Library Board minutes - November 28, 2018

The public is welcome at all library board meetings

The Hennepin County Library Board met Wednesday, November 28, 2018, Ridgedale Library, Robert H. Rohlf meeting room.


Present: Katherine Blauvelt, Caitlin Cahill, Chris Damsgard, Tim Dolan, Jonathan Gaw, Rahfat Hussain, Adja K. Kaba, Sheila Letscher, Margaret Ligon, Samuel Neisen, and Erin Vrieze Daniels.

Hennepin County Staff: Commissioner Linda Higgins, Interim Director Janet Mills, Shannon Adkins, Peggy Bauer, Abdulrashid Gama, Johannah Genett, Deborah Johnson, Lois Lenroot-Ernt, Nancy Palmer, Kristi Pearson (FHCL), Gail Mueller Schultz, Rebecca Thayer, Tracy Thompson, and Ali Turner.

Public: Sheila Zimmerman (Edina), and Connie Brekken (Edina)

Call to order

Past President Chris Damsgard called the Hennepin County Library Board meeting of November 28, 2018, to order at 5:10 p.m., and welcomed all in attendance.

Approval of agenda

Changes to the agenda included moving consent agenda item 3C. Approval of Library Board Policies to later in the agenda for further discussion. Sheila Letscher made a motion to approve the amended agenda; seconded by Margy Ligon. Motion passed.

Consent items

With the exception of the item moved, Caitlin Cahill made a motion to approve the consent agenda; seconded by Jonathan Gaw. Motion passed.

Past President Damsgard read a statement describing the Friends of Excelsior art donation “Minnesota Mosaic,” and invited the Friends of Edina to share a few words on their art donation, “Bear Bench.”

Sheila Zimmerman, President of Friends of Edina Library Board, and Connie Brekken, member of Friends of Edina Library, shared their donation was made in honor of Linda Brandt, their friend and a former board member, who passed away. They graciously thanked the board, who thanked them in return.

Public comment

No public comment.

President’s report

Commendation: Commissioner Linda Higgins, Second District

Tim Dolan read the resolutions commending Commissioner Linda Higgins. A Board Resolution thanking Commissioner Higgins for her years of service to the Library Board was moved by Vice President Vrieze Daniels, seconded by Margy Ligon and approved by the Board.

Commissioner Higgins expressed she treasures this recognition and thanked the board for the honor and their service.

Commendation: Commissioner Peter McLaughlin, Fourth District

Jonathan Gaw read the resolutions commending Commissioner Peter McLaughlin. A Board Resolution thanking Commissioner McLaughlin for his years of service to the Library Board was moved by Vice President Vrieze Daniels seconded by Tim Dolan and approved by the Board.

Commissioner Higgins received the commendation on behalf of Commissioner Peter McLaughlin. She shared his heart is in libraries, with his proudest moment being the merger with the Minneapolis Public Libraries. She expressed his gratitude for this recognition, and his regrets for not being able to attend.


Citizen Advisory Board 2019 vacancy applications will be accepted through December 31. The Library Board has three vacancies; Jonathan Gaw and Samuel Neisen are eligible for reappointment, Caitlin Cahill has reached the end of her third consecutive term. Questions can be directed to the Library Board Clerk, Tracy Thompson.

Library Board members interested in attending conferences in 2019 should reach out to President Blauvelt by December 20.

Director Selection Process Committee

Vice President Vrieze Daniels reminded the Board that a new committee was formed by the Board at the special meeting in October. The first meeting of the Director Selection Process Committee was held on October 23. She reviewed the Library Director selection process and timeline, reminding the Library Board that sequence is more important than timing.

Sheila Letscher expressed concern over the Minnesota Statutes related to Director qualifications. Interim Director Janet Mills recommended holding that discussion at the next Director Selection Process Committee meeting in January. Vice President Vrieze Daniels requested further information be available on this topic at that meeting.

Friends of Hennepin County Library 2018 Highlights, Kristi Pearson, FHCL Executive Director

Director Kristi Pearson thanked the Library Board for being invited to discuss another year of a successful partnership between the Library and Friends of Hennepin County Library.

Director Pearson reviewed the FHCL key strategies of powerful storytelling, diverse revenue generation, engaging events, robust marketing and fundraising campaigns, and data analysis and infrastructure investment. She shared the strategies are the framework of almost everything they do.

Director Pearson shared recent successful FHCL events including the Testify exhibit, Talk of the Stacks, MnSpin live inaugural concert, a special evening with the Sioux Chef Sean Sherman, 2018 – 2019 Pen Pals season, and the year-end giving campaign.

Vice President Vrieze Daniels shared how impressed she was with FHCL staff and their excitement and engagement. The Board thanked Director Pearson for her presentation and all of her organization’s hard work and dedication.

Library board policies


Each Library Board policy listed in the agenda, with the exception of the Commissioned Public Art Policy, was changed to comply with Library Board members’ comments at the September Library Board meeting. The changes are as follows:

  • Next Review Date updated to 2022

There was a question in September about the word “be” showing highlighted in yellow in the Patron Data Privacy Policy. Staff would like to clarify that was intentional based on a requested change from “data is retained” to “data be retained”.

Lois Lenroot–Ernt, Research, Policy and External Relations Coordinator, was invited to the table for the requested policy discussion. Sheila Letscher shared she was concerned the policy review committee was not being referred to consistently between policies, and that the review period did not line up with our new policy review schedule in each policy.

Lois Lenroot-Ernt recommended updating wording to “recommendations are advanced to a Library Board committee.” The Board agreed with this recommendation.

Lenroot-Ernt also recommended the process language in the Data Privacy policy be retained due to differing legal requirements for this policy. She reinforced that each policy includes the option to review more frequently as needed or upon request of the Library Board.

Shelia Letscher made a motion to move the four policies to the January consent agenda, seconded by Jonathan Gaw. Motion passed.

Library board dialogue

Building collections that support the first amendment and welcome all communities, Johannah Genett, Resource Services Division Manager

Johannah Genett and President Blauvelt provided a review of the September 26 dialogue and provided answers to questions raised during part one of the dialogue. President Blauvelt reminded the Board this two-part discussion is being used to prepare for updating the Collection Development and Management policy in 2019.

Staff reviewed the request for reconsideration process, the suggest for purchase tool, and how employees determine if an item is out of scope.

The Board discussed where the current policy is clear on providing guidance to staff, how staff are selected to participate on selection teams, a lack of proactive language, the need to achieve a diverse collection, aligning with County and Library goals and strategic plans, how patrons are instructed to make requests, transparency, measurements of success, and continuous improvement.

Margy Ligon inquired if HCL has considered offering collections other than books to patrons similar to how some library systems offer tools, clothing, seeds, etc. to patrons. Ms. Genett shared HCL has piloted similar programs and have found that the wait lists become so long the programs no longer serve the patrons that need it most. Interim Director Mills shared that until HCL can come up with a delivery method and model that really serves the people that most need it, we will continue to refer on to community partners that have been successful in those areas.

Director’s report

Library, Community and County Updates

CCX Media Library Series

CCX Media News produced a series of three videos highlighting aspects of 21st Century Library service offered in various HCL locations.

North Regional Library Update

Since the end of September, no incidents of the same significance as those in late August and early September. Hennepin County security officers have been present during all open hours. Currently interviewing candidates for a second supervisor position to work alongside Krista Beier, North Regional supervisor. We have begun filling several other public facing positions as well. We have been focused on attracting many applicants from the community through a concerted recruiting effort led by Ms. Beier and library colleagues, posting flyers around the neighborhood, etc. We are continuing to grow our partnerships in the community, including reaching out to Mad Dads and the schools.

Library Closure

South East Library will close for a 10-12 month renovation beginning Monday, December 10. The Library is scheduled to reopen in late 2019.

Eden Prairie Library will close January 7, 2019, it will remain closed until fall of 2019.

Pause in accepting public art

Interim Director Mills shared that with almost 2000 pieces of public art currently in our possession at the Library, we will take a pause in accepting additional pieces in 2019.

Library capital projects with a budget of over $1 million will continue to earmark 1% of their budget for public art as stipulated by the One Percent for Art Policy, but funds will be held until the review described above is complete.

Donations of public art will not be accepted from local Friends groups or individuals. We have requested all local Friends groups to suspend any planning for purchase of art during this process.

Bequest gifts of funds will be accepted with no guarantee they will be used to purchase art. We request that bequests are held by the Friends of Hennepin County Library, even if initially bequeathed to a local Friends group.

Exceptions to the pause will require prior approval by the Library Director or designee and will be considered on a case by case basis.

Temporary art displays of items not owned by the Library including local exhibits and displays in Cargill Gallery at Minneapolis Central Library are not included in this pause.

President Blauvelt inquired how this would impact the Board’s role in accepting donations. Interim Director Mills explained the Library would not be bringing forth any public art items for recommendation in 2019, but that the Library Board would continue to approve other types of donations.

Read this newsletter - subscribed

All Library board members have been subscribed to “Read this” a quarterly email newsletter that will share reading recommendations, highlight online resources and provide subscribers with tips and tricks to make using the library easy.

Patrons are able to find the newsletter and sign up for future issues in two locations on the public website as well as on the Hennepin County public website.

Ted Hathaway

Ted Hathaway, Senior Librarian in Special Collections, wrote the forward to the recently published Double Exposure: Images of Black Minnesota in the 1940s. It’s published by Minnesota Historical Society and features the photos that the special collections department repaired and digitized.

Unfinished business

President Blauvelt made a motion to name Jonathan Gaw and Erin Vrieze Daniels to serve as Library Board representatives on the Hennepin County application screening group; seconded by Sheila Letscher. Motion passed.

New business

No new business.


There being no further business, Samuel Neisen made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 7:02 p.m.; seconded by Caitlin Cahill. Motion passed. The next meeting of the Hennepin County Library Board will be held at 5:00 p.m., Wednesday, January 23, 2019, Ridgedale Library, Robert H. Rohlf meeting room, 12601 Ridgedale Drive, Minnetonka, 55305

- Adja K. Kaba, Secretary