A Meeting of the Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston as a Corporation and as an Administrative Agency was held at the East Boston Branch Library, 365 Bremen Street, East Boston, MA at 3 PM.
Present at the meeting were: Chairman Jeffrey B. Rudman, Trustees: Vice Chair Evelyn Arana-Ortiz, Laura DeBonis, Carol Fulp, Paul A. La Camera, and Byron Rushing.
Absent from the meeting were Trustees Zamawa Arenas, John T. Hailer, and Dennis Lehane.
Also present at the meeting were: President Amy E. Ryan; Clerk of the Board Nancy Grilk; Boston Public Library and City of Boston staff; and twenty members of the public
Chairman Jeffrey B. Rudman presided.
The Chairman addressed the item on the agenda of the Review and Approval of the Minutes of the Trustees Meeting held on Tuesday, November 12, 2103. On a motion made and duly seconded, the Minutes of the November 2, 2013 Meeting were approved.
Chairman Rudman introduced East Boston Branch Librarian Margaret Kelly and invited her to address the Board. Ms. Kelly welcomed the Trustees to the beautiful new library and introduced staff. Ms. Kelly noted that the Teen Librarian will conduct a bicycle safety program for teens in the spring. Ms. Kelly played a brief video showing the great events at the November 2, 2013 grand opening attended by more than 1,000 community members, elected and city officials.
Next Friends of the East Boston Branch member Maddie McCominsky addressed the Trustees expressing appreciation that President Amy Ryan and Director of Library Services, Branches Christine Schonhart for working with them on issues concerning the collection. Next Karen Maddelena spoke about the book rotations, book shelving height, and size of the collection; she is appreciates that the President is addressing these issues. President Ryan reported that the Library followed the Compass Principles and community demographics in determining the refreshed collection at the branch and developing utilization of space for books, computers, and community gathering space for people of all ages. President Ryan added that Library’s Chief of Collection Strategy Laura Irmscher continues to monitor the collection and respond to needs of the branch as they are identified. President Ryan noted that since opening one month ago, circulation was twenty-eight percent higher that the two former branches combined one year ago.
Friends member and art preservationist Susan Browner spoke about preservation of the Frederick Leonard King Works Progress Administration Ships Through the Ages paintings. The Friends are raising funds to help in the preservation of the fifteen paintings. WBUR has taken on the task of restoring the Old Ironsides painting and will host a workshop for high school kids.
Chairman Rudman recognized representatives from the offices of City Councilor Salvatore LaMatttina, Representative Carlos Basile, and Senator Petruccelli.
Community Advisory Council Mary Berninger expressed appreciation to the Trustees for the beautiful new library. She stated that the branch has addressed the consensus of the committee and the community during the branch planning.
Chairman Rudman expressed his appreciation for everyone’s efforts in the planning process for the new branch, and for their willingness to work with the Library staff to continue to perfect that needs of the community and the branch.
President Amy Ryan addressed the first item on the President’s Report calling up Codman Square Branch staff Janice Knight, Branch Librarian and Yolanda Ortiz, Branch Assistant to commend the entire branch staff for being selected to receive the “Neighborhood Leadership Award’ by the Codman Square Neighborhood Council and Four Corners Action Coalition. Members of these two organizations were on hand to further thank the branch staff. A round of applause in appreciation for the excellent work of the Codman Square Branch staff followed.
The next agenda item was the preliminary discussion of the FY2015 updated revenue assumptions and anticipated operating costs led by City of Boston Chief Financial Officer Meredith Weenick. CFO Weenick reported that although the budget will increase it will not keep pace with some of the fixed costs, thus all departments will be scrutinizing their budgets for savings during this period of budget formulation. Ms. Weenick reported that Mayor Martin J. Walsh will be engaged in budget development and priorities with a focus on service delivery. Budgets are due to the City’s Office of Budget Management on January 24 and will be followed by internal meetings with budget staff and the Mayor for final presentation of the City’s budget to the City Council in April. Ms. Weenick will work with the Library to develop solutions to set the priorities for the City and the Library. Discussion followed. Boston Public Library CFO Ellen Donaghey reported on current conditions for the preparation of the preliminary budget for FY2015. Ms. Donaghey’s presentation highlighted major components of budget costs including rising demand for services, outlined income sources, expenditures, anticipated increases in fixed costs, diminishment of federal funds for IT costs, and the anticipated increase in services once the renovated second floor of the Johnson Building opens next year. The final proposed FY2015 budget will be presented to the Trustees at the March meeting. Chairman Rudman advised Trustees that a special meeting to address budget issues may be called in late February or following the March 11 scheduled Board meeting.
An update on capital projects and the FY2015 preliminary capital priorities was the next agenda item led by Director of Administration and Technology David Leonard. President Ryan reiterated that as with the operating budget, the capital budget is driven by the Compass Principles with a focus on children and teens, energy efficiency, and rejuvenation of the buildings. She emphasized that all improvements are system wide. Mr. Leonard outlined the active FY2014 capital projects beginning with system wide improvements including the Integrated Library System, critical repair activities, a replacement pay for print system, and reported that new self check out equipment will be at all branch locations within the month. Mr. Leonard continued with the Central Library Renovation Project improvements primarily at the Johnson Building, which began as scheduled in December. Phase 1 of the project for the second floor of the Johnson Building for renovated children and teens space, collection, and reference areas is on track for a winter 2014-15 opening. The Library staff is reviewing William Rawn Architects, Inc. design development documents including preliminary cost estimates for Phase 2 of the project. Conversations regarding the Central Library and branch projects continue with staff, union leadership, Friends groups, and the public. More detailed updates are as always available on the Library’s website at the Compass Blog page.
President Ryan reported on the Library’s ten-year leadership role in digitization. The next agenda item is a recap of this work that has moved to a prominent spot in the Library for the Commonwealth services and with the Digital Public Library of America. Director of Library Services Michael Colford reported that the Boston Public Library received an increase in state funding for the Library for the Commonwealth thanks in part to the efforts of Trustee and State Representative Byron Rushing and the Boston Delegation. Mr. Colford provides a brief overview of the Library for the Commonwealth services in creating a statewide digital public library. Mr. Colford’s presentation included images available on the Library’s web page. Digital Projects Manager Tom Blake provided an overview of the Digital Public Library of America adding that the Boston Public Library is a data aggregator that collects and indexes records from other digital libraries across the state, and provides digitization services. The state of the art digitization lab works with one hundred and fifty institutions and has digitized more than 75,000 items from more than one hundred libraries. The Library appreciates dedicated funding by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for these services.
Assistant Corporation Counsel Maribeth Cusick addressed the next agenda item to rescind the May 22, 2013 vote taken by the Trustees to surplus the Norwood Storage Facility to convey the property to the City of Boston. It was since learned that, while the Boston Public Library can hold property outside of Boston, the City of Boston cannot. The city’s Department of Neighborhood Development can and will assist the Library with the sale of this property. On a motion made and duly seconded, it was
VOTED: that, the Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston rescind the vote of May 22, 2013 with regard to the conveyance of the Norwood Storage Facility Deed. And further that the Trustees direct the President of the Library or her designee to work with the Department of Neighborhood Development to dispose of this property.
Ms. Cusick reported on the agenda item to execute the Deed to convey the Orient Heights branch to the City of Boston. On a motion made and duly seconded, it was
VOTED: that, the Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston execute the Deed of the Orient Heights Branch of the Boston Public Library from the Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston conveying the Orient Heights Branch of the Boston Public Library to the City of Boston
Chairman Rudman called on Chairman Evelyn Arana-Ortiz for the Trustees Finance and Audit Committee report. The Chair began with the draft Management Letter, June 30, 2013 with responses. Chairman Rudman expressed appreciation to the Chair and CFO Donaghey for their excellent work in addressing many of the past items in the Management Letter. Ms. Arana-Ortiz thanked the Library staff for addressing so many of these items. Ms. Arana-Ortiz also noted that the auditors found no material weaknesses in the report. On a motion made and duly seconded, it was
VOTED: that, the Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston accept “The Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston, Management Letter, June 30, 2013” from Sullivan, Rogers & Company, LLP, Certified Public Accountants
The IRS Form 990: “Return of Organization of Exempt from Income Tax” was the next item. Ms. Arana-Ortiz reported that the report has been made available to each Trustee for review and that no action is needed on this item.
Ms. Arana-Ortiz addressed the request of the Trustees Finance and Audit Committee for the Trustees to delegate approval of a contract for library patron self-service book scanning machines. The contract award date falls between the January and March Trustees meetings, thus the Committee requests that it is given the authority by the Trustees to award the contract. On a motion made and duly seconded, it was
VOTED: that, the Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston delegate approval of the Award of Contract for the Library Patron Self-Service Digital Copy System Contract to the Trustees Finance and Audit Committee.
Chairman Rudman addressed the New Business agenda item of refreshing the Trustee Committees for two-year terms as outlined by the Chairman and posted on the Library’s web page.
Trustee La Camera requested an update by the Boston Public Library affiliates at the March Trustees meeting.
President Ryan announced the upcoming retirement of Clerk Nancy Grilk and Director of Public Services Mary Frances O’Brien. A round of applause in appreciation for their services followed.
Next on the agenda is public comment. Comments included branch library projects and local grants for friends groups, appreciation to Trustee La Camera for his support for the new East Boston Branch, appreciate the recent friends group meeting with President Ryan and continuation of the conversations, and support for book store and gift shop as commercial enterprise.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned to meet in Executive Session at 4:45 PM.
Clerk of the Board