The meeting of the Duluth Public Library Board was called to order by President Andrew Slade at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 26, 2008.
Present: L. Benson Johnson, D. Casperson, D. D'Allaird, V.
Katz, P. Markert, A. Slade, M. Watson, D. Ouse. Guests: J. Sheriff,
R. Zurn (Library staff members); City Councilor Jeff Anderson
Approval of Minutes from Library Board meeting
The Library Board minutes from the June 24, 2008, meeting were approved as distributed.
A. Friends of the Duluth Public Library
P. Markert reports that the Friends Book Sale was again successful, but the final count of money raised is not completed.
B. Director's Report
City Budget and Library Staffing Issues: On Friday, August 15, 2008, the City of Duluth announced 169 layoffs. The impact on the Library is the loss of nine permanent FTE employees and 24 part-time employees. Part-time employees' last day of work will be August 29, and the last day for permanent employees will be September 2. The effect on the Library will be a reduction in hours open to the public. As of September 2, both branches will close until further notice, and the open hours at Main will be:
Mondays 1:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Tuesdays 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Wednesdays 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Thursdays 1:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Fridays 1:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Saturdays 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Other service cuts will be necessary during this time. For example, the number of Internet computers available for public use will be reduced because our Computer Lab attendants have been laid off.
Volunteers: Mayor Ness is looking for ways of using volunteers to help get the city through the current budget crisis. At the Library, one idea is to use volunteers to sort and shelve materials so staff members could be freed up to cover more time on public-service desks and increase open hours, perhaps opening the branches on a limited basis. The mayor is looking for similar proposals from all city departments.
Library Director Job: D. Ouse will return to his job in Reference as of September 1. As another temporary, interim measure, two Librarian IIIs, Judy Sheriff and Renee Zurn, have agreed to serve as acting co-directors for a while. Mayor Ness and Lisa Potswald have said that a job description for the new job of Library Director (whatever the title will be) within the new Department of Public Life will be written soon and that the goal will be to fill the position permanently in January or February 2009, and that the Library Board will be involved in this process.
The Board discussed the Library's layoffs and reduced hours, including the planned closing of the branches. It is the feeling of Board members that the decision had to be made by administration and staff, but that the Board should have been consulted, since they serve in an advisory capacity to the Library Director and the city administration. D. Casperson proposed a plan to shift open hours of all three buildings to provide Saturday service at the branches, and also a proposal to use Library trust funds to pay salaries to keep libraries open for eighteen months or so if the projections for the 2010 budget are improved.
A. Slade read a draft of a letter he proposed to send to Mayor
Ness; the letter reflects the Board's above discussion and concerns
about not being consulted
by the administration. V. Katz moved and M. Watson seconded that the letter be sent; unanimously approved.
Councilor Anderson arrived at 5:10 p.m. and joined the discussion.
He agreed that the Board should be consulted in decisions such
as branch closings and
the reorganization. D. Ouse will email information on the trust funds to Board members, administration, and Councilor Anderson.
The meeting adjourned at 5:50 p.m.
The next meeting will be on Tuesday, September 23, 2008, at