Corrected & Approved

Date of Meeting:  Tuesday, July 14, 2020 @ 7:00 pm

Members Present Nancy Heckel (Chair); Jen Call; Diane Lander; Marcy Vierzen; Elizabeth Geraghty (Library Director), Yvonne Howard

Note: This meeting was conducted on ZOOM for all present. 

Public Present: No members of the public were present; No guests were present. 

In light of COVID-19 concerns and applicable executive and emergency orders, this evening’s SFL Board of Trustees meeting is being held per the Governor’s Executive Order 2020-04, Section 8, Emergency Order #12 Section 3. 


Roll Call, Introduction of guests
The Sutton Free Library Board of Trustees meeting was called to order at 7:09pm by Board Chair Heckel, and roll taken. There were no members of the public present, and there were no guests present. Further, no members of any households of Trustees were present within listening of this meeting. 

Review of Minutes
Minutes from the June 2nd meeting were reviewed with corrections made. Board Chair Heckel invited a motion to approve with revisions the minutes from the June 2nd meeting. Board Member Lander made a motion to approve the minutes, seconded by Board Member Howard. The motion carried unanimously in the affirmative.


Old Business

Financial/Treasurer’s Report
Board Chair Heckel noted that the balance of the SFL account at Sugar River Savings Bank has remained constant since the prior month at $9,840.59. The Trustee bank account is now online, which allows for easier access. There are no new funds to accept. 

Board Member Call noted that minutes of trustee meetings may be needed to add a new signer, specifically Board Member Lander, to the SFL Trustee bank account. 

Director’s Report

Stem Kits: Director Geraghty discussed the STEM kits from the Academy of Applied Sciences in Concord, NH has been putting together. Initially, these kits were offered to interested libraries for free. However, due to the huge response, there is now a charge of $25 to libraries participating in this program. Director Geraghty noted that this is still a tremendous deal, as the time and effort to put these together was significant. The STEM kits consist of 5 weeks of activities, which includes down-loadable files, printable instructions, lab note worksheets and videos about each activity. 

Curbside Lending & To-Go Craft Kits: Director Geraghty noted that curbside pick-up  started on June 8, 2020. In the 4 weeks since, 295 items have been borrowed from the library, plus 90 To-Go Craft Kits, for a total of 385 items circulated. During the same time period from last year, 434 items circulated, meaning the difference in circulation in COVID times is only minimal. The To-Go Craft Kits are available every Monday and Wednesday for pick up between 8am-3pm, and per Director Geraghty’s schedule. This program has been active for 2.5 weeks, with one craft bag (two crafts) per week put together and left outside for curbside pick-up. Details about these are available on the website, and the library FB page. Director Geraghty estimated that from those 90 kits, there were more than 130 participants. During last summer’s reading program, there were a total of 133 participants for the entire 6 weeks of that program. The response has therefore been very positive. 

Daily Story Time Videos: People are still watching the daily story time videos, with positive responses occasionally noted to Director Geraghty and on FB.  

6 Month Review of Town Appropriated Funds: Director Geraghty completed the 6-month review of the appropriated funds from the town to the library. Everything lined up as expected. 

Pandemic Interim Service Plan: Director Geraghty had sent out the pandemic plan from Jaffrey for SFL Board Members to review on June 19th. Director Geraghty noted that SFL had based our pandemic policy on the Jaffrey plan. The Jaffrey plan stipulates how to run library services in the time of a pandemic. Board Member Lander recommended that this be added to the August trustees meeting agenda. 

Building and Grounds
Board Member Call noted that there are no new updates. 

Friends of Sutton Library
Board Member Howard noted that the Friends have not met and therefore had no update on this. 

Board Member Call noted that there had been books weeded out from the library for the book sale. She is currently storing 30-50 boxes of these books in her barn, with another approximately 30 boxes of books stored in the basement of the library. At this point the question is: What do we do with the boxes of books in storage? The Friends are not responsible for storing these books, particularly without a solid plan in place for their future.

In the past, the Friends have held a sale at the library to benefit the purchase of books. However, because of COVID, this is not feasible this year due to liability. Also, neither thrift stores nor the town dump “Grab-it-for-FREE” tables) are taking books as donations at this time due to the pandemic. Board Chair Heckel noted that former Library Director Thoma had used a company that could pick up the books for free; Director Geraghty has been in touch with this company, and there is a minimum weight needed for this company to take the books for free. Director Geraghty suggested that the Friends could sort through the boxes of books and take out those which may be well suited to a book sale in the future. We would then need to ascertain if the number of books meets the requirements for the book company to pick them up for free. A sale could be held at another location, with proceeds going to benefit the library. Board Chair Heckel noted that Board Member Call will contact the Friends to see what their plan for these stored books may be. Director Geraghty will follow up with the used book company to learn what requirements need to be met to pick up these stored books. A decision may be made at the August Board of Trustees meeting regarding these stored books and the plan for them. 

Budget, Library Automation
There was a conversation regarding the source of funds for the cost to automate the library. 

Having researched integrated library system options, Director Geraghty selected a company based out of Texas that specializes in small public libraries, and which is reputable among some of the local libraries. The quote for this project and system, sent out by Director Geraghty on June 8th to Trustees, is based on approximate circulation and number of holdings at SFL. Discussed were: set up costs, yearly subscription fees, the process by which SFL moves forward with this, efficiency of this system, and benefits to those who access SFL. Director Geraghty noted that due to the recent completion of the weeding project, SFL is ready to move forward with this automation as soon as the funds are approved for this expenditure by the Trustees. 

This automated system would provide many benefits, not least of all efficiency and accuracy in: cataloguing books, automation in checking in and checking out of materials (books, board games, puzzles, magazines, audio books, movies), providing collection management tools, and allowing for the opportunity to run and evaluate various reports vital to the improvement and evolution of the library as a vital community resource. This allows for patrons to access the library digitally, with an immediate understanding of what is available for lending at the Sutton Free Library. Further, with the circumstances of COVID, this allows for touch-free lending, with email receipts and reminders sent automatically to patrons. 

There was some discussion on various line items of the 2020 appropriated library budget, identifying what certain line items were for, and questions such as what alarms and safety is for. Director Geraghty will specify to the Town Bookkeeper, which line items to pull from in the SFL budget to pay for library automation. Board Member Call noted that it is her understanding that the Selectboard need only be notified of item expenditures when they exceed the amount budgeted for that line item.

Board Chair Heckel made a motion to move forward to appropriate the funds, based on the proposal from Biblionix, not to exceed $3,000 from the operating budget. Board Chair Vierzen seconded this motion. The motion carried unanimously in the affirmative. 

Budget, Other
The Selectboard has indicated that they would like the library to take over their appropriated library budget. Clarification is necessary regarding what this might entail for the Trustees. Based on research that Board Chair Heckel has done, there are various ways for a town and a public library to manage the appropriated library budget. For example, some towns do the library payroll, with the library managing all other bills; other towns manage the entire budget of the library. 

Board Chair Call questioned specifics of how this management of the library budget varies. For example, how do local towns such as Wilmot, Bradford and Newbury handle their budgets? If a library does payroll, there are taxes and deposits which need to be made. Which program will be used? And, who will be responsible for paying the bills if the library takes this over? It may be assumed that someone will need to be hired to pay the bills. Director Geraghty noted that, as far as she knows, the town has always taken care of payroll for the library, with the Trustees paying all other bills before 2013. She believes former Director Thoma requested that the town take over all bills for the library, in part because the Trustee base was not as solid as it is now. 

Board Chair Lander wondered who has the authority to make the decision of who is responsible for the library budget in terms of payroll and bills.

If the library takes over the budget, this will need to be an added budget item, as this is currently being taken care of by the town. It may be assumed that a program to manage the budget as well as a bookkeeper would be necessary.  

Board Chair Call clarified that the budgeting process would be the same as always; the town would write a check according to that approved budget, and the library would deposit and manage the money from thereon. 

In reviewing and updating the MOU, there was further discussion over what Sutton Free Library is responsible for, and what the town is responsible for, specifically regarding financial management. Again, the town has always taken care of the payroll of the library. Board Chair Lander noted that insurance may also come up as an expense, and that based on her understanding, the town could pay the insurance on the library building and its contents at a reduced town rate, with the library reimbursing the town. This could also be the case with electricity and fuel, which the library could purchase through the town at a reduced rate. 

There was further discussion and agreement by all at the Trustee meeting that it is important to have a Sutton Selectboard member come to a SFL Board of Trustees meeting to clarify what it means for the SFL to take over its finances. Board Member Heckel noted that she would email the Town Administrator to schedule the Selectboard to attend a SFL Board of Trustees upcoming meeting to clarify, as there is a great deal unclear regarding management of library funds. For example, one selectman advised that the library take over its payroll, while another seemed more concerned about simply taking over the majority of the library finances, excepting payroll.

Board Member Lander offered to go to the trustee listserv to further explore and research this. Board Member Call suggested we ask the following questions in our research: For libraries that are a comparable size to Sutton Free Library, how do they handle payroll? Board Chair Heckel noted that it would be a great idea to contact libraries in towns such as Springfield, Wilmot, Bradford, Andover, Salisbury and Henniker.


Town Hall Reopening
Board Member Howard noted that the town would like to use the library as an emergency site, perhaps for voting. Board Chair Heckel was concerned about the definition of an emergency, and would like the term emergency more clearly defined. Board Member Lander noted that Town Moderator Lick would like an alternative to voting at the Town Hall. 

Voting in the upcoming elections was discussed; and it was noted that an absentee ballot will be available to anyone who is eligible to vote. Any Sutton citizen can go online and have the voting form sent to them now. Further, there is an announcement in the Intertown Record that during this COVID pandemic, voting by absentee ballot is available as an option. 

Attending Selectboard Meetings
A schedule of who would be attending upcoming Selectboard meetings was discussed and will be as follows:

Monday, June 20: Board Chair Heckel
Monday, June 27: Board Member Howard
Monday, August 3: Board Member Vierzen
Monday, August 10: Board Member Vierzen

The remainder of the August schedule will be determined at the next SFL Board of Trustees meeting.

Board Chair Heckel noted that the SFL Board of Trustees will continue with Zoom meetings until further notice; and that for these meetings, no one needs to be physically present at the library. With this said, it is important that all information is posted. Further, Board Chair Heckel noted that it will be necessary to assign someone to run the meeting via Zoom. Any meeting which is closed should have a second recording. Board Member Call stated that she would be willing to handle the Zoom. Director Geraghty explained that she logs in to the Board of Trustees Zoom meetings 5 minutes prior to the meeting and accepts participants to the meeting from a waiting room. It is necessary for the host to hit “record” to record meetings once it has been announced to all participants. Once the meeting is signed off, it takes about an hour to process, and the file can then be sent to anyone for full review.  

The next Sutton Free Library Board of Trustees Meeting is Tues, Aug 4th at 7pm.

Board Member Lander made a motion to adjourn the meeting, and this was seconded by Board Member Call. The motion carried unanimously in the affirmative. The Board of Trustees meeting ended at 9:51 pm.