Library Board minutes - September 26, 2018

The public is welcome at all library board meetings

The Hennepin County Library Board met Wednesday, September 26, 2018, Robert H. Rohlf Meeting Room.


Present: President Katherine Blauvelt, Caitlin Cahill, Chris Damsgard, Tim Dolan, Jonathan Gaw, Rahfat Hussain, Sheila Letscher, Margaret Ligon, and Samuel Neisen.

Hennepin County Staff: Director Lois Langer Thompson, Shannon Adkins, Maria Baca, Ashley Bieber, Mary Commers, Susan Cooper, Margaret Daly, Katherine Debertin, Mary Dubbs, Lindsey Fenner, Ali Fuhrman, Johannah Genett, Heidi Gjengdahl, DJ Hooker, Ric Johnson, Deborah Johnson, Roberta Kemp, Audra Kerlin, Kelli Koob, Scott Markham, Janet Mills, Gail Mueller Schultz, Christy Mulligan, Sarah Nelson, Charles Nuckols, Kristi Pearson, Joanna Redman, Molly Rivard, Brett Schlosser, Susie Sigal, Ian Stade, Tracy Thompson, Ali Turner, Karen Westwood, Daniel Wharton, Peggy Woodling, Ann Woodson Hicks, Jody Wurl, and Anna Zillinger.

Public: M. Heath (Hennepin County)

Call to order

President Katherine Blauvelt called the Hennepin County Library Board meeting of September 26, 2018, to order at 5:02 p.m., and welcomed all in attendance

Approval of agenda

Changes to the agenda included removing Michael Rossman and Commissioner Goettel. Caitlin Cahill made a motion to approve the agenda; seconded by Tim Dolan. Motion passed.

Consent items

Changes to the minutes included correcting the next meeting date From September 23 to September 26. Sheila Letscher made a motion to approve amended the meeting minutes of June 27, 2018; seconded by Caitlin Cahill. Motion passed.

Tim Dolan made a motion to accept donations as of September 11, 2018; seconded by Samuel Neisen. Motion passed.

Public comment

Lindsey Fenner, Brett Schlosser, DJ Hooker, Ali Fuhrman, and Anna Zillinger, Hennepin County Library, spoke of their support of the safety concerns and staff needs at North Regional Library. President Blauvelt referred the feedback to staff. Library Director Thompson took the feedback under advisement as Library administration continues to partner with North Regional Library staff, County Administration, County Facilities, local law enforcement and community government.

President’s report

Employee Recognition Awards

Employee Recognition Awards are given annually to honor current county employees who made exceptional contributions in their workplace or community. Board members formally recognized staff who were either nominated for or won Library Department or County Employee Recognition awards in 2018. Employees were presented with a certificate and a gift of appreciation.

Commendation: Lois Langer Thompson, Library Director

President Blauvelt read the resolutions commending Director Thompson. A Board Resolution thanking Director Thompson for her years of service to the Library Board was moved by President Blauvelt, seconded by Margy Ligon and approved by the Board.

Director Thompson expressed her gratitude and thanked the board for the recognition and shared that she is better for having worked with them.

Executive Committee, Chris Damsgard

The committee had a lengthy, facilitated discussion to frame the value of our dialogues and how to keep them successful. We were able to clarify goals up front so that we can best serve in our advisory capacity.

2019 Meeting Schedule

Executive Committee recommended the proposed 2019 Library Board meeting schedule and locations.

Chris Damsgard made a motion to approve the 2019 Meeting Schedule; seconded by Margy Ligon. Motion passed.

2019 Request for funding to Friends of Hennepin County Library, Ali Turner, System Services Division Manager

Ali Turner outlined HCL’s recommendation for the use of the anticipated $1.2 million funding from Friends of Hennepin County Library (FHCL). FHCL Director Kristi Pearson shared they are tracking ahead of their budget year to date in 2019 and do not have any concerns of meeting our request.

Caitlin Cahill made a motion to approve the 2019 request for funding to FHCL; seconded by Jonathan Gaw. Motion passed.

The Library Board thanked Director Pearson and her team for their support.

Library board dialogue

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

President Blauvelt led the Board in a dialogue on evaluating collection breadth and depth, and how the Library Board can provide perspective to staff as they continue to make collection decisions.

The Board discussed the need for innovation and creativity for progress; the need for intellectual freedom to make progress; needing to know the operational processes for staff making judgment calls at HCL; how to encourage and capture the voices of those that are harder to hear; how to manage requests to provide materials that are potentially not true; the library’s role in the intellectual freedom of minors; how to prepare for future technologies; bias in selecting library displays; the need for library displays; how the collection represents a local community; the need to serve the public; and the risk of excluding view points and marginalizing minorities.

Johannah Genett thanked the Board for their discussion and will use the dialogue and questions that arose as we start to review the policy for review in 2019.

Director Thompson thanked board for putting their lens on intellectual freedom and how the community experiences our collection.

Director’s report

Library, Community and County Updates

Ridgedale Library reopened with a soft opening on September 17, a grand opening was held on September 24, with Ms. Cahill, Ms. Kaba, Ms. Letscher, and Ms. Ligon in attendance. The Library looks and feels bigger even though it is the same square footage.

Hennepin County is taking a more measured approach than other systems to evaluating eliminating fines and fees. Further discussion and dialogue will be held with the Library Board as we watch other systems.

The Library Director search is under way. County Administration is developing a job description with a planned national search. President Blauvelt will meet with County Administrator David Hough and County Board Char Janis Callison to discuss the Library Board’s role as per state statutes. An announcement on interim is anticipated within next two weeks.

Capital Framework has been updated, the document provided is still in draft pending finalization with County Board. The Library is starting to think about reducing disparities and what capital projects can do and what numbers we need while reflecting on what data we would use. Alex Tittle, County Disparity Reduction Director, is encouraging us to work within County and not create our own process.

The Operations and Library Department budget presentation to the County Board will be held October 4th at 1:00 p.m. at the Government Center.

Christy Mulligan, Equity, Diversity & inclusion Coordinator, and Deborah Johnson, Interim HR Manager, reviewed the EDI update document with Board members. Director Thompson advised it is slow work, but work that results in real and long lasting change.

Congratulations to Friends of Hennepin County Library for receiving a second LSTA grand to further the Library’s community embeddedness work.

Library board policies

Second Read, Director Thompson

Director Thompson conducted a second read of Commissioned Public Art, Donation, Library Bill of Rights and Patron Data Privacy policies.

Caitlin Cahill made a motion to move Commissioned Public Art policy to the November consent agenda, seconded by Sheila Letscher. Motion passed.

Margy Ligon made a motion to move Donation policy to the November consent agenda, seconded by Samuel Neisen. Motion passed.

Caitlin Cahill made a motion to move Library Bill of Rights to the November consent agenda, seconded by Margy Ligon. Motion passed.

Margy Ligon made a motion to move Patron Data Privacy policy to the November consent agenda, seconded by Samuel Neisen. Motion passed.

Committee reports

Friends of Hennepin County Library – Kristi Pearson, FHCL Director

FHCL held their board meeting at Webber Park, the architect of the Webber Park project now serves on the FHCL Board and provided members with a tour. The FHCL board will continue to try to meet at different HCL locations. FHCL is looking into how to be more inclusive in their recruitment, marketing, and fundraising efforts to reach all users and supporters of the Library.

Unfinished business


New business



There being no further business, President Blauvelt made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 6:54 p.m.; seconded by Jonathan Gaw. Motion passed. The next meeting of the Hennepin County Library Board will be held at 5:00 p.m., Wednesday, November 28, Ridgedale Library, Robert H. Rolf meeting room.

- Adja K. Kaba, Secretary