Oak Park Library Report 1-21-14

Observer Report


Oak Park Public Library

Board of Library Trustees

Regular Meeting, Tuesday January 21, 2014


Main Library, Scoville Room

Marilyn Cantisano, Alternate Observer


Present: Trustees: Matthew Fruth, Lane Hart (President), David Sokol, Janet Kelensen, Win Fox, Staff Executive Director  David Seleb, Assistant Director for Administrative Services James Madigan, Assistant Director for Public Services Cindy Landrum. Office Manager Rita Earle.


Absent: Matt Baron, Bruce Samuels


Approval of Minutes:  Approved


Staff  Introductions: Newly hired as Network Manager, Ron Friedman told of his considerable background as a consultant.  Eric Battaglia is Interim Manager for Digital Services.


Trustee Comments and Board Calendar:


Trustee Sokol questioned a Maze policy that the study room can be reserved not more than 24 hours in advance.  Since Main Library Study Rooms can be reserved further in advance, would it be possible to increase the time for Maze as well?  It will be looked into.


Trustee Kelensen made some adjustments/additions to the February calendar to make clear the timing for the evaluation of Director Seleb.


Trustee Kelensen asked Director Seleb to explain more about the Harwood Method of Community Engagement and how it will be implemented. Director Seleb explained that he would hold once a month staff meetings.  These are just beginning and are starting with 10 staff members selected from throughout the system to be representative of the system. They will discuss organization and learning in the library and how to engage the community to get input on its interests and then to implement those interests.  There will also be four open meetings scheduled for February with community members to hear of the desires directly from the community members and what they expect from the library.  These meetings will be ongoing, and the goal of the feedback is to implement policies and programs. At first meetings will be advertized to public.  As time goes on there may be specific people asked to attend. The purpose is to then take action based on what was discussed. Trustee Hart asked if Village concerns such as the homeless or latchkey kids would be part of the discussion.  Seleb said he suspected so and that the Harwood approach encourages community engagement for community change.


Trustee Hart presented Assistant Director for Administrative Services James Madigan an award of recognition and appreciation for his 20 years of service to the Library.


Visitor Comments:  None


Financial Reports:


Distributions for December 2013 were approved. 


There was a question about the miscellaneous item reporting $22,000 income. Mr. Madigan explained it was a pass through on the expense line.


There was discussion of the fact that the recommended standard for IL libraries is a 12% expenditure of the total budget on materials for the library. Is this enough?  Too much? Discussion will continue on this topic.


Unfinished Business

2014 Strategic Action Plan presented for approval


Trustee Fox commented the plan seemed to be getting lost in the verbiage and recommended that the language be simplified.  It was agreed this could be done later without changing the substance of the document. It was decided that a second action plan would be added to Goal 10. The plan states: Investigate new ways to increase non-profit tax revenue. Director Seleb said that next year it would be time to take a fresh look at mission and goals.


The plan was approved as amended.


2014 Executive Director Action Plan was approved


Proposed Policy Revision on Termination of Employment


There was a long discussion on the proposed changes to this policy.  Director Seleb stated that the revisions are attorney recommended to give the Board and Library Director more flexibility in each individual situation.  Trustees Sokol and Fox were unhappy with the clause “The Executive Director may dismiss an employee at will for any reason or for no reason and with or without prior warning.” They felt it harsh and not in keeping with the kind of culture they would like to see at the library.  Director Seleb said there is an excellent evaluation process in place that includes evaluation and corrective performance for the employee, if necessary. Only if that failed would there be termination of employment and that the terminology used in the policy is in accordance with state law.  Trustee Sokol continued to disprove of the new revision.  Trustee Hart said that he felt this revision was the best way to protect the interests of the library and that it is up to the Board to determine if the actions of the Executive Director are in the best interest of the library.  Trustee Fruth felt the policy as revised was clear and necessary.


Motion was approved to accept the policy as revised with Trustee Sokol voting nay.


Proposed Revisions on Executive Director’s Evaluation Process approved.



New Business

Ad Hoc Fundraising report


The role in fundraising by the Friends of the Library was discussed.  At present The Friends are putting all efforts into the Book Fair.  Membership is down, and there was a discussion about having a membership drive.  Trustee Sokol recommended that having a specific goal/project in mind would be helpful if there is to be a fundraising drive.

A representative from the Community Foundation is willing to speak to the Board or Fundraising Committee to help them understand how to develop a plan and what specific things help to make a successful plan.  The Board decided that the representative should meet with the Fundraising Committee first.





In addition to general reports, most of which had been discussed throughout the evening, Associate Director Madigan reported on the issue of homeless youth who are at the library daily.  He has taken action to help them return to school, but doesn’t feel it is always successful.  There is also an issue with the homeless in general at the library.  The Board discussed that there have been complaints from community members using the library if the behavior of homeless is loud or intrusive.  The Board agreed that this is really an overall community issue and needs a coordinated effort, but that other agencies are slow to get involved.  Director Seleb attends meetings for the Coalition for the Homeless.  Security and staff are sensitive to the issue.


There is also a request by Village Hall to look at the library as an alternate/additional site for early voting.  It needs to be clarified what the Village is requesting.  An additional site might be possible.  Using the library as the sole site would not work.


In regard to the Book Fair, the rental cost of the high school space needs to be fair and will be discussed in March.  The Friends are thinking of starting the book fair on Friday afternoon.


There was discussion on the NO GUN law.  The library is a public building, and the law does not allow guns.  The posting of the sign is secondary.  If a sign is posted, the institution is responsible for enforcement, but the library is already responsible for maintaining a no gun zone.  The question of a patron leaving a gun in a car in the library parking garage was raised. Is the garage still library property?  Should a sign be placed outside the garage? These questions need clarification.


Board adjourned at 9:35pm


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