County Commissioner Mike Randolph took the floor prior to the monthly Library Board of Trustees meeting hosted by the Jackson County Public Library in Ravenswood on July 18. Randolph noted that he had been unaware of issues that had taken place at previous board meetings, but that he was there to “establish a foundation of synergy, working together.”
Randolph told the public in attendance that he appreciated their concern and support of the libraries as well as the JCPL director John Faria.
“We are all interested in a benefit to the public, and the libraries can furnish that service,” Randolph said. “That’s why we are all here, that’s why I am here.”
Following his address, Randolph welcomed and swore in Lois Beam as the Library Board of Trustee’s newest member. Beam’s term on the board will expire in 2024.
Library attorney Kevin Harris noted that typically at public meetings a sign-in sheet is passed around for citizens to sign indicating they would like to speak or share something with the board. He suggested adding a section to future meeting agendas addressing public forum. Harris also recommended it be included towards the beginning of each agenda so the public can share their thoughts and comments with the director and board and then exit if they have prior engagements and do not wish to remain for the entire meeting. This suggestion was noted by Faria who said he would make the addition.
Members of the board along with Faria and Ravenswood Library’s branch manager Angela Howard, reviewed the minutes from the previous meeting. Board president Tandi Martin recommended postponing the decision to accept or reject the meeting minutes due to not having all member’s involved present.
Faria formally welcomed Beam to the Library Board of Trustees and introduced Jill Adams with Calculated Business Solutions as the new bookkeeper for the JCPL. Faria said Adams will be keeping track of all the finances.
Regarding the election of new officers, the board decided to table the idea at the time due to member attendance. A special meeting will be set up to address the election when all members could be present.
Faria presented the board with an engagement letter for the Certified Public Account, James Bates, in order to proceed with the order compilation and preparation of the library’s IRS form 990. The cost associated with Bates’ duties would include $5,000 for the financial statements compilation and $750 for the preparation of the IRS form.
Martin signed off on the letter as recommended by Faria.
Faria said he and Adams discussed the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) and Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA) and requested that he become the administrator of the programs while giving access to Adams to use the programs as well.
Martin confirmed that Faria would be the administrator with Adams being an approved user responsible for handling the remittances. A motion was made and seconded to approve the request.
Faria mentioned that he will take care of any new hires as well as any employees that leave employment.
There were some collection development issues that developed at the end of fiscal year 2019. Faria explained to the board his decision to cancel some ongoing automatic subscriptions on reference materials that were not being used. He told the board that the same materials are now accessible online. By cancelling the subscription, he saved the libraries over $1,400. With the funds saved, Faria requested to use them to compensate for other areas that were over budget for the 2019 fiscal year stating that any remaining funds be applied to the fund balance.
“Young adult fiction went over by $151.59, large print went over by $30.76, and periodicals went over by $141.89,” Faria said. “What I am asking approval to do is shift some funds between the budget lines so that way those lines are covered.”
Martin recommended Faria include the details of his requests in an e-mail and send to all board members for review. She said they would approve them at that time.
Faria also indicated that other lines went over in 2019 including both office supplies and cleaning supplies for Ripley, employee education and travel, and machine maintenance. He provided the board with a suggestion on how to cover those costs.
Harris suggested other funds received from the roof settlement may be able to be used to cover some of the machine maintenance overage, due to possible damage from the roof leaking issues at the Ravenswood Library.
Faria said he would type up all of the additional requests to include on the e-mail for the board’s approval.
Circulation statistics provided by Brian Raitz in
Parkersburg through the Mountain Library Network were presented to the board. Faria said it was broken down between Ripley and Ravenswood.
“The total circulation numbers for the Jackson County Public Libraries was 72,199,” Faria said. “Keep in mind we have a population of about 29,100 and that’s about one and a half times greater than the population so the library is being used and books are being checked out.”
Ripley’s circulation was 51,028 and Ravenswood’s was 21,171 as indicated by the numbers presented. Faria said the DVD circulation was the big line item, showing Ripley at 12,307 and Ravenswood at 4,697.
“Basically the combined circulation for DVD’s was around 17,000,” Faria said. “This is why we increased the Audio Visual line item from $6,000 to $8,000 in Ripley and from $5,000 to $6,000 for Ravenswood.”
Other line items that were frequently circulated were the adult fiction books, children’s books, large print, and mysteries.
Martin requested to receive monthly updates via e-mail on the circulation statistics. Faria agreed to have them sent to all board members each month.
Adams presented the board members with information packets regarding the libraries financial statements. She reported she was still working with the previous bookkeeper on some additional information.
The meeting was then opened up for public comment.
The first to address the board was Sharon Lynch, an adult education teacher who offers free painting classes at the Ripley Library. Lynch reported on her views of the library since Faria became director. She said he worked with her to be able to provide classes to the public with free supplies courtesy of the library. Lynch spoke highly of Faria and indicated to the board that he was a positive influence on the library, staff, and patrons.
“I have been involved with the library for several years and I must admit there is no comparison to what it was like before and what it is like now with John Faria as the director,” Lynch said. “I hope the board as well as the public appreciates all the hard work he is putting in to the Ripley and Ravenswood libraries.”
“I’ve worked with libraries all over the state and I have been a director,” Suzy McGinley said. “I was very happy when I started talking to John about his background and his ability to understand what you need to know about a library to make it run smoothly.”
Staff members also spoke during the public forum.
“It was disheartening to get a four percent raise at the expense of our programs, at the expense of supplies, and other things,” circulation clerk at Ripley Library Mallory Parsons said. “It feels like a slap in the face to see that items could be added for other things, but we couldn’t get more hours when we are drowning in what we can do in the amount of time allotted to us.”
“I have worked for the library since April of 2002 and at the last meeting, the library staff had written a letter to the library board about John and things that happened at the meeting before,” circulation clerk at Ripley Library Melissa Waybright said. “We wanted it read to let you know how we felt. I want to read the letter to you now so it will be included in the minutes and we will try to be at every meeting we can because everything you do effects us.”
Other citizens voiced their opinions about the budget changes for fiscal year 2020. They feel the libraries are very important and both libraries offer wonderful programs and accommodate all patrons.