22 March 2006

The regular meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Webster Groves Public Library was held at 7 pm on Wednesday, March 22, 2006. This meeting had been postponed from the usual date of March 15th. President Jon Furst presided, and Library Director Tom Cooper kept the minutes. Present: Library Board Trustees Gladys Tolley, Christine Krueger, Tom Reedy, Celia Bouchard, Stacy Deleste, Angela Birke. Absent: Charles Maas, June Gill.

Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 7:08 p.m.

Public Agenda
There was no public agenda

Minutes of the February 15, 2006 Meeting
Ms. Tolley moved that the minutes be accepted as written. Ms. Bouchard seconded and the minutes were approved.

Mr. Cooper presented a letter from the American Library Association noting that the library had not been given a grant for employee training.

Mr. Furst shared a letter he had received from Maggie Sowash of the Webster Park Association, thanking the library for its donation made in tribute to Park residents who have served on the board of the library’s Friends Group.

President’s Report
Mr. Furst talked about several meetings and contacts he had over the past month, most of which included Christine Krueger and/or Tom Cooper, among others:

Mr. Furst informed the board that the upshot of these meetings is that the people giving us advice regarding our campaign – most specifically Lee Falk – do not feel we should proceed to the ballot in June. There are a few main reasons for this. One is that there will be no other issue on the June ballot, making the library liable to pay for the whole election, an estimated $20,000. The other reason is that in the message mapping session, they perceived a lack of cohesion in our message. Their thinking is that if the message is not clear among key stakeholders such as were represented in the message mapping group, it could not be adequately relayed to the public. They also felt there was too much blurring of whether this was truly a tax levy campaign to raise operating funds, or whether it included money for capital expenditures. Despite this advice, the feeling was to move forward with the campaign.

Mr. Cooper then described a phone call he received from Mayor Welch, during which she expressed serious misgivings about whether a tax levy campaign was a good idea at this time. She reinforced Ms. Falk’s misgivings several times.

In the end, Mr. Furst made the recommendation that the board postpone the election indefinitely, even as late as the February 2007 election.

Ms. Bouchard moved that the library’s tax levy campaign be postponed pending better strategic planning. Ms. Tolley seconded, and the motion carried unanimously.

Librarian’s Report
Mr. Cooper reported that due to the ongoing sewer project in front of the library, there were serious issues surrounding the use of Webster Groves Public Library as a polling place on April 4th. He had conveyed these concerns to the Board of Election Commissioners, who offered no solution, and did not seem to be considering alternatives. He had subsequently been contacted by Lee Falk, who is also handling the campaign for Webster Groves School District. They are concerned because they have an important bond issue question on the April 4th ballot, and the library is the main polling place for voters in the school district. Mr. Cooper suggested that she should encourage some of those stakeholders to contact the Election Board with their concerns. So far, there has been no word of a change of polling place, so it is assumed the library will be it.

Mr. Cooper noted that circulation figures were down for the month of February, after a few months of increases. This was due, he suggested, to Orchard Avenue being blocked.

In February the library was contacted by a relative of Joseph G. Stewart, Jr., who had just died. Mr. Stewart’s father is a St. Louis Judge and a long-time user of the library. In Mr. Stewart’s death notice, mourners were advised to make contributions to Webster Groves Public Library in lieu of flowers. To date, the library has received well over $600 dollars in his name.

Advance Planning
Ms. Krueger reported that since the Reliable Life building, owned by Robert Camenzind, was in no way ready for public use, the Friends Group would not be able to use it for their annual book sale, as they were anticipating. They have moved the sale back to the weekend of April 7-9, at the Masonic Lodge.

There was no report from this committee.

Building and Grounds
Mr. Reedy reported that the current insurer of the Mason House will not renew the policy next year, since there is ‘knob and tube’ electrical wiring in the house, and Safeco Insurance considers that to be a fire hazard. He will contact our agent at Daniel & Henry regarding alternative insurers.

He also reported his conversations with a landscaper who assured him that no tree replanted in the same place on the west parking lot where the ‘specimen’ Red Oak died would live.

Ms. Tolley reviewed the financial report and disbursements for February, 2006. Mr. Reedy moved that the financial report be approved as presented, Ms. Krueger seconded, and it was approved.

Human Resource
Ms. Deleste reported that she has set up a committee meeting at her home to do a performance evaluation of library director Tom Cooper.

There was no report from this committee.

Old Business
There was no old business.

New Business
Stacy Deleste asked whether there is a Board of Trustees by-law covering how many unexcused absences a trustee may have before losing a seat on the board. Although some trustees remembered having the same discussion a few years back, there is no by-law covering this, and no specified number of absences.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:40 p.m.

The next meeting of the Library’s Board of Trustees will be held on Wednesday, April 19th at 7 p.m.