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 4:07pm


Secretary Dora Reeder called the roll:

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

Arnold Kotler

Library Board Absent:

Library Staff Present:
Marcee Challener, Manager of Public Services
Jean Peters, Chief of Reference & Information
Marilyn Sheck, Manager, ASD

Al Carlson, Chief Librarian, ASD
Jason Biggers, Principal Librarian
Jeannie Fletcher, Administrative Assistant
Linda Gillon, Manager, Staff & Administrative Support [FOR JOE STINES]

Special Guests:
David Barberie, Assistant County Attorney
Mike Pheneger, ACLU member
Members of the Public:


Linda Arnold called for corrections or changes to the February 25, 1999 Library Board minutes. After a change in the Planning Committee report was requested by Sandra Cameron, the minutes were approved as written.


Linda Gillon asked for questions and/or comments on the Director's Report.

Seffner/Mango Library (SMB): Sandra Cameron commented on the "drastic increase" in the circulation statistics for the Seffner/Mango Branch Library. Linda Gillon agreed that circulation had gone up sharply. She said Seffner/Mango has outpaced some of the other agencies its size in only two months time. Dora Reeder asked if there was the same kind of enthusiasm when the Eastlake Branch Library opened. Linda said people were very enthusiastic but the high circulation was not as high. Janet Lorenzo, Chief Librarian in charge of SMB, said she recalled that circulation was high for Eastlake in the beginning because busses were bringing in customers from Sun City Center. As the mall declined, the circulation for Eastlake did also.

Mold at Northwest: Kay O'Rourke asked if a vendor had been chosen to clean the books at the Northwest Regional Library. Linda Gillon said there had been no confirmation from the Facilities Department. The problem is still being addressed.

Brandon Regional Library: Linda Arnold said she noticed that the ropes were still up at the Brandon Regional Library. Jean Peters responded that the repairs have not been made yet. Suzy George is working with Architectural Services on the project.



Planning Committee: Sandra Cameron said there had been another meeting of the Long-Range Planning Taskforce. Staff members are now working on revisions to the Library's Mission Statement and goals. She said a report would be forthcoming.

Carver City/Lincoln Gardens: Catherine Bartolotti said she, Marcee Challener and Suzy George met with Reginald Williams and 3 residents of Carver City/Lincoln Gardens at the proposed library site at Spruce and Clark behind the Home Depot on Dale Mabry. The Library's Siting Document was used to evaluate the property. Catherine pointed out that customers would have to drive past the Solid Waste Administration Building to get to the library. She explained that the trucks park behind the building and have been washed down there for years. She also expressed concern that the site had been used as a dump and a City refueling station. Cathy said she, Marcee and Suzy agreed that they could not necessarily support putting a library in this location.

Catherine said the City might build a recreation center at Spruce and Manhattan. She suggested that a partnership might be more feasible. Catherine concluded by saying that a lot of study needs to be done before the Planning Committee can make a recommendation.

Egypt Lake Interlocal: The Interlocal Agreement with the Hillsborough County School Board was approved by the Board of County Commissioners on March 17. It will need to be approved by the School Board. Interviews for staff are being conducted.


Helen Swisshelm reported that the Library's budget was submitted on schedule. She called attention to the Budget Public Hearing on June 17, 6:00pm, 2nd Fl., County Center. She said it would be important for Library Board members to attend on this date in the event it is necessary to lobby for the Library's needs.


Nancy Crippen, Chairman of the Policies & ByLaws Committee, said the Policies & ByLaws Committee reviewed the questions that had been raised at Library Board meetings throughout the year. She said they had been addressed in the 1999 version of the ByLaws.

Question: "Should Library Board meetings be held in the absence of the Director?"
Committee Consensus: The Policies & ByLaws Committee agreed that it shouldn't be necessary to change the date of a regularly scheduled Library Board meeting in the event that the Director will be absent. It was suggested that he appoint a member of administration to serve as his representative.

Question:  "What is an 'Excused Absence'"?
Committee Consensus: The Policies & ByLaws Committee agreed that it is more important to look at patterns of absences rather than individual instances.  Illness is always excusable.  Nancy stressed that it is important for Library Board members to call the Director's Office if they cannot attend.  This information will be relayed to the Secretary of the Library Board and noted on the attendance sheet.

Question: Is it necessary to vote during Roll Call to excuse absences?
Committee Consensus: It was the consensus of the Policies & ByLaws Committee that voting is not necessary.

Question: Where should the Internet Use Committee be placed?
Committee Consensus: The Policies & ByLaws Committee recommended that the Internet Use Subcommittee remain an ad hoc subcommittee of the Policies & ByLaws Committee.

Nancy reviewed the ByLaws page by page noting any changes. Changes in verbiage were suggested.


Sandra Cameron made a motion that the ByLaws be adopted as amended during the March 25, 1999 Library Board meeting. The motion was seconded by Helen Swisshelm.

      - The motion passed unanimously.


Jean Peters, Chief Librarian for Reference and Information, introduced Jason Biggers, Principal Librarian, and Al Carlson, Chief Librarian for Automated Systems & Services. Jean and Jason demonstrated the "new and improved" log-in screen that will soon be available to users who wish to access the Internet. They discussed the configurations of various types of terminals available in the Library or proposed for use in the future.


Jean said customers have four buttons to click on:

 Internet Access through the Worldwide Web 
 Browse the Suncoast Freenet (provides graphical access to sites on the Suncoast Freenet)
 Suncoast Freenet E-Mail  (register for the Suncoast Freenet, read e-mail and send new messages, etc.)
 Library Home Page (information about the library system, Library Board, etc.)

Some buttons on this page are intentionally blocked to prevent computer hacking. Marilyn Sheck, Manager for Automated Systems & Services, said this had already happened.

After clicking on the Internet Access button, the customer sees the Library's Internet Access Policy. Any changes to the policy made by the Library Board will be reflected here. The customer must accept this policy in order to gain access to the worldwide web. If the customer cannot accept, he or she is returned to the desktop.

When customers accept the policy they can go to a specific web page, access one of several search engines (Alta Vista, Excite, HotBot, Infoseek, WebCrawler, Yahoo, etc.) or use the virtual library set up by librarians. The screen is designed to make things easy for the customer.


Jean Peters said the majority of the computers in the public area are configured with Thor-Plus; they are not intended to provide open Internet access.

Jean said the exciting thing about the Thor-Plus machines is the Information Gateway button. The Information Gateway provides links to numerous Web-based reference products subscribed to by the library. Currently, some of these products provide access to search engines having open Internet access. In other words, Thor-Plus computers have a back door to the Internet. By using, WebSense it would be possible to block selected search engines. Mike Pheneger commented that the ACLU would not have any problem with this because it is a management tool rather than a decision to censure.

Helen Swisshelm asked how the Library regulates the amount of time a customer spends on the Internet. Jean responded that there are no time limits for Thor-Plus computers at this time. The Library is taking a "wait and see" attitude. It may become necessary to use sign-up sheets at certain times of day when the demand is high. Currently, there is a 30-minute time limit on open access Internet terminals unless no other customers are waiting.


THOR Jr. computers would be placed the children's sections of the library in order to target the pre-school and elementary school audience. Thor-Jr. terminals would provide access to the Library catalog, a basic dictionary, an encyclopedia, World Almanac and WonderWeb. Jean explained that WonderWeb was created for children by Library staff. This web page contains the "best of the web for kids." Approximately 100 American Library Association approved sites offer fun activities, homework assistance, etc. Through WonderWeb parents can also access information regarding child safety on the Internet.

Josephine Gracia asked if Thor-Jr. computers could be used in after school programs. Marilyn Sheck replied that it would be a matter of funding. She said the Bethune, Progress Village and Bealsville projects were funded by grants. The cost of providing this service is approximately $10,000 per site.

Linda Arnold thanked Jean Peters, Jason Biggers and Al Carlson for their demonstration.

Elizabeth Blue continued the Internet Use Subcommittee report by reviewing possible filtering and non-filtering options to be included in the Library's Internet policy. The options under consideration were as follows:


Option 1	Open access to the 			No filtering
		Internet for all users	

Option 2	Open access to the Internet 		No filtering
		for all users.
		Computers for youth and teens		No filtering
		would be configured with 
		WonderWeb and a proposed 
		TeenWeb respectively.
Option 3	Open access to the Internet		No filtering 
		for adults

		Limited access to the Internet		No filtering 
		for customers under age 18.  
		Computers for youth and teens 
		would be configured with WonderWeb 
		and a proposed Teen Web respectively.
Option 4	Open access to the Internet		No filtering for adults
		for adults

		Open access to the Internet for		No filtering for ages 15-17 
		teens age 15-17 unless parents 
		deny access.

		Limited access to the Internet for	Filtering using WebSENSE for 
		age Birth-14.				ages Birth-14

Mr. Pheneger asked if the Library would segregate computers according to age groups. He said he assumed some terminals would be dedicated for younger users. Elizabeth Blue commented that this question needed to be decided by the Library Board because computers aren't segregated for different age groups at this time. Jean Peters said the Thor-Jr. computers are not even on the floor yet; all of the Library's Internet computers offer full access at this time.

Kay O'Rourke remarked that many kinds of Internet problems were discussed at the March 18 Workshop with representatives of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, Tampa PD, and State Attorney's Office. Librarians said customers use the Internet computers to play games and bet on basketball, etc. She said another problem is that people also buy and sell stocks. These are just examples of the kinds of situations that come up daily. She expressed concern about voting on a policy until further research is done to see if some of these activities are illegal.

Sandra Cameron asked if betting through the Internet is an illegal activity in the State of Florida. David Barberie said it's a hard call when the Internet is involved. He said it's important to keep in mind the purpose and mission of the public library. In other words, it boils down to whether or not the Library's resources are being used properly or not.

Helen Swisshelm commented that it's not in the Mission Statement of the Library to provide e-mail accounts and yet THPL does that through the Suncoast Free-Net. She said there other things that the Library is allowing that may or may not be library-related. Kay O'Rourke agreed that the Library needs to be able to address all kinds of situations that are coming up.

Mike Pheneger commented that the ACLU is concerned primarily with the issue of censorship. He said it would be advisable to take a broad view of what services should be provided. He said there are probably as many reasons for going to the library as there are people who go there. He added that people ought to have the freedom to use computers as much as they can for whatever activity they wish to pursue unless it is illegal. If people are using the facilities of the library and not violating any laws, they should be free to do what they want to do without any unnecessary restrictions.

Linda Arnold responded to Mr. Pheneger by saying that the public library is a county system that has only so much funding. Whether activities are legal or not, they need to be evaluated in terms of the Mission Statement to see if they support the library's stated purpose. She said there are only so many computers for people to use.

With Option 4, all users would have open Internet access. Parents could choose to allow open access for children ages birth-14 although the default would be limited access on Thor-Jr. computers. Customers age 15-17 would have open access to the Internet unless parents chose to deny it. The default would be unlimited access.


Helen Swisshelm made a motion to accept Option 4 with the addition of language regarding parental consent for ages birth-14. Nancy Crippen seconded.

Kay O'Rourke said she was very uncomfortable about voting without taking more time to explore the issue further. She said it was too important a decision to hurry it along. Too many things have changed since the issue was first brought up. She expressed concern that a vote today could come back to haunt the Library Board tomorrow especially if the Board of County Commissioners doesn't support it. Nancy Crippen said that is true of anything the Library Board does.

Helen Swisshelm said the only thing the Library can manage is the use of the computers by those under the age of 18 unless the activity is expressly prohibited by the Code of Conduct. Helen said Option 4 delineates three groups of patrons with various filtering and non-filtering scenarios. She said again that Option 4 is very reasonable.

David Barberie said that the Library should be operating under the existing policy but it isn't. He noted that it was adopted by the Board of County Commissioners on March 18, 1998 and portions of it have never been implemented. For every month that passes, the Library Board runs the risk of alienating the BOCC because the Library hasn't been following what it was told to do a year ago. He said the policy explicitly said there would be a 1-year trial of WebSense. Until two months ago it was not an issue because the Library didn't have the capability of turning the filter on; however, that is no longer the case.

Helen Swisshelm pointed out that several legal decisions have come down since the policy was adopted by the BOCC. She suggested that the current policy might not even be legal now. David Barberie said there is a very good chance that the policy could be ruled unconstitutional. He said it would be a good idea to move things along so that the Board can be given a chance to change their directive.

Kay asked if anything would be really accomplished by the Library Board vote. David responded that, because the policy went to the Board of County Commissioners, any proposed changes would have to be brought to the County Administrator. It would be incumbent upon the County Administrator to bring the issue back to the BOCC. It would not be correct for the Library Board to change something that was approved by the Commissioners.

Elizabeth Blue pointed out that the Library Board's original recommendation was that there would be no filtering for adults but there would be filtering for children.

Nancy Crippen said that, if the Library Board voted in favor of Option 4, it would simply be reaffirming its original recommendation.

Linda Arnold pointed out that the difference between Option 4 and the original recommendation is that Option 4 actually divides customers into age groups and establishes defaults for filtering and no filtering. David Barberie agreed that the concept is basically the same; the policy has simply been refined.

Elizabeth Blue said a vote from the Library Board was necessary. She said filtering options have been discussed by the Library Board since 1997. Further, a full year has elapsed since the BOCC voted that the Library filter using WebSense. She stressed that the Library Board needed to proceed without further delay.

Linda Arnold called for a vote.

      - Option 4 was approved 7-0.

Approved Option:


Option 4	Open access to the		No filtering - age 18 and up
		Internet for adults 

		Open access to the 		No filtering- age 15-17
		Internet for teens age 
		15-17 (proposed age group) 
		unless parents deny access

		Limited access for ages  	Filtering using WebSense- Birth-14
		birth through 14 unless 
		parents give permission 
		for to use open access 
		Internet computers	


Helen Swisshelm reported that the Port Tampa public art project is near closure. She said it would be beautiful as an in-ground lighting component has been approved. An Agenda Item will go to the Board of County Commissioner on April 7. After approval, a grand opening will be scheduled.


Fred Hearns expressed concern about the quality of guard service available in the library. He made the recommendation that the issue of salaries, training, etc. be reviewed especially in light of the kinds of behaviors librarians are dealing with every day. He asked that this be looked at seriously.




The meeting was adjourned at 6:20pm

Next Library Board Meeting:
         Date: April 22, 1999
         Time: 4pm-6pm
         Location: Science Library at MOSI

                 - Unless notified otherwise

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