Library board moves on technology needs

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Strategic plan adopted, new budget expects higher expenses

Improvements on library branches provided a discussion focus for the board of the Barry-Lawrence Regional Library board in July.

The technology department reported installing three new children's computers at the Cassville Branch in May. The computers were purchased with donated funds and replaced tablet computers, which will now be available for public internet use during high traffic periods.

A grant application to the State Library has been made for a technology mini-grant under the Library Services and Technology Grant to buy a new server. Gina Milburn, Barry-Lawrence Regional Library System director, said the current server is "no longer sufficient for the library's needs." If approved, funds would also cover buying switches and firewalls for the Purdy and Miller branches.

Lee Ann Santee has expanded her work in the technology department by planning to visit all the branches more regularly to ensure on-site work is handled quickly. Visits will give staff the opportunity to ask questions directly and receive one-on-one training as needed.

Marketing director Greg Brown presented board members with a draft of a strategic plan, a first for the district, and, as Brown noted, something many library partners now require. He proposed strategies around the library's mission statement, "Connecting People to the Transforming Power of Knowledge." Strategic initiatives include:

People and communities benefitting from working together through facilitating a library round table and strengthening Friends of the Library groups

Inspiring learning and culture through reimagining and improving library spaces and innovative library programs

Enhancing prosperity and inspiration by fostering person and professional development programs, promoting economic development and conducting a library patron/library card campaign

Board members voted to approve the plan as presented.

The board adopted its budget for the coming year, calling for projected income of $1,668.101 and spending of $1,692,013.

Milburn observed spending on services would rise from the previous year due to increased costs. Several branches are due for bandwidth increases in the coming year. She budgeted for a 25 percent increase in insurance costs. To keep salaries in line with other area businesses, Milburn would like to institute a 3 percent salary increase for staff on Jan. 1, 2019, if funds are available at that time.

The annual tax levy hearing was scheduled for the next board meeting, at 9 a.m. on Aug. 16 at the Pierce City Branch.

Circulation figures have remained high. Mt. Vernon has stayed on top of the tally with 6,576 in March, 5,657 In April and 6,246 in May. Monett took second in March with 5,510, third in April with 5,196 and second in May with 6,201. Cassville took third in March with 5,487, second in April with 5,212 and third in May with 5,552. E-material checkout districtwide ran about 2,500 per month. Computer use is running between 3,000 and 3,200 a month. Milburn reported laptop use was down but wireless use had risen.

Programs have remained very popular with patrons. In March, staff offered 257 programs, attracting 6,295 participants. In April, 232 programs drew 5,010 people. A total; of 200 programs in April attracted 6,183 participants.

The board reorganized for the coming year. Gina McIlrath of Shell Knob was named board president, succeeding Ann Hall of Purdy. Wendy Miekley of Cassville was tabbed for vice president duties. Julie Vaughn of Monett would serve as secretary/treasurer.

Janene Kipers, of Pierce City, attended the board in June and began her term July 1. Kipers is the first Pierce City representative in a number of years, replacing Marilyn Carey of Aurora, and will serve a four-year term.

Regular board meetings will continue at 9 a.m. on the third Thursday of the month at the Pierce City Branch.

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