September 2012 - Board Minutes

Owatonna Public Library Board Minutes of September 18, 2012

The Owatonna Public Library (OPL) Board of Trustees convened their monthly meeting on Tuesday, September 18, 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, Angela Sager, Russ Dunn-Foster, Library Director Mary Kay Feltes, Assistant Director RenĂ©e P. Lowery, and Gail Plathe. 
 
Dunn-Foster made a motion to approve the minutes of July 17, 2012, as presented. Mattison seconded the motion. All members present voting aye, the motion passed. No meeting was held in August, due to the lack of a quorum.
 
Feltes reviewed July and August financial reports, briefly outlining the five program areas within the budget: administration, circulation, site, information services, and off-site. The book budget will be augmented with funds from the gift account for the remainder of the year. All public computers and software, online databases, and e-books are also purchased with gift funds
 
Lowery presented the Children’s Services reports compiled by Darla Lager, librarian in charge of Children’s Services. July and August were busy months. The final numbers on the Summer Reading Program have not yet been tallied. Three book fairs were very successful. Hundreds of children and accompanying adults attended the book fairs staffed by about 30 volunteers. Each book fair attracted 780 to 900 participants. 45 children received their books after the end of summer. In August, children, parents, and caregivers were entertained by the Raptor Center and ventriloquist Shari Ellingson. Other highlights are included in the JULY and AUGUST Children’s Services reports.
 
Board members and library staff expressed their appreciation for the teacher volunteers who coordinated the book fairs. Their knowledge of books and their expertise in talking with parents, grandparents and children about books is invaluable. Dunn-Foster and his daughter volunteered at one of the book fairs as did members of Delta Kappa Gamma sorority.
 
Board reviewed library use for July and August. Feltes noted cooperation with SELCO ensures OPL’s use of an integrated library system, sharing resources at a cost savings. Another option would be to purchase a stand-alone system and hire someone to run it, an expensive alternative.
 
Over 21,000 people used the Owatonna Public Library (OPL) in July 2012 and 19,000 in August. At Blooming Prairie Branch Library (BPBL) July visitors numbered 1990 and 2060 visited in August. At OPL in July 172 new borrowers were registered, an increase of 29% over the same month in 2011, and BPBL had 12, In August there were 135 new borrowers at OPL and 6 at BPBL. 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 over the previous year. August check-outs were down slightly when compared to 2011 at OPL. Check-outs at BPBL were down significantly in August. BPBL was closed for 4 days while carpet was replaced. Regarding interlibrary loans, both OPL and BPBL continue to lend more items to other libraries than they borrow from other libraries for their patrons. 
 
Also included in library use numbers are electronic media. Lowery reported the online use of some library platforms. In July 202 customers downloaded 1,264 songs in 55 genres using freegal, the downloadable music service. In August 177 patrons downloaded 1,122 songs in 52 genres. In July 276 patrons downloaded 928 e-books and 55 e-audio. Forty-seven e-audio were downloaded using OneClickdigital service. In August 255 patrons downloaded 857 e-books and 81 e-audio. Thirty-three e-audio were downloaded using the OneClickdigital service. OPL leads other regional libraries in numbers of electronic downloads. 
 
Old Business
 
2013 Budget:
Feltes will present the library’s 2013 budget to city council on October 2. Several areas are to be addressed in the presentation: cost savings, cost avoidance, enhanced services, collaboration, and innovation. Board members are invited to attend.
 
All city departments were required to participate in a Lean project, financed by the Owatonna Chamber of Commerce. Overall, the facilitator found the library processes she examined to be very efficient. Small changes were suggested and have been implemented to complete the lean process. Staff are empowered to make changes to their work. In addition, Feltes attended a lean library workshop in St. Cloud presented by John Huber. Streamlining library business to increase efficiency never trumps the library’s goal of better customer service.
 
Smart Play Spot Grant:
Staff from the Minnesota Children’s Museum recently met with Lager and Patty Nichols, assistant children’s librarian, to talk about the area which will be designated the Smart Play Spot. Staff and community members will have input into the structure design. Early childhood specialist, educators and parents will be involved. The project is in the design stage, and construction will begin in February, 2013. 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. Dunn-Foster made a motion, seconded by Overlie to approve the contract for the Smart Play Spot. All members present voting aye, the motion passed. It was decided to purchase early childhood materials for Blooming Prairie Branch Library at the same time. Artist and friend of the library, Wil Natzel, suggested when envisioning the new structure, the committee “look outside what they already know”.  This will result in a unique and flexible piece. Versatility is important so the structure can be reconfigured, keeping it fresh, energetic and vibrant. Staff is excited about the entire process. Children’s Services staff will seek training in early childhood education and early literacy.
 
Polling Place:
There was a light turn out for the August 14th primary and staff noted a smooth process. The library served as a polling place for the first time in recent memory at the request of city administration. Assistant City Clerk Jeanette Clawson formally requested use of the library for the Second Ward, First Precinct Polling Place for the Primary Elelction on August 14th and the General Election on November 6th. With more voters expected for the General Election, board members expressed concern over parking space. There is very little street parking available in the vicinity of the library. The parking lot provides 50 parking spaces and 3 handicapped accessible parking spaces. Feltes will check with Troy Klecker, Community Development Director. See attached request from city administration.
 
Succession Planning:
City Administrator Kris Busse released a memo delineating processes for hiring staff. A soft hiring freeze is currently in place for all departments except fire and police. The library board recommends staffing be continued at current levels. From a business perspective it would be difficult to run the library with fewer staff. The building has 25,500 square feet, over 128,000 print materials and more than 16,000 audiovisual materials. Seventeen to twenty-three thousand people enter the library each month. The organization is a flat hierarchy. The administrative needs of the library require diversity of job duties and community interaction on many levels. Administrative tasks interface with other city departments. The job descriptions must be revised to reflect the changes in job duties since current job description were revised almost 10 years ago.
 
New Business
 
Grant Requests:
Best Buy Teen Technology. Feltes reported on current grant requests. One application for a $6,000 grant from Best Buy, with an additional $6,000 from gift funds, would allow for redesigning and refurnishing the teen Internet room. This space is in dire need of updating. New computers and furnishings with more flexibility are needed. Sager will gather names of some teens who may be interested in providing ideas for the teen room. Architect Cindy McClary has offered to advise the group about color choices and furniture options.
 
Maintenance of Effort:
For Owatonna Public Library, the Maintenance of Effort numbers for 2013 pursuant to Minnesota Statutes, Chapter134:34 are as follows:  $754,171 is the responsibility of the city of Owatonna and Steele County is responsible for $168,820.
 
For Blooming Prairie Branch Library, the number for the city of Blooming Prairies is $77,091. Dodge County is responsible for $118,381 which supports Blooming Prairie Branch Library and other libraries in Dodge County.
 
Other:
Feltes noted donations to the library in memory of former library staff and board members. Numerous memorials were given recently, in memory of Melissa Mitchell Herzog who had been the bookmobile librarian for SELCO decades ago, and Dorothy Tripp, former Owatonna Public Library board member. 
 
Due to commitments by some board members on October 23rd, which is the regular meeting date, the next meeting will be a special meeting on October 9th at 4:30 pm. 
 
The meeting was adjourned at 5:20 pm.
 
Respectfully submitted,
Gail Plathe