September 22, 2010

The Hennepin County Library Board met Wed., Sept. 22, 2010 at Brookdale Library.
Present: Brandi Brown, Caitlin Cahill, John Gibbs, Sandy Johnson, Jill Joseph, Kathleen Lamb, Gary Thaden and Therese VanBlarcom
Hennepin County Staff: Bill Berg, Sharon Charles, Judith Friedrich, Lois Lenroot-Ernt, Michele McGraw, Commissioner Mike Opat, Gail Mueller Schultz, Nancy Palmer, Bill Rodgers, Sarah Rosenblum, Char Sohlberg, Andrea Stelljes, Lois Langer Thompson and Ali Turner
Public: Kathy Graves, Sam Graves and Stu Wilson

President Therese VanBlarcom called the Hennepin County Library Board meeting of September 22, 2010 to order at 5:08 p.m. and welcomed attendees.

Kathleen Lamb made a motion to approve the agenda which was seconded by Sandy Johnson. Motion passed.

Ms. Lamb made a motion to approve meeting minutes of August 25, 2010 which was seconded by Brandi Brown. Motion passed.

PUBLIC COMMENT No public comment.

PROGRAM REPORTS - Presentation to Hennepin County Library
  • President VanBlarcom welcomed Hennepin County Board Chair Commissioner Mike Opat to the meeting. Commissioner Opat welcomed the Library Board to Brookdale Library and expressed appreciation for their service. He presented a copy of, Target Field: the Story Behind the Minnesota Twins' New Home by Steve Berg to the Library Board on behalf of the Minnesota Twins and noted every library would receive a copy. President VanBlarcom expressed appreciation on behalf of HCL and asked Commissioner Opat to update the Board on County Board issues that may impact Library service. He summarized recent budget-related activity that included approval of a zero percent levy increase and acknowledged zero may still mean an increase in property taxes due to commercial and residential property value fluctuation. At this time, he does not anticipate a reduction in library open hours. The Library Director and staff will continue to explore efficiencies and cost saving measures in operating libraries and the capital plan will continue for libraries that have been in the works. He did however, acknowledge building project schedules may be adjusted.
  • Ms. Lamb informed Commissioner Opat of the Library Board's work on a recommendation to the County Board with respect to changing how Legacy funds are spent. She provided background on the spending cap of 10% for the collection which the Library Board hopes to have lifted so the library and county boards may decide how to spend the money rather than having that set by others. Commissioner Opat appreciated the heads-up and discussion followed on Legacy funding and its path through MELSA to HCL along with other Legacy funding uses that are county-related. Discussion continued on capital projects, acknowledging that adjusting schedules does not mean a project is eliminated, only delayed. In closing, President VanBlarcom invited Commissioner Opat to let her know if there is anything needed from the Library Board and she thanked him for attending.
The Library Foundation of Hennepin County Mission and Strategic Plan
  • Foundation Board member Kathy Graves explained the mission and strategic planning process used by the Foundation. She described the initial structure of the Foundation and Friends as "glued together" because the work was done so quickly. The more formal, six-month strategic planning process that followed, allowed the two groups to merge themselves into one organization. The process began with a stakeholders' survey which was followed by a retreat where many strong, collaborative ideas were shared. Several follow-up meetings and discussions were held that lead to the creation of their strategic plan that defined their mission, vision and values. They also identified how they wanted to operate, outlined four major goals and developed a strong monitoring system to ensure they actually carry out the plan.
  • Ms. Lamb acknowledged the tremendous job the Foundation does to raise the level of awareness and funds for Hennepin County Library. She also asked Ms. Graves to provide information about what other library foundations are doing. Foundation Executive Director Stu Wilson indicated he would provide the information to Library Director Lois Thompson for distribution to the Library Board.
Office of Legislative Auditor (OLA) Evaluation Report Public Libraries
  • In response to a request for feedback on the report from the House Finance Committee, a Board discussion was facilitated by HCL Programming Manager Michele McGraw with assistance from Capital Projects staff Lois Lenroot-Ernt. Questions were asked about key points of the report-what caught the Board's attention; what items were positive, intriguing or exciting in the report? Board members were also asked about items in the report that concerned them or if there were questions raised by the report or about any of the report recommendations; and what does the report mean for HCL? Board discussion included board members' concern about the structure of the report which was difficult to read, track and understand. Observations were made about the complex, cumbersome structure of libraries in the state. Members wondered if there are any benefits to the current regional structure and if not Ms. Lamb felt HCL should lead the effort for change. Discussion also included a request for a timeline related to submitting recommendations and background on any agreements with MELSA. Is it possible the Library Board and/or Hennepin County could take this opportunity to provide observations beyond just providing feedback on this report which may include MELSA? Mr. Thaden acknowledged there may not be enough legislators interested in changing the current system; noting non-public libraries benefit from having at least a distribution system in place. Discussion outcomes:
    1. Ms. VanBlarcom will share information from discussion with County Board Chair Commissioner Opat
    2. Ms. Thompson and Ms. VanBlarcom will schedule a full board discussion on MELSA within the larger context of this discussion and any impending deadlines.
President VanBlarcom noted there are seven newly formed and active Friends of the Library groups with eight more forming for libraries located in Minneapolis. She attended the 30th Anniversary of the Rogers Library with Commissioner Jeff Johnson and Lois Thompson, Saturday, Sept. 11. The meeting with representatives of the Library Foundation, Library Board, County Board and County Administrator Richard Johnson is scheduled Thursday, Sept. 23. Ms. VanBlarcom also reminded Board members of the Strategic Planning Retreat on Saturday, Oct. 30 from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at Edina Library.

  • Ms. Thompson provided the following updates: the County Board recently approved, 1) a grant from the Dept. of Education for arts services for Plymouth Library passed with one dissenting vote from Commissioner Jeff Johnson; and 2) the Designer Selection Committee for a new Walker Library was approved. Discussion followed on County Board mandated 1% for public art in new buildings which may result in a Board Action Request from Commissioner Jeff Johnson to either temporarily or permanently eliminate the 1% for art on library construction projects.
  • County Administrator Richard Johnson will present the full 2011 County Budget request to the County Board the week of Sept. 27.
  • Department 2011 Operating Budget presentations to the County Board begin Oct. 6 at 1 p.m. with the Library scheduled first; Ms. Thompson summarized her presentation and no follow-up questions were asked by the Library Board.
  • Ms. Thompson attended a reception/presentation with Ned Kahn who developed the wave wall in the Twins Ballpark
  • Approximately 120 Friends members from over 20 groups attended the Friends Recognition event organized by the Foundation
  • A revised events calendar will be sent to Board members that will include the Program/Policy Committee collection tour at 3:30 p.m. before the regularly scheduled Library Board meeting at Central Library on Wednesday, Oct. 27 - all Board members are invited to attend as it will help set up the discussion at 5 p.m.
  • The MN Libraries Futures Initiative targets library staff born between 1975-1985; a kick-off event is scheduled Oct. 18; additional information will be sent to Board members who may be interested in attending.
  • Please review your copy of My Life Isn't Easy made possible by student authors from Stadium View school; with support from the staff from the Juvenile Detention Center and HCL's Outreach section; and through funding from the Library Foundation. This collaborative effort continues to inspire all of us.
  • Reminder to watch for information packet to be read prior to the Oct. 30 Strategic Planning Retreat.
  • Ms. Thompson introduced two recently hired Division Managers, Sarah Rosenblum Library Strategies and Bill Rodgers Library Resources. Ms. Rosenblum and Mr. Rodgers provided background information and were welcomed by Board members.
COMMITTEE REPORTS - Program/Policy Committee member Caitlin Cahill
  • Ms. Cahill outlined four recently reviewed and revised Library Board Policies as a first-read for the full Library Board: LB 6 Freedom to Read, LB 7 Freedom to View, LB 10 Commissioned Public Art and LB 13 Library Bill of Rights. Following discussion that included an explanation of the process used by committee members that included Principal Librarian Judith Friedrich, President VanBlarcom informed members the policies would appear on the consent agenda at the Oct. 27 Library Board meeting. She directed members to contact Chair Claudia Kelly or any member of the committee if they have any suggestions prior to the next Board meeting.
  • President VanBlarcom also reported on a meeting with Chair Kelly, Ms. Friedrich and Ms. Thompson which was held to address the policy process in place and frame the full board discussion on the collection at the Oct. 27 Library Board meeting. They identified the need to define terms such as "popular collection", "archival collection", etc. Ms. Friedrich will provide definitions and begin to articulate the values that the Board and the communities they represent have in terms of access to resources or repositories of the records of knowledge as the Board begins to craft a collection policy. Rather than subject-based elements, consideration should be given to how a collection is used, preserved, maintained, etc. Discussion followed on the importance to be both a popular and archival library system rather than choosing between one or the other which was acknowledged as our goal along with the possibility of identifying other major collection goals.
  • Ms. VanBlarcom noted Board members will have a great deal of reading material for both the October 27 and October 30 meetings.
Legacy Committee - Chair Gary Thaden
Mr. Thaden reported on the Committee's first meeting held Sept. 17. The group began discussing the Legislative Auditor's Report and areas of interest related to Legacy funding, including the allocation through the regional library system structure and the guidelines for use of funding provided by the State Library Office and their impact on how the funding was used by HCL. The Committee discussed possible areas where a suggestion for platform language would be appropriate, primarily in these areas:
  • Ask the County Board to support an increased allocation of funding for libraries from the appropriation of the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund by the Legislature to provide educational opportunities in the arts, history, literary arts and cultural heritage of Minnesota, including an increase of funding to local libraries such as Hennepin County Library
  • Eliminate any designated percentage of the allocation for collection and other support from the guidelines from the State Library Office, allowing regional library systems and local libraries to allocate funds as needed within the language of the existing legislation
  • Revise the definition of 'supplant' in this legislation from MN 2009 Session Laws, Chapter 127, " . . . funds are used to supplement and not substitute for traditional sources of funding" to "funds are used to supplement and not substitute for traditional sources of funding, and can be used when past funding sources have been eliminated for at least 12 months"
  • Change the existing legislation to allow allocated funds to be spent on administration by local libraries
Mr. Thaden noted the committee urges the full board to support the four recommendations. Discussion followed and Ms. Thompson clarified the established process and communication path for the recommendations which go to Hennepin County staff who work on the legislative platform and to County Administrator Richard Johnson to recommend to the County Board. President VanBlarcom asked for a motion from the full Library Board to move the committee recommendations forward following the established protocol. Motion was made by Jill Joseph, seconded by Sandy Johnson. Motion passed unanimously (8 aye; 0 nay; 3 absent: Guncheon, Kelly, Pacheco).

UNFINISHED BUSINESS No unfinished business.

  • Ms. Lamb inquired about the status of Athenaeum discussions. Ms. Thompson indicated the relationship is working well, there are no issues between the two entities and this is scheduled as a 2011 agenda topic. Library Services Division Manager Sharon Charles noted a document that described the relationship was drafted for approval but was not returned by the Athenaeum. Numerous attempts to contact the Athenaeum have been unanswered. Ms. Lamb asked if we are currently operating with an agreement or just by custom; Ms. Charles noted, it is by custom but the two entities did come to an agreement and the Library will continue to try to contact them.
  • Jill Joseph summarized the final meeting of the Maple Grove Library art selection committee held Sept. 1 where a final artist selection was made for the exterior sculpture and interior hanging piece over the children's area.
  • John Gibbs asked if the Commissioner who represents the library site is briefed on the art process. Ms. Joseph affirmed that a representative from the Commissioner's office served on the committee. Mr. Gibbs was puzzled by the "golden fire hydrant" award from Commissioner Jeff Johnson. Ms. Thompson indicated Commissioner Johnson's concern is not with the process, but about spending tax dollars on art (as mandated by the County Board in 2001) given the current economic situation.
NEW BUSINESS No new business.

There being no further business, Caitlin Cahill made a motion to adjourn the Library Board meeting at 6:34 p.m. which was seconded by Sandy Johnson. The motion passed. The next Library Board meeting is October 27, 2010, Central Library, Doty Board Room, 300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, 55401 at 5 p.m.


                               John Pacheco, Secretary