- Birmingham Public Library Board Minutes
- Call To Order
- Public Voices
- Approval of Agenda
- Approval of Consent Agenda
- Terry Oglesby
- Kayla Lawrence, City Attorney
- Operational Items Requiring Board Approval
- Committee Reports
- Unfinished Business
- New Business
- Director's Report
- Board Member's Comments
- Next Board Meeting is Tuesday, January 9, 2018.
- Submitted By
Birmingham Public Library Board Minutes
December 11, 2017
Central Library Arrington Auditorium
Meeting Called By
Georgia Morgan Blair, President
Type of Meeting
Regular Board Meeting
Trustees: Georgia Morgan Blair, President; James A. Sullivan, Vice-President; The Honorable Scott Vowell, Parliamentarian; Gwendolyn R. Amamoo; Willie S. Davis, III; Kimberly Richardson; Eunice Johnson Rogers; Dora U. Sims; Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch
Call To Order
- Meeting called to order by President Georgia Morgan Blair.
- There were no public voices.
- Dora Sims, Chair of the Advocacy Committee presented Innovative Cool Awards and I Am BPL Awards to the 4th quarter recipients. Cynthia Phillips, East Ensley received an Innovative Award for her idea to purchase an interactive dance game “Just Dance” on the console Wii for the enjoyment of kids and teens who visit the library. Phillips accepted an Innovative Cool Award on behalf of Mark Skinner who received an award for the program idea of a gingerbread house contest at East Ensley. Gelenda Norman, Central ALS received an Innovative Cool Award for her program idea of “I Sip My Tea,” a tea fair at the Central library. Jevonda Weldon, Public Relations was nominated for an I Am BPL Award by Roy Williams for improving work efficiency by creating a checklist/ sign-out sheet for the BPL embroidered tablecloths.
- Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch announced she would donate funds for an extra Innovative Cool Award at Central that was submitted by Russell Lee, Central ALS. Lee’s program is the “BPL Spinners Club” which would allow patrons to listen to several genres of music to broaden their musical taste. Lee hopes the program will promote the library’s large music collection and draw more people to the library.
Approval of Agenda
- Eunice Johnson Rogers moved to approve the agenda. Willie Davis III seconded the motion, and it was approved.
Approval of Consent Agenda
- Judge Scott Vowell moved to approve the consent agenda. Kimberly Richardson seconded the motion, and it was approved.
- Terry Oglesby was not in attendance.
Kayla Lawrence, City Attorney
- Kayla Lawrence was not in attendance. Floyd Council previously made the board aware of a situation. Council noted there was an attempt to discuss the situation but since the attorney was not present, the board could not go into executive session. The matter is tabled until the next board meeting in the presence of an attorney of the city.
Operational Items Requiring Board Approval
- Kimberly Richardson requested that the fiscal year dates be added to the library fund report. Floyd Council confirmed the report follows the city’s fiscal year which begins in July.
- Council reported what appears to be an expenditure increase on a customize version of Communico, a library materials mobile application that was purchased at the same time as other JCLC libraries. The library made a pre-payment of the app. Council will provide an additional explanation at the next board meeting.
- Sandra Lee was not present for the first portion of the meeting because she was attending the city council’s Budget and Finance Committee meeting to discuss a State Aid grant which had a contingency that the city matched the grant funds. Lee spoke about it at the budget hearing, and it was moved forward.
- Council said it is projected the city council will pass the budget for FY 2017 at the city council meeting on Tuesday, December 12, 2017.
Advocacy Committee Report
- In addition to passport services, Council suggested the library look into notary services with a small fee set by the board and potential fee waive for people with economic hardships. Council suggested piloting these services at Central’s current front security desk and shifting it into an information referral and citizen services desk. For Central, it is the location where basic passport, notary, and other services could be offered. The current security desk was designed for information. Council also suggested considering getting rid of fines and fees which is a trend throughout the country. Council will do more research and development in order to report in the future.
- Council thinks security can have a landing space and should be roaming the building. Council sees some security issues in Central and other locations. Judge Scott Vowell agreed it was a terrific idea and allows patrons to discover new functions of the library. Judge Vowell added that many people cannot get services because they lack a photo ID. Council suggested lawyers provide free advice to patrons. Another suggestion is forming partnerships and having an on-site nurse volunteer or offer health services pro-bono.
- Amamoo asked where bag inspections will be conducted. Council highly recommends the board reconsider the bag check policy adding it is not a 21st century trend in libraries. Council would like to address the challenges in security system-wide and asked to table the discussion until there is more development with security assessment. If the board decides to keep the bag check policy, Council believes another location can be found, and the front desk could make a better first impression to patrons.
- Kimberly Richardson asked what the process is for communicating and assessing the needs for other branches besides Central in terms of grant requests. Olivia Alison, Director of Development reported that the Development team is working on it in line with the strategic plan to streamline grant focus. Grant procedure/process is being worked on and will be completed by the end of the calendar year. Alison and Melvia Walton, Grants Writer have regularly attended Joint Branch Department Heads meetings and spoke with staff about their particular needs. Richardson wanted to make sure there is balance, representation, and communication for the other 18 branches.
- Richardson offered pro bono, in-kind service training not only for development staff but other librarians who can submit for small grants. Richardson believes with more training and support, the library can increase the number of grants received. Council stated finding sources of grant funding would be fully appreciated in tandem with the strategic plan. Council intends to sit with the development department and other departments to re-establish goals and look at the structure of the workflow. Council and staff are working towards distinctions between benefactor funds and grant funds in addition to communication to branches about funds available. Council has expressed to staff that receivables must be clearly notated and delivered to the Business Office within 24 hours. Council will work with staff to look into shifting the development department towards community engagement.
- In regards to a letter of support for the Housing Authority, Kimberly Richardson asked to further communicate the dollar amount value for the in-kind services BPL will be providing in support to the Housing Authority. Council added that more volunteers need to be recruited to share the value volunteer hours bring to the library.
- Gwendolyn Guster Welch requested that library staff work on exciting programs for the library by summer 2018 to aid in receiving more funding from the city. Council said it is a priority goal, and one of the projects would be to create an early summer reading program and possible partnership with the school board.
- Dora Sims informed the board the Advocacy Committee discussed waiving the fee for the volunteer background check. Council recommended looking into the Friends Foundation or Bookstore to pay for the cost of the volunteer background checks in line with part of their mission to support the library. Council also recommended rethinking which department should handle volunteers.
- Dora Sims moved to extend $175 from the board fund - $150 for the Innovative Cool Award recipients and $25 for the I Am BPL Award. Gwendolyn Amamoo moved to approve the request, and Kimberly Richardson seconded the motion. It was approved.
- Sandra Lee confirmed the entryway floor at Five Points West will be repaired during Staff Day when the library will be closed to the public. The library was able to find a supplier for the carpet strips.
- Gwendolyn Guster Welch thanked Sandra Lee for her nomination as a JCPLA Library Champion. Welch also thanked city councilor Lashunda Scales for the continued library support. Welch added that she was embarrassed and hurt that David Herring, Friends Foundation president was nominated and believes the written application should have been reviewed before it was turned in. Welch suggested looking into developing BPL’s own library champions with a dinner reception, celebrating those who do good for the Birmingham’s library system. Welch added the Friends Foundation needs a serious look into their purpose and what they have accomplished for the library besides the bookstore. Council agrees and stated the Foundation does what the library can not do. Foundations exist to serve the library and the board. Kimberly Richardson asked Floyd Council to review the feasibility study from a few years ago. The library did not have a champion from the business community this year.
- Council provided an itemized report of his activities to the board. The mayor’s administrative team asked each city department to fill out a questionnaire, and the library received feedback that their questionnaire was among the best responses. Council thanked everyone involved including Welch and Blair for their support.
- Council has begun community engagement visits with faith based community and civic organizations and has standing invitations to become immersed within the community.
- Council announced he is excited to serve on the University of Alabama Communication and Information Sciences Board of Visitors. Council shared the invitation letter and board by-laws with the library board.
- Council has started to analyze the workflow of the Administrative staff and other areas of the library. Council announced an Innovation and Technology Committee, chaired by Tobin Cataldo and to include about seven members.
- Welch previously requested clarification about print materials regarding the year end appeal from the Friends Foundation. Council asked that the old materials be destroyed due to the inconsistency of the BPL logo is used above “Friends Foundation.” All print materials and anything that represents the foundation must use their logo and letterhead. Council communicated to Olivia Alison that to mix logos and names is a miscommunication of BPL’s branding, naming, and license.
- Council updated the board that Alabama Media Group did provide a final check for the proceeds from the cookbook. The total amount was $2596. The Charter Communication check was received and cleared for $1500.
- The board inquired about why some materials must be picked up at certain library locations in the county instead of delivered through the JCLC delivery vans at the patron’s desired library location. In a message to Council, Tobin Cataldo clarified that each entity in the Jefferson County Library Cooperative sets their loaning rules. Sandra Lee added that municipalities receive their individual funds which is the reason municipal libraries are able to reserve new materials for their own patrons. Welch stated as a citizen, she believes the libraries in Birmingham should adopt the same policy. Judge Vowell suggested carefully defining these rules and BPL adopting the same standards. Sandra Lee believes the standard is to put the material on hold for six months then release them for delivery. Lee stated BPL does not have this rule. Welch suggested taking another look at the relationship between BPL and JCLC. Council clarified that lending policies are set by local libraries. Since local city funding is used to purchase all items in the member library’s collection, members may choose to limit routing of items as decided by local library policy. Libraries tend to want keep shelf copies of new items. Richardson added that it may be an issue of what library receives the circulation credit for that item, so it would be worth looking into. If is an issue of credit, there may be a way to resolve that.
- Council brought to the attention of the board that an employee used social media to post the temperature of staff room area of one of the branches. Council said this is unacceptable and does not give the library the opportunity to maximize what needs to be done public service and management wise. Council recommends enhanced policies regarding employee use of social media on duty and off duty. Council, Lee, and Karyn Davis West are working towards ensuring space heaters are positioned in areas to make the libraries comfortable for staff and patrons. Gwendolyn Amamoo asked Council about his thoughts about employees using social media and online shopping during work hours. Council stated he has a huge concern on this issue. For operational flow, it is important that some staff stay up to date with what is posted on social media. Council will reply, or he will ask other staff will reply to concerns. It is a problem when staff is using social media during work hours for non-work related subjects.
- Council shared with the board that at a city department heads meeting, Mayor Woodfin asked if there were any issues requiring critical responses. It was shared with the mayor that the HVAC system at Smithfield library has been out of order for some time. Mayor Woodfin asked his staff to ensure funding would be in place for Smithfield’s new HVAC system.
- Council plans on having three coordinators visit all 19 library locations to thoroughly assess all buildings and take photos. Damein Baity is tasked with current trends and costs such as estimated carpet costs per square feet.
- Sandra Lee provided an update on issues some of the branches are experiencing after Trane has performed work at their locations. Gwendolyn Guster Welch spoke with Tracy Simpson at Pratt City who mentioned the sunlight coming into the windows makes the library hot. Welch requested checking on the cost of installing blinds. Welch asked library staff to make sure projects are complete before transferring funds.
Board Member's Comments
- Gwendolyn Guster Welch hopes the Education Committee of the city council takes the board appointments seriously and understands there will be three board seats available in the new year. Welch thanked everyone for attending the JCPLA Library Champion luncheon. Welch thanked Council for his response to social media posts during the snowstorm. Welch also thanked the Search Committee: Blair, Amamoo, and Vowell. Welch thanked Edith Major and her team for going through the applicants for the position of Executive Director. Welch commented the meet and greet events went very well. Welch urged the board members to visit the branches. Welch stated to Council that he is a change agent, and the library is going to be so much better under his direction.
- Willie Davis thanked Maya Jones for her impressive participation at a community service fair for the Dannon Project where she talked about the many services the library has to offer. Davis also mentioned that his workplace has a strict social media policy, and the library may want to add a social media clause. Davis looks forward to future partnerships with the library.
- Judge Scott Vowell stated he will miss Welch serving on the board.
- Kimberly Richardson thanked Welch for being an invaluable and tireless advocate for the library. Richardson is unsure if she will continue serving on the board in the coming new year. Richardson commented the director meet and greet had a great turn out and the band Reflections was awesome. Richardson advised getting a headstart on budget preparation for the new fiscal year. Richardson thanked Sandra Lee for doing a great job and thanked the staff.
- Dora Sims also thanked Lee and welcomed Council. Sims commented that staff should follow protocol when it comes to social media. Sims thanked the Development staff for their work on the neighborhood, corporate, and director meet and greet events. Sims thanked Janine and Five Points West library for hosting the firefighters luncheon. Sims thanked Welch for her time on the board. Sims announced she will also be rolling off the board and commented it was great working with the trustees. Sims thanked the board for carrying on the leadership and said they will do an excellent job.
- Edith Major gave a final report on the expenses for the director meet and greet which came in under budget. Major thanked Onyx for their in-kind donation of decorations for the event. Major thanked Lisa Mitchell, Roy Williams, and Mary Little for their participation.
- Melvia Walton stated it has been a joy working with all board members. Walton stated the meet and greet events are now becoming a well oiled machine with the assistance of development, other library departments, building services, security, PR, and administration staff. Walton looks forward to working with Mr. Council.
- Olivia Alison announced Tiffanie Jeter had her baby in November and expects her back in early January. Alison stated it has been wonderful having Jeter and Walton working together side by side, and that they are all working as a team. Alison thanked the board, department heads, and staff for generating ideas.
- Karyn Davis West heard wonderful ideas from Council, and she is on board with whatever he needs.
- Roy Williams reminded the board about the West End and Powderly Christmas program.
- Mary Little thanked the board and wished all happy holidays.
- Floyd Council stated that staff will work towards getting a resolution for Lorraine Walker’s family.
- Georgia Morgan Blair thanked the board for their support and sacrifice.
Next Board Meeting is Tuesday, January 9, 2018.
The meeting was adjourned at 6:45 p.m.
Floyd Council, Secretary