November 15, 2006

The regular meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Webster Groves Public Library was held at 7 p.m. on November 15th . President Jon Furst presided, and Library Director Tom Cooper kept the minutes. Present: Library Board Trustees Gladys Tolley, Christine Krueger, Bob Herdler, Stacy Deleste, Tom Reedy, and City Council Liaison Jeanne Kirkton. Absent: Trustees Peter Ruger, Celia Bouchard, Angela Birke.

Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 7:07 p.m.

Public Agenda

Mr. John Metzenthin, a Webster Groves resident and patron, addressed the board about his concern that the library is a distribution point for the Riverfront Times. He finds the advertisements for sexually oriented businesses in the paper to be inappropriate, and the Savage Love column especially graphic and unacceptable. He presented an example of the Savage Love column for trustees to read, though most trustees, being familiar with the content, declined.

Trustees were fairly uniform in expressing understanding for his dislike of these aspects of the paper; however, they also noted that it is a well-known source of information and reviews in the arts, movies, shows and restaurants in the area. It is an item in considerable demand at the library.

Trustees asked Mr. Metzenthin what sort of solution would make him happy. He noted that his bank, where he had also expressed his dislike for the paper, had discontinued carrying it.

Mr. Cooper noted that the business of a bank is banking, so discontinuing the distribution of a newspaper is not central to what they do. The business of a library is making information available, and thus discontinuing distribution of a popular newspaper because someone asks them to is very central to its mission. He proposed the compromise solution that the newspaper be distributed in the adult reference room, as opposed to the rear entrance foyer, where children would be much less likely to pick it up.

Trustees asked Mr. Metzenthin if this solution would make him happy. He thanked them for their time and excused himself.

Minutes of the October 18, 2006 Meeting

Ms. Krueger moved to accept the minutes as written, Ms. Deleste seconded, and the minutes were approved.


Mr. Cooper showed the trustees a letter form Maggie Sowash, President of the Webster Park Association, urging the library to pay dues to the association. He also read a copy of an e-mail he had gotten from Lisa Liss, a parent who had brought her child to the first of the library story hours for special needs children, praising the program and how well it was done. It pretty much represented the tenor of response to the program so far.

President’s Report

There was no report from the president.

Librarian’s Report

Mr. Cooper noted that copies of the library’s 2005-2006 Annual Report had been included with board packets, and asked if there were any questions.

He presented a summary of the results of the community survey recently completed by Terry Jones. He also mentioned that he would be attending the City Council work session on December 5th to present the findings, and invited trustees to come along. Several said they may attend.

He told trustees that since the last board meeting, the library had been wired for wireless Internet access, and that people had begun to use it. The wireless Internet access had been funded by the Friends of the Library, and both the Kirkwood-Webster Journal and the Webster-Kirkwood Times had carried short articles about it.

Assistant City Manager Janet Watson has contacted the library regarding whether any money could be saved by the library making arrangements for insurance through SLAIT, along with the city. The library has submitted a summary of coverage so she can begin looking into it.

Advance Planning

Mr. Cooper mentioned that the Strategic Planning Committee was continuing to meet.


There was no report from this committee.

Building and Grounds

An American Elm tree of the Valley Forge variety has been planted in the west parking lot, in the place formerly occupied by the late, much lamented red oak that died when the parking lot was being completed.


Ms. Tolley reviewed the financial report and disbursements for October, 2006. Mr. Reedy made a motion that the financial report be approved as presented. Ms. Tolley seconded, and the report was approved.

Mr. Cooper handed out draft copies of the FY 2005 Audit Report, which is very late in coming, to the members of the finance committee, and asked that they quickly review it and let him know if there are any questions. It needs to be approved so the auditors can issue the final report by next week.

Human Resource

There was no report from this committee.


There was no report from this committee.

Old Business

Mr. Cooper collected trustees’ Service Response exercise forms.

There was a discussion of the tour of Luhr Library during the last board meeting, and of Dr. Greenhaw’s suggestions for cooperation between the two libraries. To sum up the discussion: there is interest in the possibilities it represents, but a concern that the residents of Webster Groves are fond of their library being where it is. There is the concern that at any rate, the library cannot really afford a move at this time to a larger facility. Finally, Dr. Greenhaw speaks of a 1 to 1 ½ year time frame in which to plan what may happen, and that is too soon for the library, which is in the midst of its own strategic planning process, to make a plan of that magnitude.

New Business

There was no new business.


Ms. Tolley moved to adjourn, Mr. Herdler seconded, and the meeting was adjourned at 8:25 p.m.

The next meeting of the Library’s Board of Trustees will be held on Wednesday, December 20th at 7 p.m.