Guilford Free Library Trustees Online Meeting due to Covid 19 Situation

Guilford, Vermont

Monday June 20th, 2022 6:30 pm

Trustees present: Laura Lawson Tucker, Judith Serkin, Richard Wizansky, John Shaw, Jeannette Tokarz, Nika Fotopulos

Librarian: Cathi Wilken present at the library

Friends: Amber Hunt, Lesley Malouin, Linda Hay

Trustee absent: Sandra Cortes

Meeting began at 6:32

Accepted minutes from April and May meetings

Librarian’s report – Cathi

  • summer camps – start in a month

The younger group is over enrolled, the young stage and stream has 11 kids and the older stage and stream is under enrolled for the 2 weeks. But all camps are a go.

June storytime is just in person and July will be a hybrid again.

  • Thank you notes need to be written by a Trustee asap, please stop by the library to pick those up and send out if you can.
  • The library has overall been busy.
  • Cathi has been doing a weeding of books and will be hosting a book give away soon.
  • There will be a new face on the online catamount catalogue starting on June 29th, it is expected to be easier to use. There are still no downloadable audiobooks, but when it happens, as promised, it should be integrated with our new catalogue.

Treasurer’s report – John

  • We are approaching the end of our fiscal year at the end of the month.
  • The raffle raised over $3000, a great success!
  • The interest is a little below, but it is minimal.
  • We have a reimbursed expense that is odd, because for a gazette payment the Friends of the Library card was not available when needed, so the private payment was reimbursed.
  • A Paypal fee was due to the donations that came in with the raffle.
  • Penny said that the Selectboard passed a 5% increase in salaries for all town employees starting July 1st.
  • In the materials total we spent only half of what we planned. But Cathi has weeded heavily our collections and has since spent most of the remainder of those materials budget. So new books are on the way.

Building Expansion Project Update

According to communication with Peter Rude, the library can move forward with an addition, if a proposal is approved by the Selectboard and Trustees, and does not affect the town budget.

We heard from each Trustee about how they feel after the re-vote and how they would like to move forward.

  • Sandra was not present but Laura shared that she is burnt out, but really wants the project to move forward with the plans as is, if we can fundraise the amount.
  • Cathi wants to go ahead as well. And believes there is a lot of grant money out there. But also has been considering an alternative plan that wouldn’t cost as much, which would have just a second floor with no stairs and elevator.
  • John agrees there is a need for space, and agrees to move forward with an addition, but not rapidly and sees the value of doing another PR campaign around it so as not to ignite resentment.
  • Nika echoes the need for space, while feeling cautious to move forward too hastily. The re-vote brought out a lot of public concerns even amidst the misinformation. And would like to see a consideration of other alternatives, with more transparency and input from the public along the way.
  • Judith feels similar to John and Nika, and wants us to focus on dispelling the misinformation about the library, and feels we made a mistake in not communicating and sharing the excitement and possibilities of the project sooner. Accessibility is a very important aspect of the library addition, and wishes we could reach out with that message with more success.
  • Jeannette says it is clear that the library needs more space. But we are all burnt out and maybe we need a break. She wants to explore plan B and C. Sarah Coffey has shared that popular support from the town is important to receive grants and state funding.
  • Richard wants us to know that he believes Guilford has been targeted by a republican strategy. He feels misinformation is rampant and we need to confront that. He suggested we need to hire a fundraising consultant to move forward with the present addition plans. Even with the re-vote, community support is here, because the vote initially did pass. We have the money to start the capital campaign. And he is also interested in looking more at connecting the Meeting House to the Library as a possible plan.
  • Laura is thinking a lot about what the Selecboard might look like next March, when Richard resigns and Verandah is up for re-election. She is feeling a sense of urgency to the project, because we might not have support for a library addition like we do now on the Selectboard.

We as a trustees group need to come to consensus before going to the Selectboard about any addition proposal. We may want to look at ways to propose and get public input on several plan Bs. Any proposal could be presented to the planning commission before the Selectboard for further town input.

Meeting House/Library considerations:

There is a consideration of exploring connecting the Meeting House and the Library with an inclosed covered, unheated walkway.

Laura is concerned about loosing our precious green space.

  • Linda Hay shared her thoughts and knowledge of this possible addition: She is a retired librarian for 50 years with a lot of experience in Library architecture. She showed a sketch of creating a breezeway from the Library to the Meeting house. Preservation organizations want these old buildings to be a living and active space, not a museum or abandoned. Her idea is that the Meeting House would be the adult services collection. The front of the sanctuary would remain with a platform and a few pews, to host small events. There would be a need to improve the insulation, repair the holes in the roof (which will happen this summer), repair the ceiling (there has been only one estimate for this, which is quite a costly repair). The connection to the Library, which has running water and septic system, would mean the adults can come through the covered walkway to use the washroom. The walkway would then offer the opportunity to have an exhibit space on those walls.

Richard and Cathi feel we need to come up with a committee to explore the possibility of the Meeting House plan.

Richard will re-send out the architects report on the Meeting House and feasibility study.

Jeannette recommended that we talk to an architect to consider the Meeting House and the Library as being connected, since this is a new approach to assessing the buildings.

The Selectboard would have to approve owning the meeting house, and then this Meeting House/Library connection would be voted on through the town in March at Town Meeting. We would need to convince them to maintain the building and make it ADA accessible to the second floor and all the repair and renovation costs involved.

Laura will get her cousin to get fresh eyes on the project and our need for more space and see if he can help us come with a simpler version.

Librarian evaluation

  • Trustees need to send their librarian evaluation by July 11th to Laura and cc Judith.

Friends of the Library – Lesley

  • report on Concert/Raffle, it was a huge success and great time for all. They are hoping this becomes an annual tradition.
  • trustee/friends social to happen during Hot Dog Roast.
  • new projects, none for now.

New Business

The hot dog roast will be Wednesday August 17th. Trustees and Friends will be invited to join.

Laura wants to appreciate the Trustees and the Friends for all the help and hard work with the re-vote and the expansion project.

Jeannette wants to invite all to join a meeting tomorrow for the pedestrian/bike path presentation of 3 alternatives.

Meeting adjourned at 7:52

Next monthly Trustees Meeting: Monday July 18, 2022 at 6:30 pm

Minutes by Secretary, Nika Fotopulos

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Guilford Free Library Trustees Online Meeting due to Covid 19 Situation

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