Haverhill Public Library
Board of Trustees
Minutes of April 16, 2020
The regular monthly meeting of the Trustees of the Haverhill Public Library was called to order at 8:35 a.m. on Thursday, April 16, 2020 in the Donald C. Freeman Whittier Room. In attendance via telephone were City of Haverhill Mayor, the Honorable James Fiorentini, Haverhill City Council President, Melinda Barrett, Trustees Bresnahan, Coletti, Klueber. Rurak, Sheehan, and Veasey-Sirois. Also in attendance was Director, Sarah Moser and Assistant Director, Jonathan Nichols.
The trustees were given copies of the minutes dated March 19, 2020. After perusing the minutes, a motion was made and seconded to accept the minutes. The minutes were so approved.
Business manager, Josh, presented the financial statements for March. He stated that the portfolio was down 14% and compared that to a decrease in the whole market of 22% so the library is doing a good job with investing decisions. He noted that the yield was up and is encouraged by what the portfolio looks like. He stated that the library generated income was down due to no patrons being in the library, software expenses are up due to a down payment being made on the new website, and that repairs and maintenance are in line with the budget, where in the recent past it has been over. A motion was made and seconded to accept the financial statements. All were in favor.
The library has been closed for one month now, since March 16. Staff were in the building for one week then beginning on March 24, moved to work remotely, except for essential staff, who are still working in the building, cleaning, organizing and painting among other duties. Staff at home are participating in webinars, offering virtual programming, and posting on social media.
Natalie’s last day was March 20 so there is a vacancy in circulation. Jonathan began interviewing for the open reference position but interviews have been put on hold. There is a temporary hiring freeze in the city.
Service companies have been in the building, including ServePro who cleaned and disinfected the bathrooms, Andover Electric and United Elevator doing repairs, and PionArch taking measurements and inventory of the building.
Some of the budget has been shifted to pay for digital resources, such as, streaming services, audio books, Mango languages, Overdrive, and Kanopy.
Comic Con and Patron Appreciation Day have been cancelled.
Trustee Coletti asked if there was anything the trustees can do to help and support the staff. Sarah said they have been ordering lunch a few times a week already, supporting local restaurants and treating staff in the building. There is not a lot of support needed at this time with so many working from home.
Trustee Bresnahan asked if patrons are using the Wi-Fi outside from the parking lot. Sarah said some are and that she is looking into boosting the Wi-Fi signal.
Sarah stated that she doesn’t know what the re-opening date will be and that she will need to keep updated on the Governor’s orders. So far it is set for May 4.
Sarah obtained an online account to monitor the TD Bank account closely.
Sarah prepared a draft FY21 Trustee budget. As of right now, the City budget discussions are on hold to wait and see if the City will get relief from the state or federal government.
Mayor Fiorentini stated that no one has any idea what is going to happen with regards to budgets since the state will have a large deficit, which indicated that local municipalities’ budgets may be cut. The City also has a $4-6 million deficit. He also stated that due to uncertainties, the City won’t be able to get a budget to Council until June.
Sarah stated that the library’s city budget will have money leftover which will go back to the city. The trustee budget is in line with typical years and after talking to other library directors, Sarah said that we are doing well, while other libraries have cut staff pay and next year’s budget.
Trustee Coletti asked if the library needs money to disinfect the collection. Sarah said that staff are quarantining the collection and books usually are fine after 72 hours. We will continue to quarantine returns even after we re-open.
ServePro gave a quote of about $40k to disinfect the whole building but also said that there is no guarantee that the virus won’t enter the building after disinfection and that legally the building will have to be disinfected if a staff member tests positive for COVID-19.
Sarah discussed a re-opening plan to make sure that when the time comes, that everyone is prepared and safe. The plan includes moving money from outreach to purchase books to give out for free in a box to start. It also includes removing tables and chairs to discourage people from lingering, spacing out computers, limiting the amount of people in the building and making sure they stay spaced apart, having staff wipe down surfaces more frequently and making sure staff are comfortable with telling patrons that they cannot touch their devices. Programming will be the last thing to bring back. Security should be increased, bathrooms should remain closed for a while, and having staff outings would be a good idea also. In order to purchase books to give out for free, we would need up to $3000. The Mayor indicated that he likes the idea. Trustee Sheehan made a motion to look into getting funds from various sources up to $3000 for the purchase of free materials. Trustee Klueber seconded the motion. All were in favor.
The library has received the state aid payment of around $80k. MBLC will likely extend the waiver program to accommodate libraries that still need a waiver. Since they are only judging libraries up until March 15, we are good up to that point anyway.
Mayor Fiorentini stated that there is a need for a way for people to access a computer in order to file for unemployment and for tax related purposes. Sarah said they cannot open the building to allow people to use the computers but thought about purchasing laptops and hotspots so people could check them out for a couple of days. The Mayor thought it was a good idea. Trustee Bresnahan suggested that Comcast or Verizon might donate laptops. Sarah will look into it. Trustee Sheehan made a motion to spend up to $3000 to purchase laptops and hot spots. Trustee Coletti seconded the motion. All were in favor.
Trustee Sheehan commended Sarah’s enormous amount of thought she has put into managing the library though this crisis and coming up with a re-opening plan ahead of time. He stated that she has done an outstanding job. Mayor Fiorentini agreed and said Sarah is doing a great job. All of the trustees agreed also.
There being no further business to discuss, a motion was made and seconded to adjourn. The meeting ended at 10:00 a.m.
Kathleen Bresnahan, Secretary