April 2012 - Board Minutes

Owatonna Public Library Board Minutes of April 17, 2012

The Owatonna Public Library (OPL) Board of Trustees convened their monthly meeting on Tuesday, April 17, 2012, in the Gainey Room at the Owatonna Public Library. The meeting was called to order at 4:30 pm by President Eric Mattison. Also attending were Russ Dunn-Foster, Jill Holmes, Don Overlie, Library Director Mary Kay Feltes, Assistant Director Renée P. Lowery, Librarian in charge of Children’s Services Darla Lager, and Gail Plathe. Angela Sager was absent.

Elections were held. Overlie nominated a slate of candidates: Jill Holmes as President, Russ Dunn-Foster as Vice President, and Angela Sager as Secretary. Dunn-Foster seconded the nominations and the slate was approved by acclamation. The motion passed.

Holmes took over the meeting.

The minutes of March 20, 2012, were approved on a motion by Dunn-Foster, seconded by Mattison. The motion passed.

The financial report for March was reviewed. Feltes gave a brief summary of the five program areas within the budget: administration, circulation, site, information services, and off-site. She noted the expenditure for the elevator maintenance contract in the site program is an annual expense. Elevators in Senior Place and City Hall are covered by the contract as well.

Lager reported on March activities in Children’s Services. The Family Fun Night program Spring Things was well attended with 96 children, parents, grandparents and friends joining in. This program was held in cooperation with Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE). Sixteen classes came to the library for tours, stories and to choose books in the month. Washington Elementary School library is closed for two weeks for testing. The close proximity to OPL allows the children from Washington to walk to the library and choose books at the library. Children’s Services report is attached.

Board reviewed library use for the month of March. Check-outs of physical items decreased about 16% at the Owatonna Public Library (OPL) and 5% at the Blooming Prairie Branch Library (BPPL) when compared to the same month in 2011. Over 22,000 items were checked out at OPL and over 2,100 at BPPL.

OPL saw almost 17,500 people in March, though foot traffic decreased about 2000 over last year. There was little change in people count for BPBL. The number of new borrowers at both libraries decreased slightly. There was discussion about the unseasonably warm weather in the month possibly having an effect on both the numbers of people and numbers of check-outs. In March, the number of interlibrary loans decreased as well. The number of items lent to other libraries in the region remained higher than the number borrowed for OPL patrons.

Library use includes electronic media. Lowery reported the online use on some library platforms. As in past months Owatonna leads other regional libraries in numbers of some downloads. In March, 190 customers downloaded 1,152 songs using Freegal, the Downloadable music service. The average daily downloads was 37. OverDrive gives library customers access to electronic books. Two hundred sixty patrons downloaded 952 e-books and 52 e-audios in March. Twenty-eight e-audio books were downloaded using the OneClickdigital service.

The Southeastern Minnesota Libraries Cooperating (SELCO) automation system experienced an unusual system crash during the night Monday, April 16th. The Storage Area Network (SAN) suffered a hardware failure to the chassis that controls the drives. All SELCO libraries were down. New parts were ordered and it is expected the system will be back in service on Wednesday, April 18th.

Old Business

Legacy Grant Programs
Mary Baier, grant writer for the school district, applied for a Library Legacy grant from SELCO. OPL, Centro Campesino and Hennepin County Library also collaborated on the grant which funded the visit of Hispanic author Victor Villaseñor. His presentations at Owatonna High School and an evening program at OPL provoked conversation at the school, library, and in the community. Fifty-seven adults and young people attended the session at the library.

Another Legacy program brought poet, Athena Kildegaard to OPL. Ten local poets attended her program.

Other Programs
Bethany House, publisher of fiction, contacted library staff to arrange a visit by Beverly Lewis. She was on tour through the Midwest in promotion of her recent book The Fiddler, the first book in a new series. Beverly Lewis presented a short afternoon program attended by 69 people. John Meixner from Little Professor Books sold copies of Ms Lewis’ newest novel, and she was happy to autograph them. Several classes from Owatonna Christian School attended.

Two showings of “Take Shelter”, an independently produced film rounded out a very busy National Library Week at OPL.

The Alternative Learning Center (ALC) will work in the community garden this season. Library employee Dawn Sorensen will oversee the project. On Earth Day which is Sunday, April 22nd, a work party will be held in the garden. Spreading compost and planting two fruit trees were on the agenda. Also on April 22nd, Owatonna High School biology teacher Seth Muir will talk about his 2011 summer expedition to Belize in honor of Earth Day. He will present his ongoing, international Master's degree experience and explain what we can do to help the environment and build positivity in our community.

New Business

Smart Play Spot Grant
Lager applied for and received a $20,000 Smart Play Spot Grant from Minnesota Children’s Museum with funding from Minnesota Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment, Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. OPL was one of 11 libraries awarded grants. Matching funds of $20,000 must be raised. Staff from the Children’s Museum will help plan and build the play spot. Owatonna Public Library children’s staff toured a couple of examples of Smart Play Spots, one in the Rochester Public Library. Staff will have input into the structure design which will include organic materials. The play spot will be built on the east side of children’s services under the windows, where it can be seen as library customers enter the building from the parking lot on the east side of the building. The structure will be built in 2013.

Library App
Historically the Library administration has used gift funds to introduce new products, services and emerging technology to library customers. OPL was the first library in the state to offer Internet access to the public and that project was paid for with endowment funds.  Once again gift money has funded the development of cutting edge technology, and OPL is now the first in the region to launch an app. Boopsie for Libraries does the programming for mobile devices and computers and the app will work on all platforms. This technology allows mobile users to access all of the library catalog content, including non-catalog services such as the event calendar and social media networks. Mobile users can look up books, reserve and renew them. The app integrates with OverDrive and syncs with the website calendar. Regional library directors have sent their congratulations in recognition of this milestone. Two OPL board members have already installed the app on their mobile devices. Other Minnesota libraries having apps include Hennepin County Library, Anoka County and St. Paul Public Library. Tri-M Graphics is working on colorful and interesting graphics for the app. Board members congratulated library staff for this innovative addition to library offerings, which will appeal to users of SmartPhones and other mobile devices.

World Book Night
World Book Night is a celebration of reading and books which will see tens of thousands of people share books with others in their communities across America on April 23. World Book Night is an annual celebration designed to spread a love of reading and books, held in the U.S. as well as the U.K. and Ireland. In Owatonna fifteen people were chosen to select a title and distribute books to their group. Participants will receive certificates and pins.

Ginny Thompson of the Owatonna Hospital Auxiliary asked Feltes for book suggestions for an outreach project. The auxiliary will give to new parents a swaddling cloth and a book of nursery rhymes. The books, published by Third Week Books, have a section with tips for new parents. Since approximately 10% of the 500 births each year are to Spanish speaking parents, OPL will use gift funds to provide a number of the books in Spanish. Baby’s first library card may be included with the gift.

The meeting was adjourned at 5:40 pm. The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 15th at 4:30 pm.

Respectfully submitted, 
Gail Plathe