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October 16, 2017 Minutes of the Regular Meeting



President Vander Broek called the meeting to order at 7:03 p.m.


Board Present: Victoria Green, Jim Leija, Jan Barney Newman, Colleen Sherman, Linh Song, Jamie Vander Broek
Board Absent: Ed Surovell
Staff: Josie Parker, Eli Neiburger, Karen Wilson (recorder)

(Item of action)

Trustee Barney Newman, supported by Treasurer Leija, moved to approve the agenda.

AYES: Green, Leija, Barney Newman, Sherman, Song, Vander Broek
NAYS: None

Motion passed 6-0.

(Item of action)

CA-1 Approval of Minutes of September 18, 2017
CA-2 Approval of September 2017 Disbursements

Treasurer Leija, supported by Vice President Song, moved to approve the consent agenda.

AYES: Green, Leija, Barney Newman, Sherman, Song, Vander Broek
NAYS: None

Motion passed 6-0.


Matt Finch

Thank you. My name is Matt Finch and I would like to begin by acknowledging the traditional ones, to pay my respect to elders, past, present and future. That’s just something we do before public comment in Australia where I come here from. I have been the guest of Ann Arbor District Library’s work on behalf of the University of Southern Queensland. Ann Arbor District Library is internationally recognized as being a ridiculously awesome public library. I hope everybody in this room already knows that fact. To me, someone from Australia who’s been invited to work with the staff all week, it was specular to come and see something that you know you read about things online, you see it through a screen on a laptop, to come to be able to see how much you work together to be involved in running the public library and see that it lives up to the hype in every regard. It was an incredibly heartening experience for me. During the time I have been here it’s been my privilege to work with the various teams on exploring even more creative, playful and opened ended ways for the community to explore knowledge and culture on their own terms. To move from a sense of programming being structural and making it more like the idea that the library’s a magic space where you explore things you want to explore, understand the things you want to understand and create new and amazing stories and ideas. That goes right back to the original idea of the library being, you took the book you wanted to, you read it the way you want to. We’re not teachers, we’re not preachers, we are a space of imagination and learning and connection. This was only possible to open these new avenues of play because of the caliber of the staff and quality of the service is so incredibly high. I could list names and not even just expected ones with programming or the leadership team. People like Darla in the archives, Hyman and Mark in the security team. Everyone stood out for me, like I say not the just the people who look after collections and community activities but also the facilities and security team that have been incredibly competent, warm and welcoming in every regard. The finance team who both participated in some of the wildest and most playful activities who followed up with me asking questions about historical memory and archives, like they had a super passionate connection to the business and mission of this organization. Finally I wanted to point out, you already know this, but you have an incredible leadership team. The two things that make this clear, is that Eli is the deputy director responsible for inviting me here. Eli has an international profile as a speaker, he travels the world and we all recognize his name and his contribution. Sometimes, especially when guys do this, it’s a bit like they’re a walking commercial for themselves, like that dude is awesome, oh, he happens to work at this institution. Eli always makes it clear he’s part of a broader team and community of incredible individuals and you never think of his singular accomplishments without also being aware he’s part of an amazing institution. I also, having never met Josie, but knowing her only by reputation, I saw her guide the conversation after active shooter training on Monday, it was staff development day. It was incredibly difficult especially for the children’s librarians who have to think about their responsibility, such a tough issue and it was done with such compassion, such a sensible authority, but also such a recognition of the realities of the situations we find ourselves in that as knowledge institutions we may face the most drastic circumstances. These things are not just about kind, beautiful words, but also about the most serious notion the community needs. I’m sure you’ll hear more about the work we did together this week but essentially your staff are amazing, they’re ready to soar to even newer heights. I’m so privileged to be even a small part of that process. So thank you to the leadership team and every single person that I’ve worked with today. I commend them to you wholeheartedly. Thank you for your time.

Chandani Wiersba

Hi, my name is Chandani. I’m currently a senior at the U of M. I’m studying public policy and I am here as an intern for CivCity. If you don’t know of CivCity, it’s a local non-profit started by Mary Morgan. She couldn’t be here today, but she is the executive director and founder. And it focuses on increasing awareness of how local government works. Getting residents engaged in civic life using Ann Arbor as kind of a starting point. And so through CivCity, I have a big project I’m working on. It’s a research paper looking at the level of diversity in local government and local elected officials. So I wanted to come and tell you all that I will be sending you a survey, you as well as members of the Ann Arbor City Council, the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners and the Ann Arbor Board of Education. So this survey will be asking for your age range, your socio-economic status, gender, race and your education status. And it will also ask you how you feel about diversity or lack of diversity in each identity within your specific board. And if you are uncomfortable filling out the survey online, I’m hoping to get 100%, so I can meet with you in person or we can talk about it over the phone and the end product will be a written report. Hopefully by the end of December of this year. We will be comparing both local levels and national levels of diversity in elected bodies. What I, as well as Mary hope, is that this report is going to encourage public discussion of the importance of diversity in representative government and more awareness of the current diversity or lack of diversity in Ann Arbor government. Thank you.

Bill Cooper, Finance Manager

Finance Manager Cooper presented the September 2017 financials in the Board Packet. He noted that over $13 million in property taxes have been received year to date. Currently year to date expenditures are under budget by $627,244.



Treasurer Leija reported the Budget and Finance Committee met with the Bank of Ann Arbor to review investments. The committee also reviewed and discussed AADL investment policies which need to be updated to reflect the current practice for investments. AADL remains compliant with the current law. Policies for review by the Board are listed further on the agenda.


President Vander Broek reported the Executive Committee had met twice since the last Board meeting. Topics of discussion included the process for developing questions for the EPIC-MRA phone survey and Bridgeport reported their process and progress on a director’s evaluation document.

Josie B. Parker, Director

In addition to her written report Director Parker noted since the 10/2/17 suspension of MeLCat, interlibrary loan requests have increased from 5-7 requests daily to up to 30 requests daily.

Dr. Matt Finch, a visiting scholar from the University of Southern Queensland, is in the Ann Arbor area and participated in AADL’s Staff Day, provided programming at several departments at the University of Michigan and at other local nonprofits. A brief film interviewing Dr. Finch was shown from AADL’s Wondrous Strange program held on October 15th which had over 250 attendees.

At Staff Day the new website staff interface was demonstrated; Detective Spickard from the Ann Arbor Police Department provided a program on active shooter situations; attendance at Staff Day topped a record 135 staff members. Director Parker thanked the Staff Day Committee for doing a fabulous job.

Two University of Michigan student teams are working with AADL staff this term. Graduate students from U-M School of Information’s 501 class – Contextual Inquiry and Consulting Foundations and undergraduate students from the School of Business APEX Consulting Club. Both groups will present their findings to AADL staff in December.

Will Gordon from O’Neal Construction and John Cavanagh from EPIC-MRA are both presenting this evening.

A summary of staff and public comments was reviewed.

Vice President Song inquired about the computers located in the children’s section at Westgate. Director Parker noted they are IPad’s and are located in that section near the power pole. Several parents have requested they be moved from the children’s section as they cause a distraction for their children, however, the Library must consider all our patrons and not all children have access to computers at home. We do respect parental concerns regarding safety, comfort and reasonable use.


Eli Neiburger, Deputy Director

Deputy Director Neiburger provided an update on email marketing. Since August, ten issues of email newsletters have been distributed. Of the total 425,000 newsletters sent, 129,000 have been opened and there have been an additional 13,000 clicks for further information within the email. There are currently 42,997 email subscribers for 60,000 active card holders.

The highest numbers of follow through clicks were reviewed. Next in the process is A/B testing; design update; and refined click tracking.

Some Library events being highlighted in the weekly email newsletter are seeing additional attendance.

The SMS custom short code used (4AADL) costs $16,000 annually and is not supported by Android devices, will drop to $0 once we switch to voice/text (734-327-4200). There will also be new infrastructure for alerts/reminders/notices.


Cathy Savoie, Bank of Ann Arbor
(Item of discussion)

Director Parker introduced Cathy Savoie from the Bank of Ann Arbor.

Ms. Savoie reviewed the Bank of Ann Arbor’s policy regarding investments versus Ann Arbor District Library’s policy. Both operate within the law, however, the Library’s policy is very restrictive on length of time certain investments can be made for.

Board members discussed AADL’s investment policies and changing the length of time restriction on investments. Changes to theses will be brought forward for vote at the November Board meeting.

Eli Neiburger, Deputy Director
(Item of discussion)

Deputy Director Neiburger reviewed the current fines policy. Fines are an effective method encouraging the return of materials with the exception of the tools collection. With the new website it will be possible to reserve tools for a specific date and adjustments to the fines policy are needed to encourage the prompt return of tools.

Deputy Director Neiburger presented several other issues for Board consideration including allowing employees that live outside of the district but work for local businesses within the district to apply for an AADL card; claims returned items needs review; the DVD fine policy is also onerous and needs revision. Changes to this policy will be brought forward for vote at the November Board meeting.

John Cavanagh, EPIC-MRA

Director Parker introduced John Cavanagh from EPIC-MRA.

Mr. Cavanagh stated that EPIC-MRA has provided AADL with bi-annual survey’s since 2012. He noted the last two surveys focused on customer satisfaction. The 2016 survey was designed to track changes from the 2014 survey. He reviewed a comparison of 2014 survey responses to 2016 survey responses. He noted that 84% of those surveyed had visited an AADL facility. The Downtown facility remained the most visited. The overall customer satisfaction rating for the Library was 94% positive.

O’Neal Construction, Inc.

Director Parker introduced Will Gordon of O’Neal Construction.

Mr. Gordon informed the Board that O’Neal Construction is preparing four different cost estimates for the Downtown Library facility.

1. A review of capital expenses anticipated for the existing building over 20 years including plumbing, masonry and roof repairs.
2. Costs for complete renovation of the building with no structural changes.
3. Costs for demolishing the building and building a new library on the existing footprint.
4. Costs for a new addition to the existing building.

Board members questioned Mr. Gordon regarding the current septic/sewage issue. He noted the issue was that of the Library’s to resolve and not an issue for the City. Director Parker stated the building was not originally designed to accommodate the volume of public visits that it currently receives.

Mr. Gordon will present cost estimates at the November Board meeting.

(Item of action)

Trustee Green, supported by Treasurer Leija, moved the Board resolves:

WHEREAS, The Friends of the Ann Arbor District Library, established by local citizens in 1953, recognizes the critical importance of a securely-established public library and has provided loyal and consistent support for the development of our highly-respected District Library system;

WHEREAS, The Friends has continuously raised funds and resources for the District Library, thereby providing support for programming, equipment, collections, special educational events and exhibits, and outreach to the community;

WHEREAS, the work of the Friends highlights on an on-going basis the fact that our library is a cornerstone of the community’s access to education and enrichment and aims to encourage everyone, from small children to senior citizens, to engage in the joy of life-long learning through use of the library’s resources;

WHEREAS, the Friends understand the critical importance of public awareness of the library’s needs and resources and endeavors to sustain community support for the District Library and its collections and services;

WHEREAS, the Friends’ gift of their time and commitment to the Ann Arbor District Library demonstrates the way that volunteerism leads to positive civic engagement and the betterment of our community;

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Ann Arbor District Library Board of Trustees proclaims October 15-21, 2017 as Friends of Libraries week in Ann Arbor, County of Washtenaw, Michigan and urges everyone to join the Friends of the Ann Arbor District Library and thank them for all they do to make our library and community so much better;

RESOLVED FURTHER, that all resolutions and parts of resolutions that conflict with the provisions of this resolution are rescinded.

AYES: Green, Leija, Barney Newman, Sherman, Song, Vander Broek
NAYS: None

Motion passed 6-0.

(Item of action)

Trustee Sherman, supported by Treasurer Leija, moved the Board resolves that it would like to officially thank Ira Lax for his service as an employee from March 22, 1999 to October 30, 2017 of the Ann Arbor District Library; that all resolutions and parts of resolutions that conflict with the provisions of this resolution are rescinded.

AYES: Green, Leija, Barney Newman, Sherman, Song, Vander Broek
NAYS: None

Motion passed 6-0.


Rami Al-Zoubi

I appreciate the time, guys. I know everybody’s trying to get out of here. So I’ll be brief. My name is Rami. I’m with All Inclusive. We are the previous custodial company. We stopped working a couple of days ago. After reviewing the video from the last meeting, even though I actually wasn’t here, I felt that we wanted to come and talk. We felt we were misrepresented a little bit about what was said that ultimately led to us leaving, but again we just wanted to clear the air. I know I have only a few minutes. First I wanted to clear up that I am a co-owner, Andrew Parker right behind me, is actually a co-owner and he is not a supervisor. So every each time that Andrew did respond he was actually talking with the company and he could make changes at will. So I’m not sure what was about it that had him perceived that he was a supervisor rather than an owner. But I know that was one of the big things that ending up leading to us. So that’s one thing that I wanted to clear up. Another thing that they talked about at the meeting that we felt that was wrong, misinformed was us not attending the Board meeting. We had actually a meeting prior to the Board meeting that Friday where we discussed kinda what was going on, some of the issues that we had. At that time it was basically clear that the decision was made so out of respect for the Board and the process we left it alone. We did reach out to see if there was a different way that we could address and it was the same thing. It was to meet with management so we again decided to kinda leave it alone having seeing that was the way it was going to go and we totally again having seen that and being misrepresented we felt that we would talk. So that’s the second thing that we wanted to talk about. We think that, there was a comment from the Board that spoke about getting what you paid for and we strongly, strongly disagree with that. Previous vendors have changed quality of paper towels, toilet paper, midway through the contract in order to save money. Intentionally, sabotaging, you know trying to sabotage different vendors with fraudulent paperwork, things like that, nothing that we have done. So we felt that we represented ourselves and tried to give the best quality to the library that we can provide. From day one we increased the quality of the product plus the services that the library had. We’re actually the only vendor in Ann Arbor that ordered the specific toilet paper, paper towel that we had stocked the libraries with. Changed out dispensers immediately, from day one of the contract. We tried to display the quality that we can offer to not only the members of the staff here but to the community, obviously, of course. The other thing we wanted to point out again is kinda back to some of the issues that we have had. We had three complaints in about a month and a half span. We addressed them, we actually got rid of the night crew that was at one of the branches, we replaced them and then we provided additional training rather than replacing some of the day staff, we provided additional training. So we worked with them, Andrew worked with them side by side two days in a row. Two full days on shift and again the same thing happened in the following week with the other day group. So rather than just terminating the daytime worker we tried to give them more training instead of just terminating. But we did make the necessary changes with the night time crew terminating. So we felt like we did what we were supposed to do and there just wasn’t enough time given. There wasn’t enough time given to let the changes effect and then of course we chose not to attend last board meeting, to kinda, respect everybody’s decision making. So that’s what we felt. Thank you.

Jessica Letaw

Hi, I’m Jessica Letaw, I run the Building Matters workshop conversation series though the Ann Arbor District Library. So thank you very much. And, in general, if you ask around I’m the lady who is super geeked out about buildings. I run the Ann Arbor Indie that’s the Yes In My Back Yard page on Facebook. So I would like to ask you if it would be inappropriate or appropriate and acceptable for me to share the EPIC-MRA findings. I’m particularly interested in how acceptable people find the tax burden. That is really not the dominant narrative and I would really love to put that out there because I’m also a data nerd. So being a geek would that be acceptable, would that be alright? (Director Parker responded that the documents are available to the public online.) Very good. So I’ll make sure to link it back. This is my first time attending an AADL Board meeting and I have to say this is really interesting.


President Vander Broek adjourned the meeting at 9:06 p.m.