July 11, 2012

Minutes of the regular meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Skokie Public Library held in the Skokie Public Library Board Room, Wednesday, July 11, 2012.

CALL TO ORDER

John Graham, President, called the meeting to order at 7:29 p.m.

Members present: John Graham, President; Diana Hunter, Vice President/President Emerita; Karen Parrilli, Secretary; Richard Basofin; Susan Greer; Mark Prosperi; Zelda Rich; and Carolyn A. Anthony, Director.

APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF JUNE 13, 2012

Mrs. Hunter made a motion, seconded by Mrs. Parrilli to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of June 13, 2012, subject to additions and/or corrections. There being no additions/corrections, the minutes were approved and placed on file.

CONSENT AGENDA (Financial Statements; Circulation Report; Library Use Statistics; Report(s) from Department Head(s); Gift; Personnel)

Mrs. Parrilli made a motion, seconded by Mrs. Hunter:

MOTION:       THAT THE SKOKIE PUBLIC LIBRARY BOARD OF TRUSTEES APPROVE THE FINANCIAL STATEMENTS, SUBJECT TO AUDIT, AND THAT THE FOLLOWING CONSENT AGENDA ITEMS BE PLACED ON FILE:

1.      CIRCULATION REPORT

2.      LIBRARY USE STATISTICS

3.      REPORT(S) FROM DEPARTMENT HEAD(S)

4.      GIFT: FOR SUMMER READING CLUB 2012: $500. FROM SKOKIE DUXLER INC.

5.      PERSONNEL: TERMINATIONS: CARY ANASTASIADIS, PART-TIME CIRCULATION CLERK, CIRCULATION DEPARTMENT, EFFECTIVE JULY 7, 2012; RUTH SINKER, FULL-TIME TECHNOLOGY COORDINATOR, YOUTH SERVICES DEPARTMENT, EFFECTIVE JULY 20, 2012; POSITION CHANGE: DANNY VAN DUSEN, FROM FULL-TIME CIRCULATION CLERK, TO FULL-TIME LIBRARY ASSISTANT, TECHNICAL SERVICES DEPARTMENT, EFFECTIVE JULY 16, 2012.

The motion passed unanimously.

BILLS

A motion was made by Mrs. Rich, seconded by Mrs. Parrilli:

MOTION:       THAT THE SKOKIE PUBLIC LIBRARY BOARD OF TRUSTEES APPROVE THE BILLS, SUBJECT TO AUDIT.

The roll call vote for approval was unanimous.

DIRECTOR’S REPORT

USAGE----Circulation in June was down nearly 8% led by a decline in the borrowing of Adult books. It is interesting that most categories of material circulation are down although the gate count is up by 6% and there is a gain in the use of eBooks. Also, Youth book circulation is down although the Summer Reading Club has a record rate of participation. The biggest factor is the limitation on reciprocal borrowing for which the rate of use has dropped below 5%. Circulation of materials on the Bookmobile is up for Youth and Adults. There was a jump of nearly 27% in revenues from the book sale. Use of self-check is slowly, but steadily increasing.

There was brief discussion on the circulation of Kindles.

FURNITURE FROM DEERFIELD----The Library purchased four marble tables and ten Brno chairs from the Deerfield Public Library on the GovDeals.com website. The Deerfield Public Library is in a temporary location while the Library undergoes an expansion and renovation. They no longer wanted the Knoll furniture. The website is run as an auction and the Library ended up paying $5,418 for all the furniture, inclusive of a sales fee to the auction house. The marble tables have light stone tops and a Saarinen base, different but compatible with our other furniture. Each will be put in one of the new study rooms being installed on the second floor. Eight of the Brno chairs are black with a slight thread of brown and look good as is out on the floor. Six have been placed on the first floor where they will be welcomed by patrons who have asked for firmer and higher chairs. Paul Steinbrecher helped site two of the chairs in the business alcove on the second floor. Two chairs were light in color and will be recovered before being placed in the new Business and Career Center.

LIMRiCC NEWS----Scott Remmenga has resigned as Director of LIMRiCC, the cooperative that handles the Library’s health and unemployment insurance coverage. April Krzeczkowski, the current Assistant will serve in an interim capacity until a new Director is selected.

NILES TOWNSHIP PROPERTY TAX APPEALS COOPERATIVE----Mrs. Anthony attended the annual meeting of the Niles Township Property Tax Appeals Cooperative June 20. About 12% of requested refunds have been granted. It was estimated that without the Library’s intervention, the State’s Attorney would have granted as high as 50% of appeals. There were between 7,000-7,500 Tax Objection Complaints filed in 2012. Westfield filed in PTAB and agreed to dismiss their claim in return for a slightly reduced assessment level for the remaining two years of the triennial period. The 2011 multiplier was 2.9706, down for the second straight year. Total expense for the Cooperative for legal fees and appraisals was less than $100,000. this past year. Expense for the Skokie Public Library was $2,367.47.

CIRCULATION OF KINDLES----The Library began circulation of six Kindles loaded with a selection of current titles. Patrons borrowing the Kindles may also request a title to be added. The Kindles will circulate for three weeks. All were checked out immediately. Staff intend to add more, but it takes a while to get them set up.

ALA ANAHEIM----Mrs. Anthony had a good conference at ALA in Anaheim although attendance was lower than in the previous two years. A highlight was the first presentation of the Carnegie Medals for the best books of fiction and nonfiction. Three titles in each category had been selected by a committee that was only appointed in March and had 40 nominated books to read. Two authors spoke at the session and a couple others appeared on video. The announced winners were Catherine the Great by Robert Massie and The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright. Attendees particularly applauded the naming of a fiction title since the Pulitzer declared none worthy this year. Another interesting evening was an invitational eBook reception to which publishing representatives and some library leaders were invited. It was a good opportunity to mingle and talk informally about each other’s needs and concerns. The author Sherman Alexie spoke at the PLA President’s Program. Our PLA Leadership Task Force sponsored an excellent program with presentations by two California municipal officials who talked about effective approaches by libraries to thinking large. Rick Kohl, the former mayor of Pasadena and present City Manager of Ventura, CA challenged librarians to re-define libraries as the epicenter of learning for the community. He observed that public libraries are “not keepers of the flickering flame of a dying age of libraries, but holders of the torch of a new era.” Of course, Mrs. Anthony attended meetings of the PLA Board, PLA Conference Planning for 2014 and the PLA Budget and Finance Committee. While Mrs. Anthony did not have a lot of time in the exhibits, she did have some helpful interaction with selected vendors.

EDGE INITIATIVE----Mrs. Anthony is on the Director’s Advisory Committee for the Edge Initiative, a multi-agency sponsored project to identify benchmarks for technology training for library staff. The Urban Libraries Council, PLA, IMLS and Gates are some of the sponsors. The draft benchmarks will be tested in several libraries this fall. This will be a useful document for directing and assessing staff technology competencies.

DOMINICAN UNIVERSITY JOINT MLS/MSW DEGREE----Dominican University has fully approved the establishment of a joint degree between the Departments of Library Science and Social Work. Susan Carlton, and Mrs. Anthony met with the two Deans and the Fieldwork Placement Coordinator about the possible placement of a candidate in an internship at the Skokie Public Library. They are interested in our work with immigrant integration and literacy projects. Susan Carlton, Assistant Department Head in Youth Services, has an MSW and twenty years of clinical work so would be an ideal supervisor of such a project. We had one prior social work intern here a couple years ago, but at that time the joint program was still in the proposal stage.

TAX LEVY COLLECTIONS TAX YEAR 2006-2010

In advance of consideration of the levy request next month, President John Graham asked for a report on the status of recent levy collections through the 2010 levy. Irene Tam has prepared two reports, one showing the collections by levy year and the other showing the levies as collected over the Library’s Fiscal Years.

The larger collections of Prior Year Taxes beginning with FY 2009 are probably due to foreclosures and other circumstances brought on by the economic crises in recent years. Mrs. Anthony assumes that the Library will collect some additional revenues from the 2010 levy in the current FY 2013. There was a larger collection of prior year taxes in FY 2011 and a correspondingly lower under-collection. Let’s hope that trend continues when the books are closed on collection of the 2010 levy.

We will need to see the impact of the timely issuance of tax bills July 1 for the balance of the 2011 levy.

Brief discussion ensued regarding the increase in the 2012 levy.

REVIEW OF SUPPLEMENTAL TAXES

The State Library has asked that public library trustees review options for supplemental taxes as part of the requirements for filing for a Per Capita Grant in 2013. Mrs. Anthony distributed a chart of the expense categories for which supplemental levies may be requested.

It has been the practice of the Skokie Public Library Board to consolidate all levies into a single levy request that is placed through the Village. Because the Village of Skokie has home rule and the Library’s levy is under their authorization, the Library has not been subject to property tax caps.

There was brief discussion about the Library’s levy practice.

APPROVAL OF CLOSING FOR STAFF DAY

Mrs. Anthony is asking the Board to once again approve closing the Library for the day Friday, December 14, for Staff Day. This has proven to be a beneficial opportunity for staff training and fellowship. Given the number of part-time staff and staggered schedules over seven days, some staff rarely see each other and Staff Day gives everyone the opportunity to become better acquainted. We also hold the holiday lunch that day and award longevity recognition. Board members are welcome to attend.

A motion was made by Mrs. Hunter, seconded by Mrs. Parrilli:

MOTION:       THAT THE SKOKIE PUBLIC LIBRARY BOARD OF TRUSTEES APPROVE CLOSING THE LIBRARY ON DECEMBER 14, 2012 FOR STAFF DAY.

The roll call vote for approval was unanimous.

APPROVAL OF THE USE OF SKOKIE PUBLIC LIBRARY’S MEETING ROOMS AND BUSINESS CENTER

Mrs. Anthony distributed a proposed policy for use of the Business and Career Center. It has been appended to the Meeting Room Policy so that the distinctions in the use of the different spaces are clear.

As the Policy outlines, the Library still retains the right of first booking privilege for the larger meeting room. Local business persons who have signed up for a Library business card will be able to use software to directly book time in either of the smaller conference rooms.

Staff propose that the larger meeting room may be used by local business persons for a variety of professional education, training and networking events. Sometimes these businesses charge a fee for such a program. Staff are suggesting that as long as the session is for other members and not open to the general public, we will leave that up to the sponsoring agency. That agency would also handle the booking and any collection of fees. We are suggesting that any local 501(c)(6) be allowed to book such events on behalf of the businesses. The only two local business organizations that would qualify are the Skokie Chamber of Commerce and the North Shore Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Establishing such a practice with a limited number of organizations acting as intermediaries will not only save staff time, but spare Library staff the individual consideration of whether a $30. fee for a program is acceptable. It will serve to distance the Library from programs that are by and for members of local business associations. If a program offered by business is to be open to the public, it would need to be co-sponsored by the Library and meet Library guidelines for open access and no fees.

Mrs. Anthony requested Board approval of this policy. Discussion followed. The Board asked for a report in six months regarding use of the larger meeting room in the Business and Career Center and also specifically mentioning how many people are using the Center and which organizations they are from. This will be placed on the February or March 2013 agenda.

A motion was made by Mrs. Parrilli, seconded by Mrs. Rich:

MOTION:       THAT THE SKOKIE PUBLIC LIBRARY BOARD OF TRUSTEES ADOPT THE POLICY FOR USE OF THE BUSINESS AND CAREER CENTER AS PRESENTED.

The motion passed unanimously.

REACHING ACROSS ILLINOIS LIBRARY SYSTEM (RAILS)

Mrs. Parrilli reported on the RAILS Board of Directors Meeting held June 19, 2012 at the Burr Ridge Headquarters.

From the video recording and agenda of the June Board of Directors meeting, only two items were on the agenda – Report on Monthly Financials (as of May 31, expenditures of $352,941.80 with a cash and cash equivalent fund balance of $10,042,000) and Approval of the Prevailing Wage Ordinance. There was no report from Interim Executive Director Michael Piper, as his last day in this position was June 29 (see below). President Al Davidson began the meeting by announcing that the Illinois State Library has initiated a Request for Proposal to contract (outsource) delivery services within the state. According to Anne Craig, the State Library wants to determine costs of delivery services in the entire state, and with a RFP the state library will be prepared to make necessary decisions because of the probable cuts in future funding.

President Davidson also announced the resignation of two Board members from RAILS. Five newly-elected members will be added to the Board as of July 1, 2012, two of whom are from our area--William N. Coffee, LaGrange Public Library and Benjamin Schapiro, Evanston Public Library.

The Board went into executive session for the purpose of discussing the appointment, employment, and salaries of staff.

As stated in the RAILS website as of July 2, 2012:

Have a Comment to Share on Resource Sharing Policy Draft?

The RAILS Member Advisory Group (MAG) has been working on a revision to the RAILS Resource Sharing Policy. The draft revision of the RAILS Resource Sharing Policy is available for review and comment by RAILS members. The deadline for member comment is Thursday, July 12, 2012. All comments will be shared with the Member Advisory Group. You may post or view comments on the policy via the RAILS website.

Some of the 21 comments listed expressed confusion as to wording and definitions, such as “registered users”; “limit of three items per reciprocal borrower’s account per visit”; “significant imbalance.” Most comments that Mrs. Parrilli read had more concerns and questions than agreement with the policy. One comment coincided with Skokie Public Library Board’s concerns about the reciprocal borrowing program and an individual library’s responsibility to its taxpayers.

From the June 27 email from Renee Anderson:

RAILS Executive Director Information

Interim Executive Director Michael Piper’s last day at RAILS will be Friday, June 29. Jane Plass (currently Associate Executive Director of RAILS), will serve as Interim Executive Director until a new Executive Director is hired by the board and begins work. RAILS will keep members informed about new developments regarding the RAILS Executive Director position.

Next meeting: July 27, 2012, Burr Ridge Headquarters.

UPDATE, as of July 5, 2012, from an email from Renee Anderson:

The Executive Director’s Search Committee conducted in-person interviews of the candidates following the June 19, 2012, Board of Directors meeting. The position was offered to two of the candidates, both of whom declined the position. The RAILS Board will discuss future plans on the job search at the next Board meeting on July 27. The Interim Executive Director, Jane Plass, will continue in this position.

The Board commended Mrs. Parrilli for her report.

COMMENTS FROM TRUSTEES

Mr. Prosperi questioned the letter each Board member received from the auditors regarding fraud. He would like to know what the Library is doing to prevent fraud and would like Mrs. Anthony to prepare a short review of checks and balances that are currently in place before money is spent.

There was discussion of the Director’s Authorization Limit of $10,000. Some members felt it was a State law and the amount could not be increased; others felt it could be increased if two people approved the amount to be spent over $10,000. Mrs. Anthony will check on the State law and this item will be put on the August agenda.

ADJOURNMENT

At 8:25 p.m. a motion was made by Mrs. Rich, seconded by Mrs. Hunter to adjourn the regular meeting. The motion passed unanimously.

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            Karen Parrilli, Secretary