Library Board

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Fargo Public Library Board – February 21, 2017 Minutes

Regular Meeting: Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Present: Helen Levitt, Rachael Steenholdt, Carlos Hawley, Jr., Gary Groberg
Others Present: John Strand, Bob Jansen
Absent: Howard Barlow, Mary Dickson, Herb Snyder
Staff Present: Tim Dirks, Lauren Johnson, Ginny Mueller

Board Chair, Helen Levitt, called the meeting to order and declared a quorum.

Order of Agenda: A motion was made by Rachael Steenholdt to accept the Order of the Agenda. Gary Groberg seconded the motion; the motion carried.

Minutes of the January 17, 2017 Regular Meeting: Rachael Steenholdt moved to approve the minutes of the January 17, 2017 meeting. Carlos Hawley seconded the motion; motion carried.

Staff Report: Lauren Johnson presented the staff report as follows:
Staff updates and Staff development activities:
• The part-time LA1 position in Tech Services has been filled by Jeff Morris and the Library Page position at Main has been filled by Mason Krebsbach. We are excited to have those two positions filled, and the Circulation department is beginning the process of hiring two more Library Pages.
• Ginny Mueller is retiring as the Library’s Principal Office Associate. Her last day is March 24th. This position has closed, and we are reviewing applications.
• The Staff Development Team put together our annual Soup Potluck for library staff on Feb.10th. This is a very popular event for library staff; it is a great way for us to share recipes and helps with our workplace relationships.
Upcoming events
• The Fargo Public Library, in conjunction with the Valley Reading Council, will once again be celebrating Read Across America Day and the stories of Dr. Seuss with hilarious read-alouds and “Seuss-tastical” activities on March 4th at 11am at the Main library! Come dressed as your favorite character (optional). All ages are welcome, but most appropriate for ages 3—10.
• A Colors and Culture of Syria program with presenter Marian Kadrie is set for Sunday, March 5, at 2 p.m. at the Main Library. This event is in partnership with Cultural Diversity Resources.
• A tiny concert series titled ‘Sunday Unplugged’ will start Sunday, March 5, at 2 p.m. at the Dr. James Carlson Library. These concerts are designed to be an intimate listening room experience featuring the talents of solo artists and duos from the Fargo-Moorhead area. These all ages concerts will be held on the first Sunday of each month through May.
• Join us for Escape the Library on Tuesday, March 14 from 12—3 p.m. This program is modeled after the popular Escape Room concept. Open to children in grades 1—6 and teens in grades 7—12. Pre-registration is required.
• Also in March, we are offering a Couch to 5K presentation by Kendall Railing, Strength and Conditioning Specialist from Sanford Health POWER Center. Folks will learn how to start training to run a 5K race. This event is set for Tuesday, March 21, at the Main Library.
Notable Past events & programs (again, a partial list):
Adult Programming:
• Photographer Ethan Smith gave an artist talk on Tuesday, Jan, 24, at the Main Library. He discussed his photos of the Fergus Falls State Hospital and his book, Castle on the Hill. Smith’s book is a photographic book about the State Hospital, and spotlights the people that worked and lived in the hospital. It was a very successful event with 109 people in attendance.
• The Houseplant Workshop, presented by Dr. Esther McGinnis and Dr. Janet Knodel from the NDSU Extension Service, provided excellent resources to attendees on how to care for specific types of plants, including how to treat for disease and insect problems. Registration for this class filled quickly and 31 people attended the workshop.
Children’s Programming:
• The LEGO Batman program on Feb. 4th that brought in over 250 people to the Main library. Children dressed up as superheroes and we had a storytime, crafts, and had a Batman Training Camp.
Chair Helen Levitt stated that our Strategic Plan goal was to make the library not just a place to get reading materials but a community center. The library staff has done an outstanding job of making that happen.

Director’s Report: Tim Dirks directed the board to his report included in the packet. As noted, quarterly project meetings with department heads have continued. Dirks stated that he has also been taking on some of the office tasks in order to train the new Principal Office Associate when the time comes.

Statistical Reports:
January Usage
The number of registered patrons is just over 40,000. When compared to January 2016, attendance is down 4%. Program attendance jumped with an increase of 53% over last January. Adult programs and Carlson youth programs were significant in that increase. Volunteer hours are strong.
Total circulation is up approximately 1% over January of last year. Chair Helen Levitt stated that those numbers are remarkable given the weather conditions in January.

January Financials
Thank you to the Friends of the Library for their generous donations for BookPage subscriptions for all three locations and sponsoring Crafternoons. The expenses of $340 reflect corresponding purchases from those donations.
Director Dirks stated that accounting has concluded for the 2016 fiscal year. The Library utilized a budget of $4,072,476, with $9,331 remaining at the end of the year. This reflects our conscientious focus on our mission.
The 2017 budget, year-to-date expenses and revenue were presented.

Friends of the Library Report: Bob Jansen, President of the Friends of the Fargo Public Library, presented the year-end financial report. In 2016, revenue was down approximately $400. In 2015, donations to the library totaled $6,190. In 2016, a total of $17,250 was donated to the library. The Friends are doing well financially.
As mentioned by Tim Dirks, the Friends approved requests for Bookpage subscriptions and supplies for the Crafternoons programs.
Membership is firing up with a new committee, headed by Mary Beth Hegstad. We will upgrade renewal letters and compose new letters to recruit members.
Our ½ price sale has continued and was expanded to the Main Library Concourse for a week-end in January. We may try this again and do more promotion for it.
The Friends are not planning a big spring sale at this time, since we are not overflowing with inventory.
Chair Helen Levitt thanked the Friends for filling a very bid need of the library. Speaking for the Board, we very much appreciate it.

New Business:
Children’s Adventure Packs Demonstration
Children’s Programming Assistant, Lauren Johnson, gave a demonstration on a new library item called Children’s Adventure Packs. There are five at this time in the Main Children’s Room, which are available to check out. A patron can check out one Adventure Pack at a time for a three-week period. There has been a lot of interest shown so far in the packs.
At this time, we have the Adventure Packs only at the Main Library. We are hoping to be able to expand, just as we did with the launchpads. We started supplying them at Main and the interest and popularity grew so that we now have launchpads at all three locations.

Library Strategic Planning: Director Tim Dirks stated that in 2017 we will once again begin the Strategic Plan process. We are starting by preparing an RFP for a consultant who will do community research, provide data and assist with the development of the Strategic Plan. Also, a committee will be assembled consisting of city leaders, library staff and citizens at large. Dirks would like to see the RFP published by the end of March, with a consultant being selected in April or May.
Chair Helen Levitt stated that it is so important to have a Strategic Plan in order to know where we’re going. After being presented with the results of the community research, it is incumbent upon the Strategic Plan Committee to decide on goals and put together a report. Our last Strategic Plan document was very well put together and we met or exceeded every goal set. Dirks said this is an exciting opportunity to engage the community.

Public Comment: There was no public comment.

Next Board Meeting: The next regular board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. in the Commission Room.

The meeting adjourned at 4:45 PM.