Haverhill Public Library
Board of Trustees
Minutes of June 18, 2020
The regular monthly meeting of the Trustees of the Haverhill Public Library was called to order at 8:35 a.m. on Thursday, June 18, 2020 via Zoom or dial-in. In attendance via telephone were 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 May 13, and May 21, 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 May. The value of the endowment rose again this month by 2.59%. This means we’ve only seen less than a six percent decrease in the funds value since before the pandemic, which will allow us to maintain our distributions. Also, charitable contributions continue to trickle in during this tough time. This is encouraging since the public is not forgetting about us while our doors are closed. The IT systems and software line item appears to be over budget but this is due to the website upgrade. The other line item that was over budget was outside services because we have spent more than anticipated due to higher than expected audit fees, as well as fiduciary fees from TD being paid on a quarterly basis. A motion was made and seconded to accept the financial statements. The financial statements were so approved.
The library wasn’t able to open on June 15 due to orders from the governor. Staff is still offering curbside pickup, which has been popular. We aren’t offering grab and go boxes anymore. The laptops and hotspots are ready, although usage has been low. Remote services are up and running.
Sarah discussed the highlights of the director’s report. She stated that the virtual services were steady and that there is a lot of engagement on social media. We launched a few new apps including one to help patrons remotely, one for live online chat, and a resume builder. Staff and patrons have been engaged in virtual programs.
Staff Update: All positions are fully funded in FY21, even the frozen positions. There are two vacancies in circulation and one in reference. Sarah gives Emily a lot of credit as she has done a great job managing circulation throughout the pandemic. She would like to single her out for recognition. She stated that Emily is a star employee and is critical to a well-functioning library.
Trustee Rurak would like to see more diversity when filling open positions, which would benefit our community. Sarah stated that she would like to include more diversity within the staff and that we always advertise that speakers of foreign languages are desirable and recently have hired two Spanish speakers.
FY21 Budget Update: Sarah stated that the FY21 budget was scaled back to level funded, which will affect the MER. The total budget is only increasing by $15k, which is a solid but small increase. The updated City budget is slightly higher than level funded. There is a $27k increase which is less than what we asked for and is not enough to close the waiver gap. Trustee Coletti asked if the Mayor was aware that the library has to get another waiver and Sarah said that he is aware. She will also discuss it at the City Council meeting since applying for the waiver becomes more difficult each year. Trustee Rurak asked if there is a surplus on the City side and if so, could it be used toward closing the waiver gap. Sarah said there is a surplus in the salary line item and will discuss it at the City Council meeting. Trustee Coletti asked if we could think about starting a capital budget for repairs and suggested possibly asked Joseph Piantedosi for advice. Sarah will begin to work on this.
Sarah asked the trustees to vote on accepting the FY21 budget. A motion was made and seconded to accept the budget. All were in favor.
Sarah asked the trustees to vote on $10k for the special collections fund for supplies and equipment. A motion was made and seconded to accept the budget. All were in favor.
Website/Technology Update: Jonathan gave an update on the website redesign. He said that he signed off on the design mockup and that Few will make the mockup functional. It should take about 3-4 weeks.
Summer Reading: The summer reading program will be virtual this year and will be tracked through the Beanstack app. There has been about 100 adults who signed up, which is more than usual. The children’s department wants to ask the trustees if it would be okay with them making an in-kind donation to a local non-profit in the name of Haverhill Kids Summer Reading. The trustees agreed to have the children’s department speak with the organization to find out their needs, whether it be books or money.
Fall Fundraiser: Sarah asked the trustees how they feel about having or not having the fall fundraiser this year. Trustee Rurak suggested that we cancel it. Trustee Bresnahan stated that other organizations are doing virtual events. Trustee Coletti suggested that we make an effort to seek donations.
Hannah Duston statue email: Sarah told the trustees about an email she received regarding the Hannah Duston statue in the park across the street. The writer indicated that they have been trying to have it taken down as it is seen by them as inappropriate. They also asked why the library supports Hannah Duston and sells related items in the Friends shop. Sarah told the writer that the library is not responsible for the statue and that they would need to contact the Mayor. She also said that she will discuss the items being sold in the shop with the Friends of the HPL.
Facebook posts: Sarah informed the trustees that staff has been posting daily on Facebook, information regarding the struggles for black equality, civil rights and historical and current events. They offer facts and resources and have received positive feedback. There was also a donation made to the library showing appreciation for our efforts.
Donation to High Pointe House: The trustees would like to acknowledge the passing of Edmund J. Cote Jr. with a donation to the High Pointe House on North Ave. in Haverhill.
There being no further business to discuss, a motion was made and seconded to adjourn. The meeting ended at 10:00 a.m.