Haverhill Public Library
Board of Trustees
Minutes of March 19, 2020
The regular monthly meeting of the Trustees of the Haverhill Public Library was called to order at 8:35 a.m. on Thursday, March 19, 2020 in the Donald C. Freeman Whittier Room. 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 February 20, 2020. After perusing the minutes, a motion was made and seconded to accept the minutes. The minutes were so approved.
Sarah presented the financial reports for February. She stated that February was a fairly usual month where much remained on target. The only line item that is over budget is building and maintenance, which is typical since there have been a lot of repairs. Trustee Coletti asked why the total TD distributions were at 97%. Sarah answered because of transfers used to cover expenses, such as the new website. Trustee Rurak stated that he would like to know the March loss totals due to the coronavirus outbreak and the library being closed. Joe Marini of TD Wealth is scheduled to present at the May meeting. A motion was made and seconded to accept the financial statements. All were in favor.
Chance Lee Joyner is our new Head of Youth Services. We are happy with him and his enthusiasm. The library tech position in circulation has been filled with Florentina. She is a local resident and Spanish speaker pursuing her MLS degree.
Sarah, Jackie, Emily and Rachel participated in the PLC conference in Nashville and brought back some good ideas and information.
Sarah noted that the Book Concierge has been successful and that Chance and Rachel are developing a teen version, since the adult service has been appealing to teens.
Trustee Coletti asked if the library staff can use the van to deliver materials to assisted living facilities. Sarah explained that they can’t due to visitors not being allowed because of the coronavirus risk. However, the library will hand out tote bags with books to Haverhill Promise, who will deliver them to school lunch sites. Also, the library staff will set up the vestibule with free books and newspapers. There are no new books coming in since the book delivery service has shut down. Sarah also noted that the library has allocated money to Hoopla and Kanopy to increase access to online materials, and is advertising online services on social media and the website.
Sarah got quotes for the roof repair/replacement from Garland, Inc. To replace all three areas will be $125k to $180k, which includes a discount for doing the whole thing at once rather than in sections. Trustee Rurak asked if Rob Verreault of Garland, Inc. can give suggestions. Trustee Coletti asked if we can bid out other construction projects along with the roof.
Natalie’s last day is March 20. There is one vacant position in reference that Jonathan has been interviewing candidates for through Skype.
The first draft of the FY21 budget is done but it doesn’t take into account recent volatility due to the coronavirus. Sarah has a meeting with the Mayor to discuss the city budget. The Mayor indicated that he still wants to explore the possibility of a coffee shop.
Jonathan provided an update on the new website. He will be meeting with Few, a website development company in Arkansas, and engaging staff as to what the library needs.
Sarah asked the Trustees if they would be willing to provide lunch to staff on Friday and Saturday, to treat staff during the shutdown and to support local businesses. All trustees were in favor and suggested doing this a few times a week during the coronavirus shutdown.
The library closed to the public beginning on March 16, due to the coronavirus outbreak. Staff are still working in the building. Sarah hasn’t been given any guidelines from HR or the Mayor as to what to do during this pandemic, while other businesses and libraries are closing and vacating staff. The union has not been involved either. Trustee Klueber wanted to make sure that employees know that if they are not working that they still need to pay for any benefits they are receiving. Sarah discussed moving to a 50/50 plan in which staff is allowed to work up to 50% of their hours remotely from home. All trustees agree with that plan and voted to protect Sarah’s decision to implement the 50/50 plan to minimize exposure to the virus and increase safety. All were in favor. Sarah will inform the Mayor of this plan and the trustees’ support.
Presentation by PionArch, LLC
Lidia Szydlowska, John Hamilton Hale, and Cameron MacLeod of PionArch, LLC joined by telephone at 9:30 a.m. and presented proposed diagrams for each floor of the library. John began with a summary of what has been completed and what the next steps are.
He presented the proposed diagram for the first floor, which included a new layout for seating, quiet space, multi-purpose rooms, sound proof phone booths, meeting and paintings gallery, teen renovations, relocation of the reference area, reconfiguration of the stacks, green elements, seating around the fountain and a café/eating area. The Trustees had concerns about the café/eating area, and stated that Jaffarian Room and Morton areas have restrictions, and also to make sure the Friends Shop stays where it is. They liked the idea of moving the reference desk, and having a division between the teen area and the computer area, but are concerned about noise. Lidia stated that could be resolved with partitions or furniture. They questioned if there is enough room in the proposed DVD area. Lidia stated that this is meant for new DVD’s to help reduce theft. There were also concerns about not having stacks for new releases at the front of library. Lidia replied that they can add more stacks, will measure, study and address it that concern.
Next, the team discussed renovations proposed for the second floor, which included, balcony nooks, moving office space and meeting rooms around, adding acoustics and a moveable wall to the auditorium, adding tutoring space, and bump out meeting spaces over the atrium.
Third floor proposed renovations included, an event space with the potential of a roof deck, and the discussion of adding a portable ramp, and the addition of a bathroom.
Lastly, they discussed improvements to the entrances including a canopy, signage, landscape ideas, and a division between the main entrance on Summer St. and the auditorium entrance.
The phase 3 proposal will include more refined plans, taking measurements, talking to staff and budget and costs. John discussed the next steps, which include, documenting the entire building, looking at spatial relationships, addressing the fire protection system, and where electric and communication outlets exist. This would cost approximately $18,000 and take 20 days. The schematic package consisting of developing schematic plans and phasing diagrams, public opinion, estimate, construction documents, and bids. This will cost about $54,000 and will take 7 – 9 months.
Trustee Sheehan asked, hypothetically, what if we can’t do the project right now due to these being uncertain times, and who owns the information? John stated that PionArch owns the information but the Trustees would have access with an agreement and disclousres provided and that PionArch doesn’t have copyrights on their designs. Lidia stated that the designs are in PDF format and are for the Trustees to keep but they can’t give the actual model of the new design if Pionarch isn’t doing the project.
Trustee Coletti asked if the roof analysis is included. John answered that it hasn’t been looked at but maybe it should be included since they are proposing a roof deck.
The presentation with PionArch ended at 11:15 a.m.
Further discussion among the Trustees ensued. Sarah stated that the Trustees and the Mayor should make a decision on the Mayor’s vision of adding a coffee shop to the library. She said that the only library that she knows of that has a café is Watertown. The City of Watertown bids on companies to run the café. The drawbacks include that it is loud when teens are there and the librarians have to deal with the complaints of food quality and other café-related issues. Sarah and Trustee Coletti stated that the café or coffee shop is not a priority and that the library needs all of the limited space it has for library use.
A motion was made and seconded to approve spending $18,000 for the existing conditions study. All were in favor.
There being no further business to discuss, a motion was made and seconded to adjourn. The meeting ended at 11:10 a.m.
Kathleen Bresnahan, Secretary