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



Chairman Kay O'Rourke called the meeting to order at 4:10pm


Secretary Rosa Goldsmith conducted a formal roll call for the meeting:

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

Library Staff:
Joe Stines, Director
Jeannie Fletcher, Administrative Assistant
Judy Iglesias, Training Coordinator
Patti Leifer, Site Coordinator, THO

Jean Peters, Chief of Reference & Information
David Wullschleger, Chief of Operations
Linda Gillon, Manager, Staff & Administrative Support
Marilyn Mulla, Manager, Automated Systems & Services


Helen Swisshelm requested corrections on pages 1, 4 and 5. After these were recorded, Sandra Cameron made a motion that the minutes be accepted.


Sandra Cameron made a motion that the 9/25/97 Library Board Minutes be approved as corrected. Linda Arnold seconded. (Cameron/Arnold)

      - The motion passed 8-0.


Internet Use Subcommittee:

Sonja Garcia began her report by saying that the Internet Use Subcommittee felt ready to make a recommendation to the full Board regarding an Internet access management plan. As the use of privacy screens was part of that recommendation, she asked Jean Peters to demonstrate the models being considered.

Jean began by saying that privacy screens prevent others from viewing what is being seen by the user. She first accessed the THPL Home Page, which is the default screen for library customers, and explained that it offers information on the THPL system, Library Board, Friends of the Library etc. It also provides links to THOR ( the Library's on-line catalog), Desktop Reference, Launch Pad, NetTutor and Wonder Web. She said Launch Pad provides access to search engines and can be used for keyword searches. NetTutor offers three levels of tutorials on using the Internet. Desktop Reference can be used by those who wish to do research and Wonder Web is designed for children and their parents.

Sandra Cameron asked how librarians enforce time limits when patrons sign up to use the computers. Jean responded that customers are not asked to stop using the computers if no one else is waiting. Otherwise, those waiting tend to keep track of the time themselves.

Jean demonstrated two privacy screens, both of which were designed to fit over a computer monitor. She explained that the Library would like to provide one screen per reference desk so that use can be optional. She said staff didn't feel they should be attached to all machines for several reasons:

  • Wide use of screens could encourage improper viewing.
  • High cost: $130 per screen
  • Adverse effect upon those who are visually impaired.
  • Difficulty in assisting patrons with research (the librarian must stand directly behind the customer or he/she cannot see the screen being viewed by the customer).

Jean stressed that the Library draws attention to positive sites through its Home Page. Joe Stines agreed and noted that using the Library's computers to conduct personal business or to access chat rooms is prohibited, for example, as these activities do not support the Library's mission. Like Jean, he stressed that the THPL Home Page is designed to guide people to valuable and constructive web sites on the Internet.

After the demonstration, Sonja continued with her report. She said the committee had developed a plan for managing Internet access in the THPL system. The following ingredients are included:

  • The Library's Code of Conduct has been strengthened. (It has already been approved by the Library Board.)
  • An "Acceptable Use of Electronics" brochure has been prepared. It will be used as an educational tool for the public.
  • Library card numbers will be used to access the Internet.
  • All children under the age of 18 will be re-registered. Parents will be required to authorize Internet access for their children.
  • Privacy screens will be offered for optional use.
  • Staff and the Internet Use Committee will continue to explore new options and products as they become available.

She noted that all of the above would be accompanied by a comprehensive campaign to educate and inform library customers about the uses and abuses of the Internet.

She called attention to the "Acceptable Use of Electronics" brochure and said the Internet Use Subcommittee would like to request approval of this document. She noted the difference between two versions--one labeled "Fall 1997" and one labeled "Revised- Winter 1998." She explained that the first edition would be used immediately while the second would be distributed only after the 5th modification of the DYNIX Agreement is approved and library card access to the Internet is possible.

Sonja said the brochure had been reviewed by David Barberie, the Library's Assistant County Attorney. Mr. Barberie suggested using age 18 as the age limit for parental consent as this is the legal age of majority. He agreed that decisions about Internet access are the responsibility of the parent.

Catherine Kelly asked how the children would be re-registered. Joe said the Library would begin with children who are frequent computer users. Information would also be distributed via posters and flyers. Catherine suggested that re-registration could be a good public relations tool and Joe agreed. He said the Library would emphasize the positive aspects of the Internet. Sonja Garcia said the re-registration campaign would require a lot of work; however, the committee and staff felt that this was the most responsible way to protect children.

Catherine also asked if the Library would start to charge for e-mail accounts and Joe replied "no." He explained that Library's current e-mail accounts are provided through FreeNet at no charge. He said the Suncoast Freenet is not operated with County funds.

Sandra Cameron suggested that the Internet Use Subcommittee should become a standing committee since its work would need to continue. Joe agreed and said updates should be brought to the Library Board periodically in the form of quarterly or bi-annual reports.

Helen Swisshelm also agreed that it would be wise to have a committee of some sort but questioned whether it should be part of Policies & ByLaws or an ad hoc committee. Sonja Garcia favored keeping the committee as a subset of Policies & ByLaws and suggested that the matter be referred to the Policies & ByLaws Committee.


Sandra Cameron made a motion to refer the continuation of the Internet Use Subcommittee to the Policies & Bylaws Committee. Catherine Kelley seconded. (Cameron/Kelley)

      - The motion passed 8-0.

Sonja Garcia reviewed the "Acceptable Use of Electronics" brochure with the Library Board. After the document was discussed, she made a motion that the document be accepted as written.


Sonja Garcia made a motion that the Library Board approve the Internet use policy as stated in the "Acceptable Use of Electronic Resources" brochure. Helen Swisshelm seconded the motion. (Garcia/Swisshelm)

      - The motion passed 8-0.

Sonja asked Joe to keep the Library Board advised of any further incidents regarding the Internet. Joe responded that he would. He added that the new policy would be formatted for the Policies and Procedures Manual and then be forwarded to the County Administrator for approval.

Sonja commended staff on their hard work and thanked them for what they had done to assist the Internet Use Subcommittee.

Planning Committee:

Brandon Parking: Kay O'Rourke explained that she had this item added to the agenda to obtain feedback from the last Library Board meeting. She asked if anyone had trouble parking or had used the off-site parking area at the Brandon Regional Library. Nancy Crippen said she drove back into the area but would never want to park her car there. She added that she wouldn't want to cross a busy street like Vonderburg Drive with children either. She said she would find another library instead.

Joe asked if the distance bothered her. Nancy replied that she objected to the distance, the isolation of the area and the traffic on Vonderburg Drive. She said the trees would almost have to be taken out. Joe replied that removing the trees would not be an option.

Joe said he had talked to Ed Radice, Director of Parks & Recreation, and the latter was looking into various options. Sandra Cameron commented that, even if modifications were made, she wouldn't want to park there by herself. She said using a security guard and golf card was the only feasible idea she could think of.

Helen Swisshelm asked if the area had lighting. Joe said additional lighting was part of the proposal being drawn up by the Parks & Recreation Department.

Joe asked if the Library Board would like to see any proposals before any work is done. The general consensus was "yes." The Library Board agreed that it could be a considerable waste of money to do anything more with the off-site parking.

Nancy Crippen asked if an arrangement could be made with the health clinic across the street. Joe said this avenue had been explored and it did not seem to be an option.

Helen Swisshelm said all of these proposals had been already been discussed. She suggested that the off-site parking was a desperation measure that isn't working. She said she couldn't support spending a large sum on further improvements to the off-site parking area.

Sandra Cameron responded that the Board should be patient as plans are being formulated for a new Southeast County Regional Library in the area of Bloomingdale and another branch in the Seffner area. She said these facilities would take some of the load from Brandon.

Linda Arnold commented that it would be interesting to see how parking would be handled at an upcoming Halloween event. She said over 600 children and 300 parents were expected. She said parking would be the biggest problem there that day. She said she would report to the Board.

Helen Swisshelm asked if schools ever bus children in for visits to the library. Joe said "no--not unless there is a special program." He added that they do come to Center Place, however. She asked where the buses park. Joe responded that they move off-site and park away from the Library.

Kay O'Rourke suggested using an off-site, well-lit parking lot, accessible via shuttle. Joe said the idea had been suggested but no one had been able to find a lot.

Linda Arnold reported that the question of using valet parking had been placed before the Center Place Board. They responded that insurance is unaffordable and the salaries commanded by valets are very high. Valet parking is not being used by Center Place for that reason. Helen Swisshelm commented that valet parking is not compatible with the idea of a "free" library. This option did not seem feasbile.

Eastlake Branch Library: Sandra Cameron said the Planning Committee had been working on a work plan to evaluate the Eastlake Branch Library. Three main questions will be addressed:

  • Is Eastlake a duplication of public service? If so, is action needed?
  • How can Eastlake's current resources be best utilized?
  • If the decision is made to re-locate Eastlake, how should resources be re-allocated?

She said Eastlake's lease will expire in June of 1998. Because time is of the essence, the Planning Committee has planned several meetings in the near future to deal with the issue.

West Tampa Project: Joe Stines reported that he had been invited to attend a meeting with the Urban League and representatives of the architectural firm chosen to renovate the Centro Espaņol de West Tampa building. He said he was surprised to learn that there would not be enough space in the building for a 7,000 sq. ft. library but added that he would still like to explore partnering opportunities with the Urban League. He noted that the Urban League and THPL share common interests in the areas of career development, services for youth and literacy.

A request by citizens of Carver City and Lincoln Gardens for a library in their area will also be considered as part of the re-evaluation of West Tampa. Joe said the renovation of the Centro Espaņol building would take about a year. This gives the Planning Committee time to explore the options.

Jan Platt Meeting Room: Joe said the County closed on the property for this facility on October 15 as planned. The land appraised at $1.2 million; however, Mr. Touchton sold it for approximately $700,000. Mr. Touchton has asked that consideration be given to naming the meeting room after his wife's parents. Joe explained that the land had been in Mrs. Touchton's family for many years.

Joe explained that approval could be granted by the County Administrator on the recommendation of the Library Board. He said he would bring a proposal to the Library Board at a future meeting. The Library Board was very receptive to the idea.

Budget Committee:

Helen Swisshelm announced that Fred Hearns, the newest member of the Budget Committee, would assist with the issue of the Library Director's salary. She asked Joe if there had been any new developments since the last Library Board meeting. Joe said he had nothing new to report. He said Mr. Keel would work with Sharon Wall, the Director of Human Resources, to see that her recommendations are acted upon.

Helen Swisshelm asked if the Library Board should take any further action at this time. The general consensus was that nothing more should be done until after the County Administrator takes action. Helen agreed that this would be protocol and said she would not want to jeopardize what is being offered.

Public Art:

Port Tampa - Helen Swisshelm said there had been no developments since the last Library Board meeting.

78th Street Community Library - The artwork was installed at 78th Street early in October.


Signs for Ruskin and Peninsular have been installed and others will be completed in the following order: West Gate, Lutz, Thonotosassa, Seminole Heights, and College Hill. Joe reported that Ybor would be last as special approval had to be obtained. Gloria Abrams asked about the specifications for the latter. Joe replied that Ybor's sign will be supported by brick columns so as to fit in with the historical flavor of the area.

Gloria Abrams also asked if trees could be trimmed to make the sign more visible. She commented that the landscaping, outdoor lighting and trash problems at Ybor also need to be addressed. She expressed concern that Literacy volunteers are reluctant to come to there to tutor people. Joe said he would look into the situation. He said adding more lights would help. He also offered to speak to the police about patrolling the area more heavily.

Northwest Regional Library:
Joe reported that the Northwest Regional Library is in very bad condition. A recent environmental study indicates that the building has many problems which need to be addressed in the near future. Closing the facility for a month or two may be a necessity.

Joe explained that approximately 20 steps need to be gone through in order to make the building sound. The following were mentioned: 1) replace the air-conditioning system 2) remove mold and mildew from books 3) repair roof leaks 4) clean or replace carpets 5) clean lighting fixtures.

Joe said costs could range upwards of $300,000. He noted that the air-conditioning vents are not carrying the air as they should be. Hot, humid air is also entering the building through the overhangs in the front and back. The ceilings in these areas need to be sealed. Gloria Abrams asked if the $300,000 figure included a new air conditioner. Joe replied it would cover a new air-conditioner, vents and duct work.

Joe said he didn't know when the facility would be closed. He expressed concerns about the health implications and said he was sure the project couldn't be put off. He suggested a December closing since March is the busiest month for students.

Nancy asked what it would cost to tear the building down and build a new facility. Joe said it would cost approximately $2.5 million.

Helen Swisshelm said she was very distressed to hear about Northwest. She said the citizens would be up in arms about closing the building. She expressed concern about the fact that $400,000 was spent on the building 2-3 years ago.

Kay O'Rourke asked if Northwest staff are affected by working there. Joe responded that he was sure they are affected in some way. He said that, while the facility had not been officially labeled a "sick building", it had the potential of becoming one.

Linda Arnold asked if re-locating Northwest to another building temporarily would be feasible. Joe replied that it might be possible to offer some services in a storefront while it is closed. He expressed concern that there might not be a structure large enough to allow re-locating the entire facility, however.

Helen Swisshelm asked if a new Northwest Library should be added to the CIT. Joe replied that the County would find it difficult to do so unless there was solid evidence that the current building constitutes a health hazard.

Gloria Abrams expressed concern about spending so much money on a building that is inadequate in size anyway. She suggested that the property next door might be available for purchase. Joe said the County had looked into it but the land was not available. Gloria said it would be worthwhile to see if that had changed.

Joe said he would keep the Library Board advised of the cost estimates.

Other Facilities Issues:
Thonotosassa and Seminole Heights are experiencing problems as well. He noted that the humidity and air flow are not being handled by the air-conditioner at the former. Sandra Cameron suggested adding de-humidifiers to the existing system. Gloria Abrams suggested taking some of the trees down. Joe said that would be an environmental question and added that patrons liked the trees. He said he would be surprised if the trees could come out.

Statistics (Good News!):
Joe provided an addendum to the statistics provided in the monthly mailing. He commented that Reference statistics had gone up and attributed the jump to electronic reference. The Library will be doing a complete analysis in this area soon.

Meeting Date for next Library Board meeting: The Library Board agreed to have the next meeting on December 4, 1997, 4-6 pm, at the John F. Germany Public Library.


The meeting was adjourned at 6:35pm

Next Library Board Meeting:
         Date: December 4, 1997
         Time: 4pm-6pm
         Location: John F. Germany Public Library

                 - Unless notified otherwise

Hillsborough County Comments | Contact Us | THPL.org | HCPLC.org
© Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System
Member: Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative

Site established: March 15, 1995  |  Page revised: June 30, 2014