November 2008 Board Agenda and Director's Report

4:30 p.m. Thursday, November 20, 2008
Gegan Room
(If Board Members cannot attend, please notify the Library Office)




1. List of bills for October 2008.

CONSENT BUSINESS (Motion to approve all unless separate consideration requested):

2. Minutes. Minutes of Finance Committee September 15, 2008.
3. Minutes. Minutes of Board meeting October 16, 2008.
4. Minutes. Minutes of Investment Committee October 27, 2008.


5. Statistics.
6. 2009 Budget.
7. Library of the Year.
8. Personnel Policy Changes.
9. Retirements.
10. Walking Quorum.
11. Presentations.
12. Website.


13. Investment Committee.
14. Director's Evaluation.
15. Trustee Essentials #4.



(Including requests for business items for future meetings)
• Library Board Meeting - December 18, 2008 at 4:30 pm.
• Holiday Closings: Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day.

Menasha aldermen may attend meetings of this body. A quorum of the Common Council, Board of Public Works, Administration Committee, or Personnel Committee may attend this meeting. No official action of any of those bodies will be takenELISHA D. SMITH PUBLIC LIBRARY


1. Bills. REQUESTED ACTION: Approval of bills as presented for November 2008.


2. Minutes. Minutes of Finance Committee September 15, 2008. REQUESTED ACTION: Approval.
3. Minutes. Minutes of Board meeting October 16, 2008. REQUESTED ACTION: Approval.
4. Minutes. Minutes of Investment Committee October 17, 2008. REQUESTED ACTION: Approval.


5. Statistics. In October, we once again saw impressive increases to our circulation. Our overall circulation increased by 14.7% with children's books increasing 23% and adult books increasing by over 6%. In both adult and children's, magazines and DVDs increased as well.

6. 2009 Budget. The City Council examined our budget in on November 10th in one of their budget sessions. No reductions were recommended at that meeting. As mentioned before, our request was reduced by $26,000 by the mayor. Once we have the final figure of our budget, I will be meeting with the Finance Committee to form recommendations on how to handle the cut.

7. Library of the Year. It was an honor to be able to attend the WLA Banquet and receive our award. The evening was very special to all of the staff who were able to attend and to me. It is a thrill to be recognized by your peers for such acclaim. Attending meetings at a state level afterwards, everyone was continuing to offer their congratulations.

The Finance Committee requested that I present the costs of the award. Because many of the items are in this month's bills, I will have that report at the meeting. We were able to allow over 20 of our staff to attend the banquet and for several of them to attend the conference as well.

I have heard from a couple of people that it would be great if we could win this award every 3-5 years. While it may have been meant in a facetious way, I do want to say that this award is not handed out like that. We are one of only a few libraries to ever have received the award twice. I also am concerned that it reduces our accomplishment by suggesting that it could be done with any regularity. Let's just enjoy our win.

8. Personnel Policy Changes. It was requested at the last meeting, that I summarize the changes made in 2007/2008 to the personnel policies. Let me do that quickly. The personnel policies have been changed so that new hires will not receive time and a half on summer Saturdays, only existing employees will. We already have new hires that this applies to. Additionally, the personnel policies now stipulate that the three department heads are salaried exempt rather than salaried non-exempt. These changes led to negative feelings among the staff.

9. Retirements. In November, two veteran Reference employees announced their retirement in this coming January. Barb LaFontaine, who heads our Teen Services, will be retiring on January 10th. De Dalum, who is the library's lead cataloger and a reference librarian, will be retiring in late January. Their job titles do little to explain the impact both women have had in their long tenure at the library. Both are skilled at programming, working with diverse patrons, and leading projects. At this time, we will be hiring a new Teen Librarian, but have not yet decided what will serve the library best in cataloging and general reference.

10. Walking Quorum. I want everyone to be aware of the walking quorum piece of the Open Meeting Law in Wisconsin. It says that any series of meetings, telephone conversations, emails or other communication that results in a consensus regarding library business outside of an open meeting can constitute a quorum if enough board members are involved. Though each separate conversation may not involve a quorum, speaking with several board members about an issue will constitute a walking quorum.

I would also like to remind everyone that your emails between one another and with me are a matter of public record. Previously, we have never had conversations occurring outside of meetings that would have been a concern, but I know that some of you are actively using email to discuss issues. While I would ask you to stop that because of walking quorum concerns, you must also be aware that any emails you have sent or are going to send in the future are public record.

My advice, and that of the library system, is that such conversations should take place at the open meeting rather than outside it. Please be aware that any consensus building outside of the actual board or committee meeting is problematic and would best not be done at all.

11. Presentations. I have a December filled with speaking engagements, but all of them are local or online. On Tuesday, December 2nd, I will be doing a webinar for WiLS on the Social Library and Its Tools. On Friday, December 12th, I will be speaking at the Fox Valley Library Council (FVLC) on New Technology in Libraries. Finally, on Friday, December 19th, I will be doing an online presentation for Project Play on Twitter and FriendFeed. It's very interesting to be moving away from Library 2.0 and blogging as the main subjects of my speeches, though I'm sure both will be mentioned at all of these presentations. Should be a fun month!

12. Website. The library's website is getting over 60,000 hits per month, which is astronomical! We are working on redoing the front page of the site to incorporate features of the latest Drupal release. We hope that the new front page will fill a single screen on most computers and eliminate the need for scrolling. The majority of the hits on our website come from my two blogs with the site itself making up 20,000 hits. This speaks to the power of library blogging about books and web sites. The new changes to the front page are in the works and should go live early next year.


13. Investment Committee. The Investment Committee met on October 27th to discuss the Endowment, Community Foundation and other investment options. Possible discussion/motion about changing the library board's role in fund raising for the Endowment and/or how the Endowment is invested.

14. Director's Evaluation. A reminder that the library board will need to evaluation me at the December Board Meeting. There will be a closed portion of the December meeting for discussion of my evaluation and my pay rate. Possible discussion/motion on what format to use for the evaluation.

15. Trustee Essentials #3. Jill Enos has agreed to lead the discussion of Trustee Essential #4. My suggestion is that for the December meeting we skip to Essential #6, which is about evaluating the library director. Perhaps someone on the Personnel Committee would like to lead the December discussion. The skipped Essential #5 is about hiring a library director.