2017 September Minutes

Richmond Free Library
Trustees Meeting

Minutes, September 7, 2017

Present: Ellen Crary, Laurie Dana, Keith Franz, Kristen Hayden-West, Rebecca Mueller.  Special Guest:  Lara Keenan, State Library Consultant

Absent: Jenna Bisset

August Minutes

Keith moved to approve the August minutes, which were approved unanimously.

State Library Consultant

Lara Keenan provided a great overview of the answers to some questions about the Trustees’ upcoming work.  We discussed how to energy and re-energize trustees during stable periods when there is not an urgent or pressing need.  She presented some thoughts on advocacy for libraries and ideas for collecting stories from patrons about why RFL is important and how it has affected their life.  We also discussed our new Strategic Planning work and how to build on the work of the town’s recent strategic planning process, to invite input from the community and to present the information as an engaging info graphic.  Finally we talked about various resources and upcoming trainings and conferences that present great learning opportunities for library staff and trustees.

This was a welcome opportunity for Trustees to think about the meaning of the work of the Richmond Free Library, its importance to the community and its importance to each of the Trustees.

Treasurer’s Report and FY 2019 Budget

Keith and Rebecca reviewed the proposed FY2019 budget, which will be forwarded to the Selectboard.  Once change was made in the percentage of change in the Social Security/Medicare line item (this should be 7.65% increase.  Other line items changes were reviewed and discussed.  Keith moved to approve the budget as presented with the one change and Laurie seconded.  The budget was approved unanimously.  Budgets will be presented and discussed at the October Selectboard meeting.

Rebecca explained an issue around a change that the town made in accrued vacation for Wendy when they changed her employment status.  As an 11+year employee of the town, she has received 4 weeks of vacation.  When her status changed to Assistant Director, her accrual of vacation was “reset” to 2 weeks of vacation.  While Rebecca was told this was a town-wide practice, it is not mentioned on the personnel policies.  Rebecca had prepared a letter directing the selectboard to reinstate her vacation status and all Trustees present signed the letter.

Director’s Report

  • Children’s programming (Baby Laptime, Early Bird Math, Storytime and Yoga Storytime) begins next week
  • The week of Sept. 20 the library will host several events related to Archeology Month.
  • 23 the library will host Drag Queen Storytime with guest story readers focusing on diversity and belonging
  • 15 there will be a program on Rosie’s’ Mom (women in WWI)
  • 13 the library will host Rick Winston’s Alfred Hitchcock program
  • The new carpeting in the hallway and children’s and youth rooms is complete.
  • The maple trees in front of the library will be pruned to help with reducing the shade, and moisture on the front of the library building.

Steeple Repair

Rebecca recently had Jay Southgate of Southgate Steeplejacks come and do an assessment of the status of the tall steeple.  He feels that, on a scale of 0 to 10 (with 10 representing serious and immediate repair needed), our steeple is around a 2.5.  Some of his recommendations include building an access ladder inside to enable work to be done (from 10-55 ft. off the ground).  He suggests not doing any work on the spire as it is functioning as needed.  He suggested doing some reinforcement work inside the steeple using metal rather than recreating the existing wooden bracing.  He also recommended checking the fastening of the ornament on top.  Most of the rot is in the ornamental features, not the structure.  There may be opportunities to repair this without restoring all of the original ornamentation fully.

Since the Conservation Fund has been depleted there was discussion about phasing these repairs, perhaps starting next year and taking the money from the Capital Reserve fund.  Currently there is $35,000 in the reserve, but $12,000 was just spent on carpeting.  There will be an additional $8,000 added at the end of the year.


Members discussed doing something at the library on Trick or Treat night, since it has become a very popular destination for families.  Discussion was about handing out treats, perhaps in costume on the lawn.  This will be added to the October meeting agenda.

Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held on Thursday, October 5 at 6:30 p.m. 

Respectfully submitted,
September 11, 2017

Laurie Dana, Secretary


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