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View a recording of this meeting.

LIBRARY BOARD MEETING
Monday, November 16, 2020
Hybrid In-Person & Via Zoom
7:00 p.m.
CALL TO ORDER/ROLL CALL/PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT

Anita Forte-Scott, President; Julie Wroblewski Bosshart, Vice-President/Secretary; David Jonen, Treasurer; Jillian Bernas; Erin Flannigan-Davies; Hannah Hyman; Theresa Seyring

BOARD MEMBERS ABSENT

STUDENT TRUSTEES PRESENT

Araha Uday

OTHERS PRESENT

Victoria Akinde, Allison, Elizabeth Andaas, Claudia Baranowski, Arlene, Lori Bies, Candy’s Phone, Emily Gilbert, Justine Gilbert, Janet Glatzhofer, Greg & Diane’s iPad, Scott Harrod, Jennifer Hunt, Jenny, Jessica, Laura, Annie Miskewitch, John Morgan, Kathy Morgan, Amy Mueller, Kate Niehoff, Laura O’Dette, Jason Santos, Joanne Schultz, Gretchen Schulz, Kathy Schuessler, Hollis Sienkiewicz, Bobbi Sloan, Patricia Smolin, STDL’s iPad, Stephanie, Magan Szwarek, Lori Teipel, Gail Tobin, Beth Valenziano, Emily Vinci, Judy Walther, Amy Yucus, Louise Zirves

PUBLIC COMMENTS

Patron Bobbi Sloan thanked the Library staff for their continued positive attitudes when she visited the Library.

Patron Emily Gilbert thanked the staff for all their efforts and expressed her support of the temporary building closure. The conversation with Dr. Ibram X. Kendi was very thought provoking and she appreciated the collaboration of suburban libraries offering this program to the public.

A staff member asked about the financials connected to working multiple positions with different pay rates during the current shortened hours. Executive Director Miskewitch wasn’t able to address this question at the moment, but explained the complicated nature of these pay structures has been further complicated by Covid and that is a contributing factor in seeking a consultant advising for the Library.

BOARD COMMENTS

Trustee Seyring virtually attended the Illinois Library Association (ILA) conference. She also found the conversation with Dr. Ibram X. Kendi very thought provoking. She thanked the Library for her five-year service award and personally congratulated staff member Jean Hrdlicka for her 50 years of service.

Trustee Hyman extended her well wishes to staff members during the building closure. She is very excited about the upcoming One Book, One Community event and is looking forward to reading the chosen book, Room.

Treasurer Jonen received many positive comments from colleagues about the Dr. Kendi program. He inquired about the Trustee Candidate nomination packet being available to the public through the building closure. The nomination packet is currently available digitally from our website. The Business Office staff are in the building to be in receipt of any packets that are to be turned in next month during the filing period.

Trustee Flannigan-Davies attended all three days of the ILA conference and contacted IT Director Jason Santos to learn more about the Library’s preventative measures to stop hacking. She attended the Dr. Kendi program and the Hanover Park Cultural Inclusion meeting which she praised and said she learned a lot.

Vice-President Wroblewski Bosshart attended the Service Awards Luncheon to thank staff for their years of service. She attended the Dr. Kendi program and plans to review policies through a lens of equity. She recently spoke with a co-worker who didn’t know the value of libraries and discussed how important advocacy is to her. She is grateful the Library has the resources to market itself to the community, especially during the building closure, so the public is aware what the Library still offers them. Her goal is to protect the Library’s future and encourage more residents to have a library card.

Trustee Bernas congratulated the social committee on evolving the Service Awards Luncheon to honor staff members while accounting for social distancing. She also thanked the Library for her five-year service award.

RAILS - Ms. Hyman

RAILS hasn’t issued an email update since November 11, and many Cook County libraries have closed their doors to the public since then. Ms. Hyman will forward any new information to Executive Director Miskewitch when it becomes available.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Trustee Bernas moved and Vice-President Wroblewski Bosshart seconded that:

The October 19, 2020, Regular Board Meeting Minutes be approved.

Roll Call Vote:

Mrs. Wroblewski Bosshart Yes

Mr. Jonen Yes

Ms. Bernas Yes

Mrs. Seyring Yes

Ms. Hyman Yes

Ms. Flannigan-Davies Yes

Ms. Forte-Scott Yes

The motion passed unanimously.

APPROVAL OF BILLS

Trustee Flannigan-Davies moved and Treasurer Jonen seconded that:

The Library Board approve the October 2020 Bill List.

Roll Call Vote:

Mrs. Wroblewski Bosshart Yes

Mr. Jonen Yes

Ms. Bernas Yes

Mrs. Seyring Yes

Ms. Hyman Yes

Ms. Flannigan-Davies Yes

Ms. Forte-Scott Yes

The motion passed unanimously.

TREASURER’S REPORT

Treasurer Jonen explained the General Fund balance decreased by $91,000 from expenses exceeding revenues. Working cash fund reflects only investment market change activity and investments continue to show market values in excess of cost of $26,000. Total revenues for October were just over $1,340,000. Interest income was $19,000 including accrual adjustments. Purchasing for magazines and serial materials has been negligible due to Covid safety precautions. Wage and benefits continue to show favorable variances due to a reduction in hours, a hiring freeze and staffing adjustments. Favorable variances in administrative costs are due primarily to skewing. All departments are favorable when evaluated by percentage of budget spent compared to percentage of year elapsed, with the exception of IT and Community Services. Both have large expenses that are paid in the first quarter of the year.

Market value of investments decreased by $13,000 in October. Fluctuations in the portfolio are anticipated at this time, but overall yields on the current portfolio are stable. Treasury yields have recently been at zero and, in some cases, negative. Investments in some high grade municipal bonds have been made in the month of October in order to produce higher yields on the portfolio. Cash flows are projected out based on investment maturity, as well as anticipated revenues and expense projections for the remainder of the year.

Trustee Seyring commented the Library has been fiscally responsible for several years in anticipation of a future financial recession, and pointed out that there has been an expectation of lower returns during this economic downturn.

ADDITIONS OR CHANGES TO AGENDA

The presentation from the auditor’s will be moved before the President’s Report. There will be no Executive Session tonight.

PRESENTATION FROM MCCLURE, INSERRA & COMPANY CHARTERED

Auditor Judy Walther shared the Library received a clean opinion, meaning everything has been fairly stated under generally accepted accounting principles. The Library’s total net position on a government-wide basis, including fund operation, long and short-term assets and liabilities, is over $47 million, which is an increase of close to $300,000 over the previous year. The tax abatement caused a decrease in property tax receivables. Current liabilities increased substantially over the previous year due to construction at the Central location and the related payables. The Condensed Statement of Activities shows fines and fees are down, especially due to Covid and the adoption of a fine free policy. Administration has a collective decrease in expenses due to Covid. The mandated state closure resulted in a decrease in supplies, utilities and other administrative costs. The Library General Fund essentially broke even for the year after the tax abatement and transfer to the Special Reserve Fund. The Library was under their appropriation limit. The Library’s ending General Fund balance is approximately five months of operating expenses, which is considered a healthy fund balance.

Discussion included if the Library had a limit to the amount of municipal bonds compared to CDs and federally secured items. The policy limit will be checked and shared later. Ms. Walther commended Executive Director Miskewitch and Financial Director Valenziano on their work wrapping up the fiscal year while the Library was closed during the Illinois Stay-at-Home order.

PRESIDENT’S REPORT

President Forte-Scott attended all three days of the ILA conference. She commented the speakers were knowledgeable and went above and beyond by staying after their sessions to answer questions and converse with attendees. She was able to read Stamped from the Beginning by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi and listened to him speak at our Library event. She appreciated the Library offering this opportunity to the community to provide equity and balance to programming. Today was the first day the Library buildings were closed to the public, but patrons can visit the Library’s fourth location, our website, where all of our e-services and electronic material are available. She congratulated all the recipients for their Service Awards from the luncheon. She can’t believe she celebrated 15 years on the Board, and thanked the Library for the recognition.

DIRECTOR’S REPORT

Executive Director Miskewitch noted her report was written on November 11, before the closing of the Library buildings to the public and changes to services. The Library has started consulting work with Meristem Advisors, including working on staffing model practices as it relates to compensation to create a more sustainable practice for 2021. The architects will meet with some staff next month to begin shaping a plan to present in 2021 for board input. Curbside Pick-Up increased over the month. That service has ceased at Central with the Drive-Up Window reopened as another point of contactless delivery of materials. Passive programming has increased significantly, over 2000% compared with last year, with the introduction of Pick-Up Programs. Online cards decreased while the buildings were open and patrons were able to come inside the building to register. Social media is a great opportunity to currently reach residents about the Library, and the statistics confirm this with continued strong engagement.

Discussion included explanation of a FOIA request about records retention and when a document can be destroyed with State approval. Trustee Flannigan-Davies complimented the Library on being able to pivot during the current surge of Covid cases. Trustee Wroblewski Bosshart complimented the Teen department on increasing their number of programs and participants.

DEPUTY DIRECTOR’S REPORT

Deputy Director Hunt has been meeting with all department directors and managers, attending programs, and speaking with as many staff members as possible to learn about the Library and its operations. From her written report, she highlighted that An Evening with Dr. Ibram X. Kendi was a full event, with a waitlist of patrons wanting to attend after it was closed. Over 6,000 patrons registered and more than 400 were from our Library. Ms. Hunt shared several patron comments thanking the Library for the program and expressing a desire for more discussions and opportunities to learn about the subject of anti-racism. The Library is looking forward to a possible future collaboration with other libraries to learn from the documentary filmmaker of the PBS documentary The Long Shadow. The One Book, One Community initiative kicks off in December and the accompanying programs speak to the shared themes of the selected books, but also the time we are in now.

Discussion included the One Book, One Community author visit with Emma Donoghue, which could reach a wider audience this year due to its virtual format.

DEPARTMENT REPORTS

Marketing and Communications – Hollis Sienkiewicz

Marketing Director Hollis Sienkiewicz gave an overview of her department’s role and their collaborations. Her department’s recent work with Programming and Outreach after the building closure in March limited access to online programs to YouTube only, with no programs streamed through Facebook Live. This decision has resulted in a large rise in the Library’s YouTube followers and continued strong engagement on Facebook, which was reserved specifically for messaging to the community during the closure. In response to Trustee Wroblewski Bosshart’s earlier comment about marketing the Library to the public, Ms. Sienkiewicz shared over 60% of households in the district have at least one Library card. She believes they can increase that number, but is very happy with how many residents love and support the Library. She also reviewed her top five accomplishments during her tenure to mark her five years of service. These included: a brand refresh with an updated logo, internally revamping marketing practices, launching a staff intranet for improved internal communications, winning three ALA PR Xchange awards, and the recipient of six awarded grants including the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read and the Thinking Money exhibit.

Discussion included appreciation for the new logo, brand consistency across the Library and the new Town Square signage.

COMMITTEE REPORTS

None

STUDENT ADVISOR TRUSTEE REPORT

SAT Araha Uday reached out to the schools with an updated November PowerPoint, and a PowerPoint explaining how to use BrainFuse. She attended her first online program, How to Properly Evaluate a College from Home. It went smoothly, and included very helpful information.

Discussion included the Board appreciating the added work this role entails with everything currently in a online format. The Board suggested she continue to share that the Library is still available for holds, pick-ups and online programming. She added the current Covid plan of service to the new PowerPoint for the students to have the most up-to-date information.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

None

NEW BUSINESS

Discussion of Library Operations during COVID-19 Case Increases

Discussion included the Library changing its current service model. The buildings are closed to the public, but limited services continue. Capacity and time limits were put into place the weekend before the building closure to allow patrons access before the Stay-at-Home Advisory was put in place by the Governor. The new service model includes a small reduction in weekday evening hours based on traffic patterns and usage.

Trustees commented it was a fast decision, but believe it was the right decision at this time with the large number and fast increase in Covid cases. The Board will be able to reevaluate the closure at the December meeting and see where the Stay-at-Home Advisory is after the current 30 days. A possible appointment system to use computers or make copies was a suggestion for patrons who have no other option for digital access. Messaging to older community members during this closure was stressed, and possibly making staff more accessible via phone to answer questions. The team is working to possibly create usable space in the former café for copying services and making sure signage is clear during the current closure.

Trustee Bernas feels the Library should be open to the public as it is a place that offers joy and believes that the Central Library is such a large building the public should be able to safely utilize it and its services. She asked the Library staff to keep these options available when possible, even if the building’s capacity needs to be low. Connected to a public comment about staff payment during the current building closure, Ms. Miskewitch clarified staff will be paid for the hours they work. With a large decrease in building visitors over the last month, President Forte-Scott thought a full building closure might not be the best options for the public and expressed interest in a hybrid model with appointments.

Review of Tuition Reimbursement Policy

Discussion included decreasing the budgeted amount allocated to this benefit from $48,000 to $10,000 from FY20 to FY21. In drafting this new policy, the personnel committee reviewed 15 area libraries and adopted best practices from their policies.

Staff who accept this benefit will now sign an agreement stating they will pay back a portion of the tuition reimbursement if they leave their Library position less than a year after the reimbursement. Trustee

Flannigan-Davies suggested stronger language in the agreement with details on procedure if a final paycheck doesn’t cover all of the tuition money owed. The current language is from the Library’s lawyers and is seen more as a deterrent than a legally enforceable agreement. A suggestion was made to pay the tuition amount over a year instead of a lump sum to avoid possible money owed back to the library if a staff member leaves before the year deadline. A fee stipend to help staff was suggested, but most employers do not reimburse textbooks or institutional fees. Another suggestion was made to reconsider nonpayment for a letter grade of C.

Approval of Waiver of Bid to Murphy Security Solutions in the amount of $60,960.00 for D-Tech Lockers

Treasurer Jonen moved and Trustee Hyman seconded the approval of Waiver of Bid to Murphy Security Solutions in the amount of $60,960.00 for D-Tech Lockers.

Discussion included the popularity of the Pick-Up Lockers. They are consistently full with holds waiting to be added. This purchase will be for two more locker units of the same size and capacity, one for each branch location. The locker placement at the branch locations was discussed and the possibility of building modifications to create protection from the elements.

Roll Call Vote:

Mrs. Wroblewski Bosshart Yes

Mr. Jonen Yes

Ms. Bernas Yes

Mrs. Seyring Yes

Ms. Hyman Yes

Ms. Flannigan-Davies Yes

Ms. Forte-Scott Yes

The motion passed unanimously.

Approval of Privacy Policy

Trustee Flannigan-Davies moved and Trustee Bernas seconded the approval of the Privacy Policy.

Discussion included the policy was edited on advice from the lawyers to make the section on video surveillance compliant with FOIA.

Roll Call Vote:

Mrs. Wroblewski Bosshart Yes

Mr. Jonen Yes

Ms. Bernas Yes

Mrs. Seyring Yes

Ms. Hyman Yes

Ms. Flannigan-Davies Yes

Ms. Forte-Scott Yes

The motion passed unanimously.

Approval of Proposed 2021 Calendar of Regular Board Meeting Dates

Vice-President Wroblewski Bosshart moved and Treasurer Jonen seconded the approval of Proposed 2021 Calendar of Regular Board Meeting Dates.

Roll Call Vote:

Mrs. Wroblewski Bosshart Yes

Mr. Jonen Yes

Ms. Bernas Yes

Mrs. Seyring Yes

Ms. Hyman Yes

Ms. Flannigan-Davies Yes

Ms. Forte-Scott Yes

The motion passed unanimously.

Approval of Proposed 2021 Calendar of Holiday Closures

Trustee Hyman moved and Trustee Flannigan-Davies seconded the approval of Proposed 2021 Calendar of Holiday Closures.

Roll Call Vote:

Mrs. Wroblewski Bosshart Yes

Mr. Jonen Yes

Ms. Bernas Yes

Mrs. Seyring Yes

Ms. Hyman Yes

Ms. Flannigan-Davies Yes

Ms. Forte-Scott Yes

The motion passed unanimously.

ADJOURNMENT

Trustee Bernas moved and Trustee Flannigan-Davies seconded that:

The Library Board adjourn regular session at 9:30 P.M.

Roll call vote:

Mrs. Wroblewski Bosshart Yes

Mr. Jonen Yes

Ms. Bernas Yes

Mrs. Seyring Yes

Ms. Hyman Yes

Ms. Flannigan-Davies Yes

Ms. Forte-Scott Yes

The motion passed unanimously.