Facilities needs and policies to improve service at the Barry-Lawrence Regional Library were discussed at the December meeting of the library's board of directors.
Retired Monett building inspector George Rausch was asked to look at issues with the Pierce City library branch and provide an outside opinion. Rausch strongly recommended focusing on getting water to drain away from the building's exterior, leaving interior issues for later. Architect Richard Werner received a bid from Vaughn Construction for building up the concrete pad elevation that would move water away from the foundation. Board members approved the plan.
Werner planned to have a bid package ready for board consideration covering needed work at the Cassville and Mt. Vernon branches for the Jan. 12, 2012, meeting.
A persistent question submitted by customers to library staff has been a request to save work on library computers to personal USB jump drives. Under a longstanding library policy, customers are only allowed to save work on floppy discs kept at each branch location. The policy has been in place for a number of years to protect the library from viruses in the personal devices that could trigger costly maintenance.
According to staff reports, questions about USB uses arise multiple times every day. Director Gina Milburn said that in light of improved firewalls and software, the board should reconsider the policy as long as the library computer system remains reasonably protected.
Milburn and administrative assistant Joyce Frazier agreed to work with the library computer technician and the library software provider to guarantee the system's safety and to explore additional protection. They planned to present a recommendation for the Jan. 12, 2012, board meeting and potentially begin allowing USB usage on Feb. 1, 2012.
The Cassville Branch continues to be the most active location circulating materials, Milburn reported. The Eagle Rock Branch had a significant increase in circulation numbers over a year ago. Enthusiastic staff, improved customer service and increased programming efforts were making a difference throughout the system, Milburn said.
Visits by Milburn to all the branches except Monett, where the director has her office, have been completed. Milburn said her visits had been very informative and she enjoyed getting to know the staff better.
The annual staff meeting held in Monett on Dec. 9 gave employees a chance to hear presentations from AFLAC and Liberty National Life Insurance representatives. Supervisors and children's coordinators met. Sessions were held on "Geek the Library," book repair and training for the reader's advisory group. Awards were also presented.
The next all-staff meeting was scheduled for Columbus Day, Oct. 8, 2012.
Board members voted to renew the contract with the Eagle Rock Community Association for use of the building in that town.
Milburn reported finances for the library remained on track for the year.
In community activities, Milburn said she and Cindy Frazier, Monett branch supervisor, attended the luncheon offered for Monett community leaders by the Monett R-1 School District about the plan to place laptop computers into the hands of every Monett High School student.
Milburn said she attended the Missouri Public Libraries Directors Conference at Lake of the Ozarks. The session was valuable in networking as well as learning about the QR code and social media marketing techniques. Updates were offered from the Missouri State Library and on the Missouri BroadbandNOW initiative.
The Mid-Continent Public Library director brought a delivery truck load of books no longer used to the conference. Milburn was able to select two boxes of new and gently used titles, 90 percent of which could be added to the Barry-Lawrence system.