May 2012 - Board Minutes

Owatonna Public Library Board Minutes of May 15, 2012

The Owatonna Public Library (OPL) Board of Trustees convened their monthly meeting on Tuesday, May 15, 2012, in the Gainey Room at the Owatonna Public Library. The meeting was called to order at 4:30 pm by President Jill Holmes. Also attending were Russ Dunn-Foster, Don Overlie, Angela Sager, Library Director Mary Kay Feltes, Assistant Director Renée P. Lowery, and Gail Plathe. Eric Mattison was absent.

Dunn-Foster made a motion to approve the minutes of April 17, 2012, as presented. Overlie seconded the motion. All members present voting aye, the motion passed.

The April financial report was reviewed. Feltes gave a brief summary of the five program areas within the budget: administration, circulation, site, information services, and off-site. The 2011 books have been closed. The library’s expenditures did not exceed the revenue in 2011. The city realized dividends from insurance premiums and workers’ compensation that were shared among city departments.

Lowery presented the report on April activities in Children’s Services. Eighty-six children, parents, and friends attended the Family Fun Night program The Perfect Pet. This program was held in cooperation with Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE). Another highlight was El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day), emphasizing the importance of advocating literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

Washington Elementary School library was closed again for testing. Over 130 Washington students and teachers walked to the library to choose books in April. Children’s Services staff is preparing for the summer reading program: Dream Big, Read! Brochures have been mailed to every household with school-aged children in Owatonna. Brochures were hand delivered to children in Blooming Prairie, Medford and Ellendale. Feltes invited board members to join the fun on kick-off day Friday June 8th. Children’s Services report is attached.

Board reviewed library use for the month. OPL saw more than 17,500 people in April, an increase over the same month in 2011. There was little change in people count for Blooming Prairie Branch Library (BPBL). There were 6 new borrowers at BPBL and 97 at OPL in April. Check-outs of physical items decreased about 13% at the OPL and 10% at the BPPL when compared to the same month in 2011. Almost 20,000 items were checked out at OPL and over 1,900 at BPPL. An outage of the Southeastern Minnesota Libraries Cooperating (SELCO) operating system for three days in the month affected the number of check-outs. Regarding interlibrary loans, in April, the number of items OPL lent to other libraries in the region remained higher than the number borrowed for OPL customers.

Library use includes electronic media. Lowery reported the online use of some library platforms. As in past months, OPL leads other regional libraries in numbers of some downloads. In April, 190 customers downloaded 1,313 songs using freegal, the downloadable music service. The average daily downloads was 44. OverDrive gives library customers access to electronic books. Two hundred sixty-one patrons downloaded 884 e-books and 68 e-audios in April. Thirty-one e-audio books were downloaded using the OneClickdigital service. Lowery reported on use of Reference USA, a business and white pages database.  For the month of April there were 51 logins, 32,250 records searched, and 832 records downloaded. SELCO no longer provides this resource to member libraries. It is currently available on OPL’s website. This popular database is also used by business people. Board members suggested one or two databases be highlighted each month to bring attention to all web based and online resources. Promotion via news release to inform the public of the wide variety of databases available at the library was also recommended.

Old Business

Smart Play Spot Grant: Darla Lager, librarian in charge of Children’s Services, 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. Matching funds of $20,000 must be raised. Possible funding sources from the community were discussed. Staff from the Children’s Museum will help plan and build the play spot. Community members and library staff will be consulted before the structure is built in children’s services. It will be seen as library customers enter the building from the southeast entrance. Construction will begin in 2013. Community members will be invited to serve on the planning committee. The smart play spot will provide a unique experience for early childhood participants.

Succession Planning: By consensus, the Board directed Feltes to begin succession planning to ensure a sustainable level of staffing that meets current and future needs. At the forefront of succession planning is a commitment to maintain appropriate staffing levels to accomplish the mission of the library. For example, Board members agreed that the multifaceted role of administrative assistant requires a full time employee. Updating job descriptions was recommended.

Annual Report: Lowery reported on the annual report to Minnesota’s Department of Education. The report is required by law. The reports can be viewed online. The end of year circulation indicated the number of adult physical materials checked out increased over 2011, while check-outs in children’s services decreased. Attendance at all library-sponsored programs increased.

Service Outage: SELCO’s three day outage was discussed. With the Horizon system down, staff worked to find alternate methods of accomplishing results. On another occasion Aquabrowser (the public access catalog) was down for 2 ½ days, so customers could not access the library catalog.

Board members would like to meet at Blooming Prairie Branch Library soon. Feltes will contact Nancy Vaillancourt, the branch manager, to schedule a date.

The meeting was adjourned at 5:30 pm. The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 19th at 4:30 pm.

Respectfully submitted, 
Gail Plathe