Minutes for the Nov. 9 Trustees Meeting

The meeting convened at 6:30 p.m. in the education center at the Morrill Homestead. Present were Cindy Binzen, Rachel Kurland, Curt Albee, David Webb (for the Friends), Carol Wilson, Melissa Strayton (librarian) and Marty Frank.

Minutes from the October meeting were accepted as amended.

Friends’ Report: David reported that the Holiday Sale had been reduced in scale in response to the pandemic. There will be a raffle and wreath sale. The Friends are considering using a website, Givebutter, geared toward nonprofit fundraising that would allow them to handle payments, bookkeeping, etc, for a small charge. 

Librarian’s Report: Melissa said that the schedule of open hours hasn’t been changed, but she’s watching the situation. Numbers are rising, and she believes we should be prepared to return to Phase I protocols if need be. She’s discussing the situation with other librarians to keep track of what’s happening in similar-sized libraries. Noting that a plexiglass barrier wouldn’t offer much protection in her workspace, she’s also thinking of getting a face shield. 

Melissa handed out a report comparing this year’s circulation with last year’s. It showed 2020 circulation starting the year slightly higher than in 2019, dropping significantly at the onset of the pandemic and then recovering substantially, although not completely. Melissa said that we had 236 patrons in 2019 and 179 this year — a drop that seems to be in line with other libraries. Movies, adult fiction, picture books and books for emerging readers have been circulating briskly; audiobooks and nonfiction have not.

Ordering for the collection is going well. The order from last month just came in — because of consolidation in the book business, it takes about an extra week for ordered books to arrive — and a new order will go out this week. Sarah is putting together ideas for the website she created for children and families and is also thinking about other programming. Melissa and Sarah are considering putting together a take-and-make craft project tied to books for the holidays. Melissa is also contemplating the possibility of starting a newsletter to keep active users of the library informed about what’s going on. She hasn’t had a chance to to think about changes she’d like to make to the website.

Melissa has completed an end-of-the-year report for the Turrell grant and plans to apply for a new round of funding.

Treasurer’s Report: Rachel sent out a P&L statement before the meeting. It showed that spending is occurring pretty much as budgeted. We should end the year with our expenditures not too far off from our income, although we’ll have spent a fairly large percentage of the bequests we received. Rachel also noted that she’ll be working on next year’s budget. The board agreed that we should keep our request from the town at the same level as it’s been for quite a while, unless we hear otherwise from the selectboard. The board also agreed that we’re comfortable taking money from the endowment to balance our 2021 budget during the pandemic.

Rachel is going to explore the possibility of using the online version of Quickbooks. That would involve paying a monthly fee, but would offer the advantage of allowing remote access and automatic backup. 

The solar company has sent us a new monthly bill that included our annual “true-up.” After several months of failing to account for the small amount of money they believed we owed them from past billing cycles, they’ve decided to drop the matter and just move on.

Marty moved to give Roberta Robinson authority to sign checks. Carol seconded, and it passed unanimously.

Rachel said she hasn’t heard from Kerry about where our 990 stands. She’ll continue to try to get in contact with him and explore other options if it becomes necessary to hire someone. She did get a letter from the state that said we owe them withholding taxes, which she’ll look into.


Curt said we’ll need to find another mason, although that will have to wait until the return of warm weather. He’s done some work in the basement around the water pipe, which doesn’t appear to be leaking at this point. 

Rachel contacted Better World Books; they’ve stopped accepting books during the pandemic. That means we have no obvious option for clearing out the boxes of books now in the basement. Curt and Rachel will look into possible solutions. Cindy and Melissa are looking into buying an additional air-purifier. She discussed the possibility of installing a hepa filter on the furnace with our furnace technician who advised against it; it would end up mostly filtering the dust-filled air in the basement. Insurance coverage for the board officers has been set up. A furnace cleaning has been scheduled. Snow removal is set up. Cindy did most of the work and got this year’s appeals letter in the mail. 

Our next meeting will be Dec. 14. 

Marty moved to go into executive session at 7:54 to discuss personnel. Carol seconded. The board returned to its regular meeting at 8:04.

Submitted by Marty Frank