Minutes for the September 13 Trustees Meeting

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

Minutes from the August meeting were accepted.

Librarian’s Report: Melissa updated on us some administrative matters. She is using the magazine subscription service again to renew our various periodicals. To round out our requests for how we would spend the ARPA grant (the pandemic/stimulus money being provided by the federal government through the state), she has proposed spending between $75 and $100 to acquire some new books about parenting — in response to requests from patrons, — and the remainder of the money (about $140) on juvenile nonfiction. She has filed the application for the state matching grant that covers half the cost of our courier service, which is going up slightly in price this year.

     The after-school children’s programming started today, but no kids showed up — perhaps because Melissa said she hadn’t done much to publicize the program. Melissa explained that she wanted to first run things by the trustees before ramping up the program at a time when the course of the pandemic seems to be changing (and for a program that would be attended by unvaccinated children). She said programs will be held outside and that everyone will be required to wear a mask — and she’ll have to arrange for a volunteer to staff the desk. Cindy said she thinks that if we’re going to take the time to plan and staff programs, we should not hold  back in promoting them. 

     Melissa reported receiving requests for a baby storytime, reflecting the fact that there’s no such program in town right now. Based on her previous experience in Woodstock, she’s concerned that there’s no appropriate space in our library. She’s thinking of suggesting to the parents that they identify a good spot — the church, perhaps — and then she would make arrangements to go and read. Miriam recalled that the library once offered such a program: It wasn’t well-attended and eventually fizzled out, but that there had been no problems in doing it at the library. Cindy thinks that getting a better idea of how many people might participate would help guide how we should proceed.

   Melissa said that an order for the collection has been put together and will be going in shortly. She said that supply-chain and other problems continue to beset the industry, complicating the accession process. Cindy noted that only 13 percent of the budgeted amount for juvenile books has been spent. While Melissa continues to order nonfiction, circulation is heavily skewed toward fiction and mystery, and she is considering lowering the percentage of nonfiction books she orders. Melissa shared her thoughts about how we might improve our website, urging trustees to check out library websites in Norwich, Woodstock, Sharon and Charlotte to get some ideas about changes we might make to the design and content of our own. Marty and Melissa will meet to hash out some of those ideas, and Marty will then check with Scott Chesnut, who at one point offered to help us.

Friends’ Report: David reported that the Friends have a number of decisions to make at their meeting this week, including how to conduct this year’s annual meeting in October (probably remotely) and what to do with this year’s Holiday Sale (perhaps hold an abbreviated version, like last year’s). The Friends are also planning to review their bylaws. They recently acquired a new tent.

Treasurer’s  Report: Rachel sent out a profit and loss statement before the meeting that showed that we’re mostly on track in terms of spending and income.

Other Business: Melissa said that the unsolicited donation from the Turn to the Wonderful Foundation remains a mystery as to its source but has been deposited. Carol will write a thank-you note for that and another contribution we received.

Rachel said that the tents and their boxes that are now in the basement will be taken care of: David McWilliams’ intention is to organize them and label the various parts to assist whoever does assembly. People from Browns nursery came one day a couple weeks ago and never returned. Cindy wants to make sure that, if and when they do return, she or Curt is called to make sure that they’re apprised of how we want the landscaping work done. Rocky finished the slate roof repair. The window-washers have completed their work and did a good job, although they were limited in how clean they could get the windows because we asked them to just do the exteriors. Cindy also did some research about our insurance for trustees — at $1,100, it seems expensive. An agent she talked to told her our rates might come down in a few years — rates are typically high the first few years of coverage. We also might be able to find an in-state insurer after we’ve had coverage for a few years. We’ll be working on our appeals letter in October, although the date of our meeting needs to be changed because the second Monday falls on a holiday.

Our next meeting will be Oct. 4 at 7 p.m., either at the library or via Zoom.

Submitted by Marty Frank