Executive Committee meeting summary - March 6, 2018

The public is welcome at all library board meetings

The Library Board Executive Committee met Tuesday, March 6, 2018, Rockford Road Library, Conference Room.


Committee members: Katherine Blauvelt, Caitlin Cahill, Chris Damsgard, and Samuel Nelson

Library Board members: Jonathan Gaw, and Erin Vrieze Daniels

Staff: Director Lois Langer Thompson and Tracy Thompson

Welcome and Call to Order

President Chris Damsgard called the meeting to order at 5:32 p.m. and welcomed attendees.

Approval of agenda and meeting summary

Caitlin Cahill made a motion to approve the agenda and the October 10, 2017, meeting summary. Motion passed.

Public Comment


Parliamentary Procedure Workshop Opportunities with Jeanette N. Williams, Parliamentary Consultant


President Chris Damsgard gave an overview of the Library Board and shared the three types of agenda items and their formality level. Ms. Williams shared she found it acceptable to have a range of formalities on an agenda as long as it was clearly communicated to the board the expectations around each. Committee requested formal business items be called out on the agenda with an icon moving forward.

Nominating committees

Ms. Williams suggested the Board continue to use the process outlined in the bylaws. Best practice includes having nominating committee nominated and approved by Library Board versus appointed by President.

In lieu of a Nominating Committee the Board could request nominations from the floor and conduct a ballot vote. If using a Nominating Committee, you may still solicit nominations from the floor. The Board may want to create election rules against actively soliciting votes or campaigning.

Another option is to create application of interest process that can be used by nominating committee or included in board packets prior to annual meeting for all voting board members to consider.

Seconding a Motion

Ms. Williams stated that small boards do not require a second on motions. She reviewed Robert’s Rules of Order to clarify. Robert defines small boards as about 12 members. The purpose of a second is to ensure at least two people want to discuss a topic.

Difference between unfinished business and new business

Generally most organizations do not have unfinished business. The Library Board is unlikely to have new business because items are already on the agenda.

Next steps

  • Vice President Blauvelt requested our processes be laid out for each agenda item, clearly communicated and explained, and a part of our member onboarding process.
  • The group agreed that the President will remind the Board when introducing agenda items during meetings.
  • For a fee, the consultant is available for future training or process evaluation.

Nominating Committee

A form of interest will be created prior to the March 28 meeting for board members to indicate their interest in becoming an officer; the form will include a section to share a brief statement of interest. Received forms will be shared with the Nominating Committee for their consideration. The form will request name, year appointed, position(s) held, position(s) of interest – multiple positions allowed, and statement of interest.

  • Erin Vrieze Daniels requested an outline of each role including job descriptions be included with the form.
  • The Nominating Committee will be appointed and formed at the March 28 Library Board meeting.
  • The Nominating Committee will need to meet and provide the ballot slate by Tuesday, May 1, to be included in the Annual Meeting packet.
  • The Library Board will elect officers at the Annual meeting on Wednesday, May 9.
  • Sam Neisen asked the committee to consider if we are putting people in a position that they want to be in or assigning duties to people they think could best serve the board.

New Member Onboarding

We are scheduling a Library overview and Library Board processes orientation for new members. The first orientation is with Director Thompson and President Damsgard to review Library Board processes. The second orientation is with Library Division Managers providing and overview of the Library and all board members will be invited to attend.

  • Vice President Blauvelt recommended we update training to follow the agenda drivers Board document outlining Library Board roles for Formal, Dialogue and Presentation agenda drivers.
  • Caitlin Cahill suggested the Library Board assign new members mentors again. She shared it was nice to have a buddy if you have a question; mentors and mentees should sit near each other in meetings.

Library Board Agendas for Future Meetings

Library Board Meeting, Wednesday, March 28, 2018

  • Questions for David Lawless, Hennepin County Chief Financial Officer
    • Have asked Mr. Lawless to talk about county’s budget as a whole, how the library fits in to the overall budget, and share big picture drivers.
    • President Damsgard will request to members to forward questions for Mr. Lawless in advance of the next meeting.
    • President Damsgard inquired the role David Lawless plays in the Library budget?
      • Director Thompson explained that following our budget submission, Library staff meet with David Lawless, County Administrator David Hough, Assistance County Administrator Chester Cooper, and others to review our initial submission. At this meeting Director Thompson will speak to what the Library Board review of the budget.
    • Vice President Blauvelt asked Director Thompson what would be helpful topics or issues in the course of our conversation with David Lawless? Director Thompson said showcasing the role of the library in the community and the impact the library has on the community.
    • Jonathan Gaw shared he would like to know about the impact on the operating budget of new and renovated libraries.
  • We will be requesting volunteers to represent the Library Board at the upcoming Appreciation of Service Brunch, formerly years of service. The brunch will be held on Wednesday, May 23, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., at the Brookdale Library.
  • The state report will be available for your review at the March 28 meeting.
  • Board members have ability to listen to missed meetings; an audio file can be shared upon request.
  • The Annual meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 9.

President Damsgard asked that we leave the decision to update or change any processes until after the election of officers at the annual meeting on May 9, 2018.

Next meeting

The next meeting of the Library Board Executive Committee will be Wednesday, June 6, location to be announced.


Samuel Neisen made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 7:05 p.m. Motion passed.