May 17, 2007

The regular meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Webster Groves Public Library was held at 7 p.m. on May 17th. President Jon Furst presided, and Library Director Tom Cooper kept the minutes. Present: Library Board Trustees Gladys Tolley, Celia Bouchard, Christine Krueger, Stacy Deleste. Absent: June Gill, Charles Maas, Tom Reedy, Angela Birke. Also attending were resident Doug Stanley, and Council Liaison Jeanne Kirkton.

Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 7:05.

Public Agenda

There was no public agenda.

Minutes of the April 19th, 2006 Meeting

Tom Cooper read an e-mail from Tom Reedy, in which he asked to change the last paragraph under Advance Planning to read, ‘. . . that he recently spoke with a representative of Trees, Forests and Landscapes, Inc. who doubts. . .’

It was also noted that the minutes mistakenly recorded Ms. Krueger as having made and seconded a motion to accept the financial report for March, 2006. In fact, Mr. Reedy had seconded that motion.

Ms. Bouchard moved to approve the minutes as amended, Ms. Krueger seconded, and the minutes were approved.


Mr. Furst said that he expects to receive soon a letter from Charles Maas resigning his seat on the board. Mr. Maas may have some suggestions for people with legal expertise to fill the vacant seat. Mr. Furst said we should also expect to see a letter from June Gill indicating that she would not reapply for a seat on the board when her term expires at the end of May.

President’s Report

Mr. Furst welcomed our new Council Liaison, Jeanne Kirkton.

He spoke about recruitment of new board trustees, and mentioned that he and Ms. Krueger planned to begin meeting soon with people who may be good candidates.

He also indicated it was time to seek a meeting with the mayor to discuss future plans for the library, especially for a tax levy campaign.

Librarian’s Report

Mr. Cooper showed the newly reported figures for reciprocal lending between Webster Groves Public Library and St. Louis County Library. Although it was down a little from last year, it is still way too high. Especially now that County Library is charging Webster Groves residents $50 annually for the privilege of requesting anything, it just doesn’t make sense for that many people to be going there instead of their home library. Of course, this is the effect of the library having been isolated for nearly eight years. There is an immediate need for WGPL to get out the message that as a member of the Municipal Library Consortium since late 2004, their resources are every bit as good as County Library, and there’s no need for Webster Groves taxpayers to be spending an additional $50 per year to use a different library. There was some discussion of how exactly to do that, mostly centering on newspaper and other media coverage. Mr. Cooper insisted that this is the biggest issue for the library right now and for the near future.

An application has been submitted to Target of Kirkwood for a Community Giving Grant. The program the grant would fund is a preschool reading program for children with special needs. Children’s Librarian Michelle Haffer has worked very hard to put together an interesting and unique program of after-hours events, each using a different sort of professional facilitator, to encourage reading among children with autism, attention deficit disorder, Down’s syndrome and other disorders. Mr. Cooper said that even if Target did not choose to fund the program, it should probably be done anyway, perhaps in a less expensive way; although without the help of the various professional facilitators, it might not be as effective.

Mr. Cooper talked about the Planning Grant he intends to submit. The grant money would pay for a professional community survey. After the survey a planning committee would convene and use the collected data to decide future moves for the library. The pressing need right now is to start considering the makeup of that committee. Most sources on library planning stress that the committee should have representatives of library staff, library trustees, civic government and interested citizens. The library director should not be chairman of the committee.

The sewer project in front of the library has finally blocked the library’s exit drive, necessitating closure of the back parking lot. There is no reasonable estimate of how long that portion of the work will take.


There was no report from this committee.

Building and Grounds

There was no report from this committee.

Advance Planning

Ms. Krueger showed a bid she had from Bill Spradling of Trees, Forests and Landscapes for planting a tree in the West parking lot to replace the old Red Oak. The recommended species of tree would be an American Elm ‘Princeton’ or ‘Valley Forge.’ It would not be planted until fall. There are some problems with how our sprinkler system is arranged, but if that could be changed, the company would guarantee the tree for a year. The cost would be just under $600, unless they encountered a lot of stump or residual roots from the old tree, in which case stump grinding would cost $145 per hour more. Ms. Tolley, in her capacity as treasurer, expressed doubt that a tree was a crucial expense given the circumstances of the library’s finances at this time. There was some discussion of how to finance the tree: perhaps some sort of fundraiser could be held, etc.


Ms. Tolley reviewed the financial report and disbursements for April, 2006. Ms. Krueger made a motion that the financial report be approved as presented. Ms. Bouchard seconded, and the report was approved.

Ms. Tolley presented the draft budget for Fiscal Year 2006-2007, which the Finance Committee had previously approved. There was some discussion of it. Mr. Furst asked Mr. Cooper what if any problems there may be with the budget. The most pressing problem is that materials budgets are pared down once again. Since the library has recently joined the Municipal Library Consortium, and patrons have access to so much more material than before, this is not a great problem for the next fiscal year. But no library of this size should go more than a year or two with such restrictions on its materials budgets.

Ms. Tolley moved to approve the budget, Ms. Deleste seconded, and the budget was approved. Mr. Cooper will contact the City Clerk to arrange a time to present it to the city council. The trustees would prefer to do it at the June 20th council meeting, when they could be placed at the top of the agenda.

Human Resource

There was no report from this committee.


There was no report from this committee.

Old Business

There was no old business.

New Business

There was no new business.


Ms. Bouchard moved to adjourn, Ms. Tolley seconded, and the meeting was adjourned at 8:20 p.m.

The next meeting of the Library’s Board of Trustees will be held on Wednesday, June 21 at 7 p.m.