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 Linda Arnold called the meeting to order at 4:10pm


Secretary, Dora Reeder called the roll:

Library Board Members Present:
Linda Arnold, Dora Reeder
Catherine Bartolotti
Elizabeth Blue
Nancy Crippen
Sandra Cameron
Josephine Gracia
Library Board Excused:
Fred Hearns
Arnold Kotler
Kay O'Rourke
Helen Swisshelm

Library Board Absent:

Library Staff Present:
Joe Stines, Director of Libraries
Marcee Challener, Manager of Public Services
Janet Lorenzo, Chief of Community and Access

Ann Ross, Principal Librarian
Jeannie Fletcher, Administrative Assistant
Linda Gillon, Manager, Staff & Administrative Support

Special Guests:

Members of the Public:


Catherine Bartolotti requested corrections to the Planning Committee report on Carver City/Lincoln Gardens. The corrections were entered into the record and the minutes were approved as amended.



Sandra Cameron said neither the Planning Committee nor the Long-Range Planning Taskforce had met this month. The latter will meet when staff work on the Mission Statement and goals has been completed.

Bloomingdale YMCA Partnership: Sandra mentioned that there is a possibility of partnering with the new YMCA on Bloomingdale Avenue. The set-up would be similar to the electronic libraries in Bealsville, Bethune and Progress Village. Joe said he would be setting up a meeting with YMCA officials soon.

Carver City/Lincoln Gardens: Joe reported that he would seek a meeting with Joe Abrams, City of Tampa, to see about the possibility of partnering in a recreation center that is being planned for West Tampa. All options for service to this community will be explored.

Egypt Lake Project: Much has been accomplished with the grant so far. The new media center may be ready for occupation by April of 2000. The School Board has signed the Interlocal Agreement. A full summer program is planned and Prissy Lakus, Chief of Youth Services, is working on operating policies and procedures for the future. The project is included as a Desired Decision Unit within the library's FY2000 budget proposal.

Jan Platt Regional Library: The Jan Platt Library project has encountered delays. The firm hired to design the water runoff included the additional property owned by Mr. Touchton in the plan and this was not acceptable. October 15, 2000 is the revised target date for opening. Groundbreaking should take place in Fall, 1999. Bernardo Garcia, the Director of Public Works, is aware of the timeline and will monitor progress. He will inform staff if any further delays occur.

West Gate Regional Library: Joe said everything possible is being done to improve service. New reference desks and shelves have been installed. Joe added that new furniture for Seffner/Mango has also arrived.

Replacement Northwest Regional Library: WD Charities has given the County a deadline. The land for the replacement Northwest Regional Library must be identified and under contract by July 31, 1999 or the $3 million gift will be withdrawn. Joe said he felt sure the deadline could be met. Real Estate is negotiating to buy the land on Bearss Avenue; however, it will now cost $1 million or more. Joe said the Library already has $400,000 in grant funds and $400,000 from the Special Taxing District. Staff members have been looking for ways to come up with another $200,000 from CIP funds. This should not be a problem. The project will move quickly once the land has been purchased. Back-up sites will be explored as well.

Long-Range Planning Taskforce: Marcee said staff members met with Jane Sloan and continued to refine the Library's mission and goals. Both will soon be ready for further review by the citizen taskforce. She said the possibility of doing surveys is also being pursued. Patrice Koerper will ask Wal-Mart if staff volunteers can conduct them there during the busiest times on Fridays and Saturdays.

West Tampa Library: Joe said he and Mr. Keel met with Dan Kleman regarding West Tampa. Both Mr. Keel and Mr. Kleman understand citizen support for the expansion and renovation of the existing facility. Mr. Kleman instructed Management & Budget staff to assist Library Services in finding the money to purchase the extra lots now. Charlie Prather has been told to negotiate immediately for the two parcels behind the current library. This step is crucial to future accomplishment of this project.

Brandon Main Street Project: Joe said Brandon is starting the planning process for a Main Street area to be located between Hwy. 60 to the north, Parsons Ave. to the east, Brandon Town Center Mall to the west and Lumsden Ave. to the south. The Brandon Library is already located in this district. Joe said he would be attending future planning meetings. It has been suggested that the area could be served with trolley cars. This is a positive move toward addressing access problems within the service area.


Joe said he would be giving his budget presentation to Mr. Kleman on May 4, 1999, 6:30pm Library Services met with the Budget Department staff and things went well. Dan Klein was very complimentary about the Library's budget preparation.


Elizabeth Blue made the motion that Helen Swisshelm, Chairman of the Budget Committee, represent the Library Board at the Decision Unit Review with Dan Kleman on May 4, 1999. In her absence, Fred Hearns will be asked to attend. The motion was seconded by Dora Reeder.

      - The motion passed 7-0.


No Report.


Elizabeth reported that she, Mr. Keel, Mr. Barberie and Joe met with Commissioner Scott regarding the Library Board's proposed filtering option (Option 4) and he seemed to be in agreement. She said they also met with Mr. Kleman. Mr. Kleman expressed concern about the plan for ages 15-17. He seemed to feel that it would be better to use filtering for this age group unless the parents wanted open access for their child. Mr. Kleman also stressed that the Library would have to make plans to educate the citizens regarding the filtering categories. Elizabeth suggested that the schools or TECO could help with the distribution of a flyer. Signs would also be posted. Library staff members will draft a plan to address the need to communicate with parents of youth ages 15-17.

Elizabeth continued by saying that the team also met with Commissioners Platt and Norman. Commissioner Platt was in agreement with the plan; she recommended that the Library Board do a follow-up report to Mr. Kleman explaining the Library Board's position. Commissioner Norman, on the other hand, was not in agreement. He expressed opposition to allowing children under age 14 to have open access to the Internet, even with parental permission.

Commissioner Storm's conference was held by telephone on Thursday; she was in agreement with Commissioner Norman and would not support Option 4. She noted that librarians couldn't fully monitor computers due to the heavy traffic in most branches, e.g., Brandon Regional.

In conclusion, Elizabeth said that conferences with Commissioners Frank and Wacksman have yet to be held. It remains to be seen whether or not the issue will go back to the Board of County Commissioners. Elizabeth expressed her gratitude to Mr. Keel and Mr. Kleman for their support. She said Mr. Keel could not have been more supportive of the Library Board. Mr. Kleman asked her to relay his thanks to the Library Board for all the hard work they are doing on behalf of the Library. Elizabeth also commended the Library Board and said they had really done an outstanding job of dealing with a very difficult issue. She said the BOCC had been given enough facts and enough reasoning to make a decision.

Joe said Mr. Kleman had assigned him the task of developing a plan to inform the public, seeking input from parents and talking to the schools about how they are handling the Internet issue. It will be Mr. Kleman's decision whether or not to bring the issue back to the Board of County Commissioners.


No Report.


FY2000-2001 Budget: Joe called attention to a couple of line items in the monthly budget report. He said the amount spent for Electronic Services & Support was low (4.9%) because $584,000 is already encumbered. The amount spent for Software is also low YTD (7.9%) for the same reason. The Library has spent over $50,000 since the report came out and $275,000 more has been encumbered. He assured the Library Board that all of the monies budgeted for these items would be spent. Building Maintenance is another line item that is being watched closely. Every dime of the $304,514 budgeted for this item has been encumbered. He noted that it is a tight budget year.

Sandra Cameron asked about the Program Incentive Awards which has already exceeded the budgeted amount by 632%. Joe responded that this category is for plaques and certificates. The amount budgeted was only $100 and it has already exceeded that amount.

Circulation Statistics: Nancy Crippen expressed concern about the drop in North Tampa's circulation (-11.4%). Joe said the stats for the Bookmobile would be adjusted because the information was not being uploaded into the computer properly due to a malfunction with the laptop. He noted that Brandon's circulation probably dropped because Seffner/Mango is now open. Northwest Regional Library continues to have problems with its building and some people think it is still closed. West Gate grew so much last year that it seems to be leveling off. He said he would take a close look at North Tampa because it is down more than the others at this point in time. He added that the Dial-In Module is off by -5.7%; this indicates that fewer materials are being renewed. Ann Ross commented that the Dial-In Module has been down for approximately four weeks and is still not running. She said she would get an update from Al Carlson. Joe asked her to contact Jackie Zebos with that information.

Marcee Challener commented that circulation nationwide is dropping, especially for non-fiction. This is being attributed to the Internet. She said this was true of THPL; non-fiction is down while fiction is holding steady and the use of AV materials is increasing. She added that Thonotosassa's drop could also be attributed to usage at Seffner/Mango.

Joe said he was encouraged that THPL is down only -.6 of a percent for the year total. He said this would surely improve by the end of the year.


Security Guards: Linda Arnold pointed out that Fred Hearns had expressed concern, at the April Library Board meeting, about the quality of the guard service in the Library system. At that time, he asked that the Library Board study the issue and make a recommendation regarding what can be done. Joe agreed that security, in general, needs to be evaluated because the types of situations being dealt with by staff are getting more serious. He brought up the fact that the John F. Germany Public Librarywas robbed again recently. He said Suzy George has been working on plan and has identified sensitive areas. Lighting has been improved and the Library is doing everything it can to make its facilities safer; nevertheless, problems still persist.

Sandra Cameron suggested hiring off-duty policeman. Joe said it might be necessary for certain facilities like Main and Seminole. Marcee Challener said some public service staff members feel they would be better off without the guard service because they have to spend so much time supervising and training them. There is a very high turnover rate and some guards actually cause problems. One guard was caught propositioning a child, for example.

Linda Arnold suggested asking Fred Hearns to work with County staff on a plan to improve security at all library facilities.


Sandra Cameron made the motion that the Library Board work with Library staff and County officials to address concerns about security and improve overall security for the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library system. Elizabeth Blue seconded the motion.

      - The motion passed 7-0.

Catherine Bartolotti asked how much time remains on the current contract for security guards. Joe said he thought it was two years. Catherine suggested that the contract might be specked out differently in the future so that busier times are covered with off-duty policemen. Joe agreed. He said it would be a matter of working with Bill Studer, the Director of Public Safety, on better contract specifications.


New Hours Schedule: Marcee Challener asked for the Library Board's approval on a new schedule of hours for Seffner/Mango (SMB), Ybor (YBR) and College Hill (COL). She said staff wanted to take advantage of the success of SMB immediately and build upon it by opening on Tuesday mornings. She noted that there is higher traffic in the morning. Staff would like to add one evening to College Hill's schedule and open YBR 1-5pm on Friday and Saturday so that the Gates Lab can be utilized more fully.

Marcee explained that there would be a gain of two hours per week. The public service staff members are comfortable with the changes since they aren't major. They felt any significant increases in service hours would require additional staff. Marcee said the situation could be re-evaluated if the Decision Units for additional staff for West Gate and Sunday hours in Ruskin are approved. She said this would help increase circulation for SMB, COL and YBR in the meantime.

Joe agreed that this was a very creative way to be more responsive to these communities without adding additional staff.


Elizabeth Blue made the motion that the Library Board accept the new schedule of hours for Seffner/Mango, College Hill and Ybor City, as proposed by Library staff. Sandra Cameron and Catherine Bartolotti seconded the motion.
(Blue/Cameron & Bartolotti)

      - The motion passed 7-0.

Implementation is scheduled for May 1.

Policy Regarding the Use of County-Owned Property: In the aftermath of the Bar Association fundraiser at the John F. Germany Public Libraryand the Port Tampa City Library gala, Mike Kelly, Director of Real Estate, was given the task of developing a policy regarding the use of County-owned property. In both instances, representatives of these organizations had to petition the Board of County Commissioners for permission to serve alcoholic beverages. Joe said the new draft policy would make it very difficult for any group to use the Library's meeting rooms. Item #4, requiring that all users show proof of general liability coverage, would eliminate such groups as the Garden Club, Book Discussion groups, etc. as they would be required to pay more than $500 in liability coverage. Joe stressed that the Library has always provided free meeting rooms for unstructured or unorganized groups. This fact had been brought up to David Barberie, Assistant County Attorney for Library Services, and he said he would see to it that Item #4 is re-written. Nancy Crippen commented that no Friends of the Library groups could afford to meet if they had to pay $500 for insurance. All agreed.

Joe said the policy should go before the BOCC on May 19. He also noted that Item #2 is in conflict with the Library's policy because it pertains to for-profit organizations. The Library does not offer meeting room space to for-profits or organizations that discriminate. THPL is required to do this because of State Library requirements.

Cathy Bartolotti said the City sometimes charges for the use of its parks. Joe explained that one of the State Aid requirements is that the library be a free, public library. The only exception has been the photocopy machines; libraries are allowed to recover their costs on those. He said the State Library regards offering meeting rooms as a crucial service. He didn't see charging for the use of meeting rooms as a possibility.

Joe said the current Library policy has been in use for a long time. Except in rare cases when there is a private entrance and exit, Library staff members are required to be present in the building when meeting rooms are in use.


Dora Reeder made the motion that the draft policy, prepared by Real Estate, regarding the use of County-owned property, be approved on the condition that Items #2 and #4 be re-written so that the Library's current Meeting Room Use policy is not compromised. Sandra Cameron seconded the motion.

      - The motion passed 7-0.


The meeting was adjourned at 5:30pm

Next Library Board Meeting:
         Date: May 27, 1999
         Time: 4pm-6pm
         Location: John F. Germany Public Library

                 - Unless notified otherwise

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