- Birmingham Public Library Board Minutes
- Call To Order
- Public Voices
- Approval of Agenda
- Approval of Consent Agenda
- Terry Oglesby, City Architect
- Veronica Merritt, City Attorney
- Operational Items Requiring Board Approval
- Committee Reports
- Unfinished Business
- New Business
- Director's Report
- Next Board Meeting is Tuesday, April 10, 2018.
- Submitted By
Birmingham Public Library Board Minutes
March 13, 2018
Central Library Boardroom
Meeting Called By
James A. Sullivan, President
Type of Meeting
Regular Board Meeting
Trustees:Gwendolyn Amamoo, Georgia Morgan Blair, Fatima Carter, Willie S. Davis III, Kimberly Richardson , Dora U. Sims, James A. Sullivan, Judge Scott Vowell, Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch
Call To Order
- James A. Sullivan called the meeting to order.
- Georgia Morgan Blair provided the invocation.
- There were no public voices.
- There were no presentations.
Approval of Agenda
- Georgia Morgan Blair moved to approve the agenda. Dora Sims seconded the motion, and it was approved.
Approval of Consent Agenda
- Georgia Morgan Blair moved to approve the consent agenda. Willie Davis seconded the motion, and it was approved.
Terry Oglesby, City Architect
- Terry Oglesby reported Studio 2H’s final drawings of the stairs replacing the escalators will be submitted March 14. Oglesby has received complaints regarding Powderly Branch Library’s roof leaks. The original part of the library did not get a new roof when the addition was added or when the community center’s roof was replaced. They are in the process of putting together a bid packet which will be ready by the end of the month.
- There is no status on the VOIP project. Trane is finishing with the last part of the lighting at the Central Library. The roofing of the crosswalk will begin soon after the design projected to be complete by end of April. East Lake Branch Library’s roof is complete. The HVAC at Southside Branch Library and Springville Road Regional Branch Library have been completed. Oglesby confirmed the city does follow through on a schedule of penalties for contractors who do not complete work on time.
Veronica Merritt, City Attorney
- Attorney Merritt has an appointment with the purchasing department regarding contracts. They have been researching contracts of current vending companies they are using.
Operational Items Requiring Board Approval
- Damein Baity presented the finance reports to the board. In the library fund budget, Kimberly Richardson asked about the gifts from Friends Foundation showing nothing. Richardson asked if goods and services from the bookstore should be listed. Baity said he will check, but currently, it is not budgeted. Floyd Council answered that is where it technically should be, but Friends Foundation has their own accounting system to maintain internal control to keep the library and foundation separate. Richardson commented there have been a number of instances in Birmingham and in the area with lack of internal control specifically with funds, and it raises the question: is there a clear grasp of what the process is with the Friends Foundation and what accountability they have for inventory and tracking. Richardson raised attention to this issue and asked if it would go to the Finance Committee or be brought up at a Friends Foundation meeting to ensure correct processes in every aspect of BPL operations, especially in regards to assets that come back to BPL. Floyd Council agreed with Richardson and informed the Friends Foundation board there are many things staff cannot do for the 501c3 organization. Council stated an MOU needs to be established between the Friends Foundation and BPL to define the relationship.
- Richardson recommended having a designation on some of the line items showing what is restricted versus funds that are flexible. Richardson suggests adding an asterisk or symbol on the line items to make sure the restricted funds are spent accordingly and as a reminder those funds are not as flexible.
- Georgia Morgan Blair thanked Floyd Council, Damein Baity, and Sandi Lee for their work on the zero based budget and submitting it to the city on time.
- Damein Baity requested the board to vote to receive disbursement from the Weathers Fund. Baity confirmed the funds will be used for programming. The disbursement is in the amount of $6,201.35. Richardson let the new board member know the process of board approval for disbursement is in place because the Weathers fund was one of two funds that were automatically disbursed and the current board was not aware of. Georgia Morgan Blair moved the approval of disbursing $6,201.35 from the Hibbert M. Weathers Fund. Kimberly Richardson seconded the motion, and it was approved.
- Dora Sims, Chair reported the Finance Committee recommends to the board that employees at Grade 10 will be reclassified to Grade 13 as included in the budget proposal for FY 2019. Georgia Morgan Blair added Gwendolyn Amamoo’s name to the committee meeting attendance.
- Floyd Council thanked Mrs. Sims and the Finance Committee. Council reported the budget proposal was presented to the city as approved by the Finance Committee. The focus of the budget centered around $2.3 million which does not include utilities or personnel. This is the first time the library has had to populate a zero based budget. Council thanked the public service team, Sandra Lee, and Damein Baity for putting all the elements together. Council stated during the budget proposal process, there were questions/challenges/concerns regarding the funds for the Reading Initiative and BPL’s contracting process. While his staff was aware, the head of Finance at the city made it known he was unaware the library had such contracts such as Dell computer leases. Council made him aware that in the library by laws and the authorization from the city gives the board to buy, sell, contract, control, and manage the library system. Council is going to draft an email to James Sullivan and Attorney Merritt to get clarity on the leases. Dora Sims made a motion to accept the budget proposal that has been presented by BPL. Georgia Morgan Blair seconded the motion, and it was approved.
- Kimberly Richardson moved to accept the financial report as presented. Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch seconded the motion, and it was approved.
- Reading Initiative: Floyd Council was invited to be on the strategic planning committee for the Birmingham City Schools. Based on what Council learned, he believes the prior reading initiative needs substantial review before going forward. Council asked his team to respond with other creative proposals. The mayor is completing their strategic planning process at the end of the month while the schools are completing theirs plan in May. Council made it clear to the mayor’s transition team and the superintendent that BPL has always been a partner with Birmingham City Schools. Council recommended the library yield and have a more refined initiative taking elements of what BPL already has. Council recommended bringing the reading initiative back to the Long-Range Planning Committee. Council also would like to have a meeting with the mayor’s leadership team to get clarification. Richardson said there are two issues with the first being a long term issue of approach for summer reading and how BPL is approaching engagement in the community. For the second, short term issue, Richardson asked if there is clarification on whether $500,000 needs to be spent or encumbered by June 30. Council stated that is the answer he is waiting for from the mayor’s office. Council presented a proposal to the board that staff came up with based off the original reading initiative. Council said the referral to Long-Range Planning is to ensure all the elements are preserved and focus on equipment so programming regarding learning and literacy can be implemented over many months. Amamoo stated the proposal shows a total cost of $448,704.24, and she asked the remainder of the funds go towards professional development.
- Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch moved the board approve the Birmingham Public Library Learning and Digital Inclusion Plan as listed on the proposal amended to include pending approval for the city’s approval of expenditure of funds. Georgia Morgan Blair seconded the motion, and it was approved.
- Gwendolyn Amamoo made the motion to use the remaining $51,295.76 to be used for professional development and training for adults and staff. Dora Sims seconded the motion, and it was approved.
- Council clarified all branches will receive materials from the proposal. Gwendolyn Amamoo asked if a bidding process was necessary. Council stated in this case, there will be multiple vendors, and the library will go through the proper steps to purchase the materials.
- Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch asked for a status on Council’s plan to keep the branches open for lunch and staff referrals. Council charged the regional managers and Sandi Lee to have multiple interactions with staff for feedback. Council stated the hiring process first needs to be completed by April and May. Welch asked Administration to not to transfer problem employees to another location and assess what each branch needs. Council has conferred with staff and asked recommendations for staff transfers.
- James Sullivan stated he is working on committee appointments. Sullivan asked Kimberly Richardson to temporarily serve as chair of the committee and asked Willie Davis to remain on the committee.
- Floyd Council reported the application for the Urban Council League has been completed. Council provided copies of the updated BPL Disaster and Emergency Plan to the board. Council reported the customer service plan provides details to staff on how to handle security and emergency matters. Staff had active shooter training at Staff Day in October 2017. Council wants all the managers to take the federal FEMA training.
- Council has empowered public service managers to empower staff since the morale of the library depends on everyone lifting each other up.
- Council updated the board that the vending machines on the first floor of the Central East building were moved.
- Council requested to refer the following items to the Long-Range Planning Committee: Wylam project, Eastwood lease, East Lake property addition, and mural proposal at Five Points West library. Kimberly Richardson stated since the libraries are city-owned buildings, she would not think they have the authority to make the decision. Council stated he believes according to the current by laws, the board does have the authorization for anything regarding the use, management, and control of library buildings. Welch said the board is charged with the management, not the ownership.
- Council will attend the Public Library Association conference in Philadelphia, PA. While away, Sandra Lee will be in charge, and Council will be available by phone and email. BPL staff will have access to the PLA virtual conference.
- Council announced two key staff members recently discovered new employment opportunities. Olivia Alison worked with BPL since 2014 as the Development director. Melvia Walton will serve in the interim capacity as a development officer until a search and appointment has been performed for that role. Lance Simpson has accepted a position to return to the Tuscaloosa Public Library. While Council is at PLA, he will spread the word about Lance’s position opening.
- Council stated the most important thing in his capacity as director of the library system is to ensure people are treated fairly, they know they are appreciated, and they are empowered to do their best work. It is up to individual staff members to step up. Promotions are not guaranteed but are for people who do extra and demonstrate the capacity.
- Council thanked the board for their continued support as BPL navigates through change.
- Olivia Alison thanked the board. During her four years at the library, she learned so much, and she believes BPL is probably the most important institution in the City of Birmingham. Alison will continue to be supportive to Melvia Walton, the Friends Foundation, and the board. Alison will continue to donate to the library.
- Council recognized Janine Langston, Karyn Davis-West, and Yolanda Hardy for doing a fabulous job on moving the staff forward.
- Dora Sims commented the mural would be an excellent addition for Five Points West Regional Branch Library.
- Gwendolyn B. Guster Welch thanked Council and his team for the fresh and clean look of the Fiction department at Central adding it looks like a library or bookstore.
- Georgia Morgan Blair thanked Council for checking into the concerns regarding the Powderly Branch Library. Blair saw it was presented to a committee at City Hall today. Blair asked if BPL has a shirt and shoes policy. Council replied no, and it would need to be referred to the Policy Committee. Blair was happy to see no tresspasses in February and thanked Council for his 100 days report.
- Dora Sims thanked staff for their work. Sims added the recommendation to Long-Range regarding the Five Points West mural is excellent.
- Willie Davis agreed the Fiction department looks good.
- Judge Vowell let Olivia know they appreciate all the years of service to the board and Birmingham Public Library. Alison will be missed, and he wishes her luck in her new endeavors.
- Kimberly Richardson agreed with Judge Vowell. Richardson thanked all the staff and Council for his leadership and taking things to next level in terms of expectations for the library system and all the staff. Richardson suggested considering inviting elected officials such as Congresswoman Sewell and Senator Doug Jones or any elected official pertaining to our district and state to tour the library when they are on breaks and back in their hometown. This would be an opportunity to advocate for funding on behalf of the library. Richardson encouraged Council to get on the elected officials’ schedules.
- Richardson discussed the 2018 American Library Association conference. Traditionally, the board sends new trustees to ALA. Richardson moved, per the board’s policy, the authorization of sending all new trustees and those who have not attended to the 2018 ALA Conference in New Orleans in June 22-26. Dora Sims seconded the motion, and it was approved. Council asked if it was budgeted, and Sims confirmed it was budgeted before his arrival to BPL.
- Gwendolyn Amamoo wished Olivia Alison good luck with her new endeavor. Amamoo thanked Council for empowering his team. Amamoo suggested Council wear something that says Birmingham Public Library when he networks. Amamoo stated everyone is doing a great job.
- James Sullivan thanked Olivia Alison for her service and wished her luck.
Next Board Meeting is Tuesday, April 10, 2018.
- Georgia Morgan Blair moved to adjourn the meeting. Gwendolyn Amamoo seconded the motion, and it was approved.
Floyd Council, Secretary