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
Linda Arnold, Vice Chairman
Fred Hearns, Rosa Goldsmith,
Nancy Crippen, Dora Reeder
Helen Swisshelm, Sandra Cameron
Library Board Excused:
Arnold Kotler, Gloria Abrams
Catherine Kelley, Elizabeth Blue,

Library Board Absent:

Library Staff:
Joe Stines, Director
Marcee Challener, Assistant Director
Jeannie Fletcher, Administrative Assistant
Stephanie Haymond, Site Coordinator,
      Northwest Regional Library

Janet Lorenzo, Chief of Community & Access
Patrice Koerper, Public Relations Coordinator
Peggy Stapleton, Site Coordinator,
      Ruskin Branch Library

Special Guests:
Sherri Ackerman, Tampa Tribune
Don Harwig, Director, Facilities Maintenance


Chairman Kay O'Rourke called the meeting to order at 4:00pm


Dora Reeder conducted a formal roll call for the meeting:


Marcee Challener corrected a date on page 11. The change was noted and the minutes were approved as written.


As Don Harwig came prepared to report on the status of the Northwest Regional Library, Joe Stines suggested moving directly into the Planning Committee Report.


Planning Committee:

Northwest Regional Library:
Sandra Cameron said Mr. Harwig briefed the Planning Committee on the situation at Northwest during their January 15th meeting. They had been told that the building is basically sound; however, the mechanical systems are in dire need of repair. She explained that staff are recommending not only that the repairs be made but also that the building be expanded within the current footprint. This would maximize the facility and add approximately 1,000 square feet of space. She said the Planning Committee agreed with both recommendations but did not rule out the possibility of building another facility in the future. She pointed out that some areas in the northwest part of the county do not have adequate library service.

Helen Swisshelm asked what areas she was referring to. Joe Stines replied that there are unserved locations to the north and west of Northdale, extending to the county line, and in Carrollwood and south, including Egypt Lake.

Joe explained that an additional library would have to be added to the Library's Unfunded CIP list for future consideration as funding is not currently available. He added that the Real Estate Department is already looking for potential sites, however. One in particular (located on Lutz Lake-Fern Rd.) seems to be a good possibility; it is currently owned by the Water Department and would have to be purchased from them.

Sandra Cameron said the Facilities Department would take the following steps to stabilize Northwest:

  • 3 large de-humidifiers would be installed.
  • All remaining unsealed exterior openings would be sealed.
  • A device used to measure humidity, temperature and dew point would be installed.

Sandra assured the Board that these actions would be immediate. The de-humidifiers are on order and would be installed as soon as they arrive.

Other actions would be taken in phases as follows:

Phase I (Remediation/ expansion within the current footprint)

  • Remove the books, furniture and equipment from the building
  • Remove/replace the air-conditioning units, ductwork, ceiling tiles, and carpeting
  • Clean or replace light fixtures
  • Extend the second floor to encompass the entire building outline
  • Expand the building within the current footprint to add more than 1,000 sq. ft.
  • Remodel the front entryway and re-locate the stairs
  • Modify the grade of the ground around the structure
  • Use a consultant to calculate upgrades for the mechanical system so it will handle additional square footage.

Phase II (Expansion outside the current footprint)

  • Acquire land to the west of the current site
  • Build a 5,000 sq. ft., 2-level addition
  • Identify sites for another library in northwestern Hillsborough County
  • Add another facility to the Library's Unfunded CIP list

Phase III (Pursuit of a complementary regional or branch library)

  • Purchase land for a new facility to supplement Northwest
  • Build a new facility (either regional or branch depending upon whether or not the current facility is expanded to regional size)

Mr. Harwig said the Library Board would have to decide whether or not to re-locate the library during the repair work. He said the Real Estate Department is looking for rentals but cautioned that it could be costly to modify a rental space for library use.

In conclusion, Mr. Harwig said his goal was to make the facility as safe and stable as possible until renovation and construction work can start.

Helen Swisshelm asked how much the renovations would cost. Mr. Harwig estimated that the price tag could run as high at $1 million for the repairs, remodeling and re-location. He said he could not provide accurate numbers until the consultant does a cost analysis.

Sandra Cameron commented that the current facility is approximately 18,000 square feet. The internal expansion and secondary addition would add another 6,000 square feet, bringing the total to 24,000 sq. ft. She pointed out that Northwest would then be within the size-range of a regional library. She asked how soon Phase II of the project could start. Joe Stines responded that much would depend on funding.

Joe introduced Stephanie Haymond, Site Coordinator of the Northwest Regional Library, and invited the Library Board to ask questions. Kay O'Rourke asked how staff are being affected by the current situation. Stephanie responded that the employees are concerned but no one has called in sick or missed work because of the air quality problem. She said people can request transfers if they become sensitive.

Joe Stines said one employee with a history of allergies had been approached by administration and will be transferred to another branch. A pregnant employee has chosen to stay for the time being. He said Administration would stay in touch with staff and update them regularly.

Helen Swisshelm asked Stephanie if she agreed that the building should be expanded. Stephanie said "yes," and explained that circulation continues to increase. She said she felt expansion would be crucial in light of the continued growth in the area.

Helen Swisshelm commented that she was disturbed by the fact that so much money has already been spent to repair Northwest. She asked if the roof is still leaking. Joe Stines and Mr. Harwig assured her that the roof is in good condition.

The general consensus of the Library Board was that staff should proceed with Phase I and II of the project (i.e., do remedial work, expand within the current footprint, design an addition, and pursue the purchase of additional land to the west of the building). They also agreed that future consideration should be given to siting another library in the northwest part of the county to accommodate the growth in the area.

Eastlake Branch Library:
Sandra Cameron said that the Planning Committee recommends relocating the Eastlake Branch Library. She passed out copies of a user survey conducted by staff and asked Janet Lorenzo to review the results.

With 113 surveys completed Janet noted the following:

  • 31 people said the Temple Terrace Library is accessible to them.
  • 15 said they would use John F. Germany Public Libraryif Eastlake were to close.
  • Most people use the branch during the hours of 9 AM and 5 PM.
  • 74 people surveyed were not in favor of re-locating the branch.
  • Most customers use the library for leisure reading and reserves.

Janet said it was evident from the comments that Eastlake's patrons think very highly of the staff. Nevertheless, Eastlake's statistics continue to decline. Projections for January were -24% for check-outs, -64% for holds and -48% for registrations.

Sandra Cameron announced that the Planning Committee would take a driving tour on February 3rd to look at possible re-location sites. She invited other interested Board members to attend. She said sites in south county and southeast county would also be explored. Charlie Prather from Real Estate had been asked to conduct the tour.

Sandra went on to say that it would be very important for the Library Board to support the Director and/or County Administrator in closing Eastlake if security becomes a serious problem. Joe Stines explained that the restrooms are located in isolated corners of the mall. Most of the stores in the same wing of the mall are now closed. Hence, security is becoming more and more of a concern.

Helen Swisshelm asked when Temple Terrace would be re-opening. Joe said they would open their renovated facility in April. Marcee Challener pointed out that they are open currently in temporary quarters, however, so business is still being conducted.

Helen Swisshelm asked how Eastlake staff feel about the security issue. Janet Lorenzo remarked that they are not uncomfortable at the present time. She pointed out, however, that mall security would be cut back as more and more stores leave.

Helen Swisshelm questioned whether the Board should wait for an incident or be pro-active. Joe said it would be advisable for the Library Board to make a recommendation to the County at the next Board meeting. He said he would like to notify concerned Eastlake patrons and other District 3 Homeowners Association Presidents should they wish to attend.

Kay O'Rourke asked how the Library Board felt about making a decision regarding Eastlake. She pointed out that the subject had been on the agenda for many months. Helen Swisshelm said she didn't feel the Board should wait any longer to make a decision. Rosa Goldsmith pointed out that most of the people using Eastlake are Temple Terrace residents and would still have library service if the branch were closed or re-located. She made the comment that THPL is over-servicing some areas while not serving others at all.

Sandra Cameron asked if any more had been said about the plans for the mall. Joe Stines responded that he had not heard anything more. Real Estate is still trying to find out.

Sandra explained that the Cooperative Extension may have space for a library on their campus in Seffner. However, building a new facility would have to be a project for the future; a temporary solution needs to be found in the interim. Joe agreed and said that, while building on the Cooperative Extension's property might be a good partnering opportunity, the project would have to be added to the Library's Unfunded CIP list.

Helen Swisshelm asked Rosa Goldsmith to explain her earlier comments. She asked if Rosa felt that the citizens in District 3 are already being well served. Rosa replied that she favored re-locating Eastlake--not closing the branch entirely. However, she noted that College Hill is four miles to the west of the current location, 78th St. Community Library is five miles to the south, and Temple Terrace is 3 miles north. Three facilities within Eastlake's five-mile service area are already serving that part of District 3. Helen Swisshelm agreed and said she questioned whether it should be re-located at all. She asked if the County might not be "perpetuating what it already has."

Linda Arnold pointed out that the Seffner/Mango area (also in District 3) does not have adequate library service. She said that was why the area was being considered for the re-location of Eastlake's resources. She added that this location might also take some of the burden from Brandon.

Fred Hearns said he favored ownership rather than leasing. He said he could approve of leasing for a short time in order to build a facility but not for the long term. He suggested that renting raises false expectations in the community. He questioned whether the Board should consider going from one lease to another unless there is a plan to build.

Nancy Crippen agreed and said that service should not continue if people are being accommodated by other facilities nearby. Rosa pointed out that there is no service in the Seffner/Mango/Dover area. She said again that there is too much service near the current location but not enough in other parts of District 3.

Kay O'Rourke supported the idea of giving people enough time to come to the Board to express their opinions. Dora Reeder also recommended making a decision at the next Library Board meeting. Joe Stines commented that this would allow time for the Planning Committee to visit the Wal-Mart Plaza site.

The general consensus was that a decision regarding Eastlake should be made at the February 26, 1998 Library Board meeting.

Internet Use Subcommittee:

Joe Stines announced that Mr. Kleman would attend the next Library Board meeting to discuss the Internet issue. As requested by the Board, he distributed copies of a draft letter to the Editors of the Times and Tribune. He also handed out copies of an article regarding a court case against Loudoun County, Virginia. Joe pointed out that Loudoun County directed their library system to use filtering and is now being sued.

Kay O'Rourke asked Jeannie Fletcher to read the draft letter aloud. Several revisions were suggested. Joe said he would work on the changes and submit a second draft to the Board. It was suggested that it should go out before the next Library Board meeting.

Budget Committee:

Director's Salary:
Helen Swisshelm said she had received notice that the Director's salary had been adjusted, effective November 23, 1997. The salary was increased 10% and the pay grade was changed from level 26 to level 27. Joe thanked the Library Board for their efforts on his behalf and commended the Budget Committee on their hard work.

Joe Stines pointed out that the source of funding for Northwest's renovations remain in question. He noted that there is not enough in the Library's contingency fund and added that it might be necessary to look at CIT projects. He said he could not support using money from the .1 mill or book budget. The Library Board agreed. He said several options would need to be explored-- including drawing on the County's reserve fund.

Tax Watch Meeting:
Joe Stines called attention to a meeting with a consultant from Tax Watch on February 10, 1998, 2:00 PM. The Budget Committee expressed an interest in attending. He said the meeting would be held in the Library Board Room, John F. Germany Public Library.


Joe called attention to Ruskin's new sign and the Library Board agreed that it looks very attractive. He said the sign for Ybor has been permitted. It should be installed soon.

Port Tampa:
Charlie Prather is proceeding with plans to negotiate with the City of Tampa for the small piece of land in the front of the building. The renovations should be finished by mid to late February. Joe commented that the building looks beautiful.


Compliments to Ybor and Seminole Staff:
Fred Hearns thanked Ybor and Seminole Heights staff for their helpfulness and complimented them on the way they work with the public. He said the staff had been very accommodating when he needed to use their meeting rooms. He said he had also been very impressed with Eastlake's service and the helpfulness of the staff there.


The meeting was adjourned at 6:02pm

Next Library Board Meeting:
         Date: February 26, 1998
         Time: 4pm-6pm
         Location: John F. Germany Public Library, Auditorium

                 - Unless notified otherwise

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