By Jane Ernsberger
Times-Junction News Editor
Summer reading is underway at the Huron County Community Library.
“We have had brisk registration that first day,” noted Laura Lee Wilson, director of the library said at the June meeting of the board of trustees. “We are encouraging people, of course, to not just read this summer but to also become physically active.
The children’s theme is On Your Mark, Get Set, Read. Wilson said the adult slogan is Exercise Your Mind, Read.
“Additionally, we are having a program that we’re calling, ‘Mind, Body and Sole,’” she added. “That is not part of summer reading program, but it is taking place during the summer.”
The incentives for the program are coming from Mercy Hospital, Wilson pointed out. A grant from Fisher-Titus is being used to sponsor a 5k.
“So, we’re encouraging people to walk 30 minutes, and they get incentives for that,” she told members of the board of trustees. “And, then the culmination will be a 5k at Western Reserve School District on July 23.”
Wilson also gave a renovation update concerning changes at the Willard Memorial Library.
“I believe that we are pretty much I could say back on schedule,” she said. “Our contractor and architect, there were some issues concerning an increase in concrete that we’re going to have around the patio area where the Emerald Street entrance was. There was just a lot of discussion between the city and the architect and the general contractor.”
The annex parking lot has been paved and striped, according to Wilson.
“While we do have our handicapped parking space,” she added, “we are waiting for our final inspection. So, we can use the annex as long as it is library personnel that are there, and it’s for library programming, but it’s not available for someone to use it for a get-together. We need to have library personnel in the building until that final inspection.”
Barth Gibson, a member of the board of trustees, asked if the inspection will be in the near future.
“I’m hoping it will be soon,” Wilson noted. “The conversation we had on Friday was not a punch list but making sure we have all of the things that are outlined.”
Since it is considered a state inspection, the inspector will come from Mansfield, Wilson said.
The Myrtle Avenue entrance to the library is now the one used for the public since the Emerald Street entrance has been demolished. Concrete has been poured.
“The new community room on the lower level has been prepped,” Wilson pointed out. “The collections were moved in May for the Phase III work, and Library Design was back yesterday with more furniture deliveries and to do some placement of furniture.”
Wilson said the sprinkler system is now completed.
“We’re moving right along,” she noted.
The Huron County Community Library is partnering with Huron County Public Health to offer space for Project DAWN.
“DAWN stands for Deaths Avoided with noxene,” Wilson explained. “It’s a community-based drug overdose prevention. There will be a meeting in Willard, Wakeman and Greenwich where people in the community can come and meet with Huron County Public Health to receive the narcan.”
The meetings will be as follows:
• Willard - June 28 from 6 to 8 p.m.;
• Greenwich - July 13 from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
Wilson said there is a 20-minute video that will show how to identify those who are having an overdose and how to administer the drug.
“We will also be making sure that at least one person from our leadership team at each location takes that 20 minute training. The public health department said they would leave a kit with us.”
Wilson said they are taking the first step into the next strategic plan by concentrating on focus groups. There has been a meeting in each community to get information.
The board will meet, she noted, and the leadership will go to a retreat offsite to bring together the final strategic plan. It will then be brought to the board of trustees, in rough draft form, in October where the board and the leadership team can talk about what it contains. The final strategic plan will be ready no later than December.
“That will be our guidelines on how we’re going to be making decisions,” Wilson pointed out, “as far as new collections and new services and operations for years 17 through 21.”
Wilson said she also wanted to bring up for discussion the idea of mobile hotspots.
“As we do more outreach, which has been a focus, we don’t always have a good wifi connection,” she told trustees. “That’s something that’s needed when we do classes teaching people how to download books or how to access our website, as well as if we want to circulate items.”
Wilson said she has talked with Managed Mobility, a vendor that offers hotspots to libraries.
“They partner with Spring,” she pointed out. “They offer the devices.”
The actual cost is $150, Wilson said. They are marked down to $29.99 for libraries and non-profits. There is unlimited data usage for each unit, and one unit can be connected to eight devices.
“We are exploring whether or not we can get special pricing which is 99-cents a device,” she noted. “But, we would have a monthly recurring fee for each device of $41.70.”
Adam Searl, fiscal officer for the Huron County Community Library, told trustees he put $7,200 into a line item.
It would take board action to approve the choice to use Managed Mobility and for the transfer of the money. Trustees later approved the transfer.
“It should be about $6,000,” Searl pointed out.
“It’s something the leadership team is certainly in favor of,” Wilson pointed out. “Not only would we have these devices for our staff use as they leave the building to work with the public, but we would also have devices that would circulate so someone could come in and borrow the device and then be able to have Internet access if they don’t have it.”
Gibson asked how many of the mobile hotspots would be purchased.
Wilson said there would be a total of 12, with one for the leadership team member in each location, three in circulation in Willard and two each in Wakeman, North Fairfield and Greenwich.
“I think it sounds like a win win situation,” noted trustee Ruth Brown.
Policy would have to be developed concerning the circulation of the mobile hotspots, according to Wilson. The devices would only circulate within the Huron County Library System and not throughout the consortium.
“It’s forward thinking,” noted board of trustee president Doug Substanley. “I like that.”
Wilson said she will go ahead with the idea after receiving board approval.
Searl also reviewed the financial report. At the beginning of May there was $942,591 in the General Fund. Income for the month was $57,034, which was primarily from Public Library Funds and expenses at $87,227. The balance in the General Fund at the end of May was $912,399.
The following was the fund activity for the month of May:
• Capital Improvements - starting balance $614,517, $88.62 income which was interest, $48,268 in expenses for a balance of $566,337;
• Grant Fund - starting balance $3,407, income $88.62 in interest, no expenses;
• Willard Library Trust Fund - starting balance $32,052, income $0.52 in interest, no expenses;
• Greenwich Trust Fund - starting balance $147,124, income $5 in interest, no expenses, and
• North Fairfield Trust Fund - starting balance $200, income $0.02 in interest.
Restricted donations, according to Searl, totaled $166.
In reviewing the accounts, Searl said the library has spent just over $1 million for the ongoing construction project in Willard.
Wilson reviewed the statistics and noted they were “again flat.” Overall, the numbers were up 15.5-percent in circulation with over $13,000 items that were circulated in May.
“Our programming continues to be robust,” she pointed out. “The numbers especially for children’s programs are very, very high. That could be attributed to our school visits. We were able to visit every school district this year.”
Trustees approved the disposal of a number of items in inventory that were obsolete.Board members agreed to close the Greenwich Library during the annual Firemen’s Festival.