2017 November Minutes

Richmond Free Library
Trustees Meeting

Minutes, Monday, November 6

Present: Jenna Bisset, Ellen Crary, Keith Franz, Kristen Hayden-West, Rebecca Mueller

Minutes approved

Treasurer’s Report – Keith Franz

  • Error from electric bill corrected.  Library & Water Dept bills were accidentally switched.
  • Financial reports for the previous month will be delayed.  The Town’s Financial Director doesn’t receive end of month data in sufficient time before trustee meetings at the beginning of the month.

Library Director’s Report – Rebecca Mueller

  • Soup & Stories program was very successful and Rebecca suggests doing it again, perhaps at the same time of the next Church rummage sale.
  • Wendy has set up the free hot beverage table
  • Rebecca has arranged for walls with mold in the basement to be removed and replaced.   Source of water has been addressed and basement is dry.
  • Two Vermont Humanities Council presentations will be held.  In November, “Rosie’s Mom: Women in WWI,” in December, “Suspense of Alfred Hitchcock.”

Holiday Market, December 2

Trustees will not reserve a table.  Library will put out informational display, have hand-outs, and put raffles.

Letter of Appeal Fundraising

Letters requesting funds should be delayed until strategic plan is developed and requests can mention specific needs.  Also, there is a lot of competition with other appeal letters in November and December.

Trustee Vacancy

    Kristen’s term ends in March 2018.   Possible new members should be identified and perhaps solicited.   A petition must be filed with the Town Clerk by (approximate) January 25 in order to be placed on the ballot.

Strategic Plan Discussion

    Trustees shared Strategic Plan presentations (e.g., Norwich Library, Charlotte Library, Phoenix (AZ), Winnipeg, Chattanooga, and provided links to others.

The most important part of developing a strategic plan is not to develop a laundry list of suggestions, but to consider what concepts will guide the library in the coming years.  These concepts should be broad yet clear.   The following two strategic concepts were identified:


  1. WELCOME:  The library will work toward improving the perception and sensation of feeling welcome at the Richmond Free Library.   We will identify physical changes, both inside and out that help visitors feel welcome and make our space more accessible.  In addition to visual and physical cues of welcome, the library will continue to try to reach out to residents that may be reluctant to visit the library for various reasons.  Staff will maintain a welcoming manner at all times.


Examples:  reconfigure service desk, enhance signage, design and construct outdoor space for patrons and programs, improve furnishings where possible.


  1. PARTNER:  The library will actively partner and collaborate with other organizations in the community in an intentional manner and embrace change and innovative actions that are responsive to community needs.

Examples:  AARP (tax returns), programs with Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, promote financial empowerment through various means (Money Smart programs), find ways to respond to indicated citizen preferences as indicated in Town Plan,

Next Meeting:

The next trustee meeting will be held Monday, December 4, at 6-8:30 PM.  It is hoped that trustees can make significant progress on the major concepts of strategic plan.  After those goals have been iterated, we can discuss how to format the plan (e.g., length, selected graphics, font, etc.)

Adjourned, 8:00 pm

Respectfully submitted,
November 10, 2017

Rebecca Mueller, Librarian


2017 October Agenda

RFL Trustees Agenda 10-5-17

6:30,  RFL Mezzanine

  1. Approve September minutes
  2. Treasurer’s Report
  3. Library’s Director’s Report
  4. Review Town Plan data for developing RFL Strategic Plan
  5. Plans for Halloween and Soup and Stories
  6. Discuss possible fundraising letter

2017 June Minutes

Richmond Free Library
Trustees Meeting

Minutes, June 1, 2017

Present: Jenna Bisset, Ellen Crary, Laurie Dana, Keith Franz, Kristen Hayden-West, Rebecca Mueller

May Minutes

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

Treasurer’s Report

Keith Reported that the budget is in good shape for the year.  In particular, the projected income from Community Room fees is well above the $6,000 projection – currently $8,700 with another $1,252 being deposited soon.

Rebecca observed that we are under in postage due to a grant received to provide courier services for inter-library loan deliveries and pick ups.  This is working well.

We have spent $6,700 of the $8,000 added to Capital Reserve for this year.


  • Director’s Report


  • Rebecca reported that she has an estimate of $950 to replace the linoleum in the downstairs bathroom.
  • She has three bids for replacement of carpeting in stairway and landings, back section of the Community Room and two youth rooms.  Best bid is $11,189 from Flooring America.
  • Rebecca will contact Geoff Urbanik regarding when he will be putting out the town-wide building assessment work to bid.  This was requested by the Selectboard but the Trustees wanted to make sure he understands that this is an important priority for the Library Trustees.
  • The elevator did not pass inspection as they are requiring that we remove the smoke detector at the top of the elevator shaft.  Rebecca is inquiring about the reasoning but has been told that this is a recent change to code and the elevator is in violation.
  • Rebecca reports that she will be replacing the printer in the resource room and plans to use money in the “copier fund” to do this.
  • She commented that there have been many building maintenance issues during FY17 including the light fixture fire, 2 water leaks, mice damaging the radiant heat, replacement of the concrete stairs and the bathroom fix.
  • Summer programming for children is all in place and should be exciting.
  • There are a couple of “Little Free Libraries” being added in Richmond—one is planned for a neighborhood and one for Volunteers’ Green.
  • Rentals of the Community Room are keeping Rebecca and Wendy very busy and they have to make more judgement calls on fees based on whether the use fits the library’s mission, fulfills a community need or is a marketing or for-profit venture.
  • Rebecca would still like to reconfigure the circulation desk.

Conservation Fund Application

Kristen would like to set a deadline to have a request in to the Conservation Fund to finance at least the steeple repair portion of the roof replacement.  She will work on this project using the cost estimates from previous room assessments.

Strategic Planning

The Trustees envision that the next 3-year Library strategic planning project starts in earnest in September and should be completed by December 2017.  Laurie or Kristen will share the survey questions from the last Strategic Planning cycle and August Trustees agenda will include rewriting and/or simplifying those questions.  Ellen will look for the results of the Town-Wide strategic planning process in order to inform this work.  Trustees were asked to approach a few people to get their input into what questions should be asked.

July 4th plan

Trustees will again have a tent and table at the 4th of July festivities.  We will sell water and books.

  • Staff will pull a selection of books, with a particular emphasis on children’s books.  Kristen suggested posting a request for children’s book donations for this effort on Front Porch Forum.
  • Keith will purchase water – with the amount based on the weather prediction.
  • Laurie will round up coolers for ice
  • Ellen will bring (or lend) her wagon
  • Kristen will take care of getting ice and will bring the tent
  • Jenna offered to do face painting at the table and will purchase face paint.
  • Laurie & Kristen will arrive by 8:30 to set up the tent (blocking off the area with cones the night before was suggested).

Executive Session

The Trustees went into Executive Session to discuss the annual performance evaluation of Library Director.

Next Meeting
There will be no Trustees’ meeting in July, the next meeting will be held on Thursday, August 3 at 6:30 p.m.  

Planning and survey development for the Strategic Planning Process will be a major item on the agenda.


Respectfully submitted,
June 6, 2017

Laurie Dana, Secretary

2017 August Minutes

Richmond Free Library Trustees

August 3, 2017   6:30 pm

Minutes (draft)

Present:  Rebecca Mueller (Library Director), Kristen Hayden-West, Jenna Bisset, Keith Frantz


Treasurer’s Report:

No data currently available from Town Finance Officer for updated information

Motion to move $6,000 from Maintenance to Salary for cleaner salary in FY ’18.  Seconded and approved.


Librarian’s Report:

Very successful summer program: well-attended and well-received

Toilet overflow

Extermination services have been employed to control mice chewing radiant flooring tubes


Conservation Commission Grant Application:

Application being prepared to request fundingfor repair of Library steeple.  The application must include when repairs would commence, scope of work and related costs.

Steeplejack will be visiting library on Friday, August 4 for assessment.


Strategic Plan:

Trustees need to begin strategic plan actions.  Library Director has requested the Lara Keenan, VT Department of Libraries Consultant on Governance and Public Libraries address trustees to provide overview of goals of a strategic plan and approaches to developing one.   Rebecca will invite Lara after she checks on budget presentation dates with Richmond Selectboard.


Trustee Videos:

Trustee videos with various themes are available (e.g., evaluating the library direction, working with Friends, developing policy, etc.) and should be viewed by trustees.  Produced by the American Library Association.

2017 May Minutes

Richmond Free Library Trustee’s

Minutes – May 4, 2017


Present: Ellen Crary, Laurie Dana, Keith Franz, Jenna Bisset, and Rebecca Mueller

Absent: Kristen Hayden-West



Laurie called the meeting to order.


April Minutes

Keith moved to accept the April minutes and the motion carried unanimously.


Treasurer’s Report

Keith reported that for the budget report through the end of March, about 70% of the budget has been expended, and we are 75% through the budget year, so we are in good shape.  He reported that we are over in the salary line item and under in water—see Library Director’s report for more on these items.


Vote for RFL Board Position

Keith nominated Laurie Dana for the position of Board Secretary for the coming year and the motion carried unanimously.


Library Director’s Report

  • To come in line with Town HR policies and Workmen’s Comp rules relating to maintenance staff, the light maintenance worker who has been working for the library for years now needs to be paid as a part-time employee.  His rate of compensation will not change.  $6,000 from the maintenance budget will be moved to the salary line item to address this.
  • The Town has asked employees to update their Job Descriptions in advance of reviewing the Town’s salary schedule.  Rebecca has completed revised job descriptions for all staff and she handed out her revised job description for review.  There were several comments on how her job description has changed, primarily due to the rapid changes in technology and the Library Consortium.
  • The water charge for last month was $100 less due to the discovery and correction of several leaks including a toilet that was running, a dripping faucet and a leak in the radiant floor heating where mice have chewed through the rubber.
  • Rebecca will be contracting with a company to get the mouse issue under control by setting bait traps in the crawl spaces.
  • Library staff attended a training on April 17, which was supposed to provide information on how to recognize and deal with those who might have mental health or other issues.  The training content was not as expected but some information was gained.  There is a training planned for staff on what to do in an “active shooter” scenario.
  • Summer programming is set and will be GREAT!
  • Rebecca has received 2 bids for replacing the carpeting in the stairway, back of community room and two youth spaces.  She and the staff are in the process of selecting carpets & colors.


Conservation Fund

Judy Rusovski (spelling?) recently spoke to Rebecca to encourage the library to apply for Conservation Funds to for part of the roof repair work and assured her that “not all” of the funds were spent on the Andrews land.  Jenna commented that we should move forward on this quickly since we had been “invited” to apply.  Laurie will talk with Kristen Hayden-West about contacting Judy and then working with Jen from the library staff to draft a request.  Trustees felt that we should apply for funding to do the work on the Steeple (at least repair of trim and unstable elements) and draw from Jan’s assessment and pricing to prepare the request.


Strategic Plan for 2018-2020

Ellen reported she had done some research on other library strategic plans and showed us a sample of an info-graphic style plan from the Norwich Library which Trustees felt was an interesting approach.  Laurie reviewed some of the steps that went into the last Strategic Planning process.  The Trustees felt that this process could be somewhat streamlined from the last time and are in favor of a Survey that could be available as a Survey Monkey online as well as in hard copy.  It should be advertised in Front Porch Forum, Times Ink, on the Library website and at other venues (Farmers Market table?  July 4th table?).  There was some discussion about simplifying the questions and shortening the survey.  The next step could be a focus group or community meeting to present and discuss the results of the survey.  Laurie will find and share the survey from last time with the Trustees and further discussion will take place at the June meeting.


July 4

The Trustee’s “usual” practice of having a water and book sale on the lawn was described for Jenna.  There was some discussion about Trustees marching in the parade (with or without a float) perhaps in costume.  Several trustees were interested in pursuing this discussion.


Next Meeting: The next meeting of the Richmond Free Library Trustees will be Thursday, June 1.  Note there will be no Library Trustee’s meeting in July due to July 4th outreach effort.


Agenda items:
Report back on Conservation Fund application status

July 4th planning

Strategic Planning process, review and rewrite community survey


Respectfully submitted,

May 5, 2017

Laurie Dana, Secretary

2017 May Agenda

RFL Trustees Meeting Agenda

May 4, 2017

6:30-8:00 pm, Richmond Free Library Mezzanine


Review April Minutes

Treasurer’s Report

Director’s Report

  • Carpet
  • other

Vote for RFL Board Secretary

Discuss applying for Conservation Fund money

  • Review previous bids for roof
  • Plan for proceeding with application

Review old strategic plan and develop timeline for new Strategic Plan process

Agenda items for June

  • July 4th
  • Clarify/update RFL trustees monthly calendar


2017 April Minutes

Richmond Free Library Trustee’s Minutes

April 6, 2017

6:00-7:30 PM

Present – Rebecca Mueller, Kristen Hayden-West, Jenna Bisset, Ellen Crary

Absent- Keith Frantz, Laurie Dana

The meeting was called to order. A quorum was reached with three trustees present.

  1. The trustees agreed to discuss Goal Priorities in the coming year when more trustees were present.
  2. March minutes were approved.
  3. Treasurer was absent, so no treasurer report.
  4. Reallocation of portion of funds from maintenance to salary was discussed and approved.  This was done to adhere to labor law, worker’s comp, etc stating that the cleaner must be an employee.
  5. Officers elected to chair, treasurer, secretary.  It was decided that Jenna and Kristen would act as co-chairs during a transition period of approximately six months when Jenna would take on full responsibility.  Keith was officially nominated to continue as treasurer.  Vote for secretary delayed until May.
  6. Richmond Free Library Trustees Monthly Planning Calendar was clarified and edited.
  7. Trustee meeting start time was discussed.  It was agreed upon that, starting in May, the start time will be 6:30 pm and go to approximately 8:00 pm.
  8. It was agreed that Strategic Plan activities would be delayed this month until more trustees were present and placed on the June agenda.  In the meantime, trustees will research strategic plans from other states and towns with similar demographics.  Examples of places that have good library strategic plans in place are Colorado and Colchester.  This information can be found on the internet.
  9. Rebecca said that conservation money was still available and encouraged us to apply for it as soon as possible.  Accurate and more specific cost estimates were still needed on the roof and steeple before moving forward.  It was discussed that, should the funds become available, they could also be used to repair part of the roof as well as repair rot on the trim on the north side of the library that is caused by the overhanging trees from the cemetery.  Rebecca will look at numbers again.  It was agreed that the roof is the best possible use of the conservation funds.  It was discussed who wants to write the application proposal.  The trustees will review the documents that Rebecca has for conservation assessment.  Rebecca will send the information and bring it to the May meeting so we can have a more informed meeting in May.
  10. Carpet replacement is still expected.  Bids are still being collected.  It was discussed that this would be paid for from the capital reserve.
  11. Agenda prepared for next meeting.  This includes: discussing goal priorities, vote for secretary, strategic plan discussion and research, conservation money.
  12. The town of Bolton has stopped reimbursing its residents for the library fees so that they can access Richmond Free Library.  The current amount charged is $35/family.  Rebecca mentioned that the Healthcare movie coming up was of high interest.  The New Baby Tea was a big success and that there are so many other great events happening at the library.

Ellen Crary

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

2017 January Minutes

Richmond Free Library Trustee’s

Minutes – January 5, 2017


Present: Ellen Crary, Laurie Dana, Keith Franz, Kristen Hayden-West, Cammy Richelli,


Kristen called the meeting to order.

Treasurer’s Report

Keith reported that the status of the budget at 5 months into the fiscal year is fine.  The payment for the redo of the stairs ($6,705) was made out of the capital reserve fund.

Report on Second Budget Meeting with the Selectboard

Kristen, Keith and Laurie attended the January 2 Selectboard meeting regarding the proposed Library budget.  As expected, the Selectboard’s concern was the 12.4% increase, which is almost entirely due to adding hours to make the Assistant Director’s position 32 hours per week and thus eligible for town benefits.  Trustees made the following points:

  • The position of Assistant Director is an important one as this individual manages the library in the Library Director’s absence.
  • This individual also manages (and often develops) children’s programming and will be taking on the role of Children’s Librarian.
  • The additional hours are needed as the current Children’s Librarian is cutting back his hours and to help with coverage hours lost by the resignation of another employee.
  • It is the desire of the Trustees not to lose this excellent, highly trained and competent employee due to financial or benefit considerations—we already lost an excellent employee this year.
  • Keith observed that with this change, the ratio of the library’s salary to benefits would be 22%, exactly the same as the town’s ratio overall.


Selectboard members asked several questions but did not indicate any decision in the matter.  They also asked if the Library would be willing to do a presentation as part of this year’s Town Meeting in March.  Trustees said that they would, but asked if there were specific items the Selectboard wanted addressed and also how long a presentation would be.  No specific decision on this was made.

Next steps:  Trustees will wait for the Selectboard’s response and discuss any possible next steps at the February Trustees meeting.

Candidate for Library Trustee

Jenna Bisset will be running for the Trustee position being vacated by Cammi at the March 7 Elections.

Trustee Meeting Schedule

On the Library Director’s request, the Trustees discussed and agreed to return to a monthly meeting schedule on the first Thursday of each month.

Library Volunteer Brunch

The annual volunteer recognition brunch will take place on Sunday, February 5 in the community room.  Staff and Trustees will arrive at 11 and the volunteers will be asked to arrive at noon.  The format of the event will follow past years.  Laurie will arrange for flowers and Kristen will work with Rebecca to determine what food is needed.  Trustees indicated an interest in finding out what staff wanted to provide and then they will fill in what is needed.

Fundraising Letter

The planned fundraising letter did not go out during December.  Trustees felt that we should still do a letter and that National Library Week (April 9-15) might be appropriate, particularly since this year’s theme is “Libraries Transform.”  Laurie will work with Rebecca on getting this done.

Friends Book Sale

February 17 & 18 will be the Friends of Richmond Library book sale.  Trustees are encouraged to sign up for a shift working the sale.

Conservation Fund

Kristen will start the process of applying for the Conservation Fund and Trustees recommend that the funding request be for restoring and insulating the front door so that it is working order and restoration of the steeple.  Kristen would make this request in conjunction with Geoff Urbanik on behalf of the Town and Trustees.

Next Meeting: The next meeting of the Richmond Free Library Trustees will be Thursday, February 2.  Ellen and Laurie will not be able to attend.

Agenda items

Additional budget discussion (if needed)

Planning for a Town Meeting Day presentation (if needed)

Final planning for Volunteer Brunch

Approval of November minutes (not taken care of at this meeting)

Approval of January minutes


March Trustee’s Meeting:  The March meeting will take place from 6-7 p.m. and then Trustees will adjourn to say farewell to Cammi as this will be her last meeting as a Trustee.

Respectfully submitted,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Laurie

January 7, 2017

Laurie Dana, Secretary