Grafton Public Library
Emergency Board Meeting
Present: Patrick Spurlock, Mary Beth Culver, Lucia Corwin, Michelle Dufort, David Whittall
Jay Maciejowski via telephone
Public: Galen Pinkham
Meeting called to order at 10:08 in order to consider modifications to operation of the library due to concerns regarding COVID-19.
Public Comments: Galen shared state determining that due to concerns regarding COVID-19 students are able to stay home without penalty and that schools are currently being encouraged to stay open, and yet Green Mountain schools are closing. He also commented that the library’s restroom is one of a few in the community. He seemed to appreciate the complexities of the decision at hand.
There was discussion about the potential need to go into executive session as the discussion to close would inherently involve personnel issues. Michelle did not feel the closure discussion qualified for executive session. Patrick felt that the human resources nature of the discussion qualified and commented that the state has been softening meeting rules during this crisis.
The board asked Michelle for her reasons for recommending closure. She shared that the majority of our patrons fall into the high risk elderly category. Further, our volunteers also fall into that category. One volunteer has already stated that she will not be in until further notice. Managing disinfecting the building surfaces and materials is already becoming burdensome and is likely to increase. Maintaining disinfectant supplies is already becoming challenging. Finally, she stated that authorities are identifying that people can be carriers of COVID-19 while being symptom free. She feels continuing normal operations could put our patrons, volunteers and staff at risk. She also shared that an ever increasing number of libraries have closed. Many of them have gotten creative with how to continue to provide services and she would like to follow their example. Services she anticipated offering during any closure included drive-in pick up of books, DVD, and other materials, delivery of books, access to puzzles and games, and on-line services. She also plans to explore on-line book discussions. Jay recommended looking at the Craftsbury Library’s notification for both wording and their list of services still available.
Moved to Executive Session
Came out of Executive Session
We are all very torn about closing the library. The demographics of the Grafton library are very different than those of even our neighboring libraries. Our elderly patrons still need access to our services, but at the same time they could be put at risk. Students unable to attend school may need access to our computers and internet, but could be at risk and put others at risk. The board voted 4 to 1 to a temporary closure of normal operations due to the threat of COVID-19, effective Monday, March 16 through April 12, 2020. The closure and employment compensation will be reevaluated in one month, on or about April 12th.
Access to services in the library (primarily use of computers) will be offered by appointment so that numbers and sanitation can be managed. Other services and projects discussed included: drive-up book access, book delivery, acting as a communication hub for the community, the various community organizations, and persons in need of resources, developing and offering on-line book discussions, weeding out the current book collection, updating the book sale room, development of new fundraisers to potentially offset any losses from the TIAA account, and updating a variety of spreadsheets and data collection.
In an effort to be both fiscally responsible and supportive of our staff during the closure, employees will be expected to document how their time is spent in service to the library. Michelle can work with the other employee to identify projects appropriate to her availability and skill set. This will be done through an addendum to the regular time sheet. Michelle will email these to the board. The closure and employment compensation will be reevaluated in one month, on or about April 12th.
Michelle will develop a public notice. Board members should review the notice by 6:00 this evening. Michelle will post the notice at the town hall, post office, on Facebook, the library website, Grafton news, the Athenian, and on the library door. She will also alert the volunteers.
Our next regularly scheduled meeting is March 26th. In anticipation of not being able to meet in person, Michelle will coordinate a test run of gotomeeting.com for tomorrow night at 6:00. We will also need to get current financial information from Barbara Friedman on the TIAA accounts.
Meeting adjourned at 11:20
Mary Beth Culver