Meeting Minutes

Board Meeting Minutes

Approved 4/20/2017


Thursday, March 16, 2017 12:00 pm


Board Member Attendance

Present:  Ari Goldstein, John Hebberger, Jr., Carol Peck

Absent:  Katherine Dowson, Mark Hendrickson,


Audience:  Valerie Maginnis, Library Director; Isabel Zumel, Assistant Library Director; Mary Jo Pollard, Library Services Coordinator;  Rebecca Huntington, Communications Manager; Brian Hultman, County Attorney’s Office; Pauline Towers- Dykeman, Teton County Library Foundation Executive Director; Susan Ericksen- Meier.


Board Chair John Hebberger, Jr. called the meeting to order with a quorum present.


Consent Agenda:  Minutes from 2/16/2017 Board Meeting, Correspondence Report, February 2017 Financials, Director’s Report, Library Supporting Organization Reports – Teton County Library Foundation and Friends of Teton County Library Board


John asked to pull the February 2017 financials.


Action Item:  Carol moved to approve the Consent Agenda.  Ari seconded.  All voted in favor.


John asked how soon the board would receive a narrative financial report format similar to the one they reviewed from the Poudre River Public Library.  Valerie said that it would be presented as part of the April library board packet.  Administration’s attention was on the FY 18 budget request during the month and understands that developing the narrative is a priority.  Ari said that the snapshot of the big expense buckets provided with the February 2017 financials is an interim step.  John agreed and added that a narrative would also be helpful.


Action Item:  Ari moved to approve the February 2017 financials.  Carol seconded.  All voted in favor.


Payment of Library Vouchers

Ari reported that the vouchers were fairly straightforward; there was a large expense for snow plowing which was to be expected.  Ari commented that how Amazon invoices for some of our library materials is complicated, and that he understands that the library is moving to consolidate all ordering from Ingram and Midwest Tapes for better tracking.  Valerie said that our direction to library managers is to order from Ingram and Midwest Tapes  for all materials, unless Amazon is the only source for the item.  We are focusing on efficiencies like consolidating ordering, and having materials arrived pre-processed because this makes it easier and more streamlined for selectors, for accounting management and for library board oversight.


Action Item:  Ari moved to approve the payment of library vouchers.  Carol seconded.  All voted in favor.


TCL Board Development

John shared that he attended the recent session about serving on a county board, which the county provides annually.  He highly recommended new board members attend next year.  Another helpful board development training would be for Mary Jo Pollard to provide a session on the library’s financial statements to the newly seated board after July 1.  This was a suggestion that came up late last summer.  Ari offered that he and Mark Hendrickson could assist with an explanation to the board about the basic business model of accounting.


John raised again new appointments to the library board.  He said that Katherine Dowson indicated last month that she would probably not reapply for the library board.  John asked if board members had 1-2 suggestions for library board member candidates.  He referenced the copy of the library board member skills/expertise matrix and asked if the library board was comfortable with providing a blank copy of the matrix to the County Commissioners to utilize as they make decisions.  Carol noted that the point of the matrix was to determine skills sets the board has and what the board may need.  She agreed that asking the County Commission if they would like a copy of the matrix was a good idea.  What the matrix doesn’t touch on, however, is commitment level and time.  John said that several County Commissioners, in the last consideration of board member appointments, focused on time commitment.  John added that he will share the matrix with County Commissioners and reiterate the focus on time commitment.


To provide more information and context, John asked if library staff could be invited to board meetings to make short, five minute presentations on their duties and projects at the library.  He would like to make this a standing agenda item because there is value in staff and board seeing each other.  Valerie said that we could incorporate that starting in April.  She expressed appreciation for board members attending staff meetings; that there is sharing and collegiality around staff and board having a shared commitment to the organization.  Ari offered to attend the May staff meeting with Katherine.


TCL 2017-2021 Strategic Plan Quarterly Update

Valerie said that this was an opportunity to report out on where we are with making progress on the Strategic Plan; that Susan Eriksen-Meier compiled a report to assist us in staying on track and working with our library managers so that they are familiar with the report out process.  In summary, there has been a lot of action and movement forward on action items, especially those created by staff.  Staff have shown commitment to meeting action item deadlines.  We want to ensure that we are honoring the board’s direction and identifying metrics to demonstrate that we are following the Strategic Plan.  Valerie invited Susan to share her observations.


Susan said that this first check-in was focused on activities versus outcomes; it is still too early to survey the community.  She observed that the library team is ambitious and has committed effort to or already completed action items early in the year.  There has been tremendous activity and much is being accomplished.  In terms of metrics, we’ll start at reviewing metrics that are already in place; we look forward to findings from the upcoming quarterly statistical reports.  She also observed a shift in culture – that there is clarity and commitment to core services, and that a new project initiative form to vet new ideas using a design thinking process is in place, working, and has been grounding for staff.  She commented that as a strategic planning consultant, she does not often see a team hitting the ground running so easily and quickly as the library.


Carol asked if the reporting on the strategic plan follows a template. Her concern is that she does not want it to be a huge  burden.  She asked about the relationship between quarterly and bigger picture reporting, such as the end of year one.  Valerie said that she prefers that the reporting follows a template like the one used for this first report in order to report out consistently.  Dialing in the metrics is the most complex part of the evaluation.  Our intention is to design an annual review process and template with Susan.  The annual review will help us stay the course over the five year plan, but also provide room to entertain and adjust for changes.  In terms of the project initiative form process, it provides a more deliberate and thoughtful look at proposals, including how it fits with core services or strategic plan goals.  This provides us a process to review, and if need be, decline initiatives that aren’t a fit with core services, action items or goals so that the burden isn’t heavy.  Carol asked if there was an agreement with Susan to assist ongoing with the quarterly and annual reporting.  Valerie said that we are moving in that direction, and that the library’s request to the Library Foundation includes a line item in FY 2018 for quarterly/annual reviews.


Susan said that the next strategic plan update will include metrics.  She is open to feedback from the board on the questions they want examined quarterly and annually to monitor our process.


John commented that he doesn’t want to see the Strategic Plan change without careful consideration.  He asked about the culture change Susan referenced.  Valerie replied that she has been struck by the openness of library staff to being an active part of the Teton County team.  The recent immediate and supportive response of library staff to assist at the County EOC was an indication.  A second indicator of culture change is the open mindedness of new ways of doing our work more efficiently – identifying and contracting vendors so that we can take the library to the next level with collections; breaking down team silos and having projects be actively seen through by cross teams.  Finally, staffare increasingly looking to the larger library community and peer libraries to see how they are operating, what we can learn from them, and how we compare.  John said that the library working as part of the Teton County team was mentioned during the recent Report to Our Community presentation to the County Commission.  This is important and the library board is willing to share with library staff how important this is.


Carol, Ari and John noted that they were very pleased with our progress on the Strategic Plan.


TCL Staff Housing

Mary Flamino, Youth Services Manager, and Jordan Rich, Library Assistant Senior, shared the TCL Staff Housing Committee’s recommendations.  Mary noted that the committee consisted of Library Board members, John and Ari; TC Library Foundation’s Pauline Towers-Dykeman; Library Director, Valerie; and library staff members Kurt Plagge, Stephanie Crockett, Walt Gerald, Nick Grenoble, Jordan and herself.


The first recommendation to address immediate housing needs of employees and new recruits, was requesting support from the Library Foundation to acquire a one bedroom, one bathroom dwelling.  The dwelling is intended to be a landing pad, available for 6-12 months, and capped at 24 months.  The lease would be month to month, with the lease reviewed every 6 months.  The committee developed eligibility criteria and a point-based ranking system in the event that there are simultaneous applications for the dwelling. 


The second recommendation was the establishment of a multipurpose housing fund to assist full-time and part-time staff manage housing stress they may experience over the course of a year.  The cap would be $3,000 per employee annually; however the cap may be petitioned in certain circumstances.  Examples of assistance could include deposits to get into a rental, hotel accommodations required because of weather, short term space needed before transitioning into housing, moving expenses, one-time and non-recurring events, and short-term mortgage assistance.  An application process for such a fund would be developed, and applications would be reviewed by a committee comprised of the Library Director and two volunteer staff members.  The next step is to form the committee and finalize the housing fund application.


Carol asked to clarify that the Library Foundation funds and allocates the money for the housing fund and the housing fund review committee decides.    Pauline said that was the case.  Pauline noted that $15,000 from the library foundation endowment payout would provide initial funding for the housing fund this year and that the foundation would review the amount allocated to the housing fund annually.  The idea is that the library board approves the housing committee’s recommendation, and then it goes to the library foundation board for approval.   Pauline further clarified that the funding for staff housing initiatives is from a specific donor currently and not from general donations.  Finally, the library foundation needs the space to discuss granular issues related to the staff housing initiatives.  For example, the assumption is that these are gifts with tax implications for the recipients of housing assistance.  Also, there are questions of situations of repayment and how to approach that if it arises.  Mary said the housing committee wanted to keep the guidelines for assistance as open as possible in order to be responsive, and that Jordan received a lot of positive feedback from staff on the guidelines.


John said that some of the granular details may be subject to change.  The question now is to approve the recommendation or not, with the understanding that we look at the recommendations as a living document if we choose to roll it out.  Pauline clarified that if the housing committee’s recommendations are approved, that they be approved with a footnote that the staff housing initiatives are funded with specific donations, and not general donations to the Library Foundation.


Action Item:  Carol moved to approve the TCL Staff Housing Task Force recommendations with a footnote clarifying that staff housing initiatives are funded with specific donations, and not general donations to the Library Foundation.  Ari seconded.  All voted in favor.


TCL FY 18 Operating Budget Request

In opening up the discussion about the FY 18 Operating Budget request, Valerie said that the overarching theme was developing a budget that reflected the Strategic Plan goals and objectives; the Library’s new vision and mission statements; and providing excellent core library services which were defined in the Strategic Plan.  Highlights and variances from our previous operating budgets include:


Bringing down our personnel budget without sacrificing service to the public.  Realized cost savings were  achieved through efficiencies, reassignment of duties to better utilize the skills and expertise of our full-time staff,  and increased use of part-time staff for more basic functions.   One current vacancy, the Collection Development Manager position, is included in the personnel budget.  The only other vacancy is the Teen Coordinator position.  Management Team is in a design thinking process examining how to structure exisiting and potential new services, programs, collections and space for teens and tweens.  We are holding the Teen Coordinator position as vacant in FY 18.  The Youth Services team is fully staffed and already beginning to look at new offerings, particularly for the tween audience.
Proposing a 30% increase in our library materials and collections budget.  This can affect staff work load and part of the increase will cover a new line item so that we receive more of our materials pre-processed for greater efficiencies for staff.
Increasing the Professional Services budget.  This not only covers the library’s accountant, but also provides funding to have ability to outsource projects, including communications and technology planning.
Increasing our Building and Equipment request budget.  This is being guided by the Strategic Plan.  We are looking at having this cover items such as capital improvements to the Book Nook, library entrance to improve approachability, shelving for collection adjustments.


Valerie referenced the document in the board packet which provided line item explanations of variances between FY 17 and FY 18.  In terms of FY 18 revenue increases, one specifically is increase in Motor Vehicle Registration revenue.  Valerie and Mary Jo met with the County Treasurer to estimate this for the FY 18 budget request.  Valerie noted an error that has been corrected in the Electronic Resources line item, which includes downloadable e-books and databases.  The increase is $14,000, not $4,000.  Finally, we moved some items that were historically funded by the Library Foundation into the operating budget request because these items are considered core 21st century library services.  We examined our cash position and will not be requesting a cash reserve.  We believe this is prudent considering that the County may have to make up funding to county programs and services that have been receiving state funding.  Overall, our request to the county is over 7% less than our FY 17 budget.


Carol asked if we were requesting enough.  Valerie said she welcomed input from the board about the part-time library assistant budget, that increasing the request by 10 hours/week, which would amount to an additional $8,800, would give us the assurance of enough staffing should we see a large increase in patron activity.  Valerie said this consideration is directly related to our intent to increase our Main Library open hours by an additional 6 hours/week  in FY 18.


John said that the budget request reflects efficiencies, provides scope to do other things identified in the Strategic Plan, and is a good way of approaching our request to the county.  The county is facing other significant demands.  Emphasizing that our budget request is built on the basis of our new Strategic Plan with defined priorities will play well.  Even if the county needs to ask for reductions from county departments, this request addresses budget reductions and we would not likely be asked to reduce more.


Valerie reiterated that she was comfortable with our personnel and library materials and collections budgets; that they reflect a closer alignment to peer libraries.  Carol and Ari suggested we add the additional part-time library assistant hours with a cost of $8,800 into our submitted request. 


Valerie said that operating budget development process has been more closely connected to her work on the library foundation budget request.  One item to note was moving much of the technology request out of the library foundation budget and into the operating budget.  The technology budget in FY 18 is flat because there are no technology replacements in this budget timeframe.  In FY 19, however, we may see an operating request increase because there is no technology reserve fund, like there is a capital reserve fund.  Pauline suggested that a line item be added to the operating budget to reflect technology costs, even if it is an unfunded line item in FY 18. 


John asked for clarification on building and equipment items referenced earlier.  Valerie explained that some small retrofits to the Book Nook could help the Friends maximize sales capability.  Adding sensors to the entrance doors for opening would be ideal and easier for the public to manage.  If that is cost prohibitive, looking at realigning hinges would be a first step.  The lobby is valuable real estate and we are open to re-imagining the space to make it more welcoming, inviting and approachable.  Looking at different furniture, art, other elements that are appropriate for our community are possibilities we are building into our building and equipment request.  


Carol asked if the library’s budget presentation to the County Commission has been scheduled.  Valerie replied that it has, and it is scheduled for Friday, April 14 at 9:30 a.m.


Action Item:  Carol moved to approve the TCL FY 18 Operating Budget Request with the addition of 10 hours per week of part-time staff, with a cost of $8,800, and a computer hardware line item reflected as zero in the request.  Ari seconded.  All voted in favor.


Action Item:  John moved to adjourn the library board meeting and move into Executive Session.  All voted in favor.