Library board elects officers, approves budget

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Barry-Lawrence Regional Library Board of Directors elected officers and passed a budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year during their June meeting.

Current officers were returned to their posts for another year. Continuing their leadership roles are Ann Hall, president; Charles Peiter, vice president; and Felicity Nesbitt, secretary/treasurer.

A budget calling for $1,553,203.80 in spending and $1,448,504 in income was approved. Raises of 3 percent for all library personnel hired or promoted prior to 2012 were approved.

The raises were possible due to a number of staff changes. New staff salaries were lower than the people they succeeded, and seven staff members were not eligible for increases, having been hired in 2012.

In addition, Purdy Branch supervisor Roxanne Berg submitted her resignation, effective Sept. 9. The board voted to advertise the position as part-time, dropping from 1,872 to 1,456 hours. At the same time, board members voted to increase the library clerk post from 624 to 780 hours. The combined moves will save $12,778 at the Purdy Branch.

The spending plan comes when tax revenues have been declining. Tax collections were down approximately $100,000, compared to last year, reported Director Gina Milburn. Income from investments was approximately one-third of the previous year.

Spending for the year that ended on June 30 topped projections due to construction projects at the Mt. Vernon and Cassville branches, an increase in Internet fees through MoreNet and other expenses stemming from recent economic conditions.

For the new fiscal year, capital improvements were projected at $127,228. Furniture and equipment purchases, maintenance contracts and costs were included in the total. Board members agreed to use $18,896 from equalization funds for purchases in Barry County. The $2,000 raised in the annual book sale in Monett was committed to installing wireless Internet service in the Monett and Aurora branches.

Wireless service was introduced at the Cassville and Mt. Vernon branches on June 4. Milburn said positive response had been received for patrons at both branches.

Several staff changes took place in the past month. Melissa Jones succeeded Nancy Dotson in a clerk's position at the Purdy Branch.

The board will continue without changes for the coming year. The Lawrence County Commission reappointed Julie Vaughn, of Monett, to continue in her position through June 30, 2016. Jeannie Jones reported she had been reappointed by the Barry County Commission to serve until 2016.

Milburn encouraged branch supervisors to utilize the Voices in Youth program offered through the Missouri Career Center. State funding pays for up to 240 hours of pay for an employee between the ages of 16 through 21. The library would be responsible for training and evaluating the employee.

Supervisors at a staff meeting discussed developing a strategic plan for the district within the next two years. The supervisors determined library staff couldn't volunteer their time at the various branches. All non-exempt staff must be paid for the hours they work.

Staff from four branches signed up to attend Summer Institute Training in Columbia. Their expenses will be paid by a grant from the Missouri State Library. Nine staff members signed up for continuing education workshops offered through the Missouri State Library in Springfield and Columbia.

Supervisor Janea Coker provided updates on the summer reading program. A total of 701 children, 139 teens and 141 tots signed up to participate.

The staff had unique projects planned at each branch. Eagle Rock offered a zoo program for 13 children, four teens and 14 adults. A program at the Cassville Branch on "Dreaming of the 80s" included a lesson in how to do the dance from Michael Jackson's "Thriller."

Board members voted to close the Purdy Branch on July 21 during the Purdy Festival. The July board meeting was cancelled. The next meeting was scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 16, and will coincide with the annual tax levy hearing. Both were scheduled for the Monett branch.

Meetings for the coming year were scheduled for 9 a.m. on the second Thursday of each month.

Change orders were approved totaling $3,908.55 for completing work on the Mt. Vernon and Cassville branches.

Milburn reported circulation was slightly higher than a year ago, with the highest numbers coming from the Monett Branch. Programming and attendance figures were also up.

While the annual book sale was a success, the introduction of garage sale items generated very little money and would not be continued. Non-fiction books represented the biggest sales. Milburn wanted to increase promotion of the annual sale to Monett Friends of the Library.

Coker asked the board to consider introducing a district mascot, based on discussions by supervisors. The mascot could be an animal with a distinctive costume that a staff member could wear. A memorable name could be chosen, such as "Barry Lawrence."

Other libraries have had success using mascots in their promotion. Coker received permission to work with the other children's coordinators in selecting and naming a mascot.

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