Library Board meeting minutes - January 22, 2020

The public is welcome at all library board meetings

The Hennepin County Library Board met on, January 22, 2020 at the Rockford Road Library.


Present: Katherine Blauvelt, Chris Damsgard, Tim Dolan, Jonathan Gaw, Rahfat Hussain, LaBelle Nambangi, and Erin Vrieze Daniels

Hennepin County Staff: Hennepin County Staff and Elected Officials

Public: Gordy Aune, Jackie Wells, Sue Dosal, Anne Taylor, Kathryn Smrekar

Call to Order

President Katherine Blauvelt called the Hennepin County Library Board meeting of January 22, 2020, to order at 5:31 p.m., and welcomed all in attendance.

Approval of Agenda

Chair Katherine Blauvelt made a motion to approve the agenda. Seconded by Tim Dolan. Motion passed.

Consent Items

Chair Katherine Blauvelt made a motion to approve the November 20, 2019 meeting minutes. Seconded by Chris Damsgard. Motion passed.

Chair Katherine Blauvelt made a motion to approve acceptance of donations from Friends of Hennepin County Library. Seconded by Chris Damsgard. Motion passed.

Public Comment

Gordy Aune Jr of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota attended to observe a Library Board meeting. Anne Taylor of Golden Valley, Minnesota spoke on the Stories Together with Drag Performers program and what expectations she has of the new Library Director on screening participants who administer Hennepin County Library Programming.

Staff Presentation

Rockford Road Library, Toni Miller and Tricia King

Toni Miller spoke on the different programs offered at Rockford Road Library, such as Book Clubs for children, adults and the senior population. There are different collaborations and programs in place that involve community stakeholders such as the “New Hope Human Rights Commission”.

Tricia King highlighted some of the youth-specific programming offered at Rockford Road Library. One of their strongest partnerships is a collaboration with Robbinsdale ECFE. The Library hosts the Early Childhood Festival twice a year. The “Robbinsdale ECFE & Rockford Road” also offers early literacy stations, activity stations, storytime, and snacks. Rockford Road also has programming called “The Homeschool Book Club” that happens twice a year in the Springtime and Fall. The Book Club is a very diverse group of kids that started very small but has now grown significantly.

President’s Report


President Katherine Blauvelt shared that the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners will be having interviews for appointments for the open positions available on the Library Board. Katherine acknowledged that Board member Chris Damsgard will be finishing his third term and thanked him for his contributions to the Board. Katherine stated that Board member Margy Ligon will not be reapplying for another term, also President Katherine Blauvelt will not be reapplying.

Budget and Long Term Planning

President Katherine relayed that the Budget & Long-Term Planning Committee meeting has been rescheduled to February 6, 2020. Katherine appointed Tim Dolan to the Budget & Long-Term Planning Committee. Katherine confirmed that Rahfat Hussein was appointed Chair of the Committee at the November Library Board meeting.

Executive Committee Report

Katherine stated there is nothing to report.

Communication Protocol

The Board discussed the Communication Protocol for the Library and how the Board will communicate with patrons and or respond to patron emails. The Board reviewed the draft proposal and made some minor changes. Erin Vrieze Daniels made a motion to approve the Communications Protocol with the Library with the additions noted.

Motion by: Erin Vrieze Daniels
Seconded by: Jonathan Gaw
Motion passed.

Interim Director Janet Mills stated that the next steps will be to have the Board Clerk work with Library IT to implement put the changes.

Library Board Dialogue

2020 Library Goals, Janet Mills

Interim Director Janet Mills reflected on the goals of the Library for the year 2020, including developing a data strategy and a budget strategy. Janet spoke about her engagement with the Commissioners at the end of 2019 and she gave a recap of events surrounding these conversations such as the Library Budget Presentation to the County Board, and how the Capital Budget Task Force made the recommendation to defer 7 future building projects until additional conversation are had with Commissioners about services and sustainability of Hennepin County 41 Libraries. She spoke about how she encouraged colleagues to watch recordings of those interactions and to have conversations about the questions – What are the impacts of our programs/services on the community and why is this the Library’s work?

Janet invited the Library Board to share their thoughts on the Commissioner’s comments and the Library’s strategic work in 2020. Lastly, there were the conversations that revolved around the merging of the Library fund with the General Fund.

Library Board Policies

The Library Board discussed 3 policies. The Lending Policy, Policy Review Policy and Collections Development and Management Policy.

The Lending Policy received one amendment and was approved by the Library Board.

Motion by: Erin Vrieze Daniels
Seconded by: Jonathan Gaw
Motion passed.

The Policy Review Policy received amendments and was approved by the Library Board.

Motion by: Erin Vrieze Daniels
Seconded by: LaBelle Nambangi
Motion passed.

The Collections Development and Management Policy was approved with no further edits.

Motion by: Erin Vrieze Daniels
Seconded by: Tim Dolan
Motion passed

Director’s Report

Library, Community and County Updates

Interim Janet Mills spoke on the opening of the Arvonne Fraser Library and invited everyone to attend on January 25, 2020, the doors open at 9:00 a.m. and remarks will be made at 11:00 a.m.

The Eden Prairie Library will be reopening on February 25, 2020, in the evening. Chair Katherine offered the Board members the opportunity to speak at the reopening on behalf of the Library Board.

Janet informed the Board that the Franklin Library will be reopening but the date has been pushed back some. No event is being planned at this time, however, a spring event will be planned for Franklin Library involving the community.

Janet gave an update on the Census and how the Library will be involved.

Janet stated that she now has a new Manager. Assistant Hennepin County Administrator Dan Rogan, formerly in the County Attorney’s Office, now leads the Operations Line of Business. Chet Cooper, Janet’s former manager is now leading a Disparity Reduction Line of Business. Board member Erin stated she would like to invite Dan Rogan to a future Board meeting.

Janet informed the Board that interviews have begun and we will soon have a Communication Manager for the Library. Starting January 1, 2020, all County Communications and Community Engagement Services will be aligned in one department under the direction of Jamie Zwilling who is the County Chief Communication Officer. All of Library Communication staff will now report into Hennepin County Communication.

Committee Reports

Friends of Hennepin County Library, Erin Vrieze Daniels

Erin stated that the Friends of HCL have three new Board members, and they received some large endowments at the end of 2019.

Director Selection Committee Update, Katherine Blauvelt

The Hennepin County Library Board Library Director Finalist Engagement Plan was reviewed by the Board. The Board also reviewed a handout that was provided by Hennepin County Human Resources. Katherine proposed two edits to the Board, and the Board discussed the engagement plan as a whole and offered feedback.

The next steps are for Katherine Blauvelt and Erin Vrieze Daniels to initiate conversations with County Communications and County Human Resources. Erin offered a motion with edits to approve the Hennepin County Library Board Library Director Finalist Engagement Plan.

Motion by: Erin Vrieze Daniels
Seconded by: Chris Damsgard
Motion passed

Budget & Long-Term Planning Committee, Katherine Blauvelt

Chair Rahfat Hussein of the Budget & Long-Term Planning Committee advised an agenda has been set. The first meeting will be February 6, 2020, at Ridgedale Library

Unfinished Business

Chair Katherine Blauvelt stated no unfinished business.

New Business

Chair Katherine Blauvelt stated no new business.


There being no further business, Jonathan Gaw made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 7:17 p.m.; seconded by Erin Vrieze Daniels. Motion passed.

The next meeting of the Hennepin County Library Board will be held at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 25, 2020 at Minneapolis Central Library, Doty Board Room, 300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis MN 55401