A positive report from the annual audit provided upbeat news for the directors of the Barry-Lawrence Regional Library.
Accountant Patty Weber, with The CPA Group in Monett, reported the district was in stable and positive financial condition. No record-keeping problems were found.
The audit provided a new definition of "capital improvements," distinguishing them from maintenance expenses. Board members agreed to amend the 2011-12 budget to more closely match the new definitions.
Director Gina Milburn reported all the phone companies had sent reimbursement payments for the 2010-11 fiscal year. The district received $10,618.56, which was $410.28 less than the applications.
Circulation figures for August showed an increase of approximately 9 percent over the previous year. Milburn said the Miller branch saw a rise in programming and circulation due to increased efforts by Judy Edwards, the new supervisor.
Milburn said she planned to make regular branch visits to learn more about operations, what works and what could be done better. She wanted to hear what staff wish could be changed and where they needed training. A review of strengths and weaknesses would help provide a better direction for the district, she said.
Staff changes were reported at several branches. Nancy Dotson has succeeded Linda Keckler as library clerk at the Purdy Branch. Cheryl williams has been hired as Cassville Branch supervisor to succeed Connie Schieler, who left to accept another position in the technology industry after 14 years with the library.
Sarah Roper replaced Jennifer Miller as a library clerk at the Eagle Rock Branch. Cindy Magallanes has replaced Abby Kerens as a clerk at the Marionville Branch. Staff at the Aurora Branch shared stories about help provided by Arlene Showers, former employee and volunteer at both the Mt. Vernon and Aurora branches. Showers died on Aug. 3.
Milburn thanked the board for giving her a month to work with retiring director Jean Berg. Milburn felt she was growing in her position daily and would continue to work with Cindy Frazier, the Monett branch supervisor, in learning the computer system.
During the coming year, Milburn indicated the district would continue staff development by providing in-house training or the opportunity to attend workshops, classes and conferences.
"Well-trained staff equals satisfied and happy customers," Milburn said.
Summer reading program
A total of 978 children and 151 teens participated in the Summer Reading Clubs, which concluded at the end of July. Numbers increased over 2010. Records showed 58 percent of the children and 62 percent of teens completed the reading program.
In all, 6,488 patrons participated in summer reading programs.
Themes for next year's Summer Reading Club have been selected. They will be "Dream Big--Read" for children, "Own the Night" for teens, and "Between the Covers" for adults.
Board members followed up their discussion with architect Richard Werner at the August meeting by selecting Monett, Cassville and Mt. Vernon as the first brick buildings to be placed on a maintenance schedule.
Alexander Construction provided a preliminary inspection. The Monett Branch was found to need extensive work on the brick masonry. Board members agreed to place work on the Monett Branch on hold until the new building project was underway. Renovations to the existing building could be planned at the same time.
The work estimated for the Cassville branch will cost $8,856, including labor and material to tuck point and seal the bricks. Board members expressed concern that a building as new as the Cassville Branch should not need tuck pointing and asked Werner to review the building before any further decisions were made.
Labor and material to seal the brickwork on the Mt. Vernon Branch was estimated at $1,186. Milburn reported landscaping work revealed more problems than anticipated, including additional dead plants, rotting and leaning timbers and soil erosion. Several areas of exposed foundation were now evident.
Nathan Ross, with the landscaping firm of Transition by Design, submitted estimates to completely redo the existing landscape, using new timbers or landscaping blocks. Board members agreed to have Werner review the situation before taking further action.
Board members agreed to move forward with having the back door frame and the front sidewalk repaired at the Miller Branch. Replacements for water-damaged ceiling tiles at the Aurora Branch had been ordered. Insurance was expected to cover the claim.
Milburn asked the board to consider developing a strategic plan in the coming year. She advised using the American Library Associaion's "Planning for Results" material. Each branch would create a community analysis. The result would enable the board to proceed more proactively in the future.
Milburn said she planned to be less bound to the office. She hoped to address customer service, staff training, efficient operations, team building, increased community outreach, morale building and effective marketing. Her efforts would aid the ultimate goal of how to best serve district customers.
The next board meeting will be held at 9 a.m. on Nov. 10 at the Monett branch.