25 August 2005

The regular meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Webster Groves Public Library was held at the Library House at #5 Mason Avenue on Wednesday, August 24, 2005. This meeting had been rescheduled to allow for the presence of the new library director, who began work on the 22nd of August. President Jon Furst presided, and Library Director Tom Cooper kept the minutes. Present: Library Board Trustees Christine Krueger, Gladys Tolley, Stacy Deleste, Tom Reedy and Charles Maas. Absent: June Gill and Pam Mahoney.

Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 6:10 p.m.

Public Agenda

There were no items for the public agenda this month.

Minutes of the June 2005 Meeting

Ms. Krueger moved that the minutes of the June 15, 2005 meeting be approved as submitted. Ms. Deleste seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously.


President Jon Furst showed two pieces of correspondence to the Board. The first was a letter of resignation from Trustee Pam Mahoney. The second was a card from Susan Pruchnicki of Bond Wolf Architectural Solutions, congratulating the Board on the hiring of a new director.

President’s Report

Jon Furst reported that he has asked the Library’s new director to consider long-range budgetary needs of the Library, so the Board may be better informed when it plans for a tax levee increase campaign. He also said board trustees will need to do a petition drive to get an initiative on the ballot, and urged them to start thinking about that: who they know that could help and how they might canvass their own neighborhoods.

Librarian’s Report

Being only three days into the job, Mr. Cooper had little to report, except to note that he had spent most of his time so far organizing the office, getting to know the staff and their various job duties, and sending letters of introduction to various community groups. He noted also that he had contacted the Old Webster Jazz Festival (which will be held on September 17), to see if there would be any interest in the Library setting up a table at the festival to advertise its collections and services.

Advance Planning

Concerning the question of whether to sell or lease the property at #5 Mason Avenue, Ms. Krueger reported on her discussions with a few realtors. After looking at recent sales of comparable properties, and at the property in question, the general feeling was that it would not sell for more that 400 to 460 thousand dollars, which is considerably less than the Library’s purchase price of the house. This fact made leasing the property seem the better option at this time. Ms. Krueger’s contacts thought we could lease it for as much as $2300 a month, and bargain down to $2000 if need be.

She also presented a list of the items the Friends of the Library had recently purchased for the Library, and asked the Board to consider a date to hold an official recognition ceremony. It was agreed it would be best held on a Sunday afternoon after the next meeting of the Friends, which will be on Friday, September 9th.


There was no report from this committee this month.

Building and Grounds

Mr. Reedy has asked three different leasing agents to send proposals for leasing the property at #5 Mason Avenue. He noted that their fees for this service averaged anywhere from 8-15%, which is considerably less than the estimate of 33% he had first been given.

Mr. Furst noted that there is some electrical work needed in the house before it would pass an occupancy permit inspection, but he did not think it was much.

Mr. Maas also reported on having spoken with Susan Schiff, a local realtor, whose projections of the likely sale price of the house were about as bleak as those presented earlier by Ms. Krueger. Mr. Maas also had been given a list of the improvements to the house that would make it more marketable – such as modern kitchen appliances, finished wood floors, newer cabinetry and other expensive things. He also noted that the ongoing construction at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church next door on Lockwood could be a problem in selling the house.

Mr. Cooper was asked for his thoughts on the question, and he inclined toward the rental option, both because it seemed like selling at this time would only lose money, and because he thought the property itself may figure in any future expansion of the library, either for the expansion itself or for additional parking.

Discussion ensued about the pros and cons of the renting versus selling the property. With the prospect of only losing money on a sale, most trustees inclined toward the rental option.


Ms. Tolley reviewed the financial reports and disbursements for July. Mr. Reedy moved that the bills be approved as presented, Ms. Deleste seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously.

Human Resource

There was no report from this committee this month. There was discussion of whether June Gill may yield these duties to Stacy Deleste.

Mr. Furst talked a little about Mr. Cooper’s first meeting with the Library staff on their in-service day. It was his opinion that the meeting had gone well. He also noted that when he took a moment to thank Elise Fortman and Michelle Haffer for their work as co-directors over the past year, the entire staff erupted in spontaneous applause.


There was no report from this committee this month. Mr. Furst appointed Mr. Maas to the policy committee.

Old Business

There was no old business to report on.

New Business

Ms. Deleste urged the Board to think about soliciting applications for candidates to replace the two trustees who have resigned. There was discussion of the process, and whether current trustees knew of likely candidates.

Ms. Krueger urged trustees to consider first the sort of professional skills the Board may need in the foreseeable future, such as advertising/public relations, people active in the Chamber of Commerce or in city government.

A few trustees said they knew people to ask.

Closed Session

Pursuant to MO 610.021 (2) the Board of Trustees voted to enter closed session.

The next meeting of the Library’s Board of Trustees will be held on Wednesday, September 21, at the Library House, #5 Mason Avenue.