Minutes for the March 8 Trustees Meeting

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

Minutes from the February meeting were accepted.

Friends’ Report: David said the Friends will be meeting in April and soon will be launching a membership drive. He has been investigating the possibility of resuming the July book sale this year and isn’t hopeful. There’s a good chance that there will still be a sizable percentage of people who won’t be fully vaccinated — making the logistics of setting up and running a sale daunting — and it doesn’t look like there will be much else happening in town to celebrate July 4. The Homestead will have an online auction but no gallery-garden event, and the firefighters haven’t decided if they’ll do much more than a drive-by parade. The possibility of having the sale on Indigenous Peoples Day or the day of the Homestead’s apple festival (an event that is still up in the air at this point) was briefly discussed. An October sale would require transporting the books to Barrett Hall, and the decision to set that date would probably have to be made by July, according to Rachel.

Librarian’s Report:  Melissa said she had little to report because so much of her time this past month has been devoted to the painting project. She has recently received a large order of books and has a large order that is ready to go, although she may divide it into two more manageable pieces. The back order situation remains bad; delivery times that used to be one week are running between three and four weeks, which makes it challenging to orchestrate a good flow of new books into the library. She has recently chatted with Sarah Rogers about the summer reading program. Sarah has a good outline put together and may do a promotional program in April. The plan is to have the summer lineup set before school ends so word can be spread among pupils while they’re still in session. Melissa faces three deadlines this week: the annual report to the state; a grant report to the state for federal money we’ve received (for the courier service); and a grant application for a summer performer. The bills have arrived for the painting project, and the total amount $6,515 ($1,093 for moving and storage; $5,422 for the painting) was considerably less than estimated by the painters and movers. The trustees heartily thanked Melissa for all the work she’s done on the project — and Curt for making arrangements. 

Treasurer’s Report: Rachel said the laptop we ordered has been received and Doug Erhard will be asked to set it up. H&R Block is still working on our 990s; Rachel will continue to check in.  John Hawkins of the Investment Committee has been investigating the advisability of switching our investments to socially conscious funds and had found that there appears to be little difference in how they perform. The committee will continue to explore that and eventually make a recommendation to trustees. Rachel distributed a profit-and-loss statement prior to the meeting that showed that our income is running behind last year, in part because we received more donations at the beginning of 2020, and that keeping the library closed has not reduced our expenses. 

Other Business: Cindy mentioned reupholstery of the furniture and landscaping as projects we might want to tackle now that the painting is done. Rachel said she has boxed or shelved most of the books in the basement. The search for a home for the collection of medieval French books continues as does one for a nonprofit or other entity that would take books left from the last sale. 

The Personnel Committee — aka Marty and Cindy — met with Melissa via Zoom to offer an assessment of her performance. Among the things that were discussed was the fact that she didn’t take vacation last year and the possibility of her taking some additional time off to compensate her for the extra hours she put in for the painting project.

Roberta has suggested that we explore the possibility of getting insurance through the Vermont League of Cities and Towns to take advantage of the discounted rates available to municipalities. It was agreed that we’ll check it out, although several trustees vaguely recalled trying that before and finding out that we’re ineligible because we’re not entirely a municipal entity. Duties next month include deciding how we wish to thank our volunteers.

Election of Officers and other annual duties: 

Rachel nominated, Marty seconded that Cindy continue as president/chair. The board unanimously voted in favor.

Marty nominated, Cindy seconded that Rachel continue as treasurer. The board unanimously voted in favor.

Rachel nominated, Carol seconded that Marty continue as secretary. The board unanimously voted in favor.

Marty proposed and Miriam seconded that the board continue to meet the second Monday of every month via Zoom until circumstances allow us to do otherwise. The board unanimously approved.

Cindy moved and Marty seconded that the officers of the board be excluded from protection under the state of Vermont’s Workers Compensation Act. That was unanimously approved.

The next meeting will be April 12 at 7 p.m. via Zoom.

Submitted by Marty Frank