Meeting Minutes

Board Meeting Minutes

Approved 8/17/2017


Thursday, July 20, 2017 12:00 pm


Board Member Attendance

Present: Ari Goldstein, John Hebberger, Jr., Mark Hendrickson, Carol Peck, Susan Scarlata


Audience:  Valerie Maginnis, Library Director; Mary Jo Pollard, Library Services Coordinator; Rebecca Huntington, Communications Manager; Madeleine Sturmer, IT Manager; Pauline Towers-Dykeman, Teton County Library Foundation Executive Director; Judy Opatrny, Teton County Library Foundation; Karen Terra, Teton County Library Foundation


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


Public Comment

No public comment.


Welcome New Library Board Member

John welcomed new Board Member, Susan Scarlata, and asked her to introduce herself.  Susan said she loves libraries and that’s a major reason she applied to be a Library Board member.  She holds both a master’s and doctorate degree in creative writing.  She taught at universities and now works at the Community Foundation of Jackson Hole.  She said she’s excited to contribute and serve as a library board member. 


John called for new board officer elections for FY 2018.


Action Item: Carol nominated John to stay as Chair, herself to serve as Vice Chair, Ari as Treasurer and Mark as Secretary.  Ari seconded.  All voted in favor.


John asked Carol to continue serving as the liaison with Foundation and suggested Susan consider taking on the liaison role with the Friends.  Carol agreed to continue for another year as the Foundation liaison.  Susan agreed to serve as the Friends liaison.


Action Item: Mark moved to approve the liaison nominations.  Ari seconded.  All voted in favor.


“Get to Know” TCL Staff - Kevin Chatham, Facilities Maintenance Coordinator


Kevin described his role as Facilities Maintenance Coordinator.  He started at the library in 2001 and worked on the Computer Center and Collection Development teams.  Kevin worked our public desks, taught computer classes and had collection development duties.  He became the Facilities Maintenance Coordinator in June 2013.  He is responsible for maintenance, security and upkeep of the building, grounds, landscaping and parking lot 24-7.  He writes bids and negotiates contracts, including the HVAC maintenance, snowplowing and cleaning.


He has other ongoing responsibilities, including managing a $300,000 budget, insurance contracts and maintaining a running inventory.  He answers all alarms and does his best to maintain a productive relationship with other county entities, such as Parks and Rec and Weed and Pest. He also orients new staff in building safety.  He makes sure the library is in compliance with local, state and federal codes. He also issues passes for the senior access door. He does other jobs: supplemental snow shoveling, picking up trash, sweeping the parking lot. He also has responsibility for the Alta Branch Library facilities.


Carol asked about HVAC not working as it should.  Kevin said that problem has been resolved.  He’s pleased with the continued reduction in natural gas bills and proud of the work that accomplished the reductions.  John wanted to be sure the board was aware of the cost savings created from the refinement of the HVAC.


Carol asked about maintaining the senior entrance in a big snow year.  Kevin said it’s a delicate relationship to balance.  Parks and Rec shovels the sidewalks as close to opening as possible.  A contractor plows the parking lot early in the morning.  Then from opening until Kevin leaves for the day, he takes on any supplemental shoveling.  If we have too many more winters like last winter, he said he may want to invest in a snow blower.  He said the board could look at financials to see how much the library spent on plowing.  He says the library did well maintaining access despite all the snow.  He said he is considering for next winter getting electric mats that are heated.  He’s going to have to meet with Parks & Rec to see if they can still remove snow if the mat is there.  The senior access door itself worked well.  During extremely cold weather the door got a little noisy. He has issued 261 passes for the senior access door.  


Kevin talked about the library entrance doors saying that they were off center when originally installed.  He got new door openers that require less pull force making them easier for people to open.  He said the doors exceed ADA requirements.  Next, he wants to put in a new weather strip to help seal up the alcove.  The doors to bus stop are working well.  The modifications cost less than a third of the cost to replace the doors altogether.


Valerie said Kevin was instrumental in moving the door project forward to improve the library’s approachability. She said Kevin started from the ground up to come up with a strategy that was cost effective and met the library’s needs. She said Kevin is also leading a project to retool the library’s three public service desks and working with a designer to create the most efficient and user-friendly desk setup for the Front Desk, Youth Desk and Reference Desk. The project also makes the best use of existing furniture.


Consent Agenda:  Minutes from 6/15/2017 Board Meeting, Correspondence Report, June  2017 Financials, Director’s Report, Library Supporting Organization Reports – Teton County Library Foundation and Teton County Library Friends


John asked to pull the June 15 Minutes and Director’s Report.


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


Regarding the June 15 Minutes, John asked to amend the minutes to add the wording “per advice from the deputy county attorney” to the discussion of the “Survey of Local Bank Interest Rates and Services.”


Regarding the Director’s Report, John said he pulled the report to discuss advance calendaring items.


John requested an educational session for the board on financials.  He reminded board members that the board raised having a session on financials last fall because the board’s performance depends on being well-informed about the organization’s finances.  Financial oversight is one of the key board responsibilities.  Ari asked if the auditors would attend a Library Board meeting and Valerie said she would ask.  She added that meeting with the library’s accountant and the county department auditors may be two separate sessions.   


Related to financial reporting to the board, Ari said that he and Mary Jo are working to create a monthly compressed snapshot of financials and then a more detailed quarterly financial report to the library board. The compressed snapshot will include two templates – one for comparing the current period to the budget and another for comparing to previous years. Ari asked library board members if they supported continuing to move in that direction and board members indicated continuing in this direction.


Related to a library board meeting at the Alta Branch, Mark asked if the meeting would be one of the library board’s regular monthly meetings.  Valerie indicated it would be.  She said having a library board meeting at the Alta Branch would be welcomed by the community given the appreciation expressed by the Alta community to her for attending Alta’s annual community meeting and picnic in July.  Carol suggested the board could encourage community attendance by scheduling a time that would be easier for people to attend.  Valerie said the Alta community meeting was at 4 p.m. and she could ask for more feedback from the Alta community time of day.  John said it might be better to target spring for having a board meeting in Alta to allow time to work out the details. The board generally agreed to the idea of moving their May 2018 library board meeting to Alta.


Valerie reported on the Board of County Commissioners approval of a 5 percent salary adjustment per the county’s compensation consultant recommendation to keep Teton County staff salaries in alignment with the 66th percentile.   The salary adjustment went into effect for FY 2018 on July 9, 2017.  Teton County Clerk Sherry Daigle asked Valerie if the library had sufficient funds in its budget to implement the salary adjustment.  Valerie indicated to Clerk Daigle that we did due to salary savings in FY 2017 with several positions unfilled for a period of time.  Library Administration calculated that the FY 2017 salary savings was approximately the same amount as the 5 percent salary adjustment.  Mark asked if the library was certain it could cover the salary adjustment with the cash the library currently had on hand.  Valerie said the salary savings from FY 2017 would cover the adjustment for FY 2018.   We carried this cash savings over into FY 2018 so funds are currently available. Carol and Ari asked if the commission was aware that this will be in next year’s budget. Valerie said she would seek funding from the county for FY 2019 to maintain the salary adjustment. She said that philosophically, using the carry over savings demonstrates to the county commission that we are responsibly managing our funds and that we ask for what we need.  Valerie reiterated that the library has a healthy budget and will do its share to ensure staff are paid appropriately.


Action Item: John moved to approve the June Minutes with revisions and the Director’s Report. Carol seconded.  All voted in favor.


Payment of Library Vouchers

Ari said the library is using a new credit card system that is making it easier to track expenses.


Ari reported that the library will stay with First Interstate Bank for now. He said the banking survey showed that the banks were pretty similar on a competitive basis. He said that the hiccup in the banking relationship with First Interstate had been resolved.   


Ari said Mary Jo was researching and correcting accounting issues related to insurance benefits for employees and that these issues were anomalies.  Mary Jo reported that she will be coordinating more with the county in using the Infinity HR system, which is the master record for administering benefits. She is inputting corrections and hopes to get administrative privileges to maintain records.


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


Approve and Adopt Internet Use Policy and Service Animal Behavior Policy

 Valerie said the library did not receive any public comment on proposed policies.  She said the library fulfilled county requirements for public notice of the policies, which are ready for adoption should the board so choose.  Ari said he was shocked no one weighed in on the Internet policy. John agreed.  Valerie said with the board’s approval, the policies would be effective Aug. 1, which would allow time to fully inform staff so that they are ready to implement. She said the library would post the approved policies to its website immediately.


Action Item:  Ari moved to approve the Internet Use Policy for adoption starting August 1, 2017. Mark seconded. All voted in favor.

Action Item:  Mark moved to approve the Service Animal Behavior Policy for adoption starting August 1, 2017. Ari seconded. All voted in favor.


TCL FY 2017 Library Statistics Report

Valerie summarized that the report included data and narrative on our FY 2017 library statistics and longitudinal data on key library services.  Valerie noted upticks and declines in the data and said they follow national public library trends. She was pleased with increases in circulation and use of the library space; that those are indications that staff are deploying the strategic plan and promoting resources, services and programs.


John had noted that of all the circulation, Alta’s circulation was down by about 50 percent. He recognized that the circulation figures did not include a full year with a new branch manager and expanded branch hours. However, he noted a steady trend down. He asked if it is an indication of anything the board should look at. Ari commented that he was excited to see an increase in visits and asked if it was related to expanded hours.


 Valerie explained that the Alta Branch is increasingly being used as a community gathering space.  With regard to circulation, Branch Manager, Eva Dahlgren, is looking at various aspects of our collections. Alta patrons use our digital collection and what can we do to move that collection further?   We are reviewing what popular materials look like in Alta. Valerie said it’s important to take a closer look at the collection and circulation statistics to glean with greater detail what the community’s desires and needs are.  We can then determine strategies to shine more of a spotlight on our materials.  Valerie noted that Alta Branch patrons not only include Teton County, Wyo., residents, but also patrons coming from Tetonia, Driggs and even farther afield, Ashton. Valerie said that Eva is adept at explaining the value of the nonresident library card; that the fee for the nonresident card is a small price given that our collection is robust. Mark asked if the library has looked at the demographics of that area, and if we are trying to apply exactly what we do in Jackson to Alta.  Valerie said we are looking at Alta differently. People are moving to the community so their kids can go to the Alta school.  Eva is working closely with the schools to plan class visits and to position the library and its collections to support curriculum.  John said the board should revisit Alta statistics in six months when there is a full year of data since the expansion of open hours.


John asked about technology. The use of public computers has gone down and the use of wifi has gone up. He asked if there has been discussion about use of space.  Valerie said those technology trends are not unique to Teton County. Looking at space in the Jackson facility, Valerie said that through strategic planning, the library is reviewing what the technology center should look like. On Sundays, that space is standing room only so there appears to still be a need for some desktop computer access.  Another option is experimenting with laptop lending in the Main Wing, now that we have almost had a full year of laptop lending in the Youth Wing.  Valerie said that first, we are going to see what the effects of reconfiguring our Main Wing front desk are on assistance and access.  She said overall, thinking about space and technology access is a great question for creative and strategic thinking from staff.


Carol said digital collection use appears to be a growth area.  She asked about integrating digital collections into the catalog.  Madeleine said the library is part of the state consortium and we coordinate changes with then. We are one of the few libraries where patrons can go seamlessly between our website and the catalog. She said the library tries to make title discovery easier for patrons. Madeleine discussed how we were able to embed Hoopla into our catalog and that it was a great test for integrating digital content into the catalog.  Not all products can as easily be integrated into our catalog.  Valerie said Hoopla use has doubled since we started showing the Hoopla offerings in the catalog.


John commended the Library Statistics report compiled by Assistant Director, Isabel Zumel.  He commented that it is invaluable to have ongoing multi-year statistics to examine what is changing. 


TCL 2017-2021 Strategic Plan Q2 Update

Susan Eriksen-Meier presented to the library board the second strategic plan update. The first update focused on strategic activities and the second update will speak to outcomes and data collection.  Overall, Susan shared that her impression is that the library is being very diligent in integrating the strategic plan in decision making and beginning to more intentionally utilize data to move library services in new and needed directions. 


One example is that the library heard a great deal about family literacy.  Rather than developing one event, an entire nationally recognized public library-based family literacy program is being implemented to address this complex concept.  Staff has received training on techniques and strategies and program components that were developed based on literacy research and science.   A second example is the library’s use of Project Outcome to measure the impact of library programs.  The fact that the library is using outcome statistics that are consistent with other libraries ensures that our program approaches add value.


Susan reported on the library’s work related to Strategic Plan Goal 5: Ensure a strong organization. In Q2 the library reorganized its supervision structure and combined the Communications and Education & Programs Divisions to form a single Community Engagement Division.  Susan said there will be some shifts in percentages of staff time available for strategic initiatives and resilience with more time shifting to core services consistent with library’s focus on community needs and providing core services.


Susan observed that there is significant data collection happening across the organization and suggested that it may be time to look at decreasing the list of data collection to data sets that will most directly inform decisions that support strategic plan goals.  Susan referenced the summer space study that was in progress.  She said we did a winter space study and rearranged the space based on interpreting the data.  The summer space study is looking at behavioral use in the library to assess the rearrangement and to glean if some of our original assumptions still held up.  One does not usually see this level of analysis in an organization of our size.    


Susan said that as data becomes available there’s a real opportunity for staff and managers to analyze the data and test assumptions, bringing together different perspectives.  Susan suggested creating space and time for the whole team to look at and discuss the most important data sets.  It’s an opportunity to collectively look at: Is it impacting our community and are we achieving our strategic vision? 


Carol said she’s surprised that that is not already happening.   Valerie said staff do collect a tremendous amount of data and are making good use of it when there is time to interpret it together.  Susan’s suggestion for creating space and time to have these discussions provides a new opportunity to get the management team to be even more critical thinkers. Valerie shared that she saw this when the management team discussed the winter space study.  She’s not aware of any library that is doing a space study like ours. She said it is evident that this library is a tremendous amenity to people in the community who don’t have enough space in their homes. Do we have enough and the right kind of seating? Are we creating the right ambiance for people that don’t have another place to go?   When the management team discussed the space study with the mindset that the library can make changes based on answers to those questions, it was a revelation to our staff that they had permission to think a little outside of our comfort zone.  Valerie described a second example in the Youth Wing when the management team spent time together on an afterschool space plan – separating loud and quiet activities – with success.  After a year of this arrangement, we are realizing we may need to make another change to also include integrating Family Place Library family literacy concepts.  Through observation, analysis and talking with the public, we may make a change.  We want to give the management team and staff encouragement to come up with ideas using their observational expertise.  Carol said a great example of analyzing and acting on space changes is that the library made more study room space available. Valerie said we can bring new things on board thanks to that space.


Valerie said staff are sharing each month key data collected, such as circulation, new library cardholders, outreach numbers, volunteer numbers, etc.  Some staff were not aware of how we were performing in these areas.  Sharing this data more broadly intentionally fosters conversations about what we are doing at every level of the library; how can we identify opportunities to make changes and address deficiencies.


John asked if Susan identified other challenges and if she or Valerie could expand on how to make interpretation of collected information more effective.  Susan said that the next time there is new data released that having a facilitated conversation, with Susan leading the session and Valerie leading as Library Director, could facilitate higher level discussions.  Susan added that when she asked staff about what they wanted to tell the library board about outcomes, staff said that they go into the library and talk to patrons.  There are amazing patron stories to tell us whether or not we are the essential place for people to thrive.  Susan encouraged the board to put attention to data and patron impact stories.  She added that staff are the best individuals to collect these stories.  John said that patron impact stories coupled with the hard numbers is a good way to measure and capture library impact.


Mark complimented the work thus far. He said having staff buy into a strategic plan and culture shift doesn’t happen very often. He said he’s very pleased with the progress that the library is making.  John echoed Mark saying this is a very significant cultural change.


Related to the strategic plan goal of ensuring a strong organization, John asked if the board can add an agenda item to the August library board meeting on succession planning that is underway.   Valerie provided a succession planning document to the board. She said it’s a snapshot and she’s eager to get their feedback.   Carol asked that Project Outcome be added to the agenda. Valerie suggested having Isabel send something to the board in writing to explain Project Outcome.


TCL Staff Housing Task Force Proposal & TCLF Housing 

Valerie summarized the plan to begin implementation of providing library staff with housing assistance. The Teton County Library Foundation Board relayed three main points to from its June 20 meeting to the Library Board to facilitate implementation of providing housing assistance.  Those points were: (1)  The Foundation’s sole mission is to obtain and provide financial support to the Library through the Library’s annual budget request to the Library Foundation. (2) The Library Foundation makes contributions to Housing Assistance through funds given specifically for housing assistance or endowment funds that permit this use.  (3) The Library Foundation will not act as a lender through the Housing Assistance program.  Funds will be provided to the library or a third party administrator selected by the library, and the administrator will disperse funds to qualified applicants.  The Foundation contributes funds unconditionally and will not require housing assistance recipient repayment of funds.  


Valerie said that the housing assistance fund, as it is established today, is available to staff.  Work was undertaken to draft a MOU between the Library, Library Foundation and the Jackson Hole Community Housing Trust (JHCHT), which will act as the third party administrator. The draft MOU is being reviewed by the Deputy County Attorney and we are awaiting feedback.  Once all three entities have signed off and agreed, the housing assistance program will be formally put into place.


Mark asked if there is immediate need for staff housing assistance. Valerie said she just received an email from an employee today wishing to access the fund.  Valerie explained that what has lifted up from this body of work was the importance of the housing assistance application process being made completely confidential.  Requests go directly to JHCHT.  Valerie reiterated that at this point there is no expectation of housing assistance recipients repaying the Library Foundation.


Carol asked if the Library Board has to approve the MOU.  John said that the Deputy County Attorney would let Valerie and the library board know if it needs a Library Board signature. Valerie said her signature should be included since she will be working with both the Library Foundation and JHCHT.  Mark asked if a JHCHT attorney has been involved.  Pauline said the MOU was sent to JHCHT on June 29 and that she has reached out to inquire about timeline.


Other Matters

John said the board has agreed on a somewhat informal basis to have each of the board members act as a contact with specific county commissioner. Board members decided that:  Ari will meet with Commissioner Paul Vogelheim. John will continue meeting with Commissioner Mark Newcomb.  Mark will meet with Commissioner Smokey Rhea. Carol will meet with Commissioner Natalia Macker. Susan will meet with Commissioner Greg Epstein. 


Valerie asked if the Board wanted to sign a letter thanking commissioners for the salary adjustment, which aligns with the library’s strategic plan to retain and recruit top-notch employees.  The board agreed to sign the letter.


Action Item:  John moved to adjourn the library board meeting.  All voted in favor.