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, September 15, 2004. President Jon Furst presided and Acting Library Co-Director Elise Fortman kept the minutes. Present: Library Board Trustees Debra Fortney, Charles Maas, Tom Reedy, Julie Schaper, Gladys Tolley, and Acting Library Co-Director Michelle Haffer. Absent: Stacy Deleste, June Gill, and Christine Krueger.

Call to Order

Mr. Furst called the meeting to order at 7:20 PM.

Public Agenda

There were no items for the Public Agenda this month.

Minutes of the August Meeting

Mr. Reedy moved that the minutes of the August 18, 2004 meeting be approved as submitted. Ms. Tolley seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.


Mr. Furst reported that he recently received a telephone call complaining about a staff member's "rudeness". He referred the caller to one of the Co-Directors for followup and any necessary action.

President's Report

Mr. Furst informed the Board that there will be a meeting at the Library for new Trustees on Tuesday, September 21st at 7:00 PM for a tour of the Library and a general review of past public discussions and concerns on the topic of the Library's expansion. This meeting should last about an hour, and all interested Board members are welcome.

Mr. Furst reported that he and Debbie Fortney had taken a tour of Webster University's new Emerson Library, and he was most impressed by many of the clever features that were included in the architects' plans. He urged everyone to go and take a look and start gathering ideas that would be important to consider for the Webster Groves Public Library.

Mr. Furst told the Trustees to check their recently installed email accounts on the Board's new website. He has sent messages to all Trustees, but is unsure that the system was working properly. Members are encouraged to make use of the email addresses and the information posted to the site.

Mr. Furst also reported that he would be meeting with attorney Andrew Sandroni who has been handling the Library's lawsuit to recover damages incurred to the building in the automobile accident of May 2002. Mr. Furst will sign papers to withdraw the lawsuit, as the insurance companies involved have reached a settlement.

Mr. Furst reported that he had met with Kirkwood Public Library's Director Wicky Sleight and Board President Jill Raiser to discuss ways for the two libraries to share services, resources and staff in an effort to cut expenses for both communities. Mr. Furst promised to bring these ideas to the Webster Board for discussion, but that there did not seem to be much merit or benefit, particularly to the Webster Library, in most of the suggestions. The vision for the future seemed to be centered on the idea of merging the two districts. Mr. Furst will expand on this vision at a future Planning meeting.

Mr. Furst reminded the Committee Chairs that they need to set up meetings with Ms. Fortman and Ms. Haffer to discuss and prioritize items for action on their respective committees.

Librarian's Report

Ms. Haffer distributed the Children's Department's calendar for October, and reported that Storytimes have resumed for the fall season. There were 15 two year olds in attendance at today's session.

Ms. Haffer reported that the Children's Department will host author Amy Sklansky on October 28th to read from her new book of poetry "Skeleton Bones and Goblin Groans", and all are welcome to come in costume and/or take pictures. The Annual Pumpkin Decorating Contest will also be held during October, and Ms. Haffer encouraged interested Board members to assist in the judging of the pumpkins.

Ms. Haffer reported that the Consortium Systems Administrator, Marlene Johannes, has continued to be very helpful and available to Webster's staff as training on the new Horizon automation system gets underway. She has been especially helpful in guiding our cataloger through the changes to be learned. Webster staff has begun to attend meetings with other Consortium staff members in order to familiarize themselves with the system before formal training begins in November.

Ms. Haffer pointed out the article in the Kirkwood-Webster Journal concerning Webster Groves joining the Consortium, and Mr. Furst said that reporter Robbi Courtaway had interviewed him for this article and had done a good job of publicizing the Library.

Ms. Haffer said that instructions for accessing the Board's website and email have been posted by Tim Nix on the website, and Ms. Haffer distributed copies of these instructions. Trustees may call Michelle or Tim for assistance in setting up passwords or accessing the site.

Ms. Fortman informed the Trustees that the Citywide audit was taking place in the next week and that she was occupied with gathering statistics and making reports for this event. Due to new guidelines and reporting rules effective this year, the workload for both the Library and the audit team has been increased. This results in a higher bill for the audit, which was anticipated and reflected in the current fiscal year's budget.

Ms. Fortman reminded the Board that she would be out of the Library for two weeks in October on the occasion of her daughter's marriage, and thanked them for their patience in this very busy time. Ms. Haffer would be handling the details of the October Board meeting.

Advance Planning

Ms. Fortney reported on the brainstorming sessions she and Mr. Furst have had this month. They discussed ideas for bringing the Webster Groves Library into the 21st century with focus on the Children's facilities and making the physical space bright and airy. Suggestions for types of fund raising opportunities were made: using volunteers, professionals, or committees to establish and head foundations, pledges for endowment funds, community support, etc.

Mr. Furst reiterated his intention to create a foundation, and asked Mr. Maas to look into the necessary process for this step.

Ms. Fortney said that a slogan would need to be created, as well as a building committee to meet with other organizations in the community (the Lions, Chamber of Commerce, school PTO's) to spread the word and gather support.

Board members are strongly encouraged to visit other area libraries which have been recently renovated or built to see what possibilities exist for a future building plan. Ms. Fortney and Mr. Maas described the beautiful and functional Emerson Library at Webster University, and again asked Board members to go and view it soon. The Director, Ellen Eliceiri, is more than happy to arrange tours for staff and Board whenever convenient.


There was no report from this committee this month.

Building and Grounds

Mr. Reedy reported that this committee will be scheduling meetings in the near future. After telephone consultation with Ms. Fortman, it was determined that the fascia areas on the front of the building need to be scraped and painted in the near future. Ms. Fortman will arrange for estimates for this work. Ms. Fortman also reported that she is working with Marge Wilhite and local garden clubs to have volunteers help with maintenance of the Library's grounds. Other projects have been temporarily put on hold due to limited funds available at this time.


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

Human Resources

There was no report from this committee this month.


There was no report from this committee this month.

Old Business

There was no old business before the Board this month.

New Business

There was no new business before the Board this month.

There being no further business, motion was made and seconded to adjourn the meeting. Motion carried unanimously. The meeting was adjourned at 8:30 PM.

The next meeting of the Library's Board of Trustees will be held on Wednesday, October 20, 2004 at the Library House at #5 Mason Avenue at 7:00 PM.