March 2019 Minutes


The meeting was called to order at 6:01 pm in the library.

In attendance were: Library Director Marie Letarte Mueller, and Russ Karlstad, town facilities director; Trustees Gloria Parkinson, chairwoman; Wendy Neil, vice chairwoman; Tracy Colangione, Angela DeVivo, Karen Nugent, secretary; and Alexandra Zapantis.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: The minutes of the Feb. 26, 2019 meeting were unanimously approved.


  1. FACILITIES DIRECTOR: Mr. Karlstad gave an update on planned library projects for FY20, but the budget is not finalized.

Mr. Karlstad also gave an update on the Community Room project. (It was noted that trustees may seek contractors on their own, but would have any proposals looked at by Mr. Karlstad.) He said walls have been patched and painted, but it would be too expensive to replaster or skim coat because they are in worse shape than originally thought. The walls could be repainted in a color trustees and Ms. Letarte Mueller agree on. Ms. Nugent will get paint color swatches for the next meeting.

Mr. Karlstad said windows are done, and outside grills will be removed. Inserts have been placed over the window to prevent heat loss. Exit door: Mr. Karlstad said he will investigate getting a historically accurate door from the Worcester Preservation Society. Trustees can also look for appropriate doors from the Society. French Doors for the interior exit will be ordered on March 26.

Floor: Ms. DeVivo suggested a pliable material, such as Neoprene, would make the floor better for programs that include movement. Mr. Karlstad said he will look into carpets with a thick under layer. He will drop off samples.

Ms. Letarte Mueller will attend a furniture exposition to look at program chairs for downstairs. Additional furniture such as comfy chairs, lamps and tables will be looked into at a later date.

When Mr. Karlstad officially takes on the new post on July 1, 2019, the library facilities budget will fall under his jurisdiction. This will include building maintenance, repairs, and janitorial services; and some capital improvements. 

  • Nomination papers for two trustee seats (Nugent, Zapantis) are available.
  • Library Giving Day is April 10, 2019.
  • Ms. Letarte Mueller presented the budget before the Finance Committee and Selectmen on March 19 and 20. An article for a heating/cooling unit will probably be requested for the June annual town meeting warrant.
  • Sample program chairs were in the library March 7-12.

POLICY UPDATES: Three votes were taken on updated policies:

Trustees voted unanimously (motion by Ms. Nugent; seconded by Ms. Colangione) on Library Card Policies and Privileges. Any Massachusetts resident with photo ID and proof of address can get a free library card from the Bigelow Free Public Library. Replacement cards will cost $2. If there is no ID or proof of address, a library card applicant can borrow one item only, which must be returned to borrow another item.

Trustees voted unanimously (motion by Ms. Zapantis; seconded by Ms. Nugent) on Printing, Scanning, and Faxing Policies and Privileges. A printer/copier/scanner is available for use by the public. B/W copies are 10 cents a side; color copies, 25 cents. Scanning is free but must be sent to a patron’s email or jump drive. Staff must fax documents behind the desk. Fees are $1 a page or up to $5 maximum per fax.

After a discussion, a motion made by Ms. DeVivo and seconded by Ms. Zapantis, passed by a vote of  4-0-2 – with Ms. Colangione and Ms. Neil abstaining – on an amended Library Use Policy.  The following changes were made: “Events must occur during the library’s open hours or at the discretion of the director, based on mitigating circumstances;” and “Events must specify a start and end time, at the discretion of the director.”

Ms. Neil questioned if the start/end time topic came up because of the monthly Tuesday night library Book Group. Ms. Letarte Mueller said yes, stating that there needs to be limits on her unpaid time. (The book group meets on the third Tuesday of the month, starting at 6 pm. The library closes at 6 pm on Tuesdays.)  Ms. Neil pointed out that the group is a “library” book group and should not have time limits. She called five nearby libraries and reported that none have time limits. Ms. Letarte Mueller questioned if the libraries were open during those meetings, and suggested moving the book group to an evening when the library is open, such as Wednesday or Thursday. Ms. Neil will ask book group members if they would consider changing the day. 


Ms. Letarte Mueller passed out addresses for local state representatives and senators, and colored sheets for patrons to list their names and why they love the library. These will be mailed to representatives, to make it easier for them to advocate library issues to the Legislature. Ms. DeVivo will get them to contacts at the schools, and trustees will be given links to use for other avenues.


 1. Review of Disbursements for Community Room Gift Account:

Of the total $37,500 gift, approximately $3,480 was spent on windows, and $2,200 on painting and plastering; leaving $31,816 for doors, flooring, and furniture.

2. Extended Saturday Hours: Ms. Letarte Mueller said the new 2 pm Saturday closing time, supposed to have begun in March, has been delayed until the library is fully staffed. A motion (made by Ms. DeVivo; seconded by Ms. Zapantis) to postpone extended Saturday hours until a later date due to staff inadequacies passed unanimously.


The meeting was adjourned at 8:10 pm. The next meeting is scheduled for 6 pm April 9.

Minutes submitted by Karen Nugent, secretary.