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

MINUTES FROM THE JULY 28, 2005 PUBLIC LIBRARY BOARD MEETING
RUSKIN PUBLIC LIBRARY, 4-6PM

CALL TO ORDER:

Ms. Vickers called the meeting to order at 4:00 p.m. A quorum was present.

ROLL CALL AND ATTENDANCE OF STAFF & SPECIAL GUESTS:

Library Board Members Present:
Laura Vickers, Helen Swisshelm
Ted Corwin, William Scheuerle
James Martin, Jim Johnson
Sandra Cameron, Alma Hires

Library Board Excused:
Kay O'Rourke
Dora Reeder
James Harkins
Margaret Fisher

Library Staff Present:
Joe Stines, Director of Library Services;
Marcee Challener, Manager, Materilas and Circulation;
Linda Gillon, Manager, Programming;
Jackie Zebos, Manager, Administrative & Reference Services;


Suzy George, Chief Librarian;
Gina DuBois, Coordinator, Administrative Services & Grants;
Aracelis Putnam, Administrative Assistant;
Barbara Marquette, Senior Executive Secretary;
Linda Davidson, Assistant County Attorney
 

Special Guests:
None.

Members of the Public:
Jim Duffy, Friends of the SouthShore Regional Library
Fred Hearns, Ada T. Payne Friends of the Library
Barbara Nicholson
David Nicholson
Kathleen de la Pina McCook
Bill McCook
Howard Harris, Ada T. Payne Friends of the Library
Carol Pinson

APPROVAL OF THE LIBRARY BOARD July 28, 2005

Dr. Hires made moved that the July 28, 2005 minutes be approved. Mr. Johnson seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

CHAIRMAN'S REPORT

None.

PRESENTATIONS FROM THE PUBLIC/SPECIAL GUESTS:

Jim Duffy, Friends of the Southshore Regional Library, thanked the Library Board for approving the library. Each of the Board members was made and honorary member of the Friends.

Fred Hearns, Ada T. Payne Friends of the Library, requested extended hours of operation at the Robert W. Saunders Public Library for a neighborhood tutoring program. Mr. Hearns thanked the Library Board for their support of the Saunders Library expansion.

Barbara Nicholson addressed the issue of displays in the library.

David Nicholson addressed the issue of displays in the library.

Kathleen de la Pina McCook addressed the issue of displays in the library.

Bill McCook stated that he wanted his children and grandchildren to have access to all the information that is available at the library and implored the Library Board to speak for those that can't speak for themselves.

Howard Harris, Chairman Youth Activities, Ada T. Payne Frieds, requested Library Board support for the tutoring program at theSaunders Library and urged the Board members to volunteer as tutors.

Carol Pinson expressed her concerns of control by the Board of County Commissioners over libraries.

COMMITTEE REPORTS:

BUDGET COMMITTEE:

Chair Bill Scheuerle stated that the Committee had reviewed the budget and had questioned the expenditure in Character 60 - Item 6100 Land Acquisitions Real Estate. Ms. Gillon reported that it was for land surveying costs at Upper Tampa Bay and Riverview Libraries. During discussion of the Dolly Parton Imagination Program many questions were raised. The Committee is concerned about the cost of the program and where funding would come from if it is not received through fund raising. The consensus of the Committee is that funds should not be taken from the book budget. The Committee also questioned what impact the Imagination Program could have on the Born to Read program. The Committee is requesting a detailed explanation at its August meeting.

Mr. Stines stated that the Board of County Commissioners had increased the Library Taxing District millage 1/20th of a mil, which makes it .6923. This decision was based on funding for the construciton of the five new libraries.

The Library System has received an LSTA grant for the Loretta Ingraham Center. This grant will provide the Center with a full time staff person to work in its library for one year.

Dr. Scheuerle asked whether the West Gate Library had received a grant award. Mr. Stines stated that the Library System had received a $500,000 construction grant.

PLANNING COMMITTEE:

Co-Chair, Sandra Cameron stated that after touring the FishHawk site the Committee had several questions. She stated that the site is one acre and is located in the center of the development's town square. There is concern that this would set a precedent. The Planning Committee asked for direction from the Library Board.

Mr. Stines suggested that the Planning Committee continue to ask questions as it works on the unfunded projects list. He stated that this would not be a typical library. It would be a new approach and that this is a trend in communities. Mr. Stines will ask Mr. Wullschleger to contact Architectural Services to see what type of structure can be built on the one acre site.

Dr. Scheuerle asked about the subdivisions outside of FishHawk. "Will they feel welcome coming into this community in order to use the library?" "Will the residents drive into that community?"

Mr. Stines stated that research will have to be done to see what library those residents would use if they did not use the FishHawk library. He stated that there is another development close by that would also like to site a community library. This is a new concept that has to be researched.

Ms. Vickers asked, "With each new subdivision wanting a library are we going to feel obligated to build small neighborhood libraries just because the land is available?" She also asked who owned/maintained the roads. Mr. Stines was not sure who owns the roads, but he will find out. Mr. Stines addressed her other question by stating that the Master Plan and the guiding principals used by the Library board would help to determine a decision and that a public siting meeting would have to be held in the area.

Ms. Swisshelm asked whether the land donation was firm. Mr. Stines stated that there is no time limit stipulated at present. Ms. Swisshelm asked, "If it were not firm would there be a site available on a more visible road that would still serve that community but also be more visible to the other communities in the area?" Mr. Stines stated that the Real Estate Department will have to do an analysis of the area. Mr. Johnson mentioned the possibility of a partnership with the area schools. Mr. Stines stated that staff would continue to research the surrounding area for future developments south of FishHawk Blvd. on Lithia Pinecrest.

Ms. Cameron stated that the parking at Riverview Library has been expanded and negotiations are ongoing for the additional property.

A representative from Heery International will be at the next Planning Committee meeting. The Committee feels that the entire Board should be at the presentation so that the members may ask questions. It was the consensus of the Library Board that Heery International be invited to the August Library Board meeting.

Ms. George reported that County staff met with the contractor and the warranty company who will honor their warranty of the New Tampa roof. An independent company confirmed that the roof is in good condition but does require some maintenance. The current warranty is for twenty years from the date of the library's opening; however, if we apply a recommended sealant the warranty could be extended for an additional ten years.

Ms. Cameron stated that the Committee voted to start discussion of the unfunded projects list at its next meeting.

POLICIES & BYLAWS COMMITTEE:

Chair Alma Hires stated that the Committee is continuing its review of the "R" rated video policy. Library policies from other libraries were reviewed, but there is very little consistency among libraries. The Committee felt that Hillsborough County's policy should have a statement stating that "It is the parents' responsibility to be aware of what materials their child is checking out." It was suggested that this statement might limit the number of inner city children checking out materials in the library. Staff has been instructed to survey parents, Friends groups, and library staff regarding this question.

Ms. Vickers addressed the request the Library Board had received from the public about making a statement about the usurping of its authority by the County Commission. She stated that she had received a call from Jan Platt, who felt that under Florida Statute 84-443, Section Five, subset Thirteen of the Special Act, which stated "That the Board shall by its policy and/or bylaws establish an appellate procedure to hear and determine grievances and other complaints relative to the removal of books or other materials from the library system. Final resolution of such complaints and requests shall be resolved by the Board pursuant to the philosophy that a library is to represent the views of the various interests of the community."

Ms. Vickers asked for comments from the Library Board. She distributed copies of a statement from the Fiends of the Library, a copy of the Library Bill of Rights, and an interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights by the American Library Association Council regarding Exhibit Spaces and Bulletin Boards.

Dr. Scheuerle asked Assistant County Attorney, Linda Davidson whether the Board of County Commissioners was out of line in passing the Gay Pride policy that included activities in the library. Ms. Davidson stated that the Special Act states the the Librry Board operates in an advisory capacity to The Board of County Commissioners and to the Library Director. The Board of County Commissioners is not prohibited from making policies that affect all county departments. The Library is a county department.

Ms. Vickers said that Section 6 of the Special Act Amendment of public library board rules by the Board of County Commissioners states "Any by-law or rule or regulation established by the Public Library Board may be amended by the Board of County Commissioners, upon recommendation of the County Administrator." Ms. Davidson asked which policy of the Library Board was infringed on. She explained that the Library as a department of the County could recommend a policy and/or a policy change to the County Administrator. But the County Administrator does not have the authority unilaterally to change a policy that had been recommednded by the Library Board. Recommendations for policy changes have to go to the Board of County Commissioners. Ms. Davidson stated that she did not see what policy that the Library Board has adopted or recommended is in conflict with the policy the Board of County Commissioners adopted.

Mr. Stines addressed the Library Board stating that Ms. Gillon made the decision with Patrice Koerper, Public Relations and Partnerships Coordinator, to take down the display at West Gate. It was not solely a matter of the topic. Their reasoning centered around policy and quality. The fact that the theme was gay literature did add a level of sensitivity.

Mr. Stines continued by stating that "we follow up on every complaint; however, we do not take action on every complaint. One complaint is enough to warrant looking at the situation. We found that the display had not been approved by the Chief Librarian, a process that is part of the Library's policy. There were brochures being distributed through that display that had not been approved by the Library or the County's Communication Department. The Library and Hillsborough County both have policies regarding the content of materials that are distributed; those policies were not adhered to.

For those reasons alone, Ms. Gillon asked that the poster be removed. The entire book display was removed because of a miscommunication. Notwithstanding, Ms. Gillon was under the impression that the books displayed were those approved by the Programming Committee in conjunction with Gay Pride month. However, it was an entirely different display that no one had knowledge of except the Branch Librarian and the part-time Librarian.

The Programming Committee book display was erected in the adult fiction section, and then I made the decision to remove all of the displays after the Board of County Commissioners' motion. After discussion with the Library's Assistant County Attorney, DeBora Cromarti-Mincey, we determined that the display had been developed in recognition of Gay Pride.

Since then, the County Attorney stated that the Library is free to put up a display of gay and lesbian literature as long as it is not tied with the promotion or acknowledgment of gay pride. The display that the Programming Committee had designed was meant to promote our book holdings."

Mr. Stines stated that Commissioner Storms has never spoken to him regarding this issue. It is his understanding that she is against the promotion of a lifestyle not the literature per se. He went on to say "We have a large gay collection and it is a very good one because we have knowledgeable people who use review sources who build our collection." The purpose of our displays should be to highlight the material we have in the library for all people no matter what the subject is and not to promote or answer questions about a particular lifestyle or religion. It is a very fine line."

In notifying the Library Board that the St. Petersburg Times plans to "out" him in an upcoming article, Mr. Stines stated that "I may be a gay man, but I am not now nor will I ever be a gay librarian. That is a label that I have never thought about when I am working. A good librarian serves people of all backgrounds every single day. We are trained not to intervene but to refer people to the proper agencies."

Dr. Scheuerle stated that he abhors what the County Commission did with that vote, but, we are advisory and the Board of County Commissioners did not overrule any of our policies.

Dr. Hires asked "Given all that has been said, would it be to our advantage to make a statement?"

Dr. Scheuerle stated that a letter should be sent to the Board of County Commissioners, the Presidents of the Friends of the Library stating that the Libraby Board's authority is limited, that it is an Advisory Board and that the Library is a county department and that the Board of County Commissioners did not usurp any of the Library's policies.

The suggestion was made that a letter to the editors of the Tampa Tribune and the St. Petersburg Times might be more appropriate with copies sent to the Board of County Commissioners and the County Administrator. Dr. Scheuerle made the motion that the Library Board's chairman draft this letter for review by the Library Board. The motion passed unanimously.

Mr. Martin asked what was being done to reassure employees regarding this issue. Mr. Stines stated that he has been meeting with staff at the branches as well as having met with the supervisors at a separate meeting; he also offered to place an article in the Library's bi-monthly newsletter LibZine. Refresher training on the display policy will be held at a future quarterly supervisor's meeting.

INTERNET USE SUBCOMMITTEE:

None.

SCHEDULING ADHOC COMMITTEE:

None.

PUBLIC ART:

None.

NOMINATING COMMITTEE:

Chair Helen Swisshelm the following slate of officers. Chairman - James B. Johnson, Jr., Vice-Chairman - James Martin, Jr., Secretary - William Scheuerle. There were no nominations from the Floor. Ms. Swisshelm asked for acceptance of the slate of officers. The vote was unanimous.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS:

Dr. Scheuerle asked Ms. Davidson whether Library Board members who wished to attend a Planning Committee meeting but were not members of the Committee, would be allowed to join in the discussion. Ms. Davidson stated that it could be construed as a Library Board meeting and would have to be noticed as such. She suggested that Library Board members who wanted to attend the Planning Committee for certain issues could be appointed to the Ad-Hoc Long Range Planning Committee for the purpose of discussion only. At the point that the Planning Committee is goiing to take action the Ad-Hoc Committee would adjourn. Both meetings would be noticed as a concurrent meeting. A quorum would have to be present for the Planning Committee to take action.

NEW BUSINESS:

Ms. Vickers asked for an update on the West Gate Friends of the Library request to use the Farm Store building. Mr. Stines stated that they no longer were interested in the building as the repairs were very extensive.

Ms. Vickers asked the Library Board members whether they would want to have their email addresses posted to the Library Board website. The Board members declined.

Dr. Scheuerle asked Mr. Stines when he planned to give details on the Dolly Parton Imagination Library Program. Mr. Stines stated that staff has prepared an initial summary and budget for the Board of County Commissioners. Staff was sent to a conference hosted by the Dollywood Foundation for additional information on the long range effects of the program. They reported that it is still too early to know whether the program is working' however, there are a few communities that feel that it is working and the the children's reading is improving. A second report is due to the Board of County Commissioners on December 7th.

Dr. Scheuerle stated that he would like to see a sample of the books that are sent out. Mr. Stines stated that all the books are selected by a panel and that recently, bi-lingual books have been added. Dr. Scheuerle asked that a detailed discussion be scheduled for the August or September Library Board meeting.

Ms. Vickers asked that staff be instructed to work on Mr. Hearns' request for extended hours at the Saunders Library for the tutoring program. Mr. Stines stated that Ms. Gillon is already working on that and will have a report at the next meeting. Dr. Scheuerle made the motion that staff implement the extended hours as soon as possible. Ms. Cameron seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

DIRECTOR'S REPORT:

The Board of County Commissioners will make the Library Board appointments on August 17th.

Dr. Scheuerle announced that the Public Art Departments of the City of Tampa and Hillsborough County, the Institute for Research in Art, University of South Florida, and the Humanities Institute, University of South Florida will be co-sponsoring a symposium on What is Public Art? at the Patel Conservatory on October 7. This symposium is open to the public.

Ms. Vickers passed the gavel to Mr. Johnson, the new Library Board chair.

Mr. Johnson made the following Committee Chair appointments: Budget - William Scheuerle' Planning - James Martin' Policy & Bylaws - Laura Vickers. Mr. Johnson asked whether there were any changes to the Committees. Ms. Vickers asked to be removed from the Budget Committee. Dr. Scheuerle asked to be added to the Ad-Hoc Long Range Planning Committee.

Ms. Swisshelm suggested that Mr. Johnson meet with the Assistant County Attorney to discuss the role of Ex-Officio.

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Budget - Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 1:00 p.m. at the John F. Germany Public Library.

Planning - Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 2:00 p.m. at the John F. Germany Public Library.

Policy & Bylaws - Tuesday, August 11, 2005, West Tampa Public Library 2:00 p.m..

Library Board - Thursday, August 25, 2005 - 4:00 p.m. at the John F. Germany Public Library.

ADJOURNMENT:

The meeting was adjourned at 6:00 p.m.

Next Library Board Meeting:
         Date: August 25, 2005
         Time: 4pm-6pm
         Location: John F. Germany Public Library

                 - Unless notified otherwise.


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