith Major are working on the list of vacancies to present the need of critical positions to the cities. Supervisors are submitting information on why these positions are critical. The new budget year has begun, and the hiring freeze is in effect. Blair suggested making the council aware of the library’s staffing needs.
- Based on a conversation with Peggy Polk, Welch suggested creating manager positions at Avondale, North Birmingham, Five Points West, and Springville Road so every regional library has a branch manager. The two coordinators will each have two regions.
- Lee reported Attorney Kayla Lawrence reviewed the contract positions for the reading initiative. Peggy Polk had concerns who the contract positions would report to. Polk gave the option of adding the positions to the staff list contingent of available funds. Polk had some recommendations of the event staff positions that could result in financial ramifications. Lee asked the board if the Finance Committee should address the items Polk brought up.
- Welch moved to refer the job descriptions to the appropriate committees. The reading initiative contract positions will go the Personnel Committee, and the event staff position will be reviewed by the Finance Committee. Willie Davis III seconded the motion, and it was approved.
- Kimberly Richardson noted that she received a text saying an individual attempted to attend the meeting, and a security guard informed them the meeting was not open to the public. Richardson asked Lee to speak with security, and let them know board meetings are open to the public.
- Richardson asked if the telephone replacement project can be paid and installed in components since it is not completely funded. Lee replied there are three parts of the project that need to be completed. Baity contacted Andre Bittas at the city and asked if there were funds available left after completed capital projects. Lee said there was $29,000 transferred from Pratt City to Parks and Recreation then replaced with $34,000. Richardson asked to confirm if these funds are not for an uncompleted project before using it. Richardson asked for a summary of projects to ensure they are closed and the funds are available. The total cost of the telephone project is around $150,000. The library still needs around $23,000 with $7000 - $10,000 approved to used. Richardson asked when money is on the books, if the process can be expedited of getting information from PEP notifying when a project is complete so that the library can request to use the funds before another department gets to it. Phase in parts so that money is moving. Baity said the telephone project has been paid for in stages to keep the money moving.
- Welch asked Baity to check the last city council meeting when Councilor Scales asked if the funds we did not receive from this time for the reading initiative would be put in Fund 102. Baity said he would check.
- Richardson discussed the development report and upcoming grant submissions. Richardson asked if Kaul, Meyer, and Webb provided any feedback after the application was declined in this past cycle. Alison said it was a standard reply of having too many applicants this year. Richardson asked about a withdrawn application, and Lee replied it is currently a personnel action which cannot be discussed in an open meeting. Richardson asked the development staff to be cautious and methodical about applying to these local grants within the same year.
- Richardson asked about an incident report regarding children eating pizza in the library. Richardson said pizza goes beyond the small snacks stated in the library rules, and if it is causing problems, the board may want to revert back to the old rule. Welch responded that this is one of the first incidents involving food since the rule change, and she continues to monitor it. Richardson suggested the rule may need to be re-evaluated.
- Richardson asked if repeat offenders are allowed to be permanently banned from the library. Welch replied there is a policy for offenders and procedure for trespassing.
Board Member's Comments
- Welch received positive feedback from the Inglenook school on how Karnecia Williams of Inglenook is a positive influence on the students. The prevention specialist called and said the students are excited when they return from the library and are excited to return.
- Richardson thought it was good news about the IT department working with JCLC for the change to the vendor system and software allowing credit cards to be accepted system-wide including accepting donations. Richardson thanked all staff involved in summer reading. There is a positive response in the community to the programs. Richardson asked if the library coordinates with the schools during registration time and processing library cards. Lee replied there are two initiatives during the school year where applications are distributed to students and the literacy department processes the applications and sends cards to the students. Lee said the mobile registration can be tried. Staff has reported registering in large numbers can be problematic. It is best to register students in smaller groups. The initiatives in the schools already have a significant impact.
- Dora Sims reported she received a thank you note from the Smithfield library for the Innovative Cool award from the Advocacy Committee.
- Georgia Morgan Blair shared a flyer that Roy Williams gave her for a Ballard House Project community wide collective memory program on July 27 from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. in the Linn Henley Arrington Auditorium.
- Gwendolyn Amamoo thanked the staff for doing a good job of dealing with the public.
Next Board Meeting is Tuesday, August 8, 2017.
The meeting was adjourned at 6:03 p.m.
Sandra Vick Lee, Secretary