Executive Committee meeting summary - March 19, 2019

The public is welcome at all library board meetings

The Library Board Executive Committee met Wednesday, March 19, 2019, Golden Valley Library, meeting room.


Committee members: Chair Katherine Blauvelt, Chris Damsgard, Jonathan Gaw, Adja K. Kaba, and Erin Vrieze Daniels

Library Board members: Sheila Letscher

Staff: Janet Mills and Tracy Thompson

Hennepin County Staff: David Hough, Chester Cooper, Michael Rossman

Public: Ashley Bieber, Kate Black, Ali Fuhrman, Lesley McKintosh, Caroline Ore, Lynn Stetler, Suzi Stephenson, Lynn Tarkow, Janet Tarkow, and Anna Zillinger

Welcome and Call to Order

Chair Katherine Blauvelt called the meeting to order at 5:31 p.m. and welcomed attendees.

Approval of agenda and meeting summary

Chair Blauvelt made a motion to amend the agenda to move item 5, public comment, up to item 4, seconded by Jonathan Gaw. Motion passed.

Director Selection Process Discussion

Chair Blauvelt reviewed the Library Board’s role in the Director Selection Process, Minnesota State statutes related to the Hennepin County Library Board and the Director, and the work of the Library Board’s Director Selection Process Committee so far.

County Administrator David Hough, Chief Human Resources Officer Michael Rossman, and Assistant County Administrator Operations Chester Cooper spoke to the board in regards to County Administration’s decision to end the search for a Library Director and seek to have the Master in Library Information Sciences degree requirement to be removed from Minnesota statute 383B.

Mr. Rossman shared that the County's Human Resources department conducted a nationwide search for Library Director candidates using their internal recruiters. The recruiters seek out appropriate places to post the position and to call on qualified candidates that may not be actively seeking a new job. Because we have these internal resources, it was decided that we would not use an outside search firm. County Administration had previously sought and received a waiver to increase the Library Director's salary.

The posting statistics were as follows: 3,819 people viewed the posting, 36 applications received, 26 applications met minimum qualifications narrowed down to a top group of 16, 11 continued to the screening committee. The screening committee was comprised of two Library Board members, two outside library professionals, a Friends of the Library member, and the Hennepin County Chief Human Resources Officer. Of the 11 candidates, the screening committee referred four to be interviewed by County Administration. County Administration conducted Skype interviews on March 1, 2019 and did not find the competencies they were looking for in a Hennepin County leader and decided to end the current search.

Minnesota statute 383B dictates that the Hennepin County Library Director position requires a MLIS degree and experience. County Administration is seeking to remove this requirement to increase the candidate pool. On March 12, 2019, Michael Rossman testified before the House committee to delete the MLIS requirement from MN statute 383b.

Public Comment

Ashley Bieber, Kate Black, Ali Fuhrman, Lesley McKintosh, Caroline Ore, Lynn Stetler, Suzi Stephenson, Lynn Tarkow, Janet Tarkow, and Anna Zillinger addressed the board on their hopes for the attributes of the next Library Director, current concerns about Hennepin County Library and Administration, and their views on the Library Director’s education credentials.

Upcoming Library Board Locations & Agendas

The Committee discussed upcoming scheduled meetings and the need for future Executive and Director Selection Process committee meetings or a board retreat. May and June agendas will focus on 2020 budget outcomes and disparity reduction.

The Committee would like to consider ways the Library Board could responsively engage with the community as part of the Library Director selection process. Director Mills shared her vision for strategic storytelling and encouraged the Library Board to engage the community through telling the story of library services, listening, and having a dialogue with community members.

The Committee expressed a desire to interact with communities outside of Ridgedale Library and Minneapolis Central Library when conducting board business. At the Annual meeting on May 8, the Committee will ask that the Library Board vote to move the June 26 meeting location to Brookdale and consider moving fall 2019 Library Board meetings to alternate locations as well.

Chris Damsgard made a motion for staff to provide a list of possible meeting dates and locations for the Library Board to vote on at their annual meeting, seconded by Adja K. Kaba. Motion passed.

Next meeting

The next meeting of the Library Board Executive Committee is Wednesday, June 6, 5:30 p.m., Augsburg Park Library.


Katherine Blauvelt made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 7:44 p.m.; seconded by Jonathan Gaw. Motion passed.