Library Trustees March Meeting

Wednesday March 28, 2012 at 6 PM
Chevy Chase Library

Six of eight trustees present. Donald Richardson and Brenda Richardson absent. List of Trustees

Agenda and other meeting documents

Call to Order

Introductions: New DCPL Security Chief Mark Polk — a lawyer and 25 year law enforcement professional, who also serves as the President of the Board of Trustees of the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System.

Summary of Actions: Two votes taken
1) Resolution to request $1 million for another study of MLK central library
2) Resolution to name the meeting room of the new Francis Gregory Library in honor of Elizabeth Holden “for significant contributions” to the library. Holden bequeathed approximately $1 million to the Francis Gregory and Woodridge branches specifically to “enhance, increase and enrich the use of these libraries.”

Public Comment  Rosedale ANC Commissioner Gladys Mack and President of the Rosedale Grassroots Coalition Sondra Phillips-Gilbert brought forward a request from their community — to preserve in legacy the names R. L. Christian and Langston at the soon-to-open Rosedale Library and Recreation Center.  Until August 2009, the Rosedale neighborhood was served by library kiosks named for the two men.

President’s Report  John Hill reminded attendees about tomorrow’s Budget Hearing by City Council’s Library Committee. Hill reiterated his view that DCPL has always adhered to its allotted budget regardless of financial pressures, unlike other agencies that seem to overspend with impunity. He noted also that cuts to DCPL’s operating budget, made under previous Mayors, have not yet been made up in the Gray administration. Mayor Gray proposed an increase of $6 million over last year, falling short of the Trustees’ request for $10 million to restore DCPL to its highwater mark of $44 million in 2008. The Trustees had also asked for $210 million in capital funds over five years to complete the transformation of the library system, but the Mayor proposed only $55 million.

DC Reads  A committee of librarians has selected 3 books to consider for the annual DC Reads program:  Enique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario; The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears by Dinaw Mengestu;  Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi.

The Trustees were asked to vote by email for their choice. Trustee Cohen observed that last year’s book The Other Wes Moore was particularly readable. For more information

Library Performance Measures Data from this report included an 11% increase in use of — an on-line homework service available to students. The report also gives circulation numbers by branch.

Finance Cmte Chair Bonnie Cohen expressed disappointment that more library users do not attend Trustees meetings.  She urged Chevy Chase and Cleveland Park residents to support the Trustees capital budget request because it would include the rebuilding of their neighborhood libraries. Agency CFO Eric Coard reported that the Mayor’s budget allotment for books was the same as last year:  $1.7 million.  Chief Librarian Cooper expressed her worries that new library users will not return if they do not find what they want on the shelves.  It was noted, however, that the Mayor has specifically prioritized (among the top 25) an additional $1 million for DCPL collections if additional revenues are found.

Facilities Cmte Chair Richard Levy commended Facilities Director Ed Hampton for outstanding maintenance work.  “We inherited a system in deplorable condition,” but now all buildings are fully operational. Levy moved forward the request for $1 million to consider the Urban Land Institute recommendations for MLK “more globally.”

Director of Capital Projects Jeff Bonvechio reported:

  • that a design for the Woodridge Library rebuild had been selected,
  • plans for the NE Library would go before Historic Preservation Board soon,
  • the Deputy Mayor’s Office for Planning and Economic Development will pay for the “fit out” and rental of space for the interim West End Library (and Firehouse)
  • a storefront space on M Street has been identified by DCPL for the WE interim library,
  • developer Eastbanc has set November as the date for DCPL to vacate the WE Library.

DCPL Foundation  Library Foundation President Linnea Haggerty reported that the Foundation was in the process of expanding its board. Two new members have been named: Susan Haight, President of the West End Library Friends and of the Federation of Friends of DCPL; and Neil Albert, former Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development under Mayor Williams and engineer of the West End redevelopment deal that included the West End library.