Minutes for the May 9 Trustees Meeting

The meeting convened at 7 p.m. via Zoom. Attending were Cindy Binzen, Curt Albee, Miriam Newman, Rachel Kurland, Carol Wilson, Melissa Strayton (librarian) and Marty Frank.

Minutes from the April meeting were accepted.

Future Projects: Curt has contacted Sean Ward about digging up the water line running into the library basement that is the suspected source of the leak. Shawn Harlow, the plumber, has been notified as well. The work is unlikely to happen before Memorial Day. Curt had no additional information to offer about his proposals for improving the basement, but pointed out that putting up Tyvek would not be a big deal, although painting the floor would be more of a project. He’s continuing to look for a suitable person to give us a quote on the work that needs to be done on the roof. Cindy suggested we solicit a quote from Eli Mintz for taking down the large spruce in front of the building. Eric Thorp has agreed to take care of the lawn this summer. Curt will explore if there might be some financial assistance available through Efficiency Vermont if we replace the building’s windows.

Librarian’s Report: Melissa reported that she recently placed a large order for books, which should be arriving soon, and she’s working on a children’s book order. Six DVDs, all movies that won Academy Awards, have been added to the collection. Melissa has been busy preparing for the GMLC switchover to a new platform. Fortunately, Kevin Lynch, a tech-savvy, now full-time resident of Strafford who has become a regular volunteer, is helping with the work. Melissa and Sarah are still working with One Planet to provide after-school programming. About seven kids have been attending through the library’s program. The two are continuing to prepare summer programming. One presenter, booked in collaboration with the Thetford library, will discuss the era when Vermont was under water, and there might be a second presenter who will sing sea shanties. Also under consideration is providing chalk to kids and inviting them to draw sea creatures on the walk into the side entrance. There will be books available to go along with all the water-themed activities.

No progress has been made on improving the website, and Melissa would like to at least get some of the information updated and current. The board suggested that the tech-savvy Kevin Lynch might be someone who could help us. There is still money available from the ARPA grant. Melissa intends to get a dollie for moving around books, a sound system and additional books. Further elaborating on the impending change of platforms by GMLC, Melissa said she’ll need to notify patrons about what’s coming, including the fact that they’ll need a password to borrow books. The switch is scheduled for June 1. At a recent meeting, the Friends organization authorized spending up to $4,000 to support library programs — about what has been spent over the last few years — including increases for periodicals, GMLC and a summer presenter.

Treasurer’s Report: Rachel distributed a profit and loss statement ahead of the meeting that contained nothing noteworthy about our budgetary situation. She also sent out a proposed revision in the Rules of Operation that govern the Library Investment Committee to account for the fact that management of most of the library’s endowment has been turned over to Mascoma Wealth Management. Marty questioned if it makes sense to write the rules in a way that specifies what entity might be contracted to handle investments rather than giving the investment committee the right to authorize any agent to do that. Rachel said she would ask the committee about that. Marty moved, Carol seconded that the proposed rules of operation be approved as proposed or amended according to Marty’s suggestion. The motion passed unanimously. The 990 for 2021 is being worked on. The 2019 990 was rejected by the IRS because H&R failed to provide a Schedule B that its filing incorrectly indicated should be included. Rachel has sent a letter to the IRS explaining that H&R had mistakenly checked off a wrong box, but doesn’t know how long it will take to get a reply.

Other business: Cindy talked to Catherine Tudish about participating in the reading we had hoped to host earlier and learned that the book she was going to read from was never published. Catherine suggested we think about inviting Melanie Finn instead. With Covid case counts climbing again in the state and the future direction of the pandemic uncertain, none of the trustees expressed interest in pursuing a special program right now. Melissa has been approached by the Unitarian Church about having the library co-sponsor some type of regular outdoor poetry-reading event. One of the challenges in doing that would be finding a venue that’s not too noisy. The pocket park was suggested as a possibility. Blake Spencer has agreed to conduct a walk-around of the library next Tuesday at 4:30 to see if he has any suggestions for improving the children’s space. Carol said she’ll take care of the volunteer thank-you’s that were inadvertently overlooked. Melissa said she would like to have a tent put up this summer for children’s programming. If the summer program is inaugurated at the pocket park, we can wait until a tent is erected for the summer booksale. 

Submitted by Marty Frank