Hennepin County Library

Friends/Foundation Committee Meeting Summary

January 30, 2008


  Committee members:      John Gibbs, Holly Guncheon, David Pratt from Hennepin County Library Board; Glenn Miller and Holly Denis, Friends of Minneapolis Libraries; Pam Gagnon, Library Foundation; Amy Ryan Library Director and Char Sohlberg, staff

                       Public:      Sue Halvorson


Purpose:  provide information to the Library Board to help frame conversations at future Board meetings on the work being done by our highly-valued partners, the Friends of Minneapolis Libraries and Library Foundation.  Inform one another by sharing perspectives from the Library Director and representatives from the two groups.  Update on post-merger activities included work underway to develop a framework for expanded hours with $2 million from ballpark revenue to be shared between city and suburban libraries.


Hennepin County Library -  Resources dynamic (discussion)

·         Overall wide support for mission and vision of all libraries.

·         Collections.  Suburban libraries experience tremendous volume usage, have popular focus; city library collections reflect a more comprehensive, archival focus.

·         Aggressive capital plans.

·         Capital and operating funds go hand in hand


Support and funding  (discussion) 

·         Operating expenditures support rich library "basics."  Some programs and services like Homework Helper and ttyl@HCL would not happen without private support.

·         Special collections are tangible opportunities for private donor support.  Tutors, atlases, encyclopedias for Homework Helper; books on tape, large print additions for 55+ programs.  Great interest from donors to support technological advances, keeping libraries on the "cutting edge."

·         Expanding hours plan.

·         Current support similarities and differences noted:  programs and collections overseen by library staff and some by Friends and Foundation (cultural events/galas, Pen Pals series).  Programs are free and considered true Library programs. Support for both entities: staff salaries, office space, are similar.

·         Acknowledged philosophical differences that include city/suburban issues; tension is there but is manageable. 

·         Does the status quo suggest it is just as well or better to bring the two enterprises together?  If main mission is to support programs and services over and above tax-provided support, is there any reason to have two different groups working simultaneously?  One organization working through the process seems to make sense acknowledging there are some expressed concerns along with support for merging the two groups. Anticipate needs and desires; help define what we must do to find support to meet the needs.  The answers may drive the structure.

·         Importance of communication cannot be overstated:  keep Library Board aware, talking points for donors critical, expanded Library Board with mission/vision as a priority.  Progress with two groups is evident with joint meetings scheduled.


Next steps

·         Accelerate meetings and work of committee to assist Friends/Foundation future discussions.

·         Information on independent Friends groups, look at integration for efficiency.   

·         Develop framework for sharing information at Feb. 27, 2008 Library Board meeting.

·         Next meeting date:  Feb. 8, 2008 from 9-10:30 a.m. Director's Conference Room - Ridgedale Library Admin. Offices.



Char Sohlberg

February 1, 2008