Minutes for the July 13 Trustees Meeting

The meeting convened at 6 p.m. outside the library. Present were Cindy Binzen, Rachel Kurland, Miriam Newman, Curt Albee, Carol Wilson, Melissa Strayton (librarian) and Marty Frank.

Minutes from the June meeting were accepted.

Librarian’s Report:  Melissa reported that the library has been busy since we moved to Phase II of our reopening, which urges people to continue using our curbside service but also allows people to come in to the library after scheduling an appointment. Some people are calling ahead of time to see if there’s unscheduled time that would allow them to drop in, while a few are just showing up. Melissa said she is accommodating all those she can. Patrons have been quite cooperative in terms of wearing masks, sanitizing their hands and otherwise complying with our protocol. The sneeze shield and sanitizing gel offered by the state will be picked up soon.

Because people had been unable to return books for quite a while, the volume of books coming back to the library has been heavy, as has been circulation in general. Our GMLC downloadables are running slightly ahead of last year, when we had about 700, although Kanopy viewing has been sparse. Seven children have signed up for the summer reading program, which is lower than it has been in years past. Melissa will be calling the Turrell Foundation to seek guidance on what she should do about applying for a new grant. 

Special summer programming is continuing apace, with the Story Tree program and a scavenger hunt completed. Ahead are STEM-related fairy tales, Jack and the Beanstalk, a story walk at the pocket park and, finally, if conditions allow, a performance by the Swing Peepers on the common.

Melissa has renewed and received passes for VINS and the Billings museum, along with those from the state for parks and historical sites. Cindy suggested that we remind people of their availability on the listserv. Inter Library Loans restarted last week, with deliveries now coming in on Thursdays. An order for adult books has arrived and is being processed; one for children’s books and audio-visual materials is next. The library is now open for 18 of our 20 regular hours, and materials are being quarantined for three days in accordance with the most recent recommendations. Melissa asked if she should renew subscriptions for periodicals that had come due, and the trustees urged her to do so.

Friends’ Report: Reporting for the Friends, Cindy said their current focus is on finding officers who will serve in the coming year. (Officers are elected at the Friends annual meeting in the fall.) She noted that the organization has been struggling and asked Melissa if she could identify any library patrons who might be recruited to bolster its ranks. 

Treasurer’s Report: Rachel distributed the most recent profit-and-loss statement, noting that some expense/income amounts were significantly off from projections because of the pandemic but that we were otherwise on track. Money is available to us in the CDs we purchased if a cash flow problem arises, but so far we haven’t needed it. Meanwhile, she contacted the person who handles billing for Ecogy, the company that manages the solar array, to straighten out billing irregularities that were recently identified. When he asserted that we had failed to pay two bills in 2018, Rachel told him that she believed we had and asked why Ecogy hadn’t previously notified us that it thought we were in arrears. She asked him to provide us a final accounting that would reflect both what they believe we owe them and what we got overcharged when they were using an incorrect rate to determine our credits. She hasn’t heard from him yet. 

Miscellaneous: Curt said no progress has been made on the slate roof repair, and also recommended that we find a new mason if we want to rectify the off-color mortar used by the last one when the brickwork was repointed. The company that installed our septic system did not respond well to the letter Curt sent expressing our dissatisfaction with the quality of the raking and reseeding of our lawn, both after the system was installed and the remedial work was done this spring. The trustees decided not to pay the bill submitted for the grading, raking and seeding that should have been done properly after the septic system was installed. 

Cindy reported checking in with Roberta Robinson, who said the bookkeeping is going well. Ed Eastman has resumed a every-other-week schedule and will be asked to schedule a cleaning of our rugs. The leak in the basement that developed after we put in a new water line during the septic project has stopped, at least for now. Curt said he is trying to devise a permanent solution that won’t involve digging up the line. Cindy thinks that the basement dehumidifier should be put back into action, although it will have to be emptied by hand. Our new sign has been made and delivered but hasn’t been installed in the new frame because the hours don’t correspond to the schedule we’re using during the pandemic. 

Our next meeting will take place outside the library on Aug. 10 at 7 p.m.

Submitted by Marty Frank