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

Library Staff:
Joe Stines, Director
Marcee Challener, Asst. Director
Jeannie Fletcher, Administrative Assistant
David Wullschleger, Chief of Operations
Linda Gillon, Manager
Special Guests:
Phil Lange, Sun City Center


As all Library Board officers were absent, Helen Swisshelm agreed to chair the February 27, 1997 Library Board meeting. She called the meeting to order at 4:15pm


Helen Swisshelm called for corrections or comments regarding the January 23, 1997 minutes. Sandra Cameron asked about the County's move from DOS to the Windows environment (page 4). Joe explained that DOS and Windows are two different operating environments. The County's move is toward the latter. Sandra also requested the addition to the word "current" in the second paragraph of page 7.

Jeannie Fletcher noted that page 8 had been inadvertently omitted during copying and re-distributed copies of that page. Marcee Challener requested a change on page 8 regarding the service area of Jacksonville. All corrections were noted.

Helen Swisshelm suggested that the minutes be accepted on a temporary basis in the absence of a quorum to officially approve them. The January minutes will be re-distributed in the March mailing and will be approved along with the February minutes at the March Library Board meeting.


Helen Swisshelm welcomed Mr. Phil Lange from Sun City Center. She asked Mr. Lange to explain the purpose of his presentation. Mr. Lange said he had two purposes in addressing the Library Board: 1) to speak to the Board in support of comprehensive library services for Sun City Center which would be directed to senior citizens 2) to refute statements made by the Sun City Center Community Association in a letter to Chairman Kay O'Rourke.

Mr. Lange began by refuting the statement that the librarian at Sun City Center and a small group of supporters had attempted to incorporate the library without the knowledge of the Sun City Center Community Association. He said this was not true and added that the Library Committee minutes would show that the Community Association knew what was going on at all times. He stressed that the librarian there is a highly qualifed professional.

Mr. Lange continued by saying that there had been several resignations from the Sun City Center Community Association Board; in the interim, policies had changed. He said the incorporation issue only surfaced after Mr. Lange sent a letter to the BOCC suggesting that the Sun City Center Library be adopted by the County. He said the Sun City Center Community Association had become very paternalistic. Mr. Lange was given the draft minutes of the January 23, 1997 minutes for review and comment.

Mr. Lange pointed out that Sun City Center is a retirement community of approximately 18,000 senior citizens. He handed out a history of the Sun City Center Library and said that in 1963 the Library in Sun City Center got started when a Hillsborough County Library staff member worked with the local developer to set the library up. Mr. Lange said that for years Hillsborough County put in $1000 worth of books every year. He noted that members of the Sun City Center Community Association said that the library was paid for entirely by their organization. Mr. Lange pointed out that approximately $50,000 a year comes from contributions--not from the Sun City Center Community Association.

Mr. Lange distributed a copy of the letter he had written to the Board of County Commissioners suggesting that a vacant Winn Dixie store be considered as a possible Sun City Center Library site. He said the site is centrally located and accessible to all residents. He explained that many of the citizens in Sun City Center must use golf carts as a means of transportation; this site would be accessible to them. He also pointed out that the residents of Sun City Center offer approximately 20,000 hours a month in volunteer work. He said this volunteer force could be tapped for a Hillsborough County branch facility.

Mr. Lange distributed pictures of the Winn Dixie site and said he would be discussing the issue with the BOCC. He thanked Joe Stines for responding to his letter to the Commissioners and thanked the Library Board for hearing his presentation. Joe said Mr. Lange's letter had been officially assigned to the Library Board's Planning Committee for a response. Helen Swisshelm introduced Sandra Cameron, Chairman of the Planning Committee. Sandra said the issue was being discussed in her committee.

In conclusion, Mr. Lange said the citizens of Sun City Center would be taking a vote on whether or not they would like to have free library service. He pointed out that people who are not members of the Sun City Center Community Association cannot use the library without paying a $12 annual fee. Joe Stines asked if they are currently charging the fee. Mr. Lange responded "yes". Joe asked if Mr. Lange was aware that Kings Point residents are looking into a lawsuit against Sun City Center because of that fee. Joe explained that the Library received a call from an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Florida regarding the issue. Mr. Lange said he would not be surprised if the developer were involved.

Helen Swisshelm thanked Mr. Lange for coming. Pictures of the Winn Dixie site were given to Mr. Stines for inclusion in departmental files along with a copy of the minutes.


Planning Committee:

South County:
Sandra Cameron, Chairman of the Planning Committee, said that the first topic of discussion during the recent Planning Committee meeting had been a library for south county. She said the following options were considered: a) a regional at 301 and Big Bend Rd. b) a Wimauma Branch (possibly connected with the school) c) the expansion of Ruskin to a regional d) a Sun City Center twig with on-line access d) expansion of books-by-mail.

Sandra said she had received a letter from Jean M. De Mange proposing that a library be located on U.S. 41 in Apollo Beach. Sandra said this location is close to the site at 301 and Big Bend Rd. Sandra said Ms. De Mange had offered several reasons for locating a library in her area.

Sandra said the Planning proposed that a focus group be formed to study possibilities in South County. She said people from the areas of Ruskin, Sun City Center and Apollo Beach would need to be included. Other areas would be covered by library in the Greater Brandon area.

Joe Stines commented that he had just received Vince Pardo's schedule for the neighborhood meetings which are being conducted all over Hillsborough County. He announced the meeting in Apollo Beach scheduled for March 20, 7:00pm. and requested that a Library Board member attend with him if at all possible.

Helen Swisshelm suggested that it may not be a good idea for a Library Board member to attend the meeting in that area. She said she wouldn't want people to think the Library Board could make any kind of commitment to locate a library there before discussing the matter with the entire Board. Joe Stines and Sandra Cameron agreed and said the meeting would be for the purpose of gathering input. Joe said he would like to come out of the meeting with a list of citizens who might be willing to serve on a focus group.

He pointed out that while a 40,000-50,000 sq. ft. regional library has been partially funded in years five and six of the CIT (2001-2002), other options for south county also need to be explored as well. Helen Swisshelm agreed and pointed out that Apollo Beach is far from Sun City Center, for example. She agreed that many things would need to be taken into consideration because of the size of the area under consideration.

Arnold Kotler commented that people with personal, economic interests sometimes look for opportunities to serve their own narrow interests. He said he hoped the Library Board would certainly listen to citizen input but adhere to the siting criteria as established recently by the Library Board in their Library Siting Document. Joe agreed and said that siting criteria should be discussed with South County citizens early in the process.

Joe said he had been asked by the Planning Committee to work with Real Estate on preparing a list of possible South County library sites. He said he had done that and added that every available option will be explored. He said he had received a call from a citizen in Wimauma regarding land for sale; she had already been referred to Charlie Prather in Real Estate. He reiterated that Real Estate will look at all possibilities.

Sandra Cameron said she would work with Linda Arnold on the South County project. Helen Swisshelm asked again when the $500,000 would be available for a regional library in south county. Joe said a small amount will be available in 2001; however, the bulk of the funds will be available in 2002. He said the County could not possibly build a library until the year 2003 or 2004. Helen pointed out that there would be plenty of time for study and input.

Arnold Kotler asked for clarification on the location of the library. He said that, in five years time, there could be considerable economic pressure from self-serving interests. He asked what power the Library Board would have to deal with that pressure. Joe responded that the Board will have help from the Department of Real Estate. He said Real Estate had been given a copy of the Library Siting Criteria document prepared by the Library Board. It will be used in locating possible sites. This list of all possibilities (including free and donated land) will be sent to the Planning Committee. The Planning Committee, in turn, will bring their recommendations to the full Library Board. The Library Board's recommendation will then be forwarded to the Board of County Commissioners.

Arnold Kotler asked if the ultimate approval would rest with the Library Board. Joe said that the ultimate approval rests with the BOCC; however, he stressed that the Library Board's role in fact-finding and making a recommendation was extremely important and would not be considered lightly.

Arnold Kotler again stressed the need for strict adherence to siting criteria, calling attention to a situation in the City involving security for the Ice Palace. He asked if anyone had seen the article in the newspaper. He said he felt comfortable with the County's procedures but wanted to make his concerns known. Joe said he understood and pointed out that the Library Board is covered by Florida's Sunshine Law. He said, for example, that two Library Board members could not meet for lunch to discuss a recommendation before a vote. Adhering to the Sunshine rules would help curb any undue influence.

North Tampa/Lutz/West Gate:
Sandra Cameron said the second topic of discussion during the Planning Committee meeting was the North Tampa Branch. She said the County is already doing an analysis of the land to consider parking improvements; however, the lighting and landscaping issues need to be addressed. She said the Planning Committee would like to recommend that North Tampa, West Gate and Lutz be added to the Unfunded CIP for renovation and expansion because all three branches need work. Joe agreed and reminded the Board of the appeal made by North Tampa citizens at the September, 1996 meeting. He said he'd been told West Gate can be expanded; Lutz is being evaluated. Joe said his concern is timing; he didn't know how soon items had to be added to the Unfunded CIP. He said he needed more data on Lutz and West Gate; however, circulation stats show that they are well-used and have not been renovated in a long time.

Helen Swisshelm pointed out that the next Library Board meeting would be on March 27, 1997. She asked if there would be time for the Library Board to vote and make their recommendation. Joe responded that it should be enough time. She suggested that Library Board members be reminded that attendance at the March Library Board meeting is very important.

Egypt Lake Elementary School Partnership:
Sandra Cameron said that a third topic of discussion had been the partnership of Egypt Lake Elementary School and THPL. Joe explained that a letter was received from the Egypt Lake Elementary School in the fall of 1996. He said the school is in a fairly isolated pocket right on the City boundary line. He explained that he and Nancy Crippen, school officials and a School Board member met at the school to discuss partnership possibilities. They toured the school library which is located in a doublewide trailer. Joe said the school has the highest circulation of any other elementary school in Hillsborough County even though the library collection is very limited. Over 1,000 children walk to the school.

Helen Swisshelm asked for the address of the school. Marcee Challener responded that it's in the vicinity of Sligh on Lambright. Joe said the easiest route would be to turn onto Lambright from Dale Mabry (heading east it would be on the left).

Joe said there are several new apartments and condos in the area. They also have a brick building on the side of the campus which would be ideal to move the library into as it as good parking access. He said the building also has a walkway to the school; any security concerns could be handled with a gate to prevent people from going into the school at night.

Joe said Egypt Lake was proposing a pilot project for the summer; THPL would provide books, staffing and programming while the school would provide the facility. After a 3 month period, activity would be measured. Helen Swisshelm asked whether the library would be open to everyone. Joe said "yes". He added that the collection would consist of what is already there plus what THPL is willing to contribute. He said THPL materials could be loaned on a corporate card. Helen asked if the program would be only for youth. She asked if it would be useful for senior citizens, for example. Joe said the program would be geared toward youth; seniors would not find materials unless they were looking for materials for their grandchildren. Helen said she had been thinking about this issue in relation to Sun City Center as well. She asked if the Library can target particular groups or segments of the population. Joe said the building would be open to everyone; however, the library itself would be part of an outreach program.

Helen asked if she could return a book there. Joe responded that the facility would not be another public library per se. It would be a joint project for the youth of that area as a test to see what kind of interest there is. The facility would not be a full-service facility. Helen asked again if THPL could do this. Joe said "yes". He continued by saying that they would be faxing a proposal. However, it was his understanding that they would probably provide a staff member and THPL would do the same. In that way, the library could be kept open until early evening. He said this would provide an opportunity to see if parents will bring their children in as they have indicated they will. Several concerns had been raised about closing the library for three months out of the year especially when circulation and interest seems to be so high.

Helen Swisshelm asked if THPL would be setting a precedent. Dora agreed and said she could see every other school in Hillsborough wanting the same thing. Helen said it's already an issue at New Tampa. Dora said she could provide names of other schools. Joe reiterated that it would only be a test pilot program. Joe said the Library Board would have to authorize the program. He said he had the money in the personnel budget for temporary, summer staffing and there are plenty of materials available. He said the Library would not be able to help with things like shelving or computers but they hadn't expressed a desire for those items. The objective was to keep their library open year round and test the need in the area for public library service. This partnership would be an alternative to a bookmobile site and would offer flexibility of hours.

Helen Swisshelm asked if the school library would be accessible to the public. Joe said there is parking on two sides and a walkway between the library and school. He said children could come in with their friends. Helen said she felt that the program should be discussed with a full Library Board. Sandra Cameron suggested waiting until the formal proposal has been made. Joe said the proposal would go to the Planning Committee at their next meeting.

Greater Brandon Library:
Sandra Cameron pointed out that a large area near Boyette is being rapidly developed. Joe said three large areas (Fish Hawk, Fish Head and River Hills) are being developed. Sandra said the Planning Committee is starting to look at this part of the County. Joe said Linda Arnold had been doing quite a bit of work in this area also. He said the Library has already asked Real Estate to start looking for land.

Rosa Goldsmith asked if there would be enough room to double the size of the Riverview Library. Joe said there would probably not be but agreed that Riverview will soon be outgrown. He said a library in the Greater Brandon area might alleviate this problem as well as address overcrowding at Brandon Regional. He said parking at Riverview is becoming more and more of a problem. He offered to put Riverview on the Planning Committee agenda as another possible project. He said it would be wise to give emphasis to existing facilities.

Arnold Kotler asked about requiring developers to donate land as they have in New Tampa. He asked if any restriction of the Sunshine Law would prevent Library Board members from talking to County Commissioners about this. Joe said, "absolutely not." He added that the Department of Real Estate would research possibilities. Arnold said the Library Board had talked about it several months ago but the idea had not been acted upon. Joe said the Library had been pursuing the subject and the issue had been discussed in Planning Committee meetings.

Arnold also asked if it could be put in the record that the Library Board would like to have a response regarding the possibility of getting economic support from developers who would benefit from having a library in their subdivisions.

Rosa Goldsmith said she thought there already was a requirement that developers donate land for libraries and/or parks. Joe said this option had been explored in the area of Sterns Rd. County staff had looked at the property and it appeared to be unacceptable. Rosa remarked that the County can't tell the developers which piece of property to donate.

Joe suggested that the Library Board minutes record that the general consensus was that a status report be obtained from the Real Estate Department regarding any possible, free development land as soon as possible. Arnold said he would like to see money donated--not just land. He said he would like to know if this could be required. Helen Swisshelm said it would be like an impact fee. Rosa Goldsmith said that cooperation between Parks & Recreation and the school system should also be looked into.

Joe asked if it would be appropriate to ask someone from Planning & Growth Management to address the Library Board on this issue. Helen Swisshelm asked him to invite Gene Boles. Arnold Kotler requested that the following question be answered: "Should impact fees be levied on developers so that they can shoulder their portion of the development of an area." Joe asked if he should invite Gene Boles to the next Library Board meeting. Helen Swisshelm said she felt it would be better to invite him to the May or June meeting because the next agenda would be very full.

Helen Swisshelm asked if anyone took minutes at the Planning Committee meetings. Sandra Cameron said she took her own notes and then her report is recorded in the official Library Board minutes. Helen thanked Sandra for her report and said she knew the Planning Committee had been working very hard.

Budget Committee:
Helen Swisshelm began by asking Joe to review the dates for budget submissions. Joe said the kick- off would be at 10:00 a.m. on March 11. However, he said he didn't have any firm dates beyond that. He said the next Budget Committee meeting would be at 1:00 on 3/11 in the Library Board Room. Helen invited all Library Board members to attend. Joe speculated that he would have to turn in his information by April 17. He said that the Library Board would have to give their approval to the budget during the March 27, 1997 meeting. He said that would allow time for adjustments.

Helen Swisshelm asked if Joe would be presenting information to Mr. Kleman on March 11. Joe said "no--it was only the 'kick-off' when budget packets would be handed out. He said departments would be given figures to include when preparing the rest of the budget (e.g. pay raises, indirect costs, etc.). He said the departments would also be notified of any changes in procedure.

Helen asked when the budget would go the County Administrator. Joe said that each department Director would appear before Mr. Kleman to do a verbal budget presentation sometime between April 18 and early June. The budget should go to the BOCC sometime in June. Joe offered to make a time-line when he received more information. He also invited Library Board members to the Library's budget presentation (date to be determined).

Helen reported that Budget Checklists had been prepared for each facility in the THPL system. She said each Budget Committee member had reviewed one as sample and added that it was apparent that here were many maintenance items. She pointed out that those items were not really budget onsiderations but items needing immediate attention. Consequently, the Budget Committee had sked David Wullschleger to go through all of the Budget Checklists to weed out maintenance oncerns. Joe said he and staff would prepare a list of maintenance needs which are immediate. He dded it would be necessary to get more money in the maintenance line item in next year's budget.

Helen held up a spreadsheet showing statistics for each branch. She said it was eye-opening to see so many maintenance needs. She asked Joe to explain "rollover" funds in the maintenance line item. Joe said that rollover funds were monies brought forward from the last budget year which had already been designated for certain approved projects (e.g. the fountains, lighting projects, signs, etc.). He said there would be approximately $80,000 in the maintenance line item after current projects are paid for. He said that amount would not meet the annual needs already identified. David Wullschleger said the maintenance line item also included the ADA upgrade. Helen said she had been amazed that so much money is necessary for maintenance. She said the Budget Committee had spent a great deal of time discussing maintenance.

Joe said several projections would have to be made regarding the new facilities being built; more detailed information will be available at the next Budget Committee meeting. Helen said the equivalent of 2 1/2 libraries had to be factored into the budget (New Tampa, 78th Street and Port Tampa). She said a recommendation would be brought back to the Library Board on March 27. He said hard work remained to be done especially in the areas of personnel, security needs, etc. because these include new service rather than continuation.

Helen said the Library Board had never finalized the discussion of Sunday hours and expressed concern that this would have a significant impact on the budget. Joe suggested that Marcee Challener's report be presented at the next Budget Committee meeting (March 11, 1:00) since a quorum was not present. He invited all Library Board members to attend the if possible.

Arnold Kotler asked if materials on Sunday hours could be mailed out prior to the next Library Board meeting. Joe said that would be sent in the monthly mailout. He asked if the entire Library Board would consider coming in one hour earlier and devote the entire March meeting to the budget. It was agreed by general consensus that this should be suggested to Kay O'Rourke. Helen Swisshelm commented that parking should be kept in mind since many of the meters are for two hours only. Joe said that Library Board members could be reimbursed for parking if they turn in their receipts. Joe suggested that Library Board members park in the Poe Garage and walk through BST.


Joe announced that Bob Doran of the New Tampa Friends had arranged a meeting including himself, Library staff, and the principals of Hunter's Green Elementary School and Benito Middle School. The purpose was to discuss the possibility of using New Tampa Regional as support for the two schools; this would be done to relieve overcrowding. He said he would have more details after the meeting on March 4.


State Aid Check:
Joe said Senator Tom Lee visited to the Library to present a State Aid check for over $700,000. The Senator spent an hour at the Library and was very gracious and interested in libraries.

While there had been some problems with children in the fountains on Children's Gasparilla Day, no serious damage was done. He said the Library would be working on a code of conduct and would bring it before the Board for approval. Joe expressed concern that children playing in the fountains could be injured.

Main Landscaping:
The landscaping project for John F. Germany Public Libraryis underway. Joe said it would be done piece by piece under the direction of Gerri Slaton. He said it will look very nice when re-sodded and finished. Dora Reeder commented that people going by in cars miss the fountains because of the shrubbery. Joe said much of the tall shrubbery will be gone. He said there would be a new look by the March meeting. Joe added that the sign for the John F. Germany Public Libraryis in purchasing.

Please note that the next Library Board meeting will start one hour early and will be devoted entirely to the budget.


Helen Swisshelm asked for other New Business or Unfinished Business. As there was none, the meeting was adjourned at 6:05pm

Next Library Board Meeting:
         Date: March 27, 1997
         Time: 4pm-6pm
         Location: John F. Germany Public Library

                 - Unless notified otherwise

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