March 2012 - Board Minutes

Owatonna Public Library Board Minutes of March 20, 2012

The Owatonna Public Library (OPL) Board of Trustees convened their monthly meeting on Tuesday, March 20, 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, Angela Sager, Library Director Mary Kay Feltes, Assistant Director Renée P. Lowery, Gail Plathe and City Administrator Kris Busse. Don Overlie was absent.

The minutes of January 24. 2012, were approved on a motion by Holmes, seconded by Dunn-Foster. The motion passed.

The current financial report was reviewed and accepted. Feltes highlighted the five program areas within the budget: administration, circulation, site, information services, and off-site. Holmes inquired whether the books are closed for 2011. According to Busse, they are not yet closed.

Lowery reported on January and February activities in Children’s Services. After a short break over the holidays storytimes resumed mid-January. Two Family Fun Night programs: Snowy Days in January and Green Eggs and Ham and Other Stories about Food in February were well attended. They were held in cooperation with Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE). Washington Elementary School’s library was closed at the end of February for testing. In February and March 17 classes came to OPL to choose books. Children’s Services reports for January 2012 and February 2012 are attached.

Board reviewed library use for the months of January and February.

At the Owatonna Public Library (OPL) in January circulation of physical items was down 11% when compared to 2011. Over 20,000 items were checked out. January circulation of 2000 at Blooming Prairie Branch was down slightly when compared to last year. Foot traffic at OPL was up about 1% over last year, and we saw no change in people count for BP. The number of new borrowers increased at both libraries. For February was down about 4 % at OPL and up over 17% at BP. Foot traffic at OPL was down about 1% over 2011 and up 2% at BP. Numbers of new borrowers at both libraries had increased over last year as well.

In January Owatonna lent 2100 items to patrons in other libraries and borrowed 1500 items from other libraries for Owatonna patrons. In February, 1,842 items were lent to other libraries, while 1,375 items were borrowed from other libraries. It’s advantageous for OPL to lend more items than are borrowed.

Library use includes electronic media. Lowery reported the online use on some library platforms. Owatonna continues to lead other regional libraries in numbers of downloads. In January, 215 customers downloaded 1,335 songs using freegal, the downloadable music service. The average daily downloads was 43. OverDrive gives library customers access to electronic books. Two hundred ninety-six patrons downloaded 917 e-books and 70 e-audios during January. Twenty-one e-audio books were downloaded using the OneClickdigital service. In February, 242 patrons downloaded 1,531 songs using freegal with the average daily download of 53 songs. Two hundred eighty patrons downloaded 860 e-books and 72 e-audio using the OverDrive service. Sixteen e-audio books were downloaded using the OneClickDigital service.

Answering a question about publishers and downloadable products, Lowery noted publishers keep changing their minds about working with libraries. For example, Penguin cancelled their contract with OverDrive, a service which works with kindles, nooks and other popular e-readers. In addition to an annual fee, individual titles are purchased, in the same manner as print books. OPL uses gift money to purchase e-books for the shared collection. Feltes researched other products/services at the Public Library Association annual conference in Philadelphia earlier this month. She noted the monopoly does not work very well.

Feltes distributed a “mini” annual report for 2011 which includes items of interest such as the following: OPL registered borrowers (26,066), average monthly checkouts (25, 253); average monthly visits to the library (18,175), the city’s share of the library budget is 6% of the total city budget. This report is available at the library and copies are printed as needed.

Questions from library patrons regarding e-readers and downloading e-books and e-audio are answered daily. Lowery schedules occasional classes for kindle users and for other e-reader (such as Nook) users. The use of electronic media is rising rapidly. The response of library staff to emerging electronic mobile devices is one of the strengths, as pointed out by board members.

Old Business
Mary Baier, grant writer for the school district, applied for a Library Legacy grant from Southeastern Libraries Cooperating (SELCO). OPL, Centro Campesino and Hennepin County Library also collaborated on the grant which will fund the visit of Victor Villaseñor, a Hispanic author from California. He will conduct two presentations at Owatonna High School and an evening program at OPL. Appearances at Hennepin County are also scheduled.

New Business
Feltes read through the library SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis. Library board members helped identify strengths and weaknesses at a previous meeting. The library board is a valuable link to our community. The SWOT report is available at the library.

As in decades past, the library administration used gift funds to purchase emerging technology. For example, OPL was the first library in the state to offer Internet access for public use. More recently, gift funds have been used to develop an OPL app for mobile devices and computers. The first draft of the app is about ready to launch.

City Administrator Kris Busse talked about the City Council Strategic Plan beginning with her State of the City address. She interviewed city council members and department heads for input into a strategic plan. Mark Fritsch of Owatonna Public Utilities facilitated the session. The primary focus was Future States priorities. Five areas were identified at the session: communication, capital improvements, sales tax options, collaboration, and flood mitigation. The following years were targeted 2012, 2013 and 2014. There was a good discussion among council and department heads. They encouraged boards, commissions, and the city council meet together from time to time to keep the communication lines open. Busse agreed that the library’s “strategic initiatives” identified in the library SWOT analysis aligned with the priorities identified at the City Council planning meeting.

Library patrons and staff were evacuated from the library on Wednesday, March 14th in response to a bomb threat received at 2:15 pm via the State Patrol. The perimeter was cordoned off, and police and library staff searched the building. At 4:00 pm it was decided that all was clear. The library was open for business. Sager made a motion, seconded by Holmes congratulating the library staff on their concern for library customers, their courage and their professionalism in dealing with the event. All aye.

The meeting was adjourned at 5:30 p.m. The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 17th at 4:30 pm.

Respectfully submitted, 
Gail Plathe