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 Staff:
Joe Stines, Director
Marcee Challener, Manager of Public Services
David Wullschleger, Chief of Operations

Jean Peters, Chief of Reference & Information,
Sheryl Herold, Accountant II,
Jeannie Fletcher, Administrative Assistant
Linda Gillon, Manager of Staff & Administrative Support

Special Guests:
Carver City/Lincoln Gardens Homeowner's & Civic Association
Reginald Williams, President
Alice Davis, Vonceil Williams
Janie Glen, Norma Curry
Gwen Laster, Hazel Bozeman


Linda Arnold, Chairman, called the meeting to order at 4:05pm


On behalf of the Library Board, Linda Arnold presented a plaque to Kay O'Rourke in honor of her exemplary leadership as Chairman of the Library Board from July 1, 1996-June 30, 1998. The Library Board commended Kay for her dedication, enthusiasm and hard work on behalf of the citizens of Hillsborough County.


In the absence of the Secretary, Linda Arnold called the roll.

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

Library Board Absent:
Elizabeth Blue


As there were no corrections or additions, the minutes from the August 27, 1998 meeting were approved as written.


Carver City/Lincoln Gardens Presentation

The following members of the Carver City/Lincoln Gardens Homeowner's & Civic Association were present: Reginald Williams, President, Alice Davis, Vonceil Williams, Janie Glen, Norma Curry, Gwen Laster, Hazel Bozeman.

Mr. Williams began by saying that the Carver City/Lincoln Gardens Homeowner's & Civic Association would like to plead for library in their area. He noted that the old jailhouse site at Spruce and Clark is available; in fact, Hillsborough County plans to build a Senior Citizen Daycare Center there. Mr. Williams went on to say that the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) has also agreed to lease the 2100 sq. ft. Jail Administration Building at 1512 W. Clark St. to the Homeowner's Association; the citizens would like to use that building at as a library. He said that, if the building would not accommodate a library, they would like the County to build one on the Spruce St. site where the daycare will be built.

Mr. Williams said Carver City/Lincoln Gardens is located on the west side of Dale Mabry. The area is bordered by Boy Scout Rd., I-275, Westshore and Dale Mabry. He affirmed that citizens would not want to interfere with the current West Tampa facility and added that Jefferson High School, Roland Park Elementary School, McDonald's Training Center and the medical school at the corner of Spruce and Lois make Carver City/Lincoln Gardens an ideal spot for a library. Mr. Williams concluded by saying that the citizens would appreciate the Library Board's consideration of this request.

Questions and Answers:

Cathy Bartolotti:  "Are there two different sites, Mr. Williams?"
Mr. Williams:	   "No, there is one site?"
Sandra Cameron:    "Do you know how many square feet the building is?"
Mr. Williams:	   "2100 sq. ft."
Joe Stines:	   "Mr. Williams, how many households are in your homeowner's association?"
Mr. Williams:	   "The number of homes in the area is approximately 700--about 1500 people."
Helen Swisshelm:   "How far is your area from the current West Tampa facility?"
Mr. Williams:	   "About five miles."
Joe Stines:	"Do you have any idea what the service population would be--adults, children,       retired citizens, etc.?"
Mr. Williams: 	"We have a lot of kids." 
Joe Stines:     "It's not a retirement community?"
Mr. Williams:	"No, it's not."
Joe Stines:	"It's a mix of everything?"
Mr. Williams:	"Yes, blacks, whites, old, young--we've got it." "The biggest thing to think about is the number of schools in the area.  I'm sure the library would be an asset."
Joe Stines:	"Does this property back up to Home Depot?"
Mr. Williams:	"No, it's west of Home Depot."
Joe Stines:	"The big property does border Spruce, doesn't it?"
Mr. Williams:	"Right. It's on the corner of Spruce and Clark."
Joe Stines:	"And, the 2100 sq. ft. building is on Clark."
Mr. Williams:	"Right."
Joe Stines:	"Who owns that building now?"
Mr. Williams:	"The County."  
Joe Stines:	"There is going to be a daycare on the site?"
Mr. Williams:	"Yes, the blueprints are already drawn up."
Joe Stines:	"What do you envision for a library in your area?  Is there a need for meeting room space, homework materials, adult usage, tutoring?"  
Mr. Williams:	"Homework, computer classes, tutoring for the students etc."
Helen Swisshelm:  "Is the building in good condition?"
Mr. Williams:	  "Yes, it is."
Helen Swisshelm:  "Would it need a lot of renovation?"
Mr. Williams:	  "It has paneling on the walls.  The ceiling is much like the one here; it needs some work.  It has carpet in the larger rooms."
Joe Stines:	"What was it last used for, do you know?"
Mr. Williams:	"It was the administration building for the jail."
Kay O'Rourke:	"Does it have much parking?"
Mr. Williams:	"You'd have all the parking you want."
Joe Stines:	"Would the seniors who use the daycare come from your area?"
Mr. Williams:	"Not necessarily--they come from all over Tampa."
Catherine Bartolotti:  "Would the County go into the existing facility?"
Mr. Williams:	       "No, they're going to tear it down."
Catherine Bartolotti:	"So, the daycare will be going on the front of the property on Spruce."
Mr. Williams:		"Yes, on the old jail site."
Joe Stines:      "Where do you hold community meetings now?"
Mr. Williams:	 "At the Loretta Ingram Recreation Center at 4213 Green St."
Joe Stines:	 "You don't have a preconceived notion of what kind of library you want.  You just want us to do whatever is possible?"
Mr. Williams:	 "Yes, whatever is possible.  We'll accept whatever you can give us."

Joe Stines explained that the current West Tampa facility has approximately 1500 sq. ft. of usable space. Mr. Williams responded that if THPL could use the old jail administration building, the Carver City/Lincoln Gardens Homeowner's Association would be happy to cooperate. Joe said he would like to go out to look at it but added that other options, including a partnership with the Urban League and renovating the current West Tampa Library, are also being investigated. Joe stressed that the needs of the entire area need to be evaluated.

Linda Arnold thanked Mr. Williams and the other members of the Carver City/Lincoln Gardens Homeowner's and Civic Association for coming and said their request would be turned over to the Planning Committee for further study.


Planning Committee:

Sandra Cameron reported on the Planning Committee meeting held prior to the Library Board meeting at 2:30pm The following topics were discussed:

John F. Germany Public LibraryRe-Engineering:
Sandra distributed copies of a draft re-organization of John F. Germany Public Librarywhich is designed to:

a) combine like departments so that customers can benefit from a "one-stop shopping" concept
b) create a true business center for the downtown customer
c) provide open access to periodicals now kept on the 3rd floor
d) maximize the use of available floor space
e) maximize use of staff in their own areas of expertise
f) provide a warm "Barnes & Noble" atmosphere for customers wishing to browse
g) minimize the impact of Jan Platt Regional Library circulation on John F. Germany Public Librarycirculation
h) strengthen subject departments
i) create space for a Telephone Reference Center which has been recommended by the Performance Audit.

Jean Peters discussed the layout as follows:

First Floor, East Building:
The first floor, East Building would house Business, Government, Sciences and the Men's Cancer Resource Center. Locating a business center near the main entrance on Ashley would place emphasis on services for the downtown business customer. THPL would search out corporate sponsors to improve services.

First Floor, West Building:
The first floor of the West Building would house fiction for youth and adults, Large Print Readers, music, videos and Adult New Readers. The Friends Bookstore would also be located in this area. The intent would be to create a "Barnes & Noble" atmosphere where customers can browse, relax, read, etc. A coffee shop may also be included. The main service provided by staff would be Reader's Advisory. This arrangement would locate children's materials close to the drive-through in the back of the library and eliminate the need for youngsters to walk up and down the stairs.

Second Floor, East Building:
The second floor of the East Building would house Arts, Letters, Periodicals and the Gates Computer Lab.

Second Floor, West Building:
The second floor of the West Building would house the Genealogy collection, history materials, the Burgert Brothers Photo Collection, books on travel and biographies.

Jean said decisions were based upon a study of statistics to determine which parts of the collection are used and which are not. The change would not take place until fall of 1999.

When Helen Swisshelm asked about the expense involved, David Wullschleger responded that the project would cost approximately $500,000. The project could be itemized and done in phases; $240,000 would be needed to replace the carpeting.

Helen said she liked the idea of the "new look" for John F. Germany Public Library; however, this would not address the parking issue.

Arnold Kotler agreed and suggested that perhaps the Library Board should take a more pro-active role in looking for solution to the parking problem. He suggested contacting the City of Tampa about reserving the 3rd floor of Poe Parking Garage for library customers.

Helen said she and Gloria Abrams tried to work with the City but didn't have much success. She suggested that it might be shortsighted to keep patching up John F. Germany Public Library. She proposed a larger vision, i.e., to pursue the idea of building a new facility. David Wullschleger interjected that maintenance costs for the John F. Germany Public Librarywill continue to escalate. The Fire Marshall is demanding, for example, that a sprinkler system be installed; this will require a new ceiling and asbestos abatement. This could cost millions of dollars.

Linda Arnold asked if someone could request that John F. Germany Public Librarybe added to the historic register? Joe said he didn't think so. The building isn't old enough.

Helen said she would like to refer this idea to the Planning Committee for further consideration.


Helen Swisshelm made the motion that the building of a new Central Library be referred to the Planning Committee and Friends of the Library Board for serious study. The motion was seconded by Sandra Cameron.

      - The motion passed 7-0.

South County Regional Library:
Sandra Cameron distributed copies of an October 22, 1998 Tampa Tribune article on the proposed South County Regional Library. She said Joe Stines and staff attended meetings in Apollo Beach, Ruskin, and Sun City. She asked him to comment.

Joe said he, Josie Gracia, Mike Kelly and other County staff had attended several meetings held by such groups as the South County President's Roundtable, Sun City Chamber of Commerce and Ruskin Chamber of Commerce. The following sites were discussed:

  • 19th Ave. and Cypress Creek Blvd.; owned by private developer who seems willing to work with the County and community.
  • 19th Ave. near the middle school site; possible partnership opportunity.
  • Hwy. 301 near the fire tower (where the Agricultural Museum was to have been built); belongs to the Parks & Recreation Dept. and would have to be purchased from the County.
  • Big Bend Rd. at Hwy. 301; flooding problems; expensive to build on.

Joe said people were asked to rank the sites in order of preference. The two most popular sites were on 19th Ave.; both have Ruskin mailing addresses but are in close proximity to Apollo Beach and Sun City Center. The third choice was the site on Hwy. 301.

Joe reminded the Board that the Library has CIT funding in the amount of $50,000 in FY99 and $450,000 in FY2000 to purchase the land.

West Tampa Library: Joe said the Director's Office had received several calls from citizens who are worried that the West Tampa Branch Library will be closed. They have been assured that there no plans to close the facility; several options for improved service are being explored.

A recent communication from Architectural Engineering indicated that it would probably be too expensive to have a private firm do a complete analysis of the building and surrounding property. It may be possible to hire Bill Hand for a much more reasonable figure. It should be completed by the end of December. Helen Swisshelm asked if ADA and parking improvements would be included. Joe said they would be. The need for meeting room space also has to be addressed.

In the meantime, the Urban League seems very eager to have a library presence in their new building. Joe said he attended a meeting on October 7th with Urban League staff and their architects. They have received $900,000 from the federal govt. and can proceed with their plans. The Urban League can offer ample space in a location only four blocks north of the current facility. No commitments have been made. Joe stressed the importance of keeping all options open and conducting West Tampa community meetings to see what the citizens want.

Egypt Lake:
The Egypt Lake grant will be going to the BOCC on November 5th. The grant would allow for the implementation of Phase III of the project, i.e., 2 1/2 staff members to work in a joint library facility that will be available to both school children and the public. Library Services staff will be able to keep the library open on weekends and during the summer.

Long-Range Planning Taskforce:
Sandra Cameron said the Long-Range Planning Taskforce had its first meeting on September 22, 1998 and has scheduled a second for 10/27, 7:30-9:00 a.m. The first meeting was a "getting to know you" session. Manuals were distributed. Members will return on the 27th with comments and impressions.

Dan Kleman's CIT Recommendations:
Helen Swisshelm asked what CIT recommendations Dan Kleman was making to the Board of County Commissioners. Joe responded that, per the instructions of the letter sent to Mr. Kleman by the Library Board, he was supporting the following:

  • North Tampa expansion
  • South County Regional (fully funded)
  • West Gate expansion/renovation
  • Lutz expansion

Additional land for the Jan Platt Regional Library was eliminated because it is already funded in the Capital Improvement Program (CIP).

Public Art:

Helen Swisshelm said she had been invited to Susan Gott's art studio on October 28th. Ms. Gott is doing the artwork for Port Tampa. She said the PTM project is moving along well and invited other interested Library Board members to attend.

Policies & By-Laws Committee:

Thursday, November 19th, 1:30pm was chosen as the date for the next meeting of the Policies & By-Laws Committee. Chairman, Nancy Crippen said they would make a formal recommendation to the full Board regarding whether the Internet Use Subcommittee should remain under the purview of the Policies & ByLaws Committee or be a stand-alone committee.


Southeastern Library Association Award:
Joe Stines announced that the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library won the "Outstanding Library of the Year" award which is given by the Southeastern Library Association. The award was given as a result of this year's Library Card Sign-Up program.

Joe reviewed the FY98 year-end statistics. He said overall circulation was up 4.8% over last year in spite of several branch closings. Circulation was 3.9 million items. Joe said he looked forward to breaking the 4 million mark in FY99. 78th St.'s circulation has soared to 66,664 for their first full year.

Joe also called attention to the dial-in module (people renewing by computer)--up 8.4%. This is an indication that more and more people are using computers. The number of items circulated by Pasco County reciprocal borrowers was also impressive--53, 412 items (with only 1,329 registered).

Helen Swisshelm said she was disappointed in Ybor's usage. Joe said there are plans to convert this facility into a family literacy center. While circulation is low, usage is still high; circulation stats do not reflect the use of this agency for literacy programs and tutoring. Joe reminded the Library Board that this branch is one of three selected to house a Gates Grant computer lab. The lab is already being installed. New output measures may be devised to assess this facility's use; in fact, Ybor will be included under Specialized Services since it isn't a "standard" branch.

Joe said the need for library services in Hillsborough County continues to increase. Greater Brandon has over 100,000 people making the need for a Southeast County Regional even more critical. There are unaddressed needs in South County (Gibsonton, Wimauma and Riverview), eastern Hillsborough County (Plant City, Bealsville), etc. He said more and more groups would be coming to the Library Board.


Arnold Kotler made a motion that the Library Board send a letter to the Board of County Commissioners after the November 12, 1998 CIT Workshop to thank the Commissioners for their support of library projects and comment upon the continuing need for expanded library service in Hillsborough County. Helen Swisshelm seconded the motion.

      - The motion passed 7-0.

Maintenance/Indirect Costs/Budget Overview:
A report from David Wullschleger and Sheryl Herold was deferred until the December Library Board meeting. Helen Swisshelm asked that they look at every items involving some kind of maintenance and answer the questions:

  • "What portion of this amount goes for maintenance?"
  • "What kind of maintenance is it?"
  • "What portion goes to indirect costs?"


Resignation of Gloria Abrams: Linda Arnold announced that Jim Norman received Gloria Abrams' resignation from the Library Board. A copy will be sent to the Library. Mr. Norman will appoint a new member to represent District 2.

Nominations for Vice-Chairman: Kay O'Rourke and Helen Swisshelm were nominated for the position of Co-Vice-Chairmen to the Library Board. They agreed to share the position.


The meeting was adjourned at 6:05pm

Next Library Board Meeting:
         Date: December 3, 1998
         Time: 4pm-6pm
         Location: West Gate Regional Library

                 - Unless notified otherwise

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