Nesmith Library Board of Trustees

Tuesday, May 10, 2011



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

Director Carl Heidenblad

Assistant Directors Lois Freeston, Diane Mayr

Excused:  Trustees Peter Tousignant


Call to Order:

The meeting was called to order at 7:02 pm.


Minutes:  The minutes from the April 12, 2011 meeting were accepted unanimously without changes.


Correspondence: The Board has received a thank you note from Jena Day for flowers sent to her for Administrative Professionals’ Day.



            Treasurer’s Report:  With one-third of the year elapsed, 30% and 36%, respectively, of the personnel and operating budgets have been spent. The same four line items as last month are overspent, for the same reasons.


            Director’s Report:  The library currently has 8891 registered patrons, with a female to male ratio of roughly 5 to 2. Approximately 28.5% of patrons are age 18 or younger. The split between adult and youth circulation has always been around 50%. This is an important statistic because some people think the library serves only children, and that clearly is not true. Circulation compared with last year is still softening. Books still account for 68% of circulation, so they’re not going away. Audio/visual materials make up around 9% of the collection and account for 26% of circulation. Audio/visual circulation in 2004 was around 18%. There has been some growth in e-book lending but not as much as expected. Of the 454 patrons who have used the NHDB downloadable products, it appears that most have downloaded audio rather than e-books.


The library feels busier than last year yet circulation is down. At a recent conference, Carl asked whether other libraries were experiencing the same phenomenon and all but three of the 57 libraries represented at the conference said yes. This indicates a change in the nature of library usage. The library’s gathering spaces, childrens’ programming, and inter-library loan services are all very well-used. It would be good to know how many of the town’s residents now use e-readers. Carl’s sense is that they are widely used among voracious readers. Circulation is the traditional way that library use has been assessed but, for a more accurate picture, we need to track other transactions as well. For example, the web site and its tools are being used more, the Facebook page gets about 150 visits a week, and the library has about 21 followers on twitter. Around five thousand inter-library loan items are checked out annually and are not included in the circulation statistics.


Staff member Vicky Freeston had a baby girl and is not covered by the Family Leave & Protection Act. The Board considered granting her a leave of absence which would guarantee that her job will be held for her until she returns to work. During her absence, hours of other staff members will be shifted somewhat to cover for her. The staff is very good at covering for one another and the only person who will be seriously affected will be Terri, who does the scheduling. Carolyn is in favor of placing a three-month limit on the length of the leave. Patricia also favors limiting the leave but would make the maximum length five or six months.


A motion was made by Mary Lee, and was seconded, to grant Vicky Freeston a leave of absence for three months from today’s date, with an extension of the leave subject to review at that time.


To expedite the exterior lighting renovation, Carl is starting to get quotes from independent electricians.


Carl has explored the idea of a propane generator with two companies and found it quite impractical. While he has no cost estimates yet, he thinks it will be a much more complicated and expensive job than originally thought. There are two hubs of electricity in the building so major rewiring would be necessary. Installing two smaller generators would also require extensive rewiring. Given the library’s location, it is usually up and running before most of the rest of the town, so a generator might not be needed very often in order to provide a place for people to find heat, running water, and working computers during power outages.


The building has no assisted entrance doors for disabled patrons. Carl will get quotes for assisted doors (with the large square pushbuttons) and expects them to run in the range of $2,500 to $6,000. In its current state, the library is ADA compliant because of when the building was built, but it isn’t right to be inaccessible to some patrons.


Carl will be giving his final e-book workshops on the afternoon and evening of May 18. After this, he may schedule trouble-shooting sessions on Friday afternoons once or twice a month for a few months. Further out, he will reevaluate the patrons’ needs relative to e-readers. OverDrive and Amazon plan to amend their policy towards libraries so that libraries won’t need to repurchase titles they or their lending consortia already own. At that point, there may be a flood of Kindle users who would benefit from a library workshop or other services as e-books through the library become available to them.


The library’s presence at the Strawberry Festival has diminished since the festival was relocated to the high school. Carl will explore the possibility of having a booth at the festival, possibly to educate and help people with e-readers. This would be advertised ahead of time so that people could bring their e-readers with them.


Carl thanked the Board for allowing the staff to attend the New Hampshire Library Association Conference. It was an excellent conference and attendance was excellent, particularly on Thursday, May 5, when the library was closed.


Strategic Planning Committee Report:  The minutes of the March 28, 2011 Strategic Planning Committee have not yet been approved and so were not presented to the board.


Unfinished Business:

A motion was made to go into non-public session to discuss personnel considerations pertaining to the office renovation. The vote was as follows:


Patricia Barstow: yes

Norman Boutillette: yes

Mark Branoff: yes

Karen Marcil: yes

Mary Lee Underhill: yes

Carolyn Webber: yes


After a discussion, Norman made a motion to exit the non-public session. The vote was as follows:


Patricia Barstow: yes

Norman Boutillette: yes

Mark Branoff: yes

Karen Marcil: yes

Mary Lee Underhill: yes

Carolyn Webber: yes


Library Office Renovation: Carl has locked in a price with Mark LeMay of Creative Office Pavilion for the installation portion of the office renovation. The $15,848.42 bill for this work will be paid by FLOW. Remaining concerns include removal of the old furniture; painting and cleanup; electrical work; and removal, storage, and sale of the compact shelving (proceeds from this sale would go back into the library fund). This work will probably have to be performed by an independent contractor, and that will cost more money. Carl suggests that money for this part of the renovation could come from the non-lapsing fund since the Friends are paying for the bulk of work.


Two possibilities for the timing of the project are the end of August into early September and the last couple weeks in December. Carl feels that December is too far out and would like to have the work start right after the summer reading program ends in August. It is possible that the work could be accomplished without closing the library.


A motion was made by Norman, and was seconded, to extend the meeting in order to finish this discussion. The motion passed unanimously.


It is not known yet whether the carpeting will need to be changed as part of the renovation.



Strategic Planning Committee Meeting: The next meeting of the Strategic Planning Committee will take place on Monday, May 16, 2011 at 6:30 pm.


Trustees’ Meeting: The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 beginning at 7:00 pm.


Annual NH Attorney General’s Library Trustees’ Session: This informative session will be held on Tuesday, June 7, from 1-4 pm. Mark will send an email reminder toward end of May.


The meeting was adjourned at 8:39 pm.



Respectfully submitted,

Patricia Barstow

Draft subject to approval