DULUTH PUBLIC LIBRARY BOARD
Minutes of Meeting: 10/28/08
President Andrew Slade called the meeting of the Duluth Public
Library Board to order at 4:34 p.m. on Tuesday, October 28, 2008.
Present: L. Benson Johnson, J. Brissett, D. Casperson, V. Katz,
P. Markert, A. Slade,
P. Spooner, J. Sheriff, R. Zurn.
Excused: D. D'Allaird, M. Watson
Welcome to new members:
Jane Brissett is a semi-retired freelance writer who has always
wanted to serve on the Board but couldn't due to her employer's
(the Duluth News Tribune) conflict of interest policy. Peter
Spooner has been the curator at the Tweed Museum for 14 years
and considers the library an essential part of the community.
Approval of Minutes from Library Board meeting
The Library Board minutes of the September 23, 2008, meeting were
approved as distributed.
- Draft Library Board roster for additions and corrections
- City Ordinance 08-082-0: Terms of Boards and Commissions
- 2009 Library Budget, as proposed
- Bylaws, Duluth Library Board
- Draft job description - Manager, Library Services
- Articles about library coffee shops
- October and November issues of BookPage
A. Friends of the Duluth Public Library - P. Markert
Friends discussed possible coffee shop. Friends would not take
on coffee shop volunteer work. Friends will support Lewis &
Clark/Indian Country exhibition at UMD 12/2009-2/2010. Friends
donated $25,000 to the library for a variety of special purchases,
plus $500 for books in honor of Mabel Schauland. This money was
raised at the annual Friends of the Library booksale.
B. Directors' Report - J. Sheriff, R. Zurn
- Manager, Library Services: City Administration is
moving ahead to fill this position as soon as possible. A draft
job description is included in the Board packet. Librarian IIIs
have already had an opportunity for input. Human Resources hopes
to bring this to the November civil service board meeting for
approval. The Board is invited to make suggestions. These suggestions
must be sent to HR on October 29. The City is required to adhere
to rules that affect both procedures and wording. Neither the
salary nor the application/interview process has been determined
yet. Preliminary word is that a Board member will be included
on the interview panel.
- Budget 2009: Proposed budget information is included
in the Board packet. In terms of staffing, 2009 appears to be
the same as late 2008. All Maintenance positions have been moved
from the Library budget to a citywide department. Related maintenance
expenses have been moved into the general library services budget.
- Update on shelver volunteers: To date we have had
61 applications. 43 of these applications meet the criteria for
this volunteer position - about 70%. We have interviewed and
given background check forms to 19 of the volunteers. 13 of the
background checks have been cleared. By the end of this week,
we'll have started 10 volunteer shelvers: 4 at Mount Royal, 3
at Main and 3 at West Duluth. Our shelver supervisors are coordinating
the interviewing of the other volunteer applicants.
- New City Ordinance about terms of boards and commissions:
In order to create efficiencies in the appointment process, a
new ordinance passed by the City Council requires that terms
of City boards and commissions end on March 31 each year. This
ordinance also requires members to continue to serve until their
replacements have been appointed and confirmed. The Board's bylaws
need to be reviewed and revised in relation to this ordinance,
perhaps at the next Board meeting. A copy of the bylaws is included
in the Board packet.
- Impact of 32-hour week contract provision: A provision
in the Basic Union Employee Contract affirms that the Employer
has the right to determine staffing levels and the number of
hours of positions. No employee is to have hours involuntarily
reduced, except in an "unforeseen financial crisis."
Due to shortfalls, City Administration reluctantly finds it necessary
to impose this related clause: Effective January 1, 2008,
in the event of an involuntary reduction of hours, a full-time
employee's hours may be reduced to no less than 32 hours per
week for up to 2 pay periods per year, unless mutually extended.
This provision does not exist in other City union contracts,
but Administration is asking other units for comparable efforts.For
the Library, this means that four additional closed days (November
10 and 17, December 26 and 31) will be necessary. These days
were set by Administration and apply citywide. Library employees
will work 32 hours per week during those four weeks, rather than
their regular 37.5. Librarian IIIs are discussing essential needs,
such as emptying bookdrops, and how these might be handled.
- Capital Improvement Program requests: The City has
been asked for $1,150,000.00 over the next five years to upgrade
the Main Library mechanical systems. In 2006, Johnson Controls
evaluated the Main Library and recommended replacement and upgrading
of the library heating/cooling/air flow equipment. $150,000.00
was requested for 2009 to clean all the building ductwork and
set a replacement schedule. $250,000.00 was requested each year
for each of the following four years to upgrade the equipment
based on a schedule to be developed. All equipment is beyond
its life expectancy. Failure of systems might jeopardize the
Library's ability to be open. Also requested for 2009 is $44,000
to replace 25 computers, upgrade the Polaris (automation system)
server and purchase a digital microform reader/printer. The City
is attempting to develop a four-year replacement cycle for computer
- Board report format: Zurn and Sheriff, with the assistance
of Nancy Eaton and other staff, hope to revive in November the
practice of distributing a broader monthly Director's Report
that includes all the news of the Library - personnel, training,
programs, etc. It has proved in the past to be a valuable historical
reference, as well as a method of communicating with the Board
and staff. This Report will continue to be supplemented, as needed,
with the Board Briefing.
- SAM: Slade asked about progress on this internet signup
software. Installation, training and full functionality will
begin the first week in November.
Ordinance re board terms and planning for related bylaws revisions:
Slade, Zurn and Sheriff will meet to draft changes. Changes will
be mailed at least 10 days before next Board meeting.
Discussion of draft job description for Manager, Library Services:
Board members were surprised at the level of detail in the description.
Zurn and Sheriff explained that this position is now a Civil Service
position, and the job description must conform to those rules.
It's very similar to other positions at the same level. Board
members asked what the application and testing procedure would
be and who would be involved. They also asked if there was a probationary
period and whether or not the staff would have input, both before
and after hiring. The Board would appreciate seeing an outline
of the complete hiring process. Sheriff will send the Board's
questions to Lisa Potswald (CAO) and Jan Anderson (Human Resources)
for consideration as the hiring process is developed. Katz volunteered
to be part of the interview team and was supported in this by
The meeting adjourned at 5:45 p.m.
The next meeting will be on Tuesday, November 25, 2008 at 4:30
p.m. in the Library's Conference Room.