October 2012 - Board Minutes

Owatonna Public Library Board Minutes of October 9, 2012

The Owatonna Public Library (OPL) Board of Trustees convened their monthly meeting on Tuesday, October 9, 2012, at the Owatonna Public Library. The meeting was called to order at 4:30 pm by President Jill Holmes. Also attending were Eric Mattison, Don Overlie, Russ Dunn-Foster, Library Director Mary Kay Feltes, Assistant Director Renée P. Lowery, and Gail Plathe. Angela Sager was absent.

Dunn-Foster made a motion to approve the minutes of September 18, 2012, as presented. Overlie seconded the motion. All members present voting aye, the minutes were approved as corrected.

Feltes reviewed September financial reports, noting the five program areas within the budget: administration, circulation, site, information services, and off-site. The library is on track for 2012. Feltes reported more money has been budgeted for telephone service in the 2013 proposed budget. Half the cost of phone charges for the technology coordinators will be placed in the technology budget. Some changes in personnel scheduling will be made for the coming year. The position of administrative assistant at the library will no longer be full time. All supervisors will be in regular rotation for Sunday service hours.

Overlie attended the 2013 budget session with Feltes. There were few questions from council members. Feltes commented on a Minnesota Return on Investment study, which illustrated a $4.62 return for each $1.00 spent on public libraries. The study was funded by the State of Minnesota Department of Education.

Lowery presented the September Children’s Services report compiled by Darla Lager, librarian in charge of Children’s Services. One of the highlights in the month was the Lincoln Breakfast, held in honor of students who read twenty minutes a day for at least 60 days throughout the summer. Members of Children’s Services staff were invited to attend. Children’s Services staff spent the day at CulturFest. Lager was the featured reader at the Lullaby Concert presented by the Owatonna High School Orchestra. The three summer book fairs were very successful. In total, 2324 people attended the book fairs and 1856 children chose books. Twenty five volunteers, mostly current or retired teachers, organized and staffed the book fairs, with library staff assistance. Their efforts were much appreciated. Board members congratulated Lager and her staff for another successful summer reading program.

Board reviewed library use for September. More than 16,000 people used Owatonna Public Library (OPL) in September, a slight increase when compared to September 2011. At Blooming Prairie Branch Library (BPBL) September visitors numbered 1096, a significant decrease when compared to September 2011, It was noted that BPBL was closed for four days in the month while the carpet was replaced. At OPL in September 120 new borrowers were registered and BPBL added 10. At OPL the number of check-outs for July were up slightly when compared to the same month in 2011 and down slightly at BPBL when compared to the previous year. At both OPL and BPBL, September check-outs were down when compared to 2011. Regarding interlibrary loans, both OPL and BPBL continue to lend more items to other libraries than they borrow from other libraries for their customers. However the number of interlibrary loans for the entire Southeast Libraries Cooperating (SELCO) system decreased. SELCO services were unavailable for several days because of power outages in Rochester. OPL and BPBL continued service off-line and was able to provide most services in spite of the service outage.

Use of electronic media is another measure of library use. Lowery reported the online use of some library platforms. In September 187 customers downloaded 1,126 songs in 50 genres using freegal, the downloadable music service. In September, 215 patrons downloaded 752 e-books and 66 e-audio. Forty-seven e-audio were downloaded using OneClickdigital service. In August 255 patrons downloaded 857 e-books and 81 e-audio. Twenty e-audio were downloaded using the OneClickdigital service. OPL continues to lead other regional libraries in numbers of electronic downloads. Lowery noted publishers control our collection since they restrict libraries from buying books customers want to read.


Minnesota Children’s Museum Grant

Feltes briefly reviewed a few details of the grant. Lager applied for and received a $20,000 Smart Play Spot Grant from Minnesota Children’s Museum. The Owatonna Public Library Foundation will provide matching funds of $20,000. Staff is excited about the entire process. Children’s Services staff will seek training in early childhood education and early literacy. Lager intends to convene community focus groups soon. Names of possible facilitators for the project were discussed. Construction of the Smart Play Spot will begin in February 2013.

Blue Cross/Blue Shield Foundation of Minnesota Grant

OPL was awarded a $30,000 grant for an OPL project titled “Health Info @ your Library®” Outcomes must be decided in advance. Additional funding will be provided from the Owatonna Public Library Foundation. Overlie made a motion to approve the contract, pending review by Owatonna City Attorney Mark Walbran. Mattison seconded the motion. All members present voting aye, the motion passed.

Succession Planning

Feltes shared a concern that upcoming positions will be examined and reduced. She noted the library’s flat organizational structure, and the remarkable use by a majority of the community. All library staff work in customer service. Walk-in use averages 18,000 monthly customers and existing staff are barely sufficient to provide appropriate service. The library is appropriately staffed when one staff is absent, but if two absences occur simultaneously, little recourse is possible. Feltes also noted an error in the Finance Department’s annual report where staff were measured over several years. OPL has eleven full-time employees.


Parking on November 6, 2012, General Election

Feltes and Troy Klecker, Community Development Director, discussed the need for more parking at the library on the day of the General Election. He will discuss the issue with the Downtown Parking Commission at their regular meeting. He will check into converting some on street parking spaces to thirty minutes to accommodate voters in the Second Ward, First Precinct on November 6, 2012.


Resolution recognizing Gail Plathe for 30 years of service to the Owatonna Public Library. See attached. Board members thanked her for her dedication and service to the community.

Library staff member Patty Nichols is recovering at home following an accident where she was hit by a car while biking.

The meeting was adjourned at 5:20 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Gail Plathe