James Johnson, Jr., Chair
900 North Ashley Drive
Tampa, Florida 33602
James Martin, Jr., Vice-Chair
William Scheuerle, Secretary
Phone: (813) 273-3660
Fax: (813) 273-3707

Tampa-Hillsborough Public Library Board



Library Board Members Present:
Kay O'Rourke, Chairman, Gloria Abrams
Linda Arnold, Vice Chairman, Arnold Kotler
Catherine Kelley, Secretary, Sandra Cameron
Helen Swisshelm, Rosa Goldsmith
Nancy Crippen, Elizabeth Blue
Library Board Members Absent:
Sonja Garcia, Dora Reeder

Library Staff:
Joe Stines, Director
Marcee Challener, Asst. Director
Jeannie Fletcher, Administrative Assistant
David Wullschleger, Chief of Operations
Linda Gillon, Manager
Jean Peters, Chief of Reference
Janet Lorenzo, Chief of Information and Access
Suzy George, Facilities Officer
Special Guests:
Janet Wilson, Director
Sun City Center Community Association Board
Wesley Wolfe, President
Sun City Center Community Association


Chairman Kay O'Rourke called the meeting to order at 4:09pm


Chairman O'Rourke asked for corrections of the December 5, 1996 Library Board Minutes. As there were none, the minutes were approved as written.


Public Siting Meeting:
Joe said there would be a Public Siting Meeting for the Jan Platt Regional Library on 1/28/97, 6:30 pm at the Manhattan Center (behind the Winn Dixie at Euclid and Manhattan). He invited the Library Board to attend. Joe explained that the meeting would allow citizen input regarding the site and library structure. Sandra Cameron asked if anyone from the Tampa Friends would be attending. Joe said he thought David Brown would be there along with other THPL staff who live in the area. Interested citizens and members of the area's Crime Watch group had received personal phone calls regarding the meeting.

Air-Conditioning Problems:
Joe apologized for moving the meeting to Special Collection explaining that John F. Germany Public Libraryhad been without air-conditioning two weeks. Suzy Preuss reported that the chiller needed repair; however, as the system was worked on, other problems were being addressed as well. She said the repairs would be completed by Friday. Joe noted that the cost of the repair was $14,000 and would come out of the maintenance line item.

Helen Swisshelm asked if the chiller would need to be replaced again any time soon. Joe responded that it was repaired and County Facilities staff estimated that it would be 5-10 years before any more work would need to be done. Suzy added that the contractor did not feel that the air-conditioner needed to be replaced. Joe said there were limited funds remaining in the maintenance line item. He added that would consult with the Budget Dept. and the Library Board if any funds had to be moved at the end of the year.

Temple Terrace Library Closing:
Joe said the Temple Terrace Library planned to close for expansion in spite of earlier hopes that they would be able to remain open. A temporary site had not been found as yet. Since the closing will coincide with the opening of New Tampa, the new facility may draw Temple Terrace customers. He said Eastlake could also see an increase in circulation during this time.

Gloria Abrams asked what would happen to the Temple Terrace collection. Joe said part would go into storage and part would go to the temporary site. Gloria also asked if some materials could be left behind. Joe said he didn't believe that would be possible because the project will involve a major gutting of the building. The Library should be vacated by June 1.

Library Art Collection:
Sandra Cameron asked Joe to expand on this item from his written Director's Report. Joe said he met with Barbara Hill and felt very positive about working with her in the future. Ms. Hill expressed three major concerns: 1) the need for a public art management policy 2) insurance for the art collection 3) the need to work together on joint sharing/use of the collection. It was also suggested that a Library Board member be assigned to the THPL Friends Art Committee.

Ms. Hill agreed that the collection should remain in the Library and expressed an interest in rotating pieces for exhibits. She said the City was not interested in selling the art work. Gloria Abrams asked if the pieces would be rotated within the Library system. Joe said they could be rotated among other government buildings as well. Ms. Hill agreed that some pieces are too large and difficult to rotate. She also expressed concern about climate control especially in City buildings.

Gloria Abrams asked if the County carries insurance on the collection. Joe said "No--the County is self-insured." Gloria asked if Kevin Collins, Assistant County Attorney for Library Services, had determined ownership of the art collection. Joe responded that the collection belongs to the public and is for public use just like the rest of the Library's holdings. Kevin had not given a formal response as he was waiting to see if the Friends could locate any original paperwork dealing with the purchase of the collection.

Catherine Kelley volunteered to serve as the Library Board's liaison for the Friends art committee. Kay O'Rourke if there were any objections. As there were none, Catherine was accepted as the Library Board's liaison.

Budget Checklist:
Joe passed out a copy of a Budget Checklist which will be used to gather information for the FY97 budget. The new checklist will allow for a more efficient gathering of information. Joe said teams will visit each facility to meet with the Site Coordinator, conduct a walk-around tour and fill out the checklist. One Budget Checklist will be submitted for each branch. The information will then be turned over to the Budget Committee for prioritization.

Sandra Cameron asked if the process would be done annually. Joe said "yes." The Budget Checklist process will replace the preliminary work done by the Planning Committee. He said the Planning Committee would get copies of the checklists for review and input. Gloria Abrams asked when the meetings and tours would begin. Joe responded that they were already underway.

Gloria Abrams asked why the budget is a two-year budget. Joe responded that the BOCC voted to go to a two-year cycle prior to the FY 96-97 budget. Gloria asked how the information would get to the Planning Committee. Joe said Library staff would use Budget Checklists to prepare decision units. The summary checklists along with the decision unit forms will then go the Planning and Budget Committees for review. The Budget Committee will do the prioritization and submit for Board approval.

Helen Swisshelm asked when the Budget Committee could begin work. Joe suggested that the Budget Checklists should be back by the first or second week of February. He said the Budget Committee would need to meet once in February and at least two times in March in order to be ready. Helen set the first meeting for Monday, February 10, 1997, 11:00 a.m., John F. Germany Public Library. Helen invited any interested Board members to attend. Joe said he would supply the Library Board members with final versions of the Budget Checklist. He also encouraged them to visit branches to do their own analysis.

Catherine Kelley asked if the Library System is still using WordPerfect 5.1. Joe responded that Marilyn Mulla would be addressing that part of the Budget Checklist. Catherine pointed out that many County agencies are moving away from WordPerfect for DOS. Joe said he was aware of the move toward the Windows environment.


Before continuing with the meeting Chairman O'Rourke made two announcements. First, Sonja Garcia's son was hospitalized before Christmas and had just come home after a second surgery. She passed around a card for the Library Board members to sign. Second, she announced that the 2-volume Library Board Manuals were ready for pick-up and asked each member to take a set home before leaving. The first volume, a Meeting Handbook, can be brought to meetings and contains a glossary and section for notes. The second volume, a Resource Manual, can be used as a reference tool and contains documents used by the Library Board.

Kay then presented Elizabeth Blue, past Chairman of the Library Board, with a plaque in honor of her service to the Library Board. She commended Liz for her dedication and willingness to be the first chairman to serve two consecutive terms. All agreed that she had done an outstanding job. She was complimented for her efforts, energy, and wisdom.


Planning Committee:

Sandra Cameron presented the Planning Committee Report. She said the committee met prior to the Library Board meeting at 3:00.

a) Interlocal Agreement: Sandra said she and Joe met again with Ann Haywood, Director of the Plant City Library, to work on an interlocal agreement which incorporates elements of the Palm Beach County Cooperative Agreement and the Plant City Interlocal Agreement. She said they had a good meeting; the new cooperative interlocal agreement is progressing well.

b) Eastlake: The Planning Committee recommended that the lease be renewed for another year in light of the temporary closing of Temple Terrace.

c) South County/Sun City: Catherine Kelley will be working with the Planning Committee in this area as it will be a continuing and on-going project. There was nothing new to report.

d) Egypt Lake/North Tampa: A meeting will be set up with Charlotte Valenti to tour the school again. Nancy Crippen will attend with Joe Stines.

e) Brandon Area: the Planning Committee looked at a map and studied the location suggested for a new library in Brandon area.

f) Siting Document: Sandra said that the Committee's main focus was the Siting Document which had been mailed out to the Library Board in the monthly mailing. She said that the Planning Committee would like to suggest that members going out to tour or inspect a site use the document as a worksheet. Input would then be combined one final document would be prepared and presented to the Library Board for comments and review. The final product would represent an official document to be used as substantiation either for or against a particular site and would become a permanent record.

MOTION: Sandra Cameron made a motion that the Library Siting document be accepted for official use by the Planning Committee and the Library Board for evaluating potential library sites. The motion was seconded by Helen Swisshelm and Linda Arnold. (Cameron/Swisshelm & Arnold)

Chairman Kay O'Rourke called for discussion. Joe pointed out that minor changes had been made and input from Charlie Prather in Real Estate had been included. He said the Real Estate Dept. is very happy with the document as is Mr. Keel. He suggested that staff from Architectural Services and Real Estate staff would be included in site tours.

The Library Siting document was approved 10-0.


a) Sunday Hours:
Marcee Challener was on hand to present a report on Sunday hours. Joe advised the Board to listen, make notes and come to the next meeting with suggestions regarding hours for New Tampa and the 78th St. Community Library. He suggested that changes to other branch hours could be done at the same time.

Marcee began by reviewing a map showing the spheres of influence of the branches with Sunday hours. She commented that the sphere of influence for each agency is a five mile radius. Brandon, John F. Germany Public Library, West Gate, New Tampa, Northwest, MOSI and Jan Platt Regional were included. Marcee pointed out that the inclusion of all weekend hours would change the map considerably as the influence of Ruskin, Plant City, Austin Davis, Thonotosassa would be also be illustrated.

Marcee distributed the following handouts:

1) Overview of Current Hours:
This document included all agencies excluding Plant City and Temple Terrace and summarized the total number of current open hours and the percent of evening and weekend hours for each agency. Marcee noted that six branches are open on Sunday (including New Tampa). Systemwide open hours totaled 59,568 hours annually. Marcee said the library also offers dial-up computer access 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This access includes THOR, VISTA, Suncoast Freenet and many other resources. Helen Swisshelm commented that she would feel better if Plant City and Temple Terrace were included as these libraries impact the spheres of influence for the rest of the County. Joe agreed and suggested that hours might be negotiated in future interlocal agreements.

Marcee pointed out that Sunday hours were added in 1994 to Brandon, Northwest and John F. Germany Public Librarywithout additional staffing. 1995 saw the addition of Sunday hours at West Gate as 7 part-time Library Assistants and 7 part-time Librarians were hired. MOSI also opened with Sunday hours. In 1996, Saturday hours were added at College Hill with no additional staffing. Evening hours at West Tampa and Ybor were analyzed and cut back due to low usage. These branches have no evening hours currently.

2) Excerpt from Standards for Florida Public Libraries: Vision for the 21st Century (Section 3: Access):
Marcee suggested that the Library Board members review this excerpt. She called attention to section 3.1 and 3.2 and said the Board would need to decide what kind of coverage each branch should offer (basic, full or comprehensive). She said she felt that evening and weekend hours at the regionals and large branches were adequate. Fewer evening and weekend hours were being offered offered by the medium and small branches, however. She stressed again the importance of deciding on service levels for all facilities and the Bookmobile.

Helen Swisshelm asked why West Tampa and Ybor are closed on Saturday. Marcee responded that the decision had been based on usage and staffing levels. Currently, these agencies focus on meeting the needs of after-school children. Joe pointed out that usage is very low for evenings and Saturdays at these agencies. Children step off the bus and use these libraries but few parents bring them in.

Arnold Kotler commented that he was not comfortable with this information. He wondered if something could be done to bring the parents in and suggested that the fault may be with the Library rather than the population. Marcee and Joe suggested that this was not the case. Rather, it proved to be a more valuable use of staff time to cut evening hours in these agencies and use the librarians elsewhere. Arnold said some hard questions should be asked about the possibility of stimulating usage in these branches. He argued that cutting hours could be very harmful in the long run. Marcee said there were several options for addressing this concern. She reiterated that the service of each branch needs to be tailored to the needs of the surrounding community.

3) Peer Comparison (Service Hours):
Marcee called attention to a study which compared THPL with other systems of comparable size. She said the State Library provided the information and noted that THPL is in line with other library systems as far as hours is concerned. She noted that Broward keeps its regionals open 78 hours per week because of partnering with community colleges. St. Pete stays open because of union issues and Miami Dade opens their John F. Germany Public Libraryon Sunday only during the school year. The same was true of Jacksonville Public which opens its regionals on Sundays during the school year. She said she found only one library open in the State of Florida on Friday evening (the John F. Germany Public Libraryof Orange County).

Sandra Cameron commented that it made sense to keep some branches open on Sunday during the school year only. She said that should be considered for THPL. Joe cautioned that this may not work because of the need to service community colleges and universities in Hillsborough County. Helen Swisshelm countered that libraries should not be viewed as something for children; she did not feel that hours should be coordinated with the school year for that reason. She said that philosophy does not take into consideration the community as a whole. Elizabeth Blue suggested that it might be a good alternative for smaller branches, however. She said she didn't see how the current budget would allow for the opening of every branch on Sundays.

4) Peer Comparison (Selected Factors):
The last handout compared THPL to it's peers in the areas of the number of outlets, square feet per capita, FTE's (full-time equivalents) per 1,000, materials budgets and several other factors. She noted that THPL is low in the areas of reference per capita and staff per population. Helen Swisshelm commented that the comparison was very valuable and would be useful for the Commissioners. Joe said THPL has improved greatly in the % of population with library cards. Helen said that the comparison indicated to her that we cannot afford Sunday hours because we do not have enough staff. She said the message is loud and clear in the comparison with other counties. Nancy Crippen asked if this is affecting circulation per capita. She noted that the circulation of THPL is low compared to other systems. Marcee said the figure on the comparison did not take into consideration recent statistics. She said she expected that number to climb back up because the book budget was very good last year and many new videos and cd's were added. She noted that other systems added those items long before THPL did.

Helen Swisshelm asked about the low reference per capita and asked how that statistic could be explained. Marcee said she didn't know and added that she needed to verify that reference questions are being tallied the same way in every system. She said the statistics from THPL reflect true reference questions whereas statistics in other systems may include operational/directional questions as well. She said she would verify that. Helen commented that the statistic was striking; one had to wonder if it was a reflection of staffing or something else. She said she felt that staffing needs to be increased. Marcee agreed and said everything stems from staffing.

Kay O'Rourke said she was impressed to see that a large area like Jacksonville has the same number of branches as THPL. Marcee agreed and said that THPL definitely excels in some areas. She said she would find out about areas where we seem to fall down. Joe said Jacksonville is the system most like our own. Kay asked how the service areas compare. Joe said Jacksonville's service area is larger.

Catherine Kelley asked Marcee to let the Board know about options for single parents who patronize Ybor and West Tampa. She pointed out that Saturday is the only day she can take her child to the library. Marcee said that was one reason why College Hill was opened on Saturdays. This had been accomplished by rotating staff from West Tampa and Ybor to cover the hours.

Marcee explained that West Tampa and Ybor don't get as much walk-in business as some of the other facilities; most of their circulation is due to booked school groups and daycares. She added that many things had been tried without success to bring in more people from the surrounding areas.

Gloria Abrams suggested that, if Ybor were opened on Saturday, there would be four times the number children coming in as compared with those dropped off during the week. She and Marcee agreed that the John F. Germany Public Libraryis not readily accessible. Gloria said that youth programs at Ybor have mushroomed. Marcee countered that the school next door has a new media specialist who has been bringing classes every week. Gloria added that the school children need reference materials for homework and would not be inclined to come to Main. She suggested that the branches need to be open as much as possible to assist with homework. Joe agreed but noted that most of the children frequent the Boys and Girls Club in Central Park rather than the library. Attendance at afternoon programs had plummeted when the Boys and Girls Club opened. He reiterated that he would not be opposed to trying new approaches to increase usage at Ybor and West Tampa but asked the Board to keep in mind other options for achieving this end.

Catherine Kelley asked again that options be explored. Marcee responded by saying that the next logical step would be the determination of the needs and demand in these areas so that resources can be used effectively. She said patron count charts are being used again to compile statistics. She said Dr. McCook's library science class will be doing surveys for the THPL system. Sunday hours information will be included. Marcee said the information should be back by late April or early May. She added that the Library's "How Are We Doing?" forms have not indicated a tremendous need for increased Sunday hours or Friday evening hours.

Marcee gave the floor to David Wullschleger to discuss resources available to the THPL. He reviewed costs associated with the opening of a medium-sized facility on Sunday. Both operational and staffing costs were considered. West Gate was used as a model.

Nancy Crippen asked what guard service was. David replied that the County has a contract with a security company to provide security guards at some facilities. Gloria Abrams asked who was responsible for hiring the guards. Joe the contractor hires them. He added that the Library has little say in the matter but is working to be included in an overall county guard contract. Staff follow up with complaints to the contractor if there are problems; however, this requires considerable paperwork. Elizabeth Blue asked if an unsatisfactory contractor would be prohibited from bidding the next year. Joe said contractors had been dropped in the past. Gloria Abrams asked if the Library could get out from under the County's umbrella. Joe said that would be very hard to do.

Marcee put it on the record that public service staff work very hard and are stretched very thin. She said schedules are very tight and said there are no "floaters" or substitutes if people call in sick. She noted that circulation, reference and programming have increased while staffing levels have not. The new training budget and the involvement of staff in the acquisitions process has also created coverage problems. Sandra Cameron asked if there would be any way to get substitutes to fill in at agencies on an as-needed basis (like the school system does). Marcee said she would love have floaters. Joe agreed and said this would be an economical approach. He said the market is available. Gloria Abrams asked about using volunteers. Joe said this has not worked in the past because volunteers usually have set schedules. They are not ordinarily available on a moment's notice.

Marcee said she wanted the Board to be aware of the new benefits package which mandates that employees use or lose accumulated vacation time. She said this could also have an impact on staffing. Under the new plan, employees are required to take at least 40 hours of vacation per year.

Concluding her report, Marcee asked for direction from the Library Board regarding levels of service in current and future sites. She said she had gotten recommendations from staff. No major changes had been suggested without additional staffing. She offered to come back with more information next month. Sandra Cameron asked if the staffing issue is related to the budget . Joe said "yes--very much so." Offering Sunday hours at Riverview, Lutz, Austin Davis and Ruskin would require more personnel. He said he would like to work with the Budget Committee and explore every possibility including part-time employees and volunteers. He said it would take a combination of solutions.

Marcee said it was very important for staff and the Library Board to agree on goals to be achieved at every location. Helen Swisshelm said it would be helpful to have a chart showing the history of Sunday hours (where we began and where we are now and what we plan to do). She said it would be good to be able to show sequentially where the Library has been. Rosa Goldsmith said that since the library is a service-delivery operation, levels of service need to be decided upon within the limits of budgetary constraints. She made a comparison to the medical profession where people can choose primary, secondary or tertiary care. She added that Library needs should be prioritized using obvious limits of the budget.


Letter from Phil Lange of Sun City Center:
Kay O'Rourke asked Joe to tell the Library Board about the letter from Mr. Lange to Commissioners Platt, Chillura and Berger. Joe said both Kay and he had received copies. Mr. Lange requested that the Library consider taking over the operation of the Sun City Center Library and moving it to a vacant Winn Dixie building. Joe said his response to Mr. Lange and to the Commissioners was that he would turn the matter over to the Library Board Chairman for referral to the Planning Committee.

Joe said south county needs to be looked at in its entirety. Partial funding for a south county regional should be available in the sixth year of the CIT. He suggested that Kay O'Rourke route the letter to the Planning Committee and let them begin working. He said Catherine Kelley had taken on the responsibility of working under Sandra Cameron's direction to address the matter. Kay O' Rourke said that copies of the letter had been distributed to the Planning Committee during their 3:00 meeting just prior to the Library Board meeting. She said she had been assured that the Planning Committee would discuss the issue and report back at the February meeting.


Janet Wilson and Westley Wolfe, residents of Sun City Center, were present to respond to Mr. Lange's letter. Janet Wilson said there is quite a difference of opinion among the citizens of Sun City Center regarding the library. She explained that Sun City Center is a private community. The elected Board of the Sun City Center Community Association has a fiduciary responsibility to protect privately owned, common-interest property which includes the library. She said that members of the association have provided the capital, the books, the building, etc. The library is completely private although it has been shared with others in the surrounding areas. Staff is hired by the Sun City Center Community Association. She said the library could not serve the needs of south county as it is geared toward senior citizens.

Ms. Wilson explained that the Sun City Center Library has enjoyed a good working relationship with the THPL for 35 years and that has been appreciated. She agreed that the current need is for a south county regional to serve the diverse population of south county. She added that most citizens in the Sun City Center area would not be interested in a large facility which would draw more traffic. She did not feel that the location suggested by Mr. Lange would be feasible. She suggested that the County focus on a general library for all citizens--and not take over the one currently used by Sun City Center seniors. She stressed that her Board asked that this be made clear. They also wanted it known that any deals would have to be made with the Board of the Sun City Center Community Association and not any single member of that Association. She said it would take a vote by the membership for that to happen and she did not anticipate that there would be much support.

Ms. Wilson went on to say that there would not be enough space on their property for a large community library; the Association would also want to keep its own facility. She could not foresee the facility becoming a satellite of the Hillsborough County system. Helen Swisshelm asked if they were a gated community. Ms. Wilson responded "no." Helen also asked if roads are dedicated. Ms. Wilson said that the roads are owned by the County but the property is private. She said the recreation facilities are more like a country club although they're shared as much as possible. In fact, the library is centrally located so that non-drivers can use golf carts to get there.

Nancy Crippen asked if children use the library. Ms. Wilson said "no--there are no children's books". She added that there are age limits in the community; children visit but don't live there. Helen Swisshelm asked if she understood correctly that, if the County builds a regional library in south county, Sun City Center would still want to keep their own library. Ms. Wilson said "yes--primarily because people need to be able to get there in their golf carts." Helen also asked where the library is located. Mr. Wolfe responded that it's located across from King's Point.

Elizabeth Blue said it was her understanding that there was nothing the County could do regarding Sun City because it is a privately owned library. Any tax dollars used to purchase books for the library, for example, would necessitate opening the library to all citizens. That appeared to be exactly what the Sun City Center Community Association does not want. Ms. Wilson said they have been able to access books owned by the THPL system. Joe added that THPL has worked hard to cooperate to the fullest extent possible. He said he would continue to build on that relationship. He said he also understood the desire of the Sun City Library to remain separate and asked for the support of the Sun City Center Community Association for a large regional in southern Hillsborough County. He said Library staff would be exploring many options to meet the diverse needs of this part of the County. He stressed the need for a task force with representation from communities in south county to study needs, build upon what is already there and plan for the future.

Ms. Wilson said future development also needs to be taken into consideration. She explained that land for 5,380 units is currently being rezoned for residential and commercial use on the corner of Hwy. 301 and 674 and another 3,800 units will be built west of Wimauma. Joe said Hillsborough Community College has received donated land south of Big Bend Road, on Hwy. 301. He suggested that a relationship with HCC could also be explored. Electronic access and books-by-mail programs would be other options. Ms. Wilson suggested that some of the developers should provide funding for libraries. Joe noted that library usage in south county is growing. Helen Swisshelm agreed and said it should be given a high priority.

Ms. Wilson and Mr. Woolfe thanked Joe for all his help with the Sun City Center Library. Both offered to help in any way they could with the planning of a south county regioinal. Kay O'Rourke thanked them both for coming.


Prize Winning Authors:
Returning to New Business for a moment, Helen Swisshelm asked about the Library's policy on acquiring the works of Nobel Prize winning authors. She said she had a friend who could not get the material she wanted and had to send to Chicago to get it. Joe said books are usually ordered once an award is given. He wondered if the author in question is relatively unknown. Helen said the author was a Polish poet. Joe said he would follow up on it.

October Library Board Meeting:
The location for this meeting remained undecided. Joe pointed out that Thonotosassa is closed on Thursdays.

Before adjourning the meeting the following committee meetings were scheduled by Sandra Cameron and Helen Swisshelm respectively:

Planning Committee: The next Planning Committee meeting will be on February 12, 1997, 1-3pm, John F. Germany Public Library.

Budget Committee: The next Budget Committee meeting is scheduled for February 10, 1997, 11:00a.m., John F. Germany Public Library.


The meeting was adjourned at 6:10pm

Next Library Board Meeting:
         Date: February 27, 1997
         Time: 4pm-6pm
         Location: Eastlake Library

                 - Unless notified otherwise

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