April 28, 2010

The Hennepin County Library Board met Wed., April 28, 2010 at Minneapolis Central Library.

Present: Caitlin Cahill, John Gibbs, Holly Guncheon, Jill Joseph, Claudia Kelly, Kathleen Lamb, Gary Thaden and Therese VanBlarcom
Hennepin County Staff: Bill Berg, Sharon Charles, Commissioner Gail Dorfman, Judith Friedrich, Teresa Jepma, County Administrator Richard Johnson, Kelli Koob, Lois Lenroot-Ernt, Michele McGraw, Gail Mueller Schultz, Jennifer Nelson, Nancy Palmer, Char Sohlberg and Marilyn Zastrow
Public: Ann Alquist, Pat Scott, Cynthia Steinke and Stu Wilson

President Therese VanBlarcom called the Hennepin County Library Board meeting of April 28, 2010 to order at 5 p.m., welcomed County Administrator Richard Johnson and all attendees.

Jill Joseph made a motion to approve the agenda which was seconded by Claudia Kelly. Motion passed.

President VanBlarcom acknowledged and gratefully accepted contributions totaling $147,037.62 from The Library Foundation of Hennepin County. Claudia Kelly made a motion to approve the consent agenda which was seconded by Jill Joseph. Motion passed.

PUBLIC COMMENT No public comment.

President VanBlarcom read a resolution commending former Library Board member Cynthia Steinke. Gary Thaden made a motion to approve the resolution which was seconded by Kathleen Lamb. Motion passed. Ms. Steinke addressed the Library Board and attendees, acknowledging David Pratt's absence and expressed her thanks to County Administrator Richard Johnson for his support, Board colleagues and library staff (resolution text with member vote attached).

  • President VanBlarcom acknowledged a change in the Nominating Committee as Claudia Kelly was unable to serve. Jill Joseph was appointed as an alternate along with Chair John Gibbs, Sandy Johnson and Kathleen Lamb. The report from the Nominating Committee occurs later in the agenda.
  • An orientation for new Board members with Library staff was held Mon., April 19 for Caitlin Cahill and Gary Thaden.
  • A suggested change to the Library Board committee structure was discussed and endorsed by the Executive Committee for full board discussion. The structure, introduced by President VanBlarcom, reduces the number of committees by combining the Budget & Finance Committee with the Executive Committee; she further explained new committee appointments would be made after she contacts individual Board members prior to the May 26 Library Board meeting. Discussion occurred on the benefits and concerns of the proposed changes and included the range of responsibilities assigned to the Executive Committee and the time commitment devoted to issues of substance. Also noted was committee tasks result in recommendations to the full board for final vote/approval and therefore the committee structure is more of a work plan that breaks down the various tasks. The decision making body remains the full Library Board. It was suggested some of the concerns were based on semantics because what was proposed was not necessarily removal of the Budget & Finance Committee but in some sense, the removal of the Executive Committee which may have been under-utilized. The idea that committees that held particular responsibilities may have resulted in the full Board not being fully informed in those areas was also expressed along with the feeling that the monthly Board meeting is the public's opportunity to come to speak to the Library Board and be informed about issues, particularly the budget which may be of concern. It was suggested if the meetings need to be longer in order to complete the work, they should be lengthened. It was recommended, based on the discussion, it may be time to revisit the larger question that President VanBlarcom raised several months ago about whether the Board should continue to function with a committee structure. President VanBlarcom indicated this item will be on the May 26 Library Board agenda for further discussion. She announced two committee appointment changes: Vice President Claudia Kelly will chair and Brandi Brown will be added to the Program/Policy Committee. The rest of the committees will continue to function as is, until a decision is made about Library Board committee structure.
A welcome was extended to Hennepin County Commissioner Gail Dorfman. The Commissioner provided an overview and update on the process undertaken for a new Walker Library and answered questions from the Library Board. A need for a new Walker Library was known pre-merger and funds were allocated for capital costs along with the County Board's commitment.
  • The County Board reduced the capital amount slightly in their effort to reduce capital costs across the board to $12 million. Summer 2009, Commissioner Dorfman started the planning process and to begin the discussion, created the Walker Library Community Advisory Committee (CAC). It was a fairly informal and flexible group that included neighborhood organizations and all who were interested in the Walker customer area. Six meetings were held and looked at a range of issues from location, access to the Greenway, access using different transportation modes, and examined how the new library would look, feel, and how it would best fit into the community. The outcome was a vision document. Library Board member Gary Thaden served on the CAC. From the beginning it was slightly different from how Hennepin County typically plans a new library. Instead of having the designer selection committee issue an RFP and get an architect on board to manage the outreach process, it was done internally. Library Capital Projects Manager Lois Lenroot-Ernt and staff ran those meetings with the Commissioner's support of the community driving the process rather than developers or architects driving it. The result was a vision, presented to the Designer Selection Committee (DSC), also attended by Mr. Thaden.
  • Lois Lenroot-Ernt expressed her appreciation for Commissioner Dorfman's interest and commitment to the community process. The vision of CAC was to create a new Walker Library on the current site that reflects Uptown (bustling, diverse and high-energy). The level of participation was high with 40 members attending the majority of meetings with a strong desire to interact with the DSC and the County on the building. Commissioner Dorfman added her support for maintaining accountability to the vision that was developed by the community and acknowledged the group would remain involved until the doors to the new library open.
  • Process timeline: recommendation is with the DSC; an RFP will be issued mid-May; proposals will be reviewed; they will be short- listed; consultants will be interviewed; and late summer recommendations will be made to the County Board. At that point a contract will be drafted and the process will move to the schematic design phase.
  • When asked where the process will intersect again with the Library Board, discussion followed with Library Board members providing some history on previous capital processes that included input from the Library Board. While not opposed to new processes (which can be positive), John Gibbs felt it would be essential for the Library Board to do it's job to get a good feel for how this impacts the entire system and it's relationship to the existing long-range plans (Framework for the Future and Outlook 2010). For the Library Board, it would be important to know how a $12 million project fits into what the traditional plan has been and how it will impact other libraries. This is viewed as a separate issue from the idea of whether we have the process beyond just the community.
  • Commissioner Dorfman agreed that it is different in the way it came forward and noted Plymouth came in a similar way with added capital to the budget. Webber Park and Walker were added at the same time with the County Board wanting to make a strong statement of support for libraries located in Minneapolis.
  • Mr. Gibbs shared some of the history and deliberations of the Library Board prior to the consolidation. It was their desire to bring the systems together making certain that the potential negative impact on the traditional Hennepin County venues were minimal. The Library Board acknowledged a need to examine priorities and size related to capital expenditures overall given the impact on operating dollars and he hoped that commitment would remain today. Several people grappled with the Walker Library specifically and whether it was part of the capital plan that MPL had at the time of the consolidation. Mr. Gibbs noted a methodical assessment of where this fits into the broader plan is very timely.
  • Following the discussion, it was decided that once the County Board has made their decision as to whom the designer is going to be, the designer will be invited to speak to the Library Board. Commissioner Dorfman agreed that it is important to move forward in collaboration with the Library Board, with a clear understanding on how this fits into the system and how to sustain it.
Community Connections
  • Maple Grove Grand Opening is scheduled Sat., May 22 at 9:45 p.m.; Char Sohlberg will forward additional details to the Board.
  • Library Technology Conference at Macalester College included HCL presenters Jody Wurl and Michele McGraw; the benefits of going where the readers are, connecting with them on the Internet via social media and making reader to reader and reader to author connections were explored.
  • Lois Langer Thompson will provide a report on the Public Library Association conference at the May 26 Library Board meeting.
  • April 15 the County Board retreat included a presentation from the Library; an overview was provided by County Administrator Richard Johnson to the Budget & Finance committee at the meeting preceding this one (the objective was to think about broad strategies for addressing reductions rather than continuing to take an overall reduction). The County Board complimented the Library on innovative library service and success in continuing to provide excellent customer service with a reduced budget.
Capital Projects
  • Maple Grove Library grand opening is Sat., May 22 at 9:45 a.m., Char Sohlberg will send additional information to Library Board members before the event. Northeast Library interior demolition is complete and the contractor is preparing plans to shore up the building prior to exterior demolition. Nokomis Library north end of the building is removed, excavation to begin footings for the new north addition and south corners of the building are either in process or will be underway soon. Excelsior and Brooklyn Park libraries site selection is underway. There is no new news on the New North/Webber Park Library. Tours to evaluate the scope of work for ten library workroom upgrades are complete and plans are being drawn up for staff review.
  • In response to questions raised about classifying library collections in Hennepin County using Library of Congress and Dewey, Sharon Charles reported that no change is being considered at this time, there are other libraries that also have more than one classification system in use and the cost to convert a collection of this size is prohibitive; discussion followed.
  • Supervisors and managers will attend a facilitated discussion on May 19, employee forum and engagement sessions are also scheduled in June and July as we begin prep work for the strategic plan/decisions. A strategic planning date for the Library Board has not been scheduled. Board members expressed interest in getting started with strategic planning in relation to having substantive deliberations on issues related to the 2011 budget. As stated at the earlier committee meeting by Richard Johnson, Ms. Palmer noted the library is to come back to County Administration with a budget for 2011 that is 95% of the approved 2010 budget - the question is how is the library going to strategically operate within the confines of that number so the planning is not restricted by a budget due date. The Board expressed the need to set a vision to guide the direction of library service. President VanBlarcom noted that the May 26 Library Board meeting agenda will include strategic visioning.
  • Hennepin University Partnership (HUP) - Senior Librarian Jennifer Nelson was accepted into the Citizen Professional program; work continues on seniors and housing decisions with library involvement as intellectual learning is critical to successful aging along with library locations in relation to housing
  • Hennen Report - Policy and Research Coordinator Judith Friedrich provided a brief summary of Hennepin County Library's ranking as 7th out of 75 libraries in its population category based on Mr. Hennen's ranking. Discussion followed and Ms. Friedrich was invited to come back at a future meeting with further conclusions about the data and ranking. Ms. Lamb mentioned the Legislative Auditor's report that addresses regional library system and how they should be funded. She indicated she would like staff to report on that because she feels it also feeds into the Library Board's strategic planning process with respect to the size of HCL, where funding is going and the State of MN perspective on that.
  • Nominating Committee. Chair John Gibbs reported on the meeting held and their recommendation was to re-elect the slate of existing officers. Mr. Gibbs made a motion to re-elect Therese VanBlarcom as president; Claudia Kelly as vice president; and John Pacheco as secretary; motion was seconded by Kathleen Lamb. Motion passed.
  • Program/Policy. Holly Guncheon reported members of the committee met and continued work on the art in public libraries policy, no official business was conducted as they do not have full membership and there was not a quorum.
  • Budget & Finance. Chair Jill Joseph reported the committee has met regularly, twice in April with considerable time spent going over capital and operating budgets. An additional outcome of the April 5 meeting was a motion made by Kathleen Lamb that passed and was presented by Ms. Joseph for full Board for consideration: The committee recommends that the signage at Minneapolis Central be fixed to align with the agreement of the merger documents. Further, that staff be requested to come back to the committee with recommendations on how to fund the changes. President VanBlarcom asked that the information come back from Library staff at the May 26 full Board meeting. She also reported on the meeting with Richard Johnson held at 4 p.m. prior to full board meeting and noted a date had not been scheduled for the next meeting as they were unsure of committee structures. Ms. VanBlarcom noted committees should continue to meet as they are currently organized until a decision is made by the full Board.
  • Executive. Chair Therese VanBlarcom reported the next Executive Committee meeting is Mon., May 10, 4:30 p.m., Ridgedale Library, Robert H. Rohlf meeting room.
Jill Joseph reported on being the Board representative on the Maple Grove Library Art Acquisition Committee.
Holly Guncheon reported on her involvement as a newly appointed Board representative on the Plymouth Library Art Acquisition Committee.
Caitlin Cahill thanked staff for sharing information and providing tours to at the new Board member orientation held April 19 which was also attended by Mr. Thaden.
Mr. Thaden asked a follow-up question about the move from a separate Library IT Dept. to the County IT Dept. with library network sets and standards managed centrally. His concern was the impact this change may have on customer service. Ms. Charles explained the federated model, list of requirements and good will underway to address the various needs. She also explained that issues specific to individual departments such as the Integrated Library System, library catalog and circulation system would remain managed by the Library. President VanBlarcom asked that an evaluation be presented to the Library Board six months to one year after installation.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS No unfinished business.

NEW BUSINESS No new business.

There being no further business, Ms. Lamb made a motion to adjourn the Library Board meeting at 6:44 p.m. which was seconded by Ms. Guncheon. The motion passed. The next Library Board meeting is May 26, 2010, Southdale Library, Helen A. Young meeting room (2nd floor) at 5 p.m.

                            John Pacheco, Secretary




WHEREAS, Cynthia Steinke served with distinction on the Hennepin County Library Board from Feb. 2001 through Feb. 2010; and
WHEREAS, Cynthia Steinke enriched library services by assisting and supporting the development of new initiatives, some resulting in national recognition from the National Association of Counties; and
WHEREAS, Cynthia Steinke was elected as Library Board president from 2004-2005 and served as vice president from 2002-2003, providing leadership and organizational skills during a time of significant staffing and financial change; and
WHEREAS, Cynthia Steinke participated, adding thoughtful and thought-provoking observations while working with her colleagues to develop a refreshed mission and vision for the expanded Hennepin County Library system; and
WHEREAS, Cynthia Steinke provided exemplary leadership as the chair of the Program/Policy Committee that worked to understand policies from two nationally recognized library systems, ensuring best practices were used to provide consistent and outstanding library service to customers throughout Hennepin County; and
WHEREAS, Cynthia Steinke was a welcoming, experienced Library Board member who shared her interests, expertise and dedication as a member of the expanded Hennepin County Library Board, volunteering to serve as a mentor for new members; and
WHEREAS, Cynthia Steinke recognized the importance of the work of the Library Board and its connection to county residents; she continued to serve with a sense of humor and often expressed the value of and her gratitude for the work of others; therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED, that the Hennepin County Library Board expresses sincere appreciation to Cynthia Steinke for her service to the citizens of Hennepin County which will be felt for years to come along with their gratitude for the friendship she extended to many colleagues and staff while serving as a member of the Library Board.


    Hennepin County Library Board YEA NAY OTHER
    Brandi A. Brown __ ____ absent
    Caitlin Cahill X ____ _____
    John Gibbs X ____ _____
    Holly Guncheon X ____ _____
    Sandy Johnson __ ____ absent
    Jill Joseph X ____ _____
    Claudia Kelly X ____ _____
    Kathleen Lamb X ____ _____
    John Pacheco __ ____ absent
    Gary Thaden X ____ _____
    Therese VanBlarcom X ____ _____

April 28, 2010