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 4:00pm


Board 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, Dora Reeder
Rosa Goldsmith, Catherine Kelley
Helen Swisshelm, Fred Hearns
Library Board Members Absent:
Arnold Kotler, Elizabeth Blue
Sonja Garcia, liaison

Library Staff:
Joe Stines, Director
Jeannie Fletcher, Administrative Assistant
Suzy George, Facilities Officer


Corrections were noted on pages 1,2,4 and 7. They were recorded and a re-distribution will be made.

MOTION: Linda Arnold made a motion to accept the August 28, 1997 minutes as corrected. Dora Reeder seconded. (Arnold/Reeder)

      - The motion passed unanimously.


Planning Committee:

As the Planning Committee had not met in September, Sandra Cameron asked staff if they had anything to report. Joe commented that, while the Internet Use Subcommittee would finish its business in the near future, the Planning Committee continues to add to their list of projects. He said careful consideration of Eastlake would be important in the coming year. Concerns about Eastlake were raised by Barbara Merrick at the 9/24 Public Hearing. Joe said Commissioner Berger asked him to write a letter to Ms. Merrick explaining the Library Board's evaluation process. He said he would also invite her to attend a Planning Committee Meeting.

Joe passed out information on the community meetings that will be held throughout the County this fall for the purpose of gathering input on capital improvement projects for future CIT funding. He called attention to the first meeting on October 15. He encouraged the Library Board members to attend and suggested that they also invite other citizens with library concerns to be present. He stressed the importance of showing support for library needs whenever possible. Sandra Cameron agreed and commented that the community meetings are producing results. She said input from citizens is being given serious consideration.

Helen Swisshelm asked which meeting would be closest to the Lutz area and Joe suggested either Citrus Park or Hillsborough. Gloria Abrams asked if it would be appropriate to discuss construction projects and Joe said "yes". He reminded the Library Board of the unmet needs list which they prepared and approved last spring. He offered to mail them copies of the Library's current Unfunded CIP.

Helen Swisshelm asked what the BOCC approved for the employees in the adopted FY98 budget. Joe responded that they approved an average 5% merit increase and raised the floors and ceilings by an average 6%. No cost of living increase was approved.

Helen Swisshelm asked if Commissioner Berger was aware of the change in Eastlake's hours when she directed that a letter be sent to Barbara Merrick. Joe said he didn't think so. He said he would explain to Ms. Merrick 1) that the hours have been cut back slightly 2) that the lease is up in June 3) that the Planning Committee is studying the issue 4) that Ms. Merrick is welcome to attend Planning Committee meetings. Catherine Kelley also offered to help explain the Library Board's position to her.

Joe said there are several serious concerns regarding Eastlake. Security and the high cost of doing business are primary. He pointed out that circulation is steadily decreasing and will continue to do so as the mall becomes a 9-5 operation. Sandra Cameron asked if Eastlake continues to decline now that College Hill and 78th Street are open. Joe said "yes." He added that, if the branch were to close, the majority of patrons would go to Temple Terrace, College Hill and 78th Street.

Dora Reeder asked if Eastlake's hours would need to be adjusted to the mall's schedule if it becomes a 9-5 operation. Joe said "definitely" and added that it would not be safe to do anything else. Dora agreed that this would help with the security issue.

Rosa said she would like to make some comments since she had been the most vocal Library Board member concerning Eastlake. She said, first of all, that she wasn't necessarily in favor of seeing any library close. However, she said she was in favor of spending tax dollars wisely so that the largest number of people are served for the least amount of money. She noted that the cost of serving patrons at Eastlake is very high while some people in the county are not being served at all. Regardless of the history, she said that was a major concern for her.

Linda Arnold commented that the effort would be to re-locate Eastlake in the same district (District 3)---not just close it. Rosa Goldsmith agreed. Joe pointed out that Eastlake is 2 1/2 miles from College Hill and 2 1/2 miles from Temple Terrace while Egypt Lake is five miles from any library and Wimauma has little to no service at all. He said all of these factors would need to be weighed.

Joe said staff would assist Sandra Cameron with an action timeline for the Planning Committee. He invited all Library Board members to attend future Planning meetings as these issues are dealt with.

Budget Committee:

Helen Swisshelm devoted the Budget Committee report to a discussion of the Library Director's salary. She explained that this issue comes up every year as budget decisions are made and yet very little has been done to address the matter. Helen said she called Commissioner Platt and asked for her advice. Jan Platt explained that the County Administrator is responsible for establishing the Library Director's salary. After speaking to Helen, she promptly sent a memo to Mr. Kleman. The memo was received as an Administrative Referral and was responded to by Sharon Wall, Hillsborough County's new Director of Human Resources.

Helen said she attended the budget public hearing as a private citizen and expressed her concerns about the Library Director's salary. She requested that the County Administrator be authorized to review it and bring to the BOCC a recommendation for a substantial increase. In doing so she, pointed out that the Library Director of Hillsborough County oversees a John F. Germany Public Libraryand 19 branches, 327 employees and a budget of over $16 million. She also noted that, in his six years as Director, he has overseen the construction of five new libraries with another regional library and the renovation of the Port Tampa Commerce Bank Building currently in progress. Helen asked that the County Administrator take into consideration the salary of the Temple Terrace librarian who has one library serving a population of 17,000.

Helen continued by saying that she gave the Commissioners statistics on other library systems and Directors' salaries in Florida. She said the Library Board would agree that Joe Stines does a wonderful job and should be compensated accordingly.

Helen said she had received an answer from the County Administrator's Office. She distributed copies and read Sharon Wall's response, noting her conclusion that "Mr. Stines is not paid competitively or fairly." Ms. Wall recommended 1) that the Library Director's salary be adjusted to the midpoint of his range immediately and 2) that this amount should be the basis of his annual merit increase due in October. She stated that this adjustment would make his salary comparable to that of the public library Directors in Pinellas County. Helen said she objected strongly to the analogy, saying that Hillsborough County and Pinellas County are not comparable systems. She went on to say that the salary paid by Hillsborough County, with a population of 854,000, is comparable to that being paid by a county with a population of 217,000.

Helen recommended the following 1) that the County be allowed to proceed with Sharon Wall's recommendation so as not to jeopardize the increase they are offering 2) that the Library Board recommend that Human Resources reclassify the Library Director's position to pay grade 27 or 28. She asked where such a recommendation should be directed. It was agreed that it should be referred to the County Administrator.

Helen stressed that this action is as important for the position itself as it is for any one individual. She said she would like to emphasize this. Sandra Cameron agreed and said Hillsborough County needs to be competitive. Gloria Abrams commented the position should require more compensation considering the size of the THPL system.

Helen said Sharon Wall would send her the questionnaire that is used to justify reclassifications. It was decided that the following would also be very useful inclusions: 1) letters of support from Barratt Wilkins, the State Librarian, and Dr. McCook, USF Professor 2) a letter from the Library Board signed by the Chairman 3) a comparison of the current job description with that of five years ago 4) a list of salaries for Directors of systems with comparable budgets, numbers of employees and years of overall library experience. Fred Hearns said the latter, more than any library system comparison, would move the County Administrator to make the change.

The consensus was that the Budget Committee should come back in October prepared to make a motion to direct the County Administrator to seek reclassification of the Library Director's position. Kay O'Rourke commended Helen for her efforts and said the action needed to be taken.

Internet Use Subcommittee:

In the absence of Sonja Garcia, Rosa Goldsmith gave the Internet Use Committee report. She said the group met on Sept. 19 and would have one more meeting in October. The committee reviewed what they had already done and concluded that the Assistant County Attorney for Library Services would need to review the "Acceptable Use of Electronic Resources" brochure and the revised Code of Conduct before a final recommendation is brought to the Library Board. She will also need to rule on the legal age of a "child" for the purpose of requiring parental authorization for Internet access. Rosa said a recommendation would be brought to the full Board in October.

Helen Swisshelm asked what people do when they try to "alter" machines. Rosa responded that they try to download a file, change the icons, tamper with software programs, etc. Joe added that they cannot easily alter the main DYNIX system--only individual pc's, etc.

Joe said Sonja Garcia, Susan Oliver and he had been invited to participate in a panel discussion during the upcoming Director's Conference in Tallahassee. He said they would discuss the process used by THPL in developing a plan for the management of electronic resources. Gloria Abrams asked if most library systems are leaning toward management rather than filtering. Joe said the systems that have used a thoughtful approach seem to be leaning toward management.

Gloria asked if the filtering is working in some areas. Joe responded that it appears filtering works approximately 90% of the time; however, legitimate research information is screened out as well. Rosa commented that the ACLU has suggested suing some library systems for using filters--Orange County being one of them.

Rosa concluded by saying that a demonstration of privacy screens would be planned for the next Library Board meeting. Joe said that, unless there is a lot of other business for the next meeting, the main focus should be on the recommendations of the Internet Use Subcommittee. He said he would like the Board members to have hands-on experience with the computers.


Joe said he had only a few updates to add to his written Director's Report.

Lightning Protection:
Staff continue to work on lightning protection in many of the branches. An analysis has shown that most of the damage comes in through the phone and data lines rather than the power source. Joe said an inexpensive, new device would be tried at New Tampa. He said he would also ask that all future roofs have built-in lightning protection.

State Library's Long-Range Planning Workshop:
Joe said he had attended the 9/25/97 workshop at New Tampa and commented that it was interesting to learn how federal monies will be funneled through the State Library. He said there would be many grant opportunities especially in the area of technology. He added that there may also be possibilities for family literacy grants. Gloria asked if the grants would be for programming or buildings. Joe responded that they would be for programs and services.

He explained that the State Library has reorganized to handle both federal (LSTA) and new state money. He said Mr. Bob Gorin is the consultant assigned to THPL.

Library Board Orientation:
Joe said he was sorry to miss the orientation for Library Board members and hoped everyone enjoyed THPL's Home Page. Catherine Kelley said the presentation was excellent and complimented Jason Biggers for his fine work on the web page. She asked if the Library Board would like to recognize him for his efforts.

MOTION: Catherine Kelley made a motion that the Library Board commend Jason Biggers for his work on the THPL Home Page. Helen Swisshelm seconded the motion. (Kelley/Swisshelm)

      - The motion passed unanimously.

Sandra Cameron asked if it would be possible for the entire Library Board to have the same THPL Homepage demonstration. Joe responded that it could be arranged.

Jan Platt Regional:
Joe said the architectural firm of Gee and Jenson had been chosen to design the Jan Platt Regional Library. This firm has designed several libraries in Florida though this will be the first in Hillsborough County. Joe said their presentation and full-scale model were very impressive. The contract is being negotiated with Architectural Services and should go to the BOCC for approval in early November.

Roll Call:

Kay O'Rourke asked for comments on how Roll Call should be conducted. She asked if an "excused absence" had ever really been defined. Joe said the ByLaws indicate that the Board can vote to excuse or not excuse an absence; however, no other criteria are given. He said members had been excused in the past when they made the effort to call in with consideration given to a pattern or frequency of absences.

Kay asked Rosa to review the Roll Call for 9/25 and the latter responded that the two absent members had called in. Kay asked if a vote should be taken. Joe responded that the ByLaws do require a vote; he added, however, that the ByLaws Committee could move to change this ruling when they convene in January to make their bi-annual review.

Kay said another question had come up recently--namely, whether or not a Library Board meeting be held if the Director is not able to attend. She said she wasn't sure how this situation should be handled. Sandra Cameron suggested that meetings should be held regardless. She suggested that the Director send a representative. Rosa Goldsmith agreed. Kay said she would like to have a rule to refer to in the ByLaws.

Joe said that, in the past, the Library Director had only recommended canceling a meeting in the absence of a quorum. He added that in this case, the meeting could be held without the conducting of any formal business. He noted that the meetings are covered by the Sunshine Law and are public record; PSA's go out well in advance. Sandra Cameron commented that it was her understanding that there were to be regular Library Board meetings on the published dates.

Helen Swisshelm suggested that the matter be referred to the ByLaws Committee.

MOTION: Sandra Cameron made a motion to ask the ByLaws Committee to make a recommendation regarding the conducting of meetings in the event of the Library Director's absence. Nancy Crippen seconded. (Cameron/Crippen)

      - The motion passed unanimously.

Egypt Lake Project:

Nancy Crippen asked Joe if he had an update on this project. Joe said Phase I had been completed. Nothing further is being done at the present time. He pointed out that Phases II and III have not been funded. He said he had received a draft summary of statistics regarding the project and offered to bring a finalized version to the Planning Committee next month.


Appointment of Committees:

Kay O'Rourke said she had not made many changes in the 96-97 Committees. She announced that the 97-98 Committees would consist of the following:

  1. Budget Committee:
          Helen Swisshelm
          Elizabeth Blue
          Fred Hearns

  2. Planning Committee:
          Sandra Cameron
          Nancy Crippen
          Dora Reeder
          Linda Arnold

  3. Policies & ByLaws:
          Arnold Kotler
          Gloria Abrams
          Rosa Goldsmith
          Catherine Kelley.
She called for discussion. As there was none, the committees for FY97-98 were officially accepted. Joe asked if members could volunteer to be on more than one committee. Kay said "yes." With this in mind, Joe asked Rosa Goldsmith if she would continue to work on Eastlake as a Planning project. Rosa agreed to do so.

Public Art:

  1. Port Tampa:

    Kay O' Rourke said she filled in for Helen Swisshelm at a meeting of the public art committee for Port Tampa. She said she enjoyed the meeting very much and was impressed with the enthusiasm of the young man in charge of the project. The group saw the inside of the building and learned about its history. Kay commented that the building will be truly beautiful when completed. Commenting on its design, Kay noted that the meeting rooms will be available for use even if the library is closed.

  2. 78th Street:
    Fred Hearns announced that the artwork would be installed at 78th Street on October 3rd and 4th. He invited the Board to come by to see it.

  3. New Tampa:
    Joe announced that the artwork for New Tampa would be dedicated at 8:00 a.m. on 9/26. He also invited any interested Library Board members to attend.


Kay O'Rourke adjourned the meeting at 5:55pm

Next Library Board Meeting:
         Date: October 23, 1997
         Time: 4pm-6pm
         Location: Thonotosassa Branch Library

                 - Unless notified otherwise

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