The Barry-Lawrence Regional Library Board listened to a plan developed by Director Gina Milburn to integrate staff and improve facilities at different branches.
Milburn told the board at its November meeting that she planned to hold meetings with supervisors at different branches every six weeks. Each supervisor would take turns as chairperson. Many supervisors had never visited any other branches. The strategy offered an opportunity to see the other facilities, learn more about library colleagues and gain experience running meetings.
Milburn stressed she would not accept "we have always done it that way" as a defense against new ideas. She encouraged staff to be creative and try new ways of doing things. Meeting together would also promote consistency between branches in policies and procedures.
In the coming year, work will begin on a strategic plan for the library system. Internal training for staff would expand.
"We all agreed that well-trained staff provide better customer service," Milburn said.
Board members approved a contract with architect Richard Werner to retain his services for work on the Mt. Vernon and Cassville branches. Other action on branch improvements was delayed until more quotes could be secured.
Board members approved a new agreement for non-resident services for Stone County residents using the Shell Knob Branch, effective Jan. 1, 2012. The Stone County Library will make monthly payments for those who sign up for new and renewed cards.
The board agreed to a new sewage proposal from the owners of the Bridgeway Plaza, where the library has its branch in Shell Knob. Business owners producing non-human waste will be required to have an additional two-compartment pre-treatment tank, holding at least 1,000 gallons, to protect the village's new wastewater system.
Former director Jean Berg was paid for completing the survey for the 2011-12 Public Library Funding and Technology Access Study required for funding under the Gates Online Hardware Grant. Berg also assisted Milburn in filing for E-rate funding for the coming year and completing the final report to the Kemper Foundation.
Milburn reported grants are being sought from the Barry-Lawrence Area United Fund to help purchase three World Book online data bases; and from Dollar General and Walmart for use in the 2012 Summer Reading Club. She said the Cassville Community Foundation had presented $400 for use at the Cassville Branch for children's programming.
The board voted to continue health and dental insurance for staff through Anthem brokered with Bell and Associates. The health insurance premium increased by 14 percent, 10 percent less than had been budgeted, up by $95.41 per employee. Dental insurance had a 3.9 percent increase, an increase of $1.34 per employee.
The district has received certification from the state for $37,115.50 for fiscal year 2012. Milburn said the total was $2,508.50 more than in 2011, because the population increase calculated from the 2010 census had been included.
Milburn reported Verna Fry had been hired for the children's coordinator position at the Cassville Branch. Amanda Ray had accepted the part-time position as clerk for the Cassville Branch.
Milburn reported all the branches had excellent program offerings. The recent Teen Read Week had been a great success.
In her ongoing outreach effort, Milburn said she planned to attend a community leader luncheon with members of the Monett R-1 Board of Education and the Missouri Public Libraries Director's Conference at Lake of the Ozarks. Half-day visits have been scheduled by Milburn to different branches one day per week.
The board approved a request from the Purdy Branch director for setting up a mailbox that would eliminate the need for a post office box, providing the City of Purdy, which owns the building used by the library, would allow it.
The annual all-staff meeting and training will be held at the Monett Branch on Dec. 9, the same day as the next board meeting.