Library Board

Boards, Commissions & Committees

Fargo Public Library Board - May 19, 2020 Minutes

Regular Meeting: Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Board Members Present: Rachael Steenholdt, Mary Batcheller, Carrie Peterson, Whitney Oxendahl
Board Members Absent: Scott Beaulier, Carlos Hawley Jr., Jan Ulferts Stewart
Staff: Tim Dirks, Sunny Branick, Betsy Dauer
Others Present:

President, Rachael Steenholdt called the meeting to order at 4:03 PM, and a quorum was declared. This was a virtual meeting.

Order of Agenda
A motion was made by Mary Batcheller to approve the Order of the Agenda. Carrie Peterson seconded the motion; motion carried.

Minutes of February 18, 2020 Regular Meeting
Mary Batcheller made a motion to approve the minutes of the February 18, 2020 meeting. Carrie Peterson seconded the motion; motion carried.

Staff Report
Sunny Branick presented a few highlights of staff updates and events.

All in-person programs have been suspended indefinitely. For a full list of all upcoming FPL activities visit

Upcoming Events & Programs (a partial and incomplete list):

• Crafternoons Curbside Pickup: The Fargo Public Library will be offering Crafternoons craft packets to go at the Main Library on Tuesdays from 12 – 5:30 p.m. If you are interested in picking up a craft packet, please email on Tuesdays and request the number of packets you would like (limit one per child). Then, between the hours of 12 – 5:30 p.m., stop by the Main Library to pick up your packet. Call 701.241.1495 when you arrive and park in the City Hall parking lot off of 3rd St. North, directly east from the Main Library. We will deliver your crafts outside once you arrive! Please note that Crafternoons Curbside Pick-up is available only at the Main Library on Tuesdays. Limit 1 packet per child, while supplies last.
• During the first two weeks of Crafternoons Curbside, we gave out 320 craft packets to over 140+ families!
• Online Storytimes/Baby Rhyme Time: Online Storytimes are being recorded by Children’s staff and can be seen on Wednesdays and most Thursdays at 10am on the Fargo Library’s Facebook page.
• iSpy Window Display: Main has put up a iSpy window display at the Main Library’s east entrance. Kids can stop by and look for the items listed in the window.

Multigenerational Events
• Northern Focus. Put a focus on photography--a NORTHERN FOCUS! The library is looking for your best picture to be displayed in an exhibition celebrating regional photographers. Submit your favorite photo from now until June 1. One lucky artist will get their photograph on the front cover of Northern Narratives 2020.
• Emoji Poetry Contest for Teens and Adults: In the spirit of our upcoming summer reading program theme, "Imagine Your Story," teens and adults are asked to write 1 to 3 line poems written in emojis. Participants will submit their poem using the link Submissions will be screened and then published to the Fargo Public Library's Facebook page for our Facebook followers to try to decipher the poems. Deadline for submissions is June 1.
• Pairs Well With. Virtual event in place of a Silent Reading Party this Spring. May 18-21 patrons can tell us what they plan to drink, and we’ll pair it with a suggested read(or vice versa)
• Stay-at-Home Book Club. We’ve been having them every Thursday at 7 p.m., but might move to monthly as engagement has declined.
• May 20 – FPL Facebook Page at 6:30 p.m. Virtual Classics Book Club - The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. The 2nd virtual meeting of the Classics Book Club will be next Wednesday, May 20 to discuss The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. We don’t have copies to hand out, but since it’s in the public domain there are copies on Overdrive, Hoopla, RBDigital, and free through other sites (Amazon, Project Gutenberg, etc.).
• Jun. 6 – FPL Facebook Page at 6:30 p.m. Virtual Tea Time Book Club - The Wild Girl by Kate Forsyth. We bought extra copies in Overdrive so there would be enough copies to go around. We also have copies now at Carlson that people can pick up via curbside.
• June 29 – FPL Facebook Page at 6:30 p.m. Virtual Y.A. Book Club – The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert. This is a quarterly book club designed for those ages 15-20. However, all adults are welcome, too.

Notable Past events & programs (again, a partial list):

Online Storytimes/Baby Rhyme Time.
• Apr. 6 – Fairy Tale Storytime; 100 people viewed at least 1+ minutes of this video on our Facebook page. On the City’s YouTube channel; 87 views
• Apr. 7 – Baby Rhyme Time “Buzz Buzz Baby”; 37 people viewed at least 1+ minutes of this video on our Facebook page. On the City’s YouTube channel; 86 views
• Apr. 15 – “Cats” Storytime; 66 people viewed at least 1+ minutes of this video on our Facebook page. On the City’s YouTube channel; 88 views
• Apr. 16 – Baby Rhyme Time; 19 people viewed at least 1+ minutes of this video on our Facebook page. On the City’s YouTube channel; 58 views
• Apr. 22 – “Bugs” Storytime; 26 people viewed at least 1+ minutes of this video on our Facebook page. On the City’s YouTube channel; 64 views
• Apr. 23 – Baby Rhyme Time; 8 people viewed at least 1+ minutes of this video on our Facebook page. On the City’s YouTube channel; 34 views
• Apr. 29 – “Bears” storytime; 34 people viewed at least 1+ minutes of this video on our Facebook page. On the City’s YouTube channel; 43 views
• Apr. 30 – Baby Rhyme Time; 5 people viewed at least 1+ minutes of this video on our Facebook page. On the City’s YouTube channel; 32 views

Department updates:

• Picturebook Re-categorization Project at Main. The picturebook re-categorization project at Main is now complete. Children staff spent the last year categorizing the entire picturebook collection. It is now finished and the picturebooks should be easy for patrons to browse by topic.

• Curbside Pick-up. Patrons may call to confirm their available holds and arrange a pick-up time. Staff checkout the items, place them in a bag, label it with a hold slip, and place it on the table located outside the library. Curbside Pick-up is available at all three locations.
• Remote Library Card Creation. Patrons can apply for a library card from the comfort of their home! Circulation staff process.
• Inventory. Circulation is coordinating inventory of the adult collection with the aid of Reference staff.
• No Fines. We will continue to not collect late fines. Patrons will have advanced notice of fines being turned back on.

Services to sites are currently suspended. Outreach staff are working with Circulation staff to get individual patrons library cards on a case by case basis. Staff are working remotely, planning future events and doing orders.

• Remote printing. Patrons are able to print from anywhere using our Mobile Print service. They log-in to our server using their library card number and password (just like if they were logging into the computers in the library) and then upload any documents they need printed. The service works much like curbside pick-up for other materials: they call before they arrive, reference staff release the print job(s) from the server, we put the document into an envelope marked with their hold code and we put it out on the table for them to come in and pick up. We are not currently charging for printing, but are limiting the number of pages we’ll print for people to 10.
• Access to digital collections. Our reference staff are continuing to help our user’s access materials remotely by instructing them on how to log in, where to find the apps and how to download them, troubleshooting account issues, and letting customers know which digital platforms offer what types of formats.
• May We Suggest. Not sure what to read next? Have your favorite authors not published anything recently? Let our book experts – your Fargo Public Librarians – help you find your next book to check out. The library's May We Suggest is a personalized book suggestion service available to readers. You can fill out the form online, or call in and talk to one of our Reference Librarians at the Main or Dr. James Carlson Libraries.

Tech Services
• Technical Services is open for business and staff have resumed their regular duties. Staff are cataloging and processing new books, DVDs, and more for patrons. During the closure, Selectors continued to purchase materials, so there is plenty of work to do

Social Media Metrics for May:
• Facebook: 5,384 Followers
• Twitter: 1,180 Followers
• Instagram: 1,285 Followers

Director’s Report
Director Tim Dirks referred the Board to his written report in the Board Packet.

Unfinished Business
Tim Dirks presented the Board with an annual total circulation report comparing circulation statistics from January 2009 through April 2020. It was requested by Carlos Hawley Jr. at the February 18th meeting to see ciruclation over time. The bolded number represents the highest circulation month in each column. The red numbers represent a lower circulation month than the same month of the previous year.

Whitney Oxendahl requested to see the statistics on library card holders. Tim Dirks explained that the ILS purges expired users after a set amount of time so it wouldn’t be apples to apples comparison but we could pull data for a point in time. Whitney Oxendahl requested a point in time comparison such as January 1st or December 31st each year and compare that to the population growth in our area.

New Business
Stensland Gift
The library received a donation in the amount of $61,889.91 from the estate of Jim Stensland. Tim Dirks sent a thank you letter to the donor’s family. The library has two funds at FM Area Foundation, the original and a secondary. The recommendation from Tim Dirks was to deposit the donation into the secondary fund of the library endowment fund at FM Area Foundation.

A motion was made by Rachael Steenholdt to follow the recommendation and deposit the donation in the secondary fund of the library endowment fund at FM Area Foundation. Carrie Peterson seconded the motion; motion carried.

Covid 19 Library Update
Tim Dirks gave an update on what is happening at the library during the closure. He has been working with City staff to order supplies and make sure the library is safe to open for patrons and staff, including Plexiglas for reference and circulation desks. Furniture and computers have been rearranged to promote physical distancing. Currently no date to reopen library buildings. Staff have been tremendous with the changes. He stated the work the library is doing currently is the opposite of what libraries are known for. Limiting access and closing buildings, in these times we are helping from farther away.

Board members asked about staff and budget impacts. Tim Dirks answered that staff are all being paid but some capital projects are being put on hold and some operating lines, including marketing, are being limited. Tim Dirks said that the decision to reopen will come from working with multiple departments including Public Health and City Admin.

Statistical Reports
The library had 41,618 registered patrons, including 195 new registrations for the month of April. The library buildings were closed for the entire month of April due to Covid 19. There were 12 virtual programs in April. This was the first of many virtual programs. Circulation was down 73.25% compared to April of the previous year. The majority of the circulation for April was digital.

The year is 33% lapsed while the budget is 29.9% expended. There was $18,980 incoming donations, this money was from interest earned on the library endowment the FM Area Fund for the reconfiguration project on the second floor of the main library. Expenditures of donations totaled $27. Revenue is at $10,335.51 year to date.

Friends of the Library Report
There was no formal Friends report though the Friends have approved funding requests through email meetings. Tim Dirks and Board members gave their thanks to the Friends for all support given.

Public Comment
No public comment.

Next Board Meeting
The next regular Board Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 16, 2020 at 4:00 PM.

The meeting adjourned at 4:57 PM.