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Boston Public Library
Meetings

Board of Trustees


January 18, 2011

Online Survey (PDF)


Meeting of the Corporation and Administrative Agency
Tuesday, January 18, 2011, 3:00 p.m.
Brighton Branch Library
40 Academy Hill Road, Brighton, MA 02135

Agenda

Kindly note: A tour of the renovated Brighton Branch will be held at 2:30 p.m.

  1. Chairman’s Report, Trustee Jeffrey B. Rudman

    • Approval of Minutes for the Trustees Meeting on December 16, 2010
    • Welcome to Brighton Library, Ms. Christine Schonhart, Director, Branch Libraries
    • Greetings from Ms. Barbara Moss, President, Friends of Brighton Branch
    • Presentation of commemorative books to Trustee Carol Fulp and Trustee Byron Rushing
    • Recognition of Mr. Jamie McGlone’s 31 years of service
    • Recognition of Mr. Ronald E. Grim, Curator, Norman B. Leventhal Map Center on publication of  “Eye of the Explorer: Views of the Northern Pacific Railroad Survey, 1853-54”
    • Recognition of Boston Society of Architects 2010 Commonwealth Award to Boston Public Library

  2. President’s Report, Ms. Amy E. Ryan

    • Introduction of the BPL’s new online catalog
      Mr. Scot Colford, Web Services Manager
    • FY11 State supplemental budget:
      7000-9403.  For the Boston Public Library for its role as the Library of Last Recourse for the Commonwealth; provided that all funds expended from this item shall be transferred for use in other branch libraries…….$350,000
    VOTE: “that, the Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston, allocate the supplemental funding to keep Faneuil, Lower Mills, Orient Heights, and Washington Village branch libraries open through FY11.”
    • Public engagement summary; key findings from online survey and review of comments from Compass process
      Ms. Gina Perille, Chief Communications Officer
    • Next steps in BPL Compass, strategic planning process
      Trustee Byron Rushing
      Mr. Michael Colford, Director, Resource Services & Information Technology
    • FY12 Operating budget, projected revenue assumptions
    • Review and discussion of draft FY12-16 Capital Plan
      Mr. Sean Nelson, Chief Financial Officer
    • Boston Public Library FY12 public budget roundtable discussions
      Mr. Sean Nelson, Chief Financial Officer

  3. Trustees’ Finance and Audit Committee Report
    Trustee Evelyn Arana-Ortiz, Chair

    • Proposed Award of Contract for services to digitize card catalog
    VOTE: “to authorize President Amy E. Ryan, or designee, to enter into a contract with The Donohue Group, Inc., 41 Mechanic Street, Windsor, CT 06095, the most responsive and responsible bidder, a contract for Retrospective Conversion Services, for the period January 1, 2011 through June 30, 2011, at a total cost not to exceed one hundred twenty five thousand dollars ($125,000.00), with an option for the BPL to renew the contract for each of the next two fiscal years (FY12 & FY13). The Boston Public Library Evaluation Committee performed an evaluation of the proposals presented by two vendors as described in the Request for Proposals (RFP), and through this process determined the proposal presented by The Donohue Group, Inc. represented the best value for the Boston Public Library.”
    • BPL fiscal updates
      • Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax: IRS Form 990
      • Accounts-Receivable Module
      • FY10 Audit Management Letter

  4. New Business
    Mr. Jeffrey B. Rudman, Chairman

  5. Adjournment
    Mr. Jeffrey B. Rudman, Chairman

Upcoming Trustees Meetings:

  • Thursday, February 24, 2011, 2011, 8:30 a.m., McKim Orientation Room
  • Tuesday, March 8, 2011, 3:00 p.m., Charlestown Branch Library
  • Tuesday, May 10, 2011, 8:30 a.m., Annual Meeting, McKim Orientation Room

Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston
Jeffrey B. Rudman, Chairman; Evelyn Arana-Ortiz, Vice Chairman;
Zamawa Arenas; James Carroll; Donna M. DePrisco;
Carol Fulp; Berthé M. Gaines; Paul A. La Camera; Byron Rushing
President, Amy E. Ryan; Clerk of the Board, Jamie McGlone

Dates of FY12 Public Budget Roundtable Discussions:

  • Tuesday, January 25, 2011, 6:30 p.m., Central Library in Copley Square
  • Wednesday, January 26, 2011, 6:30 p.m., Dudley Branch Library
  • Tuesday, March 15, 2011, 6:30 p.m., Central Library in Copley Square
  • Wednesday, March 16, 2011, 6:30 p.m., Codman Square Branch Library

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TRUSTEES OF THE PUBLIC LIBRARY OF THE CITY OF BOSTON
Notes of Trustees Meeting
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Brighton Branch Library

A Meeting of the Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston was held at the on January 18, 2011 at the Brighton Branch Library at 3:00 p.m. The Board approved the Minutes of the Special Trustees Meeting held on December 16, 2010 which have been posted on the web. Ms. Christine Schonhart, Director, Branch Libraries welcomed the Board and the community to the Branch which followed with warm greetings from Ms. Barbara Moss, President, Friends of Brighton Branch

The Chairman presented commemorative books to Trustee Carol Fulp and Trustee Byron Rushing and recognized Mr. Jamie McGlone's 31 years of service. The Board also recognized Mr. Ronald E. Grim, Curator, Norman B. Leventhal Map Center on publication of "Eye of the Explorer: Views of the Northern Pacific Railroad Survey, 1853-54".

Mr. Scot Colford, Web Services Manager, presented an introduction to the BPL's new online catalog in a PowerPoint presentation.

President Amy E. Ryan, in her report to the Trustees, reported on the following:

FY11 State supplemental budget:

  • For the Boston Public Library for its role as the Library of Last Recourse for the Commonwealth; provided that all funds expended from this item shall be transferred for use in other branch libraries…….$350,000
VOTED: "that, the Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston, allocate the supplemental funding to keep Faneuil, Lower Mills, Orient Heights, and Washington Village branch libraries open through FY11."

Ms. Gina Perille, Chief Communications Officer, provided a report on the public engagement summary; key findings from online survey and review of comments from Compass process and Trustee Byron Rushing and Mr. Michael Colford, Director, Resources Services & Information Technology, reported on next steps in BPL Compass, strategic planning process.

President Ryan reported on the FY12 Operating budget, projected revenue assumptions and the Board approved the FY12-16 Capital Plan. Mr. Mr. Sean Nelson, Chief Financial Officer, reported on the Boston Public Library FY12 public budget roundtable discussions and initiatives of the Trustees Finance and Audit Committee.

Respectfully submitted,

Jamie McGlone
Clerk of the Board

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Minutes of the Meeting of the Corporation and Administrative Agency
Tuesday, January 18, 2011, 3:00 p.m.
Brighton Branch Library
40 Academy Hill Road, Brighton, MA 02135

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 Brighton Branch Library, 40 Academy Hill Road, Brighton, MA on Wednesday, January 18, 2011, at 3:00 p.m.

Present at the meeting were: Trustees Zamawa Arenas, Carol Fulp, James Carroll, Paul A. La Camera, Jeffrey B. Rudman and Byron Rushing. Absent from the meeting were Board members Trustees Evelyn Arana-Ortiz, Donna M. DePrisco, and Berth é M. Gaines. The Honorable State Representative Kevin G. Honan also attended.

Also present at the meeting were: President Amy E. Ryan; Meredith Weenick, Associate Director, Administration & Finance, City of Boston; Jean Capizzi, Operating Analyst, Office of Budget Management; Barbara Moss, President, Friends of Brighton Branch Library; David Vieira, President, City-wide Friends of the BPL; Maria Guadalupe Rodrigues, BPL patron; Deborah Kirrane, WilmerHale LLP; Don Haber, Co-chair, Friends of Jamaica Plain Branch; Ruth Kowal, Director, Administration and Finance; Gina Perille, Chief Communications Officer; Michael Colford, Director, Resource Services and Information Technology; Scot Colford, Web Services Manager; Mary Flaherty, Human Resources Manager; Christine Schonhart, Neighborhood Services Manager; Mary Frances O’Brien, Central Library Services Manager; David Leonard, Chief Technology Officer; Sean Nelson, Chief Financial Officer; Edward Maheigan, Budget and Procurement Manager; Catherine Wallis, Technical Services Manager; Elissa Cadillic, President, AFSCME Local 1526, Council 93; approximately 15 members of the public; and Jamie McGlone, Clerk of the Board.

Chairman Jeffrey B. Rudman presided.

The Chairman addressed the first item on the order of business pertaining to the review and approval of the Minutes of the Special Trustees Meetings on December 16, 2010. Following discussion, on a motion duly made and seconded, the Minutes of the Trustees Meeting on December 16, 2010 were approved and subsequently posted on the BPL website at www.bpl.org.

Ms. Christine Schonhart, Director, Branch Libraries, welcomed the Board and community members to the recently renovated and remarkable restored Brighton Branch Library that re-opened to the public in December 2010.

The Brighton Branch is the first LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Silver Certified for Commercial Interiors and included among the renovations are new windows, light-filled spaces, modern, comfortable furniture, new teen space with café-style seating, new community room, and 20 new computers for all ages.

Ms. Barbara Moss, President, Friends of Brighton Branch, extended warm greetings to the Board and community members and outlined ways in which the Friends will continue to support the Brighton Branch Library including fundraising efforts for the acquisition of sculptures by artist Richard Duca.

Chairman Jeffrey B. Rudman presented commemorative books to newly appointed Trustee Carol Fulp and Trustee Byron Rushing depicting the photographic hard carving of their names on the Trustee Wall in the Johnson Building of the Copley Square Library.

Chairman Rudman recognized Mr. David Vieira, President, City-Wide Friends of the Boston Public Library great appreciation for a wonderful gift from the Friends of $13,534.88 for use in the Central Library. The gift will enable the library to acquire a variety of very worth purposes including new laptops for use in public programs, lectures, and author talks as well as screens for use with projectors for these programs.

Chairman Rudman recognized with distinction Mr. Ronald E. Grim, Curator, Norman B. Leventhal Map Center on publication of “Eye of the Explorer: Views of the Northern Pacific Railroad Survey, 1853-54”.

The Chairman noted the recognition of the Boston Society of Architects 2010 Commonwealth Award to the Boston Public Library “for notable leadership in promoting architectural excellence and awareness over many decades, and serving as a vital resource to Boston’s design community and community at large”.

Chairman Rudman presented a plaque to Jamie McGlone, Clerk of the Board, honoring his 31 years of service to the Boston Public Library and upon his upcoming retirement. The Board individually expressed their deep gratitude and appreciation to Mr. McGlone for his years of service to the people of the City of Boston.

Mr. Scot Colford, Web Services Manager, presented a PowerPoint introduction to the Boston Public Library’s new online catalog to be launched this week. The current BPL online catalog is the most heavily used web service the library offers and patrons have experienced the evolution of online search, social networking, and interactive web application on sites such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon.

Mr. Colford noted user expectation is much higher now in these spheres and patron feedback about the library’s online catalog almost exclusively regards requests for features available on sites mentioned above.

After extensive research into alternative public search interfaces and a thorough RFP process the BiblioCommons online catalog replacement includes service improvements as extensive search facets allowing searchers to limit results easily by topic, form, genre, language, tone, theme, availability, location and other characteristics coupled with true community participation of patron reviews, ratings, and the ability to interact with other users.

President Ryan, in her report to the Trustees, provided an overview on the FY11 State supplemental budget resolution below that includes $350,000 to the Boston Public Library for its role as the Library of Last Recourse for the Commonwealth provided that all funds from this item shall be transferred for use in other branch libraries:

FY11 State supplemental budget: 7000-9403.

    • For the Boston Public Library for its role as the Library of Last Recourse for the Commonwealth; provided that all funds expended from this item shall be transferred for use in other branch libraries…….$350,000

President Ryan noted the FY11 State supplemental budget would allow the Boston Public Library to keep Faneuil, Lower Mills, Orient Heights and Washington Village branch libraries open until the end of FY11.

The President recalled that thanks to Mayor Thomas M. Menino who added $650,000 to extend those branch services through March 2011 and the efforts of the Boston City Council has been able to keep those branches open. The President also acknowledged the efforts of the State elected officials for providing the proposed $350,000 supplemental budget to keep the branches open until the end of FY11.

Following discussion, on a motion duly made and seconded, and on the recommendation of President Ryan, it was

VOTED: “that, the Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston, allocate the supplemental funding to keep Faneuil, Lower Mills, Orient Heights, and Washington Village branch libraries open through FY11.”

The President reported that as the library now moves into FY12 budget discussions in concert with strategic planning the library has engaged the community in many ways both in public meetings and an online survey shepherded by Ms. Gina Perille, Chief Communications Officer.

Ms. Gina Perille provided an overview of the public engagement summary including key findings from the online survey and review of comments from the Compass strategic planning process.

Ms. Perille reported that the most recent phase of the Compass process generated 40 pages of comments around the Principles for Excellence that were adopted by the Board of Trustees on December 16, 2010 at the Special Trustees Meeting at the East Boston Branch Library that will be imbedded into the future strategic planning efforts.

Ms. Perille reported on the results of the Boston Public Library online survey as referred in a document shared with the Board and community. The online survey ran from October 1 – November 30, 2010 and resulted in 15,632 total responses and recalled the survey had two purposes to capture both user and non-user information.

The focus of today’s discussion was primarily on the users and the quantifiable information generated from the survey including: the breakdown of the participation of users vs. non-users; age of respondents’ where users live; branches used most; usage by location; how the public finds out about programs and services; and overall where users would most like the library to focus its financial resources.

Trustee James Carroll commended Ms. Perille and observed the survey report was very impressive and noted particular interest in the question on how the library would use its financial resources.

Trustee Carroll noted that the answers given here are answers that could apply across the system while observing there was a lot of public discussion about financial resources going to branches and inquired if there was an opportunity for the public to express themselves on the relative value of branches.

Ms. Perille noted there was a question earlier in the survey about what key services are most valued, which is a partner to the financial resources question, that had five opportunities to respond along with a comment box and those responses are being culled, analyzed and will be reported on later.

Chairman Rudman observed that he was struck by these results noting that 56% of people who are sufficiently digitally literate to do an online survey want the library to focus its financial resources on books, DVD’s and CDs to check out. However, it is not clear from this survey the extent to which format they want and he would be grateful for additional considered judgment the library could give to this data around financial resources.

Trustee Carol Fulp asked for the opportunity to provide an overview in terms of how best to interpret the survey data including a perspective of who the library is not hearing from.

Trustee Byron Rushing concurred noting a suggested a breakdown of the age and zip-code location of the population of the survey respondents to greater inform the results.

Ms. Perille noted there was a paper and manual component to the survey to address the digital divide concerns and the results trend in the similar direction of the online survey which was coupled with a postcard campaign earmarked for non-library users that had 14,000 responses of which 10.5% were non-users. Ms. Perille added that all the survey data is continuing to be analyzed and will be reported on at the Trustees Meeting on March 8, 2011.

Chairman Rudman reported that Trustee Byron Rushing has very graciously agreed to become the Chairman of the Boston Public Library Compass strategic planning process succeeding Chairman James Carroll.

Trustee Rushing recalled that the Board adopted the Principles for Excellence at the December 16, 2010 meeting and the goals of the strategic process will be to fill-in the framework of the principles in concert with the findings from the public discussions and surveys. To that end, a Trustees committee is being organized and will be continue to be shepherded with the leadership from Mr. Michael Colford.

President Ryan reported on the first official discussion of the FY12 operating budget noting the library is in a stronger position this year than last year at this time in light of the many ideas from the public engagement processes, online surveys, and adoption of the Compass Principles for Excellence and in concert with the new BPL Compass strategic planning effort.

In addition, the President reported the library continues to have ongoing discussions with elected officials at the State and City level in conjunction with the preliminary FY12 budget timeline that was distributed to the Board and community at the last meeting.

The President reported a Special Trustees Meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, February 24, 2011, 8:30 a.m., McKim Orientation Room, devoted to the FY budget planning and will include revenue assumption updates, estimated cost projections for budget options, a review of potential service impacts, and preliminary budget direction discussions.

The President underscored the budget discussions involve a multi-year situation and we know more than ever that public library throughout the country are multifarious institutions serving online, in the community and in buildings. The Boston Public Library is anticipating a third consecutive year of reduced revenue recalling the BPL lost $8 million in revenue between FY09-FY11.

While the library does not have the exact FY12 budget figure yet from the City of Boston the library can anticipate the revenue will be diminished over last year. On the other hand, business is booming as it happened last year thanks to the library staff that continues to offer quality service in the face of dire fiscal challenges.

The use of website services has nearly doubled from FY06 to now with 28,000 daily visitors coupled with teens using their BPL cards has exceeded 30,000 in FY10 reflecting an increase in 26% and over 300,000 Boston residents use their library cards.

The President provided an overview of some of the budget reductions and modifications the library has made over the last three years. First and foremost, the library looks at how to operate more efficiently with non-personnel reductions and back-of-the-hours operations.

The President recalled the library went through a painful process of laying off people last October and hundreds of positions have been eliminated over the past few years. However, improvements have been made including relocating the Kirstein Business services to the Copley Library and worked on enhancing public service hours including in the children’s and teen areas coupled with outreach initiatives in the community.

The library has also consolidated departments in the Central Library that is still under development, custodial shifts have been reduced from three to two shifts and streamlined processing of materials. The President addressed the impact of these reductions but underscored, in light of these efforts, the Boston Public Library remains a strong vibrant library for its residents.

Mr. Sean Nelson, Chief Financial Officer, provided a review of the BPL Revenue Summary FY08-FY12 as referred in a document shared with the Board and community.

The CFO noted that based on preliminary estimates from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners the BPL is anticipating a 6% percent reduction from FY11 in the Governor’s FY12 budget that equates to approximately $145,000 revenue loss while the city’s FY12 budget target is not yet finalized. The CFO reviewed the timeline of the budget process as detailed in the preliminary FY12 budget timeline discussed earlier.

The Board discussed initial preliminary guidance about FY12 budget development. Trustee Paul La Camera noted in light of the Board’s earlier vote to keep the branches open throughout FY11 and inquired if it would require additional funding to keep them open beyond FY11.

The Chairman noted that additional money from some other sources presently on the table would be needed to keep those four branches open in FY12. Trustee James Carroll noted the importance of being prepared to take up as directly and responsibly the question of the future closure of branches that was echoed by Trustee Paul A. La Camera.

The Chairman reviewed the common set of facts in which beginning July 1, 2011 and running through June 30, 2012 it would cost approximately $1.3 million to keep those four branches open and therefore the library would need not just an incremental $1.3 million but $1.3 million plus no further budget cuts.

Trustee Carroll suggested approaching the budget discussions as freshly as one can by considering the pros and cons of closing the number of branches needed to be closed to meet the budgetary requirements and deadlines.

To that end, Trustee Carroll would like to present a position to the Board as the numbers unfold arguing in favor of cutting a certain number of branches with a clear and articulate case based on fiscal revenues and would welcome another position from the Board saying not to close any but to find the funds in other ways.

Trustee Carroll underscored his rationale for a discussion to take the onus off the staff of the library and to put it on the Board to take this difficult question back to the public in the light of these numbers noting that he is prepared, if the Board feels it is useful and appropriate, to try to make the case for closing a certain number of branches based on the numbers as they surface over the next month.

Trustee Byron Rushing noted the need to see what the alternatives are to cuts including answering the question of where has the library cut where the library cannot cut any further to inform the discussion that there is no place else to cut but to cut branches.

Trustee Paul A. La Camera recalled the three budget scenarios last spring which included Option A that would have allowed all the braches to stay open but would have literally eviscerated the branch system.

Trustee Rushing underscored the importance of starting from the current fiscal realities facing the Boston Public Library now. To that end, Trustee Carroll noted the Board needs to greater understand the fiscal picture before the Trustees Meeting in which they would be required to make a decision to approve the budget.

The Board discussed procedurally how to go forward in terms of a collective dialogue in anticipation of submitting a draft budget in March. To that end, the Special Trustees Meeting on February 24, 2011 would be exclusively devoted to the revenue assumption update, estimated cost projections for budget options, review of potential service impacts, and preliminary budget direction from the Board.

To that end, additional preliminarily budget information would be provided including the budget target from the city and address the questions of what has been cut to the bone and what has been cut too much where it is not working out. The President noted the library is hosting a Boston State delegation breakfast on January 26, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. to discuss library services and funding.

Trustee La Camera noted the potential $2.3 million total revenue loss facing the BPL for FY12. The Chairman asked for the preparation of a chart of budget options for the next Trustees Meeting to address the revenue shortfall including what has to be cut to keep the four branches open in FY12 that would include what has already been cut by category over the last two years and what would have to be cut to achieve the $2.3 million saving.

Trustee Fulp concurred the proposal is a very rational approach, and from a business perspective, suggested in the event the library needed to close the four branches, identifying what additional money would be needed to ensure the library reaches out to those communities toward serving their needs that would be a rationale for fundraising.

Representative Kevin Honan underscored the need for the library to undertake private fundraising efforts to address the fiscal challenges facing the library. Trustee Paul A. La Camera noted that efforts are underway to build the library’s fundraising capacity in concert with a professional firm in search of a top fundraising development leader to build the necessary team.

Mr. Sean Nelson provided an overview of the schedule of the Boston Public Library FY12 public budget roundtable discussions as follows:

  • Tuesday, January 25, 2011, 6:30 p.m., Central Library in Copley Square
  • Wednesday, January 26, 2011, 6:30 p.m., Dudley Branch Library
  • Tuesday, March 15, 2011, 6:30 p.m., Central Library in Copley Square
  • Wednesday, March 16, 2011, 6:30 p.m., Codman Square Branch Library

President Ryan presented the review and discussion of the draft Boston Public Library FY12-16 Capital Plan that was distributed to the Board and community. Following discussion, on a motion duly made and it was unanimously

VOTED: “that, the Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston, approve the draft Boston Public Library FY12-16 Capital Plan as presented by President Ryan and subject to city appropriations”.

Mr. Sean Nelson presented the Trustees Finance and Audit Committee report including background on a proposed award of contract for services to digitize the card catalog. Following discussion, on a motion duly made and seconded, and on the recommendation of the Trustees Finance and Audit Committee, it was

VOTED: “to authorize President Amy E. Ryan, or designee, to enter into a contract with The Donohue Group, Inc., 41 Mechanic Street, Windsor, CT 06095, the most responsive and responsible bidder, a contract for Retrospective Conversion Services, for the period January 1, 2011 through June 30, 2011, at a total cost not to exceed one hundred twenty five thousand dollars ($125,000.00), with an option for the BPL to renew the contract for each of the next two fiscal years (FY12 & FY13). The Boston Public Library Evaluation Committee performed an evaluation of the proposals presented by two vendors as described in the Request for Proposals (RFP), and through this process determined the proposal presented by The Donohue Group, Inc. represented the best value for the Boston Public Library.”

Mr. Sean Nelson provided an overview of BPL fiscal updates being addressed by the Trustees Finance Committee including the return of organization exempt from Income Tax: IRS Form 990; progress on the Accounts-Receivable Module for special events billing; and the FY10 Audit Management Letter from the auditors to improve financial controls that will be reported on at the next meeting.

There being no other business, the meeting of the Corporation and Administrative Agency adjourned at 5:30 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Jamie McGlone
Clerk of the Board

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