Nesmith Library Board of Trustees

Tuesday, December 13, 2011



Present:  Trustees Mark Branoff (Chairman), Carolyn Webber (Vice-Chairman), Norman Boutillette (Treasurer), Mary Lee Underhill (Assistant Treasurer), Patricia Barstow (Recording Secretary)

Director Carl Heidenblad

Assistant Directors Lois Freeston, Diane Mayr

Others – Pam Skwiot, President of FLOW

Excused:  Trustees Peter Tousignant, Karen Marcil (Corresponding Secretary)


Call to Order:

The meeting was called to order at 7:05 pm.


The meeting began with a presentation by Pam Skwiot, the new president of FLOW. She reported that the Friends had a very well attended meeting in October and that both the FLOW and Strawberry Festival Boards are now fully staffed. The organization is moving forward with some new programming ideas and is planning the winter book fair, which may be held March 9 & 10. The first planning meeting for the Strawberry Festival (scheduled for June 2) will take place next month. Laura Stith and Laura Bellavia are the Festival co-chairs. FLOW would like to keep the lines of communication open with the Trustees and will try to send a representative to our Board meeting every month. The Trustees thanked FLOW for all that they do and invited them to take an active role in our marketing push for the library.


Minutes:  The minutes from the November 8, 2011 meeting were accepted as written.


Correspondence: There was no new correspondence this month.



            Treasurer’s Report:  Spending is on track with 88% of the operating budget spent as around 92% of the year has elapsed. The non-lapsing #1 account has been temporarily drawn down and will be replenished when FLOW reimburses the library for the office renovation.


Director’s Report: Lending was up in November over 2010.


Carl has been reviewing applications for the open staff positions but has been reluctant to move forward before getting approval from the Selectmen. Carl, Mark, Norman, and Peter attended the Selectmen’s meeting last night and Carl now believes that staffing will not be an issue, and he hopes to fill the open positions in mid to late January. The Trustees were very pleased by the support voiced for GMILCS. Regarding GMILCS, the Selectmen’s only questions related to cost, what we will get for our money, and which other libraries participate. The library was commended for coming in slightly under budget for the year.


 GMILCS Report:  The preliminary GMILCS training has been completed and Carl thanked the Board for allowing the library to close on three Friday mornings. All three training sessions were very valuable and the librarians were able to really get the feel of the new software system without running live. The last Friday’s session was particularly instructive as the circulation librarian from Manchester Public Library did extensive role playing with the staff that allowed them to exercise many features of the software. Within the next few days, Carl, Carolyn, and Elaine will travel to the Amherst library for cataloging while Diane, Terri, Jena, and Cathy will shadow the circulation librarians in Hooksett.


The biggest glitch found so far concerns our current barcode system. It contains four types and several subtypes, and about a third of our books are incompatible with any system other than Follett. We’ve purchased 50,000 labels in a very standard format and about 7,000 labels have been replaced so far, in about three days. This is a task that could be performed by volunteers and the hope is that enough of the conversion will be completed by January 18th so that it won’t be disruptive to normal circulation desk operations. The barcodes can be changed while using the Follett system and transferred easily over to Polaris.


Overall, progress toward our launch date is excellent.


Strategic Planning Committee Report:  The approved minutes of the October 17 and November 14, 2011 Strategic Planning Committee meetings were presented to the Board.


The mission statement, goals, and objectives were sent out for review by staff, trustees, and others, with a comment period to end Friday, December 16.


Unfinished Business:


Marketing Nesmith Library:

Carl is arranging a meeting with Stacey Bruzzese of Final Details Marketing and Design; all interested trustees will be invited.


Diane was commended for marketing the library on Facebook with her well-chosen daily messages.


New Business:


Approve town’s request for the library to limit 2011 appropriation spending to only essential items:

The selectmen strongly recommend that all departments limit spending. The library has $12,000 - 15,000 left to spend this year. We’ll have at least one more large fuel bill of around $2,000. Because the HVAC system is so fluky, we could well have another $3,000 related maintenance expenditure in addition.


Approve 2012 Appropriation Budget:

The decrease in the salary line item on the 2012 Appropriation Budget comes primarily from decreasing the Young Adult librarian position by ten hours.


A motion was made by Carolyn that we approve a budget appropriation of $964,710 for the 2012 calendar year. The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.


In 2009, we were budgeted $22,000 more than in 2012 and this is the fourth year that the staff has gone without any cost of living increase. At some point, this trend has to end since the cost of doing business is not decreasing.


Energy Audit:

The Local Energy Committee may have money available to perform an energy audit of the library; Patricia will pursue this.


Refusal to loan a book to a non-patron:

There have been several mentions in the Pelham-Windham News’ Thumbs column recently of an incident in which a librarian declined to loan a book to a child from Pelham who doesn’t have a Nesmith library card and didn’t wish to acquire one. Under current rules, the only ways to borrow a book are to be a cardholder or to get a book through inter-library loan, which must be initiated at the requesting library rather than the lending library. The lessons to learn from this controversy are that not everyone is in favor of the library and that customer service is, as always, important.


A motion was made by Carolyn and was seconded to extend the meeting to discuss Carl’s performance evaluation. The motion passed unanimously.


Performance evaluations are due to Mark on January 5 for discussion at the January 10 meeting. Carl thinks this was a better year than most, with major positive changes in the form of the office renovation and our decision to join and preparations for joining GMILCS. There have been many related challenges for the staff and they’ve risen up and responded well. The primary goal for 2012 will be to make sure our GMILCS entrance and use of Polaris go well. We also need to start planning to reenter the CIP program for two things: enough money to re-carpet the entire library and, possibly, to address the HVAC issues. Thus, the two things to work on next year are GMILCS/Polaris and the CIP.



Trustees’ Meeting: The next regular Trustees’ meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 10, 2012 beginning at 7:00 pm.


GMILCS: The GMILCS Board of Directors will be meeting at the Nesmith Library on January 19, 2012 at 1:00 pm.


The meeting was adjourned at 9:01 pm.



Respectfully submitted,

Patricia Barstow

Draft subject to approval