The Ainsworth Library Board held its regular monthly meeting on January 6, 2021 at the Ainsworth Public Library. This was advertised in the local newspaper, on the radio, at the library, and on the library’s Facebook and website. President Phyllis Leach called the meeting to order at 5 p.m. Notice was given on the posting of the Nebraska Open Meeting Act. Roll call showed all five members present. They included Todd Flynn, Staci Gilliland, Luke Hitchcock, Phyllis Leach, and Alane Lentz. Library Director, Gail Irwin, was also present for the meeting.
Alane Lentz made the motion to approve the minutes from the November meeting. Staci Gilliland seconded this with all members voting in favor of. The Board did not meet in December so there were no minutes to approve for that month. Alane Lentz moved to approve the claims for November and December. Todd Flynn seconded this with all members voting in favor of. The Monthly Library Report for November and December was presented along with a list of title purchased. It was noted at this time that:
1. The City would start to do direct deposit of paychecks the first pay period in January
2. The check from Brown County had been received for the 2020/2021 budget year ($11,000)
The completed 2019-2020 Public Library Survey and the Public Library Data Survey Supplement were shared with the Board. A copy had been sent to the City for their records also. The City had completed a 2020 Community Needs Assessment Survey this fall. The results was posted in the newspaper and shared with the Board. The Library has great responses: Condition/adequacy of public library showed 35 (34.31%) Excellent; 53 (51.96%) Good; 2 (1.96%) Poor; and 12 (11.76%) No Opinion.
The December issue of Library Journal featured the America’s STAR Libraries. Our library was one of thirteen libraries in Nebraska receiving a star rating. Our library received a four star rating. The one and only other time our library received a star rating was in 2016. This is a great award to receive. Numerous congratulations from various people/City/other library people across the state were shared.
It was noted that the Library has started up its Book Club once again. The group will be meeting the first time on January 19th to share thoughts on the title “The Man Called Ove” by Fredrik Backman. The One Book One Nebraska title of “Prairie Forge: The Extraordinary Story of the Nebraska Scrap Metal Drive of World War II” by James Kimble will be the February selection. The group will observe social distancing and wear face masks for the discussion.
An announcement from OverDrive stated that they would allow our group to extend the Recorded Books simultaneous use adult fiction collection of 6,521 audiobooks to all members of the Nebraska OverDrive Libraries through Dec. 17, 2021. In mid to late January, the Nebraska Library Commission will be paying for a subscription to electronic magazines and comics through OverDrive for the consortium. The bundle will include over 3,000 titles with almost 800 in a foreign language (181 titles in Spanish).
It was noted that the Library has been handing out some Take and Make Packets for the children. We did two separate packets in December with a Christmas Pop-Up Card and Christmas ornaments to make. In January, we will hand out two packets dealing with snowmen. The February packets will have a Valentine theme and the packets for March will feature Dr. Seuss crafts.
The Nebraska Library Systems, the Nebraska Library Commission, and public libraries across the state are offering an on-line Winter Reading Program “Snow Many Great Books” to Nebraskan aged 10 and older by way of Reader Zone. It is running from Dec. 1, 2020 to Feb. 28, 2021. Readers need to complete at least eight of the twenty challenges by the end of the program to be eligible for a grand prize. Three $50 Visa Gift Cards will be given away. Reading may include fiction or non-fiction titles.
The Summer Reading Program manual has arrived. This year’s theme will be “Tails and Tales”. Staff is thinking on how to handle this year’s program. They will be attending a 2021 Summer Reading Virtual Workshop on January 26th to get ideas for programing.
Wanda Raymond has started to organize this year’s Blind Date with a Book for the month of February. We plan to feature this all month with a drawing at the end for those who rate their date.
Word has been received from the Nebraska Library Commission that due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic they would be extending the expiration dates for the Public Library Accreditation. Our library’s accreditation expiration year has changed from 2022 to 2023. We received a new certificate with the new date on it. They are also offering the Public Librarian Certification and the Public Library Board Certification extensions.
Information was shared on the E-rate application and filing window dates with the Board.
Covid-19 restrictions at the library were discussed. No changes were made at this time. We will still require the wearing of masks inside the Library. We have two computers available for the public due to social distancing. We ask people to honor the thirty minute time limit in the library. Board member Luke Hitchcock asked if staff would be getting the vaccination soon. Director reported that she had not been contacted with information on when it will be available.
Director said that the wind/snow storm on Dec. 22nd-23rd blew off some of the tin trim by the roof on the north side of the library. Board directed Gail Irwin to contact the City Clerk to see if insurance would help cover cost to repair.
An update was given on workshops/meeting attended by staff. It was noted that the Director had attended the Central Plains Library System Thursday Zoom meetings on Dec 3rd, 10th, and 17th; the Bibliostat 2019-2020 Training on Nov. 10th; and the State of Nebraska Library Advisory Meeting by way of Zoom on Nov. 20th. Phyllis Leach gave a short review of the Library Foundation Board Meeting on Nov. 19th. The Foundation will be putting in a soaker system this spring for the new flower beds on the east end of the library. The Big Talk from Small Libraries All Day Conference will be held on Feb. 26th. Luke Hitchcock made the motion to close the library that day so staff could attend. Staci Gilliland seconded this with all voting in favor of. The Board will be sent an agenda of the day as it gets closer in case they want to attend an session or two.
Under correspondence we had a thank you note from the U.S. Census Bureau for help in promoting people to complete their census forms. The REALM Visual Aid on how long the virus survives on library items was shared. It was noted that Congress had released the FY2021 budget to include a $5 million increase for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and $2 million for the Library Services and Technology Act. Director has sent out thank you notes to the Nebraska members of Congress for including libraries in the budget. Articles of interest from library newsletters and journals were shared with the Board.
The next meeting date and time was set for Feb. 3rd at 5 p.m. Since there was no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 5:45 p.m.