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April 15, 2013 Minutes of the Regular Meeting

ANN ARBOR DISTRICT LIBRARY BOARD
343 S. FIFTH AVENUE, ANN ARBOR, MI
MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING
MONDAY, APRIL 15, 2013

13-070 I. CALL TO ORDER

President Rosenthal called the meeting to order at 6:02 p.m.

13-071 II. ATTENDANCE

Present: Head, Kaplan, Leary, Murphy, Barney Newman, Rosenthal, Surovell
Absent: None
Staff: Parker

13-072 III. RECESS TO CLOSED SESSION FOR DIRECTOR’S EVALUATION

13-073 IV. RECONVENE REGULAR MEETING AT 7:00 PM

President Rosenthal reconvened the meeting at 7:04 p.m.

Staff in attendance: Choate, Neiburger, Nieman, Wilson (recorder)

13-074 V. APPROVAL OF AGENDA
(Item of action)

Trustee Leary, supported by Secretary Head, moved to approve the agenda.

AYES: Head, Kaplan, Leary, Murphy, Barney Newman, Rosenthal, Surovell
NAYS: None

Motion passed 7-0.

13-075 VI. APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF MARCH 18, 2013
(Item of action)

Trustee Surovell, supported by Treasurer Kaplan, moved to approve the minutes of March18, 2013.

AYES: Head, Kaplan, Leary, Murphy, Barney Newman, Rosenthal, Surovell
NAYS: None

Motion passed 7-0.

13-076 VII. CITIZENS’ COMMENTS

John Woodford

Hello, my name is John Woodford. I’ve lived in Ann Arbor for thirty-five years. I share some concerns with the Protect Our Libraries group as do many fellow residents that I have discussed this ongoing library situation with. I am asking the following questions and I’ll leave my questions and email address in expectation of getting answers. One, given that the Open Meetings Act specifically allows for the video-taping of open meetings, why is the library continuing to refuse to televise the program for it’s public meetings by CTN. Why did you hire a public relations consulting firm Allerton Hill, known for its political consulting. In addition to the twenty-eight thousand dollar PR contract with Allerton Hill, if that’s an accurate sum, are there provisions in it for travel expenses. Twenty-five thousand dollars from the Friends of the Library has already been spent on a failed bond campaign. Does it make sense for you to spend twenty-eight thousand public dollars of on what looks like another bond campaign? We are aware that a citizen’s library committee was recommended to the board, so why are you hiring an expensive consulting firm Allerton Hill rather than forming a citizen’s advisory committee? Given that many residents have offered to serve in this way. That the public library should stand for freedom of inquiry, expression and information. So I wonder why any library meetings should be held in secret. This new campaign for the Board seems mighty fishy to this citizen and I don’t think a PR outfit can really deodorize it. The wisest course it seems to me is to have whatever interests that are behind the desire for a four hundred seat auditorium organize a campaign for that auditorium and not leach off the public library. Thank you.

Edward Vielmetti

Hi, my name is Edward Vielmetti and I want to thank the Board and some staff for some of the projects that are underway that I had some opportunity to be part of and to make use of. First of all I want to thank the Board for its efforts to negotiate the access to the Old News collection. As I understand it, the ability for us to go back to the substantial collection of clippings from the newspaper back from the nineties and a hundred years back from that has a lot to do with the Boards skill and negotiation effort and really appreciate also the efforts of the reference staff in helping me search for various bits of old news and get that stuff into circulation. As part of that I have been working on a project, Arborwiki for a number of years, got started in 2005 as a project by a high school student at Community High School, Matt Hampel and when he graduated, and the school system said he needed to find a new home for his encyclopedia the library kindly took it on as a community project. I’ll be a little more specific, Aborwiki is an encyclopedia of the Ann Arbor area, so mostly Washtenaw County with a focus on Ann Arbor but also surrounding cities that anyone can edit. It’s modeled on the Wikipedia software, and actually ran the same software as Wikipedia for a while. It’s a source of local information primarily so we don’t try to write about things that happen in the world but about things that are local. It includes a page for every mayor that was in power and also. Pages from restaurants that are no longer there, and other historical information. Just to give you an idea of what the most popular parts of that system are, there is a page on birthday deals, so every time some has a birthday they can look up the free things that they can get on a their birthday. And another very popular page is volunteer opportunities for youth and teens which come up when people search for it. So that’s been a very helpful thing. Staff of the library including Eli Neiburger and the folks in the tech department have been very helpful in making sure that continues to grow and prosper. Finally I would like to give thanks to the library administration, especially Josie for the very open access to the library suggestion box. If you fill out the contact us form on the library page not only will you get a prompt response your question suitable anonymosied [sic] will be published for everyone to see. I really recommend that anyone take a look at that page to see what people in this town are experiencing with their library. It’s a fascinating cross section of people who have interest in, not only the big picture of library services, but also the small things like people bringing pizza into the library. Anyway, thanks very much.

Donald Harrison

My name is Donald Harrison, I’m an independent filmmaker, I live and work here in Ann Arbor and as some of you know I got very involved this past fall in the campaign to rebuild the downtown library. And as all of you know, that did not pass. But for me this is the third library board meeting that I’ve attended and the first time that I have spoken and I just want to sort of acknowledge the fact that so much of what came out of that campaign wasn’t necessarily, you know the forty-five percent in favor versus the fifty-five percent, but really the education and engagement that I think happened throughout this community about the value of our library system and I very much appreciated being involved in that campaign. Having worked with the staff I knew that the staff was fantastic. People comment about that whether you were for or against the library campaign, we heard that pretty much universally from both sides. But my experience working on the campaign with the board was also so positive just in terms of care, the commitment, the knowledge and the integrity and that was something where, you know it didn’t turn out the way that campaign, the library board hoped it would but I don’t think that changes those facts which I experienced and made me want to stay involved. And I also wanted to say that just because you don’t see all those hundreds and thousands of people come to these meetings, I think I represent a lot of people in this community that saw that as a sound plan, that understand there are a lot of challenges, costly decisions that need to happen for the downtown library. I’ve been trying to use the downtown library a lot more in the last few months in terms of a way that I felt, you know the campaign talked about, that this could be more of the kind of place where a filmmaker meets a high school student, you know people that are retired, there’s a lot more interaction happening and I’ve seen a little bit of that happening. But I don’t think that this building and the space is really setup to do that. So moving forward whatever is done with this building I would love to see that very much addressed. Ways that we can get much more of the interaction, the creativity, the collaboration happening, ‘cause I think there is an opportunity cost by not having a really great downtown library. So again I want to thank you guys, library board for your public service and let’s keep going forward and build a better downtown library.

13-077 VIII. FINANCIAL REPORTS

Associate Director Nieman reported March showed unrestricted cash balance just over $10.7 million. Tax receipts just over $10.9 million, reflecting 98% of the budgeted amount, have been received through March. The fund balance stands at just over $8.2 million. Three line items are over budget but are expected to come into line later in the year. March was an ordinary month.

13-078 IX. APPROVAL OF DISBURSEMENTS
(Item of action)

Trustee Murphy, supported by Trustee Leary, moved to approve the March 2013 disbursements.

AYES: Head, Kaplan, Leary, Murphy, Barney Newman, Rosenthal, Surovell
NAYS: None

Motion passed 7-0.

13-079 X. COMMITTEE REPORTS

13-080 A. BUDGET & FINANCE COMMITTEE

Chairperson Kaplan reported the committee met on April 3rd and reviewed the proposed 2013-2014 budget. A presentation is scheduled later in this meeting.

13-081 B. COMMUNICATIONS COMMITTEE

Chairperson Kaplan reported the committee did not meet.

13-082 C. DIRECTOR’S EVALUATION COMMITTEE

Chairperson Barney Newman reported the committee has reviewed the director’s self-evaluation with the Board and a full report will be presented at the May Board meeting.

13-083 D. EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

President Rosenthal reported the committee met last week to discuss several issues.

13-084 E. FACILITIES COMMITTEE

Chairperson Leary reported the committee met on April 10th and reviewed administration’s proposal to improve a communication line to the Pittsfield branch. This proposal will be brought to the Board at the May meeting. The committee also reviewed the renewal of the space use agreement with the Friends of the Ann Arbor District Library. No changes were deemed necessary to this agreement and it will be brought to the Board at the May meeting.

13-085 F. POLICY COMMITTEE

Chairperson Murphy reported a committee meeting date is in the process of being scheduled.

13-086 XI. DIRECTOR’S REPORT

Director Parker reported an uptick in requests for WLBPD services. She attributed this increase to the support of libraries county-wide that have placed WLBPD information stickers in their large print books.

This is the 21st year for the "It's All Write!" Short Story Contest. Three hundred and thirty-five entries were received including one from Dubai.

A new Short Story Writing Contest for 3rd - 5th Graders starts today through May 6th. All writers will be invited to a Short Story Celebration on June 3rd. Local author Shutta Crum will be the guest speaker.

President Rosenthal asked the Board for a few minutes to recognize those injured in the Boston Marathon bombing today.

13-087 XII. NEW BUSINESS

13-088 A. ANN ARBOR COMMITTEE FOR A DOWNTOWN SKATING RINK
Stewart Gordon & Alan Haber

Alan Haber and Stewart Gordon representing The Ann Arbor Committee for a Downtown Skating Rink presented a proposal for creation of an ice skating rink on a portion of the Library Lane parking lot. The committee asked for a liaison from the library. Board members asked a number of questions and expressed their concerns regarding security on the site.

13-089 B. DISCUSSION OF PROPOSED 2013-2014 BUDGET
Ken Nieman

Treasurer Kaplan began the discussion by reporting the Budget & Finance Committee has reviewed the proposed 2013-2014 budget being presented this evening. She introduced Associate Director Nieman to review the proposed budget with the Board.

Associate Director Nieman began his report with an overview of the internal process used in developing the budget.

He reported that the proposed tax revenue is being based on an estimated 2% increase in property taxes. A proposed increase in the millage rate levied from 1.55 mils to 1.575 mils is being recommended. He reviewed a number of expenditures and stated that a 3% merit pool was included this year along with a slight increase in the base pay rate for casual (part-time) employees. No increase was budgeted for employer contributions to health benefits. Expenditures of Fund Balance Restricted Funds are being proposed for use this year. These include the WLPBD, Westerman and Keniston funds which will be used according to their requirements. Receipt of final tax base figures from the county are not anticipated before the May meeting.

Board members asked a number of questions regarding the budget. Trustee Surovell expressed his displeasure of the proposed millage rate increase. Trustee Murphy expressed the budget was not at all irresponsible and it meets responsibilities to employees, building maintenance and collections.

The Board gave no further direction to administration to revise the proposed budget prior to the May 6th public hearing of the budget.

13-090 C. VOTE FOR CLOSED SESSION AT THE MAY 6, 2013 REGULAR MEETING FOR DIRECTOR’S EVALUATION
(Item of action)
Roll call vote

Trustee Leary, supported by Secretary Head, moved to hold a Closed Session at the May 6, 2013 regular Board meeting for the Director’s Evaluation.

AYES: Head, Kaplan, Leary, Murphy, Barney Newman, Rosenthal, Surovell
NAYS: None

Motion passed 7-0.

13-091 XIII. CITIZENS’ COMMENTS

Lynn Davidge

This will just be real quick anyway. I wanted to thank those of you who remembered to talk into the microphone. But because, you know I can’t speak for that side of the room, but especially, the side where I usually sit it’s hardest to hear the people who I am behind. This could be even better, but this was a good start, I have no idea if there’s a possibility, of, if there’s some kind of a master volume, something that could be slightly turned up but some of us have aging ears. But anyway thanks so much that helped a lot.

Doug Jewett

I’m trying to figure this out, because you people, you seem to be heard well but the people up here, who seek to be kind of pretzeled over. It doesn’t work very well for the people who are up here. I watching Don, especially lean over to try to, I don’t know what you might be able to do with this mike but somehow get it closer because my toes are touching into the back of this podium and used to be there was some more stuff here that was moved on. Anyway you probably don’t want to hear most of the stuff coming out of here anyway but figured that probably would be helpful. Sorry to take time in a very busy meeting.

13-092 XIV. ADJOURNMENT

Trustee Leary, supported by Trustee Murphy, moved to adjourn the meeting.

President Rosenthal adjourned the meeting at 8:25 p.m.