July 2018 Minutes


The meeting was called to order at 3 pm at the library.

In attendance were: Trustees Gloria Parkinson, chairwoman; Wendy Neil, vice chairwoman; Tracy Colangione, Angela DeVivo, Karen Nugent, secretary; and Alex Zapantis. Also Library Director Marie Mueller, Donna Jones, president of the Friends group; and Kristi Chadwick, a consultant with the Massachusetts Library System, for a discussion on a future planning session.


Ms. Chadwick spoke for approximately one hour on what is important for planning our library’s future.

She suggested using the Aspen Institute guide. She did a verbal and written activity with trustees consisting of “15 Action Steps” to prioritize key points for future planning.


  1. APPROVAL OF MINUTES: The minutes of the June 14, 2018 meeting were unanimously approved. (Motion by Ms. Zapantis; seconded by Ms. Neil.)

 DIRECTOR’S REPORT: Ms. Mueller summarized the recent library surveys. Respondents noted facilities, community engagement, and materials as top priorities. Programs came in last. She said there were “no real surprises” in the responses.

Ms. Mueller said the security cameras and alarms purchases are still on hold as the facilities director is waiting to do a group purchase with other town departments, to keep costs down.

An update from Russ Karlstad, facilities director, about the community room renovations was discussed. So far, the outside vestibule has been removed and new brick work has started outside that entrance. Everything else is on hold while the air conditioning and heating systems are figured out for the whole building.

Ms. Mueller said there had been no applications received for the new Head of Youth Services position. The deadline is July 24.

Ms. Mueller said there have been staff complaints about trustees not visiting the library more often, not greeting staff, nor borrowing items. Trustees said they are unaware of what this means, as most visit the library at least once a week and most have several items checked out all the time. (Ms. Colangione has 41 items borrowed.) Trustees requested that staff members attend a future meeting to clarify what they mean.

A request to close the library at 1 pm on Friday, Oct. 12, for an employee’s wedding, was unanimously voted down by trustees. (Motion by Ms. Parkinson; seconded by Ms. DeVivo.) Ms. Mueller said all staff are invited to the wedding, and will probably all call in sick if the library is open.  After the vote, Ms. Mueller said she wanted to go on the    record as saying she was “disappointed.”

Trustees voted unanimously (motion by Ms. Parkinson; seconded by Ms. DeVivo) to  close the library at 4 pm Oct. 31 (Halloween) because of safety concerns regarding   children trick-or-treating around the area.


CLIMATE CONTROL DISCUSSION:  Mr. Karlstad in his update said the AC/HVAC units need to be replaced because parts are no longer available, and other technical issues such as the use of Freon. He had one quote of approximately $30,000; and expected another, from Morris Mechanical, to be in that range, or possibly $35,000. He suggested soliciting donations. Trustees decided to consider asking the Finance Committee for a reserve fund transfer, while, at the same time, applying for grants, including from the Nypro Foundation because it funded the old HVAC units.  Ms. Parkinson and Ms. Mueller will explore grants before going to the FinnComm.

FRIENDS OF THE BIGELOW FREE PUBLIC LIBRARY: Donna Jones, Friends president, gave an update. There is a new treasurer and a new executive board. The $37,000 grant from the Clinton Home Foundation for the Community Room renovation, whose check was mistakenly made out to the Friends group, remains in their account. The Friends will meet at 9:30 am Aug. 11. They meet on the second Saturday of the month.

  2. ADJOURNMENT: The meeting was adjourned at 5:38 pm. The next meeting is scheduled for 6 pm August 28, 2018.

Minutes submitted by Karen Nugent, secretary.