September 29, 2011
The Gwinnett County Public Library Board of Trustees held a called meeting on September 29, 2011 at the Suwanee Branch. Present were Board members Phillip Saxton-Chair, Betty Atkinson-Vice Chair, Babs Wagoner-Secretary, Suzanne Skeen-Treasurer, and Dick Goodman. Administrative staff members present were Nancy Stanbery-Kellam-Executive Director, Liz Forster-Deputy Director, Barb Spruill-Branch Services Director, Kim Rodriguez-Human Resources Director, Jane Walters-Business Services Director, Deb George-Materials Management Director, Michael Casey-Information Technology Director and Pamela Covington-Administrative Assistant. Other administrative staff was also in attendance. Phillip called the meeting to order at 5:00 PM.
Board of Trustees Meeting Minutes
Motion by Atkinson to approve the September 12, 2011 Meeting Minutes as distributed, seconded by Skeen, unanimous. Motion Adopted.
Policy Revision – Citizens Request to Address the Library Board
The current Citizens Request to Address the Library Board states public session begins 30 minutes before any regularly scheduled Board meeting. If no citizens have signed up to address the Board members, there is a wait time from 6:00 PM until 6:30 PM before the business meeting can start. The policy revision states the public session will be during the regularly scheduled 6:30 PM Business Meeting. Motion by Goodman to revise the Citizens Request to Address the Library Board, seconded by Wagoner, unanimous. Motion Adopted.
Supplemental Revenue – Funding Strategies
Phillip reported administrative staff prepared the document listing six strategies for increasing the library’s supplemental non-tax revenue. The six strategies are advertising, affiliates, donations, endowment, fundraising, and materials sponsorship. The strategies designate what the library already does to increase its supplemental non-tax revenue, as well as provide opportunities for the library to expand its preexisting practices to include larger scale initiatives. Administrative staff and Board members discussed what the library is already doing, where the library can go and the benefits and goals of each strategy. Betty discussed concerns regarding how much more manpower would be required to implement the funding strategies when staffing is already down and service hours are being reduced. Babs discussed liking the idea of fundraising strategies but felt more work was needed on the plan including how to implement, staff responsibility, accountability and reporting results. Babs also shared concerns regarding the amount of work needed from staff to implement the funding strategies. Suzanne discussed the Affiliates, Fundraising and Materials Sponsorships strategies and felt they could be implemented fairly easily. However, she stated the Advertising, Donations and Endowment strategies needed more investigation and a business plan. Dick stated the Supplemental Revenue plan does not address the decline of County funding at $3 million and growing. He stated fundraising programs fund specials programs, activities and endowments, but not library operational costs. Dick felt the Non-Tax Revenue Plan was a distraction from addressing the funding shortfall that the library will be facing over the next three years. Phillip urged Board members to support the library pursing strategies and ideas contained in the Supplemental Revenue Plan. He stated it is important to begin raising revenue. As the ideas are developed and put into place, a report will be given at each Board meeting.
-Motion by Atkinson to support the strategies and ideas contained in the Supplemental Revenue plan as presented by staff. No second. Motion Fails.
-Amended motion by Goodman to include the following: Concurrent with the implementation of the “non-tax revenue plan”, the Board will establish a citizen’s library study panel, which will include a Library Board member, charged to analyze library operations and examine operations of other library systems across the county for the purpose of recommending to the Board any possible changes in library operations that will permit the library to optimize the delivery of services in the face of declining tax revenue funding, seconded by Wagoner. Opposed by Atkinson, Skeen and Saxton. Motion Defeated 3-2.
-Amended motion by Skeen to pursue the 6 pillars of the supplemental revenue strategies and ideas; to continue working on them to see how they can best serve Gwinnett County Public Library, seconded by Atkinson, approved by Wagoner, opposed by Goodman. Motion Adopted 3-1.
New Service Hours
A Buddy Branch service model was presented providing 44 open hours per week. The model provides 7 days of service with weekend hours mirrored across all branches. Staggered early and late hours during the week allow for three early morning days for storytimes and children’s programming with two evenings for homework help for students and commuters. The available open hours allow for reduced staff shifts to accommodate sustainable staffing levels. The branch pairings are based upon proximity, driving time and wherever possible square footage and usage patterns. Since pairing between fifteen branches requires one set to include three branches, the southeast corridor of the county holds a three branch grouping. Pairing are also arranged so that when the perimeter location hours are open later, the more interior buddy branch offers the compliment to these hours. While the model presents a departure from mirrored days and hours of service, it does continue to provide seven days of library operations within a county that has become accustomed to this level of service. Students, children, lifelong learners, and customers in need of quick access to a computer will still find these services available. Administrative staff and Board members discussed staffing, open hours of service and branch traffic patterns. Dick suggested if the library faces additional funding cuts, staff look at different branch models, treating each branch as a unique business with possibly different hours of service to get the most from the limited resources. Babs discussed each branch having different personalities, customers and traffic patterns. She would like citizens to have input on service hours. Liz stated past surveys were taken into consideration for developing the Buddy Branch service model. A survey will be conducted with the development of the FY2013-FY2015 Strategic Plan. Motion by Skeen to approve the “Buddy Branch Model” Service Hours to be implemented Sunday, October 23, 2011, seconded by Atkinson, approved by Wagoner. Goodman abstained. Motion Adopted 3-1.
Phillip reminded Board members of the policy concerning speaking to the public; the Board Chairman is the official spokesperson for comments or questions dedicated to the Library Board as a whole.
Motion by Atkinson to adjourn the Called Business Meeting at 7:00 PM, seconded by Skeen, unanimous. Motion Adopted.
Minutes submitted by Pamela Covington for Babs Wagoner, Board Secretary.