Executive Committee minutes - August 14, 2019

The public is welcome at all library board meetings.

Hennepin County Library Board Executive Board met Wednesday August 14th, 2019, Northeast Library.


Present: Katherine Blauvelt, Sheila Letscher, Margy Ligon, Jonathan Gaw, Adja K. Kaba, and Erin Vrieze Daniels.

Hennepin County Staff, Commissioner Debbie Goettel, Interim Library Director Janet Mills.

Call to Order

President Blauvelt called Executive Board meeting of the Hennepin County Library Board of Aug 14th, 2019 to order

Approval of Agenda

Sheila Letscher made a motion to approve the agenda; seconded by Adja K. Kaba. Motion passed.

Approval of Meeting Minutes

Sheila Letscher made a motion to approve the minutes; seconded by Erin Vrieze Daniels. Motion passed.

2020 Meeting planning

President Blauvelt outlined the topic at hand to talk about the focus of the board and then set the calendar. She suggested that [the executive] committee recommend to the board a standing long range planning committee to the board. That committee’s work would be in cadence with the librarys director’s ability to do that work in conjunction with the committee. As well as board member could work on the elevator speech for the board.

Erin Vrieze Daniels spoke about the amount of work that a combination committee of budget and strategy could be too much work for one committee and that the strategy work should wait until the new director is named. Proposed one committee that starts as budget and realigns to be strategy at a later date. Adja asked clarification if it would be better to not transition but have 2 committees.

Erin Vrieze Daniels recognized that any committee work shouldn’t add workload to library staff.

Margy Ligon asked about the strategic planning meeting as a board and would it require it to be an open meeting. She asked if a budget committee would be able to get what they need and would it be a useful committee.

Jonathan Gaw asked if there is a separate committee for strategic planning and budgeting, what would the [full] board do? And expressed concern that we would be taking a lot of function away from the full board.

Sheila Letscher spoke that she initially had the same question about the strategic plan and board involvement but stated that the board meetings are so condensed its hard to have one topic. She thinks that have some folks work though a better flow of information about the budget.

Secretary Gaw doesn’t think budget could be a standing committee.

Adja said that the budget is a lot of numbers and the committee could present to the board the high level numbers and summary and give direction on where the board should focus. She believes the strategic planning should be full board work. President Blauvelt reminded the board what they are responsible for; collection, library rooms, library director, budget and strategic plan. She suggest that some concentrated work needs to happen around budget and strategic plan. She also stats that there is work to be done this year around the new director and that we should also do some focus on collection. Margy Ligon also spoke about the communication piece.

Erin Vrieze Daniels brought up about the dashboard that has been talked about and Sheila clarified that a dashboard that included stories as well as numbers. Sheila has an example from the ALA conference and other examples were spoken about.

Janet Mills spoke about things that she is working on that might be useful for the board. She spoke about a data strategy plan that is being worked on. She spoke about an effort to increase strategic storytelling skills in herself and staff. She spoke of the funding equity work and resources around that work. There is also all the work happening on building a diverse workforce and onboarding.

Adja spoke that they are great priorities and that they may seem like they overlap but that there will be things that are different that the board could be working on but they can come together in the end.

J. Mills said that she was unsure what the library staff could bring to a committee right now. Sheila Letscher said that a budget committee could be helpful is to keep an eye on the final piece and how as [J Mills] is building a strategy, the end impact can align. They can help with ideas on tracking cost savings to get credit, track innovative ideas that we need to get credit to try to maintain the budget yr/yr.

President Blauvelt asked about the timing for when staff would be hired to support the priories and J. Mills responded that it would likely be January.

EVD spoke that the budget committee now can be there to support [J. Mills] and shows up to the budget presentation to the County Commissioners. They can report back to the board on where the budget process is at and take the lead on communicating budget updates to the full board.

President Blauvelt talked about number of meetings that the board has moved to and how to marry that with the actual capacity of [the board]. EVD stated that the board meetings are very formal and don’t currently have a lot of discussion.

Sheila asked if we can pull board members in to help with the elevator speech and could the board have some input on this if J. Mills is already working on. J. Mill spoke about the open position and need for a communication manager.

S. Letscher spoke about the process of hiring a new director is going to be a lot of work at least through December.

J. Mills spoke about an opportunity need for community ambassadors and the need for an elevator speech would be useful for them as well.

President Blauvelt said she would support a standing budget committee would if they would also care about where funding was coming from, including the state legislature, MELSA, Friends, etc. J. Mills expressed her appreciation for that kind of support.

President Blauvelt called out the 5 areas of focus the board had discussed: Director Selection, Elevator speech (communication), Budget Strategy, Strategic Plan, and Collections.

Adja K. Kaba asked about community engagement and where did that fit in. Blauvelt stated that she thinks it could fit into each group.

Discussion around collections and equity, ebooks, Lynda.com and how the Library board could mobilize around these issues.

Discussion around should budget and strategy be combined – there is discussion that the budget committee would have enough to do and strategy a can be done at a full board level.

Erin Vrieze Daniels volunteer to draft what the budget committee would be responsible with the help of Jonathan Gaw. We will review in the Sept board meeting.

Meeting locations for the rest of 2019 and 2020 are discussed.

Topics for future meetings are discussed; library fines, director selection community outreach, how the social working program is going, staff updates on their projects or work, technology, equity work.

Discussion around expectations for committee meeting minutes and updates. Meeting minutes of committees will be provided and if there are questions, board members should reach out to chair of that committee. There will be no other updates unless something is needed to be voted on.

J. Mills offered training that library staff is going through for advancing equity training that is library specific that will be led by library staff who participated in GARE.

Discussion around meeting cadence and timing for full board and executive board meetings as well as topics for meetings.

Adja K. Kaba moved the 2020 schedule, there was discussion about moving locations to visit other locations and agreement that smaller spaces can work and smaller tables can be more conversational and productive. Erin Vrieze Daniels seconded the motion. Motion passed.

Adja K Kaba moved to close the meeting. President Blauvelt seconded the motion. Motion passed.