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J. Joel Edwards Public Library Board of Trustees Regular Meeting
Thursday, June 8, 2023 - 4:30 PM

ZEBULON - The J. Joel Edwards Public Library Board of Trustees met on Thursday, June 8, 2023 at 4:30 p.m. at the library in a regularly scheduled meeting. In attendance were County Commission Chairman Briar Johnson, County Attorney Rob Morton, Lauren Allgood from the Flint River Regional Library System (FRRLS), Reshann Adams from Driver, Adams, and Sharpe CPA, and Library Board members Chairman Anthony Vinson, Vice-Chair Grant Rowe, Angela Blount, Joy Walker, Patsy Page, Cathy Partain, Treasurer Curtis Ward, Library Manager Rosemary Bunn, Natalie Marshal, and Christina Ridley (newest member-Media Assistant in the Middle School).

Call to Order

Determined Quorum

Approval of the Agenda.

Add item 12: Announcements

Motion to approve the amended agenda. Approved.

Approval of the Minutes

Correction: Natalie Marshall. Fix her name.

Approve as amended. Approved.

Invited Guests

Reshann Adams from Driver, Adams, and Sharpe CPA.

Preliminary and not complete yet as far as opinions go since they only meet quarterly. We sample and use different methods to look at. Noticed some charges with Friends of the Library. They talked to Rosemary Bunn and looked at other stuff. When they make donations—nothing was wrong—but we want to make sure that it’s accounted for clearly. Nothing was wrong. Nothing was hidden. Example. Purchases were made and Friends of the Library reimbursed. It was basically a wash. But it needed to be accounted for. Same goes for in-kind contributions. Nothing to be alarmed about. Rosemary is very transparent and opened up the books for us.

Bunn. Is there a threshold for accounting for a donation? What about two or three books from a member of the public? Cupcakes? Is there a dollar amount to account for this? Adams. That is a policy matter that the Library Board needs to decide. If over x amount of dollars, we want to see it. We account for in-kind donations to the state, but we’ve never done that here. It’s a journal entry.

Vinson asked if Marshall has a policy like this. Marshall is going to look for that threshold. Book donations are text deductible, but we don’t decide a value for them. The patron assigns the value. She is adding it to her list of things. The state is asking for in-kind donations to be recorded so the discussion of in-kind and the amounts is being held on a state level now. Need to examine whether the library would do it anyway or it would just go away. Adams. Other libraries may be different but please compare apples to apples.

Came in under on revenues because there is an open position. That salary has been reduced. Fees were up. Late fees, copies, sales, etc. are up. Donations were up. The Edwards Family donation and Friends of the Library purchase. Over about $1,800 in programs. This is the 2021-2022 year. Maybe Summer Reading and materials. Bunn will look this up.

Discussion about the fund balance. The library has been spending down on that account. Marshall. That would be a violation of the MOU for the county to go after this balance because this is from another source. The county budget must be equal to or greater than the prior year unless all departments are taking cuts. If everyone goes down, the state recognizes this, but the county is required to provide funding of the same level and every year. The library is going to manage the fund balance responsibly according to state library requirements. Libraries provide services and not funding. Increased the fund balance by about $6,000. The AC was out in the big room for a long while.

The Board thanked her for her diligence on their audit. When they are finished, Adams wants to meet on this. The reports and opinions are not ready yet, but the numbers are completed. Bunn asked for direction on how to do them correctly. Adams said yes.

Regional Director FRRLS, Natalie Marshall

Trying to honor outreach commitments though a person has resigned. Working to cover needs for the outreach vehicle. Gear boxes have been received. No internet but only educational programs. Extra Chrome Books as well. A workroom in the new VA Center could use the Chrome Books. Check them out to the VA every 3 months. We are hoping to help as many as possible.

Completed the purchase cycle. FY24 Lib Tech cycle begins in the fall. The state’s goal is to replace technology and keep patron computers up to date as much as possible. The county hasn’t had to purchase any of the public computers. MRR funds. There is $190,000 matching funds for 50-50 match for renovation issues. It runs on an 18 month cycle. Roof in Griffin. Elevator in Peachtree City. If you need something, please apply. Bathrooms were renovated here a few years back.

Our wireless access in building is a network built through Flint River and funding is given in a 5 year funding cycle. We are renewing licenses and replacing licenses. We are getting approximately $136,000 computer work for $44,000. The regional library provides this because it is needed for a public library. Most of the equipment is leveraged at 85% FCC and 15% library. Completely modernized system. On a yearly basis, the internet service is the FCC category 1 funding. FRRLS pays for this and is reimburses. We get 100 megs. The funding is paid directly to the company so the local library does not have to pay this. There are 9 libraries in the FRRLS.

VIII. Manager’s Reports

A company that provides volunteers has been in contact with Library Manager Bunn and could possibly help at the library. These are people who can’t do their jobs at 100% and are put on leave—like worker’s comp—so their employer would pay for their work here and they serve as volunteers here at the library. 35 to 40 hours a week. There would be no cost to the library here. Vinson. What did Rogers have to say about this? She has heard nothing. What about the background check and drug screen? The Sheriff’s Office handles the background check. Vinson is concerned about liability.

Blount. 3 Rivers has a program like this. Retirement age volunteers. Bobby Wilkerson has brought someone in to do their booking. Johnson gave a contact at 3 Rivers and said to ask about liability like if someone was to fall, etc. 3 Rivers covers liability. Bunn. Sent it all to Rogers but never got any reply. Vinson. Get with Rogers on this. Johnson. How long ago did you send it? Bunn. A month.

Need an approval for the library budget for 2023-2024. It goes into effect on July 1. The Board of Commissioners has already approved this amount of money. Grant. The question is whether to approve this. He has a question about the use of Impact Fees in lieu of the county paying its portion of the library budget. Impact Fees cannot take the place of standard budgeted fees. Vinson. According to Rogers and Gilbert, this is allowable under the rules according to Gilbert. Marshall. This does not negatively impact the local library. She asked the state librarian on this. Grant. He is not satisfied with them. Vinson. We did ask these questions when we were in the budget meeting, and they are answered satisfactorily at that time.

Discussion on whether to speak with Gilbert or Rogers. Rogers is the county manager. The $15,000 is for new books. According to Vinson’s reading of the legislation, this explanation doesn’t jive. Vinson is going to set up the meeting with Rogers on this.

There are some issues with Square. The bank fees were not satisfactory with the FRRLS. This library was the first to use Square and now our regional office is using Square. They updated everything over Memorial Day from when the library started in 2016, and there are issues that need to be addressed. She spoke with Lauren. It looks like it will be about $800 to buy the necessary equipment to make this work now. This will be more efficient than what we use. This would be touchless and have the staff touching patrons’ cards less. The region has been live with Square since February. They have great customer service. Vinson. As long as what we have is working well for what we need, we are probably ok for the time being, but $800 is a lot of money. We might be able to update with a new tablet. Let’s talk it over again in September.

New Collection Development Policy. Marshall. Policies that have to be up to date. Materials consideration policy needs to be attached to it. It needed updating. Policies around the state and country were examined before changes were suggested. This is broad so it can be used by all of the libraries which are unique. Some libraries are more specific with the type of books, things collected, etc. The library managers are the final word on this. The request for reconsideration. Concerns that something should not be at the library or is in the wrong place in the library. There is a way for patrons to ask for reconsideration on materials.

Big goal is to provide a broad amount of information for the entire community. Responsibility resides with the patron or with the minor’s parent. This is the public’s library, and it has something for everybody in it. It goes to the Board and staff and FRRLS is available if needed. This should be a short process, and the item should remain on the shelf. Are you someone who lives around here? Do you represent an organization? Do you use the library? What do you want to see happen with this? The goal is to give the community a fair and honest way to examine this keeping in mind that the library is for everybody.

Blount. Are you going to take a vote on postponing the budget? She said that a motion to postpone would be included in the budget. Rowe. What happens if this isn’t approved? Answer. Nothing. Discussion. Gilbert may be wrong on this, but the final authority on this is the county manager.

Motion and second to postpone the vote on the 2023-2024 budget until a meeting is held with the county manager and the library board officers to answer questions regarding distribution of impact fees. Approved.

X. Old Business

a. Strategic Plan Adjustments for Additional Decade

We put a long of time in this including up to the next 20 years. He recommended a committee for updates if this required. This will be on the agenda for the next meeting in September.

b. Board Bank Account Signatories

Rowe has been added.

c. Update on the Grievance Committee Recommendations

Vinson feels this is relevant because it has an impact on library operations. The commissioners have not acted on the recommendations of the Grievance Committee. As far as he knows, the case is still open and not closed.

XI. New Business

a. Purchase of Overhead Projector for Meeting Room

An annual license will be required. Vinson. What will we use it for? It can project power point. It’s a touch screen. How much use will we actually get from this projector. Any group who needs to use this can. An author can use this. Vinson. How are we handling this? It will mount from the ceiling. Movies can be shown on this now instead of using the big tech cart. We use it at least once a month because we have partnered with the Senior Center for movies here once a month. Also used for kids movies, etc. Vinson wanted to justify this expense. Marshall suggested waiting until September to see if there is a possibility that this can be covered under Lib Tech instead of the library paying cost of $1,000. Motion to table until September.

b. Rewrite of MOU

County Attorney Rob Morton said that no revisions are necessary for this.

c. Book Bans and Appropriate Responses and Reactions for JJEPL

Discussion: American Library Association has noted a 738% increase in attempts to ban books at public libraries since 2021. There was an incident here that has been addressed. Be aware and do some research on this to be prepared to deal with this. Marshall. The concern comes in if people do not want to talk to a library manager. A conversation on this has handled about 90% of cases.

It is our job to hear them and talk through the selection, etc. You should read only the things that you want to read, but what I want to read and what Anthony wants to read may not be the same thing. We aren’t looking to stock anything crazy, but we are trying to stock the library so everybody can find what they want to read in the community’s public library. We will honor requests to talk about anything with the understanding that a variety of materials are valuable to various members of the entire community. Vinson. He asks questions instead of preaching at anyone. Empathy and listening goes a long way. And those who want to file a complaint can do that.

Rowe. What books go where? Marshall. Try to put things in an age-appropriate place. We as in the region touches everything that goes to the local libraries to make sure labeled correctly and placed age and place appropriately (teen, children, young adult, non-fiction, etc.) and then every book is touched by the J. Joel Edwards Public Library before going on the shelf. Johnson. Was there a complaint form filled out? No.

Privacy and confidentiality matter very much to the library as a whole. We are not opinionated on what you check out. The information that people need and their ability to get it are tantamount to the library. Marshall. There was a discussion on the state library. Unlike schools, we do not serve in the place of parents as a public library. Parents make decisions for their children. We are here to provide information as needed.

XII. Announcements.

Vinson thanked Rowe for serving at a regional library meeting.

Kathy got in touch with Vinson and advised that she is not a Pike County Resident even though she is a teacher. The next scheduled school board meeting is in July. According to our bylaws, she is a member of the board until she is replaced.

Vinson closed with a statement to the board.

I am proud to serve on this board. I love libraries and this board and love being able to make a contribution to the community. It was a warzone at his first meeting. Gillian Appleton worked to get us operating as a board again. When she left, I have tried to carry on in that tradition. Every member of this board should be afforded kindness and respect under all circumstances. We all serve because we want to, but there is always the option to say no. I’m glad to have you here. We are not a war with the county or the county manager or the citizens. We are here for a specific purpose, and I want us to focus on meeting or exceeding the needs of the county through library services.

Motion to adjourn. Approved.

6:30 p.m.

Click here to read notes from the September 15, 2023 meeting: pikecountytimes.com/secondary/library9.15.23.html