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 4:05pm


Secretary, Dora Reeder called the roll:

Library Board Members Present:
Linda Arnold, Sandra Cameron
Dora Reeder, Cathy Bartolotti
Helen Swisshelm
Kay O'Rourke, Josie Gracia
Elizabeth Blue, Fred Hearns
Library Board Excused:
William Scheuerle
Arnold Kotler

Library Board Absent:
Nancy Crippen

Library Staff Present:
Joe Stines, Director of Libraries
Janet Lorenzo, Chief Librarian

Suzy George, Facilities Officer
Jeannie Fletcher, Administrative Assistant

Special Guests:
Mike Kelly, Director of Real Estate
Susan Fernandez, Assistant County Attorney
Israel Grajales, Hillsborough County Public Works Dept.
Ann Marie Courtney, Hillsborough County Schools
Ana R. Garcia, Hillsborough County Public Works Dept.
Members of the Public:
David Foster, President, Tampa Heights Civic Association
Lena Young Green, Executive Aide to Senator Hargrett;
past President of the Tampa Heights Civic Association


As there were no corrections or additions, the minutes from the May 27, 1999 Library Board meeting were approved as written.


Tampa Heights Civic Association: David Foster, President of the Tampa Heights Civic Association, addressed the Library Board regarding library needs is the Tampa Heights area. He distributed a map and called attention to the Jefferson High School Building, one block north of Columbus Ave. He explained that Brewster Technical Center is going to have a satellite at the old high school location. The 88-year-old building will be restored at the School Board's expense. Mr. Foster said that residents of Tampa Heights have asked to become partners in the project so as to secure meeting room space and rooms in the facility. Brewster Tech. will use approximately 1/3-1/2 of the building; as it is very large, this leaves quite a bit of space for the community. He said he would like the Library Board to consider having a library presence in this building as it is very difficult for people to drive to the THPL branches currently in existence.

Mr. Foster went on to say that the Tampa Heights community has seven parks, four schools, 2600 people and 1500 homes. The population includes many elderly people and children who are largely ambulatory. For this reason, the community has been looking at ways for people to walk safely within the neighborhood to various points of interest. They are currently working with the City to link the schools and parks in the area through a pedestrian trail. If a library were available in the restored facility, this would be a great asset to the community and could be included on the pedestrian trail.

Mr. Foster continued by saying that the following organizations, besides his own, have shown an interest in the project:

  • Ridgewood River Neighborhood Association
  • Riverside Heights Civic Association
  • Tampa Heights Junior Civic Association
  • Metropolitan YMCA
  • History Museum for Tampa Heights
  • Jefferson High Alumni
  • Florida Diagnostic and Learning Resources Center
  • City of Tampa Recreation Department, Performing Arts
  • Graham and Robert E. Lee schools
  • Sacred Heart Academy
  • Villa Madonna
  • Tampa Preservation, Inc.
  • Rowe Architects, Inc.

Mr. Foster said that the City of Tampa Recreation Dept. would take up another 1/3 of the building for performing arts. The community would like the Library Board to consider using the old library in the school for a new Hillsborough County special needs library. The schools in the community have expressed an interest in any kind of extra help from the County. He pointed out that the room has hardwood floors and two fireplaces on the main floor. The ceilings are high and the room has several large windows. He concluded by asking the Library Board to offer suggestions regarding some sort of library presence in the Tampa Heights area.

The following questions were fielded:

Joe Stines:        "How large is the old library in the Jefferson H.S. building?"
David Foster:      "About 2500 sq. ft. and the book cases are still in the room.

Dora Reeder:       "Is that the school off Tampa St."
David Foster:      "Yes, it's over one block on Highland."

Dora Reeder:       "Would need a full or part-time librarian?"
David Foster:      "Yes, we'd need assistance."

Joe Stines:        "Is the total renovation funded by anyone at this point?"
David Foster:	   "The renovation is being funded by the School Board.  There is $7 million to rehab. the building.  Extra funds would be needed to convert the old library room into a new one."

Joe Stines:	   "We're probably talking about rent that will include the build-out cost to make the old library usable once again as a library?"
David Foster:	   "Yes, but we would also need assistance with materials.  Talking books would be especially helpful because we have so many who can't read."

Helen Swisshelm:   "David, do I understand you to say that there is $7 million from the School Board to rehab this building?  Is that for the part that Brewster will occupy or the entire building?"
David Foster:	   "It's for the entire building--including the room that was used as the library."

Helen Swisshelm:   "You would need computers and that sort of thing?"
David Foster:	   "Yes, and wiring, air-conditioning, etc."

Helen Swisshelm:   "What's the timetable on this?"
David Foster:	   "The part being used by Brewster Tech. will open in August with accommodations for 200 students."

Joe Stines:	   "Is it under construction now?"
David Foster:	   "No, but it soon will be.  The School Board is also buying property around the existing school for modular units and parking."

Joe Stines:	   "Are you asking for a library presence and an analysis of what would be best?"
David Foster:	   "Yes, that's essential."

Dora Reeder:	   "Would you expect the new library to open in August?"
David Foster:	   "No, this is a long-term project.  The building will not only be renovated but also restored to what it looked like originally.  That will require time and grant funding."

Joe Stines suggested that the Library Board might want to direct staff to work with David Foster and his group on an analysis of the community's needs. A report could be brought back to the Planning Committee for consideration.


Helen Swisshelm moved that needs of the Tampa Heights area be brought to the Planning Committee for additional study. Elizabeth Blue seconded the motion.

      - The motion passed 7-0.

David Foster introduced others who were present to support the project: Ann Marie Courtney, Hillsborough County Schools, Lena Young Green, Past-President of the Tampa Heights Civic Association and Executive Assistant to Senator Hargrett. Linda Arnold thanked them for coming.

Because Linda needed to leave, she asked Helen Swisshelm to chair the rest of the meeting. Helen said she would be glad to. She asked Mike Kelly to make his presentation. Mike Kelly, Hillsborough County Real Estate
Israel Grajales, Hillsborough County Works Dept.

Mike said the Real Estate Dept. would approach the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) to ask that they approve a series of recommendations to do the following:

  1. Approve a Library Gift Agreement with the Austin Davis Family-W.D Charities which states that WD Charities will spend $3,079,000 to construct and donate a completed library facility to Hillsborough County on land provided by Hillsborough County
  2. Approve a contract to purchase approximately 4.6 acres of vacant land from Jessie V. Wooley (on the south side of Bearss Ave., 1/2 mile east of Zambito Rd.)
  3. Approve a contract to purchase property on Smitter Rd. from Margaret Henderson for $228,000
  4. Execute a resolution designating the parcel on Bearss Ave. as the site for the Northwest Regional Library
  5. Approve a Budget Amendment from existing fund sources to purchase the site.
  6. Solicit input from the community concerning reuse options for the existing library on Premiere Drive.

Mike said the property on Smitter Rd. would provide secondary access to the library. It could also be used for additional parking and/or expansion. The County has agreed to install a light on Bearss Ave., if necessary, to provide for the safety of pedestrian traffic. The library itself would have the same footprint as the Jan Platt Regional Library but the exterior would be different. It would also feature a drive-thru window. Israel Grajales pointed out that a retention pond next to the site could be re-designed as a nature preserve to make a very nice, natural setting.

Mike said he would like the Library Board's approval of the site and facility as presented. Helen Swisshelm, called for discussion. Kay O'Rourke said the site is beautiful. She supported it wholeheartedly. Helen Swisshelm asked if the Northdale site would be used as a back-up. Mike Kelly said "yes." As there was no further discussion, Helen Swisshelm called for a motion.


Sandra Cameron moved that the Library Board approve the Bearss Ave. site and the Henderson property, as well as the site plan for a proposed new Northwest Regional Library, as presented by the Hillsborough County Real Estate Department. The motion was seconded by Elizabeth Blue.

      - The motion passed 7-0.



Cooperative Interlocal Agreement: Joe explained that a Cooperative Interlocal Agreement should soon replace the interlocals with Plant City and Temple Terrace. By forming a Hillsborough County Cooperative, made up of the Directors of the three libraries and the Chairmen of all three Library Boards, there be in excess of $100,000 in additional State Aid for systemwide needs. The Cooperative would not diminish the autonomy of its members. The agreement would be reviewed every five years so that changes can be made. Sandra Cameron agreed that it would be a good solution for all parties.

After reviewing a draft of the Cooperative Interlocal Agreement, Fred Hearns expressed concern about the enforcement of Hillsborough County's Equal Opportunity Clause, which is attached as Exhibit A. He wanted to know who would enforce the clause, who would submit quarterly reports and how complaints would be handled. He also expressed concern about the lack of Afro-American employees at Temple Terrace. He said the situation would not change without some sort of affirmative action. Fred asked that two things be done: 1) ask the County's Equal Opportunity Administrator to come to the Library Board with a plan to monitor this part of the Cooperative Agreement and 2) ask that person to report to the Library Board, at least once a year, regarding the status of this part of the agreement. Joe suggested that complaints could be brought to the attention of the Library Board as they occur. With that qualification, Fred said he would vote to support the agreement.


Sandra Cameron made a motion to accept the Hillsborough County Cooperative Agreement, upon review by the County Attorney's Office of Hillsborough County's Equal Opportunity Clause, and with the final sign-off of Sandra Cameron, Chairman of the Library Board and Planning Committee. Dora Reeder seconded the motion.
(Cameron/ Reeder)

      - The motion passed 7-0.


Two public hearings have been held on the budget that Mr. Kleman recommended to the Board of County Commissioners on June 2. Workshops on the Capital Improvement Program will be held the week of June 28th. Joe said he would attend. The Library has programs funded through 2008. No controversy regarding library issues is expected. On July 1st the Commission will discuss items that have been flagged during previous workshops. At Commissioner Platt's request, additional Sunday hours and the City's use of space in the John F. Germany Public LibraryWest Building may be discussed.

The following provisions have been included in Mr. Kleman's recommended budget:

  • 5% increase in the book budget
  • full funding for operating and staff for the Jan Platt Regional Library (28 positions)
  • full funding for operational costs of the Egypt Lake project; 2 1/2 Full-time Equivalent (FTE) positions
  • 2 positions for West Gate Regional Library

The following library requests were not included in Mr. Kleman's recommended budget:

  • Cash registers
  • Sunday hours for Ruskin Library
  • Custodial position

The Electronic Reference Center (Phase II) is scheduled for consideration for FY2001.

Josie Gracias asked why the Sunday hours for Ruskin were not funded. Joe responded that the BOCC approved the Library's requests in priority order. It was not high enough on the list to qualify in this round of funding.

There will be two more public hearings in September. Helen Swisshelm said that the Library Board would leave it up to Administration to represent the wishes of the Library Board.


Joe said there had been no change on this issue. David Barberie is reviewing a draft of a report to Commissioner Pat Frank. It will be up to Mr. Kleman to decide if he wants the issue to come back to the BOCC.

Helen Swisshelm asked if all of the Commissioners would be copied on the report. Joe said "yes." He added that Library staff members are still working on a plan to contact the parents of teens regarding filtering options.


John F. Germany Public LibrarySecurity Action Plan FY99-00: Joe said Suzy George had worked hard on a Security Plan for John F. Germany Public Library. All facilities now have handbooks containing emergency plans for various types of situations. John F. Germany Public Library's Security Action Plan will be implemented in two phases. Phase I will be completed prior to Oct. 1, 1999 and Phase II will be completed after October 1, 1999. Phase I includes an off-duty, armed policeman to patrol John F. Germany Public Libraryduring all hours of operation, the use of Certified Security guards to assist the police officer, and pagers for In-Charge Librarians so they can be informed of any security incidents. Phase II includes a card-access security system for the East and West Buildings, a monitored building security alarm system, an electric gate system for the parking garage and exploration of a video surveillance system.

Funding would come from the Maintenance Budget.

Brandon Incidents: The man who has allegedly been touching women at the Brandon Library has been caught. Four women were involved. The alleged offender is in police custody and has been trespassed. Joe said THPL would be doing some crime watch workshops for staff. Kay O'Rourke asked if the offender's picture was posted. Joe said that circulation staff members have a photo but it has not been posted for the public for fear of causing alarm.

Gates Labs: Labs at John F. Germany Public Libraryand Ybor are up and running and the lab at College Hill will be up soon. Seven other grants have been applied for in the second round of Gates funding: 78th St., Seminole Heights, Ruskin, Seffner/Mango, Port Tampa City, North Tampa and West Tampa. Bealsville and Wimauma Electronic Libraries have already qualified.

National Award: The Storytelling Festival has won a national award. Virginia Rivers, City of Tampa, and Prissy Lakus, Chief of Youth Services for the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library (THPL) will go to San Diego to accept it. It was suggested that a letter be sent from the Board to congratulate them.

City Cultural Arts District: Ron Rotella, from the Mayor's Office, met with Mr. Kleman regarding a proposed Cultural Arts District in Tampa. Joe said Mr. Rotella would be coming to tour the John F. Germany Public Libraryon 6/28. Joe reminded the Library Board of their October 22, 1998 motion asking the Planning Committee to begin working toward a new John F. Germany Public Library. He said he shared this with Mr. Rotella and pointed out that there is no funding for the project. A letter from Mr. Kleman to Mr. Rotella also indicated that there is no plan or funding to build a new John F. Germany Public Libraryat this time. The project is still in the Planning Committee and is listed on the Library's Unfunded Capital Improvement Program (CIP) list.

It remains uncertain what the City has in mind. Joe said he would share the Library Board's priority list with City officials. Several needs were ranked higher than a new John F. Germany Public Library: West Gate, North Tampa, Lutz, South County Regional and Southeast Regional all were ranked higher. Sandra Cameron pointed out that the Library Board voted not to re-locate John F. Germany Public Librarybut build a new one. Joe said Mr. Rotella would have to bring any proposals to the Library Board. He added that 900 N. Ashley is referred to twice in Florida Statute 84-443 as the location of the John F. Germany Public Library.


Nominations for Library Board Officers: Dora Reeder announced the following slate of officers for the FY99-2000.

  • Chairman: Sandra Cameron
  • Vice-Chairman: Fred Hearns
  • Secretary: Linda Arnold

She said all of the candidates had been contacted and consented to serve. Helen Swisshelm asked if there were any nominations from the floor. As there were none, she asked the Library Board to vote on this recommendation as a slate. The slate was approved unanimously (7-0).

78th St. Sign: Fred Hearns asked about the status of the sign for the 78th St. Community Library. Suzy George said Architectural Services encountered a problem with the location of the sign on the property. Due to a lack of space in the parking lot, the sign will need to be positioned parallel to Palm River Rd. The sign should be installed by the end of August.


Approval of Changes to the 1999 Meeting Schedule: Minor changes to the 1999 meeting schedule were approved unanimously.


Elizabeth Blue made a motion to approve the revised Library Board meeting schedule for 1999 which changes the date of the December meeting from the 2nd to the 9th. . The motion was seconded by Catherine Bartolotti.

      - The motion passed 7-0.

Invitation from Fred Hearns: Fred Hearns invited the Library Board to the ribbon cutting for the restored library building at 102 E. 7th Ave. in Tampa Heights. The event will take place Wednesday, July 7 at 3:00-5:00pm He said the building was built in 1917 and looks beautiful. The Mayor will cut the ribbon and citizens will be able to tour the facility which will now house four City departments.

Joe asked Fred if he thought the City would approve if the Friends of the Library framed a picture of the first librarian who served in that library. He said she worked there for 30 years. Fred thought that would be a good idea. Joe said he would approach the Friends.


The meeting was adjourned at 6:05pm

Next Library Board Meeting:
         Date: July 22, 1999
         Time: 4pm-6pm
         Location: John F. Germany Public Library

                 - Unless notified otherwise

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