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Call to Order: President Bogue called the meeting of the Duluth Public Library Board to order at 4:35 p.m. on Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at the Mt. Royal Branch Library. On a motion by D’Allaird, seconded by Katz, the agenda was approved.
Members Present: Sister Edith Bogue, Jane Brissett, Dan D’Allaird, Frank Jewell, Virginia Katz, Printha Markert, Megan Oswald, Peter SpoonerAlso Present: Carla PowersAbsent: Andrew Slade
Minutes: On a motion by Brissett, seconded by Katz, the library board minutes of the regular meeting of February 25 were approved as drafted.
Friends of the Duluth Public Library – PowersThe written report was reviewed, and there was brief discussion about a date for the joint Friends/foundation/board meeting.
Duluth Library Foundation – D’AllairdTicket prices for Libations were discussed. The foundation board had been looking at charging $50 per person, but the events committee suggested that $75 per ticket would be more in line with similar fundraisers. The board approved a charge of $75 at its last meeting. People may have option to volunteer and get in for free or at a reduced price. D’Allaird pointed out that the library offers other events free of charge for people of all income levels; however this particular event is a fundraiser and will be clearly marketed as such. Bogue encouraged the foundation board to assess turnout after event. Spooner suggested considering a similar event at one of the branches.
Library Legislative Day – BrissettBrissett shared highlights of the day and offered an update on the Telecommunications Equity Aid for K-12 schools. The appropriation has been increased from $3.75 million to $5 million. There was discussion about approaching local legislators for a meeting in Duluth, and about legislators’ interest in reimbursement for nonresident library use.
Main library needs assessment. There was discussion about Dave Montgomery’s suggestion to have the city planning department facilitate the process, rather than contracting with Whitney Crettol. Motion by D’Allaird, seconded by Spooner, to strongly encourage Crettol’s inclusion in the process based on her previous experience as a facilitator and her knowledge of the library’s strategic plan and contact with the community. Motion carried unanimously.
Joint Friends/foundation/board meeting. D’Allaird will continue to work with the Friends to identify a meeting date.
Collection development policy and process for challenging material. D’Allaird presented a revision of the forms for use by people who want to express concern about materials. He will go through the policy, pull out a one-page summary to go on the back of the statement of concern, and present it for approval at next month’s meeting.
Update on appointment of new board member. Mayor Ness has not yet made an appointment. Powers will contact him with the board’s recommendation.
Election of officers. Motion by Katz, seconded by D’Allaird to nominate Brissett for president. Motion carried unanimously. Motion by Katz, seconded by Brissett, to nominate Oswald for vice president. Motion carried unanimously.
Report from Mt. Royal Branch librarian. Branch usage is continuing to increase. Weekly storytime attendance averages 35-50 people. Some programming for adults is in the works. Programs have taken place in the library space, which is not ideal but has worked so far. The branch now has high speed fiber for public WiFi and staff computers. There is huge interest from the public in downloadables and e-reader help. All of the services are provided at the desk as a single service point. Staff continue to get positive feedback for being open full time, and there is much interest in weekend hours. A wish list for the branch would include some type of space for meetings and programs, an internet lounge space including an area for instruction, and staff space to grow. (Additional staff is needed, but there is no place away from the desk for them to work.) There was discussion of the Video Vision space that is currently vacant in the building. This location is not ideal for expansion because it is disconnected from the library. The branch book return is not accessible; patrons need to climb stairs or navigate a high curb in order to reach it. There was discussion about the synergy between the library and other businesses in the shopping center.
Review of report “From Awareness to Funding.” Board members shared some of the highlights from the first section of the report. One of the findings of the report was that most people have visited the library and know that it’s there but have no idea how it is paid for. Simply promoting how much good stuff is happening at the library doesn’t drive public support or get people out to vote for libraries. Brissett stated that what stood out for her was the idea that elected officials think libraries are doing OK, and it’s up to the board to let them know that this is not necessarily the case. Oswald mentioned that it is important to communicate the relevance of the library to people’s lives. According to the report, many people think the library is just books and don’t know about the other services it provides. D’Allaird liked the idea of thinking about the library as being transformational for people. Bogue pointed out that it’s up to the board to show up to community meetings and let it be known they are on the library board, so that people are familiar with board members. She said the idea of one message fitting all does not work; if the board wants to get support in one area of the city it is important to find out what is transformational about that branch vs. what is transformational about a branch in a different area. The message would be shaped differently in each area. There was discussion about the branding of the library. Katz mentioned that the seed library is a good brand, and also a major point of education for people to learn about what libraries can do. Bogue suggested that board members read chapter 2 for next meeting. She will facilitate discussion.
Adjournment: The meeting adjourned 6:02 p.m. The next meeting will take place on Tuesday, April 22, 2014.