Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Library Board "will not reconsider"

The Library Board of Directors held their September monthly meeting on Monday evening at the Library meeting room. The Board was outnumbered by citizens and members of the Friends of the Franklin Library who came to find out if the October Book sale suddenly canceled at the Aug meeting would be reinstated. 

The meeting began after Chairman Cindy Dobrynski arrived late apologizing for traffic having delayed her. She sternly outlined the requirements for citizens comments, need to be recognized by the Chair before speaking, use of appropriate language and failure to do so could result in removal from the meeting.

Maria Lucier, President of the FoFL, was recognized and read the following statement.
Since 2005 the semi-annual book sales held by the Friends of Franklin library (FoFL) have produced approximately $150,000 in net revenue that has been used to fund books, programs, passes, e-books and numerous other items for the library, including the chairs that everyone at this meeting is sitting on. 
That’s just from the book sales – the FoFL has also received considerable funds from other sources. The last 2 book sales have netted over $13K, and the October book sale would be expected to show over $6K in profits – and all of this is achieved without any cost to the library or town.

These funds have been realized because of the efforts of dedicated volunteers, who put in over 1500 hours a year to make the book sales happen, and who promote the library within their own sphere of influence.

The stated reason for this board’s decision is that the October book sale is not needed due to the popularity of the ‘on-going’ in-house book sale. But there is no reason for the two things to be mutually exclusive, and it makes more sense to supplement the semi-annual book sale revenues with the in-house revenues, resulting in the greatest benefit for the library. 
The FoFL respectfully requests that this board vote tonight to reinstate the October book sale.
After a couple of other members of the audience were recognized and added points to the overall question, Cindy made her statement. The Board's strategic planning process included a survey which began last year. The Board is encouraging the library to seek other sources of revenue. She stated that the quoted dollars of revenue from the ongoing monthly sales (reported at about $150/month) have increased substantially. The Board did not want to wait until this Sep meeting to make their decision. They chose to do so at their scheduled Aug meeting. The minutes from the Aug meeting will be available after they are scheduled for vote at tonight's meeting. She encouraged dialog to go forward preparing and planing for creative fund raising events in the future. The Board is looking to create opportunities to bring people to the Library. They have decided to suspend the Oct Book Sale. They are looking to develop creative events. They don't want to be dependent upon a twice a year book sale. Their objective is to increase patron visits to the Library. The Board will not reconsider their decision.

The Library Board of Directors on Monday evening:

Library Board of Directors: (left to right) Kathleen Gerwatowski, Susan Rittenhouse, Cynthia Dobrzynski (Chairman), Felicia Oti (Library Director), Monique Doyle (Vice Chair) and Sandra Brandfonbrener

Board information

Additional information on the Board can be found on the Library webpage

Reading the minutes from meetings earlier this year was insightful.

In Feb 2013, the Board acknowledged reviewing a gift policy the prior month

In March, the Board approved "a “books for sale” shelf in the Library"

In April, the Board acknowledged "exploring the creation of a charitable foundation to develop alternative sources of funding." and that the he Board was scheduled to discuss the book sale "issue" at the May meeting.

The survey was referenced as still being available on the Library webpage (I did not find it). The Franklin Matters archive does have the link from June 2012 when the survey was announced by the Library blog

The survey is still open and results will be made available after the survey closes (no date specified during meeting).

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