Board of Directors Meeting – March 6, 2023

In attendance were Vincent Volpe, President, presiding; and Keith Savage, Vice President; John Dubinsky, Alison Ferring, Jacque Land, Nina North-Murphy, and David Sweeney. Janet Rainford and Tom Schlafly attended virtually. 

Also present were Chief Executive Officer Waller McGuire and staff members Maryann Brickey; Eleanore Chadderdon, Fran Collier, Tiffany Davis, Amanda Endicott, Adele Heagney, Cathy Heimberger, Chiquetta Hunter, Liz McArthur, Mary Meyer, Joshua Milligan, Daisy Porter-Reynolds; Justin Struttmann, Liz Reeves, Jim Slattery, Jen Wiese, and Lisa Stump, Lashly & Baer. 

The meeting was called to order at 5:30 p.m. by President Volpe. 

Mr Dubinsky's motion, seconded by Mr. Savage, to approve the minutes of the January 9, 2023 meeting was approved. 

Public Comment: 
Fran Collier, Outreach Assistant for the St. Louis Public Library, asked that the Board think about safety. 

Mr. McGuire discussed three communications that had been distributed to the Board, all centered around an incident that had occurred at Central Library on February 27th during which a man who has been accused of murder was arrested in the 2nd-floor restroom of Central Library. Mr. McGuire listed the Library's methods of dealing with safety issues and concerns throughout the system, including cameras and other technology, and our relationship with the St. Louis Police Department. Safety is a major issue of concern at libraries across the country, as it is at schools, malls, churches, and virtually everywhere. Mr. McGuire and Mr. Struttmann will be attending a national meeting on safety issues in public libraries next month. 

Some staff have recommended metal detectors be installed at SLPL. Mr. McGuire stated that administration was not recommending this to the Board at this time because of concerns doing so might increase conflict rather than solve it, would be tremendously expensive, and Missouri state law forbids public libraries from banning guns. 

Mr. Schlafly asked Ms. Stump to summarize the Library's status in state law concerning banning guns from entering our buildings. 

The Board asked questions about current safety training and other resources. There was discussion about the partnership with the city agency that helps provide access to counseling and other forms of support to library customers. Mr Savage asked that the Library support this work as long as it lessened stress rather than added to it. 

Board President Volpe asked whether there was any further public comment after the discussion, and stated that the Board was well briefed on Library safety issues, was attentive and concerned, and would continue to support the search for practical and effective solutions. 

Chief Executive Officer's Report: 
Tiffany Davis and Amanda Endicott presented a detailed study of the ongoing partnership with the St. Louis County Library approximately one year after our two catalogs had been merged. Usage far exceeds expectations and is bringing new use of our collections. The Board asked questions about how demand was being managed and future possibilities for cooperation. Mr. McGuire commended staff throughout the system, led by Tiffany Davis and Liz McAurthur, for the excellent work that made this success possible. The Board noted that this was an important example for regional cooperation. 

Mr. McGuire mentioned the ongoing work preparing for the exhibit and event featuring Prom magazine, another example of the depth of SLPL's collections. 

Mr. McGuire summarized proposed state legislation which would tie state funding to controversial government oversight of library collections. He stated that the legislation is in early stages and the Library is following it carefully. 

As antidote to the challenging issues being discussed, Mr. McGuire showed some images from the Library's Read It Together program for very young children at Julia Davis Library, during which the auditorium was packed with a capacity crowd of excited kids and parents to hear and meet Grammy winner Lucky Diaz, who also presented at area schools on behalf of the Library. This is just one example of the remarkable and varied work staff does throughout St. Louis. 

Mr. Slattery went through the details of the financial reports sent out the week before. The Library receives the bulk of its tax revenue early in the year, and four months into the year we have received approximately 90% of budgeted revenue. Increased interest rates have helped revenue: parking and passport service are relatively small but helpful new revenue sources. The Library has spent slightly over 31% of its budgeted expenditures at this point. The Library was notified by the City of a substantial pension contribution increase this year, and the second half of the year will bring a merit increase. We are on track to be within the $4 million deficit budget we planned. The Fiscal Affairs Committee will be meeting with the auditor next week to consider a clean audit. Mr. Slattery acknowledged the assistance and years of work by William Jackson in laying the groundwork for this clean transition. 

New Business 
Mr. McGuire introduced a brief change to the Library's sick leave policy that would allow full-time employees to begin earning sick leave after their first full pay period. Current policy states no sick leave is earned for the first six months of employment. The current policy and proposed changes were sent to the Board in advance of the meeting. Mr. Dubinsky asked if the change would result in budget changes; Ms. Weise responded that it should not. Mr. Savage moved the policy revision be approved, seconded by Mr. Schlafly. The motion was approved unanimously. 

The Board asked Ms. Reeves to summarize the Foundation report. 

There being no further business, Mr. Dubinsky moved the meeting be adjourned, seconded by Mr. Sweeney. The vote was approved unanimously and the meeting was adjourned at 6:05 p.m. 

At the regular meeting of the Board of Directors of the St. Louis Public Library on March 6, 2023, the following actions were taken: 

Mr. Dubinsky moved: that the Board approve the minutes of the January 9, 2023 meeting. MOTION APPROVED
(In favor Mr. Volpe, Ms. Ferring, Mr. Land, Ms. North-Murphy, Ms. Rainford, Mr. Savage, Mr. Schlafly, and Mr. Sweeney.)
Mr. Savage moved: that the proposed change to the Sick Leave Policy be approved. MOTION APPROVED
(In favor Mr. Volpe, Mr. Dubinsky, Ms. Ferring, Mr. Land, Ms. North-Murphy, Ms. Rainford, Mr. Schlafly, and Mr. Sweeney.) 
Mr. Dubinsky moved: that be meeting be adjourned. MOTION APPROVED
(In favor Mr. Volpe, Ms. Ferring, Mr. Land, Ms. North-Murphy, Ms. Rainford, Mr. Savage, Mr. Schlafly, and Mr. Sweeney.)
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