Minutes for Jan. 9 2023 Trustees Meeting

The meeting convened at the library at 7 p.m. Present were Cindy Binzen, Miriam Newman, Carol Wilson, Rachel Kurland, Curt Albee, Marty Frank, Kevin Lynch (observer) and Melissa Strayton (librarian). Diane White (Friends) joined for a short period.

Minutes of the December meeting were accepted.

Librarian’s Report: Melissa reported that she’ll be putting in an order for new materials soon. Attendance at the after-school program dropped by about half — to six —after a parent group decided to offer a cross-country skiing program on Monday afternoons. Melissa has reached out to Kaitlin O’Leary about reviving a pre-school storytime and has received no response. No progress has been made on the patron questionnaire, but weeding of the collection has continued. The state has gone live with the Palace App and Melissa intends to become sufficiently acquainted with its operation to feel comfortable to inform our patrons about it. Doug Erhard put some security software on the computers, but Melissa thinks we might want to upgrade it from the free version. The trustees urged her to get Doug’s opinion about that. Carol Langstaff dropped off a CD player and some CDs for the library to loan out, particularly to homebound seniors. The trustees suggested posting or distributing a flyer at senior lunches to help make people aware of their availability. The cushions have been ordered for the children’s room. The state is late in distributing material that libraries need to submit their annual reports. 

John Freitag has organized a session on Feb. 7 to discuss the book Braiding Sweetgrass and has invited Laura Ogden, an anthropology professor, to help facilitate the discussion. Melissa expressed concern about how many people might show up: Our Building Use Policy limits the number of people who can attend an event to 30. The trustees noted that the discussion could be moved to the Homestead if attendance seems likely to exceed our limit.

We need a new phone.

Friends Report: Diane reported that the Friends board met after the recent holiday sale to discuss its future — specifically whether to return to the pre-pandemic structure (raffle, wreaths and white elephant/baked goods sale at the library) or continue with the streamlined version (raffle, wreaths). Because the organization, like all nonprofits in town, is finding it challenging to recruit volunteers and because there isn’t a huge difference in the amount of money raised, it’s likely to continue with the slimmed-down version. The Friends are still planning to hold a book sale this July but have failed to make contact with Discovery Books, which carted away our unsold books last year.

Treasurer’s Report: Rachel distributed an end-of-year profit and loss statement, which showed the library taking in about $4,000 more than it spent, largely because of a generous bequest.

She also discussed the latest version of the 2023 budget that she’s been working on. That spending plan projects income of about $59,450 (compared with $62,500 in actual income in 2022) and expenses of $63,600 (compared with 2022 spending of $59,300). Personnel, heating oil, snow removal and cleaning are among the line items that showed the greatest increases. Trustees suggested a few tweaks — including accounting for the money we’ll be spending on the website improvement — but were satisfied with the plan. The projected deficit —about $4,000 before accounting for website work — will be covered by money that we entrusted to the Library Investment Committee when our checking balance got too large or from interest earned on the Campbell bequest. Marty, moved, Miriam seconded, that the library request the same amount, $34,000, from the town. The motion passed unanimously. 

Other Business:  Reporting for the committee that’s working with Geoff Hansen on improving our website, Carol said that the three committee members think our new logo should aim to be as welcoming as possible and incorporate some representation of our building. The trustees concurred and also signed off on Geoff’s suggestion that we host the site through Squarespace, which will cost about $200 annually. Geoff wasn’t able to get much done on the project last month because of illness.

Cindy raised the idea of funding our roof repair project by applying for a combination of grants, including from the pot of money that’s being made available to Vermont libraries and perhaps through some sort of historic preservation grant. If we do secure money from the second source, we’d probably have to replace the slate roof with new slate rather than standing seam, as was most recently discussed. A historic preservation grant, however, might come with conditions about future changes to the building. The most recent estimate for replacing the back roof with standing seam is about $40,000.

Miriam is continuing to review and come up with proposed revisions to our our current set of policies. She invited trustees to review the policies themselves and forward any suggestions or questions to her before our next meeting. Cindy will be meeting with Joey Hawkins and Danette Harris to talk about the book discussion group that we’ll be co-hosting with the church. Marty and Rachel will prepare and submit the budget summary and annual narrative for the town report. Marty will type up the bylaws that we revised in the recent past but never put into writing. 

Our next meeting will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 22, at  6:30 p.m. at the library.

Submitted by Marty Frank