Geneseo Public Library District
Board of Trustees Meeting
February 9, 2009
The Board of Trustees of the Geneseo Public Library District met in regular session in the Hammond Room of the Library on February 9, 2009. President Jim Hale called the meeting to order at 6:32 with the following members present: Barbara Erdman, Jim Hale, Darline Holland, Jim Luikart, and Holly McAvoy. Gary ZumMallen and Dave Johnson were absent. Also attending the meeting were Library Director Claire Crawford; Betty Morrison, who is a candidate standing for election to the Board; Anita Maki, who is currently serving as the Library’s bookkeeper, Cathy Stone, Lisa Depies from the Geneseo Republic and Linda Altermatt as scribe. There were no changes to the agenda.
There was no comment from the citizens who were present.
President Hale called the Board’s attention to the minutes of the meeting of January 19. Barbara Erdman made a motion to approve the minutes as presented. That motion was seconded by Darline Holland and in voice vote all present approved the motion. There was no correspondence.
Anita Maki presented the financial report for December and January. She stated that not all the finances are completely clear yet, but so far as she has been able discern there are no irregularities. She continues to work toward filing all paperwork that had been neglected for a time. Jim Luikart made a motion to accept the financial report and approve the bills paid prior to the meeting. That motion was seconded by Holly McAvoy and in roll call vote it was approved by all Board members present. The Board as a whole thanked Mrs. Maki for her invaluable help in recovering information necessary to a sound financial understanding. Mrs. Maki inquired about the Board’s intentions for her continued assistance. That question was tabled to Unfinished Business and Mrs. Maki was invited to stay for the remainder of the meeting.
Building and Leadership
Jim Hale asked the Board to consider the Building Committee report during Unfinished Business. Holly McAvoy reported that the Leadership Committee is awaiting the presentation of an artistic rendering of the proposed library building by the architect so that they may effectively approach potential contributors.
Library Director Claire Crawford reported that the circulation figures for the month are up by nearly 20%. She attributed this primarily to the impact of the economic downturn. She was very impressed by reports of the success of a new children’s computer, called ELS (Early Literacy Station). This computer system comes highly recommended by PALS and would be available at a discounted price through their organization. Darline Holland made a motion to approve the purchase of one of these computers. That was seconded by Barbara Erdman and approved in a roll call vote by all Board members present. Holly McAvoy suggested that all the computers at the Library should be in a supervisory inventory so that the Board might be aware of the need for replacing older models when the Budget is prepared.
Library Director Crawford then encouraged the Board to submit billing for the architect’s drawings and the artistic renderings to the Dept. of Commerce and Economic Opportunities for reimbursement under a grant that the Library has been awarded.
The Monday and Wednesday afternoon tax service has been very popular again this year with at least 30 people seeking assistance each day the AARP tax aides are present.
There was a question about the membership in the Chamber of Commerce. A recent increase in the Library’s membership to $250 from the previous $100 annual fee seemed unfair to Board members. Library Director Crawford was asked to request reconsideration so that the Library would be billed under the Non-Profit category rather than sharing the same categorization as the school district, which has a much larger tax base and many more employees.
Additionally, Mrs. Crawford suggested that the Library could sell some of the art work currently held in inventory; thereby bringing in some cash and eliminating objects not being used. That idea was approved by the Board by consensus.
President Jim Hale approached the Board with a reconsideration of the concept of a need for a basement under the new Library building. He had approached Gary ZumMallen and Dave Johnson for their opinions in writing, knowing that they could not attend the February 9 meeting.
Gary ZumMallen indicated that the Junior High School and Senior High School were constructed with no basement, indicating no real need for that provision. Dave Johnson suggested that the savings in eliminating the need for stairwells and elevators would be significant. He suggested that some form of unfinished storm shelter on the main floor would be advisable. Darline Holland indicated that investigations on the computer led her to believe that a basement would be too costly. Jim Luikart suggested that if the mechanicals are not to be in the basement, he would prefer that they be located outside so as to make maximum use of the space within the building. A communication from Alan Armbrust, the architect, indicated that if the mechanicals were to go into the basement, an expansion of the building at a later date could require construction of a new area for mechanicals. Claire Crawford stated that the staff had stated that they much preferred construction of a basement for the new library, but indicated that the PALS advisor had suggested it was not the average choice for new construction. Holly McAvoy then made a motion to reconsider construction of a basement in the new library building. Darline Holland seconded that motion and all Board members present agreed in a roll call vote. Darline Holland then made a motion to construct the new library without a basement. Jim Luikart seconded that motion and in roll call vote all Board members present approved the motion.
Jim Hale stated that the meeting with city officials had gone well. The mayor, city administrator, and city attorney were cordial and supportive of the proposed changes to the planned building with a reduced size and the positioning on the building site.
The Board then turned their attention to the question of replacing the Library’s bookkeeper. The recent difficulty in losing Lola Hoelke after a prolonged absence due to illness and the need to ask Anita Maki to step in an sort things out in the office, left many Board members wondering if it might be better to outsource the bookkeeping work. Several businesses in the area, including Miller Farm and Business, offer this service to local stores and small businesses at a very reasonable price, eliminating the need for a single person to hold an office.
Anita Maki asked what sorts of duties would be assigned to that service. She pointed out that most of these businesses are accustomed to dealing with businesses that operate for profit; their bookkeeping requirements are considerably simpler than that of the Library. While Mrs. Make stated plainly that she is not interested in assuming this job herself, she questioned whether an outsourced service would be sufficient to cover the type of information and activity required of the Library as a public non-profit agency that is subject to specific state laws and regulations. In the absence of an on-site bookkeeper, the Library Director would need to assume many new, complex responsibilities. Cathy Stone suggested that it would be necessary to have competitive bidding for such a service if the Library were to shift to an outsource supplier.
With an awareness of the new complexities revealed by the discussion, Board members agreed that it would be necessary to obtain additional information before taking any action. Due to the lateness of the hour, President Hale asked if members would entertain a motion to adjourn. Holly McAvoy made a motion to adjourn. That motion was seconded by Barbara Erdman and in voice vote all approved. The meeting adjourned at 8:10. The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board will be held on Monday, March 9, 2009 at 6:30 in the Hammond Room of the Library.