October 18, 2006

The regular meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Webster Groves Public Library was held at 7 pm on October 18 at Luhr Library on the Eden Seminary Campus. President Jon Furst presided, and Library Director Tom Cooper kept the minutes. Present: Library Board Trustees Tom Reedy, Gladys Tolley, Peter Ruger, Celia Bouchard, Stacy Deleste, Christine Krueger, Eden Seminary President David Greenhaw and City Council Liaison Jeanne Kirkton. Absent: Angela Birke, Bob Herdler

Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 7:10

Public Agenda

There was no public agenda, though Mr. Cooper talked about recent discussions he has had with John Metzenthin, a Webster Groves resident and regular library patron who takes exception to the fact that the library is a distribution point for The Riverfront Times. Mr. Metzenthin dislikes the sexually graphic Savage Love column carried in the paper, and its profusion of advertisements for sexually oriented businesses. He fears that the paper, being available for free to anyone who wants it, can easily get into the hands of children, and feels further that since it is available at the library, it is tantamount to his own tax dollars subsidizing its distribution. Mr. Metzenthin has expressed interest in addressing the Board at some point, and may do so in a future meeting.

Minutes of the September 21, 2006 Meeting

The minutes as presented mistakenly listed City Council Jeanne Kirkton among absent trustees. They should have noted her in attendance.

Mr. Reedy moved that the minutes be approved as amended, Ms. Bouchard seconded, and the minutes were approved.


Mr. Cooper showed the Board a note from patron Margaret Finan, who was very complimentary about the work reference librarian Chirstopher Johnson did for her one night.

President’s Report

Mr. Furst introduced David Greenhaw, president of Eden Seminary. Mr. Greenhaw gave a capsule history of the Luhr Library and its relationship with Webster University, and how it has come about that the building currently housing Luhr Library is a ‘vastly underutilized’ resource on his campus. He made several suggestions for cooperative arrangements with Webster Groves Public Library that he hoped would be beneficial to both institutions and the Webster Groves community.

Mr. Greenhaw then conducted a tour of the library. He emphasized its excellent internet connections (2 T1 lines and Wi-Fi connection), well-equipped multi-purpose rooms, and 36,000 square feet of space – most of which is not used by Eden. He called the building sound in most physical aspects. Although it is currently very energy-inefficient, there are plans to deal with that.

Eden Seminary is in the middle of strategic planning, and Mr. Greenhaw estimates that there is a year to a year-and-a-half window of opportunity in which the two libraries might consider possible collaborations.

Librarian’s Report

Mr. Cooper said the Library’s participation in the Old Webster Jazz Festival was fun and that the library had hundreds of takers for its free craft. In future years, it should be planned to stay an hour later to catch more of the last rush of attendees.

The Library’s book discussion group has met twice, and each time attracted two participants. They will keep meeting and working to attract a good-sized group.

While the community survey was being conducted, there was one patron who both called and came in to voice her dislike of the way the survey was done; though even she, in the end, voiced support for the library as a good community service.

Advance Planning

Board trustees were presented with a list of Library Service Responses, broad categories of services that a public library may emphasize, and asked to think about them and rank them according to which they think are most important. This is an exercise that will become part of the strategic planning process.

Trustees were also asked to read through and start thinking about a list of Core Values, which help to clarify a public library vision statement. In a future meeting there will be discussion and refinement of these values, before a vote on a final document.

Ms. Krueger reported on the work of the Strategic Planning Committee. Currently small groups from the committee are visiting various libraries around town to see what is being built in newer libraries and to get ideas about improvements to our building and services.

She also noted that the Friends of the Library are planning activities for the upcoming Friends of Libraries week, an observance initiated by FOLUSA, or Friends of Libraries USA. There will be displays in the library about the work of the Friends, and a membership mailing to library cardholders in Webster Groves. She solicited ideas for ways the Board or staff of the library might publicly thank the Friends. It was also suggested that the Mayor be asked to issue a proclamation thanking the Friends. Ms. Kirkton will talk to her about that, and about whether a similar message could be carried on the marquis in front of City Hall that week.


Mr. Cooper told about a demonstration of the new version of the library’s automation system, which will probably be ordered late next spring. It offers interesting new features, such as the ability to attach photographs of patrons to their record, and the ability to link patrons to each other – such as parents to children, or spouses to each other, to facilitate service to families.

Building and Grounds

Volunteers from Webster University visited the library on October 4th to plant new trees and shrubs and shrubs and do other general landscaping jobs. All of the new plants had been purchased by the Friends of Webster Groves Public Library from Rolling Ridge Nursery, who extended a healthy 20% discount to them.


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

Mr. Cooper noted that he would be meeting with Assistant City Manager Janet Watson and the city’s auditor’s on October 19th, and would soon know when the audit report would be available.

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, Mr. Ruger seconded, and the meeting adjourned at 8:35.

The next meeting of the Library’s Board of Trustees will be held on Wednesday, November 15th at 7 p.m.