November 13, 2013
Minutes of the regular meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Skokie Public Library held in the Skokie Public Library Board Room, Wednesday, November 13, 2013.
Diana Hunter, Vice President/President Emerita, called the meeting to order at 7:31 p.m.
Members present: Diana Hunter, Vice President/President Emerita; Karen Parrilli, Secretary; Susan Greer; Jonathan H. Maks, MD; Mark Prosperi; Zelda Rich; and Carolyn A. Anthony, Director.
Staff present: Richard Kong, Deputy Director.
Guest present: Paula Singer, Consultant.
Visitors present: Dr. Irwin Rich, 9360 Skokie Boulevard, Skokie, IL; Carol Arkin, 9911 Kedvale, Skokie, IL 60076.
Mrs. Hunter read John Graham’s letter of resignation.
With the approval of the Board, the regular order of business was moved so consultant Paula Singer could discuss the staff realignment.
Richard Kong, new Deputy Director, and Mrs. Anthony have been working this fall along with our consultant in organizational development Paula Singer on a realignment of staff to better meet our service objectives and increase the Library’s impact in the community.
A meeting was convened of the Design Team, made up of Department Heads and Coordinators for one and a half days September 17-18. The Team considered questions such as:
· What is the work that needs to be done now?
· What is the organizational structure we need to make it happen?
· How will we set priorities?
· What are the jobs that support the work?
· What skills are needed?
Considering the Library’s recent Strategic Plan with our vision, mission, values, goals and areas of strategic focus, the Team was divided into small groups to work on an organizational design to maximize the effectiveness of staff and the Library’s impact in the community. Each team had the opportunity to ‘sell’ their idea to the other teams and everyone had the chance to ask questions and point out potential problems.
From the suggestions, Richard Kong, Beth Dostert, and Mrs. Anthony developed a proposed structure and managers for each of the areas. This new group met October 24 at a meeting where a brief description of each unit was provided. The proposed new managers were tasked with fleshing out their department’s mission, function and roles, as well as suggesting the positions and number of persons needed to perform the unit’s work. Reports were turned in November 5 and the group met November 7 to present their proposals orally to each other. Although many discussions were held among various managers in preparing these proposals, there were still inevitable areas of ambiguity and overlap regarding some specific responsibilities. These were noted and will be worked out. Nevertheless, the process confirmed that the proposed new structure could work while enabling staff to work more effectively. Mrs. Anthony distributed the proposed organizational structure in overview.
Meanwhile, Richard Kong is heading up an Implementation Committee which is working on an implementation schedule and dealing with logistical issues such as office and space concerns as well as documenting identified training needs and addressing communication. In brief, the plan is to begin implementation in January. Between now and then, much needs to be done in terms of identifying staff who may move to new departments. While some units such as Bookmobile service and Popular Services will be largely unchanged, other units will see significant change. It is anticipated that some new positions such as Program Assistant will be opened internally to give staff an opportunity to apply. Of course, position descriptions will need to be written and grades assigned to the new and changed positions.
The managers group meeting yesterday identified only three or four jobs for which they thought the requisite skills were not already found in-house. These included: a PC support staff person for the LAN office who can handle Apple products as well as Microsoft. Currently, there is one PC support person for 290 computers in the building. A second position for which there is broad support among the staff is a graphic artist. This person would perform design work for a number of publications, posters, audio-visual products and the website. We would like permission to increase the FTE by three or four with the promise that we will look to fill positions from within wherever possible and to utilize occurring vacancies as an opportunity to reexamine staffing and possibly reassign positions.
Ms. Singer presented a Powerpoint presentation on the overview of the organizational structure; an overview of the change; the members of the new management team; the impact on staff; the new structure diagram consisting of learning/access/community; doing the right work; costs involved -- including four new positions; the positive outcomes; the next steps for the implementation plan; and the implementation team members.
Lengthy discussion followed. The Board would like to receive a report monthly as to where we are in the process, costs for the four new positions including position descriptions and pay grades, etc. Mrs. Anthony will prepare this for the January Board meeting. As documents are developed, the Board would like to see them.
The Board agreed by consensus with the concept that was presented and the direction the realignment is headed.
The Board returned to the regular order of business.
APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF OCTOBER 9, 2013
Dr. Maks made a motion, seconded by Mrs. Parrilli, to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of October 9, 2013, subject to additions and/or corrections. There being no corrections, the minutes were approved and placed on file.
CONSENT AGENDA (Financial Statement; Circulation Report; Library Use Statistics; Report(s) from Department Head(s); Gifts; Personnel)
Mr. Prosperi made a motion, seconded by Mrs. Rich:
MOTION: THAT THE SKOKIE PUBLIC LIBRARY BOARD OF TRUSTEES APPROVE THE FINANCIAL STATEMENT, SUBJECT TO AUDIT, AND THAT THE FOLLOWING CONSENT AGENDA ITEMS BE PLACED ON FILE:
1. CIRCULATION REPORT
2. LIBRARY USE STATISTICS
3. REPORT(S) FROM DEPARTMENT HEAD(S)
4. GIFTS: $50. FROM GRETCHEN M. WENING IN MEMORY OF HELEN NECAISE FOR YOUTH SERVICES; $50. FROM RICHARD BASOFIN IN HONOR OF CAROLYN ANTHONY’S ELECTION TO THE PRESIDENCY OF PUBLIC LIBRARY ASSOCIATION; $100. FROM BRIAN MCGUIRE IN MEMORY OF WILLIAM KATZ
5. PERSONNEL: RETIREMENTS: BARBARA A. KOZLOWSKI, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR FOR PUBLIC SERVICES, EFFECTIVE NOVEMBER 8, 2013; CHERYL SACHNOFF, PART-TIME REFERENCE LIBRARIAN, ADULT SERVICES DEPARTMENT, EFFECTIVE DECEMBER 31, 2013; HIRE: MARIE WIDNER, FULL-TIME ACCOUNTS PAYABLE & PURCHASING CLERK, ADMINISTRATION, EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 23, 2013; PROMOTIONS: SHAUNA MASURA, FROM PART-TIME COMPUTER LAB ASSISTANT, YOUTH SERVICES, TO FULL-TIME YOUNG ADULT LIBRARIAN, ADULT SERVICES DEPARTMENT, EFFECTIVE DECEMBER 2, 2013; MATTHEW MACKELLAR, FROM FULL-TIME SENIOR CIRCULATION CLERK/BOOKMOBILE ASSISTANT, CIRCULATION AND ADULT SERVICES DEPARTMENT, TO FULL-TIME ASSISTANT BOOKMOBILE LIBRARIAN, EFFECTIVE NOVEMBER 4, 2013.
The motion passed unanimously.
BALANCE SHEET FOR THE SIX MONTHS ENDING 10/31/13
The Balance Sheet for the Six Months Ending 10/31/13 was noted.
YEAR-TO-DATE BUDGETARY STATUS
The Year-to-Date Budgetary Status was noted.
A motion was made by Mrs. Rich, seconded by Dr. Maks:
MOTION: THAT THE SKOKIE PUBLIC LIBRARY BOARD OF TRUSTEES APPROVE THE BILLS, SUBJECT TO AUDIT.
The roll call vote for approval was unanimous.
APPROVAL OF AUDIT – 2012-2013 FISCAL YEAR
Mrs. Anthony distributed the Library’s audit report for FY 2013 as prepared by Sikich. This is the last year that the Library’s audit will be conducted as a component audit of the Village. According to GASB Statement No. 61 (see Management Letter), the Library is to conduct its own audit beginning with the current Fiscal Year 2014. We can expect greater expense as the Village currently charges the Library only $3,000. for the audit. We will need to anticipate that expense in planning the budget for FY 2015. We can also anticipate that additional staff time will be involved in selecting an auditor and completing audit requirements.
The Management Letter prepared by Sikich cites a discrepancy of $12,864.19 in calculation of accrued vacation liability as of April 30, 2013. This resulted from an error in picking up the appropriate rates for calculation of the accrued liability and it was corrected. This was the only significant finding by the auditors.
Irene Tam, Administrative Assistant for Accounting, and Mrs. Anthony encountered no difficulties in working with Sikich on the audit. The audit report shows the Skokie Public Library to be in a net position of $20,463,892. as of April 30, 2013, with a change of $1,048,113. from the previous year. Mrs. Anthony did not prepare a Management Report which is intended to show management’s understanding of the financial condition as Irene and Mrs. Anthony prepare financial reports throughout the year that show their ongoing careful monitoring and analysis of the Library’s fiscal position.
Mrs. Anthony requested the Board’s acceptance of the audit.
Mrs. Hunter suggested contacting the Village Finance Director for assistance in selecting an auditor.
A motion was made by Mrs. Rich, seconded by Mr. Prosperi:
MOTION: THAT THE SKOKIE PUBLIC LIBRARY BOARD OF TRUSTEES ACCEPT THE AUDIT AND MANAGEMENT LETTER AS PRESENTED BY SIKICH LLP, CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANTS & BUSINESS ADVISORS.
The roll call vote for approval was unanimous.
USAGE----Circulation in October was down 4% overall with declines of 5% and 3% in Adult and Youth book circulation respectively. Use of digital formats approximates the difference in adult book circulation from last October to October 2013. Reference questions were about the same as last year while computer use increased nearly 9%. The Gate Count was down nearly 15%. Self-check, encouraged in the last month, climbed 35%. There were 41,422 unique visitors to the Library website in October and 12,433 consultations of the Library catalog from outside of the Library.
ILA CONFERENCE----Mrs. Anthony attended the ILA Conference at Navy Pier for one day to moderate a panel organized by the State Library on the topic of national digital programs such as the Edge Initiative and the Impact Survey. The program had an engaged audience with everyone welcoming the support of the Gates Foundation for some of these programs and noting the broad cooperation among OCLC, ULC, PLA and other such organizations in bringing these programs to their constituencies.
VOCERA----Several staff and Mrs. Anthony met with a vendor representative regarding the Vocera product which is a hands-free digital communication tool used widely in hospitals and other service venues. This would enable staff to summon help when needed at a service desk without having to staff for a “just in case” scenario. It could help provide better service by enabling one staff member to alert another that a patron was being sent to the Readers Advisory Desk, for example, in need of help with downloading an eBook. We hope to bring a proposal to the Board at a future meeting.
PLA BOARD----Mrs. Anthony attended a Friday-Saturday meeting of the PLA Board in Chicago as well as a joint meeting with representatives from the other ALA divisions regarding strengthening ALA. ALA has had some financial difficulties in recent years, but finished this past year at the end of September in the black.
HARWOOD INSTITUTE----Richard Kong, Susan Carlton and Mrs. Anthony attended a three-day workshop called the “Public Innovator’s Lab” sponsored by the Harwood Institute in cooperation with ALA. The focus of the Harwood Institute is on turning outward to the community, and building on strengths, asking people about their aspirations for the community rather than looking at gaps and needs. Mrs. Anthony believes it will be a useful tool.
I LOVE MY LIBRARIAN----By virtue of her role as PLA President, Mrs. Anthony was a judge this year for the New York Times “I Love My Librarian” competition. This involved reading numerous nominations, including some for academic and school librarians as well as those from public libraries. Reading the plaudits made her feel wonderful about the good work that is done in libraries that truly does transform lives. Mrs. Anthony has been invited to New York for the award ceremony December 17.
APPROVAL OF RENEWAL OF INSURANCE COVERAGES
Mrs. Anthony distributed a proposal prepared by Boyle, Flagg & Seaman for renewal of the Library’s insurance coverages effective January 1, 2014. Directors and Officers coverage is not quoted yet as they always wait for the audit before providing a rate.
The property values in the recent appraisal were up 3-4% and the increase in the property insurance quote is 4% so that is reasonable. The entire Business Package policy is up 4.6% from last year. We continue to have a $10,000,000. umbrella and the increase for that was up only 1.4%. Tom English continues to recommend that we stay with Travelers as it is a good company and continuity of coverage is an asset if increases are reasonable.
The Workers Compensation quote shows an increase of more than 10% primarily due to an increase in the number of drivers for the Bookmobile. This quote is based on the payroll for classes of employees including drivers, maintenance and clerical employees. The Illinois Public Risk Fund in recent years has offered a rebate of some of the premium for purchase of safety-related materials as proposed in an application. This year, we will be eligible for $2,935.
Action on renewal of the insurance coverages is not needed until December.
Brief discussion followed. The Board tabled the vote until the December Board meeting.
APPROVAL OF INVESTMENT POLICY
A copy of the Skokie Public Library Investment Policy for the Board’s review was distributed. A question has arisen regarding Section VIII of the Board’s Investment Policy on collateralization, specifically regarding the Board’s willingness to expand the acceptable forms of collateral.
For some years now, Skokie Public Library has been dealing with Cole Taylor Bank for our bill-paying account. We typically transfer funds into the account from the Illinois Money Market Fund shortly before checks are issued. Not infrequently in recent months we have exceeded the $250,000. threshold for FDIC coverage in this account. At the end of October for example, the balance in the Library’s Cole Taylor account was $332,635. Because this is an active account, such balances are not maintained for any length of time, but the auditors raised the subject with management.
Cole Taylor proposes making our account a Cole Taylor Public Funds Now account, collateralized with a Letter of Credit issued by the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) for funds over the $250,000. FDIC Insurance limit. The FHLB was chartered by Congress in 1932 and is under the supervision of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Such a Letter of Credit is not presently a type of collateral authorized by the Board. Would this type of collateral be approved by the Board? If so, the Board will need to approve a change to the acceptable Collateralization in Section VIII of the Board’s Investment Policy.
Discussion followed. The Board asked Mrs. Anthony to discuss the Letter of Credit with another banker to ascertain how safe it is. Mrs. Parrilli discovered FHLB has been in business since 1932 and has 7,600 member owners.
This item was tabled until the December Board meeting.
APPROVAL OF POLICY RE BOARD MEMBER USE OF ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS
Mrs. Anthony distributed a proposed policy for Board Member Use of Electronic Communications that our Counsel from Robbins, Schwartz, Nicholas, Lifton & Taylor has recommended.
Mrs. Anthony also distributed the correspondence from attorney Heidi Katz regarding this matter as it helps to show what difficulties may arise regarding the Open Meetings Act and the Illinois Freedom of Information Act in the absence of such a policy.
Since the Board last month approved moving to an electronic Board packet on Library-supplied tablet computers, it seems that adoption of a policy regarding electronic communications by Board members is appropriate at this time. A Library email account for each Board member will be provided.
Mrs. Anthony recommends adoption of the policy as suggested by the Library’s Counsel.
A motion was made by Mrs. Parrilli, seconded by Mr. Prosperi:
MOTION: THAT THE SKOKIE PUBLIC LIBRARY BOARD OF TRUSTEES APPROVE THE BOARD MEMBER USE OF ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS POLICY WITH ONE REVISION: REMOVING THE LAST BULLET POINT WHICH READS ‘INDIVIDUAL RESPONSES TO QUESTIONS POSED BY THE COMMUNITY MEMBERS, SUBJECT TO THE OTHER LIMITATIONS IN THIS POLICY.
The roll call vote was approved unanimously.
Board members had questions at the October Board meeting about unusually high program expense for September and about the attendance for various programs and program types.
The September programming expenses in the list of bills appeared to be unusually high, because almost half of the checks cut in September were for programs scheduled in October and even early November. This was done in anticipation of Elizabeth Ress’s (Accounts Payable) retirement at the end of September, followed almost immediately by Irene Tam’s non-changeable, non-refundable vacation trip. It is also common that supplies for recurring programs are ordered only once or twice a year to save both money and staff time; thus, the list of bills for a particular month never matches exactly the programs that occurred during that month.
In looking at program expenses generally, staff are always conscious of getting the most “bang for the buck” and in balancing spending based on the types of programs that can be accomplished by staff leading or teaching a program and which require skills or equipment staff do not possess. We also choose to invest in areas of strategic focus, such as STEM programming, for which a Math Club is currently in the incubation stages, and is growing quickly.
For last fiscal year, our overall program expenses per attendee were very close to $1 per person, which represents an amazing bargain if we look at all of the educational and enriching experiences we were able to provide. When we are paying someone to lead a program for which registration is required, staff keep close track of registration, and if the expected attendance is not large enough to justify the expense, the program is cancelled before the presenter would need to be paid.
In addition to looking at expenses, it is important to keep in mind desired or optimal attendance levels. Our program attendance in general is very close to optimal attendance, and many programs are full and have waiting lists, an aspect that is not reflected in the attendance reports. Waiting lists were so prevalent for youth programs over the summer that numerous programs had to be repeated to accommodate some of the demand. Optimal attendance in almost all cases does not mean a room that is filled to capacity, and many programs are intended to be small so personal attention can be provided. For classes in the Digital Media Lab, 4 is the optimal number of participants. In the Computer Classroom, the optimal number is usually 8-10. Discussion-based programs don’t work well with more than 16-20 people, in most cases. Having an audience larger than 160-170 in the Petty Auditorium makes people cranky because they have to crawl over people to get to open seats or they can’t find seats together. New types of programs sometimes require a period of patient waiting, during which attendance may be lower than ideal. An example would be LitLounge, which took more than a year to “take off,” but thank goodness we didn’t pull the plug too soon because it is now extremely successful and bordering on too large. As we restructure our book discussions starting in January and as we introduce new types of programming involving various forms of experiential learning, we can expect that some may fill right away but others may not.
The Board thanked Mrs. Anthony for the program information.
REACHING ACROSS ILLINOIS LIBRARY SYSTEM (RAILS)
Mrs. Parrilli reported on the highlights from the October 25, 2013, RAILS Board of Directors meeting held at the East Peoria Service Center. (The recording to this meeting was not available. The information was taken from staff reports to the Board).
Treasurer’s Report: Jim Kregor reported that as of September 30, 2013, the cash on hand and investment balance was approximately $17,000,000, which would fund just over 21 months of operations or until July 2015. On October 7, 2013, RAILS received the first payment of the FY2014 APC grant in the amount of $1,157,230.
Executive Director’s Report: Negotiations have been finalized for the sale of the East Peoria Service Center, along with the leasing of part of the facility for office and delivery space.
Negotiations are under way with Continental Transportation Solutions (CTS) to begin outsourcing delivery services at the Burr Ridge Service Center starting January 2, 2014.
Ms. Brennan asked for Board approval to upgrade Mr. Kregor’s title from Comptroller to Director of Finance because he has taken on additional responsibilities and projects as well as the expansion of his department.
Illinois State Library Report: Included in the Board packet was an 18-page response to questions and concerns submitted by ISL in regard to RAILS FY 2014 System Area and Per Capita Grant Application. The grant application was approved by ISL.
Next Meeting: Friday, November 22, 2013
Mrs. Parrilli stated that RAILS has hired an eBook trainer/coordinator who will travel the state training and giving presentations on the eIllinois Read Program. Skokie Public Library is not eligible to participate in this program.
ELECTION OF OFFICER
Mrs. Hunter nominated Mr. Prosperi for President. The nomination was seconded by Dr. Maks. Mrs. Rich nominated Mrs. Greer. Mr. Prosperi seconded the nomination. Mrs. Greer thanked Mrs. Rich for nominating her and asked her nomination be removed.
The Board elected Mr. Prosperi as President by acclamation.
COMMENTS FROM TRUSTEES
Regarding the Circulation Report, the Board paid tribute to Phil Carlsen, former Bookmobile Librarian.
Susan Greer left the meeting at 9:22 p.m.
COMMENTS FROM VISITORS
Ms. Arkin had no comments.
At 9:24 p.m. a motion was made by Mr. Prosperi, seconded by Mrs. Parrilli to adjourn the regular meeting. The motion passed unanimously.
Karen Parrilli, Secretary