Minutes for the Dec. 13 Trustees Meeting

The meeting convened at 6:30 p.m. at the library. Attending were Cindy Binzen, Curt Albee, Miriam Newman (via telephone), Steven Campbell, Rebeca Fucci, Rachel Kurland, Carol Wilson,, Melissa Strayton (librarian) and Marty Frank.

Minutes from the November meeting were accepted.

Rebeca Fucci, attending the meeting with her father, Steven Campbell, said that her uncle, Robert Campbell, who passed away in February, had created a trust that would benefit the family farm and the library, which was his mother’s abiding passion. Robert Campbell’s hope was that the trust would generate enough income to sustain the family farm. Rebecca explained that the income generated by the trust after taxes are paid to settle Robert’s estate will not be enough to cover the farm’s bills. If the trust is left as is, it will not benefit either the family farm or the library. The family wishes to go to probate court and end the trust to give the Campbell family more flexibility with the assets — a change the library would have to support. The family has calculated what the library might receive if the trust were to stay in force and has proposed a distribution of $56,000 to the library as a result. If the family were able to get the court’s approval before March 4, it would be able to preserve more of the principal and an additional $40,000 would be distributed to the library. That means the family needs not only our support but whatever help we can provide to expedite the matter.

After expressing stunned gratitude for the family’s generosity, the trustees agreed to consult a lawyer as soon as possible and hold an emergency meeting soon after to make a decision.

Librarian’s Report: Melissa said that she has been working on orders for audios, DVDs and books. An important part of the ordering process at the end of the year is to review the various lists put out by the New York Times, NPR and other media that identify what they believe were the best books of the year. Melissa was pleased to discover that the library already had many of the titles recommended.

Melissa also said that the collaboration with One Planet to offer after-school programming is going well, and a workable arrangement is in place for sharing some of the costs. One Planet has offered to continue that collaboration for the next eight-week session, which Melissa supports. The trustees endorsed that. Meanwhile, Sarah Rogers is attending some workshops in preparation for this year’s summer reading program. 

Melissa said her next big project will be compiling statistics to submit for the annual report to the state. She also plans to post something on the listserv that explains our longstanding practice of dedicating a children’s book whenever a Strafford household welcomes an addition to its family. We’re hoping that will help us stay on top of births. 

Friends Report: Reporting for the Friends, Cindy said we had received a check for $2,400, which represents the rounded-up proceeds from the recent raffle and wreath sale. Rachel said the library is ready to start accepting book donations for the summer sale.

Other Business: The basement is sufficiently cleared out for the scheduled furnace cleaning on Dec. 30. Any thought about the slow leak in the basement has been officially banned until the arrival of warm weather. We still haven’t heard a peep from Tom Cecere regarding the possibility of ECF building a hub on the library property. Responses to this year’s appeals letter have been slow.

Treasurer’s Report. Rachel reported that the most recent profit and loss statement, which covers through the beginning of December, indicates that our expenses are pretty much in line with our budgeted amounts. Once we receive our final quarterly payment from the town, compensation for expenses from the Friends and whatever comes in for the appeals letter, we should come close to meeting our income projections. Rachel has talked to a person from H&R Block, which prepared our previous two years of 990 tax filings. She discovered that the IRS is so overwhelmed right now that it is not even accepting electronic submissions. In any case, it appears that our 2020 filing has been received and processed, but there remains a question about the 2019 one. If there’s a problem, it’s one that the IRS is responsible for, not us.

After consulting with Melissa, Rachel drafted a 2022 budget that projects $57,545 in income (as compared with $56,732 budgeted for 2021) and $57,299 in expenses ($55,686 in 2021). The proposed budget includes few significant changes. On the income side, we’re counting on $4,000 from the summer book sale (we didn’t budget for one in 2021), $1,000 more in the grant from the Turrell Foundation and no withdrawal from our reserve or checking accounts. All the changes on the expense side were minor, including slight reductions in spending on DVDs and Audiobooks. The trustees suggested a few more tweaks, and Rachel will return with a final proposal at the next regular meeting. Rachel moved, Curt seconded that we request $34,000 from the town — the same amount we have received for a number of years.

Marty moved, Curt seconded that we move into executive session. The session began at 8:10 and adjourned at about 8:25.

Submitted by Marty Frank