Library Board meeting minutes - November 20, 2019

The public is welcome at all library board meetings

The Hennepin County Library Board met Day, November 20, 2019, Walker Library, Bde Maka Ska Meeting Room.


Present: Katherine Blauvelt, Chris Damsgard, Tim Dolan, Jonathan Gaw, Rahfat Hussain, Sheila Letscher, Margy Ligon, Samuel Nelson, LaBelle Nambangi, Adja Kaba, and Erin Vrieze Daniels

Hennepin County Staff: Michael Rossman, Kari Boe-Schmidt, Jeannette Lewis, Janet Mills, Shannon Adkins, Johannah Genett, Deborah Johnson, Ali Turner, Kristi Pearson and Commissioner Debbie Goettel

Public: Elizabeth McNally

Call to Order

President Katherine Blauvelt called the Hennepin County Library Board meeting of November 20, 2019, to order at 5:00 p.m., and welcomed all in attendance.

Approval of Agenda

Chair Katherine Blauvelt made a motion to amend the agenda, removing agenda item #8 Library Board Policies, and adding (HR/Library Director Update) to agenda item #6 President’s report.
Seconded by Erin Vrieze Daniels.
Motion passed.

Consent Items

Chair Katherine Blauvelt made a motion to approve the September 25. 2019 meeting minutes. Seconded by Samuel Neisen.
Motion passed.

Chair Katherine Blauvelt made a motion to approve acceptance of donations from Friends of Hennepin County Library.
Seconded by Margy Ligon.
Motion passed.

Public Comment

Elizabeth McNally, a resident of Minneapolis, spoke about her positive experiences attending library story times with her toddler and expressed her support for the Stories Together With Drag Performers program.

Staff Presentation

Walker Library, Librarians Barbara Senevisai and Lesley McKintosh

Barbara gave some background on Walker Library community involvement. Walker is a vibrant urban Library serving a very diverse community. The Library proximity to the Transit Station expands its reach.

A wide variety of programming, such as Coffee and Conversations held on the first Monday of each month, is offered at the Library. Patrons appreciate the different programs at Walker such as online job searching, resume writing, accessing Social Services websites, and connecting with family and friends. Most importantly Walker Library patrons enjoy a warm and welcoming environment and being treated with dignity.

Lesley spoke on behalf of youth services and her community activities serving youth. Some of those programs include story times and connecting with schools.

President’s Report

Announcements, President Katherine Blauvelt

Citizens Advisory Board vacancies are now posted. Board member Chris Damsgard is coming to an end of his final Library Board term.

Budget and Long Term Planning *

Chair Katherine Blauvelt appointed Jonathan Gaw, Samuel Neisen, and Rahfat Hussein to the Budget & Long-Term Planning committee. Chair Blauvelt also appointed Rahfat Hussein as Chair of the Budget & Long-Term Planning committee. Committee members will appoint the Vice-Chair at the first committee meeting. The first meeting is January 28th, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. at the Ridgedale Library, LadySlipper meeting room.

Communications with members of the public *

The Library Board discussed the need for new communication protocols for connecting with members of the public. A draft will come to the January full board meeting.

HR/Library Director Update

Chair Blauvelt invited Michael Rossman and Kari Boe-Schmidtz of Hennepin County Human Resources to give an update on the Library Director hiring process. Chair Blauvelt stated what the role of the Library Board is during this process, and that is to make recommendations to the County Administrator. The Library Board reviewed the Library Director Finalist Engagement Plan that was created by the Library Board Director Selection Process Committee.

Michael Rossman Chief Human Resources Officer and Talent Acquisition Manager Kari Boe-Schmidtz of Hennepin County thanked the Library Board for their great efforts creating a finalist engagement process. Hennepin County Human Resources and County Administration reviewed the Draft Plan and have proposed an alternative Director Finalist engagement plan.

The Library Board discussed how important it is to hear feedback from the public. The Board discussed options adhering to the Hennepin County Director finalist engagement plan. Library Board members suggested changes to their engagement plan, such as eliminating the social media/live streaming aspect, including the entire Library Board at the interviews and receiving public comments via email. Rossman stated that those suggestions will be bought back to Hennepin County Administrator David Hough for consideration.

Katherine Blauvelt states a motion to take 5 min recess. Motion by: Sheila Letscher
Seconded by: Jonathan Gaw
Motion passed.

The library board reconvened at 6:27 p.m.

Library Board Dialogue

Friends of Hennepin County Library, Kristi Pearson

Kristi Pearson, Friends of Hennepin County Library Executive Director, gave a PowerPoint presentation on the new FHCL Strategic Plan, 2020 – 2024. In 2020, FHCL will give $1.4 million dollars to support library programs and services.

Director’s Report

Library, Community and County Updates

Interim Director Janet Mills gave a projected budget update for the end of the 3rd quarter. Director Mills discussed the status of three Library building projects -- Arvonne Fraser Library, Franklin Library and Eden Prairie Library. All will open in the first quarter of 2020. Board member Jonathan Gaw inquired about Southdale Library and North Regional Library building project updates. Director Mills stated Southdale Library is still in the negotiations stage and there are no further updates at this time. North Regional Library will close for a renovation project in first quarter 2020 and the County Board did approve a lease for a temporary space while the library is closed.

Director Mills gave an update on the Macmillan embargo on eBook purchases by libraries. Discussions are happening among Macmillan, the American Library Association and other library advocacy groups but a resolution has not been found that can accommodate all parties. Several library systems have joined a boycott of Macmillan Publishers. At this time HCL is not taking that action. Chair Katherine Blauvelt asked the Board if anyone is interested in being on an ad hoc committee to explore a HCL response to this situation. Library Board members Sheila Letscher, Jonathan Gaw, Chris Damsgard and Margy Ligon agreed.

Interim Director Mills discussed programming and how decisions are made surrounding programming in the Libraries. The programs are developed locally by Library staff or developed centrally and offered for use locally. Centrally developed programs can be developed by our interest groups such as Pride Workgroup, Black History, and Culture Workgroup, or Media Literacy Workgroup. Programming development begins months in advance before the programming happening. Ideally, programs are developed to meet identified outcomes and or community needs or interests.

Committee Reports

Director Selection Process Committee, Katherine Blauvelt

Katherine Blauvelt stated the next Director Selection Process meeting may be canceled or a special Library Board meeting may be called depending on the feedback received from Hennepin County Human Resources.

Unfinished Business

Chair Katherine Blauvelt stated no unfinished business.

New Business

Chair Katherine Blauvelt stated no new business.


There being no further business, Katherine Blauvelt made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 7:47 p.m.; seconded by Margy O. Ligon. Motion passed. The next meeting of the Hennepin County Library Board will be held at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, January 22, 2020 Rockford Road Library, Meeting Room, 6401 42nd Ave N. Crystal, MN 55427