Library Trustees Meeting
April 7, 2009
Medway Public Library
Meena Jain, Vice Chair
William Roberts, Secretary
Wendy Rowe, Chair
Motion to approve the agenda. MAC1, CR2. passed unanimously
Motion to accept the Secretary's report as published on the website (has the name of another participant) WLR1, MJ2. Passed unanimously
Note that a tape of that meeting (the March 3rd Trustee Meeting) was made and a transcript is available here.
The Selectmen's minutes of the March 3rd Trustee meeting (they were all there) are available through their website here (Find the heading "BOS Minutes" on the lower left, pick the "+" and scroll down). Specifically they're here
Provided town with 2 more budget variants due to possible stimulus funding.
Air conditioning repairs are going to cost some money.
Kevin Collins (a Medway High School teacher) contacted us about a Medway Service Learning grant his High School Honors class is organizing - a "One Book One Town" event for Medway. This is a community wide event where as many residents as possible read the same book. The chosen book is: "Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress". We have 1 copy. Wendy explained our funding constraints. They're going to try to get more copies to us.
We got our Art Poster grant and they're soon going to be gracing the library interior.
They now have leave on an accrued basis. This should have been the case before (though there is a different opinion at Town Hall). The town Human Resources person has been contacted about the matter.
This will cost us somewhat more.
Hopefully the discarded books will be shelved in an alternate reality accessible to those patrons who want them.
This will make space to move the Large Print to the front.
This is about the possibility of contracting some amount of Felicia Oti's time (she's the Franklin Library Director).
The proposal is that she work 14 hours a week for us, two of her five seven-hour days. She proposed the following to Wendy for how she would spend her time:
She says the long range plan would take most of her time. She says she will not answer reference questions or fill in at the desk, because that will take away from the time she needs to spend on the high-level tasks. She told Wendy that if the Board does not agree with these priorities, we should say no and not pursue this plan further.
For family reasons she cannot work onsite after 2pm, and does not want to work any additional evenings or weekends. She plans to come to our monthly Tuesday evening Trustee meeting. Most of the time she would be working offsite (e.g. from home).
Meena was worried that she (Felicia) does not really want to be here. That she wants to look at our processes and not get involved.
Some Trustees said they felt that Felicia's proposal for how she would spend 14 hours/week for us did not match closely enough what the Trustees believe her role should be.
There was a question of why our Selectmen are so in favor of this. Ed read our minutes and spoke with Andy and then Rich. He said they wanted to be progressive and forward looking and concerned with the future.
Ed pointed out that no other communities have "regionalized" and so this is very much uncharted territory and that it needs a lot of care and planning. He suggested a committee to look into it.
He also said that it was important for us to show a positive cooperative attitude towards the Selectmen.
Ed pointed out that the Selectmen have much more control over the town budget than they used to. The carrot and the stick were very much in evidence at last month's meeting.
Wendy said that maybe what we should be saying to the Selectmen and town is that we think this is not the best way to spend the town's money, but that if the Selectmen really want it we won't stand in the way.
MaryAnn wanted to reject the proposal because contracting Felicia's time doesn't really do anything for us. By turning it down we would be fiscally prudent and save the town $40,000.
There was a question of how we'd keep track of her time. She would attend our Trustee meetings and report progress.
Margaret pointed out that being a director of a large relatively well staffed and funded library like Franklin's is very different from being a director of a library like Medway's. There's much more need for hands on activities like reference, patron contact, and even manning the desk.
All our past Directors have worked the desk some just to stay in touch with patrons, as well as when we were short handed.
Wendy said that that's true, but we need to remember that with regionalization we'd be talking about a new paradigm re the Director's role, with the Assistant doing most of what the Director used to do.
Margaret also pointed out that the long range planning effort needed substantial citizen input (committees and/or focus groups) which would need to meet in the evening when Felicia is not available
Bill felt that the long range plan was quite important for the regionalization effort as it should map out how that should happen and how it would work, however the general feeling was that regionalization was longer range than our long range plan (> 5 years).
Ed suggested that we arrange to talk about our concerns with the Selectmen. He also thought another meeting with the Franklin Board of Library Directors would help.
It was suggested that the best compromise would be to contract her for less than 14 hours and to focus on the Long Range Plan.
The Trustees agreed that if we hire Felicia for 7 hours/week to do our long range plan, most likely we will have our Assistant to the Director become our Acting Director. That would be sufficient for our certification needs, since our Assistant is an MLS degreed librarian.
Bill felt that we should go with the original plan, mostly for political reasons, but also her 14 hours a week would not be wasted, we'd get the planning, policies, grants and public contact (on Fridays).
Wendy pointed out that there's a danger that if we contracted her for 14 hrs a week this year, then next year decided it wasn't working, our budget would drop by $40,000 jeopardizing our certification.
Anyhow here's the motion:
The Trustees recommend that we hire [Franklin Library Director] Felicia Oti for seven hours per week to prepare the Medway Public Library's Long Range Plan. MJ1, MAC2. Passed. 4 aye, 1 nay (Bill), 0 abstain
includes reorganization (election of officers)
Meena's going to miss that meeting so this was her swan song (and a good one it was). Wendy thanked her for her service and thanked her for her continued Friendliness.
Motion to adjourn (8:15), MJ1, MAC2, passed unanimously