August 2018 Minutes


The meeting was called to order in the library at 6:02 pm.

In attendance were: Trustees: Gloria Parkinson, chairwoman; Wendy Neil, vice chairwoman; Tracy Colangione, Angela DeVivo, Karen Nugent, secretary; and Alex Zapantis; Library Director Marie Letarte Mueller; and guest speaker Selectman Sean Kerrigan, also of the town’s Marketing and Communication Subcommittee.

Mr. Kerrigan led a discussion with trustees about marketing and promoting the library, using materials (computer graphics and handouts) from his position at Bentley College, where he is associate director of marketing.

The regular meeting began at 7:40 pm.

  1. APPROVAL OF MINUTES: The minutes from the July 19, 2018, meeting were unanimously approved with two amendments: The word “spoke” was changed to “had a discussion” pertaining to a planning session with a consultant from the Mass. Library System; and the sentence “Programs came in last,” (about library surveys) was deleted because it was misleading.
  3. Role and responsibilities of library trustees: Ms. Neil submitted a summary and list of concerns she has about issues that surfaced recently, including HVAC in the Children’s Room, and the staff’s concern about trustee involvement, and communication among staff, director, and trustees. The letter had four main points. It was agreed that trustees do not participate in day-to-day issues; that trustees should go through the director on pending issues unless she is not available; that staff may give a list of things they would like addressed at upcoming meetings; and that the town facilities director, and not the trustees, is responsible for searching for solutions and contractors on building issues. Ms. Letarte Mueller was asked to contact the facilities director, Russ Karlstad, right before trustee meetings so they will have the latest updates.
  4. Relationship of trustees with staff: Ms. Neil recommended that staff attend trustee meetings if they believe issues have not been adequately addressed. Staff was invited to this meeting but were not in attendance. A letter from a staff member mentioned safety concerns, and the desire for more involvement in big decisions about day-to-day operations. Staff believes trustees and Ms. Letarte Mueller need to hear and address their concerns, Ms. Neil said.

Ms. Zapantis said staff should attend meetings if they want to be heard.

Ms. Letarte Mueller said copies of trustees’ roles would be given to staff, and if they want to be placed on future meeting agendas, they will be at the beginning of the meetings.

  1. DIRECTOR’S REPORT: a. Ms. Letarte Mueller said the five-year strategic plan will be ready for review by November and will be submitted to the state in December or January.
  2. The library will close at 1 pm. on Sept. 8, Olde Home Day, but the Friends group will run a book-bake sale until 4 pm.
  3. Dog policy: Only registered/certified service dogs are allowed in the library. Ms. Letarte Mueller will write a policy incorporating state regulations.
  4. Facilities: Trustees decided to tell Mr. Karlstad, that we need a timeline ASAP for windows in the Community Room. He will be invited to the next meeting. HVAC: Ms. Parkinson said the Finance Committee approved a $15,000 reserve fund transfer for the Children’s Room HVAC system. Trustees voted unanimously (motion by Ms. Neil, seconded by Ms. Zapantis) to hire Whitney Brothers Oil Corp. of Clinton, although another quote will be needed for just the second floor. (Whitney and Morris Mechanical previously submitted quotes for the entire building.) Whitney was selected because of a longer warranty and higher BTUs on the units. Meanwhile, Ms. Parkinson will ask the Nypro Foundation for a $15,000 grant for the rest of the project.

Ms. Letarte Mueller said she plans to move her office upstairs to the Children’s Room storage area. There will be an office and a study room with a table and two chairs.

Security cameras: Because cameras use wifi, Ms. Letarte Mueller said CW Mars is coming to check if the library wifi is sufficient. We are still waiting for information on a group purchase with other town departments.

Bathrooms: Ms. Letarte Mueller said the staff has concerns about children going down to the lower level alone. Bathrooms cannot be locked from the inside, per state regulations. A “Family Bathroom” is proposed for parents who need a changing table.

Ms. Letarte Mueller said she plans to make existing bookshelves on the main floor one shelf hire. Ms. Colangione and Ms. Parkinson expressed concerns about safety – shelves can topple and cause injuries. She was asked to check state regulations on shelf height.

  1. Personnel: Children’s Librarian Deb Marini has been hired as the new Head of Youth Services, at a Grade 12, step 5 level. She will receive a slight pay increase. There was one other applicant for the position.

A new volunteer from the Senior Tax Rebate Program will work for two hours each Wednesday helping patrons with computers.

Saturday Hours: The board voted unanimously (motion by Ms. DeVivo; seconded by Ms. Zapantis) to change the hours from 9 am to 3 pm to 9 am to 2 pm, because of a pay discrepancy.

No action was taken on a request to close the library at 3 pm on Oct. 12 for an employee’s wedding.

  1. FRIENDS OF THE BIGELOW LIBRARY DONATION TRANSFER: Ms. Parkinson reported that the $37,000 grant from the Clinton Home Foundation has been transferred from the Friends to the library gift fund. She said the Friends group cannot write checks to contractors. The grant is to refurbish the Community Room.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:56 pm. The next meeting is scheduled for 6 pm Sept. 25.

Minutes submitted by Karen Nugent